I’m a Pennsylvania native who left home at 18 to work my way — literally — around the world.
Since 2008 I’ve lived and worked in Paris, Italy, Singapore, and China (twice!), while traveling to up to 20 countries every year.
For those wondering, “How do you do it?”: the answer is in this detailed 5-year update here. If you’re looking for my general life story and how I got here, read on!
I first moved abroad in early 2008. I was 18 years old and spent my sophomore / junior year of university on a gap year in China: teaching English in Dalian, writing for a city blog, and managing events for a tech start-up in Shanghai.
At 20, I graduated with a BA in political science from a tiny liberal arts school near my hometown in Pennsylvania.
Two weeks later, I left the US for good.
NEWLY 21, I moved to Singapore on a whim — I had $700 to my name, zero job prospects, and only a hazy idea of where the country was on a map. Eventually, I landed a job as the social media manager for an Asian reality television show.
It was in Singapore that I kickstarted my dream job in international sports — a career path that, for the next three years, would take me to the London and Sochi Olympics, and sporting events across three continents (including one fascinating month with FIFA in Azerbaijan).
AT 22, I moved to Paris (yet another whim — I’d never been to Europe) to learn French and eat all the cheese and drink all the cocktails and have all the picnics. I stayed for two years and it was it was fabulous.
AFTER LEAVING Paris at 24, there was a failed attempt to live in northern Italy.
Post-Italy, I spent a few months backpacking Europe and Southeast Asia, then spent three weeks in Russia covering Sochi 2014.
AT 25, I moved back to Asia, and spent a year working with Ford on their Asia Pacific comms team, which is headquartered in Shanghai. While I don’t regret going corporate, in May 2015 I quit my job to return to my true love: sports and travel & food writing.
ON MY 26th birthday, exactly five years to the day after I graduated, I flew to Japan and embarked on a new adventure as a freelance writer slash nomad, traveling for as long and as far as my writing will take me.
These days, I consider Paris my home base. When I’m not on the road, you’ll likely find me there.
I blog to share many things, but especially also to prove:
You don’t need to sacrifice a career to travel. Not only have I managed to find jobs in each country I’ve moved to — travel is what led me to my dream career in the Olympic movement.
You don’t need to be rich to travel. I grew up with very little: my parents were immigrants who moved to the US as grad students (and partly for political asylum — my Dad’s story is here).
Yet even on MINIMUM WAGE jobs, my parents still managed to scrape together enough to send me to Shanghai to visit my grandparents, every summer.
So no, I don’t come from money — since leaving the nest at 16, I’ve worked and hustled for a decade to give myself a life of travel.
And finally: I want to show you the importance of moving abroad. It’s not about luck. It’s about buying that one-way ticket, saying why not? and making your own adventure.
* I’m kind of really into Ireland. I picked up Gaelic football when I moved to Dalian in 2008 and have since played on teams in Paris, Milan, and across China.
* I love gin and tonics, a good Belgian blanche, and seriously dark porters and stouts.
* I was published in a book once! It’s this one.
* The photoblog of my China years can be found here.