Corporate Lifer Dumps it All to Become a Digital Nomad

become a digital nomad
Barbara Weibel in Machu Picchu.

Hello Mindtrekkers!

Meet Barbara Weibel. After 30+ years in the corporate world, she walked away to lead a different sort of life… traveling the world and writing about her experiences. Because the corporate life left her feeling like a hole in the donut — solid on the outside, but empty on the inside — about a decade ago she decided to chuck it all to pursue her true passions of travel, writing, and photography in order to connect the world through storytelling.

You can find her work at the popular travel blog, very appropriately named Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel.

Tell us a  bit about your current work life.
I am the Owner/Editor of the popular travel blog, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel. As a digital nomad, I travel full-time with no home base, writing about the places I visit and the people I meet along the way. I live in hostels, guest houses, hotels, and Air B&B’s; basically I can work from anywhere as long as I have a WiFi connection.

What were the situations or circumstances that led you to this place in life?
I spent 36 years in corporate life, hating almost every moment. It took a severe illness for me to reassess my life. Lying in my sickbed, I realized that money had never made me happy. I was terrified that I would die before I could do the things I’d always dreamed of, so I promised myself that, if I could get well, I would walk away from my career to pursue my true passions of travel, writing, and photography. A year later, once again healthy, I closed up my house, threw a backpack over my shoulder, and headed out on a six-month round-the-world journey. My initial plan was to return to the U.S. at the end of that first six months, but travel ruined me for traditional jobs. Instead, I decided to become a full-time travel writer and photographer and live off the money I earned from my blog. That was 11 years ago and I’m still going strong, with no plans to stop traveling any time soon.

What advice would you give someone who wants to do what you do?
Work a few years and save money, because it takes at least a couple of years before you will start earning enough money from a blog to support full-time travel.

become a digital nomad
Barbara Weibel at the Great Wall of China.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and what did you learn from it?
I’ve made thousands of mistakes in my life, some worse than others, but I don’t like to rank them. ALL mistakes are opportunities to learn. I truly believe that we cannot be successful unless we’ve experienced failure.

If you could go back and give your 20-year old self some advice, what would it be?
Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Be true to yourself and pursue whatever makes you happiest.

If your FUTURE self in 20 years could look back at where you are today, what advice might the Future You offer Current You?
Hmmm… that’s a hard one, because I have no idea who I’ll be in 20 years. But maybe I’d remind myself to follow the advice in the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Which resources do you rely on?
I read constantly, but there are no particular books or websites to which I regularly refer. Perhaps the closest I could come is a particular genre. I’m Buddhist, so I read a lot about Buddhist philosophy and try to live my life according to those principles.

When are you happiest?
When I’m living in gratitude and helping others

Anything else you’d like to share with people who want to do something like what you’re doing?
If you can envision the life you want, right down to the tiniest detail, you can create it.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do/be/try?
I would do everything exactly the same because, despite the many difficult experiences I’ve had to endure, they made me the person I am today

What are the 2-3 most important work-related purchases you’ve made in the last year?
Macbook, iPhone, and Olympic OM-D E-M1 mirrorless digital camera.

You can learn more About Barbara Weibel in this very interesting background page her site.

If you have questions for Barbara, or about cultural travel in general, please leave them below in the Comments.

And, if you know of any other digital natives or Boomer Nomads whom others might like to meet, please let us know.

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