Nora is a Professional Hobo and Freelance Writer, who enjoys living life on the road with no fixed address. Since selling all and leaving her Toronto Canada home in 2007, she has:
Climbed 60 meters down an icicle into a cave in the Rockies,
Fallen off the grid (literally & figuratively) in Hawaii,
Started international NGOs on the fly in Thailand, and
Survived Australia's worst natural disaster,
..among other adventures, past, present, and future.
Jump to Nora's Blog: theprofessionalhobo.com
When you travel, you want to do as the locals do. Not only does it often lead to more fulfilling and illuminating experiences, but it usually saves you money too."
If you want to save on transportation expenses (or alternately if you own a car and want to make some cash during your road trip), consider ride sharing."
Dear reader, I write this so you may read and glean from my experience so that your next pair of travel sandals are the ones that get you through thick and thin."
Want to see the packing list I use for my full-time travels? I wrote about this a few years ago, but since then the contents of my bag have evolved (and shrunk!) to a lovely manageable load that covers all the bases."
The concept is as simple as it sounds: there are a number of websites that connect homeowners who need somebody to care for their pets/plants/etc in their absence, with travellers who are up for the task and enthusiastic about living a slice of “local lif"
Let’s discuss how to get free accommodation by volunteering."
Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you define your travels, set a travel budget, and figure out how much to start with:"
It’s autumn in Grenada, and the streets are getting wider."
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for aspiring travelers (full-time, long-term, or otherwise) is about having enough money to get started."
Living, and travelling, at a different pace in Grenada"
In Grenada, I really never know what I’m going to find when I leave the house. Sometimes it’s the most amazing sunset, sometimes it’s a local child who smiles and jumps into my arms."
Airfare usually marks a big portion of any travel budget, so it pays to do what you can to ensure you get the best flights for your buck."
Nora's love for the scooter has turned poetic..."
Many countries’ immigration departments require you to provide proof that you’re leaving their country (in the form of an onward travel ticket) before they’ll let you in."
Even if you’re a guru at applying everything in moderation, when you’e constantly seeing and discovering new things on the road, sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the impulse shopping fray."
Given that my summer in Switzerland has come to a close, it’s time to share with you some random observations that – for me – makes Switzerland unique."
When I emerged onto the hectic streets of Zurich for the Street Parade, I immediately realized I was overdressed. Er. Underdressed. Er. Dressed. Suddenly it made sense why everybody had been asking me what I would wear to Street Parade. Some…"
“Make sure you go somewhere with bonfires and fireworks for Swiss National Day,” said a Swiss friend of mine in regards to my upcoming plans for Wednesday August 1st."
A permit is required to access Levera beach (in northern Grenada), so they can control the environment and conserve this key nesting site for endangered Leatherback turtles. Volunteer researchers are on the beach every night between April and July from 8…"
The only way to get to Sulphur Springs is to go with somebody who knows where it is, and who has a hardy 4×4. There are no street signs, maps are unreliable when it comes to anything other than main roads, and asking bystanders for directions is fa…"
In Grenada the unofficial national pastime is “Liming”. It has nothing to do with the citrus fruit, and it’s less of an actual definable activity and more of a state of being."
“Get your tings. We goin da beach,” my neighbour said last Sunday, just after lunch. “It’s what we do for Easter,” was her explanation."
You could probably keep your travel budget that low, providing you do a few things"
Of course you travel with your passport. But do you travel with passport pictures? If not, then why not?"
The warning signs along the roadside suggesting I might lose my life should have been my first clue that this wasn’t your average beach."
No matter how you manage and spend your money while you travel, you’re going to have to pay for the privilege of spending money in another currency."
I slam on the brakes. On the bank is a goat grazing dangerously close to the road."
Get your financial house in orderbefore you travel."
My first lesson in Vietnam pedestrian culture was that there aren’t really any pedestrians"
Between Beijing and the final Ultimate Train Challenge destination of Saigon six days later, we ride on five different trains, including the flashy world’s fastest train from Beijing to Shanghai, some not-so-flashy trains, and a few in between."
Here's what I learned:"
Imagining southern Spain, somehow I constructed a picture in my mind that was devoid of elevation. So when the train pulled into Granada – which is surrounded by mountains – I was both surprised and pleased, since mountain hiking is one of my…"
Planning for the Ultimate Train Challenge has been a monumental effort, and a team effort at that."
As I window shop in the beach town of Hollywood Florida, I’m being eyeballed left right and centre."
Although I normally travel with everything I own, this time I left just about everything behind in Toronto while taking this side-trip. In fact, not only did I not bring my usual bags, I brought no bags at all."
With 16,000kms of Australia’s rail lines under my (slightly maniacal) rail-enthusiastic belt, I recently conquered the formidable train infrastructure on New Zealand’s Coromandel peninsula: all 2.6kms of it. But this 2.6km train journey has …"
I have a request, dear readers, and I need your help!"
…The state of being dizzy or nauseated because of the motions that occur while traveling"
This is the last installment of my mammoth series about the Indian Pacific, which is part of an 11,000km train journey I took across Australia – and back again. My mission: to see if spending eight days on a train could inspire boredom. So far, no …"
What a journey so far! I’m two/thirds of the way through my 11,000 km train journey across Australia and back. After four nights on a train (with a night in Perth nestled in there), I’m still three days away from Sydney. And to my surprise, I…"
So far in my 11,000km train journey across Australia and back, I’ve been aboard the Indian Pacific for three nights since getting on in Sydney. We’ve stopped in Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook, and Kalgoorlie. Today, I ar…"
My train arrived in Perth on a Saturday morning, and after a flurry of text messages describing what we were each wearing(!), Amanda and I spotted each other on the platform and gave each other a big hug. “Right. So what do you want to see while y…"
At this point in the series, I’m four days into my epic 11,000 km journey across Australia (and back), and have spent the last two nights aboard the Indian Pacific, traveling from Sydney to Perth (and back).DAY THREEMy early night to bed last night…"
Thus far in this series, I’ve set the stage for my epic 11,000km train journey, boarded the Indian Pacific train in Sydney, explored my digs, and settled in for the night.Indian PacificDay TwoAccounting for a half-hour time change back before bedti…"
This Indian Pacific series is intended to give you a sense of what it’s like to travel on the Indian Pacific; from the people you meet, to the scenery you pass by, to simply living life on a train. Long-distance train travel is much less about the …"
Almost 48 hours after boarding The Ghan on Day One in Darwin, and with only a few hours to go to Adelaide, I was surprised to wake up and discover that we were still very much in the Australian outback."
One of my motivations in returning to Australia for a few months has been to experience the world-class multi-day train journeys that venture through some of the most uninhabitable parts of this sunburned country. The first of these train journeys that …"
On day two of my three-day epic journey on The Ghan, I awoke from my slumber and gazed out the window. One of my favourite things about overnight train travel is laying in bed and watching the sun rise over the moving landscape..."
Almost 48 hours after boarding The Ghan on Day One in Darwin, and with only a few hours to go to Adelaide, I was surprised to wake up and discover that we were still very much in the Australian outback... However, as the minutes and hours rolled by, inc…"
One of my favourite things about overnight train travel is laying in bed and watching the sun rise over the moving landscape."
The Ghan; a three day, two night adventure from Darwin on the north coast through the Red Centre to Adelaide on the south coast."
“Watch out for crocs,” was the advice of a friend ringing in my ears as I slipped off the steps and onto the rocky beach in Darwin, Australia. I knew better than to swim in the ocean (rife with box jellyfish, salt-water crocodiles, and other …"
I’m a dubious beer-drinker at best, and back in Canada the few times I tried Guinness, I thought it was a vile brew. But on the prompting of absolutely everybody I knew, I had to try this world-famous concoction – in Ireland, from the source.…"
I stepped off the ferry in Belfast with exactly ₤2.29 in coins and no bills."
The minute I stepped off the train in Edinburgh (by the way, taking trains and ferries all around the UK and Ireland is the way to travel – but more on that in an upcoming post), my jaw dropped. “Edinburgh is kind of like York on crack,&rdqu…"
I must confess. One of the reasons I wanted to take a day trip to Carcassonne had very little to do with the place itself, or my knowledge of this medieval walled city with a formidable history and a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. No. It had t…"
“Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it. Just look at that view,” I said, in awe of the vista we were driving by."
I have fallen – head over heels – in love with Spain."
As I sit on the bus departing from the old restored town of Valdelavilla for the second of my two weeks of volunteering in Spain..."
His name was Toro Bravo..."
For the purposes of this post, I recently unpacked my bags and took pictures of everything."
New Zealand is a very active volcanic zone, as evidenced by White Island – New Zealand’s most active volcano, just off the coast. But you don’t have to leave the mainland to feel the presence of volcanic activity, past and present. Roto…"
For the last month, I’ve been working in trade for my accommodation at a little piece of paradise in New Zealand:"
Rotorua is the hub of Maori culture in New Zealand"
Waitomo is north of Rotorua and is known as one of the largest cave regions in New Zealand. And in typical Kiwi style, caving tours and adventures abound in Waitomo. You can enjoy black water rafting (which is glorified tubing – except in a cave), …"
Waitomo is north of Rotorua and is known as one of the largest cave regions in New Zealand. And in typical Kiwi style, caving tours and adventures abound in Waitomo"
We really had no idea what lay in store for us when we were driven to Kaitiaki Adventures for the day."
50kms off the coast of New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty exists a living, breathing, steaming, venting, bubbling, heaving entity called White Island: New Zealand’s most active volcanic site. To walk on its shores gives you a true feeling for the earth’s po"
50kms off the coast of New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty exists a living, breathing, steaming, venting, bubbling, heaving entity called White Island: New Zealand’s most active volcanic site. To walk on its shores gives you a true feeling for the ear…"
While I was visiting Canberra last month, my friend (also a Nora) and I wandered by a derelict collection of tents and temporary-looking dwellings in front of the old parliament building."
Canberra (pronounced more like “Can-bra” with the emphasis on the “can”), gets a bad rap."
My visit to Sydney was beautifully rounded out by staying with some friends just outside of the city. And aside from a chance encounter – or rather encounters (37 in total) – with some nasty spiders, all was beautiful."
Not only is the Big Island of Hawaii the least known and least visited Hawaiian island, but it is arguably the most diverse and spectacular. As a whole, the island is home to 11 of the 14 micro-climates that exist in the world, and both the world’s…"
"Awesome! Congratulations on a well-deserved award."
“Who built this thing?” is apparently a common awe-inspired (yet stupid) tourist response to the Giant’s Causeway, located in Northern Ireland. But who was I to surmise the true stupidity of these people? Maybe this ancient geographical…"
Shortly after I arrived in New Zealand, a number of people who knew of my passion for hiking and mountaineering told me it was worth my while to hike the 19km Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Yup. They were right. The crossing has been described as the best …"