Meet the Nomads – Daniel Lloyd a Phunky Norwegian in Mexico
Let me introduce you to Daniel Lloyd, a Norwegian who sold his belongings, paid off his debt and took off for the sunny shores and mountains of Mexico. Daniel is a bit different from past interviewees in that he is currently living off his savings and trying to get his income source going from his blogs. I chose to interview Daniel because I believe he reflects that adventurous travel spirit that just had to get on the road whether or not every detail was in place. A lot of nomads start out like Daniel and make it happen by sheer determination not to go home. I think Daniel is going to make it happen too!
Daniel, tell us a little bit about your background, who you are and what you were doing in Norway before you left?
Well, where do I start? I had worked the last 5 years as a front desk receptionist, checking people in and out of hotels, making bookings, answering questions and being service-minded.
I had been working around in different hotels in Kristiansand, Norway. The last couple of years I was working in the Rica Dyeparken Hotel, a big hotel located just next to the Zoo in Kristiansand. And even though the hotel was a huge family hotel, and the kids loud and whiny, I liked it there.
Working with people always puts me in a good mood, and there are always weird things happening in hotels.
Other than working as a receptionist, I worked as a decorator for EA games, working with advertisement for new games. Great job, but a lot of driving.
From reading your blog it looks like you were really ready to get out of your home country. What was going on that made you so itchy to travel?
There were a lot of things going on, but the feeling of restlessness was always over me, I think it must have been all my travels to different parts of the world that has made me have the feeling there is always something new to discover out there, and I want to see as much as possible!
I have been on Interrail trips throughout Europe three times and each time was incredible!
For now, my vacations have taken me to Morocco, Egypt, Spain, Portugal, France, Cyprus, Greece, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, Thailand, Switzerland, Austria, and now Mexico.
But also the conditions in Norway at the moment were bothering me.
Norway is a great place to live, but very expensive! The salary I earned would just about get me through the month, with paying my apartment, insurances, and the amounts you have to pay every year just to be able to use your car are extreme. When I traveled, I saw how much further that money took me than at home.
So, after a while I kept thinking about spending more time in a country than just a few weeks or a month. I wanted to experience how it really was to live in a different country with a different culture.
I asked my boss if it was possible to get a year off, but sadly got a no. So I quit! It’s a great feeling not knowing what waits for me if I go back to Norway. All options are open!
How long did you spend in preparation to leave and how did you choose where you wanted to go?
As I was on a sick leave from work pending my operation I had a lot of time to think about what I really wanted to do, what I wanted to experience and how much it would cost. I primarily wanted to go to Spain, as I had been there several times before, even lived there for half a year when I was a kid. But the prices there were very similar to Norwegian, especially after the Euro arrived all prices have gone up terribly!
Then a friend of mine recommended Mexico, as she had studied there for a while, and really loved the place.
I checked out a lot online about Mexico, especially how things were politically there after the dispute with the USA and the strict borders they had. But it checked out fine, and just to experience something so different from Norway, and Europe was a thing that really made me choose.
How did you fund your trip?
The trip is funded by selling my apartment in Norway, as I grew more and more aware of the unstable market that’s on it’s way to Europe it was a better idea than to rent it out, as that would not cover all costs of owning. My apartment was bought for a much lower price than what it was sold for, so I settled all outstanding debt, left no strings left that would give me grief if I left the country.
What has it been like for you so far to have sold your things and be living abroad?
The feeling of starting new in another country is great!
There are many differences, so just not to be able to drink the tap water as we can in Norway was a huge deal. Having to buy new water every week and small things like that are the little things that make it special.
The Mexican people are generally very friendly, and it does not take much for them to let you into their families.
And it’s incredibly easy to make new friends, both at the university where I am studying and being out socially and meeting new people there, bonds are tied, emails and phone numbers are shared and friends from all around the world are being made.
It’s nice only to have to pay for the apartment and food, and not having to worry of bills arriving in the mail that you have to pay every month!
Why study Spanish?
Spanish has always been a language I have loved! Just the flow of the language is beautiful!
It is also a great thing to be able to actually understand what everybody is saying when you are in a new country, it makes me feel more included, and I don’t have to rely on them understanding English.
There are also a heap of countries that are Spanish speaking, so I can use it when I travel around.
And as I am going to travel around in Mexico, not just stay in Guanajuato it will be very important to know some to get around and ask people questions.
Where would you like to go next?
The 11. December I am leaving for Cancun and Isla Mujeres where I will stay a couple of months and celebrate x-mas with some friends that are coming to visit from Norway. I have booked a room at Pocna Hostel for the first part, and I will see if it is possible to find some place to rent for a few months there. I will probably travel around in the area around Cancun to catch some sights and dive in some caves, as many have told me how wonderful it is in this part of Mexico.
After that the plan is to go to Cuba for a little while, and then travel on to Jamaica.. But this is still in the planning, and I will have to see if the money stretches enough.
Any advice about Mexico?
Mexico is a country of huge differences! As I only have been to 3-4 towns I have not seen the extremes yet, but you can really tell when people are struggling to get enough food for their families. But going to local restaurants and shops opposed to the “brand name” stores and shopping centers help the local economy a lot. My advice would be to come prepared as some people experience problems with the heat, their stomachs (different bacteria culture) and to take care of your valuables. Even though I have been told horror stories about buses being robbed, people kidnapped and stuff like that I have never seen it myself, and I hope I am not going to! Also, there are a lot of places with “tourist” prices so you should always take a little tour of different places to find out the value of things. I have met people that have gotten ripped off when buying local “art” for much more than their neighbors were charging.
You say you?d like to continue funding your trip by working over the web. Have you started this process? How is it going?
My travel blog, Phunky Phreak, where I post info about my trips was my first step towards earning some money, but as this is only the beginning, I still need to get more people interested, and I am moving on to try to make the content more “user friendly” as it is a little personal right now, but that’s what blogs are for, right?
I have 3 more blogs that I am working on, Phunky Vids where I post my findings of humorous video clips discovered by me, Wonderfully Boring where I have some great stories that will get you through a boring workday in a jiffy, and Pimp My Corsa where I have my car project. This blog is on a break as the car is in Norway, and I am in Mexico!
I have advertisements on my blogs to try to build up some clicks, but I wish there was an easier way to make money, as this is for the moment not giving me much to work with. If anyone have any good advice I am all ears!
What will you do if you run out money?
As the salaries in Mexico are not good enough to support my expenses I would have trouble working too much. I am skilled with computers, and have patience with people, so I may charge for helping people with computer problems. Other than that, I have some backup money saved up in Norway, and if that runs out too, I will have to go back to Norway, find a cheap apartment, and just work hard for 5-6 months so I can go out and travel another year.
Do you have any advice for others who might like to travel and work as a nomad? What have you learned?
My best advice would be to always get to know the locals, get to know the city you are in, and what it has to offer.
Don’t be too picky, if you really want to experience different things, then be prepared, because it’s not like home. It’s not supposed to be! That’s why you left, right?
To work in a different country never seems to be a big problem, even though if you want a work permit, things may get harder. But I’ve met people working in gyms, bars, shops, and as teachers for money “under the table” so they don’t have to worry about getting work permits. So if you really want to make it, you can!