My Year to Live Differently

In Trip Preparation by Mallory31 Comments

If you are reading this post, you’re probably aware that I quit my job to travel the world. On March 20th, I’m boarding a plane to travel solo for five months. I’ve always harbored a deep desire to see the world, but this time I’m not just traveling. I’m experimenting with the idea of location independence, which I define simply as the freedom to live and work from anywhere. My dream for this trip was born out of three concepts that I’ve adopted as personal beliefs:

  1. I don’t buy into the idea that work vs. travel is an either/or proposition.
  2. I believe in the power of context – the people around you and the environment you create for yourself have a profound effect on your success and what you create. Taking time to live life only inspires your work.
  3. Growth happens when you get out of your comfort zone. Outside of selling books door to door (wait…I’ve done that), I can’t think of anything that creates more opportunity for discomfort than 5 months of solo travel without a plan.

If you’re anything like my mom, you still have a million questions. Here are my answers to the most common questions I’ve fielded from friends, coworkers, and yes… even my mom.

Do you have a plan?
I have a loose plan, but I left plenty of room for the unexpected. Over-planning kills magic! Here’s what I can tell you for sure: I will be in Europe for three months and South America for two months. If you are ever curious where I am, I will update my current location and travel route on my blog.

How are you paying for this?!? (My CPA friends)
I’ll be working from the road on side projects I’ve picked up over the past year. Traveling the world on a budget is totally possible. I’m budgeting $50/day for Europe and $30/day for South America.

Where are you starting?
London! I’m visiting my favorite English nugget, Miriam Fahey.

Where did this idea come from?
Fascination with the concept of location independence. Dissatisfaction with a 40-hour work week. A strong desire to live differently. Curiosity.

What’s your goal coming out of this?
That’s the hardest question of all. I’d like to say that I want to gain more clarity on how I make a difference, but that would suggest that the sole purpose of this trip is self-discovery, which just isn’t true. This is not a quarter life crisis and this is not Eat, Pray, Love. I don’t have a singular goal, but I have a lot of hopes. I hope to sharpen some skills like SEO, writing, HTML, French. I hope I face a lot of problems. I hope that I meet people who are making a difference in the world. I hope I end up with my own idea of how to make a difference. I hope I learn to live a minimalist lifestyle. I hope I’m inspired.

Is this your long-term plan?
Probably not. I love to travel, but I place value in community. Deep relationships are difficult to maintain when you don’t have a “home.” Eventually, I want to optimize my life for impact, and the threshold for impact is limited when you don’t have a solid support system.

Why should I read your blog?
I’ll try to be entertaining and honest. And, secretly, I hope that I can inspire you to take a step out of your comfort zone too.

Stay tuned next week for answers to questions like “What about SAFETY?” and “What are you bringing?” Got more?? Send ’em my way. I’ll be posting trip updates as my departure date gets closer.


  1. Mallory — I am SO excited for you! Go get it girl! XO, can’t wait to follow along.

    1. Author

      Jillian! What a pleasant surprise – thanks girl! Miss you and hope you’re doing well. 🙂

  2. This makes my ideas of getting out of my own comfort zone look piddly Mallory! I look forward to following along, Godspeed.

  3. I will so be living vicariously through you. Excited to read all about it. Safe travels – will be praying for you daily.

  4. I envy your ambition and courage to embark on such an adventure! Check this video, you hit the nail on the head with the power of context.

    If you only scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping. Good luck, have fun!

    1. Author

      Thanks Derek! And that video is frickin’ awesome. It looks right up YOUR alley too. I have no doubt you will have adventures like this to post about in the not-too-distant future… can’t wait for that!

  5. This sounds perfectly Mallory. Adria and I will be in Greece for a few weeks in May/June. Safe travels, I’ll be checkin out your blogging.

    1. Author

      No way! My dad will also be in Athens late-May, so I will likely join him for a bit. If we end up in the same place/same time, let’s grab coffee and pitas!!

  6. Mal!

    I am so happy for you, sounds like a great opportunity you created for yourself. Good luck! 🙂

  7. I am looking forward to being inspired and living vicariously through your travels.

  8. Mallory,
    This is just amazing and awe-inspiring! When we were traveling this summer in Colorado, we were displaced for a portion of our trip due to the flooding in that area. While at a campground outside of Estes Park, we met a family who sold their home, bought a camper and loaded up their three kids for a year long cross country trek. It was fun following their adventures and so honored to do the same on your journey!!

    1. Author

      That’s incredible! It’s much harder to do when you have a family so I’m in awe that they were able to do that…successfully! Thanks for following along in my journey.

  9. Godspeed, Mallory, on your adventure. Can’t wait to read your blog. One encouragement – communicate regularly (preferably often!) with your loved ones. They will benefit from hearing from you, not because they are nosy but because it is so interesting and educational for them to learn what you are experiencing. I had no idea how much I would learn about China until Michael went there last fall to teach English as a second language.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the advice, Jackie! My mom has said the same… I will make sure to do that often. 🙂

  10. You are an inspiration. My sad turned into immediate smile when I heard what you are doing. God bless you. Look forward to hearing your updates!

    1. Author

      Thank you Wendy! Wish we could have spend more time together in my last days at VU. Excited for you and Platinum Desk. Take care of Britt while I’m gone! 😉

  11. Now is the time to do this. Go. Explore. Learn. Have fun!
    I look forward to reading your Blog. I can already see that you are a wonderful writer.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  12. Well, I mean, if it’s not Eat, Pray, Love I don’t really see any point in reading your blog…. JUST KIDDING! I’m excited for you and I hope that your journey leads you down many unbeaten paths. Be Brave. Be Kind. Be You.
    – Sam

  13. Good luck on your adventure! God Bless & Have fun!

    P.S. Love your WordPress theme.


  14. Mallory,
    WOW! I was thinking back to the very first time I met you as you came to Columbia with your family. I was recalling getting to work with you in Kidcrest over the summer doing the “butterfly” summer drama series. I have watched you from afar and been so proud of the woman you have become. As you embark on this leg of your journey know I will be praying for your safety, for clarity, for God’s path to be clearly lit for you, for you to see where He is calling you to make a difference – although I suspect you will come to realize wherever you are, you already make a difference. I look forward to reading about what you are learning! Enjoy the unknown and continue to teach us how to live life this way on a daily basis! ~Donna

    1. Author

      Donna – thank you for your sweet words and prayers. I remember that “butterfly” drama series… that was a long time ago! Time flies, doesn’t it?

  15. I am curious how you got the budgeting all figured out for your trip. I think I am letting that hang me up on setting sail more than it should.

    How can I travel the world if I can’t stay in 5 star hotels and have a 4 course meal twice a day?

    Perhaps a future blog post!?!?

    1. Author

      I am still learning as I go, so I may have a better answer 3 months from now. 🙂 But I can tell you my thought process… I did a bit of research on daily expenses for the places I’m visiting, which I estimated at $50 per day in Europe and $30 per day in South America. Then I estimated how much I was currently making on my “side projects.” I also bought my big plane tickets in advance and set aside about $3,000 for emergencies.

      You can totally travel the world without staying in 5-star hotels! You just have to be conscious of where you spend your money. i.e. buy your food at the market instead of eating out, always compare travel options (buses are cheaper than trains and planes) and opt for hostels over hotels – I stayed in a bungalow in Thailand with a beach view for less than $10 a night.

      Here are some resources I used to estimate travel expenses in Europe:
      Budget for Backpacking and Travel in Europe
      The Typical Budget for Backpacking in Europe

      And since you are going to Asia & Southeast Asia…
      Thailand Backpacking Costs

      As I learn, I will share any tips. You can definitely expect a blog post or two coming up. 🙂

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