I probably have the most enviable job in the world, yet I’m homeless. I have been working as a travel writer for the last 8 ½ years filling this apparently insatiable desire to see and experience the world. I live out of a backpack with no home base, just a simple storage unit in Manhattan that I visit about 4 times a year. I left my corporate IT career in 2006 and set out with a one-way ticket to Kenya with the simple intention to be gone for a year – and I got a bit sidetracked. I’m now living out most people’s dream job – traveling the world writing about it and photographing it.
I’ve been called many things, homeless, nomadic, global citizen, hippy, location independent, brave, restless, financially poor but experience rich, and hobo to name a few of my favorites. But the truth is I’m just a person who has a passion for travel and loves to share it with others in the hopes of giving people a different view of the world than what they see in the news. And hopefully it will ultimately get more people escape their routines and get out and explore the world. The more we understand and experience this world we live in, I believe the happier we will be.
I’ve been living out of backpacks and suitcases since 2006, longer than I’ve ever lived in any one apartment or stayed in any one job. So this life of perpetual motion is now normal to me, yet I know it is baffling to others. I enjoy the challenge of constant change and experiencing new things. I often have no idea where I will be staying or sleeping more than a few weeks out. I have no idea where I will be or what I will be doing next year. There is nothing predictable about my life. In fact – the only certainty is uncertainty.
— Sherry Ott (@ottsworld) February 3, 2015
The only thing that is predictable in my life is the top 10 questions I get asked every time I meet someone and tell them about my nomadic ways and what I do. So I will just cut to the chase and let you know all the answers to your burning questions.
How many countries have you traveled to?
I got my first passport at 30 years old (15 years ago) and now have traveled to 62 countries and all 7 continents.
What’s your favorite country?
This is like asking someone to pick their favorite child in a family – it’s never a good question. However I realize it’s something everyone wants to know – so instead of one I’ll give you my top three favorites – Mongolia, Ireland, and Antarctica. I have a love of wide open spaces and mountains. Plus, I really enjoy traveling in countries that are vastly different than my own culture. I’m going to give honorable mention to Vietnam (where I lived for a year), and Jordan where I encountered the nicest people in the world.
The best way to experience the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland is to walk the Burren Way trail! http://t.co/npA1cHL7Vo
— Sherry Ott (@ottsworld) January 28, 2015
What’s your least favorite country?
I’m not sure if it was just a timing thing or what – but I have no reason to ever go to Egypt again. Strangely I love the Middle East and it’s culture, but I just wasn’t nuts about Egypt.
What’s the most exotic thing you have eaten?
I’ve eaten many things that would make most people cringe. I believe in at least trying anything people offer you – it’s the polite thing to do after all. So the weirdest thing I have been offered and ate was hot vit lon – a baby duck fetus in Vietnam (LINK: ). At only about 18 days, eating this duck fetus is considered a delicacy and yes – it’s crunchy, but it was also really delicious! (MORE: The weirdest food I ate in Vietnam)
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever stayed?
I booked an Airbnb stay once that turned out to be a Dentist Office! So I stayed in a dentist office in Istanbul for a week. It was a functioning dentist office by day – and by night my own little apartment – I had the whole place to myself! I would often sit in the living room/waiting room and talk to patients. And I even worked in the dentist exam room as it was the only room with AC! Yes, it was weird, but heck – you might as well embrace the strange. And I learned that in Turkey, dentist offices are in people’s homes – not like a doctor’s office like we are used to in the US. (MORE: Strangest places I have ever stayed by Sherry Ott)
You say you don’t have a home, but where’s your home base?
I wasn’t lying – I don’t have a home, which means no real home base. However, I do have an address – as I have learned that you need an address to survive in this world – taxes, documents, forms, etc. I use my parent’s address in South Dakota, however I’m there only about 3 weeks a year to visit. Other than that – I stay with friends and family whenever I’m back in the US. And some continue to welcome me over and over again and for that I’m eternally thankful! (MORE: Learn about how I figured out my home base by Sherry Ott)
How do you do laundry?
Like everyone else Laundromats, hostels, hotel sinks, women by the side of the road, and guest houses. I know it seems strange – but you always seem to find laundry when you need it. (MORE: How I do laundry in photos by Sherry Ott)
How do you make money travel blogging?
Very honestly – you don’t make much money travel blogging – at least I don’t. However, it one piece of income in an overall freelancing puzzle that is crucial to me. Blogging itself makes money if you sell advertising on your site, but because of my blogging background and following I also get hired to do freelance writing for other online publications, I sell photography, and I get hired to participate in social media marketing campaigns as a travel influencer.
Do you get tired of living out of a suitcase?
Absolutely! It’s wonderful having a life of freedom and flexibility but it’s also challenging to be in a constant state of motion and always being a guest somewhere. There are times where I just want to not make my bed, or leave my stuff lying out, but if you are a guest, this is not something I get to ever do. I love having minimal stuff in my life, but I also miss the little things that most people don’t even think about – like hangers. Oh, how I miss hangers!
If travel is your job – then how do you take a vacation?
You’ve got me. I’m stumped. Don’t really have an answer for this, and it seems to be a constant struggle for me. But – I will say that even after 8 ½ years I still love traveling – seeing new things finding new experiences. But it gets harder and harder to find those things that ‘wow’ me all the time. However, I’ve become really adept at finding more unique experiences beyond the tourist trail in order to keep me excited about travel.
Bio: Sherry Ott is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer. She has been blogging about her travels on Ottsworld: Travel and Life Experiences of a Corporate America Runaway since 2006. She’s a co-founder of Meet, Plan, Go!, a website and national event offering career break or sabbatical travel inspiration and advice to mid career professionals. You can follow her travels live on Instagram @Ottsworld.