Firstly, thanks for stopping by! Indie Traveller is all about DIY travel — adventure-seeking and following your own plan.
To me, travel isn’t only about relaxing or being on a holiday; it’s also about venturing out into the unknown, following your own path, and pushing beyond your comfort zone. It means trying new food, experiencing other cultures, and doing silly things sometimes. At its best, travel lets you view the world with a sense of awe and wonder.
Here at Indie Traveller, my mission is to share honest and inspiring travel guides that will help you get out there and explore.
If you’re curious, here’s the story of how I became a travel addict and a full-time travel blogger…
My first solo trip
These days I feel like I can drop myself into any travel situation and figure things out. But that was definitely not the case on my first major trip!
I did my first-ever solo trip to another continent at the ripe old age of… 17. I’m from The Netherland and had planned a trip to California — a world away from my comfort zone.
I was too excited to even sleep on my flight. My nose just became permanently glued to the airplane window. Honestly, my first few days on the trip I was a nervous wreck. I was staying in a hostel in the sketchiest neighborhood ever and I felt 100% in over my head… but I found my footing, had a great experience (eventually) and lived to tell the tale. It planted the seed for future trips, both with friends and on my own.
I did some great trips in Europe in the years that followed, but what I really had my mind set on was breaking into the game industry. Oddly, this is what got me into travelling a lot more…
Travelling for… video games?
In 2008 I moved to Brighton, UK to work at a video game studio. In 2009, I became Head of Content at the European arm of video game publisher SEGA in London. (It’s the company that makes Sonic the Hedgehog.)
I still find it kind of crazy that I became a video game executive at age 27, but I guess I was in the right place at the right time.
What does this have to do with travel?
Well, I was tasked with checking up on games in development to make sure they were delivering on their potential. If not, I had to meet with the game developers, who were located all over the world. (“All over the world?!?”, I do remember thinking during my job interview.)
Literally in my first week at SEGA, having not yet met my boss in person and just barely after I’d figured out how the coffee machine worked, I was already being sent on a round-the-world trip.
I had to pack my bags right away to head off on a trip to Japan, Australia, the US and back to the UK. I could hardly believe it!
Feeling somewhat overwhelmed, I wondered if I’d make it through probation at all, but I figured at least I’d have at least done an amazing trip across three continents. It wasn’t exactly travel for fun, but of course I was relishing the opportunity anyway.
I spent the next few weeks living out of hotels. I had meetings during the week but my evenings and weekends were completely free to explore.
Visiting Tokyo for the first time was beyond surreal. I was alone in Tokyo with nothing to lose… somehow I made several expat friends, ended up at a Japanese Reggae band’s album release party, sang karaoke well into the night, sat at the top floor of the Park Hyatt having whiskeys with the jazz band singer, and simply wandered aimlessly in a strange city while listening to the Lost in Translation soundtrack — a film that hugely mirrored my experience in Tokyo.
I kept travelling a lot for work (and for fun in my free time). My visits to Japan in particular made me determined to travel properly around Asia someday.
Sure, they were work trips, but it was unbelievably cool to be able to sample so many places around the world, have a lot of my expenses covered, and rack up airmiles in the process.
This would all come in handy when… I ended up abandoning my career forever.
Traveling the world for 2 years
As much as I loved working in the game industry, the truth is that I was also somewhat tragically unlucky in it.
Four times in a row I worked for companies that suffered financial issues or major reorganizations. I lost my job three times over due to no fault of my own (including eventually my job at SEGA). I’d spent years working passionately but had almost nothing tangible to show for it. A friend described my career as “repeatedly jumping out of burning buildings”.
I was bitterly disappointed… and I needed a break.
I went to Thailand hoping to clear my mind. Maybe I’d travel around for a month or two, then punch up my CV and figure out my next career move.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, I got sucked irreversibly into the travel vortex. I just loved backpacking through Asia which really spoke to my sense of adventure. Thailand got me hooked, and then I simply couldn’t stop.
I met two backpackers who invited me to go to Laos, a country I knew close to nothing about at the time. I went with the flow and agreed to join them. This meant crossing the Mekong River by boat, as there were no bridges to Laos at the time. Ferrying across the Mekong on a paddle boat was definitely my ‘crossing the Rubicon’ moment. I knew I wasn’t going home anytime soon.
I explored the countryside by motorbike, went spelunking and hiking in the jungles, visited gleaming golden temples, and got seriously into scuba diving. I met many travellers along the way who inspired me to travel even more.
So… things escalated. I dumped all of my savings into continuing my journey. The trip that was meant to take two months at most turned into 2 years of continuous travel.
I backpacked through every country in Southeast Asia. Not yet done, I then travelled overland from Mexico all the way down to Argentina in a year. (Including an insane road trip through Central America I did with a friend.)
Unlike my previous work travels, I was now very much a budget traveller, trying to wring every last drop from my savings in order to travel for as long as humanly possible.
Writing my book & life as a blogger
It was during this 2-year trip that I became a travel blogger and decided to write my book, Travel the World Without Worries.
Having experienced the best time in my life, I wanted to help other travellers get into the adventurous spirit and to travel more.
Since I’d fallen into the travel life mostly by chance, I had been quite poorly prepared and made my share of foolish mistakes. Having learned many valuable lessons along the way, I decided to pour them all into Travel the World Without Worries. I’m incredibly proud of having created this inspiring guidebook — to know why, simply look at the reviews!
I’ve since kept the book updated with new editions — so if you want my best insights to help you plan your trip, or you’d like to travel more but you’re not sure how, be sure to check it out.
Instead of resuming my previous career, I focused on building Indie Traveller into my own business. Travel blogging is all I’ve been doing for the past 10 years… it’s been a pretty crazy ride. I hope you’ll find the independent travel guides here useful in planning your own adventures.
After a period of digital nomading, I now travel for part of the year while spending the rest of my time based in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal.
How to follow me
I mostly avoid social media, so I may not see DMs. If you want to connect, it’s best to send me an email using the form below.