Jen Ciesielski Hiking

About Me

Hi, I’m Jen!

I started traveling in 2012 when I left to work abroad and live in Switzerland. This was my first overseas experience, and since then, I have traveled to over 40 countries and lived in 4.

I am here to share my personal stories, adventures, and useful tips and tricks. My inspiration and motivation come from my love to dive into the unknown, learn new things, and live life to the fullest. I value experiences over material possessions, and I find traveling to be exceptionally rewarding.

Hopefully, my traveling stories will inspire you to plan your next adventure.

Jen Ciesielski on an Adventure
I Love Adventure!

Why Did I Start Traveling?

I spent my childhood in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Growing up, I dreamed of traveling. I played games like “Where in the World in Carmen Sandiego,” and I would learn as much as I could about faraway places. In high school, I traveled to neighboring states for sports, but somehow that was not enough.

During my Ph.D., I began watching travel documentaries, particularly stories about climbing Everest. I found the mountains fascinating, and I find the landscapes stunning. I think this is when I knew I had to start traveling. I guess my postponement was a question of money. Traveling seemed so expensive and out of reach.

After my Ph.D., a job in Switzerland popped up. It was really a dream come true. While living in Switzerland, I began to explore Europe and really learn about traveling. As the years went by I continued to explore and improve, both as a person and as a traveler. After a year in Switzerland, I moved to Paris, and this was where I had my first big trip – a month in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. I soon realized that travel can be affordable, and I could see the world without emptying my wallet.

Since then I have lived in the UK, moved back to France, and traveled all over the world from Asia to South America, and everything in between. I am still learning, and I try to improve my skills with each trip. Now, I am working on my photography and learning web design.

I have never been a person that can stay in one place, and I love exploring the unknown.

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A Dream Come True

At the end of 2019, I took a career break. I had been working in research for more than 10 years (including my Ph.D.), and I wanted a change. I also thought it would be a good time to travel for a few months. I decided to go backpacking in South America for 4 months. During my trip, I traveled from Argentina to Colombia, and I loved every minute…even the moments that were difficult.

Traveling has helped me grow personally, and experience the world in a way I never thought possible.

Hopefully, I can inspire you to achieve your travel dreams and have your own amazing adventures.

Jen Ciesielski Hiking
Hiking in Bolivia

Nomad or Location Independent?

My trip to South America helped me realize that I need a job that gives me more time outside of work. So, when I moved back to France, I made a change and started working as a project manager. This gives me the freedom I need to work on my blog, and prioritize traveling.

So, if you are like me and work, I can help you optimize your vacation time so that you too can see the world!

I guess the next question you want to ask is why not travel full time? I think this question looms in the back of anybody who loves to travel…should I quit and travel full time? And it has popped up in my head numerous times over the years…sometimes multiple times per day. Especially, when things don’t go the right way or I get frustrated with work, the first thing that enters my mind…I should just travel full time. So, needless to say, I’ve really pondered the question.

My decision to be location independent came down to some key factors:

First, I really don’t want to burn out from traveling. Traveling for months on end can be exhausting, and I don’t want to hate what I love.

Second, I enjoy developing relationships with friends and family, something that is very difficult when you are constantly on the road.

Finally, I live in France. Living in a foreign country has given me the opportunity to learn a new language and experience a new culture…sort of a different kind of travel…which I also love! In fact, I have lived in France, UK, and Switzerland, and I really love this kind of traveling!

Jen Ciesielski Traveling
A Traveler at Heart

How to Travel the World

While everyone travels in different ways. I would classify myself as a backpacker – always trying to find the cheapest option for activities, accommodation, transportation, etc. I try to avoid guides, when possible, and always negotiate for a cheaper price. However, if there is something I really want to see and the only option is to go with a guide or a group, I will go. I have met a lot of interesting people in cases where I went with a group, which is always a major plus.

Travel does not have to be expensive.

If you are willing to spend time doing some research, you can find so much information on how to travel within your budget. You don’t need to be rich to have an awesome experience.

I also travel solo, with my husband, and with people, I meet on the road. I find that solo travel gives me more freedom, and time to reflect on my travels. I can focus on my photography and take my time without being rushed.

On the other hand, traveling with my husband or with others I meet along the way opens up my experience. It allows me to discover new things, get new ideas, and, in the case of meeting others on the road, meet new people! Each experience offers a new view of a destination, and I am happy either way. I guess, in short, as long as I am traveling, I’m happy.

More Questions?

So, that was a lot! To sum it up…I’ve been traveling since 2012 and I have a lot of experience in different kinds of travel. I have been an expat, and I am, now, working on getting dual citizenship. I have traveled for several months at a time. I also work a regular job and use my vacation time to see the world.

I can answer any of your travel questions!

Is there something else you would like to know? Do you have any specific questions? Feel free to send me an email at jen(at) You can also subscribe to get exclusive access to subscriber-only resources, giveaways, a copy of my FREE E-Book, and a FREE Lightroom Preset!

Join the Adventure!

Improve your photos with my free Lightroom preset, read untold stories in my free photo E-Book, get honest recommendations and a ton of inspiration from around the world!

Interested in more travel tips & tricks? Check out my other posts for more travel tips.

Want to read more about my adventures? Here are some of my recent blog posts.