Kelly Duhigg

Featured Travelers

Kelly is an avid solo traveler from New Your City, after embarking on several trips Kelly decided to take the plunge and became a full-time digital nomad. She has been pursuing this nomadic lifestyle for over a year now and hasn’t looked back.

Kelly Duhigg
Kelly Duhigg

Kelly is the curator of the blog, Girl With The Passport. Kelly started this blog because she and her Mom were supposed to go on a trip to Rome in 2012, however, after her Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer they were never able to go on that trip and she died without ever visiting Rome.

So Kelly started her blog to help to encourage others to follow their passions and live a life that they are in love with before it is too late!

Want to know more about Kelly and her adventures? Read more in our interview below and connect with her here on Backpacker Travel and her blog.

Our Interview with Kelly

BT: You've been to so many amazing places! How do you pick the places you want to go next?

Kelly: Honestly, I am pretty adventurous and want to go almost everywhere. That’s why, a lot of the time, I just choose my next destination based on the place, or city, that I can get the cheapest flight to. Right now, I’m in Thailand and am really only in the region because it is affordable, and because I scored a great flight deal to Singapore from New York City, my hometown.

BT: I bet you have seen some amazing sights so far on your travels, but which places so far have really stood out to you?

Kelly: I love Bangkok the most so far, which is funny because the first time I visited, I HATED it. I felt like I was getting ripped off all the time and scammed constantly. Now though, during my second visit, I have fallen in love with this city.

Not only are the people friendly, but the city is very vivacious and has tons of beautiful places to explore and fun things to do. I also love the food and have been doing a good job of eating my way through the city.

Bangkok street
Bangkok street

BT: Now you have made the change to being a full-time traveler you must find it challenging sometimes, do you ever feel homesick, or were there times you considered packing it in?

Kelly: Not really. To be honest, I never really felt like I belonged in New York City. Of course, I will go back and visit but as of right now, there isn’t really too much that I miss, besides New York-style pizza. But that being said, I am not really super close with my family and have spent my whole life in New York City and was very ready to explore more of the world when I decided to leave home and become a digital nomad.

BT: How do you figure out your work/travel balance now you have become a full-time digital nomad?

Kelly: At first, I was EXTREMELY worried about this. I mean, obviously, if I travel, I want to actually see things and not just sit in my hotel room and work on my blog.

After a long day spent exploring, the last thing I really want to do is sit down and do work. But, what I have found helpful is doing like an hour of work before I leave for the day, and an hour when I get in and before I start watching TV. This way, I can easily break the work down into smaller chunks and always guarantee that I get something done since I do something before I even leave for the day.

I also like to stay in places longer term so that I have days where I’m not doing too much and can work once I’ve seen most of the things that I wanted to see.

Colorful steps
Colorful steps

BT: What advice would you give to other solo female travelers who might feel apprehensive about going it alone?

Kelly: I would say just to do it. I mean, you never really know if you’re gonna like something until you do it.

But, I would also suggest doing your research and making sure that you’ll feel safe walking around alone in whatever country or city you’re visiting. I would also try and put yourself out there and meet people either at hostels or on tours so that you don’t feel alone while you’re away.

I personally have had no safety concerns or problems meeting people since I have been away. So, just be open to new experiences and be friendly and the right people will come your way.

BT: Do you ever join up with other solo travelers for part of the trip, and if so, how does this change your experience?

Kelly: Yes, I totally do! A lot of times I’ll find other like-minded women on tours or at attractions or in hostels. And I love it. While I do love my alone time, I always enjoy meeting new people and sharing new experiences with them. It’s amazing to meet so many amazing people from so many different backgrounds who are all doing and seeing a lot of the same things. And that’s why I love solo travel. You’re more likely to open up and engage with others when you’re alone, which is how I’ve met some of the most incredible people.

Self portrait
Self portrait

BT: Have you had any particular life lessons or moments of clarity while on the road?

Kelly: I think the biggest life lesson I’ve learned is that my time is precious and that life is way too short. Being on the road and waking up excited to start my day every single day has reaffirmed for me that if I’m not doing something I love every day and if I’m not excited about my life, then I need to change it.

I think too many people just assume that there is only one way to do things and conform to a life that they’re not really all that happy with. They settle and I think that is a real shame since we all have only a finite amount of time on this planet of ours.

Or, they hold onto this fear of the unknown, a fear that keeps them from doing and trying the things that they really love. So, I always remind myself, and others to let go of the fear and do things scared.

Because the truth is, life is what you make it. So, get out there and follow your dreams because if you want something badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen. At least, that’s happened to me. I got tired of dreading work and deciding to do something different.

Was I terrified? You betcha, but I kept reminding myself that even if I failed, at least I tried. And I remind myself of that today, and every single day.

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