Travel Inspiration: An Interview with Nina Ragusa
Editor’s Note: Here’s today’s dose of travel inspiration for you! We’re featuring Nina Ragusa, the one-woman travel dynamo behind the blog “Where in the World is Nina?” Nina is a digital nomad who is petrified of normalcy. After three years of traveling and living abroad, she is showing no signs of slowing down. You can follow her on her blog Where in the World is Nina, and on Facebook and Twitter.
Everyday Travel Stories: How did you end up living in Thailand?
Nina Ragusa: After deciding that the day-to-day routine wasn’t for me, I decided to teach English abroad. Somewhere in Europe was my first choice, but after comparing the salary to the cost of living, I immediately turned my head towards Asia. Thailand was inexpensive and seemed like a good way to be welcomed to Asia; a continent I hadn’t even touched before. It’s a tourist destination, known for friendly people, and has plenty of beaches (pretty much a requirement for this Florida girl). I thought it sounded good enough to me, so I bought my one-way ticket and haven’t looked back.
Tell me more about your recent travels in Southeast Asia.
The last few destinations I have been to were Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. I spent 6 weeks total visiting Laos and Cambodia, three weeks each. I caved in Vang Vieng, roamed the Plain of Jars, and visited a few beautiful waterfalls to name a few things. It was heartbreaking to learn about the extent of devastation that Laos endured during the Vietnam war, and then shortly after to learn more about the genocide in Cambodia after roaming the killing fields there. It was overwhelming. Of course I also wandered one of the Wonders of the Ancient World, Angkor Wat, among other places not explored as much, like Kep and Kratie. It’s was really humbling, exciting, beautiful, educational, and of course adventurous traveling these two countries.
I also went to Malaysia again to check out the Perhentian Islands which has fantastic snorkeling. I got to swim around with black tip reef sharks and sea turtles! I also went to the Cameron Highlands and it was absolutely stunning there. The hiking was amazing, the tea was delightful and the fresh cool air was a great change to my usually sweaty conditions I endure elsewhere.
I take it you like to travel slowly, why is that?
Well, I have the option to travel fast or slow. It seems obvious to me that traveling slowly is the better option. I like to chill out in a city for a while and get to know it. I work a bit online, then pick up and travel for a few weeks. Traveling 24/7 might sound fun, but it’s really not. You get tired, worn out, and quite frankly, annoyed at packing and moving every few days. It’s great to have the option to travel slowly, really get to know places and refresh yourself for the next adventure. I’m in no hurry.
What are some interesting things you have done?
Ah, too many to name but to give you a taste…
I have roamed the pulsing streets of Bangkok, Saigon, and Kuala Lumpur to name a few, surfed the waves of Lombok, wandered through countless temples in many countries, shopped at the world’s largest weekend market, roamed bizarre places like the Plain of Jars, swam with sharks, went to the infamous Full Moon Party, bottle fed a baby leopard, dangerously climbed rocks for the sake of reaching a lagoon, played in a river with elephants, hitchhiked just to see some waterfalls, saw wild animals in South Africa, learned to cook some of my favorite Thai dishes, wandered many ancient ruins, and more. Life is pretty interesting for me in general. Not to say this is my everyday, but I sure try to make it as interesting as possible, as often as possible.
How do you fund your travels?
Luckily I stumbled upon the lovely world of working online over two years ago. I got a teaching job online, a few freelancing jobs, and next thing you know, I’m a digital nomad. I make enough to live abroad and save a bit for my future travels which is all I’m looking for.