I first discovered that travel sparked in me something profound and perfect during the year I studied and lived in Leuven, Belgium. Clutching my passport and Eurail pass, hopping around the Continent and experiencing extraordinary places, cultures, adventures, hilarity and new friends, all peppered with the occasional strife — I realized it is in the midst of traveling that I feel the most myself and alive and filled with near-perpetual wonder. And I like feeling that way. A lot.
So I’ve decided to make a life of it — a life extraordinary, as I like to say.
In 2010, I chose to opt out of the 9-5 world of cubicles and 2 weeks vacation to strap on a backpack, and embark on my greatest adventure — an 8-month trek around the globe, giddy with thoughts of the unknown places, people and adventure that awaited me. The Journey — my journey — would take me across continents and countries, including India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Along the way, I became obsessed with moisture-wicking fabrics, learned to wield a “mosquito bat,” had the bejeezus immunized out of me, and sent away for visas and extra passport pages.
The original journey ended in 2011, when I returned to the U.S. and moved to New York City. Still, I’m a Philly girl to the core; regardless of where I have lived (Boston, Hoboken, Baltimore, Spain, Belgium, Italy) or will live (anyone? anyone know what’s next?). Now, in my latest adventure, I’ve chosen to embrace a location independent lifestyle with my fiancé, Ayaz.
As a digital nomad, I’m able to travel around the United States and abroad, and have recently called Miami, Utah, Montana and Buenos Aires home. This lifestyle allows me to continue producing and writing content for news and travel websites, including the Travel Channel, with whom I’ve worked for the past 14 years, as well as BBC Travel, Aol Travel, World Hum, Skye on Aol and many, many more. For more details, check out my work and my portfolio.
If you’re interesting in working together — or just wanna say “hello,” send me a note via my contact page.
So, what’s with this Passenger Conners business?
I’ve always loved traveling (even more than a good bottle of Nero d’Avalo wine, or $1 oyster specials), but on one particularly chaotic trip to and from Greece I heard my name, “PASSENGER CONNERS!” called over the loud speaker in 6 different airports in 5 different countries. And let me tell you, it was never to alert me to an upgrade.
A friend once remarked that I should collect my tales of travel and title them just that: “Passenger Conners.” And so this blog was born, initially to document my RTW adventures, and now to highlight my experiences as a digital nomad. I hope you enjoy following my journey.
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover!”
~ Mark Twain
Here’s to the dreamers, the doers, those of us who believe in living a life extraordinary, and insisting on nothing less.
~ Valerie “Passenger” Conners