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Nathan Aguilera has been travelling and eating his way around the world continuously for four years. We caught up with the Foodie Flashpacker to ask the important question, what’s a travel food blogger’s favourite dish?
Nathan is better known as the Foodie Flashpacker. He’s a full time blogger, full time traveller and full time food fanatic.
Over the last four years, he’s been combining and refining all three of his passions, to create a life that allows him to do what he wants, where he wants.
He never planned to travel continuously, but now that he can, he isn’t looking back.
The Foodie Flashpacker: On The Road For Four Years
Nathan is based temporarily in Mexico right now, but originally, he’s a native of Oklahoma City in the United States. He spends summers travelling Europe and winters based in warmer climes, travelling, blogging and sampling the local cuisines on his journey across the world.
“I’ve been traveling non-stop for four years now”, Nathan tells Travel Continuously. “Four years this month actually. In that time I’ve been to 58 countries on four continents. Before this trip I had done some traveling but never for more than three weeks at a time- trips to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Italy, and Thailand.
“I’m currently based out of Merida, Mexico for the winter. I’ve found myself in a pattern of traveling around Europe in the summers and then basing myself from somewhere warm over the winters. This year it’s been Mexico, previous years it’s always been Asia… Mid-may I’ll say goodbye to Mexico (for the time being) and head back to Europe although there’s a good chance I’ll return to Mexico as I’m actually half Mexican and I’ve enjoyed learning about where my family comes from”.
Life In An Oklahoma Law Firm
Before his life as a travel and food blogger Nathan worked back home as “… an assistant at a corporate law firm”.
“It was a nice job”, he reminisces. “I had a management position with decent pay. All in all I had a really nice life- great friends and family, nice house, all of that. But once I became obsessed with the idea of travel I felt very bored in my life in Oklahoma City. I felt like there was so much to see and do and I was missing out on all of it”.
For Nathan, that was the end of his life working in an Oklahoma law firm, his new life was going to be on the road. He gave up the stability, the good life of his home city, friends and family for the complete unknown.
“They say you have to give up the good to go for the great but I already had it great. I gave up the great for the unknown.”
Nathan’s new life was inspired when he was on a “humanitarian trip to Kenya”. He got away from the group to adventure into Mombasa and found himself staying for the first time in a hostel
“In Mombasa I met long term travelers”, Nathan explains. “People that had been traveling for six months or even a year with no plans of stopping. I became obsessed with the idea and came home and started researching it”.
When he returned to Oklahoma from Kenya, Nathan found travel blogs for the first time, and went “straight down the rabbit hole with them”. Nathan wanted to “…become the most well informed first time traveler ever”, and to hit the ground running with blogging, but, he says, “It didn’t take long to learn that mistakes are inevitable!”
A Six Month Trip Abroad… Then Another Six Months… And Another Six…
Nathan was quickly swept up in the world of travel and blogging, and his original, vague six month plan soon had no end in sight.
“When I left on my trip”, Nathan tells us, “ I told everyone I was leaving for six months, but in my mind I always wanted to do a year long trip. I was afraid if I didn’t like it and quit early to come home I would never hear the end of it. So, I said six months.
“When the six month mark came I knew I was nowhere close to being ready to come home. So, I announced on Facebook that I was extending the trip by another six months to be gone a year.
“At the one year mark I still wasn’t ready to come home so I said six more months. I did that every six months until I had been going one-and-a-half years when I finally just said ‘I don’t know when I’m coming home or if I ever will return for more than just a visit. For now and for the foreseeable future, this is what I’m doing’. It’s difficult because like I said, I have a great life waiting for me back in Oklahoma City but I can’t see myself in it, at least now”.
The Start Of The Foodie Flashpacker
Nathan has been blogging properly now for two years. The Foodie Flashpacker had humble beginnings, to keep him busy and to share his love of food and travel with the world, and now it’s become a full time job.
Nathan explains how it all began:
“This month makes two years of blogging! I initially started the blog as a way to organize my time. I was a bit burnt out from traveling but not enough to go home. I needed something to do that still involved me traveling a lot that would help keep me busy.
“Everyone said that you need a niche when you blog and I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted my niche to be and I always came back to food. I was the guy in our group back home that would always plan for us to go out and try the new restaurants, especially if it was a type of food that we didn’t have a lot of exposure to in Oklahoma – Korean fusion restaurants, Ethiopian, things like that. I knew writing about food was something that would keep my attention”.
A Full Time Foodie Blog
“The blog has turned into a full time job at this point which to be honest, I wasn’t initially planning. But, I really enjoy it and the blogging community as a whole so I stick with it.
“I hope to keep growing an audience and to continue teaming up and working with some really great companies, brands and destinations to promote them to my audience.
“Now the blog or extensions of it have started funding my trip. For example- I do freelance writing and social media management. I consider these extensions of my blog as I use the writing on my blog to pitch for freelance assignments and my social media marketing client found me via my Instagram”.
Travel, Work And Food
Any Digital Nomad knows that it’s difficult to travel and to work. It’s hard to define that balance between exploring and enjoying new countries, cities and places and actually getting work done to sustain the travelling lifestyle. Four years into his travel lifestyle, Nathan has yet to find the perfect balance.
“I read somewhere that if you’re travelling you’re not blogging and if you’re blogging you’re not traveling. I’ve found this to be accurate. It’s very difficult to both at the same time. You need to carve out some time to focus on being in your destination where you’re not focused on work and vice versa- make some uninterrupted work time.”
There’s No Shame In Coming Home
And for those wondering if they should take the leap into the unknown like Nathan did, then he has this advice:
“I always tell people, it’s like my mum told me ‘Just go, you never know. If you don’t go you’ll always wonder and if you hate it you can always come home.” It’s such simple advice but it’s true. Just give it a try. If you hate it, come home. There’s no shame in coming home.”
And What Is The Foodie Flashpacker’s Favourite Food?
“This is the question I get asked more than any other – it’s so difficult!
“If I had to narrow it down to a type of food it would be either Vietnamese or Italian. If I had to narrow it down to a single dish… maybe wild boar ragu with a glass of heavy red”.
Interview And Article By Richard Collett
Thanks to Nathan Aguilera The Foodie Flashpacker for his story!
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