Amber Hoffman is a recovering attorney, perpetual nomad, and professional eater, who travels With Husband In Tow. Together, Amber and her husband Eric explore the world in search of new “Adventures in Food,” while trying to maintain a sustainable digital nomad life. Connect with Amber here: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram.
1MFWF: First, tell us why you quit your job as a lawyer—but then, tell us how you planned to take your life to every corner of the globe?
Amber: I took a one year career break in 2009, which came about after an exhausting tenure at a large law firm, resulting in tendonitis in my wrist. Once the tendonitis hit, and I was crying my way through work days, often with a bag of ice on my wrist, I knew I needed a change. My husband and I spent the year traveling, and then returned to the U.S. with a goal of staying put for five years.
We lasted just two and a half years. We realized that after traveling the world and living a better lifestyle, we just didn’t fit in any more in the U.S. We planned for our escape from the predictable life by saving like crazy, working my butt off to earn great bonuses while I could, and we cut down massively on expenses. I had a savings goal in mind, a number I would feel comfortable leaving the U.S. with. As soon as we hit that goal, we started looking at the best time for our escape, knowing no time was perfect. At some point we just needed to pull the bandaid off and make a go of it.
1MFWF: Lawyer to food blogger seems like such a huge leap to so many people. What were/are the challenges of growing your business as a digital nomad?
Amber: First off, my job as a food travel blogger doesn’t pay the bills. It does, however, offset the costs of travel and offers us amazing life experiences we would not otherwise have. That said, we knew that at some point we would need to figure out how to make money on the road.
The first year we just lived off of savings. Doors opened, and opportunities came to us really. Now, we sell products online, which we can do from anywhere in the world. We also consult on social media for brands, again something we can do from anywhere. I like to say, we will keep doing these businesses until they don’t work anymore. If that happens, we will figure something else out.
1MFWF: What effects has remote working had on your personal health and relationships?
Amber: The relationships are hard. I will not lie. Because I turned my back on my former career, I don’t keep in touch with a lot of people I considered friends before. The people I am still in touch with, and the ones who are supportive of me, are the people I realized are my true friends. As for personal health, we still struggle to eat as much as we do while staying healthy on the road. I am way healthier now, though, than when I was sitting behind my desk. And, my relationship with my husband is so much stronger than it was when I was stressed out and tired all the time at the firm. I credit this lifestyle with saving our marriage.
1MFWF: What advice would you give to other people wondering if and how they could become a digital nomad? Any regrets?
Amber: I have absolutely no regrets! When we traveled in 2009, we met some people who were making a go of it living and working overseas, but it seemed that the opportunities were limited, to teaching English or working as a tour guide. In the last five years, though, the concept of being a digital nomad has exploded.
There are organizations that support digital nomads, websites, books, podcasts, and loads of resources to demonstrate all of the ways that it is possible to work remotely, using any kind of professional background, whether you are solo, part of a couple, or even travel with children.
It’s an amazing time to be a digital nomad, and I don’t see this trend ending. The most important thing to remember when considering a digital nomad lifestyle, is that your expenses are so much lower than a “normal” lifestyle in the U.S. It’s possible to live overseas, even with kids, for so much less. Lower expenses means you need to earn less to live, which means you have more time to spend enjoying your life.
1MFWF: You’ve been doing this for three years. How long do you plan to travel the world?
Amber: We left the US over three years ago. We settled down in Bali for about 18 months of that time, calling it our home base. This year, we are on the road again. Perhaps in 2016 we will slow down more. I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. We have no plans on returning to the U.S., so if anything, we may settle down in Spain or Thailand. But we will never stop traveling. We want to see so much of the world, we get tired being in one place too long, and we’ve figured out how to cover our expenses to live this life. Why stop now?
photo credit: Amber Hoffman