Carolin Pilligrath is a passionate traveller soul and digital nomad. Her passport states she’s German but really, her heart loves the open road. She has lived in many places, among them Australia, Singapore, Peru, Thailand, Bali and Spain. Today, she enjoys a fully nomadic life with diverse offices and is constantly following the sun while working as a social media specialist, content creator, web designer, travel writer and running a travel blog called breathingtravel.com. Check out her daily Instagram inspiration on instagram.com/breathingtravel.
Alex: Can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Carolin, I am originally from Germany and I today travel for a living. I most recently called Australia home for a while and am currently sitting on a plane to Bali to spend some time travelling around the island. I have changed my location pretty much every few months over the past 1,5 years since becoming a digital nomad and called Chiang Mai, Darwin, Sydney, Bali and Barcelona home for a considerable amount of that time with small trips to other destinations in-between. Today, I work entirely location independent as a social media marketing specialist and content creator while doing some web design projects and also running a travel blog called breathingtravel.com where I share my extensive travel knowledge, travel tips and aim to inspire people to go travel more, deeper or even become a digital nomad if they desire.
Why do you travel? What are your inspirations?
I travel because it makes me feel alive. Waking up in a new place where you don’t know a single soul is exhilarating. Even more so when I spend some time in this place and become friends with the locals and actually start to live like one too. I travel slowly since I work remotely I also like to stay in a place for a few weeks or months to get to know the place deeper. After so many years of travelling it’s great to come back to places and still meet up with friends years later.
How do you organize your travel plans? Any travel hacks you can share?
To be honest, I am not very organised. I like to plan to a certain extent especially if I haven’t been to a place but otherwise I like the excitement of leaving things unplanned and just play it by ear when I get there. As for flights, I always have a few ideas on my mind where I can fly to next so I set up Skyscanner price alerts so I know when the price of a particular route drops or rises. I also really like the „Everywhere“ function which you can find on Skyscanner and some other flight comparison sites these days. I also started housesitting last year and had some really great experiences with it while saving quite some money on accommodation.
Tell me about a person you’ve met or a memory that impacted you the most during one of your trips?
Not an easy one to answer as I have met a lot of inspirational people along the way. When I first started out as a digital nomad for example I had little idea what I was doing or how to run a business remotely and I therefore chose to travel to Chiang Mai, Thailand as I heard there was a big scene with many people already being successful location independent entrepreneurs, freelancers and bloggers. Many people I have met there were on different levels and stages in their nomad journey and it inspired me to hear their story and directly learn from them, it was simple invaluable for me to live in Chiang Mai for a few months, simply the best environment to get started!
Aside from the basics, name three items that you always bring when you travel.
Of course that would be my laptop, it’s where all the magic happens haha. And definitely the absolute necessary essential to run my business and blog. And I sure never leave my Sony Nex 5n compact camera or iPhone behind. Very technical, but clothes can be replaced easily I guess.
What is your motto when it comes to traveling?
Dare to get lost. It’s okay to not look at Google maps and know exactly where you are going and it’s okay to not have plans when arriving to a new place. Since I struggle the most with a good work-life balance, I like to live after: Life is for living, meaning that both work and pleasure need to take an equal part in life. I definitely like and need my work not only to generate income but also to have meaningful tasks and to feel fulfilled but sometimes when work takes the overhand I try and remind myself that it’s okay to take a break and live a little more.
The best and the worst meals you’ve ever had traveling?
First and foremost: I love Thai food! I could eat my life away in Thailand, most dishes are simple, fresh and so tasty! I also like to do some healthy cooking myself even so when I am on the road I aim to choose accommodation with a kitchen especially when I am staying for a longer period of time. The worse is most airport food, it’s overpriced and not very good in my eyes, I try to not buy at airports if I can avoid it.
Which city do you consider yourself an expert on? Can you share any hidden gems in that city?
That’s a tricky one, I think I know many cities quite well but I can share a hidden gem about Sydney where I have recently been and explored a lot: For the best urban city views (including skyline, Harbour Bridge and Opera House) head to Dudley Park Reserve! And if you want to feel totally alone within minutes of the big city, go for a walk from Cremorne Point along the water towards Taronga Zoo or even further, many times you’re the only soul on the path and you get to marvel at stunning houses right at the water too, very pretty and so tranquil!
What is your favorite travel song/album to listen on a trip?
Not sure if I have a favourite, driving through Australia I cannot go without listening to Xavier Rudd but in Spain the music on a road trip needs to have a little bit more spice! So I guess the answer is: it depends! I love to listen to Spotify playlists by others and also make my own, really depending on mood so there is not just one favourite song.
What is the best foreign curse you know?
Haha is “Merde!” good enough? There are some funny Australian English curse expressions too which are just used normally in everyday life, it’s hilarious sometimes when looking at it from the outside.
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