Interview with Cassie, a DN that is focusing on mental health7 min read
Interview with Cassie, a DN that is focusing on mental health7 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
Hi Cassie, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your lifestyle?
Sure thing. I’m a solo female traveller who keeps a blog about the honest ups and downs of life on the road. After leaving my birth country (England) in May 2018, I’m still living abroad. I utilise visas that allow you to work abroad – such as Working Holiday Visas – or live in cheap countries while teaching English online and freelancing. I backpack solo in between.
I was twenty-seven when I left and began travelling alone with no previous experience and very little time abroad before. I feel hugely privileged that my circumstances changed enough for me to be able to save for travel… It’s beyond my expectations, honestly.
Still, the whole thing terrifies me. I really hope that others who struggle on the road or don’t feel brave enough to go alone are able to overcome these obstacles and keep going.
What is your current destination?
Auckland. I arrived in New Zealand less than two weeks before the borders shut… It was surreal, knowing I knew no one in the entire country and it’ll be a very long time indeed till I can see any friends or family. But also a blessing. I was able to get a full-time job in Auckland after restrictions were lifted to help me keep afloat until my visa expires.
Can you tell us a bit about the projects you are currently working on? Are you currently looking for some new projects and clients?
Alongside growing my travel and mental health blog, I’m currently building up freelance writing clients. Things are very up in the air with the current situation, but I have a few more ideas about the sort of content I would love to create in the future too.
What do you like the most about being a Digital Nomad?
The freedom and flexibility; I don’t like feeling restrained. I also find adaptable working hours are more comfortable for me and my mental health. And the opportunity to live abroad, of course; the chance to really get to know a place and its culture is such a pleasure.
And what are the downsides of it (in case there are any)?
Loneliness. Your old friends can’t relate to you as much and it’s tricky to make new ones. I found the perception that ‘solo travellers make friends easily’ to be a myth, at least if you’re an introvert or take time to open up to people. Often by the time you’ve had a chance to connect with someone, it’s time to go. I spend the large majority of my free time alone.
That said, you can feel lonely in your own country surrounded by people, so I don’t see this as a huge drawback.
Also, the practical side such as visas, insurance, healthcare and even voting can be a headache.
What is a place/country you liked the most while travelling and why? What’s on your to-travel-list?
Java was my favourite solo backpacking destination. Sydney was my favourite place to live and work abroad. I would love to spend more time actually travelling in Australia and also felt a strange draw to Tasmania.
I often hear talk about bucket lists, but I don’t have one. Knowing that money and circumstance have dictated by destinations so far, I do try to go with the flow. I manage my expectations of what I can afford and try to take opportunities when they come.
Saying that, I definitely have a ‘so close yet so far’ relationship with my lifelong dream destination at the moment… oh man. I’ve been to a dream destination before and just felt lonely, yet elsewhere my heart has been unexpectedly taken. You know what they say about meeting your idols? I’m kinda scared of being disappointed and yet the adventure of somewhere totally unknown can be exhilarating.
For me, it’s more about the flavour of the trip than the destination. Does that make any sense? Or does it just sound like I’m talking about food? Annnd, now I’m hungry.
How often do you use coworking spaces? Is there one that you’d like to recommend to other nomads?
I’ve not used them but would definitely consider it. So far, I go for whichever cafe has quiet tables and the best long black. Or, um, work in bed with a shoebox as a table…
Cassie, in your blog you are focusing on mental health. Can you share with us some tips for solo travellers on how to stay healthy and happy on the road?
If you are someone who already suffers from a mental health issue, don’t be disheartened when this sneaks into your suitcase and comes on the road with you. Travel doesn’t always have to be the best time of your life – and even when it’s not, it is still valuable.
It’s not a weakness if you have to take days ‘off’, miss out on certain activities, or feel down. Budget accordingly for unforeseeable brain-related circumstances. Maybe you need some downtime in a private room, or to need to take things easy by splurging on an easy day tour into a beautiful National Park rather than struggling with lots of DIY itinerary details when you’re already feeling anxious.
I definitely spent too much time trying to ‘push through’ my mental health issues or not stray from my small daily budget at the beginning of my trip. This is YOUR life, so do what feels right for you. And talk to people. Message an empathetic friend or chat with even someone relatable online and let them know what’s going on. Slow travel can help with this too.
I have a growing mental health section on my website and try to provide a space to talk about these issues on my Instagram too.
Can you tell us what is your biggest dream?
To collaborate on creating content with others more often, to have new and exciting challenges every year, to complete a project that’s been on my mind for some time, and to give back to the world more. I also dream of creating and writing content that means something to people who are feeling scared or like they’re different/not good enough… to have some kind of positive impact on a personal level.
In case you have a motto, could you share it with us?
Everything that happens in my brain is too long-winded to condense down into a motto, unfortunately.
Could you share with us the names of two inspiring digital nomads that you are following?
I’m not sure I can pick just two; I’d miss out so many amazing people and feel anxious about it haha.
Is there something that you would like to add?
I would like to add several more potatoes to every serving of potatoes.
Written by: Kristina Lukacova, a DN that enjoys good food, good wine and good vibes. If you would like to know more about Cassie, you can have a look at her blog.