Hola! Welcome to The Mochilera Diaries. I’m Leah.
I’m a solo traveler on a mission to know the world first-hand and to know it well.
I’ve been living the life of a mochilera (backpacker) since late 2011 when I first moved overseas to Chiang Mai, Thailand to teach English. I spent roughly a year-and-a-half getting to know the Land of Smiles and visiting 7 other countries before finally conceding to what my heart really wanted–to travel and live in a Spanish-speaking country.
South America became my next target, and after a few months at home to catch up with friends and family, I took off again on what was originally intended as a backpacking trip that would lead to permanent residence in Argentina to once again work as an English teacher.
After 8 months of traveling and volunteering in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, however, I realized I was not quite ready to give up my nomadic lifestyle and, exhausted and somewhat discouraged, headed home for a short break from travel.
I’m now back in the US for a few months to reevaluate my goals and devise a new plan. My current location is my hometown of Peshastin, Washington; my free time is spent taking steps daily (baby steps, mind you) toward becoming location-independent in order to continue pursuing my dream of traveling at-will. I’ve met enough inspiring people on the road to know that it is possible and I’m excited to take on this new challenge.
In the not-too-distant future, I will be on the road again; however, in the meantime I’ll be updating the blog with travel stories both from my time in Southeast Asia and South America, as The Mochilera Diaries didn’t actually come to fruition until very late in my travels (in South America–hence the Spanish word for backpacker in the name).
I believe in travel as a means of education and creating a more peaceful, understanding world. I’m a proponent of lifelong learning and am constantly striving to learn as much as I can about myself and where I belong on this vast, beautiful planet as well as the diverse people and cultures I encounter on my wanderings. Occasionally, I’ll write more philosophical posts or about things that interest me outside of the realm of travel, but travel is my true passion, my home–and I will always come back to it.
If you are visiting this site for the first time, here are a few of my favorite posts to help us get acquainted:
- Unconventional Milestones: My 3rd Consecutive Christmas Abroad – My very first post!
- 2013: A Year In Photos – Highlights of an amazing travel-filled year.
- Machu Picchu: A Twice-in-a-Lifetime Experience – Not your average Machu Picchu story, but definitely a highlight of my life.
- Skydiving in Argentina – My first time skydiving, and a lot of flattering photos.
- With A Grain Of Salt – On why I take travel advice lightly these days.
- Chiang Mai, Thailand: My Favorite Things – My ultimate visitor’s guide to Chiang Mai.
- Playing Nice in Corporate America – On my personal struggle with repatriation.
- My Top 10 Travel Destinations – Self-explanatory.
I hope you enjoy getting to know me through my stories and I’d love to hear about your experiences on the road too. Comments are welcome and encouraged. So follow me on this journey at your leisure…through the ups and the downs (both literal and figurative!), through the successes and failures (of which there are sure to be many!). Learn from me, laugh at me, be inspired to follow your heart.
Me llamo Leah y yo soy mochilera. ¡Sígueme!