Meet The Traveler is a series where each week we interview one lifestyle traveler from around the world. These travelers range from being digital nomads, location independent entrepreneurs, or simply so passionate about seeing the world that they’ve fully integrated travel into their lifestyle. Our travelers will bring us into their world, sharing their transition story, what they do to support their lifestyle, and giving us insight into their life as a traveler.
If you’re looking for inspiration to transition to this lifestyle, want to meet other people in the community, or are simply curious to know how others live and split their time, then you don’t want to miss this series! A new interview goes live every Wednesday so be sure to set a reminder.
Meet The Traveler: Fashion Blogger Lily Montasser
We like to start things off by knowing the behind-the-person story. We love getting intimate and learning about what drives a person to be who they are. Let’s skip the small talk, and head right into some more passionate questions.
Could you tell us a bit about your journey? Who were you in a past life, and who are you now?
I sort of dip in and out of my “past” life and my current life. Growing up in California, I was very much a spiritual Cali girl who wanted to get her feet dirty. When I moved to NYC and started working in fashion as a fashion & lifestyle blogger, I sort of shifted into a downtown city girl on the “scene.” Now I sway back and forth between both worlds. They’re both equally a part of me.
Where are you from originally?
What are the things you’re most passionate about currently?
Amongst the crazy times we’re living in, I’m focused on health and wellness–both mentally and physically.
When did you first get interested in traveling?
I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that loved traveling. So I was taken all around the world from a very young age.
When did you realize that you wanted to make travel a lifestyle? Was there a trigger point?
I think my upbringing made travel just a part of my life. We would spend summers in the south of France. Winter in the mountains. Spring in South America. My parents loved exploring new places. I’m a little antsy as well, and can’t sit in the same place for more than 3 months.
How did you go about making the transition to a lifestyle traveler? Was it a seamless transition or a bit difficult?
The only thing that made traveling in my adult years a little tricky was having a NYC apartment and knowing I am paying NYC rent while I’m gone for weeks or months. Once I figured out how to airbnb my place, it was pretty seamless.
Could you elaborate on what you do for work? Do you work remotely for a company, freelance, or have your own location independent business?
How do you manage working and traveling? Are there any specific apps you use to manage your work and lifestyle?
If I’m not doing a collaboration with a hotel, I mostly use airbnb when I travel. Other than that, not really!
What is your preferred method of traveling/living? Do you move constantly/stay at a few places for a few months/have a base/multiple bases?
I like to stay in places for at least 10 days to really get the feel of the people, the place, and the culture. I like to experience what living in a place would be like, as opposed to visiting for a few days. My home base is NYC, but I spend 3 months of winter and summer in LA. And then from there I plan lots of spontaneous trips: A trip to Costa Rica, Japan, Australia, whatever!
What seasons, if any, do you prefer to chase?
What destinations do you consider to be the best for digital nomads/location independent lifestyles? Why?
New York and LA for sure, because everyone is on some personal or professional journey. I also really loved Bali for this reason. Everyone I met in Bali was sort of a nomad. I went to Bali alone for 3 weeks, and loved it.
How do you go about making new friends/dating while traveling?
For me, dating and friendships is hard enough balancing between LA and NYC. So I don’t really need to add more confusion and distance into the mix. But I love meeting people on trips and appreciating it for what it is. Sometimes I don’t even take their number. It can be really magical to have a great conversation with a new friend at the bar. Or a magical night on the beach with a cute boy. And leave it at that. It makes it part of the trip.
How do you keep your long-distance friendships/relationships alive?
That’s one thing I seriously struggle with. I live very in the moment, so I can forget to call my friends. They know this about me, and I’ve expressed to them that if I fall off the map for a few days it doesn’t mean I don’t love them. So my friends and I always pick up wherever we left off.
Romantic relationships are a bit more difficult. It can be hard for the person “being left.” People have a hard time taking you seriously when you’re dipping across the country for three months. If I meet someone I think is really special, I make sure to communicate that to them and to reassure them that I want to continue this even if I’m out of town.
What is it that you like most about the traveler lifestyle?
Gaining so many different perspectives about the world, and how to live in it.
Is there anything you dislike about the traveler lifestyle?
It can be a little financially stressful. I try not to spend too much more than I would at home in a day, but it’s not easy.
What’s something that’s currently missing from your life? Is there something stopping you from getting it?
Enough money to have two beautiful homes in NY and LA so I don’t have to keep renting one out when I go to the other. I’m currently in the process of manifesting a Topanga Canyon minimalist home in the woods. I’ll get there!
Is there something you know now about the traveler lifestyle that you wish you knew before making the switch?
Get a travel credit card and use those mileage points!
Do you see yourself living this lifestyle forever? Or will you go back to a more “traditional” life at some point?
I think when I raise a family I’d like to settle in one place. Until then, I fully intend on bouncing around the globe as I work on my business as a fashion & lifestyle blogger.
What’s your best advice for someone wanting to transition to a life of travel?
There are so many ways you can talk yourself out of it: fear, finances, no one to travel with, inconveniences, etc. But the best things in life, and the best trips I’ve ever taken, are the ones that kind of scared me. There are ways to travel on a budget. You can take up a program or a fellowship somewhere that will fund it. You can backpack. If you have no one to go with you can travel alone (I highly recommend). Just go for it!
Where can people connect with you?
Find me on Instagram @lilymontasser