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: Travel Writer Chelsea Frank
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?
After living abroad on and off for five years (studying in Italy and Germany, volunteering/shitting my pants in India, working for a documentary filmmaker in Uganda, and following some hot, dumb DJ to Denmark), I started performing standup comedy, which opened up the door to comedy freelance writing jobs and other content writing opportunities. I’ve worked for TV, other comedians, and a lot in the health space. Long story short, the travel editor of Uproxx, Steve Bramucci, found me on Twitter and thought I was funny, and offered to send me on my first assignment. Not to sound hokey, but it totally changed my life and I’m grateful he allowed me to blossom into the traveling nightmare I am today.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and bullied in Los Angeles, CA.
What are the things you’re most passionate about currently?
I’ve been getting super into cooking, ever since Covid-19 and quarantine started. I’m also obsessed with Judaism, Andrew Cuomo, and making out with dogs I meet outside of grocery stores.
When did you first get interested in traveling?
I’ve loved traveling since I was a little kid. My dad is an avid traveler, and I definitely caught the travel bug from him. I’m fortunate that he took me on lots of his business trips, so that I could see the world from a young age.
Also, as soon as I realized there’s a whole sea of uncircumsized dicks out there just waiting to be captured.
When did you realize that you wanted to make travel a lifestyle? How were you able to mix being a travel writer with comedy?
Honestly, I didn’t even know how or when or what or what or what. I thought lifestyle travelers were only for hot bikini Instagram girls with millions of followers. I knew I missed traveling (I sort of stopped traveling altogether (if it wasn’t for standup) when I began working in comedy – you always want to be around for the next meeting, job opp, gig, etc). Six months before I was contacted by Uproxx, I made this satirical travel Instagram account making fun of travel writers. I thought, “nobody’s really doing comedy and travel together, maybe I can convince some idiot to hire me to travel around the world and be funny?” And six months later, Steve from Uproxx saw a joke of mine on Twitter, dug my vibe, and offered me a job!
How did you go about making the transition to a lifestyle traveler? Was it a seamless transition or a bit difficult?
Luckily, most of my jobs as a freelance travel writer were already remote, so I didn’t have to figure out too much. Since I’m a freelance travel writer, I just don’t take trips if I have a project that requires me to stay in Los Angeles. When I’m ready to take travel assignments again, I just let my editor know. What a world!
Living and working in LA: Check out our list of the coolest coffee shops in Long Beach to get some work done
Could you elaborate on what you do as a travel writer? Do you work remotely for a company, freelance, or have your own location independent business?
As a freelance content, comedy, and truly whatever else writer, I am super flexible and my work can generally be done from anywhere. All I need is a laptop and caffeine. I write for health and fitness sites, lots of travel, food, and spirits content, some technology stuff, and whatever else someone wants to pay me for.
When I get freelance writing jobs that require me to stay in LA (like writer’s rooms for digital content, popular YouTube channels, etc) I just finish out the project and then begin traveling again.
How do you manage working and traveling? Are there any specific apps you use to manage your work and lifestyle?
It can be difficult because even if you get breaks in the day, the last thing you want to do is be shut up in your hotel room writing about 10 ways to make a healthier lemon loaf. No, you want to be flirting with the hot poolside bartender, wandering around little shopping districts, or visiting a cool landmark. But, I just remind myself that I literally would not be able to do this job (i.e. get to travel around the world for free) if I didn’t have this incredibly flexible and privileged work situation. Plus, having your office be a tropical beach is nothing to be bummed about.
As for the what and how of it, I generally try to do most of my work on flights and in airports. Depending on the press trip or type of traveling I’m doing, I also like to get up early and get stuff done before the day begins, because I know come afternoon, I’m exhausted from the day’s activities. Crying, complaining, and bitching also works. Have you tried it? Highly recommend.
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 have a main hub in Los Angeles (I live in a 5 bedroom house with 4 other female comedians, two dogs, and a lot of dead plants). I prefer to have a home base to recharge and keep my shit in one place. It just makes me feel more grounded so I can avoid burnout.
What seasons, if any, do you prefer to chase?
I love fall and spring because I look so hot in a turtleneck. Truly, I was made to be covered up. I used to be obsessed with summer, but I find myself lately getting really kvetchy about the heat (I’ve become an old Jewish lady. It happens to the best of us).
What destinations do you consider to be the best for digital nomads/location independent lifestyles? Why?
I don’t think there is a best, because everyone has different needs and interests. It’s probably best to be near a major airport, and somewhere with friendly people, because solo travel can get really lonely. You know what? Just go to Italy.
How do you go about making new friends/dating while traveling?
Hostels! People are so horny in hostels, and horny people make great travel companions.
How do you keep your long-distance friendships/relationships alive?
FaceTime and adorable postcards.
What is it that you like most about the traveler lifestyle?
I love newness and change. I hate feeling like every day is the same, and the traveler lifestyle gives me that constant feeling of escapism. Which, my therapist would argue, is not healthy.
I also love that I’ve met so many fascinating people I otherwise never would have met. Everyone has an interesting story, and it’s so cool to hear how other humans go through life without killing themselves.
Is there anything you dislike about the traveler lifestyle?
It can be hard to stay healthy, and you sacrifice having a routine – a normal bedtime, certain morning rituals, etc. Basically, you get fat and your skin sucks, but at least you get to fuck a lot of Australians on bean bag chairs.
What’s something that’s currently missing from your life? Is there something stopping you from getting it?
Um, okay, intense! Are you trying to make me cry? What I’d really just like to know is how I’m going to leverage this all and make enough money.
I know, I know, woe is me. People assume because you stay at fancy places and travel all the time, you’re like some sort of trust fund kid (let me be clear: I’m insanely fortunate, but I’m not bringing in the millies). Being a travel writer means you’re perk rich, but cash poor. I’d really like to figure out how to get a travel show or a book deal. That way I can stop returning pants with period stains to H&M just to pay my gas bill.
Is there something you know now about the traveler lifestyle that you wish you knew before making the switch?
It’s fine to say “no” sometimes. Yes, take advantage of everything you can – there’s so much to do and see! But you can’t enjoy it if you’re not healthy and rested. Taking care of yourself is more important than any monument
There will always be another dessert, another drink, another club. It’s fine to stay in one night if you need it. Even if everyone calls you lame.
Do you see yourself living this lifestyle forever? Or will you go back to a more “traditional” life at some point?
I’m not sure traveling all the time is going to work with a newborn screaming at me on airplanes. I know at some point I will slow down, but I’ll never stop making travel a priority.
What’s your best advice for someone wanting to transition to a life of travel?
Work on your people and networking skills. New places mean new faces, and you’ll get a lot farther if you can connect with people. In other words, don’t be creepy and try not to smell like shit.
Where can people connect with you?
Follow me on Instagram, @chelseafrank. Getting new followers is the only way I can feel anymore.
You can also check out her website, where you can see all the different types of topics she has been able to explore as a travel writer.