Archive for November 3rd, 2011

November 3, 2011

This woman gave it all up to travel — would you?

SANTIAGO, GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, ECUADOR — Barbara Weibel says she’s no inspiration. If you’ve ever been tempted to spend your entire life seeing the world, you might disagree.

Barbara Weibel of Holeinthedonut

Barbara Weibel runs the popular travel blog

Weibel left her career in commercial real estate five years ago to explore Earth and she has no intention of stopping. With no fixed address, next to no personal belongings other than what she can fit in her backpack, no debt and no ambitions to return to the corporate world despite being down to $17,000 in her savings account, Weibel leads a nomadic life that has won her a sizeable audience for her blog,

Illness made the Floridian, by way of Illinois, commit to a dramatic change in her lifestyle. Weibel suffered from the most severe form of lyme disease, which is potentially fatal and kept her bed-ridden for weeks. “During my time in the hospital, I really had time to think about what I really wanted to do with my life. And I remembered when I was a teenager, I wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to be a war correspondent and travel to far-off places. But my father always told me that I needed a job and I needed to save for retirement and so that’s what I did,” said Weibel, who is 59.


She said she has started to bring in enough revenue from advertising on her blog and through freelance sales of her articles and photographs that she can continue pursuing her passion of seeing the world for the foreseeable future. Weibel’s focus is on telling stories of the different cultures she encounters, which are often far, far from the tourist path.

“So many of us wouldn’t do this because we worry about what our families would think of us, what our friends would think of us, what society would think of us,” said Weibel, “but when I was sick, I had to decide what was most important for me, what made me happy and what did I really want to do with my life. And this was it.”

In 2006, she loaded her backpack and left for Vietnam. “I thought it would be cathartic for me, because I am of the generation that went through the war.” She awoke to how another culture can have a distinct perspective on events. “The fact that they call it the American War, not the Vietnam War, that was eyeopening for me.”

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