For the first Travel.Fish Traveler Spotlight, we caught up with Anna McPhee just after she arrived home to New Zealand for the Holidays after two years of chasing her wanderlust and recently making her way from Nepal and Rajasthan to Kolkata- though she’s not sure how long she’ll be staying stationary.
As a fulltime traveler, Anna is happy to be travelling with her partner, friends, or solo. She supports her travelling by doing location agnostic freelance work so she can take on digital work, wherever in the world she might be.
Travel.Fish: Can you tell us more about your freelance work and how you support yourself while travelling?
everything I do is designed to be location-independent, so that even if I decided to get back on the road tomorrow, it would be easy to pack up and go
Anna: It is almost entirely digital, although I am now in my hometown so have been leveraging a bit of networking to get some face-to-face clients and shake things up a bit. But everything I do is designed to be location-independent, so that even if I decided to get back on the road tomorrow, it would be easy to pack up and go. I used to find my work through Elance, Upwork, etc – generally speaking the quality of job offerings can be pretty low (and PeoplePerHour is probably my pick of them all for better work). Now that I’ve built up a decent portfolio, experience, and references I tend to get more work through word of mouth and reaching out to people.
Travel.Fish: Let’s pick favorites. Tell us your all time favorite travel destination, and then your favorite summer and winter destinations.:
Overall favorite: Mexico.
Summer destination: New Zealand or Portugal.
Winter destination: “Any mountain regions would be fine for me. Or, I would like to hang out by the beach.”
I was being held by a large number of angry, heavily armed Macedonian military and being mistaken for a refugee
Travel.Fish: Have you had any scary experiences while travelling?
Anna: Many! Once got horrific food poisoning and vomited for 20 hours on a 32 hour bus from India to Nepal. Another time I got arrested and detained by [the] military in Macedonia.
Travel.Fish: Tell us more about being arrested!
Anna: I got arrested in Macedonia for what was suspected people smuggling & illegal border crossing. The reality was nowhere near as intentional as it sounds, and it was actually a bit of a massive misunderstanding. It certainly had it’s traumatic moments though, and is quite a long story!
To summarize, I was a medical team coordinator trying to walk with a large group of refugees to the Greece/Macedonia border to provide GPS coordinates to my team and work out where the border conflict was. Unfortunately, we got swept away in the chaos and the borders were not marked. By the time I realized I was in the wrong country I was being held by a large number of angry, heavily armed Macedonian military and being mistaken for a refugee. After a few hours held in a muddy field, then a night detained, I (and a bunch of others) was released, fined, and banned for 6 months from the country.
[You can read more about Anna being arrested in Macedonia on her blog].
Travel.Fish: What are your must-haves in your travel bag?
Anna: Wet wipes – always. Safety pins, band-aids, ziplock bags.
Travel.Fish: How do you capture media while you’re travelling?
Anna: I had a Nikon camera, however I left it in a taxi in Singapore! So for now I use my phone and iPad until I decide on something better.
Travel.Fish: How do you pack all your gear for full-time travel?
Anna: I try to travel carry-on only as much as possible. I was using a Northface Surge, then I moved on to an Osprey Talon. However I have now got my eyes set on the Osprey Farpoint 55, as I’m totally in love with the front-opening (amongst other things).
Thanks so much for sparing some time during the holidays to talk with us, Anna! You can catch up with Anna on her Blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram below.
If you would like to be a featured in the Travel.Fish Traveller Spotlight, please fill out our form here.