The Mochilera Diaries

About the Author

Hi there!  My name is Leah.  Welcome to my little slice of the internet, one of the few places I truly feel at home.

I’ve been enamored with the idea of slowly seeing the world in its entirety (or as much of it as possible, anyway) for as long as I can remember.  I first moved abroad in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I realized my true dream: to be completely free of ties to any one geographical location so that I could continue to travel at whatever pace felt right at the time.

This blog started out in a haphazard manner, as most blogs do, and has slowly evolved into the form you see now.  It has both served as a springboard for remote work opportunities and attracted enough of an audience that it occasionally helps pay the bills itself.  In short, it has helped me to build the lifestyle I’d been after all this time but didn’t have a name for, location independence.

I now do work that I love from wherever I feel most comfortable, and I’m free to travel the world on my terms.

I’ve always loved storytelling and helping people find the courage and inspiration to see the world with their own two eyes. More recently (and perhaps more importantly) I’ve begun to focus more intently on helping others discover their ideal lifestyle and take the first steps necessary to build it; I hope to provide a bit of the guidance that I never had.

This blog is no longer just about my journey to a fulfilled life; it is a place for others to find encouragement and advice on how to navigate their own.

Location independence may be my ideal way to live, but it’s okay if it’s not yours–all travel enthusiasts are welcome here.  I know that full-time travel or nomadic living isn’t everyone’s dream.  At The Sweetest Way, we don’t discriminate.

If you want to find creative ways to earn more money so you can travel more on the weekends, this is the place for you.

If you want to learn how to create passive income to spend more time traveling or just being with your loved ones, this is the place for you.  

If you want to become a freelancer so that you can be in total control of your own schedule, this is the place for you. 

If you want to work remotely so you can live abroad for part of the year, welcome!  Because this is the place for you.  

If you want to learn the ropes of becoming location independent and work wherever there’s WiFi, strong coffee, and a great view, this blog is definitely the place for you.

I’ll be sharing all the knowledge and lessons I’ve learned in my pursuit of location independence, many of which have far broader applications beyond my particular circumstances.  I’ll also offer up as many hard-won life lessons I gather through my travels and be forthcoming with you whenever I’m experiencing pain or conflict.

That last part is especially important, because at the end of the day, after you sweep away all the technobabble, the jargon, and the platitudes, this blog is really just about my journey to a peaceful heart.

Won’t you come with me?


The Sweetest Way is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


Featured photo by Lightworks360

54 Comments

  • Reply wisemonkeysabroad July 20, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Hi Leah! We’re Le and David from Wise Monkeys Abroad. Thanks so much for connecting with us on Twitter 🙂 And directing us to your blog! We look forward to reading about your adventures: past, present and future and to see how your location-dependent goals pan out!! Might inspire us to give that a go one day!

    • Reply LaMochilera July 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Hi guys! Thanks for connecting! I’m excited to follow your adventures as well! I can get to know new parts of the world through you, and hopefully vice versa! Happy travels!

      • Reply Bob Merrow February 24, 2016 at 11:46 am

        Hi Leah! I just wanted to let you know about a couple of places you might like to experience as you are shocked by the views.

        In Thule, Greenland up on the northwest corner. During the first days where the blush of daylight returns to the Arctic around April, there is a phenomena that will pause your heart and bring tears to your eyes.

        As you catch the sun just peeking over the far end of one of the small valleys, it sends its first laser-like beam down into the cobalt blue colored snow crystals, that stand up like tiny fairy wings. As the sunlight joins with each snow crystal it is reflected in an instant and blazing display of glittering cobalt blue diamonds all across that valley’s landscape!

        The second location is in Germany’s Harz mountains on the richly fabled pagan center of Mt. Meissner. The ‘Brothers Grimm’ authors of Grimm’s Fairy Tales were born and raised just west of Meissner in Kassel.

        This is another table top mountain, like that cloudy paradise in Venezuela. Granted it has roads that can be driven up with ease. I recommend the spiked snow tires in winter time, there is no substitute for their stability on snow & ice.

        During the spring on the eastern rim of Meissner, is the time when the dawn-rise sky is just right. When the clouds are just below where you stand and a layer of clouds above you. If you catch it on the right day when the sun is captured perfectly between the two cloud layers with that robin’s egg blue sky as the backdrop.

        You will be richly rewarded with a golden-bronze display that colors both cloud layers with a breath-taking majestic view, for a lifetime of memories.

        • Reply Leah Davis February 24, 2016 at 1:51 pm

          Wow, thanks so much for the tips, Bob! Can’t wait to check some of these off! 😀

  • Reply Hitch-Hikers Handbook August 6, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Wonderful and inspiring blog, Leah! Thanks a lot for following us on Twitter! Travel safe and keep up your great work!!

    • Reply LaMochilera August 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Why thank you! Love to connect with other travelers, my friends at home get sick of my babbling 🙂 Safe travels to you too, and thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Jessie February 16, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    I have a question, How do you make money ( to buy things in all the places you go and for airfare) if your constantly traveling?

    • Reply La Mochilera February 17, 2015 at 8:59 am

      Hi Jessie! At the moment I’m working as I go–I’ve been after ways to make money via the internet for the better part of the past year, and while it’s still a work in progress, I’m getting there! I do a bit of freelance social media consulting and travel writing, and hoping to earn money from my blog itself via affiliate marketing, advertising, and brand partnerships. But that’s all a little ways down the road still. And the truth is, I am not actually traveling all the time. I’ve been more or less stationary in Medellin, Colombia, for the past four months. I take short trips here and there, but I prefer to live in one place for an extended period over constantly moving. Hope that answers your question! Perhaps I’ll write a post on the topic soon! Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

  • Reply Veda March 5, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Always wanted to be a Mochilera when I was young but then I had two kids and tons of responsibilities came with them so I postponed my adventurer dreams…..now that my kids are grown up and is just me I would like to travel a little bit so my question for you will be how a Mochilera finance her adventures? Greetins from a Nicaraguan-American who lives in Texas.

    • Reply La Mochilera March 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Veda! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 At the moment, I am working as I travel by doing social media work for other bloggers and trying to get into freelance writing. Of course, it’s not a perfect system yet so I have to dip into my savings at times, but hopefully I will be earning more as time goes on!

  • Reply Gail May 7, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I love your blogs layout!!! I was wondering where you got it? Thank you!
    Gail recently posted…Anawangin Island CoveMy Profile

    • Reply La Mochilera May 7, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Gail! Thank you, I actually found this theme on ThemeForest.com. It’s called Florence. Cheers, and thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Anthony June 5, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Leah La Mochilera!

    I am moving to Medellin on Monday, June 8.

    Can you send me an email telling me where you live for US$275 for month?

    I’m an attorney, but I’m not currently working and this US$275 amount is much lower than the other places I’ve seen.

    Thanks!

    Anthony

    • Reply Leah Davis July 9, 2015 at 11:30 am

      Hi Anthony! Try CompartoApto.com for shared apartment rentals. Best of luck!

  • Reply Brittany Ryan June 25, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I want to be your friend!! That’s it! 🙂 Great blog!

    • Reply Leah Davis June 26, 2015 at 1:50 am

      Haha, of course we can be friends, Brittany! Thanks for the compliment, hope to see you here again 🙂

  • Reply Angela Castanhel July 9, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Hi from Brazil!! Your blog is amazing! I’m loving your blog, congrats and kisses 🙂

  • Reply Megan July 14, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Hey Leah! I stumbled upon your blog via pintrest after typing in “moving to Colombia”. I’ll be moving to Pereira, Colombia next week to teach English at a bilingual school. I’m really excited to read more from your blog…Any chance you’ve been to my city?

    • Reply Leah Davis July 15, 2015 at 1:18 am

      Hi Megan! Thanks for stopping by! I hope my blog will prove useful to you in your upcoming transition to Colombia. You’re going to love it! Unfortunately, I never did make it to Pereira, but I did hear great things about it. Good luck, and if you have any questions while sifting through my Colombia archives, just let me know! 🙂

  • Reply Camila July 20, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Hey Leah! I love your blog and I can’t believe that somebody can have a job like yours, is amazing. I’m also from Medellín and I’m very glad to hear about your adventures. Colombia is a beautiful country. I’ve been living in California this year and it has been the best experience, though I miss Colombia a lot.

    • Reply Leah Davis August 1, 2015 at 6:00 am

      Hi Camila! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 I love Medellin–your city holds a very special place in my heart! My lifestyle has come about pretty much entirely as a result of trial and error. I hope to inspire others that it’s possible to do what you love and craft your lifestyle around it rather than doing something you hate in hopes that you can follow your dreams later. I’m so glad you’re experiencing life in another country! I think it’ll be invaluable to you down the road. Best of luck, and thanks for reading!
      Leah Davis recently posted…Friday Snapshots: Bewitching BelgradeMy Profile

  • Reply Todd @ Visit50 July 30, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    hi Leah! I just discovered your blog and love it! I particularly appreciated this line – travel is about “constantly pushing my boundaries.” I’ve gone swimming with whale sharks and gone volcano boarding, but I didn’t even have a passport until age 22. When I got one, I was like most Americans, looking for a beach to relax on after a long week. Every trip makes me just a bit more comfortable – the 22 year old me would never believe I’ve spent time in 39 countries around the world. I never would have imagined that I’d have gone swimming with sharks (without a cage) and spending a week in a jungle with wildlife like orangutans and elephants. I hope we can inspire people to push their boundaries.

    If interested, I have a similar story here – http://www.visit50.com/about/

    I’m going to go back to exploring your addictive blog…
    Todd @ Visit50 recently posted…Bayon Temples Cambodia – 216 smiling facesMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis August 1, 2015 at 6:02 am

      Hi there, Todd! I’m so glad you found my blog. Your journey sounds amazing as well! Congrats on all the incredible experiences you’ve had so far, and I hope you achieve the rest of your goals as well. Keep doing what you’re doing and keep inspiring people! Happy travels!
      Leah Davis recently posted…Friday Snapshots: Bewitching BelgradeMy Profile

  • Reply hayley October 26, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Leah – I am going to be teaching English in Colombia in January. Medellin sounds amazing, but I have heard it can be very dangerous. Have you felt unsafe while living there?

    • Reply Leah Davis October 27, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Hey Hayley! Medellin isn’t probably as dangerous as most people think it is, but it’s good to be vigilant and know that there are risks. I never took large amounts of money out with me at night or expensive stuff like my camera, and I avoided walking places alone at night. Common sense for the most part! It’s a really amazing city and I wouldn’t be afraid of traveling or living there 🙂 Good luck!

  • Reply Julia November 19, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Hi Leah,

    fantastic blog. We liked each others photos on Insta I believe. I am based in Yopal, Colombia, and started to run an adventure tour business here with my Colombian half. Also I am looking into blogging and independent working as it seems to be a wonderful way to live. It would be great to meet up. Perhaps you like to visit. Perhaps I am in Medellin sometime. Do you know of any digital nomad meet ups/blogger conferences or likewise in Colombia? Might be worth organizing…

    Keep in touch! Saludos desde Yopal…

    Julia

    • Reply Leah Davis November 20, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Hey Julia! Sadly, I’m not in Colombia anymore but it would have been cool to meet up. I think it’s awesome you’re considering blogging and going location independent! It is an awesome lifestyle, for sure. I don’t know of any conferences in Colombia but I know Travel Massive has a Medellin chapter which would be a great way to connect with like-minded people, if you ever find yourself in the city. Here’s the link… https://travelmassive.com/chapters/medellin

      Thanks for stopping by! Saludos!

  • Reply Dave December 31, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Leah. I am 77 years old and so I am probably starting this backpacking thing a little late in life – but what the hell! I presently live in Isla de Margarita in Venezuela and so I plan to fly to Maracaibo before taking the bus to Santa Marta / Barranquilla / Cartagena. I know you spent some time in Colombia and so you are able to advise me what route to take before going on into Ecuador. My present plan is to go to Barranquilla for Carnaval (4 days) and then to Cartagena for 4 days. I then move on to San Gil (Yes I want to try all that crazy shit even though I do not like heights). Then, it is on to Villa de Leyva, Bogota, Medellin, Salento Area, Popayan and Pasto. If I survive Colombia, then look out Ecuador. Leah,would I be missing a great deal if I skip Santa Marta and Tayrona (bearing in mind I live on an island in the Caribbean) and most importantly, would you for any reason change the order of places I want to visit. Looking forward to receiving your advice and any comments you may make.
    Dave.

    • Reply Leah Davis January 2, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Hi Dave!

      Thanks so much for reaching out! I’m so excited for your upcoming adventure! There’s never a wrong time, if you ask me 🙂 I think you’re right in assuming you won’t miss much by skipping Santa Marta and Tayrona since you live on Isla de Margarita. Although I haven’t been to that part of Venezuela’s coast, I imagine it’s similar and you’ll get more out of experiencing what Colombia’s cities have to offer. And to be honest, I can’t think of any reason to change your itinerary from how you’ve already planned it. Just save some of your energy for Ecuador, because I think you’ll love it just as much! Happy travels and good luck!

  • Reply Caroline April 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Leah!! I saw your interview about Thailand on Alex in Wanderland and it definitely resonated with me. I am currently finishing up my undergrad in Nutrition and want absolutely nothing to do with it or a 9-5 life style here in the States. I’m thinking about teaching English in Thailand in the next few months but I was just wondering about any advice you had especially about meeting people and making friends there and what not considering that you’re usually around children. Thanks so much!!
    Caroline

    • Reply Leah Davis April 18, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Hey Caroline! That’s awesome, I think you’ll really enjoy it! Actually, it’s not hard at all to meet people as there are so many expats living in Thailand. I guess it depends where you are, but if you’re in one of the major cities you’ll meet people no problem. Other teachers at your school, digital nomads, NGO workers, etc. There are usually popular expat hangouts where people congregate. If you end up in Chiang Mai let me know and I can connect you with people! Good luck!

  • Reply Caroline April 20, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I think Chiang Mai would most likely be the city I would be most interested in after doing some research! But awesome thank you so much I will definitely be in contact thanks again!!

  • Reply Hilary June 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

    You are my hero! This is exactly what I am looking for. I’ve been following you for a little while, but I thought I’d stop in and say hello for once! 🙂
    Hilary recently posted…A Quick Trip to Vancouver, BCMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis June 12, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      Aw, thank you Hilary! So glad to have you, I hope you find some useful info here! Thanks for saying hello! 🙂

  • Reply Pedro Rengel June 14, 2016 at 4:28 am

    Wuaoooo hi I am from Venezuela and I want to congrats you because all this thing that you share with us is awesome, I think everyone get some connections with your experience life style. And you were accomplish through your photos a lot of love in us for you you just are amazing, now I’m living in Florida with my wife and recently father of twins yeyyyyyyy, but also we are crazy family travelers. I did more Posts on Facebook but now I go to update more on Instagram so I’m here I’m following you, by the way nice pic en canaima and I am so sorry for my poor English and I hope your time living in Colombia gave you as much Spanish to understand me! Hahaha! Con mucho cariño eres genial y super bella.

    • Reply Leah Davis June 14, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Holaaa Pedro, gracias por venir y gracias por las bellas palabras! I am so happy you stopped by, I hope you find something useful here and most of all happy travels! 😀

  • Reply David August 7, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Hi Leah! I just found your blog by chance and as a Paisa I’m just ecstatic by how kind you reply to every compliment or critic towards my beloved city. The sweetest way just suits you.

    • Reply Leah Davis August 8, 2016 at 5:41 am

      Hi David, and welcome! I’m so happy you feel that way, this comment is one of the SWEETEST I’ve ever received! Thank you for the kind words! x

  • Reply Sergio August 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Hi! I am trying to get my job to move me to Medellin as they need someone to move over there for them. I have not been able to find anything on pet friendliness anywhere. Compartoapto looks like a great start , but I would be moving with my two best girls (both beagle mixes of some sort). Are people open to pets there? No postings on rentals online mention pets. I know here in Miami it’s almost impossible to find anyone to rent to people with dogs. ^__^

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Leah Davis August 13, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      Hey Sergio, apologies, but I really don’t know anything about pet-friendly apartments! Was not something I ever dealt with. Best of luck to you though, hope you get it figured out!

      • Reply Sergio August 13, 2016 at 9:07 pm

        No need to apologize, thank you Leah. Awesome page btw! 😀

  • Reply Antoine August 20, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Hi Leah, I have been checking out your blog and I shared it with my wife as well. You have a great design layout and clean simple style. We currently live in the south of Spain but are considering relocating to either Columbia (Medellin) or Thailand (Chiang Mai?) or somewhere else in central America. It’s nice to be able to read about your experiences in Medellin and how it suits digital nomads. Keep up the great content!

    • Reply Leah Davis August 20, 2016 at 3:52 am

      Hey Antoine! Thanks so much for stopping by and the kind words. I think either city would be a great choice, they both have a very special place in my heart! Best of luck making your decision and safe travels!

  • Reply Bri September 25, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    You have such a wonderful blog! Definitely a great source of inspiration for my own! Keep it up! 🙂

  • Reply David Morales October 20, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Hi Leah, You have an awesome blog, I work remotely for the last 3 years and is perfect as aloud you to travel and meet different cultures and every month you are on a different location, thank you for your tips and great blog.

    Cheers 🙂

    David M.

    • Reply Leah Davis October 20, 2016 at 11:46 am

      Thanks so much, David! I couldn’t agree more!

  • Reply Ingmar October 22, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Stumbled over you because of Corralejo Hub. Like your articles and recommended the site to colleagues.
    A proposal for an article: How do you manage tax and social security. Digital nomads are no drop outs – they have to care about that to. The sweetest way can turn fast to the most horrible way if you suddenly get seriously ill and you do not get medical treatment because you cannot effort it. I know cases like that lots. Your points to that would be of great interest. KR, Ingmar!

  • Reply Melissa October 30, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Love your blog, awesome info and fantastic writing! I am an aspiring blogger, trying to get my site set up now. Just wanted you to know that I LOVE your blog and your writing style!! All of the pinterest tips are great too! I love the idea of location independence. You seemed to have coined a phrase that my husband and I could never properly define. Gotta wait for my youngest to graduate high school, but I really love the idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply Leah Davis October 30, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Melissa! So glad you found me, I hope you find some useful info here!

  • Reply Caroline November 21, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Hi Leah!! I commented awhile ago before and actually am headed to Thailand in March to start teaching English! I just wanted to know if you would recommend the place that you got your TEFL or if you heard of any other classes in Thailand that people you have met would recommend! Thank you so much!

    • Reply Leah Davis November 21, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Hey Caroline! So exciting! I had a great experience with UniTEFL Thailand in Chiang Mai. I know they have courses in other parts of the country, but Phuket is the only one that’s coming to mind. I would definitely recommend it. I’ve also heard good things about SEE TEFL. Best of luck!

  • Reply Tyler A. Montoya April 26, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Leah please send me an email of how you obtained your success. You definitely promote the positive message I am looking for and need in my life. I don’t know any advice any tips or any inspiration would help me as I grow my own website blog spiritup111.com. I as well wish to make money through affiliate marketing and wish to promote a positive message and teach others.

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