about us

The Forecast is Summersalt’s global content hub for all things travel, packing, style, and discovery, packed with informative and inspirational pieces for (and featuring!) women who are going places.

A Digital Nomad Shares Her Secrets to Traveling Full Time

Carley Rudd inspires major wanderlust. As an experienced photographer, she’s traveled the world shooting everything from stunning Australian beaches to close-ups of camels in Morocco. Two years ago, she made the decision to abandon her home in California in favor of a life on the road. Since then she has been living out of a suitcase, renting Airbnbs and hotel rooms as she travels the globe. As a digital nomad, Carley works remotely from cafes, coffee shops, and public libraries wherever she is. Carley is currently in London, but who knows where her next adventure will take her. Read our interview with her to find out how she became a digital nomad. 

How did you become a digital nomad? 

It’s been such a wild adventure! I was living in Los Angeles, working as a freelance photographer and once my boyfriend at the time (now husband!) made the transition to work as a freelance writer, we decided to take advantage of our freedom and test out the digital nomad life. I’ve honestly never looked back. We were traveling so much already, it really didn’t make sense for us to pay rent for an apartment.

What have you been up to for the last two years?

Immediately after leaving our apartment, we spent one month driving across the country from California to Maine. We’ve lived in Australia and Portugal each for a month, road-tripped through Italy and have enjoyed countless other extended stays in our favorite cities and countries all across the world. It can be almost too freeing not knowing where you might stay for the next month (or even week), and I must say, life as a digital nomad isn’t for everyone. You’re working as a full-time travel planner on top of your regular job. It can be exhausting. But the pros always outweigh the cons for me.

Image Courtesy of Carley Rudd

What have you learned?

I’ve learned how to pare down my material possessions and live a more minimalist lifestyle. You really find out what’s important in life when you have to pack it all into a suitcase.

There’s also this misconception that I’m always on vacation. The reality is that I’m actually working more than I was before. I might just decide to make my office a hotel lobby, beach bar, or coffee shop instead. It’s all about balance. I may be staying in Portugal for a month, but I’m not out sightseeing every day. I can make my own hours so that might mean taking the afternoon off to visit a museum but spending the evening catching up on work.

“I’m actually working more than I was before. I might just decide to make my office a hotel lobby, beach bar, or coffee shop.”

Got any tips on doing laundry as you travel?

I tend to try and book an Airbnb with a washing machine or seek out a local laundromat. It can be tough when you’re on the go but I’ve gotten used to it by now. There’s also a lot of hand washing items in the bathtub or sink that goes on.

What is the most memorable place you’ve visited in the past year?

Most recently, I fell in love with Portugal. I could honestly see myself setting up a home base in Lisbon. It’s the perfect size city and offers a great balance of old European charm with a growing innovative and creative class. Not to mention, the weather is wonderful nearly year-round and there are so many incredible beaches to soak it all in. Also, just drive a couple hours and you’re in one of the most stunning natural wonders of the world, the Algarve coast.

Airbnbs or Hotels?

I like to mix it up. Airbnbs can immerse you into local life — which I love. With hotels, I try and find a design-forward boutique hotel or vacation rentals run by locals.

Image Courtesy of Carley Rudd

How has living a nomadic lifestyle influenced your career?

They go hand in hand. I specialize in travel and lifestyle photography and a lot of my shoots dictate my travels, or vise versa. The nomadic lifestyle has really given me a lot more flexibility, which I love.

“Travel doesn’t always have to be about visiting exotic locations. It’s more about a feeling. The feeling of experiencing something new that pushes you outside of your comfort zone.”

Favorite beach in the world?

Oh man, this is a tough one. My favorite beach to totally relax, swim, and soak up the sun at might be Tallow Beach in Byron Bay, Australia. It’s not very touristy and if you walk all the way to the cliffs at the end there are great little tide pools to wade in and endless miles of soft white sand.

What Summersalt piece is a staple in your suitcase?

Summersalt’s All Wrapped Up Scarf. Flights can be freezing, and the weather can be unpredictable. I always travel with a scarf and love this one from Summersalt. Plus you can use it for a beach or park picnic or it can come in handy if you’re visiting more modest areas or religious sites. I also love the High Leg High Rise paired with the Sidestroke Bikini Top!

Image Courtesy of Carley Rudd

What would your advice be to people who have a desire to travel more?

Start in your own backyard! I always love playing tourist in my own city. Travel doesn’t always have to be about visiting exotic locations, although that can certainly be a part of it. To me, it’s more about a feeling. The feeling of experiencing something new, that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Whether you’re trying a new cuisine, visiting an art exhibit, taking a road trip, or hiking in a new area. Start there.

If you’re dreaming of somewhere in particular, start thinking about the little things you could cut back on — like that Starbucks coffee every morning — to create a travel savings. If you can have flexibility with your trip, you might save money adding a stopover city, flying midweek, or traveling off season. For example, I recently planned a trip to Lisbon, but found out flights from Los Angeles to Barcelona were much cheaper. So I booked a few nights in Barcelona before hopping on a cheap domestic EU flight. I was traveling off-season to so my Airbnb rental was half of what it costs in the high season. Plus I was able to experience the city without it being packed with tourists!