- Local Of: Detroit, USA; Asheville, USA; Beijing, China; Kunming, China; Bali, Indonesia; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Medellín, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Expert of: Puerto Vallarta, Asheville, Beijing, Bali, Detroit
- Travel Style: City Lover, Digital Nomad, Hiker, Foodie
- Traveling Since: 2008
- Favorite Destinations: Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina, Colombia
- Backpack or Suitcase: Depends on the trip! I rock them both.
- Window or Aisle: Aisle
- Bus or Train: Train
- Education: Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media and Technology
Connect With Sasha
I moved to Beijing in 2008 to teach English and never looked back. What was supposed to be a year turned into six years in China.
I fell in love with learning languages and experiencing local culture and started blogging about my experiences for a language company. I also edited YouTube videos for them and managed social media pages.
My wife and I decided to take a gap year in our late 20s and traveled extensively in Southeast Asia. It was also at that time that we started our blog, Grateful Gnomads. We blog about teaching ESL, digital nomad life, long-term travel, and live music.
While visiting Bali, I decided a week wasn’t enough and moved there to study Indonesian language and culture as part of the Darmasiswa program. After that, we started our digitla nomad in Latin America. We’ve spent the past seven years bouncing around the region with a few jaunts to Europe as well.
Sasha Around The World
Sasha’s #1 Travel Tip
My top travel tip is to go out of your way to have local experiences. It’s not always easy and it often requires some struggles with language barriers, but it’s always worth it.
One of my top travel moments over the years was spending Chinese New Year in a rural village with a family. I also lived in a village in Bali where I attended a cremation ceremony and took part in the full moon ceremony at a local temple.
It’s worth it to spend some time learning the language before you travel and doing some research about when local festivals are taking place. It’s not always easy, but you’ll remember these moments way more than sitting in an all-inclusive resort with other tourists.
Sasha’s Favorite Food
Wow this is a tough one! I guess I’d have to go with curry as it’s so versatile. From Thai red curry, to Indian tikka masala, to Japanese tonkatsu. I haven’t been to India yet but I think Indian curry is my favorite, so it’s high on my travel bucket-list.
Sasha’s Favorite Destination
Bali will always hold a special place in my heart. We visited for the first time on a vacation from Beijing, fell in love with the island, and decided on that trip that we wanted to take a gap year.
When we returned during the epic trip, we decided to move there for a year and we visited all corners of the island. There’s nothing quite like hiking on a volcano in the morning, scuba diving in the afternoon, and grabbing sunset drinks on the beach before hitting the night market.
We’ve also traveled extensively in Mexico and it has become our home away from home. It’s our go-to country when we want to escape winter and do a long digital nomad stay somewhere. The food is incredible and it’s just such a beautiful country to explore.
Where Have You Lived?
I lived in Beijing for five years and then spent a year in Kunming in southwest China. I’ve also lived in Bali for a full school year.
Since we started our digital nomad journey, we’ve spent at least a month in the following places: Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Medellín, Lima, Santiago, and Buenos Aires.
Funny Travel Quirk
My wife and I are both huge live music fans. We met at a music festival and got engaged at a Phish concert, so it’s a big part of our story. When we travel, we always get a bit of FOMO missing out on our favorite bands playing live shows back home, so we bring a nice bluetooth speaker with us and an iPad so we can tune into the live streams and crank it up!