Smartphones are a fixture in everyday life for most people but one 30-year-old globetrotter has revealed how she has never owned one, despite being on the go all the time in new places.
Leslie McNair, from Ohio, reveals in an interview with YouTube creator Jennifer, who is known online as @Jenncysworld, that she has been a nomad for nine years, but she hasn’t found the lack of a phone a hinderance.
Instead, it allows the globetrotter, who met Jennifer while traveling through Korea, to have more organic interactions.
‘I’ve never had a smartphone in my life so I’m really used to like writing down directions to get somewhere,’ she explained.
Leslie McNair took part in an interview with YouTube creator Jennifer, known online as @Jenncysworld. She started her globetrotting adventure after graduating from college
When it comes to one of her favorite places to travel, Leslie says it has to be Africa
‘I have this laptop so when I’m at somebody’s house or in a hostel I can still contact people and make plans or book a flight or whatever but when I’m outside of the house, I want to be completely in the moment and with the people around me not like texting someone I miss back home.’
Leslie started her globetrotting adventure after graduating from college and she has never looked back.
She said that her voyage of discovery happened ‘by accident,’ and it started out with a trip around Europe with a friend.
While her friend returned home to the U.S. after getting homesick, Leslie decided to keep traveling and now she has been to every continent and about 80 countries.
Reflecting on her time on the road, she says: ‘I just sold everything and I knew that I didn’t know when I’m coming back… I didn’t imagine how long I’d be traveling at all but I wouldn’t expect nine years.
‘I think some people could really enjoy this life and some people would hate it.’
While Leslie says many people assume she is ‘super rich’ because of her traveling lifestyle, she makes it clear that this is not the case and she has merely mastered the art of living cheaply.
Her travel budget comes in at less than $10 a day, which she says is much less than if she were living back home in the U.S.
While many people assume she is ‘super rich,’ Leslie says she has mastered the art of living cheaply and her travel budget comes in at less than $10 a day
Most of the time Leslie says she doesn’t pay for accommodation and she finds locals to stay with for free through the CouchSurfing website.
While some people could find staying with strangers awkward or scary, Leslie says she doesn’t have any fear and she is good at connecting with new people.
Touching on the couch-surfing concept, she said: ‘That really is my lifesaver.
‘I think if that website didn’t exist, it would be exhausting to ask random people all the time. It kind of feels like begging, so I don’t like to ask randoms all the time.
‘Then of course, in some countries like Vietnam or in Colombia they were sometimes really cheap hostels… but my limit is like $5 a night.
‘I love [it], especially if I couch surf with someone who becomes a good friend.
‘I love to maybe stay a week at their house and maybe two of those days will be just lazy days like anybody else… like watch a movie with a friend, like take a walk, not do that much.
‘Then sometimes I’m in the mood to hitchhike and sleep in a new place every night but lately, I love to hold on to the close friendships I do make and at least spend a week or two in a place that I really love.
To top up her bank balance, Leslie tries to find work when she’s traveling through ‘rich countries’ where she will stop for ‘at least a month or two.’
‘As a continent, Africans have like the right combination of hospitality and kind people… but also really fun. [They are] always in a happy mood’
Leslie met the YouTube creator while she was traveling through Korea
When she does find work, Leslie says she will buy a cheap ‘text and call’ phone to ‘make things easier’ and so she can communicate with her employer.
Thanks to her constant travels, the American has mastered the art of traveling light, with all of her belongings fitting into one backpack.
When it comes to one of her favorite places to travel, Leslie says it has to be Africa.
Explaining why, she says: ‘My advice would just be go to Africa.
‘You know that’s the best continent for traveling in my opinion. I think it breaks the comfort zone fast and you meet incredible people right away.
‘As a continent, Africans have like the right combination of hospitality and kind people… but also really fun. [They are] always in a happy mood.’
Another place Leslie remembers fondly is French Polynesia, which she arrived at after sailing across the Pacific Ocean with ‘an Australian guy who was a lot older.’
She says of the far flung destination: ‘I just saw the most incredible natural places with like people who are really disconnected from the world.
‘You know, just a few of them have simple phones and even though they only spoke French, I was so eager to connect with them.’
Looking ahead, Leslie reveals in the YouTube interview that she is currently in the Philippines where she plans to stay for Christmas and then her next port of call is still undecided.
She concludes: ‘I know I have to start thinking about it because it requires a flight.
‘Right now, I’m a little tired of meeting new people every single day so maybe wherever I go next I will want to chill for maybe a month in one city.
‘Anytime I feel this kind of mood, I just find a place I love and stay for two or three months and work.’