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A Guide on How to Get Irish Citizenship

how to get irish citizenshipThere are around 33 million Americans who claim Irish heritage, either primarily or partially, according to the Pew Research Center. This number is seven times larger than the Republic of Ireland population, which is 4.7 million!

Ireland is more than just leprechauns and clovers. It’s a country with vivid green landscapes, old-time castles, beautiful cliffs, an abundance of pubs, and friendly people.

Americans who want to connect more with their Irish heritage are in luck. You might be able to claim Irish citizenship by descent. I was recently able to acquire my Irish citizenship this way.

Growing up, I never knew much about my paternal grandmother. Through the years, from stories told by my dad and aunt, I learned how much of a daring and drive woman she was. Born in Dublin, Ireland, she moved to America and swiftly started work at a factory, later meeting my paternal grandfather, and getting married. My dad was born nine months after they got married. Talk about fast timing! Haha.

My aunt had gotten her Irish citizenship years ago. She went on to live in Ireland for nearly two years. Because of this, I always wanted to finally get my Irish citizenship one day.

Back in 2002 when my older brother first tried to get his, the process was very long and tedious. Nowadays, thanks to the gift of technological advancement and more efficient mail service, getting your Irish citizenship doesn’t involve too much hassle.

Once I got all of my supporting documentation together, it only took five months from the date of applying to the date of confirmation to get my Irish citizenship. Afterward, I applied for my Irish passport, which took two months. The whole process took eight months altogther. Not too bad!

Are you interested in how to get Irish citizenship? Read on to find out how to claim it.

Irish Citizenship by Descent

This guide is mainly for people applying for citizenship through an Irish-born grandparent and people looking for information on how to obtain the necessary documentation for the Irish citizenship and Irish passport process. 

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1956 allows certain persons born outside of Ireland to claim Irish citizenship by descent.

Basically, if you have an Irish-born grandparent and/or an Irish born parent, then you are eligible for Irish citizenship.

Note: There are some instances where you can obtain Irish citizenship through your great-grandparent. This is only possible if your parent was granted Irish citizenship by descent prior to your birth. So if you’re a childless person right now claiming citizenship through your Irish-born grandparent, any future children you have will also be able to claim citizenship. But you have to get in the Foreign Birth Register before they are born. 

Let’s focus on the main ways to claim Irish citizenship by descent.

Irish-born grandparent: Anyone born outside Ireland whose grandmother or grandfather, but not his or her parents, were born in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) may become an Irish citizen by registering in the Irish Foreign Births Register (FBR) at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin or at the nearest Irish Embassy or Consular Office.  

Irish-born parent: Anyone born in Ireland prior to 1 January 2005, except for children of parents holding diplomatic immunity in Ireland, are automatically granted Irish citizenship. You would just need to apply for your Irish passport.

Citizenship by descent is not automatic and must be acquired through the application. Even for people who have Irish-born parents, you would still need to apply for an Irish passport in order to claim your citizenship.

How to Apply for Irish Citizenship by Descent

You need to get yourself put in the Ireland Foreign Births Register. To apply for registration in the Foreign Births Register, you will need to submit a completed and witnessed Foreign Birth Registration form. You do this by filling out the online application, printing it, getting it witnessed, and then mailing it to the address listed at the top of the printed application.

This address will usually be the Dublin office, the Cork office, or your nearest Irish Embassy or consulate. Along with your printed and witness application, you will send all the required supporting documentation (outlined below).

 Important: Don’t fill out the online application until the day that you will go meet your witness in order to have your application witnessed. It’s a lot less hassle in case the witness becomes unavailable and you have a delay in finding another one (this happened to me).

When you fill out the online application, at the end of it there will be a button you can press to download or print a copy of the application. Download a copy to your computer and then go on to pay the processing fee and submit your online application. Open up the downloaded application on your computer and print it out. Have your witness sign the witness section and sign and date your two passport photos. 


Once your application is processed and completed, you will be provided with a certificate confirming your entry in the Irish Register of Foreign Births. You will need this certificate to use as evidence of your Irish citizenship when applying for your Irish passport.

I distinctly remember getting the confirmation of my Irish citizenship. The initial email confirmation arrived in my inbox three days after St. Patrick’s Day. The paper certification arrived in the mail about two weeks after that. The piece of paper was literally just that, a single page that just states your name, address, and date of birth and says you’re now in the Foreign Birth Register.

I don’t know really know what else I was expecting. Maybe a rush of balloons to come out of the envelope? Haha.

One thing to remember is that Irish passport applications cannot be accepted at the same time as citizenship applications. They are two different processes.

Irish citizenship process (Foreign Birth Register)—–>Then, Irish passport process.

You need both your Foreign Birth Register certification and your Irish passport in order to fully be a citizen and be able to reap the benefits of your Irish citizenship which include living and working in Ireland and any European Union country including: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

Required Supporting Documentation

The supporting documentation required differs a bit if you’re applying through an Irish-born grandparent or thorough an Irish-born parent, so pay attention. Remember, if your parent was born in Ireland, then you are an Irish citizenship, and you just need to apply for your Irish passport (different process). For people with Irish-born grandparents, read on below.

More information on documentation can be found at the Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs website.

For your Irish born grandparent:

  1. Civil marriage certificate (if married)
  2. Final divorce decree (if divorced)
  3. A current passport of official photo identity document (e.g. passport) for the Irish born grandparent. If the grandparent is deceased, a certified copy of the death certificate is required.
  4. Official, long-form civil Irish birth certificate if born after 1864. Baptismal registers may be used to establish the grandparent’s date of birth if he/she was born prior to 1864, or with a search certificate from the General Register Office of Ireland stating that no Irish civil birth certificate exists.

For the parent:

  1. Civil marriage certificate (if married)
  2. Notarized photocopy of current passport (if they have one) or other photo identification (like a driver’s license). 
  3. If the parent is deceased, a certified copy of the death certificate.
  4. Full, long-form civil birth certificate of the parent showing your grandparents’ names, places of birth and ages at birth.

For you:

  1. Full, long-form civil birth certificate which shows your parents’ names, places of birth and ages at time of birth. 
  2. When there has been a change of name (e.g. marriage), supporting documentation must be provided (e.g. civil marriage certificate).
  3. Notarized photocopy of current passport (if you have one) or other photo identification (like a driver’s license). 
  4. 3 Proof of address. Three documents such as a copy of a bank statement, utility bill, credit card statement, or auto insurance bill showing your present address. (The embassy seems to prefer actual print documents rather than internet printouts, so disable your paperless settings and sign up for papered statements.
  5. Two recent passport-type photographs which must be signed and dated on the back by the witness to section E of the application form at the same time as the form is witnessed. A notary public is NOT an acceptable witness for your Irish citizenship application.

Witnesses must be one of the following:

  • Member of the Clergy
  • Medical Doctor
  • School Principal
  • Bank Manager
  • Solicitor/Lawyer/Commissioner for Oaths
  • Police Officer
  • Magistrate/Judge

All official documents – birth, marriage and death certificates – must be original or official (certified) copies from the issuing authority. It is important to note that church certified baptismal and marriage certificates may be considered only if submitted with a statement from the relevant civil authority that they were unsuccessful in their search for a civil record. Hospital certified birth certificates are not acceptable. All other necessary supporting documents (e.g. proofs of identity) should be notarized copies of originals (your photo passport page, for example).

Once you have obtained all of the required supporting documentation, you will compile it together, complete the online application, print out a copy of the online application, have it witnessed, then mail it off with your supporting documentation (including one photocopy of each document) to the address listed at the top of the paper application.

I would strongly recommend sending it off by registered mail. When I did mine, I just went to the post office with my envelope of stuff and purchased a priority mail envelope to put it in. I got a tracking number and was able to track the shipment and see when it got to Dublin, Ireland.

Related: Helpful FAQ section on Irish citizenship by descent

How Do I Obtain All of These Records?

You’ve got your Irish-born grandparent and/or Irish-born parent, you’ve read through the supporting documentation you need to apply, and you’re ready to go! You’re probably thinking, “This is great! Irish citizenship here I come!”

But wait…how do you get all the required supporting documentation?

Well, there are some resources you can use. The first stop is the Government Records Office of Ireland. They have records of births, deaths, and marriages for all of Ireland (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) from 1864 to 1921 and Records from the Republic of Ireland from 1922 and on.

You can apply in person, by postal mail, or online.

Irish Birth Records

Available as far back as 1864.

Request the “full certificate”, which contains the date and place of birth, given name, sex, father’s name and occupation, mother’s name, the informant of birth, date of registration, and the signature of the Registrar.

Apply for Irish birth certificate. 

Irish Death Records

Available as far back as 1864.

Request a “full certificate” of the original death record, which contains date and place of death, name of deceased, sex, age (sometimes approximate), occupation, cause of death, informant of death (not necessarily a relative), date of registration and Registrar’s name.

Application for an Irish Death Certificate. 

Irish Marriage Records

Available as far back as 1845 (Protestant marriages) and from 1864 (Roman Catholic marriages).

Marriage records in the Government Register Office are cross-listed under the surname of both the bride and groom. Be sure to request a “full certificate” of the original marriage record, which contains the date and place of marriage, names of bride and groom, age, marital status (spinster, bachelor, widow, widower), occupation, place of residence at time of marriage, name and occupation of father of bride and groom, witnesses to marriage and clergyman who performed the ceremony.

After 1950, additional information provided on marriage records includes the dates of birth for the bride and groom, mother’s names, and a future address.

Application for an Irish Marriage Certificate.

Additional Helpful Resources

Roots Ireland

Irish Genealogy

Can I obtain citizenship through marriage?

Let’s say you are able to claim Irish citizenship by descent. Can your partner claim citizenship as well, even if they don’t have Irish heritage/Irish-born family? Short answer, yes. Long answer, it’s a bit complex.

You can apply for Irish citizenship on the basis of your marriage to an Irish citizen. Find out more information by clicking here.  In short, you have to have been married to an Irish citizen for three years and have lived in Ireland for a few years.

I don’t know much about this, so you’ll have to research more about it on your own.

Fees and Costs

When it was all said and done, I ended up spending around $600 USD to get my Irish citizenship and Irish passport. This cost is comprised of the application fees, getting passport photos, having copies made at UPS, and paying for priority/trackable mail to send the application.

The current fee for applying for your Irish citizenship and getting in the Foreign Birth Register for a person age 18 or older is €270 euros.

How Long Does the Process Take?

Applications for Foreign Birth Register take approximately six (6) months to process.  

Applications for Irish passports take approximately 8-10 weeks to process.

Applying for an Irish Passport

Once you receive your Foreign Birth Register certificate, you are able to apply for an Irish passport. You need to apply for an Irish passport in order to fully become an Irish citizen and be able to live, work, and travel around European Union countries.

As a first-time applicant, you have to do the paper application. Visit the Irish passport website, click on the “how to apply for a passport”, and you will be provided with a list of Irish consulates near you.

Submit an online query to ones close to you and ask if they process passport applications and if so, you would like a paper application mailed to you. Include your address.

For my situation, my address is in Texas and even though there are Irish consulates here, I had to apply to the Chicago consulate since they processed passports and the Texas ones didn’t. The frustrating part of this process was that they send the paper application by regular mail.

It was a bummer because it took forever for the application to come in the mail. Four weeks to be exact. When my application had finally come, it was only one. I had requested two (one for me, one for my dad). After contacting them again, they sent another one in the mail but after the application never ended up coming in the mail! Ugh. Since I was already itching for a getaway to somewhere, I decided to make a trip up to Chicago and picked up the application in person.

Related: How to Apply for a Passport

Related: Irish Passport FAQs

Wrap Up

Whew! That was a lot. Hopefully, this guide will be helpful on how to get Irish citizenship. I’m so glad I finally completed the process. It feels great to have the ability and opportunity to live and work in Ireland or other European Union countries if I ever desire.

Both Ireland and the United States allow for people to retain their original citizenship when getting citizenship to another country. So, once you get your Irish citizenship, you will be a dual citizen!

I have still never been to Ireland, can you believe that? I have citizenship in a country I’ve never even been to. Although that will soon change. A trip to the emerald wonderland is happening soon!


Did Travel Ruin My Sense of Fulfillment?

Did travel ruin my sense of fulfillment? Travel is an eye-opening and enriching experience. But I can't help but wonder if it helped or hurt my sense of fulfillment.I used to think my livelihood and path towards fulfillment had to come from my career. Success and fulfillment were only things that could be achieved through some job you would hear people marvel at.

A job at a top public relations agency? That was considered impressive. Working long hours juggling different client accounts? It was admirable.

Growing up in a small town with 8,000 people and three traffic lights, I had always wanted more. Like most angsty teens, I dreamed of escaping the place and going on to live in a bigger city. One that had a diverse group of people, frequent events, and strong career prospects. 

To set myself up for success, I filled up my schedule with things to do. I joined the drama group and started acting in plays, did swimming, participated in several clubs, and had a class roster of advanced placement classes.

I tried my hardest to do good, making sure my grades were staying up and vigorously preparing for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Independence and escape were important. 

Did travel ruin my sense of fulfillment? Travel is an eye-opening and enriching experience. But I can't help but wonder if it helped or hurt my sense of fulfillment.

Figuring out a career path

There was a vague idea of potential career paths in my mind as a teen. I really liked making videos. I worked on web series and skits and had a YouTube channel. Audio Video Production was one of my favorite classes in high school.

Once in university, I chose the mass communication and media program. Wanting to get better at my speaking and writing skills, I specialized in public relations.

From there, I quickly decided I wanted an illustrious career in the journalism or public relations/media relations industry. It was fascinating to watch journalists be the unsung heroes on TV and in movies. My downtime involved reading The New York Times for hard news and picking up copies of Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone for long-form profiles. I was hooked. 

I worked on my college newspaper as a news reporter and at my college radio station as an anchor. The positions got me closer to that vision of fulfillment I wanted, which was to get a media job.

Did travel ruin my sense of fulfillment? Travel is an eye-opening and enriching experience. But I can't help but wonder if it helped or hurt my sense of fulfillment.

Eventually, there was the realization of how the depiction of writers and journalists in Hollywood was a tad glamorized. Anyone who has ever read an article deconstructing Carrie Bradshaw’s spending habits from Sex and the City probably knows this. 

But, it wasn’t just Hollywood that clouded the reality. The industry also did it. It didn’t matter if you worked 60 hour weeks in a low-paying journalism job, at least it was at a well-known news organization that would yield satisfactory expressions.

Are the jobs all they’re cracked up to be?

path towards fulfillment
from GIPHY

Towards the end of my college career, I had finally gotten the position I had been pinning for: an internship at a public relations agency. The role involved assisting with client accounts, compiling information on competitors, and finding ways to get a client media coverage.

I hated it.

Something weird about the PR industry is how being overworked and stressed is seen as normal and even cool. A job as an account coordinator usually involves 50-70 hour work weeks, juggling five to seven client accounts, and having to bring your laptop home to do work on the weekends, all while earning $32,000-36,000 a year.

My idea of fulfillment up until that point had always been to get a PR job and rise through the ranks. As I worked through that internship, that idea slowly faded away.

Figuring that it was just the particular job, I brushed it off. Once I graduated, I started applying for jobs in public relations and content marketing.

A lot of the jobs were paying $30,000-35,000 a year for roles that required tons of hours, lots of tasks, and no real growth opportunity. For a while, I accepted the idea of it.

I liked working in the field and wanted that coveted job title of account coordinator. It was a ticket to the life I wanted. A sense of fulfillment. 

I never did get that job title. Numerous rejections came through, citing that while I was a good candidate, I didn’t have the two to three years of experience they wanted for the entry-level role. 

Eventually, I took a blue collar job installing internet and phone systems. The job involved climbing telephone poles in the super humid 100+ degree Fahrenheit Texas weather.

I.was. miserable.

All of the hard work I had done up to that point didn’t seem like it mattered. I just didn’t see how it could work given that all the jobs I came across paid $35,000 or under and required two to three years experience.

A Change of Direction

I’ve always been a big homebody. Give me a book and good indie movie and I can stay in the house all the time. I used to never like going out or traveling in faraway places.

It probably had to be due in part to the people in college who would come back from a five-week study abroad trip and act like they had gone through a ~~spiritual awakening~~. 

Inadvertently, I ended up sort of being one of those people. No, I’m not going to mention living abroad every five minutes like some vegan crossfitter. (which one do they mention first?!?)

But after living abroad for 19 months in Thailand and Australia, my perspective has shifted. Living in those countries and traveling to other ones, exposed me to different groups of people.

I learned the value of experimentation and being put in a place of moderate discomfort. Travel opened up a part of curiosity I never thought I had before. 

I do still desire to move to a bigger city like Chicago or New York. Although, the blind veil of willingly accepting a ‘cool’ position is lost on me now. What fun is it to have those jobs if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to do anything? 

The reality is always different

A few weeks ago, I went to New York City and visited a friend while there. She had moved to New York right after graduating college and started working the dream position she had been working towards.

She revealed how she wanted to move somewhere else for a change of pace. Living in New York and making a shockingly low salary of $30,000 was tiring after a while.

Did travel ruin my sense of fulfillment? Travel is an eye-opening and enriching experience. But I can't help but wonder if it helped or hurt my sense of fulfillment.

A few people I know ended up moving on from their PR jobs. Into more fulfilling work that better aligned with where they wanted to go.

It made me wonder about how travel has ruined my sense of fulfillment.  I got a taste of working in PR and I didn’t like it. The reality ended up being different from the expectation. Putting in the work and paying your dues is still necessary, but I now know that it doesn’t have to involve being miserable and broke all the time. 

Putting in the work and paying your dues is still necessary, but I now know that it doesn't have to involve being miserable and broke all the time. Click To Tweet

The world is diverse and rich with experiences. Travel has brought me into contact with some wonderful lessons.

The lessons are not always some blissful “Eat Pray Love” kind of lesson. Being lost in the hectic streets of Myanmar is anything but relaxing. Running out of gas on a desolate road in Koh Chang, Thailand is scary. Both of those things happened to me. While they weren’t a zen and enlighting thing to experience, they did push my perspective to different limits.

I don’t desire to be one of those constant traveling digital nomads. My days of long and constant travel are behind me, but the effect of the experiences have stayed with me.

For the longest time, I tried to make sense of what I’ve been doing these past 3+ years I’ve been out of college. It has looked a lot different than I anticipated. For the longest time, that caused me anxiety. 

I need to have a plan! Why am I not working in my field? Ahhhh. 

I thought having a set plan was the key to success. Travel showed me it didn’t have to be that way. It wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t get my dream job I’d been hoping for. 

Priorities change, but the journey can teach you lessons you wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

Did travel ruin my sense of fulfillment? I don’t think so. It just shifted it.

How did you find your sense of fulfillment in life? 

6 Best Travel Resources for Budget Travel

best travel resources for budget travelAmericans spell it traveler, most others in the world spell it traveller, whichever way, here are six best resources for the budget traveler.

When I first started traveling, it felt super overwhelming. I didn’t any idea what the best travel resources were for budget travel. All I knew was that I wanted to do it as inexpensive as possible.

I mean, I wasn’t going to be one those ultra budget backpackers who slept in a tent in some random location. Getting to sleep in a cheap hostel with unpredictable guests and levels of noise? Now that’s my jam! haha.

Jokes aside, I didn’t have much of an idea of the best travel resources I could use as a backpacker on a budget. Whenever I would look around on Facebook groups or through Google searches, I would be inundated with lists detailed dozens or even hundreds of things. Talk about getting overwhelmed.

Slowly but surely, I started to find a small handful of things that have been super helpful not only to me, but many other budget travelers as well.

The resources below have helped me so much in being able to not only save money while traveling but also allowing me to travel to new places. A lot people get into the mindset that travel has to go a certain way. The typical scenario of booking a standard hotel room, using a large and common travel website to book flights, and overall thinking that travel is expensive.

Travel does cost money however you slice it. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. Through a little savviness and being resourceful, you can cut down on the cost tremendously.

Read below on the top travel resources for budget travel.


I used to never understand how people were able to get great flight deals. I thought it involved either obsessively checking flights nine times a day or signing up for a dozen different airline emails and just waiting.

Once I found Skyscanner, getting good deals on flights got a lot easier. Instead of using a big travel search platform like Expedia, I started using Skyscanner for most of my flight searches.

Skyscanner is great because it allows you to not only search for a destination you have in mind, but you can also put “everywhere” in the destination box and it will pull up a list of places (low to high) that you can travel to.

I used this a lot when I was living in Thailand and figuring out cheap places to travel to. Now that I’m back in the states, I use it to see where the cheapest flights to places in South America are.

As with a lot of travel planning, you have to be savvy and not just rely on one site. Skyscanner is great but I always make a point to check out Google Flights and Kayak as well.

Skyscanner, and also Kayak, have “hacker fares” where you fly different legs of a round-trip flight on different airlines. If you’re okay with not always flying direct, then you can get some good savings.


Who would want to stay in a bland hotel room when you could stay in a more spacious and accommodating Airbnb instead? The great thing about Airbnb is the variety of spaces offered, with the prices being comparable or even lower than traditional hotels/motels most of the time.

You can stay spacious rooms, full apartments or houses, Airstreams, trailers, and even tree houses!

I like Airbnb because of the flexibility it has. I used it to book an inexpensive room in Astoria, Queens for $35 a night when I took a trip to New York City a few months back. All the traditional hotel rooms would have cost $100+ a night.

Often times, you’re able to interact with the host and get recommendations on best places to visit and eat at. Always great to get the perspective of a local.

Click here to get a $40 credit towards your first stay! is a site you can use when you are on the search for a traditional hotel, motel, or guesthouse. Sometimes Airbnb doesn’t work out, you can’t find the right spot, or the offerings are sparse in an area. has plenty of offerings, often with low prices and no extra fees.

The interface of is really nice, letting you see all the features a place has (WiFi is probably at the top of priorities, amiright?). A great thing about the site is you can usually book a place without having to put down a deposit.

World Nomads

Travel insurance is essential. It’s weird to think about what would happen if you were to get injured or really ill while traveling, but it’s something you have to plan for. Most health insurance plans don’t cover you while you’re traveling. Even if they do, coverage might not be the best.

I have used and loved World Nomads for my travels. Their coverage is great, reporting claims is simple and they have great customer service.

Make sure to read the terms and fine print on any plans you’re considering to make sure it’s right for you.

Click here to get a quote for travel insurance!


What better way to find out more about a place than to spend it with a local? Couchsurfing is a community of travelers where you can search and find free accommodation across the world.

Although it’s way more than just free accommodation. You can use it to find community events, activities to do, and meet up with people.

Travel Reward Credit Cards

What? Credit cards? Those are evil!! Well, not exactly…

I swore off credit cards for the longest time because I thought getting one would immediately spiral me into horrible high-interest debt.

Luckily, that hasn’t happened, haha. I set up a financial foundation for myself before even touching credit cards. This involved getting on a budget and developing a debt payoff plan for my student loans.

Once that groundwork was laid, I went into the world of credit card sign-up bonuses. You see, there are lots of credit cards out there that offer sign up bonuses in the form of airline miles, travel credits, hotel credits, and more by spending a certain amount within the first few months of opening your account.

It’s usually something like “spend $3,000 within the first three months” or “$2,000 in the first three months” etc.

I’m not a credit cards expert. You’ll want to follow The Points Guy for that. Credit card rewards can help get rack up airline miles and travel credits to use for travel based on the typical monthly spending you’re already doing.

Get on it if you can!

What resources do you use for budget travel? Anything you’ve found to be super helpful?

India Photo Journal

India photo journal I’ve wanted to go to India for several years. The country’s culture, the large population, the heartbreaking amount of people who live on less than $1 a day. It all interested me.

India is a country about 1/3 the size of the U.S.A. yet it has a population of 1.324 billion people, making it the second most populous country behind China’s 1.379 billion.

Planning a trip to India was always a bit of an undertaking. I never really knew how long to go for. The country packs so much into’s its size. Many travelers say even three months isn’t enough time to see all that there is.

I guess that’s kind of figurative. I spent a year living in Thailand and while there is a lot to see in Thailand, I would still say a 10-14 day trip is fine. Maybe India is different. Many people would agree.

It was always fascinating to hear people talk about their trips to India. Whenever I met backpackers who had done 2 week to one month or longer trips, they would always describe it in the same awe: it’s like no place you’ve traveled before.

I can agree with them. India is a fascinating, but chaotic and hectic place. There’s a lot of beauty and culture in the country but some crimes, particularly the 2012 Delhi case, have scared off tourists from visiting the country.

While India is a wonderful place to travel, it would be ill-advised to not mention the chaotic and aggressive nature it can have at times. I encountered the most aggressive touts while walking down the city streets.

With some safety practices, it starts to feel better. I used a GPS tracking cab app called OLA to have a good cab experience. Every rickshaw was double-checked before getting in. And I read up on the common scams tourists fall to when visiting. Coupled with this knowledge, the experience, while still hectic, was a lot better.

For female India travel tips, Global Gallivanting and Hippie in Heels are good resources.

Originally I wanted to travel and backpack India on my own. The idea of tours and only having a set amount of time for each place and attraction don’t interest me. Eventually, through finding a flexible option, I did choose a group tour.

Traveling with a group was better than I thought. I picked the Northern India Explorer tour with Geckos Adventures. The trip hit the most popular tourist itinerary known as The Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra Jaipur) while also including additional stops in the holy city of Varanasi as well as the town of Bundi.

The tour group had seven Australian women and then me, the only guy and only American, haha. After doing so much solo travel, it was really nice to get to see and experience a place with others.

I got to experiment with a new wide angle lens I got for my Sony a5100. During the editing of the photos, my head was down and watching new YouTube tutorials to learn Adobe Lightroom some more. Hope you like the pictures! They’re a small fraction of all the ones I took!

Hope you enjoy this India photo journal! You can check out my photo journal of Malaysia from last year as well.

india travel in your 20s bundi
Gazing while in Bundi
jama masjid delhi
Jama Masjid in Delhi
humayun tomb travel
Peek-a-boo of Humanyun Tomb
bundi india travel
Bundi living
bundi travel india
Daily life in Bundi
amber fort in jaipur
Amber Fort in Jaipur
The MVP: Taj Mahal!
varanasi travel
Varanasi Sunset boat trip
india travel in your 20s
Something you see a lot: cows roaming freely around the streets
varanasi travel
man in Varanasi
varanasi travel
family photo in Varanasi
varanasi travel, india travel
Boat ride on the Ganges River in Varanasi
Rooftop outlooks in Delhi
Spices of Jaipur, India travel, Jaipur
Spices of Jaipur
india travel in your 20s sikh temple
With the meal preparers at the Sikh Temple
india travel in your 20s delhi
Walking around in Delhi
india travel in your 20s jama masjid
A mom and her kids at the Jama Masjid in Delhi


Travel, Survival Jobs, and Life in Transition

constant in life australia backpacker travel

At the start of this year, I found myself sitting at my desk in a humid filled room. It was the morning time and the school forbade us from turning on the air conditioning until 8:30 a.m.

I had been living in Thailand for nearly a year at that point. My pay was small but paired with the low cost of living, it evened out.

Eager to finish paying off the rest of my student loans, I picked up a part-time job tutoring and started to work seven days a week. With expenses being low, I was able to put a good portion of my income towards debt every month.

When I did get free time, I traveled to new places. I went all over Thailand, seeing new islands and exploring places like the edge of the world. Malaysia and Myanmar followed suit, getting to explore new temples and cuisine.

The only problem was things didn’t feel stable. I was in a transitionary period of my life. There was the shaky thought of if I moved a little too much, things would be pulled out from under me and I wouldn’t have anything.

I knew I didn’t want to teach English forever and ever, but I didn’t really know what was next. Neither did anyone else I worked with at the school. Every one of us, ages ranging from 21 (me at the time) to 34. Most of us didn’t know what we wanted to do. Not just with our careers but our lifestyles.

Finding a Constant In Daily Life

Eager for something of a constant to hold onto, I continued to write and work on my blog. I had started just before leaving the states and wanted to use it to document my financial path and adventures.

The blog (this blog) became the thing I held onto whenever things changed. I held onto this site when I wasn’t sure where I was going to live next or what job was going to come.

A desire formed to want to work on it more. I bought one of those big fold up white tables from the supermarket for 1,278 baht ($38 USD) and used it as my workstation in my little apartment. Then I quit my part-time tutoring gig. Signing up at a co-working place, I started to commute into Bangkok on the weekends when I was off from my full-time job.

My teaching job had started to become something of a confusion. I liked the teaching but disliked everything else: the school system, co-workers, and questionable teaching standards. Every morning, I sat for half an hour in the humid, no air conditioning teaching lounge and contemplated what I wanted to do.

I loved to travel but yearned for the routine. I wanted to go around the globe yet stay in the states full time. Everything clashed against one another and it was confusing.

The First FinCon Went By in a Blur

This confusion carried over into the states when I visited back in September 2016 to attend my very first FinCon. People would ask me what my blog was about and I would look at them with the vague expressed of “uhhh…personal finance?” I didn’t know what my main focus was.

The whole conference went by in a blur. I went back to Thailand not sure what to make of it and not convinced I would go back again.

Things changed again a few months later while in Thailand. I ended my contract with my full-time teaching job without another job lined up. My mind had been in Australia for a while and I had applied and gotten a 12-month working holiday visa the month prior.

Moving to Australia With No Plan

In April, with a body filled to the brim with nerves, I hopped on a plane and took the 21-hour journey to Sydney, Australia. I arrived in the early hours of the morning, with a backpack, one duffel bag, and no job or anything lined up other than a three-night stay at a hostel.

Nothing was waiting for me and the next few months were blurry and confusing. I had left Thailand in March and didn’t get my first official job in Australia until June. Unemployed for three months, it wasn’t fun.

Well, for the most part, it wasn’t fun. I don’t think anyone would love the idea of living and sleeping in a 10 x 14 room with five other people. As a backpacker, you just make it work.

During the two months of hostel living, I met an assortment of people. A law student from France, a guy from Spain who liked to learn American slang, and even an Instagram famous woman! Maybe one day she’ll start promoting Fit Tea on the ‘gram? Who knows!

It was fun getting to meet a diverse group of people. All of them spoke about their love of travel and getting out to see the world. None of them liked the idea of sitting in an office for 8-10 hours a day.

It reminded me of my reason for moving abroad. I hadn’t done it as a way to “ditch the cubicle” considering that I didn’t even work in a cubicle or office. I had done it because I had always wanted to travel more long term.

Despite the varying reasons for being abroad, we all did what we had to do to afford the dream of travel. We worked our survival jobs, showing up every day and saving up as much as we could so the possibility of traveling for a few months afterward would be possible. We huddled together in the small hostel room, on our bunk beds, and recounted the day’s events.

I haven’t been tons of places but have been to several and noticed a common trend to all the travelers I talked with. Throughout it all, the late night drinks, the hours-long conversations about life, a realization came about. 

We Were All Just as Lost as the People Back Home

On Instagram and Facebook, our curated lives looked appealing. Shots of airplane wings and coconuts on the beach. The day to day showed a different story. Feelings of restlessness and anxious about the future. We were hopping from survival job to survival job in order to keep our ambitions afloat.

Thinking long-term was hard, it required exposing yourself and being uncomfortable. That’s the feeling I had when had attended FinCon16. A restless feeling of being uncomfortable.

Drifting and living in the moment was the focus for so many of us traveling. Of all the people, a big thing I noticed was a lack of some sort of constant in their day to day lives. They didn’t have anything to hold onto whenever any change or uncertainty happened. 

One day, while sitting in a street-side restaurant in Thailand, I was stressed about finishing the school year without another job lined up. I didn’t know what to do and the thought of it was eating away at me.

“Well at least you have your blog and your writing,” a friend/co-worker of mine said. “I have nothing” she added.

That has stuck with me for two reasons. The first reason being that she thought she had nothing to go back to (which I later found out was a fear of not getting a job back in the states).  The second reason being I had never really known how much an impact my blog had on me until recently. For the longest time, I treated it as a hobby that I was just really gung-ho about. Now, it’s possible that it was more than that.

My blog has been the constant in my life over the past 1.5 years of moving around. It’s what has gotten me out of bed in the morning. It fills my thoughts when I go to bed.

I don’t dream and think about sitting at a computer alone, typing words into a screen. I think about sharing stories and information. Hearing what others are doing and making.

My work contract in Australia ended right before I came to FinCon17. It was a blow to the stomach. If it had happened a year ago, I would have been completely lost, which is what I felt when I attended FinCon16.

However, I didn’t lose all sense of myself once I walked out for the last time from that job. For the last few months, I had been working on other things and slowly building up a sense of myself.

A Better FinCon Experience

When I attended FinCon17, as a newly minted unemployed person, I felt recharged. I had my blog and I had been freelance writing for several months at that point.

At the present moment, I’m sitting in Texas. My freelance writing side hustle is growing from all the contacts I got while at the FinCon freelancers marketplace. I’m focusing more on my blog.

I’m still not sure if I’ll make this a full-time gig, but I’m exploring my options and applying for jobs all over. I may go back to Australia and do another work holiday stint. Not totally sure.

All I know for sure is without these two things, my blog and my side hustle, I would feel a lot more uncomfortable and restless.

Simply getting started, on my blog and my side hustle, and learning to be okay with the uncomfort that came with it, has allowed me to build a constant in my life as I go through these transitions. A life in progress, as you could call it.

I could have just not started it all. I could have stayed for years and years in my safe, but dull, teaching job in Thailand. Many others have.  Although at the end of the day, I knew it was the right choice to leave. It’s what allowed me to experience Australia. And leaving Australia is what allowed me to experience the ultimately great and far less uncomfortable FinCon17.

Let’s see what’s next to come.

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow

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