Hi, I’m Jacey Fraser and I began traveling full time in June of 2017. I realized I was unhappy with the life I was expected to live, so I overcame my fears of doing something different and bought a one-way ticket to France. I’ve been traveling on a tight budget using work exchanges and staying in hostels while documenting everything through video. I also published my first book, Fearless U, in March of 2017 hoping to help young women navigate the dating world more fearlessly. I’m very passionate about living fearlessly and helping others do so too.
TPM: What kind of traveler are you?
FJ: I’m a budget traveler, for sure, but I’m also a digital nomad and aspiring adventure traveler.
TPM: Why did you decide to start travel Vlogging?
FJ: Creating my YouTube channel, Fearless Jacey, has been a huge feat consuming two to eight hours every day, but it has been amazing building a community and helping to inspire others to be fearless in their lives. My purpose for developing the channel is to show others that traveling is much easier and more inexpensive than we’ve been taught. The biggest hurdle is your own fear.
TPM: Along with creating your travel Vlogs - you also travel doing work exchange. Can you tell us a little more about that and how you got started?
FJ: I was living with my older brother while working as a writer at a law firm in early 2017. He had started his own real estate business, so I asked him one day, “How can I make a lot of money very quickly?”
He looked at me and asked, “Why do you need the money?”
I told him I needed to travel. I just had to get out of here, away from the rat race, away from the daily grind, and to do something different. His response is what sparked the biggest change in my mentality and my life.
He said, “Then maybe the question is not ‘How do I make money?’ but ‘How do I travel without money?”
With his answer kindling the belief that it was possible to travel without money, I dug into blogs and vlogs and travel books galore. I read into Workaway and other work exchanges, but Workaway was the least expensive membership and had the easiest-to-use website. I loved that there were nearly infinite options of where I could go or what I could do--places I could stay for free! I knew this was what I wanted, and this was how I could get started traveling to amazing places. I was lucky to connect with a wonderful host couple who lived in southern France on a vineyard, and two days later I booked my flight!
TPM: Where in the world is your favorite place to visit? Why?
FJ: I can’t answer that until I visit every place in the world! But so far, my favorite country I have visited was Romania because of how much it surprised me. It was the least expensive country I traveled to in Europe, the people were shockingly sweet, and the nature was continually breathtaking.
TPM: What do you think is the biggest sacrifice you have done for the sake of traveling?
FJ: The biggest sacrifice I’ve made by traveling full time is leaving my family, specifically my baby nephew who was born just two months before I left the United States. I surprised my family by flying home for the holidays without telling anyone so I could be around for my nephew’s first Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s difficult watching him grow via Instagram only.
TPM: How many countries/states have you visited?
FJ: I’ve been to 13 countries and 18 states in the USA.
TPM: Have you had any scary moments while on your travels?
FJ: Solo traveling is a daunting idea. All you have to do is tell your parents you’re traveling to unknown places all by yourself to realize how terrified people are of the idea. However in my five months of solo backpacking through Europe, I was only afraid for my safety one time.
I had arrived at my motel (if you could call it that) in a tiny town in the mountains of Bulgaria after a long day of bus rides, and I found the gate to the property chained and padlocked shut. A nice Bulgarian man was nearby and offered to drive me to the motel owner’s house to ask him to unlock the gate. Eventually--despite neither of us speaking each other’s language--we managed to find the owner and have him open the gate. He walked me inside to a seemingly deserted motel. There were no other guests or signs of them being there; spider webs were around the tables and the water heaters weren’t even on. The owner left, promising to return in the morning.
I was left alone in this creepy, cold motel. There was no Wi-Fi, no kitchen, and no way of making something to eat. After about an hour of wondering what the heck I was going to do and if I dared to lay on the bed, I decided to get out of there. I had to hop the fence on the way out because it was padlocked again. I soon realized I didn’t have any cash left for a bus ticket and the ATMs were unavailable because the bank was closed. After a brief breakdown in front of a confused Bulgarian man, I resolved to walk nine kilometers to the nearest town. Thankfully, someone offered to give me a lift before I had been walking long and I arrived in a real hotel before nightfall.
TPM: Where is your next travel destination going to be? Why?
FJ: In mid-January I am heading to Rome. I plan on traveling in Italy for six to eight weeks because I have never been there before, but I love the idea of sitting on a cliff eating pizza, drinking wine, and watching the blue sea roll around under me. I’ll be using Workaway for my accommodation while I’m there. This year I also plan on visiting Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, and the U.K.
TPM: How has travel changed you?
FJ: You know how when you start dating someone, you try to spend as much time as you can with him/her? You talk for hours, you do fun activities, and try to learn about each other as much as possible. For me, traveling has been like dating myself. Instead of putting all of this time and energy into learning about other people, I spend my hours and days in my own head, observing how I respond to things, and recognizing my desires or dislikes. I’ve never been so sure of myself and in touch with what I actually want. My subconscious plays a much larger role in my life and I trust my gut more than anything else.
TPM: What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about becoming an “Travel Vlogger and doing work exchange”?
FJ: Travel vlogging has been much more difficult than traveling on its own. If you want to start vlogging, begin researching by watching other vloggers and studying how they edit, what they shoot, and how their communities interact with them. If you want to go on a work exchange, I highly recommend you use Workaway, and don’t be too afraid or inflexible. Remember that getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow.