Minimalist Travels with Just 3 Small Bags for 3+ Years – Digital Nomad Life

Jacqueline travels year-round while holding down a full-time job as a COO for a small company, and she does it with a surprisingly minimalist amount of luggage. We spent a few days touring Lisbon with her to learn about how she packs, why she travels, and what she’s learned from over 3 years of global travel.

You can check out Jacqueline’s book, Travel Isn’t the Answer, here:

And you can also follow her on Twitter, and via her website:

Also, if you’re looking for a place to stay + work while you travel, definitely check out Outsite – they’ve got loads of locations in the US and abroad. We loved the Lisbon location – it was very central, nice big rooms, clean bathrooms & kitchens, laundry, and a big street-level space with fast wifi to work & watch the world go by:
It was the perfect home base for our Lisbon explorations and we really appreciate the team who let us stay there while we worked on Jacqueline’s video!

Jacqueline has a very balanced view of her digital nomad lifestyle and recognizes that travel isn’t the answer to happiness. She also doesn’t believe that travel provides everything it seems to when we see glorified travel images on Instagram of people working on beaches. What she’s found is that she can cultivate a practice of living in the moment, being curious and passionate about her life and surroundings no matter where she is in the world.

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle


Facebook: /exploringalternativesblog
Instagram: @exploringalternatives


We want our channel and our comments section to be an inclusive space where everyone feels welcome to watch and to contribute. For this reason, comments that are inappropriate or hateful will be reported and/or deleted.

Please discuss and debate with respect, and report inappropriate or hateful comments directly to YouTube.


Thank you to our subtitle and closed captions contributors!
If you would like to contribute subtitles or closed captions to an Exploring Alternatives video, please click here to see which ones need your help:

If you have any questions about adding subtitles and closed captions, please email us at


We occasionally include paid sponsor messages/integrations in our videos to help fund the channel. We do our best to work with companies and organizations that offer products or services that are in line with our values, and that we think would be interesting and useful to you, our viewers.

We will always disclose if we’re promoting products that were given to us for free, or if we’re including a sponsored message in a video.

For business or sponsorship inquiries, please email us at


Music & Song Credits:
All music in this video was composed, performed, and recorded by Mat of Exploring Alternatives.

Editing Credits:
Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives

Filming Credits:
Mat of Exploring Alternatives

full,time,travel,long,term,travelling,traveling,traveler,digital,nomad,nomadic,living,lifestyle,minimalist,minimalism,packing,tips,cube,compression,luggage,suitcase,how to,budget,work,working,earn,money,earning,travel isn’t the answer,exploring alternatives,Jacqueline Jensen,Outsite,Lisbon,Portugal,hacks,profile,interview,documentary,inspiring,backpack,essential,working online,travel bag,downsizing,carry-on,solo,female,new,2019,packing cubes

35 Replies to “Minimalist Travels with Just 3 Small Bags for 3+ Years – Digital Nomad Life”

  1. Super terrific R

    Travel by it’s nature is minimalist, I don’t see the point of not using luggage. Also very disappointing that she did not mention her daily or monthly costs. Air BNBs are super expensive not at all cheap like the advertisements would have you believe. She must be paying a fortune especially for good internet locations worldwide. Whenever I travel I always look for AirBNBs 1st in hopes of finding that affordable spot. What somewhat affordable is staying in room shares, but I get the feeling this Chief Operating Officer is not sharing rooms..

  2. Johnny FD

    Great interview! I've also been traveling and working as a digital nomad for the past 3-5 years and have been a minimalist with carry on only luggage recently as well. The biggest difference is that my costs of living are actually 1/4 of what they were back in the USA as even though I also stay in AirBnb's, I always stay for 1 month stints as I get 40% off.

    I also spend months in cheaper countries such as Thailand where my monthly rent may only be $200 a month and meals are $3. I'm currently in Eastern Europe for the summer, traveling with hand luggage as well.

  3. Words and Pictures

    Thank you so much for this. Super interesting and refreshing. Thank you for a realistic 360 view of your traveling experience.

  4. Fino Menezes

    Cool beans. I owned precisely 40kg of belongings for well over a decade (25kg on my back/15kg on my chest). That’s all you can carry to an airport and put on most planes without incurring extra charges (and it’s actually quite a lot to have strapped to your body day-in, day-out when you’re hauling yourself and your kit overland, unless you’re trained military). I lived, worked and travelled in umpteen countries on different continents. Sikkim (where?), Turkmenistan (why?), one side of Canada to the other, Cuba, all over India, Southeast Asia… It was a great experience. No regrets whatsoever. I only left my hometown for 6 months, maybe a year. Still not been back 19 years later.

  5. trueaudience

    I share thoughts with Jacqueline, “Traveling is over glorifying, and it isn’t the answer”. A lot of travel these days promotes consumption tourists.

    While I still love experiencing the tangible world by traveling physically, I also want to free my mind allowing our mind to travel with curiosity, creativity and peace, we can have all that no matter where we are in the world, even at home doing chores, we let our mind travel by being curious and grateful about life and inspired by little things we do daily. 🙏

  6. bob

    The toughest part about my many years of permanent, international, travel/work was postal mail. I owned nothing and owed nothing, but still had to have a place to receive my passport, income taxes, credit cards, insurance, driver's license, (and 25 other entities). Finding a reliable person to check my mail once a week, and not eventually skip three weeks, leaving me with cancelations, late fees and worse, was impossible. I had the "re-direct all mail to someone else" routine down after losing my phone number a couple times and a collection agency coming after me (also a postal issue, which I soon resolved). Curious about Jacqueline's solution to this.

    The most fun part of permanent travel/work, was making time to learn some of the new language before arriving in the new country. My time was before the internet had every resource to learn a complete language. Reading books, writing words, numbers, time, direction, distance, food, verb conjugation, honorifics if applicable, vulgar words to know when to find safety or yell out for help. It made the next location much more enjoyable than pointing at a phrase book/app/menu and holding up fingers. Read (listen to podcast of) David Sedaris, "Me talk pretty one day" a glimpse at his learning a foreign language, and his observations of travelers who did not.

    The second-toughest part of my permanent international travel/work was sitting next to someone traveling with "three small bags" that really were not small, even too big to bring into the cabin, but got jammed into the overhead, displacing three or four normal carry-on bags, or stuffed under MY feet making my knees meet my chin, rather than checking ONE normal bag at the ticket counter like the rest of us trying to have a "comfortable" 15 hours ride. I scheduled all my travel and lodging, checked ONE normal bag (because a second bag would cost extra). I never missed a flight or a connection, and never saw a good reason to try to carry everything into the cabin at the expense of everyone around you.

  7. Travels of Heather and Curtis

    Lisbon is amazing! What beautiful footage. I really enjoyed hearing about her thoughts on travel. Very interesting and true. It's all just so fascinating : )

  8. Tranquility Travels

    I’m not a minimalist, I’ve traveled the world but have a home base. I haven’t ‘lived’ there for 3 years but will …one day. I may not be home for months and then touch down for only a few days, but it’s still home. There’s family heirlooms, baby clothes and my souvenir magnets ‘cluttering’ up the refrigerator door. I know where the floor creaks, what that odd sound is and the scent of my linen closet. Traveling doesn’t mean you need to ‘sell everything’ or that you need to give up the home you’ve worked hard to make and where you’ve years of memories. Other people are enjoying my home (and pets!) while I’m ‘wandering the Earth’…for awhile.

  9. NOURISH Natural Nutrition for Your Life, Lori Fozo

    Excellent!  I loved that Jacqueline touched on being in the moment, going outside of her comfort zones and being realistic about the actuality of travel.  The work/stay accommodation in Lisbon was lovely!  The World…she is a changing 🙂

  10. Emma B

    Really impressive. Considering her vitamins probably took up a lot of space it is even more impressive. =) Would have been interesting to see some kind of list of what she is carrying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *