5 Minutes With Barbara Weibel

Happy New Year! Thank you for tuning in for another year of fun adventures and travel explorations.

For McCool Travel’s 56th travel profile and first of 2015, I am honored and pleased to present Barbara Weibel. Barbara is the owner/editor of Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel and a full-time traveler. Yes, permanently on the road, as in no fixed address since 2009.

Barbara Weibel’s bio:

After 36 years of working at jobs that paid the bills but brought no joy, Barbara Weibel realized she felt like the proverbial “hole in the donut” – solid on the outside but empty on the inside. In 2007 she walked away from corporate life to backpack around the world solo for six months. The travel bug bit so hard that Weibel subsequently opted for the life of a digital nomad; today she travels perpetually with no home base, sharing stories about the places she visits and the people she meets on her blog, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel.

Please read on and be inspired by Barbara Weibel!

Barbara Weibel, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

Barbara Weibel, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

Barbara Weibel


Chicago, Illinois

Always in my luggage…

Yoga mat, MacBook Pro, Canon DSLR with variety of lenses, Moleskin journal

3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

  1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
  2. Pokhara, Nepal
  3. Greece

A favorite travel memory is…

Watching the sun set over Machu Picchu in Peru, probably the most awe-inspiring ancient site I’ve ever visited

3 favorite travel brands…

  1. Eagle Creek luggage
  2., a great travel search engine
  3. Hmmm…guess I don’t have a third

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. I regularly stay in hostels, though in the last few years I am choosing private rooms more than dorms.
  2. Airfare is the most expensive part of what I do, so each year, after visiting my family in the States over the holidays, I use my frequent flier miles to book a one-way ticket to a continent of my choice. Then I make my way from country to country using inexpensive buses, ferries, and trains.
  3. Because I stay at hostels, I save money by making my own breakfast, and I haunt street food stalls or bakeries for many of my other meals to save money.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are…

  1. almost always travel solo because it allows for more opportunities to meet locals and immerse in their culture
  2. walk everywhere, usually for hours each day, just wandering wherever my nose leads me
  3. talk to everyone because every person has a story worth hearing

8 word (or less) travel mantra…

“Go with the flow”

My favorite non-travel website…

The Fabulous Geezer Sisters (, written by the incomparable Ruth Pennebaker (her sister got tired of writing long ago)

most memorable souvenir…

I am a perpetual traveler with no home base. Since I live out of a 25″ suitcase, I don’t buy any souvenirs.


Barbara Weibel, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

favorite cheap eat…

Street Food!!!!!

recent discovery…

I visited Greece for the first time this year and fell in love with the small town of Arillas on the island of Corfu

I am fortunate to have met…

The Dalai Lama

I would like to meet…

Pico Iyer

Thank you very much, Barbara. Dalai Lama, wow, that is amazing.

Follow Barbara Weibel on FacebookTwitter, Google+, InstagramPinterest, and her blog, Hole in the Donut

Check out McCool Travel’s previous profilesMcCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Dave Levart.

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26 Responses to “5 Minutes With Barbara Weibel”

  1. alison abbott January 11, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    Barbara is a great inspiration, I can’t imagine being on the road full time, but would love to give it a try. It’s admirable to see the way she manages to do it!

    • McCool Travel January 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

      Thank you for the note, Alison. Happy travels in 2015 and beyond.

  2. ambiancedaix January 8, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    Fascinating life choice – hard to imagine actually living that way! It’s challenging enough to live in two continents. Like Carole, I’d like to hear more about what it’s like to live like this, and the logistics of making it work – paying bills, receiving mail, etc.Thanks for sharing this interesting insight into a travelers life, and Happy New Year to the McCools!

    • McCool Travel January 8, 2015 at 8:50 am #

      Definitely fun and informative to read other’s stories. Happy 2015 to you also.

  3. We can identify in so many ways with Barbara’s story as we have been traveling since September of 2012 after deciding to ditch the “American Dream” and sell everything. Barbara’s right that there aren’t many retirees traveling long term with no home base. The lifestyle isn’t for everyone and it’ll never be mainstream but it’s extremely rewarding for us! Anita

    • McCool Travel January 8, 2015 at 8:47 am #

      Anita, thank you for the note. Perhaps our paths will cross on the road some day.

  4. Lisa Chavis January 7, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    We love to read these personal profiles! Thank you! I love Barbara’s photographs and stories from her blog, but it’s so nice to learn some of her inspirational tips as well.

    • McCool Travel January 7, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

      Thank you, Lisa, for the note. Tips and inspiration rock!

  5. Carole Terwilliger Meyers January 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    I’d love to hear more about what it is like for Barbara being a perpetual traveler.

  6. Marilyn Jones January 6, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    Such an interesting interview! I admire her for doing what she wants, when she wants and seeing the world along the way!!

  7. MoreTimeToTravel (@MoreTime2Travel) January 5, 2015 at 10:55 pm #

    Great interview! Loved learning more about Barbara~

    • McCool Travel January 6, 2015 at 8:23 am #

      Glad you liked it. Thank you for stopping by.

  8. The GypsyNesters January 5, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    It is always fun to see these profiles of other travelers Charles. Keep up the good work.

  9. betsywuebker January 5, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

    It is so nice to read that long-term nomadic travel on a budget isn’t restricted solely to the 20-something crowd. The trick of flying to a continent and then making your way around on land is a good one.

    • McCool Travel January 6, 2015 at 8:24 am #

      Indeed. Everyone has useful tips, that is why I like these profile spots.

  10. Donna Janke January 5, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    Great interview. Barbara is impressive. I’m not sure I could live full-time out of a suitcase.

  11. Donna Janke January 5, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    Great Interview. Barbara is amazing. I’m not sure I could live full-time out of a suitcase.

  12. noelmorata January 5, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    That was a wonderful interview and so nice to hear how it can be done successfully as a nomad by someone who is not under 20.

  13. Linda ~ Journey Jottings January 5, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Barbara is soooo inspiring!
    I love her travel philosophy –
    Walking to observe landscapes, and talking to gain cultural insights 🙂

    • McCool Travel January 5, 2015 at 9:47 am #

      Thank you for the nice note, Linda. Happy new year.


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