Hi, I’m Ingrid. In 2016, I early retired from software engineering at 43 to devote myself to language learning, travel, writing, and photography.
This site is called Second-Half Travels because at my age I optimistically estimate I have half my life left. My goal is to dedicate this second half to intentionally pursuing the things I love.
Although I’ve visited 57 countries, my travel bucket list keeps growing. Top priorities right now are France and Quebec to improve my French, as well as Russia to do a Russian immersion when it’s possible to travel there again.
When not on the road, I hang my hat in the US desert Southwest. I love the low cost of living, relaxed pace of life, and Hispanic influence here.
Keep up with my adventures!
Language learning was always a passion, but I was only able to pursue it on a limited basis while working full-time. My goal is to learn a new language to at least conversational (B2) level every two years.
In the first two years of retirement, I focused on Spanish and reached a level of C1 (advanced). I adore Brazilian culture and am fascinated by Portugal, so Portuguese came next, followed by French. Russian is my current project in 2021.
I love combining language learning and travel. It’s the best way for me to forge a meaningful connection to the places I visit.
- Arabic in Cairo (1995, while backpacking through the Middle East)
- Spanish in Argentina and Uruguay (2010); Spain (2016); and Guanajuato (2016, 2017), Puebla (2017), and Merida (2018) in Mexico
- Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2019, 2020) and Lisbon, Portugal (2019)
What I’m Doing Now
Currently, I’m learning Russian. Post-pandemic, my goal is to attend Russian language school in St. Petersburg and then travel around Russia and Central Asia.
I’m also maintaining French. I’m planning to attend French language school in the south of France in early 2022.
I’m making the best of extended time at home with an online travel writing workshop with legendary editor Don George and creative writing classes with Gotham Writers Workshop. If you’re curious, read some of my pandemic poetry here.
History of the Blog
When I left my job in 2016, I started this blog to record my travels. For the first two years, virtually no one visited besides family and friends.
Competition is fierce for general travel blogs these days. I rarely write travel reports anymore because they are very time-consuming and receive little traffic compared to language-learning posts.
In 2020, the blog received an average of 164K monthly pageviews. Virtually all my traffic comes from Google searches. I don’t have many social media followers. It’s much easier to focus on SEO (search engine optimization) so readers find me through search.
All the images on this site were taken by me, unless noted otherwise. If you would like to use an image, please contact me and we can chat about it.
I used to lug around a heavy DSLR, but these days I just use a Google Pixel 2 phone camera — so much easier to travel with, and photos are backed up automatically to the cloud.
Learning Portuguese After Spanish – Philipe Brazuca
3 killer reasons to learn a language in retirement – Think Save Retire
Filming Locations in Morocco for The Time In Between TV Series – Maroc Mama
What’s With the Annoying Ads?
Ads are annoying — I couldn’t agree more. But consider that I spend thousands of hours creating content I hope will be useful to you. Running a blog also has many associated costs. Annual outlays for hosting, software, etc. often total more than US $1000.
To improve your experience, I keep ads at low density: 15 percent on desktop and 24 percent on mobile. Just to compare, print magazines have an average ad density of 50 percent!
There are many ways to make money from blogging. From the beginning, I decided against accepting sponsorship like pay or freebies. It’s important to me to avoid feeling any subtle pressure to put a too-positive spin on my reviews.
Fortunately, the fantastic Mediavine ad management company, much beloved among bloggers, provides enough income to cover all blogging costs as well as travel expenses.
Note that while I don’t accept pay or freebies, I may occasionally add affiliate links that generate a small commission at no extra cost to you, or referral links that offer you a benefit such as a credit. All affiliate and referral links are clearly marked as such. I only recommend businesses I love and use myself.