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 Brazil and Portugal to support my Portuguese learning goal, as well as Mexico, South America, and Spain to maintain my Spanish.
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, my focus was Spanish, and I reached a level of C1 (advanced). I adore Brazilian culture and am fascinated by Portugal, so Portuguese was my next learning project.
I love combining language learning and travel. For me it’s been the best way 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 Up To Now
Currently in 2020, I’m learning French. My plan was to attend a language school in Quebec this summer, but travel restrictions made that impossible When we can travel again, I’ll do an immersion in Quebec or France.
In the meantime, I’m creating an immersion environment chez moi with the amazing plethora of online resources we’re blessed with nowadays. See the methods I’m using.
I’m also making the best of extended time at home with an online creative writing class with the Gotham Writers Workshop.
In October 2020 I planned to be in Cholula, Mexico for the Polyglot Conference, which brings together language lovers from around the world for a week-long series of events. The conference has now gone virtual. I hope you’ll join us there.
History of the Blog
When I retired in January 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 hardly write travel reports anymore because they are very time-consuming and receive little traffic compared to language learning posts.
As of April 2020, the blog receives 233K 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. (2018 blog outlays totaled more than US$1100.)
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.