About

Ingrid at a tapas bar in Madrid, Spain

At a tapas bar in Madrid

Hi, I’m Ingrid. In 2016, I took early retirement from software engineering at age 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 been to more than 55 countries, my list of places to visit keeps getting longer. Top priorities at the moment are Brazil and Portugal to support my Portuguese learning goal, as well as Mexico, South America, and Spain to continue maintaining Spanish.

At the Cascada de Texolo, Veracruz, Mexico

At the Cascada de Texolo, Veracruz, Mexico

When not traveling, I hang my hat in the US desert Southwest. I love the low cost of living, relaxed pace of life, and Hispanic influence there.

Keep up with my adventures!

Language Learning

Language learning has always been 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 really enjoy Brazilian culture and am fascinated by Portugal, so Portuguese is my current 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. I’ve studied Arabic in Cairo and Spanish in Argentina; Uruguay; Spain; and GuanajuatoPuebla, and Merida in Mexico.

In April and May of 2019, I spent six weeks in Brazil learning Portuguese. Later this year, I turned to the challenge of European Portuguese, and based myself in Lisbon, Portugal for five weeks taking Portuguese classes at a language school. Lisbon is an incredible city justifiably popular with digital nomads and international retirees (review to come).

Next year, 2020, I’ll be returning to Brazil for more language study. After that, I’ll be ready for the next language-learning project… Restez à l’écoute (stay tuned)!

Photography

Old Town Vilnius, Lithuania

Old Town Vilnius, Lithuania

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.

My photos have appeared on sites like AfarUSA TodayBirdNote, and OutsideFollow me on Instagram or see my photos on Flickr.

Featured In

Tongue taco, Mexico City food tour

Tongue taco, Mexico City food tour

3 killer reasons to learn a language in retirement (guest post) – Think Save Retire
Filming Locations in Morocco for The Time In Between TV Series (guest post) – Maroc Mama
Food tours around the world – Siddharth and Shruti

What’s With the Annoying Ads?

Ads are annoying — I couldn’t agree more. But consider that I spend thousands of hours creating content that 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. Nothing against other bloggers who do this, but my personal preference is to avoid feeling any subtle pressure to put a too-positive spin on my reviews.

Fortunately, the awesome 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 when they offer my readers 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.