About

Ingrid at a tapas bar in Madrid, Spain

At a tapas bar in Madrid

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.

At the Cascada de Texolo, Veracruz, Mexico

At the Cascada de Texolo, Veracruz, Mexico

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

Ingrid at Pedra do Telégrafo, Rio de Janeiro

Language learning (and travel) often take you out of your comfort zone. Pedra do Telégrafo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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 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:

In 2020 I’m returning to Brazil for more Portuguese classes. After that, I’ll tackle my next language-learning project, French, with language study in beautiful Québec City, Canada.

In October 2020 I’ll be in Cholula, Mexico for the Polyglot Conference and LangFest, which are joining forces this year. If you’ll be there, be sure to say hola.

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.

Traffic started to pick up with my posts on Spanish learning resources and Spanish study in Mexico.

Competition is fierce for general travel blogs these days. I hardly write travel reports anymore because they are very time-consuming and receive very little traffic compared to language learning posts.

As of January 2020, the blog receives 141,000 monthly pageviews. Virtually all my traffic comes from Google searches. I don’t have a lot of social media followers. It’s much easier to focus on SEO (search engine optimization) so my readers find me through search.

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 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 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.