Nice to meet you.

Lateral Movements

Hi. I’m Lauren.

There is one question that has always made me cringe:

“So, what do you do? Back home, I mean.”

Officially…I’m a writer. But that’s what I do, not who I am. I graduated from Indiana University in 2003, and I’ve been a working, writing traveler ever since.

But you can’t tell people that. It confuses them.

So I usually say, “Well, at the moment I’m [insert current job here], but I’ve got a master’s in travel writing.”

After that, people usually assume I want to write for Lonely Planet (I don’t) and tell me how lucky I am to travel so much. Also they look at me suspiciously, like they don’t believe travel writing can be a real course of study (it is).

Here’s the thing, though: luck has nothing to do with it. What they don’t know is that my post-university life has been a series of lateral movements, both professionally and geographically.

Step right up, it’s totally not rigged. Totally.

I’ve had more than 30 jobs in 6 countries, including:

After I finished my master’s in 2008, I had a mini-panic attack. I had stood at the bottom of countless career ladders without ever getting past the first rung. Jack of all trades, master of none. That was me. I started doing frantic internet research, trying to decide where I wanted to live and what I wanted to be.

Then I thought, wait a minute.

Usually, the story goes like this: graduate college, get a job you don’t really like, slog away for years, have an epiphany and quit said job, embark on life-changing travels.

I went straight from graduate college to life-changing travels. Why backpedal now?

My life is exactly what I want it to be. I don’t need to keep up with you, Joneses.

So I kept doing what I was doing – applying for working holiday visas and spending a few months (years, whatever) in different locations around the world. A series of events brought me to Newcastle, Australia, where I’m using my experience in the communications industry to create an unconventional – and exciting – sort of life.

And you know what? You can do it, too.

That’s what Lateral Movements is about: living a life that’s defined by the way you live, not just your job title.


The Evolution of Lateral Movements

Blogabout EuropeLateral Movements originally started in 2008 as Blogabout Europe. While studying travel writing at London’s Kingston University, I got a summer internship with Busabout Europe. Many of the posts from the Traveling UK & Europe category are from that experience.

Blogabout Europe also included a trip to Scotland with Haggis Adventures and a Busabout-sponsored trip to Oktoberfest (It was such a difficult job).

As a result of Blogabout, I met Jared, an irresistible Australian, in Bruges (as you do) and eventually moved to Australia. In 2010, we moved to South Korea to work for EPIK (English Program In Korea) as English teachers. At this point, the title ‘Blogabout Europe’ became redundant and was changed to ‘EPIK Journey’.

That name didn’t seem right, either – the scope was too narrow, and was outdated as of August 2012. Also, it was cheesy. So I bought the domain name ‘Lateral Movements’ and started my own self-hosted WordPress blog.

And here it is.

Currently, I’m in Newcastle, Australia, with my Aussie fiancé, setting up shop and maybe – just maybe – putting down some new roots.

And GUESS WHAT? You can follow me all over the web:

Twitter: @LateralMovement



RSS Feed

email: lauren@lateralmovements.com



27 Responses to “About”

  1. Congratulations on Lateral Movements! You are living the life you love and I salute you.
    Just reread the post from September 29, 2010 about Gram. What wonderful memories. I am striving to give my grand kids memories, too.
    Aunt Karen

    • Thank you! I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since that post. The memories are still as strong as ever. Wonder if any of the younger generation have inherited Gramma’s stubborn streak?

  2. Lateral Movements is a great name and idea for your blog. Keep up the good work.

  3. You’ve always been a form of inspiration to me. Especially now when I’m about to be in between jobs and the post graduation pressures of deciding on a career so I can apply for the “right” graduate program to best suit my goals that may change quicker than Facebook’s layout. Whenever I find the outside world to be filled with sound and fury, I remind myself that my ultimate, unchangeable goal is happiness. And reading about your adventures always make me happy. So, please, never stop doing what you’re doing. You’re making a world of a difference whether you’re aware of it or not.

    • Ryan! Thanks so much for the kind comments. You are so right – if you’re not happy, something needs to change. It’s that simple, isn’t it? I think that blogging or travel writing in some form will be one of the few constants in my life, so it’s really nice to get such positive feedback on what I’m doing. Good luck with your next step, whatever it may be.

  4. I found your site while looking for information on a 462 visa. I saw that you have used a 416 Special Program visa for Australia. Are you able to tell me if you can be eligible for a 462 if you’ve had a 416? Thank you.

    • Hi Christina – I had a 416 visa in 2004-2005, then returned on a 462 for 2008-2009. The first time I went through BUNAC, the second time I applied directly through the Australian immigration website. I didn’t have any issues with eligibility, but I’d check with Australian immigration to be sure. Good luck!

  5. People don’t like when they can’t pigeon hole you into a career box. It means you’re not so simple, not so plain, and not so easy to understand. I find it now – after not having a “proper” job since November 2010, that when I met people and they ask what I do and I say I travel, they get a little bit uncomfortable.

    Sorry that the 9-5 working away until I retire doesn’t appeal to me! Actually, I’m not sorry :-P

    Love your site. Looks like you’ve been on quite an adventure. Will keep following you (so I can get tempted by South America) x

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I know what you mean – this lifestyle is confusing and takes a while to process when you tell people about it for the first time. Here’s to not having a ‘proper’ job!

  6. i just finished the book “room” by emma donoghue that i bought at what the book in itaewon, seoul. in the book it said: “where did you find this book? http://www.lateralmovements.com


  7. Just wanted to say hi to a fellow expat! Reading your story felt so similar to mine. I’ve been living and working abroad since 18 and after I graduated I moved to Singapore, and now Paris. I thought I had some unique jobs, but yours are even more interesting! Looking forward to reading more :)

    • Thanks for stopping by! I had a look at your blog, and you’ve had some pretty interesting jobs yourself. I’m incredibly jealous that you’re in Paris for a year! (I bet people say that all the time.) Love your photos too.

  8. Cool site, I would love to travel across the entire world one day!

  9. Great philosophy! In fact, do you mind if I steal your about page? I’ve been too lazy to write mine and aside from the specific jobs and meeting a guy in Bruges, it could apply to me.

    • Look forward to reading more on your blog! I love following people with similar stories to mine.
      And I’m sure we could work out a fee for using the about page ;)

  10. I can sooo relate to this! I completely dread that question and often feel like I need to give an answer that makes other people feel comfortable. An explanation that somehow fits into a box. Recently I’ve began simply answering with: “Oh, I just travel.” I admire your attitude. It’s true that we are so much more than what we do to earn money. Here’s to living the nomadic life and being proud of it! :)

    • Yes! That’s the problem – trying to make other people feel comfortable. Now, I just say, “I freelance.” Finally, it’s actually true, and it usually confuses people into silence.

  11. This is so refreshing to see! I’ve met a soul sister! I always maintain it’s best to be a jack of all trades…and I have to say, the Western nations ie: UK (where I’m from) and U.S. get mightly confused if you say you haven’t been to University or (as in my case) went and did my first degree in my 30′s. “Oh…” is the usual comment I receive…almost as if how DARE I lead an unconventional life!

    Follow my adventures of a gal in her late 30′s in Greece on http://www.leavingcairo.com

    • I found your comment! It got caught in spam but has since been rescued. I think more and more people are coming around to the idea of an unconventional life, but it’s definitely still a confusing concept. Despite a minor freakout in my late 20s about needing a career and stability, I don’t regret a second of it!

  12. Hi Lauren! I’m so excited that I found your blog – I can tell that I’ll definitely learn a lot from you. I’m preparing for my big departure next June/July, and I love coming across blogs like yours to be inspired by and also to learn from.

    I will be following along with you.

    Marissa – TinyPilgrim


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