About to turn forty, Carlos Peñalba quits his senior position at a financial software firm in New York City to travel through Asia for a year. Although his main motive is to explore a continent almost unknown to him, he also intends to use his journey to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer and a photographer.

Carlos’s original plan would take him from Nepal to Japan, but unexpected circumstances force him to alter his route and extend his adventure to eighteen months. After trekking high peaks, reaching remote cultures, having some interesting encounters and taking up vipassana meditation, the end of his long journey brings him (where he least expects it) something much more important than a new career.

The Year I Became a Nomad is a travel memoir of two journeys: Carlos’s physical and philosophical voyage to the East, as well as his personal quest to attain a new and fulfilling life.

  • Perfect for the armchair traveler

    Goodreads Review
  • Entertaining

    Vivian & Romer
    Amazon.co.uk Reviews
  • Great Travel Account

    Amazon Review

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In dreams begin responsibilities.” – W. B. Yeats


Carlos Peñalba was born in San Sebastian (Spain) and has a degree in Business Administration. He moved to London in 1996 where he worked as a waiter while he studied English at Westminster College. Once his business English was good enough, he joined a financial software firm as a researcher on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and soon he became the Research Manager.

In 2004 his company asked him for a temporary transfer to their New York office. Eager to expand his horizons, Carlos didn’t hesitate to make the move. Once settled, he decided to stay in the Big Apple where he was appointed Product Director and later on Director of Global Operations. 

In 2009, in the midst of a worldwide financial crisis, Carlos quit his job to travel through Asia and become a writer and a photographer. His initial plan of a full year exploring mostly the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia finally turned into an 18-month adventure.

At the end of his long journey through Asia, he started the huge task of starting his career as a freelance photographer, as well as writing a travel memoir about his adventure (The Year I Became a Nomad). His photographs have been published by, amongst others, National Geographic Traveler, Condé Nast Traveler, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Financial Times, Macmillan Publishers, and Garuda Indonesia. You can see his travel photography on www.carlospenalbaphotography.com

Since he has been back from Asia, he has continued to be a nomad, living in different places like New York, San Sebastian, Madrid, and La Coruña.


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