TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A woman traveling the world with just two suitcases and her husband is currently living at a Tampa hotel.
Libby Rome is the author of “Hotel Sweet Home.” She lives in hotels full time, exploring the world. Everything she owns travels with her in two carry-on size bags.
Rome started the journey to becoming a minimalist about a decade ago.
“I gave up about half my belongings and a couple years later, I gave up 90 percent of my belongings because it just felt so freeing. I felt like my life had a lot of chaos in it, and I was definitely stuck in that consumerism cycle,” Rome told 8 On Your Side’s Daisy Ruth.
“So I ended that. Then I got a job overseas in the UK,” she added. “And then that’s when I decided, well, because I had moved from the US to Canada with all my stuff – when you have just piles of boxes, it’s so hard to deal with all that.”
Rome has lived in most states around the US. She’s also lived in the Netherlands – where her daughter resides, as well as Panama and Central America.
“I actually show in my book how living in hotels is less expensive than owning a home or renting an apartment. I use a base salary of $60,000,” she explained. “You get to actually save some of that money and live in hotels and get to travel and that includes all your food as well.”
Rome works remotely in the IT consulting, corporate world. She says it’s becoming more of a trend to be able to work remotely and she’s capitalizing on that to travel the world.
But what does she actually keep with her?
“I basically have one of everything and for more professional things I have a couple of dresses. I have two pairs of shoes, some sneakers and some sandals and that’s it,” she said. “Just the very basics. Everything is in a carry-on bag so it’s nice and easy to travel with, and I have a laptop bag as well.”
Rome rents clothes if she needs anything else and uses Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing services to get around.
The seemingly glamorous lifestyle has not come without challenges, however. Two years ago, Rome was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“For a little while, I stopped traveling and I thought, ‘well, I’m sick and I’m not able to do this.’ But then I was motivated by other people who also have Type 1 and I got out there and I started traveling again and I’m very glad to be back in it,” Rome admitted. “I had started writing this book before that happened and I just picked it up last year again when I got back to my normal self. Just glad to be back and healthy again.”
While her favorite place she has traveled is Austria, she loves being in Tampa. Her husband’s mother lives here and they visit our area often.
“One of the things I love about Tampa is how incredibly friendly people are. In all of the world, I don’t think there’s any place that I’ve been where I can just walk down a sidewalk and everybody is just saying hi to each other,” Rome said. “I absolutely love that and I’ve actually taken that to other cities as well, trying to spread the cheer.”
Rome has some advice for those who want to start ridding themselves of chaos-causing clutter in their lives.
“I would really start questioning why you own things. If you don’t use them, maybe put them in a separate pile and go look at them again six months later and ask yourself again, ‘do I ever use this?’” she said. “I was a victim of thinking that I needed to keep things but really, it was the people around me that thought I needed to keep things.”
As for the future, Rome said she doesn’t see herself settling down in one place anytime soon and she would love to continue writing.
Rome will be holding a book signing and meet-and-greet at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel on Aug. 28 from 6 to 10 p.m., featuring a special cocktail and free champagne toast.