Tess' first book “Leap: Leaving A Job With No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want” was published in August 2015 by Random House Harmony. For more information on the book, go here.

Tess Untethered | About Tess Vigeland
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About Tess Vigeland

The Latest Version:

Journalist, Author, Digital Nomad... Next???

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Welcome to Tess Untethered! This website went up in early 2016, shortly after I hit the reset button on my life. The previous year was an enormous one for me. I wrote a book (if you’re looking for more information on that, please head here), ended my marriage, sold the house I’d lived in for 14 years and a good chunk of the contents therein, and moved abroad to a place I’d never been and where I knew not one single soul.


I had my dream job in broadcast journalism for 20 years. For a good chunk of that, I anchored a national radio show about personal finance for public broadcasting’s Marketplace. For various reasons, I quit that job in the fall of 2012 without having Plan B lined up, or even any idea what I wanted to do next. In July of 2013, I gave a speech about that experience to an auditorium of nearly 3,000 strangers and an editor from a major publishing house was in the audience and 11 days later I landed a book deal with Random House. That book is now out in the world, and you can find it here! (And check out the audiobook, narrated by yours truly.)

Leap by Tess VigelandIf you want even more backstory, there’s plenty in the book, or on this site. But all of that honestly seems like a lifetime ago. In December of 2015, I left American shores and moved to Southeast Asia. Since then, I’ve lived in Saigon and Bangkok (where I currently reside), and traveled to and explored 17 countries: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), Myanmar, Thailand, Bhutan, Nepal, India, and most recently, Jordan. It’s been the journey of a lifetime, and I’m working to find ways to bankroll myself so I don’t have to end it. I love living abroad, and am not sure I’ll ever be ready to come “home.” We’ll see what happens!


In addition to my 20 years in radio, I’ve written and reported for The New York Times, The Guardian, and numerous other publications, and I’ve done voiceover and emcee work, keynote speaking, and onstage interviews at conferences. But now – I’m traveling, and freelancing, and finding the stories I want to tell. You’ll see my heart and soul in many places on this site, something you’re not always allowed to show in “traditional” journalism. When the money runs out, I’ll probably go back. Who knows.

Please get in touch and say hi. There’s nothing I love more than hearing from former listeners and others who want to share their stories or talk about this experience. There’s a cool button on the “travel advice” page where you can leave me a voicemail! Send me your questions about expat life and what it’s like to upend what you thought life was supposed to look like! I’ve gotten really good at that. I don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter anymore, but I’m active on Instagram and Facebook – please send me a friend request on my personal page, because I would like to be friends, OR you also have the option of “following” me on that page to see just my not-as-personal, public posts. You can also subscribe to my (very, very) occasional newsletter via this site.

Where are YOU going next? Maybe I’ll see you there…


me and elephants 2

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka, January 2016

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