Not many people are willing to leave suburbia, head for the jungle and run a business that gives all its profits away, but todays guests are the exception to the rule. Andrej and Karen Brummer said goodbye to two well paying jobs and left their western lifestyle to head for Luang Namtha , Laos 4 years ago. They swapped their big city lifestyle for an environment of jungles and temples on the edge of the Thailand border and have become an important member of their local community thanks to their western style café that not only provides training in hospitality and English for the local staff but helps fund the nearby schools in the town in which they live.

We caught up with Dre and Karen and discovered what made them choose Laos as the place they wanted to spend their life, how the jungle lifestyle has changed their purpose in life and how you can use your own unique skills to enjoy an authentic lifestyle experience for free.

If you enjoy their interview you can catch up with them both at http://www.swapworkfortravel.com where they help those wanting to combine work and travel while staying for free or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/swapworkfortravel    

Andrej enjoying a swim Queueing for lent in Laos

What I learned from Dre and Karens interview:

1.    Its good to spend time somewhere before you commit. Laos is a big jump for many people and is not a decision that should be made lightly. Karen and Andrej spent quite a bit of time there, visiting more than once before they made their final decision to shift.

2.    You can have the best of both worlds. Although they are living near a jungle in Laos they are only just across the border from the relative civilization of Thailand. This gives them the chance to return to a less primitive lifestyle and also access to better quality healthcare – something that’s not so easily available in Laos. Plus they can (and have) easily traveled through much of South East Asia from their base

3.    Although Laos can be described as a step back in time these guys aren’t roughing it. They live in a comfortable home, have access to western food and pretty reliable internet. Laos is one of the most affordable places in Asia (try less than $2000 per annum for a 4 bedroom home!) and is a country with virtually no crime – far safer than anywhere in the west that’s for sure!

Check out this episode!

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  • Inspiring episode! They are expat social entrepreneurs — awesome.

    And had never considered Laos before this episode.

    Thank you Tony and team for your great work.

    Tony — keep up the great interviewing. I love how practical you are with the questions. I have explored more than 100 different podcasts (and in fact, put my favorite *episodes* here — https://medium.com/@georgekao/my-favorite-podcast-episodes-bf1db024bf37 ) and yours is one of my favorites. It’s no surprise you’re getting such good response already.

    • tony argyle

      Thanks George, so glad you’re enjoying the show

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