In today’s interview we speak with Martin and Lorena Cagnotti  two expat Argentinians who made the decision 13 years ago to move from their home town of Buenos Aires to the hubbub of Mexico City. After 7 years there they have now settled into the idyllic seaside community of Playa del Carmen where they are raising their two children through unschooling.

We met up with them to discuss living in one of the world’s largest cities, why they moved to Playa del Carmen and to talk about many of the myths and fears round home schooling and unschooling children and why they feel it has been the best thing for their development.

You can follow their adventures and ask them questions about living in Playa del Carmen at their website, http://thenomadicadventures.com . If you’re a family and into home exchanging with other families of similar age then check out their new home swapping website www.familyhomeexchange.com

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What I learned from speaking with Martin and Lorena:

  1. Mexico City has an unfair reputation as an unsafe place to visit. The Cagnotti’s loved their time there and had no issues with safety. Mexico is a city of extremes in wealth and poverty yet all seem to live together side by side with no ill feeling or tension.
  2. Playa del Carmen offers a quieter lifestyle than the busier party town of Cancun only an hour away. If you’re after a slower pace of life it’s certainly an option with an increasing number of expat families and retirees settling there. Like any holiday town it has it’s tourists areas and local areas and it’s important to get out and about and explore beyond the beaches if looking to shift there (if you want to know more about Cancun check out our interview with Jen and Jay Kerwood)
  3. Unschooling is not about leaving your children to run amuck. It is really about letting them discover what they are interested in then showing them how to learn the relevant skills to help them. By understanding why they need to learn and how to practically apply it, it gives their learning more purpose and gives them a reason to learn.
  4. Unschooling or home schooling doesn’t mean your children are outside the curriculum indefinitely. In Mexico they are still able to pass exams that allow them to tick the right boxes for further education and as Lainie Liberti also spoke about more and more colleges and universities are accepting children who have been raised in an unschooled environment.
  5. As Alyson Long and Andrew and Daryl Grant will also testify to unschooling or home schooling does not leave your children lacking for social interaction. The Cagnotti kids still attend classes in art and music and interact more often with other children who are being home schooled or unschooled than they would have done in the classroom environment. They love what unschooling has offered them and wouldn’t change what they are doing.

Check out this episode!

Not all expats move to cut costs and living the expat life doesn’t have to mean living on the smell of an oily rag. Today’s interviewees have transformed their lives from management consultants slogging the 9 to 5 and longer, to internet marketing experts who have built themselves a digital empire and given themselves the lifestyle and freedom they’ve always wanted.

In 2013 Andrew and Daryl Grant left the Gold Coast, Australia to enjoy the benefits of Bangkok, taking their two pre-teen children into a new way of living that an online business gives them the freedom to pursue.

Today we discuss with them why they love Bangkok, how home schooling their children has provided them with a better education than they would have received in school, and they share some of the secrets of how they built their own online businesses.

You can get some great advice on starting your own online business from their website resources at www.ourinternetsecrets.com

What I learned from speaking with Andrew and Daryl:

  1. Although Bangkok has a pretty good transportation system the Grants have mastered the art of driving locally and purchased a car. It has enabled them to travel much further than the BTS system would allow them and they feel they’ve got to know the city much better for it.
  2. Bangkok is interesting in the sense that it acts like a series of villages. The way locals interact with each other – and the Grants – displays the sort of small town feel that a city of this size normally wouldn’t have
  3. Daryl feels incredibly safe there, more so than in Australia, and has no qualms about allowing her 15 and 13 year old to travel around the city on their own
  4. They have found by home schooling the kids they get the opportunity to offer them so much more than a standard curriculum. Travel among other things is a big part of their education and the children have enjoyed some unique experiences they would never get in the classroom.
  5. They shared some great advice for building an online business including choosing a niche that you can be the expert in, setting up a business with continuity where you can be paid over and over for your services, and be persistent if you want results

Check out this episode!

Many people we interview have life changing moments that serve as the catalyst to their new life abroad. For Dalene and Pete Heck it was a series of tragedies including the death of Pete’s mother and Dalene’s sister passing in her early 30’s that prompted the two Alberta, Canada natives that it was time to make the most of the time they had on this planet. They had been avid travelers during the holidays they had taken but their corporate jobs served as a restriction to the real time and energy they wanted to put in.

In 2009 they hit the road starting in Bolivia and covering much of South America. Since then they have built one of the world’s biggest travel brands and work with many media companies helping them use the travel environment and travel bloggers to build awareness online.

You can check out their journey (and Pete’s wonderful pictures) at http://www.hecktictravels.com

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What I learned from speaking with Dalene:

  1. It’s interesting how Pete and Dalene don’t get tied into doing things that might make them more money but they don’t enjoy. They are aware that building their online business and being a travel blogger is a long term journey and that they need to do what is their passion so it doesn’t become a chore.
  2. Like Nat and Jodie these guys are also a fan of Nomador for finding housesitting gigs. They find it more personable and easier to deal with than some of the larger sites where it is harder to get good housesitting gigs. Again it’s about building a reputation and once you have it things get easier.
  3. Travel is about people. Their experience with the locals in Roatan where they were eventually asked to become god-parents to one of the local villagers ? that’s the sort of special experience that money can’t buy. If you want to know more about Roatan check out our interview with Rika Purdey
  4. The world is not what the media portray. Dalene was very passionate about her experiences of countries, particularly Turkey, where the kindness of locals can be vastly different to the way the world is seen in the news. ( For more on Turkey check out Leonard Durso’s interview)

Check out this episode!

Trying to stay healthy on the road can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare ? you’re pushed for time, you’re in a strange environment with no common reference points or places to eat and you’re at your most vulnerable when energy levels get low and stress might get high.

Today’s guest is Karen Wojciechowski who knows first-hand the difficulties of taking care of yourself as an expat traveler. She’s left her native habitat in Perth Australia with her husband and after a stint in Canada is now living the digital nomad lifestyle in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she has established her website www.realenergyfood.com offering advice and consultation on healthy eating.

We caught up with Karen where she talks about her experiences as an expat traveler and shares with us 7 tips for taking good care of yourself while you are traveling.

You’ll find Karen’s Facebook group where you can share advice and get tips at https://www.facebook.com/groups/realenergyfood

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What I learned from Karen’s interview:

  1. Drink lots of water. This may seem simple but is probably most people’s biggest let down. It can help reduce hunger pains and keep dehydration at bay. Particularly important if you have just changed climates from cold to warm and your body is still adjusting
  2. Choose your meal. Determine when you will be naughty or overindulge and be good for the rest of the day around it. Also don’t think if you make an unhealthy start you might as well write the day off by continuing to eat badly. You can soon balance the day out again
  3. Bring your own snacks. This not only helps with costs (especially in more expensive countries) but gives you that most important element of all control. If you can control your snacks you will resist the urge to grab anything on the go
  4. It doesn’t have to be long but just do something. Walking a new city you are in is not just a great way to see it but to get that exercise in. Karen has a step counter and can easily manage 30,000 strides while looking around. Keep your exercise shoes packed to make it easier and look out for some of those great 7 minute exercise apps that are available, and check out free fitness classes in new towns which might present different cultural experiences.
  5. Do meditation. This can help rebalance and destress you. Even just a few minutes helps. There are always travel downtime waiting for transport etc when you can manage a quick meditation. Again there are great apps that can help.
  6. Google healthy eating options before you go. It’s better to go armed with information that again gives you control then arriving uninformed and going in an unhealthy direction. Ask the locals who can also help you out when you arrive.
  7. Make health a priority. If you don’t focus on eating well and exercising each day it can soon get out of hand. If you make it a priority you have a better chance of getting the results you want and enjoying your travels more.

Check out this episode!

 

Today’s guests haven’t gone anywhere yet but they are about to! Di and Dave Taunton are only a few days away from their expat adventure. The catalyst for their nomadic lifestyle was a serious car accident Dave had 12 years ago. Re-evaluating life the two of them headed overseas with their children on a 5 year journey but 2 years in they decided they needed to return to give their children some normalcy.

Dave still felt he had unfinished business and with the kids now grown up he has persuaded Di that it’s time to hit the road again while they can.

Their journey is to tour the world without airplane using cruises and ferries to cross waterways. Starting in Bali they will work their way around much of Asia over the next 3-4 months before heading further afield.

We caught up with them to discuss the planning process to their trip and the fears concerns and excitement that they have about the journey ahead.

You can follow their fresh adventures at http://www.meanderingwanderers.com/

What I learned from Di and Dave’s interview:

  1. I loved Di’s spreadsheet idea of having somewhere to throw all the information that you learn about as you go. I’ve been guilty of seeing or reading about somewhere interesting then promptly forgetting about it so I’m now setting up my spreadsheet. Thanks Di!
  2. There is some great online resources. Di mentioned Trip Advisor of course but the Man in seat 61 is another great one if you are planning to travel by plane or ferry. There are other alternatives to flying and as the Mundells and Chuck and Lori Ros have found there are some great one way cruise deals that can be had for the price of an airfare.
  3. Getting advice from others is a great way to not only gather information but be inspired. Di and Dave credit many bloggers for the inspiration and advice they have provided.
  4. Planning is great in the early part of your trip, especially to give you confidence that you have a roof over your head. Many of our longer term travelers do this less as they go on and realize that short term plans can also work just as well. We’ve found hosting couchsurfers is interesting as most people contact you only a day or two prior to arriving. This seems strange for an over-planner like myself but I understand once you hit the road that you soon get used to it.
  5. Before deciding you can’t live the expat lifestyle ask yourself why and give yourself 5 reasons why you can’t do it. The barriers may not be as real as you think.

Check out this episode!

Warren and Betsy Talbot had always planned to travel but felt they had time on their side – until a heart attack by Betsy’s brother had them both ask the question – If we knew we wouldn’t make it to our 40th birthday what would we change right now?

In 2008 they began planning their escape from the normal 9 to 5 but realized that they could only move forward if they made some concrete decisions about how to simplify and unclutter their lives. They also realized their decision to travel the globe together was going to present fresh challenges – they had barely spent more than 10 days of their married life together on a trip before!

In 2010 they hit the road and haven’t looked back. After a few years of travel they settled into a slower pace of life basing themselves in the pretty village of Lubrin, Spain.

We met up via skype to discuss with them their adventures and why people allow mental and physical clutter to stop them becoming true travelers.

You’ll enjoy following their advice and tips at www.anunclutteredlife.com

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What I learned from talking with Warren and Betsy:

  1. Getting the clutter out of your life – both physical and mental is the first step to starting an expat or traveling lifestyle. They made progress towards their goal of true happiness when they decided what it was they wanted to eliminate from their lives.
  2. Set a deadline. These guys gave themselves 25 months to prepare for their new life. Acknowledge that getting rid of things won’t happen overnight and give yourself time to work through it – but no deadline will stop you from making regular progress.
  3. Make yourself accountable. Much like Tony and Stephenie Harrison these guys made it known what they planned to do which kept them on track to avoid egg on their faces.
  4. Don’t be afraid to eliminate friends with the clutter. Sometimes it can be the emotional baggage of old habits that can stop you from moving forward on your new journey. Realize that not everyone will understand or agree.
  5. Constant decision making is a key part of travel. Set some ground rules when traveling over what decisions are non- negotiable and who gets the final say – their system of taking turns making decisions seems to work well for them and eliminates unnecessary disagreement.

Check out this episode!

Shawna Sharee was first inspired to live a wandering lifestyle when she read the book Eat, Pray, Love. Like many she dreamed of travel but thought she needed a lot of money to do it.

It wasn’t until she joined an online program for woman entrepreneurs that she discovered there were others living the life she wanted ? and it was the motivation to change her own life. Despite a pay raise that threatened to tempt her away from her dream she set herself the task of ending a toxic relationship and visiting the world. Starting with no plan in mind (and still largely flying by the seat of her pants) she has journeyed through France and the Middle East to her current location of Chiang Mai Thailand where she has embraced the true digital lifestyle of the area.

We caught up with Shawna to discuss the impact the people she surrounded herself with have had on her decision and how positive thinking has allowed her to overcome any hurdles she encounters

You can follow her blog at www.shawnasharee.com and get her travel tips and hints at www.curioushappyfree.com

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What I learned from this interview:

  1. I loved Shawna’s saying that smiling is a universal language. Like many others we have spoken with she has been delighted by the kindness of strangers and it’s a timely reminder that everyone is an individual with a desire to be liked.
  2. Skyscanner is a favorite booking site for Shawna and we love it too. It gives you the flexibility to choose the cheapest flights to any location and on any date that most other sites don’t offer.
  3. You don’t need to commit long term to a place until you’ve tried it. Short term accommodation through AirBNB or Couchsurfing can be had and, although short term rentals can be dearer it will often give you the lay of the land before you commit
  4. Shawna is a great lesson in surrounding yourself with positive influences. She draws on so many mentors and coaches to provide her with the strength and belief to follow her dreams and it’s true that your journey is directly related to who you spend the most time with. She is a great believer in things working out so far they have!

Check out this episode!

 

Katya Sarmiento’s time in college certainly gave her a well-rounded education. She embarked on a number of options including air traffic control before realizing a life of travel and entrepreneurship was her true passion. She dropped out of college, quit her part-time job and started her own online business intent on building her future.

Through online contacts and Facebook groups she built relationships and helped others. In return they offered her a place to stay when she visited. She soon realized that the sharing world of digital entrepreneurs not only provided her with knowledge and friendship but new places to call home.

She now spends most of her time traversing America attending events and hooking up with her digital buddies. Her accommodation is largely free and she gets to experience new locations like a local.

We interviewed Katya back home in Miami over the holidays where we discussed her decision to leave traditional education, what life is like as a “digital homeless” and how we need to learn to accept the generosity of others or risk depriving them of the feelings of helping a fellow human.

You can find out more and check out Katya’s free online resources at her website http://www.reachandmakemillions.com

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What I learned from Katya:

  1. We forget that not accepting the generosity of others is taking away from their experience. In many cultures it is considered rude not to accept a gift of help or generosity yet we are often brought up to believe accepting help or charity is wrong. This is not the case.
  2. It’s important to understand that accepting without giving is not the answer. Katya built a network of online contacts happy to accommodate her not because she asked first but because she reached out and provided value from which offers then came. Sometimes value isn’t always exchanged directly but can come about by paying forward the generosity of others.
  3. The secret to building online success is still about connections. Even though being online can be seen as less personal than face to face the secret to any business is still the network of contacts and friends you can genuinely build
  4. Katya has benefitted from joining Facebook groups which create a real community and allow members to communicate far easier than normally social media channels. Linked In groups have also helped.

Check out this episode!

You might like the idea of an RV holiday for a couple of weeks – but how about living permanently in a van? For Drew and Brittany Neumann the decision to quit their L.A. apartment for a new life on the road was an easy one. Their adventure so far has taken them all over the U.S.A in the last 12 months and with their recent wedding behind them the adventurous couple are now heading for a new van life in the Europe.

We caught up with them in Florida making last minute wedding plans ahead of their next adventure and discovered their lifestyle, how van life has given them freedom without much of the everyday costs of living and how to find great places to camp for little or no money.

You can follow their journey, catch up with their social media channels and find out more about Brittany’s book Heartfully Healed at their website www.mrandmrsadventure.com

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What I learned from Drew and Brittany:

  1. Set your goals before you start. Like Kyle Brady and Olivia Gould these guys set some goals and timeframes around what they wanted which made it easier and clearer to reach their objective.
  2. As Brittany likes to say when one door closes another one opens. Their original plans of teaching English in South East Asia were modified by the opportunity to borrow a family members van and do some touring. A new opportunity was born and vanning became their new preferred alternative.
  3. Putting yourself out there creates chances in so many ways. Their chance meeting with friends of John Lee Dumas led to an invite to an interview on his podcast show, one of the largest on the internet (which will be airing soon) and the opportunity to lift their blog to a whole new level. Their chance meeting with a Canadian musician has led to him joining their wedding to perform a unique twist on their wedding song. These things don’t happen by chance!
  4. Vanning is the ultimate relationship test. It might not suit everybody but can be a great way to find out how your relationship copes with confined spaces.

 

Check out this episode!

For many people living in a place that is 99% Muslim, in a city of over 15 million people with Syria on your border and 2 million refugees pouring into your country – this would be well outside your comfort zone. For Leonard Durso it’s just another experience of life in Turkey.

After becoming dissatisfied with life in Academia (see Claudia Tavani interview) Leonard moved permanently to Turkey in 2010 and has come to love the people, the lifestyle and the affordability of the country known as the crossroads between Europe and Asia. In this fascinating interview he shares his experiences of Turkish hospitality, the affordability of his adopted home, and why he isn’t troubled by the recent events in his neighboring countries.

You can find out more about Leonards life at his blog http://leonarddurso.com

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What I learned from speaking with Leonard:

  1. Istanbul ranks higher on the affordability scale especially if living on the Asian side. Leonard has a 3 bedroom 150 sqm apartment with views of the Bosphorus for around $US600 per month – a snip compared to what the same would cost him back home
  2. Despite the proximity of unrest in neighboring Syria and the large number of refugees entering the country Leonard feels safe and at home. The people have been courteous and welcoming to him which has only served to raise the already high opinion he has of Turkish people before he moved
  3. Being an expat has enabled to understand what it’s like to be the “ other” – the minority in a majority country. It is a unique perspective that we should all learn to experience at some stage
  4. Leonard’ s experiences only serves to underline a common theme that comes through with many of the people we interview. That the view of the world that the media portrays doesn’t necessarily represent the truth and that we are guilty of grossly over generalizing about groups in society who are really no different in their wants, needs and priorities than we are.

Check out this episode!