Part of the enjoyment of another countries culture is exploring the food options. You can discover so much about a country and really discover the rich flavors that are available in each region that are unique to the area.

Two travelers on a quest to uncover the world’s finest foods are Rosemary Kimani and Claire Rouger. The couple left their corporate positions in the U.S. in August 2015 and their journey so far has helped them find the finer detail of food in Uruquay, Argentina and now Chile where we caught up with them in downtown Santiago.

You can check out their tips and free guides at their blog http://authenticfoodquest.com

Rosemary Kimani and Claire Rouger - Authentic Food Quest Rosemary Kimani and Claire Rouger - Authentic Food Quest

What I learned from speaking with Rosemary and Claire:

  1. Air BNB can provide you not only with accommodation but a chance to have locals show you their local knowledge
  2. Be wary of inflation in Argentina – they are noticing prices change while they were there and found many costs to be considerably higher than travel books and blogs had stated at an earlier time. They are using trail wallet and are keeping costs to around $US2500 per month so far
  3. One of the best ways to discover local food is to visit the local food market when first arriving in town and you will see what’s available. Talk to the stall owners as they will be eager to share their local delicacies with you
  4. Be aware of eating safely on the road. They recommend checking that the cashier handling is separate to the food preparation, that the stall is kept busy and food is turned over, and they carry their own utensil (fork at one end spoon at the other) if they are concerned about utensil hygiene.
  5. Like Chris Stevens these guys have opened a Charles Schwab account. You can use any ATM anywhere and Schwab will reimburse you the other banks fees. This can add up if making frequent withdrawals.

Check out this episode!

If you’re a stressed out business owner working 60-80 hour weeks and dreaming of a life of travel take heart – so was Nicole Connolly. The former Brisbanite ran a successful business but like many we interview, she felt something was missing from her life – mainly travel and the freedom to enjoy herself.

She set out 4 years ago on an adventure with her husband Mike, initially relying on savings but soon built herself an online business helping others – firstly with their social media, but more recently teaching others to build a successful online business like the one she now has.

We caught up with Nicole in the Bahamas where she shares her journey and provides the step by step process to starting an online business yourself.

You can check out Nicole’s story at www.suitcasestories.com or find out how to build your own online business at http://quitthecubicle.co/details

 Bahamas Barbados

What I learned from Nicole:

  1. Imagine the worst that can happen and if you can handle it then go ahead! In Nicole’s case she always believed that if the travel lifestyle didn’t work out she could always head for home again
  2. You don’t need higher education to be successful. Nicole is proof of that having left secondary school after only two years. She has taught herself through course and learnings what she needs to know rather than relying on “recognized” education.
  3. It’s important to set your goals before deciding what business is right for you. Do you want to be location independent? Is the money important or the lifestyle? Making these decisions can help avoid pain later if you’ve gone down a path that doesn’t match your objectives.

Check out this episode!

Would you buy a winery if you knew nothing about wine? What about if there was no one there who could show you and the winery had been in liquidation? Add to it the fact that you were moving to a strange country where you weren’t fluent in the language and had to deal with local business practices that can be challenging and it sounds like a recipe for disaster!

10 years on from their move to France expat South Africans Caro and Sean Feely have developed a working winery and are loving life in the Saussignac region, around an hour from Bordeaux.

Caro joined us to discuss life in France, the challenges of starting a new business in an industry you’ve never been involved in and how the recent tragedy in Paris has affected the people of France.

You can find out more about Feely Wines and Caro’s books at www.feelywines.com

Caro Feely - Feely Wines Caro Feely - Feely Wines

What I learned from speaking with Caro:

  1. Sometimes following your passion does work out. Despite the odds against them these two have made their passion work and are now grateful for the new life they have.
  2. Aren’t neighbors wonderful! Without the support of surrounding wine growers (who might be viewed as competition) Caro and Sean would probably never have succeeded with their venture
  3. Sean and Caro were able to use their Irish residency as a back door to France. It is relatively easy to become an Irish citizen if descended from one. This is a second passport option I’m exploring myself as it provides easy long term access to much of Europe. I’ll be sharing my experiences of applying for my Irish passport in an upcoming issue of The Expat Chat magazine.

Check out this episode!

One of the first steps in any journey to become an expat is getting rid of the clutter – be it physical or mental – that is part and parcel of any home and any life.

The first step on this journey is having clarity in what you want and what you need in order to achieve it, then eliminating the surplus that sucks your time and energy; be it items, issues or relationships.

Today via livestream Blab we speak with Warren and Betsy Talbot of www.anunclutteredlife.com about their journey towards an uncluttered life from their former stressed corporate lifestyles, how to focus on what you should eliminate from your life and the simple steps to saying no that can release you from the guilt that others might put upon you (or you upon yourself)

If you’re seeking more clarity and less clutter in your life I urge you to check out their Clarity Clinic program at http://clarityclinic.anunclutteredlife.com/ref/12/

If you’d like to join our live stream interviews where you can ask questions via your keyboard check out our page at https://blab.im/theexpatchat and follow us for updates on future livestream interviews.

Great wall of China Warren and Betsy Married with luggage Warren and Betsy Talbot Warren and Betsy

What I learned from Warren and Betsy:

  1. Uncluttering your life doesn’t have to mean minimalism. Each person’s definition is different and if having a big house is still part of your plans don’t feel you need to give up on it. Warren doesn’t have a mobile – this is part of their definition but doesn’t have to be yours. Do what works for you.
  2. Happiness is not about adding more to your life but taking things away. We all have habits we have created, many of which don’t serve us but we still do them. Even taking little steps can be a good start. Change the way you go to work for example. Question everything you do, everything you spend and everyone you deal with and whether they are there from habit or there on merit.
  3. I love their way of saying No! Don’t say “sure” if someone asks a favor until you know what you are getting yourself into. Be clear in saying no but add “this time” after it so you’re not completely closing the door – and offer an alternative solution that works for you and still helps keep the other party happy

Check out this episode!

For Karen McCann and her husband the prospect of early retirement left them feeling a little bored. They had always been avid travelers and a visit to Seville in Spain convinced them that it would be the perfect place to start a new life.

They moved with their dog in 2004 and have loved life there ever since. Karen’s past career as a journalist has led her on to becoming a successful travel writer with two of her travel books already achieving No 1 status on Amazon. The couples experiments in travel – including a nomadic journey through the railways of Europe and a journey they made completely without luggage have allowed them to embrace their new lifestyle and do things they would never have done back home.

We caught up with Karen to discuss the process of moving, life in Seville and how becoming an expat allows you the freedom to truly enjoy yourself.

You’ll find details of Karen’s books and her blog at her website http://www.enjoylivingabroad.com

Karen McCann - Enjoy Living Abroad Karen McCann - Enjoy Living Abroad

What I learned from Karen’s interview:

  1. Be prepared for paperwork if moving to Spain. They are experts in it! The McCanns have to regularly renew their visas and do find that things may differ between what the internet tells them and what they might find out when they get to the consulate. This is the Spanish way of life and you need to embrace it. Make sure you start your visa process in your own country before leaving to allow more time
  2. Be willing to try before you buy into it permanently. The McCanns rented their Cleveland home for six months to make sure they were happy in Seville before returning to sell up. Being clear on what you want is important as you will feel some emotional pull during the process and you need to keep reminding yourself of your objective.
  3. It’s not difficult to relocate pets. The McCanns were able to move their dog reasonably easily with them but be conscious of their new environment and whether it is a large contrast to what they are used to and if they will be happy there.
  4. Spain is a step back to a more simpler time. Siestas are still the way in the southern regions and house calls by doctors are still quite common! The Spanish love the family environment and for many westerners moving it’s the return to the simpler life that often brings back memories and has the greatest appeal.
  5. Don’t overpack! I love the experiments these guys do and their journey without luggage sounds like fun. It’s interesting to know however that not having nightwear is the one thing that a luggage-less traveler will struggle without!
  6. For about life in Spain check out our interviews with Molly Piccavey and Alan and Heidi Wagoner

Check out this episode!

In the search for the next travel destination many names and places are thrown around. From Asia to South America various publications try and pick the next place that people should start visiting.

In today’s interview we talk with well-known travel blogger Barbara Weibel about Eastern Europe, an area often left off the travel radar. We talk about her favorite city Budapest and one of her favorite countries Croatia, but we also explore a few places often neglected in travel discussions including Albania, Rumania and Bulgaria to name a few.

Barbara joins us for our first live stream video interview to discuss these countries. You can follow her blog at www.holeinthedonut.com or subscribe to join our next live stream chat at https://blab.im/theexpatchat

Balkan-Map Bosnia river Bosnia-Herzegovina-Sarajevo-Miris-Dunja-Coffee-Shop-in-Old-Town

 What I learned from talking to Barbara:

  1. Parts of Eastern Europe still lack some of the infrastructure of it’s western cousin but it doesn’t mean it lacks for culture or sophistication. Concerts and performances are available for cents on the dollar and cities like Budapest allow you to enjoy Michelin star restaurants for well under $US100.
  2. Barbara is able to average around $US30 per day living costs in Eastern Europe, far more affordable than Western Europe. Apartments in cities like Budapest can be had for under $US400 and many cities offer free walking tours from locals who can tell you the best things to see and do.
  3. Barbara recommends bus travel in Eastern Europe. Unlike the west train travel is archaic, slow and unhygienic. Buses travel quicker are more comfortable and often offer free wifi.
  4. Talking to locals will enhance your travel experience. Even if you’re staying in top hotels and taking tours step outside the normal boundaries and see who you can meet. Some of Barbara’s best experiences have come from the generosity of strangers who often go out of their way to share the true culture of their communities.

Check out this episode!

Many of our interviewees have become accidental permanent nomads, starting off on a gap year with no plans then deciding to become a fulltime traveler. The next issue is always then income – how to fund the new lifestyle in place.

Chris Stevens had completed a degree on photography back in England before he decided to head away. While traveling through Australia he met up with a guy who had built a successful travel blog who showed Chris how he could build his own online business. He had already trained as a surf instructor and had been earning an income doing that while traveling around. With the benefit of his photography training, surfing instructions and his new established blog Chris was soon able to sustain himself in a variety of ways on the road.

We caught up with him in Vietnam where he shared his story of travel, how he measures his costs and the different ways he can make a living while on the road.

You’ll find Chris at http://www.epicgapyear.com   http://www.backpackerbanter.com

Chris Stevens - Backpacker Banter Chris Stevens - Backpacker Banter

What I learned from talking to Chris:

  1. Be cheeky. Chris has established some good brand relationships just by asking, which can not only provide an income source but some free travel opportunities as well. As he says they can only say no.
  2. He is meticulous in measuring costs and like Norbert Figueroa uses the Trail Wallet app to measure expenses. He manages to balance out costs between two of his more favored destinations – Asia and Australia. His costs for 2014 averaged out at $US9000 for the year ignoring airfares but even with flights he can generally stay under $US40 per day which is his target.
  3. Having multiple bank accounts and payment options is important as is diversifying his income. Chris has both British and Australian bank accounts meaning he’s not vulnerable or reliant on one place. He’s not a big fan of credit cards but receives a lot of his online income via Paypal which he can then transfer to a debit cash card for use abroad. Americans traveling can take advantage of having a Charles Schwab account which makes travel easier.
  4. If setting up a travel blog be patient. You don’t always get immediate results and unfortunately many throw the towel in before things start to kick in.

Check out this episode!

Back in 2007 Ian Clavis was working in IT in London. The Liverpool native was becoming tired and bored with city life in England and when a friend suggested he could get a position teaching English in China Ian jumped at the chance.

7 years on Ian has made a home for himself in Chengdu, China a large city of over 10 million people near the border with Tibet where he has a Chinese wife and the recent addition of a young son.

I caught up with Ian to discuss life as an expat in China and were surprised to find a country that was far more lenient with foreigners than what I had expected.

If you’re interested in moving to China check out Ian’s blog at https://ianclavis.wordpress.com or you can listen to his podcast where he offers advice on living in China at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/tic-china/id1048429938

Ian Clavis Ian Clavis

What I learned from Ian:

  1. China is more relaxed with westerners than I had expected. Ian is pretty much free to do what he likes there and doesn’t encounter any issues with the authorities. Many people work in China without the appropriate visas but seem to encounter few problems – especially when working online. There are internet restrictions but like Josh Cahill Ian is able to work around that with a VPN.
  2. Recent changes to travel visas now mean that Australians and US citizens can effectively stay 10 years allowing for leaving the country every 90 days. A quick trip to Hong Kong and back is usually enough to satisfy these requirements.
  3. Health care is poor with a shortage of resources. Fortunately private health is good and very affordable. The recent birth of Ian’s son, including 12 months of follow up care only cost $US3000 in total.
  4. Care should be taken when purchasing property. If buying new most places come unfinished and the electrics would need to be redone. Expect to have to finish it off yourself as the standard and pride in workmanship sounds close to non-existent! That said foreigners are now able to buy properties and take out mortgages directly.

Check out this episode!

In 2008 Tomislav Perko had it all. A successful stockbroking career in his home town of Zagreb, Croatia saw him eating in fine restaurants, wearing fine suits and living the good life. It was perfect – until the financial crisis saw him lose his and his families investments and left him deeply in debt.

He had been offering couchsurfing space to travelers including Josh Cahill and their inspiring stories of traveling for little or no cost got him thinking – could he travel the world with no money?

Eventually he took the plunge heading off on a 5 year odyssey which included sailing the Indian Ocean and surviving on an average of $10 per day. His adventures gained him attention including the opportunity to Ted Talk, and he has now gone onto to sharing his stories with audiences around Europe.

You can find out more about Tomislav at his blog www.tomislavperko.com

Tomislav Perko Tomislav Perko

What I learned from Tom:

  1. There are really only 3 travel costs you need to control; transport, accommodation and food. Tom was able to reduce his transport by hitchhiking, and his accommodation by couchsurfing leaving only the third as an issue. Sometimes he could reduce his food costs to nothing by dumpster diving behind supermarkets or grabbing food off diners plates after they left.
  2. Volunteering is a great way to live for free. Tom would either pre-arrange a volunteer stint through an organization like WWoof, Helpx and Workaway or look to help out locally when he arrived at a venue. In these cases he was able to cover his food and accommodation in return for a few hours work.
  3. It was interesting to hear his experience after 5 years of wanting to start settling down. Much like Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll who set up their Berlin base after too many years on the road many travelers do reach a point where constant travel becomes hard to sustain and the need to find a base for shorter journeys is strong.
  4. Hitchhiking is always perceived as dangerous but Tom only had one incident of theft during the 5 years – as we say the world is safer than the media portray.

Check out this episode!

One of the most fascinating things with interviewing travel bloggers as part of our show is that you discover a world that you never knew existed before – the further you go in the more people you find and you start to discover a whole community existing below the level of normal everyday life.

At the heart of that community is Tbex – the travel blogger exchange. Tbex is not an organization but a series of three events held each year across North America, Europe and Asia where travel bloggers and advertisers can meet, learn and network with each other to further build their blogs and their business relationships.

From a beginning of 200-300 attendees just a few short years ago Tbex now has around 800-1000 attendees at their events. We caught up with Mary Jo Manzanares Conference Director for Tbex (and an avid travel blogger herself at http://www.travelingwithmj.com ) to find out more about how it operates and what travel bloggers and those starting out need to know if they wish to attend.

You can find out more about Tbex and their event schedule at http://tbexcon.com

Mary Jo Manzanares - Tbex Mary Jo Manzanares - Tbex

What I learned from talking with Mary Jo:

  1. Tbex is surprisingly easy and affordable to join. They place no restrictions on who can go and at around $US127 for a multi-day event it represents excellent value for those wanting to get established in the travel blogging hemisphere.
  2. The conferences offer three great opportunities – firstly it’s a chance to learn with breakout sessions being run by guest speakers and professionals on all areas of enhancing your travel blog. Secondly it offers networking opportunities with unofficial down time and organized speed networking events where bloggers can learn from each other…and thirdly it presents opportunities to establish advertising relationships with industry affiliates eager for fresh ways to promote their products to a captive market.
  3. If you’re looking to establish yourself in the travel blogging space it’s important to be different. It’s becoming an increasingly competitive market and not everyone is able to pick up good sponsorship opportunities. You don’t need to be a fulltime nomad in order to establish a travel blog though with many writers coming from vastly different fulltime and part-time backgrounds.

Check out this episode!