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

karen-on-the-go real-energy-food vietnam

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!

 

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!

Kay Dougherty was a successful well paid but stressed high heeled member of the Boston financial establishment when the financial crisis hit in 2008 and her company chose to downsize. In her mid 50’s Kay found getting a new job to be a challenge. Always a lover of travel she discovered a new role as a marketing consultant which paid the bills and have her increased freedom to travel more.

Her travel blog of her adventures with her sister drew attention thanks to Kays contagious humor and led to a large social media following which opened up opportunities for Kay to enjoy sponsored trips from travel companies.

Nearly 4 years on Kay is able to travel 3-4 months per year but is on the brink of expanding herself further and devoting more time to travel and earning an online income from it. In this interview she shares her take on becoming a travel writer, travelling safely as a woman and what young people should consider before jumping into an expat travel lifestyle.

If you want travel stories with a sense of humor you’ll love following Kay on http://blondebrunettetravel.com

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What I learned from Kay’s interview:

  1. It does take a lot of followers to make a living from travel blogging. Kay freely admits that despite having a large following on social media circles it’s no guarantee of income. She does get a lot of complementary travel opportunities however and that is certainly a perk worth having!
  2. Kay raised a very good point about safety. A lot is written about the dangers of traveling overseas however most trouble spots in foreign countries are easy to identify and stay clear of – more so than is becoming the case in western countries where outbreaks of violence or terrorism are more random.
  3. Kay’s development into travel writing was quite slow. She initially went from an employment situation where her limited holidays were an add-on to her work schedule to a consulting situation (admittedly not of her own choice) where she was able to plan her holidays first and fit her consulting around it. This has enabled her to find her feet, increase her travel experiences, build some key relationships with travel boards, cruise ship companies and other travel providers, and develop her blog to the point where she now has a platform to develop a larger income stream and travel more.

Check out this episode!

Not everyone plans a move overseas. For Samantha Wei it was meeting her partner Yeison, a Costa Rican native,that was the catalyst for her move there from the United States 3 years ago. After an initial period of settling in she now considers Costa Rica to be home and has made a new life, and a very successful online business since moving there.

We caught up with Samantha to discuss the process of adapting to a new country and culture, the relative merits of the two towns she has mainly live in Jaco, and El Coco and how they differ to city life in San Jose, and some of the myths around moving to Costa Rica (not everything is as cheap as you think).

You can find out more and grab a copy of Samantha and Yeison’s free e-book “Travel and Discover Costa Rica” via their blog www.mytanfeet.com

Samantha Wei - My Tan Feet Samantha Wei - My Tan Feet

What I learned from speaking with Samantha:

  1. Sometimes learning a language can be easier learning with someone else than with a local. They tend to speak slower and are more patient with you as they are in the same situation
  2. Although Costa Rica is cheaper in many ways there are things you need to be aware that are more expensive than the US. Gas is dearer as is purchasing vehicles, and you will be charged an annual tax on the value of your vehicle even if you bring your old car in with you. Some food such as cheese and meat can also be dear as are electronic goods. If visiting home it can sometimes be a good idea to load up on things you can’t find affordably while living there
  3. Internet can be a problem and is also quite expensive. Samantha found however that having a portable hotspot was cheaper than normal internet and gave her the chance to work from anywhere – including the beach!
  4. Healthcare is generally pretty good. You may be looking at paying out of pocket which is cheaper than the US but if you choose to become a resident you may qualify for the government’s monthly healthcare package of around $40.
  5. $US are widely accepted in most places but if you have other currencies you will need to switch to Costa Ricans colones.
  6. Costa Rica has 26 different micro-climates, something for everyone. It doesn’t matter where you are you will only be a few hours away from a temperature and conditions that will suit you!
  7. Check out our other interviews with Danna Bowman and Dan Gaskell for their perspective on living in Costa Rica.

Check out this episode!

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!

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!

Living an expat lifestyle doesn’t always mean having to leave the country (we’ve coined the phrase inpats especially for people who become nomads at home). For Heath Padgett the boredom and long hours of a sales job proved too much. Soon to be married, his fiancée Alyssa and he hit upon the idea of having an extended honeymoon through all 50 States with the mission of doing one days work in a job in each state. They decided they wanted to film a documentary about their journey and before they knew it had a sponsor onboard and were drawing the attention of CNN, Business Insider and Fox News.

12 months on we caught up with Heath to discuss his adventure, their upcoming documentary Hourly America and the myth of work that still pervades much of society – that being busy is the answer to everything.

You can check out Heaths website and the upcoming launch of his documentary at http://www.heathpadgett.com He currently has an Indiegogo compaign underway to launch his Hourly America documentary which you can support here 

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What I learned from talking with Heath:

  1. Firstly if there are young people out there like Heath and Alyssa willing to question the status quo and take a chance on their future then our future is in bright hands. They have a wonderful can-do spirit and attitude that will never leave them wondering how they will get by.
  2. You can create your own opportunities if you’re prepared to think outside the square. These guys have created a sustainable lifestyle opportunity literally from nothing – it wasn’t even their intention but when you’re prepared to be different people will follow you and opportunities will open up. They now have the world at their feet.
  3. We do specialize in looking busy without getting results don’t we? The guilt of work attitude has to change and be replaced with a desire to spend time on something that you are passionate about and leads to results. More work life balance is needed and this won’t happen until more people question the status quo – but it’s beginning to happen.
  4. If you like the idea of being a nomad but don’t want to travel overseas then don’t. Chuck and Lori Ros spend a good part of their year traveling within the US as do other travelers and as Heath details in the interview you can travel around the U.S. almost as affordably in an RV as living in many expat havens. Find what works for you and just do it!

Check out this episode!

The economic crisis of 2008 was a catalyst for so many of our interviewees to up sticks and hit to road. Lainie Liberti’s marketing business worked with green entities and non-profit organizations who were among the first to feel the pinch. With her business struggling and her 9 year old son Miro not enjoying his school environment Lainie decided they would hit the road for a 12 month adventure through South America.

8 months into the trip they both realized they were loving it enough to continue but savings were starting to dwindle and Lainie knew she needed a more permanent means of educating Miro. She discovered unschooling and became an instrumental advocate for children being world schooled from the environment in which they travel.

8 years on she and her teenage son are still loving their South American adventure. We caught with Lainie in Mexico where she shares the experiences of what made her hit the road and how their unique partnership and approach to education has provided Miro with an environment in which to thrive.

You can find out more about their adventures at their travel blog http://www.raisingmiro.com and learn more about the world of unschooling at http://projectworldschool.com

Lainie Liberti - Raising Miro Lainie Liberti - Raising Miro

What I learned from this interview:

  1. Whether you believe in life outside the education system or not this interview is worth listening to. Lainie has not only gone against the normal approach to education – what she calls radical unschooling – but has thrown the normal mother/child relationship on its head with the partnership arrangement the two have to travel. Everyone has their own opinion on what is right for them but there is little doubt, in Lainie’s case, that she considers it has been a success in raising Miro. Other interviewees such as Talon Windwalker and Alyson Long can vouch for the benefit that unschooling and world schooling has offered.
  2. A blonde woman and a child in South America sounds like a recipe for danger and many people warned Lainie before leaving that she was taking a large risk. In most cases these people were well meaning but were not speaking from personal experience. In 8 years of travel the pair have had one break in – something that may have happened just as easily in Los Angeles.
  3. Unschooling is becoming more accepted by colleges and universities and doesn’t mean children have to turn their back on higher education if they go down this path. Even ivy league schools are starting to look at unschooled enrolees who often approach their higher education with more enthusiasm and better background knowledge than their mainstream counterparts.

Check out this episode!

If you want a simple life there can be few places better to move to than a village in Romania. For Alyson Long and her family of two young boys frustration with the education system led her to take her eldest out of school and, with the families new found freedom, they set about a world travel adventure using their savings of $20,000.

After the first year which saw them sidetracked to the United Kingdom for family reasons they eventually visited Romania, which they promptly fell in love with. They are using it as their new found base and are in the process of purchasing a property while Alyson’s husband tops up the coffers periodically with temporary chef work in London.

We caught up with Alyson where we discussed the benefits of living in a Romanian village and how she brings up her children in an unschooled environment

You can check out Alyson’s blog at http://worldtravelfamily.com

What I learned from this interview:

  1. There is an increasing move by many parents towards using the unschooling approach to raising their children (see our interview with Talon Windwalker). Those that follow this path speak highly of the benefits of doing so and how their children are more responsive to their learning environment as a result.
  2. Romania still offers an old style of living. Cities like Bucharest are modern large metropolis’s but you can still find shades of 19th century life in villages like the Long’s where horse and cart is not uncommon and basic utilities can’t be taken for granted
  3. We’ve discovered yet another way to make money on the road – temping. Alyson’s husbands skills as a chef sees him as a man in demand and he can pick up some short term work pretty much as he likes. The Long family use this as a good reason to visit London and replenish the coffers before heading off on a trip. Living in rural Romania keeps the costs down and means he doesn’t need a fulltime job to sustain their lifestyle

Check out this episode!