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

great-wall-of-china-warren-and-betsy-married-with-luggage married-with-luggage warren-and-betsy-talbot

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!

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!

There are two types of expats – those who move to another country but retain their current lifestyle and live very much within an expat community as they had back home. Then there are those for whom moving is a chance to embrace a whole new way of life and effectively become a local. Molly Piccavey is definitely the later.

She has spent the last 18 years living in Spain, firstly in Barcelona and now Granada where she is largely welcomed as a local. In this interview Molly shares her experiences of living in Granada, why so many expats move home again and what she feels expats need to consider before moving abroad

You can follow her journey and life in Granada at her blog http://piccavey.com

Molly Sears Piccavey - Spain Molly Sears Piccavey - Spain

What I learned from this interview:

  1. Be conscious that moving overseas is not a magic bullet. If you are looking to escape from something then be careful you aren’t taking the problem with you! Molly recommends spending the first period of time in a new culture observing how things are done and adapting to the new lifestyle. You are in someone else’s territory and need to embrace the fact.
  2. Be conscious of exchange rates if relying on income from back home. If you can spread your risk by earning some local income this will definitely help
  3. Be careful buying property.  There is a lot of paperwork to deal with and Molly recommends getting a local helper to ease you through the experience and red tape
  4. Spain is a great environment for families as the Wagoners showed. Family culture is important to the Spanish and they embrace it in everything they do.

Check out this episode!

If you’re worried about being a victim of the next round of redundancies why not take the bull by the horns and fire yourself! That’s what todays interviewees Alan and Heidi Wagoner did.

Deciding that it was only a matter of time until one of them faced a corporate axe they terminated themselves, sold up the home and with their two younger children relocated to the picture postcard seaside town of Almunecar, Spain.

The children enrolled in a local school without knowing any Spanish and within months were reveling in their new school environment. The Wagoners recently took several months off to travel Asia home-schooling their children along the way.

We caught up with them back in Spain where we discussed the Spanish lifestyle and how to integrate your children into a new culture and environment.

You can check out their blog along with the costs of their new lifestyle and how they raise their children at http://wagonersabroad.com

Almunecar-pirate-ship Estepona-Spain-December-2013-18 Wagoners-Abroad-Sunparks-De-Haan-Belgium-4

What I learned from speaking with Alan and Heidi:

  1. Faced with the challenge of having to learn a new language, Spanish and continue their schooling the Wagoner children seemed destined to struggle during their first year in Spain. But in fact they blossomed, demonstrating that challenging the mind with a new language can expand the brains capacity in other areas as well. As Matt and Hannah Curtis identified in their interview children really are a reason to travel.
  2. We hear it so often from Spanish expats but the Spanish really do live to enjoy life. Money takes a back street to lifestyle with family and children taking top priority in small towns like Almuñécar
  3. During their year away home schooling proved a wonderful way to give their children school lessons with real life experiences. Like the Billy and Scarlett Thomas they chose to put their children into public schools rather than international ones and they thrived as a result.The Wagoner children did research, made power-points of their experiences, worked their math through currency conversions and learned a little more of the local languages where they traveled. It’s hard to imagine the classroom providing them with such a well-rounded education.

Visa requirements are not too onerous for non-Europeans with the initial 90 day visa in Spain providing time to meet the requirements of applying for a 12 month visa. This can then be extended to 2 year and 5 year once the initial period has ended

Check out this episode!

Traveling can be a fantastic experience at the best of times but it’s even better when you can combine it with something you are passionate about. Diana Edelman took to the road in 2010 after realizing that her “dream” career in public relations wasn’t making her happy.

She’d developed a passion for elephants ever since first encountering them and badgered her way into a volunteer position taking care of the magnificent creatures in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

After 2 ½ wonderful years there Diana decided to move on to her new home base of Madrid – a city she had fallen in love with on an earlier trip.

We caught up with her and her two traveling cats where she shares her experiences of living in Chiang Mai, the opportunities ahead for her in Madrid and we discussed her passion for responsible tourism

You can follow her at www.dtravelsround.com and find out more about responsible tourism through the website www.responsibletraveltourism.com

Diana Edelman 2 Diana Edelman with elephantchiang mai

What I learned from Diana’s interview:

  1. Chiang Mai is an inspiring location but be wary of the burn season from February until April. The jungle surrounds are burned off filling the town with smoke and haze. It’s a good time to head to the southern beaches if you don’t want to be breathing in the air!
  2. Responsible tourism is a fast growing area which focuses on doing the right thing in the places which you visit – not only from an environmental perspective but also from an economic one.
  3. Spain have recently introduced an entrepreneur visa, no doubt prompted by the economic turmoil going on in the country. If you can present a solid business plan to the appropriate entity they will assess whether or not your business idea is sustainable and will help the local economy. If you pass then you could have a chance to stay longer term.
  4. It’s a good idea to have a back-up plan. Diana is learning to teach English. Even though it’s not her primary objective it will give her another means of income if her writing should slow down at all
  5. Although not comparable to the costs of Chiang Mai (she was able to live for around $US700 per month while there) Madrid can still offer an affordable lifestyle. She is paying around $US750 per month for a 48sqm apartment but she is centrally located which reduces transport costs. All up Madrid is costing her around $US1300 per month to live
  6. If you’re going to write be genuine. Diana has developed a very successful blog because she writes well but she emphasizes the need to be genuine if you want your blog to rise above the many that are currently appearing online. Writing for Google ranking is not the most effective way to build a long term following.

Check out this episode!