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
What I learned from Drew and Brittany:
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
What I learned from speaking with Leonard:
Living an Expat lifestyle and leaving the 9 to 5 routine doesn’t necessarily meaning not exploring your own country as part of the journey. For Alabama native Kyle Brady and his partner Olivia Gould their old lives left them feeling trapped and not going anywhere. They had a desire to see more of their own country – Olivia hadn’t even seen a mountain prior to going!
The couple started their planning in September 2014 and after 12 months of downsizing and saving up (they set aside $300 per week by, amongst other things, not eating out) they hit the road with their renovated 16 foot RV and haven’t looked back. As Olivia rightly said, “Why live somewhere when you can live everywhere!”
We caught up with them at Slab City California where they detailed the process of their planning and preparation and how their Etsy store is able to provide them with enough income to sustain their monthly journey.
What I learned from Kyle and Olivia’s interview:
Leon Logothetis was a London stockbroker working in the city. On the outside he had it all but on the inside he felt miserable and depressed. His future looked set in stone until one day he watched an inspirational movie called the Motorcycle Diaries and he realized that his future was not going to improve unless he changed. Inspired he headed off on an adventure to travel the world spreading kindness along the way.
Leon has gone on to visit over 90 countries and inspire thousands with his books and television series including Amazing Adventures of a Nobody and The Kindness Diaries. His work tabling the generosity of others has featured on CNN, Good Morning America and television and newspaper around the world.
We caught up with Leon where he shares his philosophy on kindness and tells us some of the incredible people he has encountered on his journey. You can check out what Leon is up to on his website http://www.leonlogothetis.com
What I learned from talking to Leon:
From Greeks Islands to the Emerald Isles; Our Family Sabbatical in Greece and Ireland
Tina Lavelle had traveled Europe when she was younger, and the urge to return had never left. Her husband Ralph had grown up in Ireland and both felt a desire to leave their suburban Australia lifestyle for some freedom abroad. In 2015 they packed up their two children, rented out their home and firstly headed to the Greek island of Zakynthos where they enjoyed 4 sun filled months before heading for Dublin where they are now settled in.
We joined Tina to discuss the process of schooling her children locally in both countries, how accommodation sharing sites like Couchsurfing and Helpx have provided them with much more than saving money and how you can self publish a book of your adventures while away.
You can check out their blog at http://kouklahouse.com where you’ll find their book “ On a Greek Island; A Season in Zakynthos”
What I learned from talking with Tina:
Tommy Walker grew up in the north of England with stories of travel and adventure as a part of his life. With many relatives living overseas and an Uncle who had shared his stories of traveling in South East Asia Tommy had long held the goal of seeing more of the world for himself.
Just over 3 years ago he headed off on an adventure to Thailand that was only supposed to be for 3 months. Hooked by the experience he explored much of Asia and Australia for a year and then spent 12 months traveling around South America including visiting Brazil during the World Cup.
We caught up with him in his new short term home of Melbourne ahead of his 2016 adventures which will include Central America. We discuss the short term financial sacrifices a backpacker has to make, what it was like to mountain bike the world’s most dangerous road and how having too many expectations can be a downer for your overseas adventure.
You can follow Tommy’s blog at www.thewanderingwalker.com
What I learned from talking to Tommy:
Being a backpacker works best if you’re a social creature who likes to talk to people but don’t worry if you aren’t; the process of travel helped bring Tommy out of his shell and it would be fair to say it may just do the same for you. As Tommy said travel finally allowed him to be himself and it may just be the same for you
To many parents the idea of raising children in an underdeveloped African nation would seem scary. For Sara Sullivan it’s just another adventure in a life that has seen her explore new boundaries both personally and professionally.
The mother of two has followed up time in Pakistan with starting a family in the Southern African nation where she lives with her family in the capital of Gabarone.
Today she joins us to share her experiences of the Botswanan culture, how she raises her children in a foreign environment and how living the expat life can provide you with some very tangible benefits.
You can follow Sara’s adventures in Botswana at her blog http://outland-ish.com
What I learned from Sara’s interview:
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
What I learned from Kay’s interview:
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.
What I learned from Nicole:
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.
What I learned from Warren and Betsy:
Well they say love can make you do things you don’t expect. For Andrea Gomez the prospect of moving from her home in Colombia to the Netherlands was not something she had expected growing up in Bogota!
Andrea moved to be with her Dutch boyfriend around 8 months ago - to a small village near the border with Germany, and is slowly getting used to European life including climate changes that she never had to deal with before.
In today’ s interview Andrea talks about what she loves about the Dutch way of life and the process she went through to gain her residency. She also discussed how she was able to start not one but two online businesses with no previous experience.
What I learned from speaking with Andrea:
Cambodia offers its visitors a land of contrasts. Larger cities like Phnom Penh are fast developing a western style with many of the fast food chains setting up shop. But head to rural Cambodia and you take a step back in time to a place where life is a lot simpler.
One person enjoying the benefits of Cambodian village life is Kirsty Thorpe, an Australian teacher who has been volunteering with a child rescue organization a couple of hours from Phnom Penh.
In todays interview Kirsty shares what she loves about Cambodia, how she came to be involved in helping these young people and what you need to be wary of if you plan on volunteering overseas.
You can find out more on Kirsty blog at https://cambodianlife2015.wordpress.com
What I learned from Kirsty’s interview:
Steven Courtney was no experienced traveler. In fact the 22 year old hadn’t even known what a youth hostel was when he made his first trip across the US on a work trip. He discovered a whole new world of multiple languages and adventure that he had to be part of.
From that point forward the standard two week holiday was spent experiencing the world but limited time wasn’t enough and he knew he needed more.
4 years ago he took the plunge to becoming a fulltime traveler and hasn’t looked back. You’ll enjoy this interview with Steven – his passion hasn’t diminished from his time on the road – in fact he is more amazed and curious the longer he travels.
What I learned from Steven:
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
What I learned from speaking with Samantha:
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
What I learned from speaking with Rosemary and Claire:
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
What I learned from speaking with Caro:
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
What I learned from Karen’s interview:
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
What I learned from talking to Barbara:
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.
What I learned from talking to Chris:
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
What I learned from Ian:
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
What I learned from Tom:
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
What I learned from talking with Mary Jo:
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
What I learned from talking with Heath:
You’ll love today’s interview with Stephenie and Tony Harrison. In 2013 these guys hit the road for an undetermined length of time relying on savings they had made during the previous 3 years. (Tony had been a graphic designer while Stephenie was completing research for her degree in neuroscience). 12 months into their journey they knew they wanted to travel fulltime – Tony could pick up work doing graphics and designing websites but what could Stephenie do?
Recognizing her skills in research they discovered an opportunity in Google adwords and Stephenie has now firmly established an online business that she never could have imagined when they left. As she loves to say – you don’t need to see the whole staircase to climb the stairs!
You can find out more about their adventures and online businesses via their website http://www.20yearshence.com
What I learned from speaking with Tony and Stephenie:
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.
What I learned from this interview: