The Expat Chat: Lifestyle Travels and International Living

The Expat Chat is a weekday podcast where we interview inspiring expats who have thrown off the constraints of western congestion to enjoy their dream lifestyle in other parts of the world...often for a fraction of their cost of living back home. If you want the travels of Rick Stearn with the freedom of Tim Ferriss this podcast is for you.Subscribe today.
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The Expat Chat: Lifestyle Travels and International Living




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Dec 21, 2015

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


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.
Dec 21, 2015

So often we see examples of people who don’t travel simply because they wont permit themselves to. In this day and age many people have jobs that will let them hit the road – two such examples are Evo Terra and Sheila Dee. Evo’s work as a digital strategist (and Sheila’s as an instructional designer) gives them complete freedom to work from anywhere, and with their child now of adult age they saw no reason to stay at home.

In January 2015 they headed off covering much of Western Europe before heading down under via Thailand, China and Vietnam. We caught up with them in Australia where they shared their definition of what opportunistic travel is all about. As part of their strategy the two don’t rely on any one source of income, running their own podcast and receiving funds through their crowdfunding site on Patreon where they offer supporters postcards in return for patronage.

You can follow their journey, listen to their podcast and support their postcards at 

What I learned from talking with Evo and Sheila:

  1. They have been inventive with their income sources using crowdfunding site Patreon to offer postcards from their journey in return for a monthly contribution. Although having only started this year they are already achieving over $300 per month from the site – enough to feed them for a month in many countries.
  2. Skyscanner is a big favorite for Sheila’s flight planning and the couple like to specialize in hunting out the flights that others won’t take.
  3. Work like your internet won’t last. Being digitally dependent can cause difficulties if you have tight deadlines and a poor signal. Don’t put yourself in the position of relying on the internet at the last minute.
  4. You really don’t need stuff – as Sheila says why would 2 people need 3 televisions! Cutting things out of your life won’t deprive you of what really matters – the experiences that define your life.
  5. Despite events that have happened overseas – in some cases around the same time that they were visiting the countries, both Evo and Sheila are very conscious of how the media can make events seem bigger and more dangerous than they are. Tragedies do happen, and you need to be wary, but they have not felt unsafe at any stage of their adventures on the road.
Dec 21, 2015

For Al and Shelly McCullough boredom with their current situation was the catalyst for a move to Panama. Shelly’s job wasn’t proving challenging enough and Al was looking for more satisfaction in life. They had explored Panama in 2012 and decided it would be the perfect starting point for their adventures.

They sold up everything, downsized and hit the road in 2014. 15 months on they have explored Panama, and Nicaragua and have discovered the benefits of housesitting when we caught with them in Panama City. Al in particular has gained a lot of satisfaction from his new found career as a writer and blogger.

You can follow their adventures, see the fun side of living in Panama and get their advice on downsizing and moving away (along with their e-books) at their blog

What I learned from speaking with Al and Shelly:

  1. The length of your visa can depend on whether you choose to drive in Panama or not. Having a vehicle does seem to restrict you in terms of length of time you can stay there, or certainly drive, and this may be worth checking out further if you’re planning to go.
  2. Be careful if looking to “fix” speeding tickets of traffic infringements with the officer who stops you. It’s not uncommon to pay “instant fines” there and many seem to prefer it as a means of avoiding a long drawn out process but you don’t want to be the one making the first offer.
  3. Again we’re reminded of the affordability of Panama and Central America generally. The McCulloughs live pretty comfortably on less than $1000 per month while housesitting and around $1400-$1500 when renting. This is not having to rough it.
  4. Explore all your income options. The McCulloughs found a nice little side earner in pet sitting for expats who head away. Although not going to provide you with fulltime income as part of a plan to pick up money from different means it makes for a good little top up.
  5. Check out some other perspectives on Panama with Michael Long and Susanna Perkins
Dec 21, 2015

Most people would love to take a year off and experience another culture. The reality is however few give themselves permission to do it – especially where there are three young kids involved.

For Michelle and Keith Damiani a one year experience for their family in Spello, Italy was something they had planned for prior to having children and saw no reason to change their plans once the kids arrived!

In 2012 they embarked on a one year journey that became more than just covering distance – it was a trip that affected every member of the family deeply – providing both Keith and Michelle with a new perspective on life and their children with increased confidence from taking on a new challenge and coming out the other end as winners.

We caught up with Keith and Michelle to discuss their experiences, why they chose to put their children into Italian speaking public schools, how Keith handled the hospital system after a short bout of pneumonia and the secrets to coping with returning home at the end of the journey.

You can catch their journey at Michelle’s blog where she has written a book “Il Bel Centro: A Year in the Beautiful Center”

What I learned from talking to Michelle and Keith:

  1. Sometimes we can be too protective of our children. Much like the Wagoners Michelle and Keith chose to enroll their children in a local school rather than an international school which provided them with a deeper experience and a chance to learn the local language. Although a sink or swim moment all three children came to love it and gained invaluable confidence as a result.
  2. Citizenship is an option if you have long term Italian decent. Although there are boxes to tick and the process can be time consuming it is worth considering if you want to spend a long period of time in any part of the Schengen zone. If you really want to speed it up follow Keith’s lead and move on over!
  3. As other interviewees like Daniele Le has discussed there is a huge difference in culture between the more competitive work environment of the US and countries such as Spain, France and Italy where culture is heavily focused around enjoying life and creating a community.
  4. Returning from an overseas experience can be a pretty tough landing. It took the Damiani’s a while to settle. Michelle's advice is to accept how you’re feeling and look for opportunities to view your home environment through new eyes.
Dec 21, 2015

If you’ve ever traveled for any period of time you know that you will need some form of technology with you. Whether it’s a means of communicating with home, a device for checking the internet, a power adapter that can charge your phone or a means of completing your work.

Technology has advanced hugely in the last few years and thing you would never have carried 20 years ago are now a stable part of your luggage. That presents problems as well, as sometimes it’s a question of what should you take.

Today we talk with Dave Dean of  about what you need when hitting the road, whether your mobile phone is good enough for photographs, what size laptops give you the most power to weight ratio and what he carts in his luggage to get his work as a travel blogger done.

For more information check out the website or Dave’s book Hammocks and Hard Drives


What I learned from speaking with Dave:

  1. I always have an issue with the weight of my laptop and often wonder about buying a smaller one. There is a sacrifice sometimes with having enough grunt on a smaller computer and it depends on whether you need it for work or travel. You need to also consider the weight of the power adapter as many lightweight models let themselves down with a great big plug that can weigh you down again. Dave looks for a computer that is under 1.5kgs in weight and has a 13 inch screen which is big enough for his needs.
  2. If working on the road you need to be aware of backups. As he goes long periods without internet access Dave has a portable back up device even though he has cloud storage just in case he loses data before he can reconnect again.
  3. He finds USB’s with up to 4 connections the best way of charging and avoids the need for multiple adapters
  4. Travel sized products like his mouse and power strips (multi boxes) can help keep weight and bag contents to a minimum
  5. Here Maps is a great tool for downloading maps when you are online then guiding you when you are offline so you don’t need to use up your mobile data. When Dave buys a SIM card its predominantly for internet access, using skype and Google Hangouts/ Google Voice for any calls he needs to make (Voice is free to any US and Canadian numbers)
Dec 21, 2015

In this global world more and more children are being raised in cultures that are different to their passport – figures show that there are over 4 million children being schooled in international schools and the number is growing.

Although both from Australia Craig and Lorraine Eldred met while teaching in China several years ago and have spent the time since as international teachers, also working in Vietnam and Dubai along the way. As expat teachers with over 13 years’ experience overseas Craig and Lorraine are in the unique position of giving their perspective both as parents and as teachers at an international school in the UAE.

We caught up with them in Abu Dhabi, where they shared their thoughts including Lorraines perspective as a woman living in an Arabic man’s world.

You can follow Craig’s blog at


What I learned from speaking with Craig and Lorraine:

  1. We live in a changing environment for children. With a global environment and ever changing career paths the children of today will need to learn transferrable skills and how to learn rather than specific knowledge that might become outdated before they even complete their education.
  2. Teaching internationally offers new opportunities for teachers to travel with an ever increasing demand and new positions being offered every day. A preferences towards families which offer more stability has been the preferred option for schools in the past but cheaper single teachers are now becoming more sought after.
  3. It can be difficult dealing with a foreign environment as a woman. Lorraine has trained herself to not make eye contact in both Asia and the Middle East and has to deal with situations such as needing Craig’s permission to get her license and to withdraw money at the bank. Unfortunately the downside of living internationally can be some elements of chauvinism but it’s not something you can change. The only hope is that these factors will eventually change over time.
  4. Like the Curtis Family the Eldred’s have raised third culture children who have adapted well to never living in their parent’s home environment.
Dec 21, 2015

There’s a book inside almost everyone and in Virginie Carmichael there was several! The Quebec native and her boyfriend Chris Lippi are building their own publishing empire once step at a time as they look to travel the world.

Virginie has released 6 novels on Amazon so far while finding time to travel through South America and Eastern Europe. Chris’s skills lie in web development which has helped fund their lifestyle to date and he is soon to launch an app to help new authors get their books to a wider audience.

We caught up with them both between journeys back home in Canada. To follow their journey go to or check out Chris’ new app at


What I learned from speaking with Virginie and Chris:


  1. Virginie has found a little niche for herself writing novels and thanks to the internet there are now opportunities to sell these on Amazon in a way that was never possible before. It opens up a whole new opportunity for those looking to change their lifestyle to travel and the opportunities in this space will only get better. You don’t have to be JK Rowling to be successful.
  2. Eastern Europe offers some beautiful travel options at a very affordable price. Croatia is already well known to travelers but other options like Bulgaria are fast playing catch up on the list of places worth seeing. Some of these countries are outside the Schengen agreement which relaxes the restrictions on how long you stay.
  3. Don’t let your education stop you from travel. Like Brendan Lee, Claudia Tavani and Jodi Ettenberg it would have been easy for Chris and Virginie to feel that they owed a return to the investment in their education. If you’re not happy doing what you do however what price will you pay if you don’t do what you love?
Dec 18, 2015

If you think you don’t have enough money to set off traveling then you’re going to enjoy todays show. Ted and Jen Avery sold up all their home possessions and vehicle raising $11000 in the process and hit the road back in 2012 using the funds to sustain themselves through Central America and beyond. For Ted it was a big move, particularly as he’d never left Canada or taken a flight before 2010!

After a period of time in Sydney, Australia during 2013 where Jen studied and the pair put in a claim for residency, they again hit the road.

We caught up with them in Florida where they shared the secrets to finding vehicles for nothing, how they downsized their life, why the Galapagos islands are easier (and cheaper) to get to than you might think and how airline mistakes can be the source of unbelievable deals if you act quickly.


What I learned from Ted and Jen:

  1. Relocatable vehicles are a great way to get free transport while traveling. These guys have used it to travel right across Canada. Relocatables are hire companies who need their RV’s and cars moved from point A to point B but don’t want to pay for staff to do it. There are websites like and which provide vehicles that need to get from A to B and sometimes they even throw in the petrol. Nice!
  2. The Galapagos is not as expensive as I thought. These guys were able to easily get to the island reasonably affordably from Quito Ecuador and then booked a cruise at half the going rate from on the island.
  3. If you can travel anywhere and anytime then you might be able to take advantage of airline mistakes to pick up some great fares. Computer glitches and human error do happen and although sometimes the airlines will renege when they find it they will often honor the deal. Much like the Economical Excursionists these guys love to find travel deals!
  4. You have enough money sitting around you right now to go traveling. These guys raised $6000 from just selling their home possessions that they didn’t need which was enough, along with $5000 from their car sale. This was enough to live comfortably on the road for 6 months.
Dec 18, 2015

In today’s interview we catch up with Sean and Jen Boyle who left the sunny San Diego area in early 2014 to hit the road. They’ve have since covered much of Central America and Southern Europe and have recently arrived in Thailand. They don’t believe in roughing it but have comfortably kept to an annual budget of around $US40-$US50000 during the last 12 months.

We caught up with them to discuss Air BNB (where they book 80% of their accommodation) and the pros and cons of house-swapping.

You can follow their journey (and try some of the delicious recipes they have included) at their blog

What I learned from speaking with Sean and Jen:

  1. Sean and Jen like to spend a short while in each place they visit and have recognized that staying for a month not only gives them a good look around but helps them keep their accommodation costs to a minimum. Air BNB offers a better rate when staying for 30 days but they can often negotiate the rate down to 22/25 days with the renter while keeping their daily costs the same.
  2. Renting out a property versus house swap is always a debate for travelers with a property. If your own property is in a place where higher net rents can be achieved over where you’re staying then you may be best to rent your own place rather than swap. Do consider tax with this though – you might want to talk to your accountant about whether it will be deemed as income.
  3. Although the Boyles are comfortably within their budget and have stopped monitoring their costs to the same extent they do recommend recording costs in the first year so you can keep a handle on spending.
  4. Although their blog includes food they have added recipes from the countries they visit which helps attract a whole new audience of readers.
Dec 17, 2015
If you search the internet for travel bloggers it won’t take you long to stumble across Jodi Ettenberg. Her website Legal Nomads regularly ranks highly on the list of world’s top travel bloggers and has featured in numerous publications since she hit the road back in 2008 after 5 years working as a lawyer in New York. Her long form story telling style of blog has gone against the grain of standard blogging practice but has won her a huge following amongst a loyal group of followers who appreciate the depth and insightfulness of the stories she shares.
Jodi’s travels aren’t without their challenges. As a celiac sufferer finding the right place to eat in a new town can be daunting. Her website includes useful advice and tips from those suffering from this disease or gluten intolerance generally and her attitude and spirit shows that you don’t need to let major health challenges stand in the road
of being a fulltime travelers.
We caught up with Jodi in Chiang Mai where we discussed her attitude to blogging and how street food can be one of the best ways to monitor what you eat. You’ll find details of her stories and her food guide at her website
What I learned from Jodi’s interview:
1. Jodi is absolutely right when it comes to travel blogging. You can rank well with posts about 10 best things to do in Penang but in reality you are only providing your readers with information they can gain elsewhere. If you’re serious about developing a blog then you need to inject some of yourself into the story and provide a perspective they would not find elsewhere. This will make you unique and draw a true following over time. Jodi writes long form blogs which her audience appreciates and it’s not unknown for her to write 5000 word posts or longer. Much like The Uncornered Market she has focused on quality over quantity.
2. Even if you suffer from food allergies or a reaction to certain foods it’s no reason to avoid travel. Jodi is a celiac which means certain foods can have an effect on her. She needs to spend more time researching where she will eat than most people but to a large extent she would still be having to do this even if she wasn’t on the road. She has gluten free food guides on her website along with her book, The Food Traveler’s Handbook which is a great starting point for anyone suffering from gluten intolerance who is planning to travel.
3. She finds street food a great way to deal with her celiac condition. It’s difficult in a
restaurant to see what’s going on in the kitchen but when it’s cooked fresh in front of
you, there is a much better chance to control what you’re receiving. Street food, contrary to popular opinion, is often a good way to avoid general sickness as it enables you to see the general cleanliness and how quickly the food is being turned over.
Dec 17, 2015

What do you do when you’ve left University with a degree in Theatre? Travel the world of course! For Chris Walker-Bush staying at home in rural Australia wasn’t an option – and when a friend suggested teaching English in Korea might be a career move Chris decided it was time to start traveling.

After a further stint teaching English in China Chris found himself in the unique position of helping an African safari company develop their business in the Asia region and he has since been on over 20 safaris in places such as Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya.

We caught up with Chris during a visit home to Australia where he discussed his travels and how they have helped him deal with depression. You can follow his journey (and his upcoming 2016 climb of Mt Kilimanjaro) at


What I learned from speaking with Chris:

  1. A name we associate with genocide has moved on so far in the last few years. The nation is developing well and has moved ahead of its neighbors, such as Uganda, in infrastructure development. The country has modelled itself on Singapore with a benevolent dictator who is unique – he wants to resign but the people won’t let him!
  2. Chris’s interview was very candid in terms of his battling with depression. For many travel might seem like a means of creating more stress for someone already with a lot to deal with, but he has credited travel with the ability to help him overcome it. It has a unique ability to heighten the senses and, as he rightly says, when you’re battling to make yourself understood in a foreign country you have little time for inward focus.
  3. You can turn your own unique talents to any opportunity. Chris credits his job opportunity to a unique combination of travel experience, English teaching skills and his theatre background that helped make him ideal for the position. There is certainly a benefit to making yourself unique when it comes to finding job opportunities on the road!
Dec 14, 2015

 A travel agent, an English teacher, a horseriding instructor and now a copywriter. When it comes to making a living on the road Stacey Kuyf has done it all.

The kiwi traveler left New Zealand over 5 years ago and has lived and worked in a variety of countries showing that you don’t need a clear plan in place to start traveling the world. She has always managed to find something she can turn her talents towards and her life has been richer for the experiences she has enjoyed along the way.

We caught up with her in Guatemala where she has been spending the last 7 months and had the opportunity to discuss some of her more interesting working experiences including teaching in China (without a degree), setting up her copywriting business and what she loves about Guatemala.

You can follow Stacey’s journey at or contact her via her copywriting business at


What I learned from Stacey’s interview:

  1. You don’t have to know where your money is coming from to get going. After 5 years Stacey now realizes that something will always come up! There’s no harm in getting some travel funds behind you but there is a variety of work options out there to take advantage of.
  2. China appears to be one of the easiest countries to teach English in with Stacey getting work there even though she didn’t have her TEFL or the usual requirements of a degree. Be careful though – it only works if the school in question is willing and able to fund a blind eye being turned. You might not want to risk this unless you’re pretty relaxed about being deported!
  3. Guatemala is a beautiful country, especially if getting away from the capital. She has set up in the stunning town of Antigua with cobblestone streets and volcanoes on her doorstep. Safety can be an issue however as it’s not safe to be out at night. The town does have a digital hub with reasonable internet though so if you’re a digital nomad traveler with an urge to find somewhere new there is a strong expat community there.
Dec 12, 2015

There’s more than one benefit to having a second passport. Canadian expat Yvonne Ivanescu has used her Polish heritage to enjoy an extended stay in Belgium where she has been completing a Phd – for a very affordable price!

Her tourism course has cost her a total of 800 euros having completed her original degree in Canada and adding on a masters thanks to some hands on experience in Chile.

Yvonne has benefitted from the opportunities of being an international student but her passion for travel has seen her visit much of South America. In our interview we discuss responsible tourism, living in Chile and travel safety which is an area dear to her heart.If you're interested in studying affordably overseas then you'll want to listen to this interview.

You can follow Yvonne’s travel journeys at her blog

What I learned from Yvonne’s interview:

  1. Educational options in Europe can be cheaper than North America, Australia and other countries. Yvonne took advantage of her dual citizenship (she has a Polish passport as well) to access her education in Belgium. It also sounds like Scandinavia might offer some interesting student opportunities if you’re willing to do the research.
  2. Yvonne has written a lot about safety and as a young single woman traveling in South America she has had her fair share io issues regarding this. Her suggestions are to be vigilant, make sure you have proper travel safety bags, do your homework and don’t just rely on locals as to which areas are safe, and beware in bars and getting in taxis on your own.
  3. Responsible tourism. We first heard about this when talking with Diana Edelman. There is a big movement amongst travelers towards ensuring that the countries they visit benefit from their travels. Responsible tourism isn’t just about environment it is about economics and making sure that the local culture derives the financial benefits from the tourists they receive.
Dec 12, 2015

There are lots of reasons why people don’t travel; jobs, money, children, health. We’ve managed to make myths of most of them with the interviews we’ve done so far… but the one we hadn’t found an answer to was pets…until now!

Andrew Matheson and Alison Cornford Matheson are a Canadian couple who have spent the last 10 years living in Belgium where Andrew had a corporate position. Inspired by friends they decided they needed a life of less stress and more travel – but with two mature cats how would they manage?

The solution for them was long term RV’íng ( motorhomes) which provides them with transport, cheap accommodation and a home for their pets. With estimated costs of around 20000 euros per year (around $US22000) they get to see much of Europe for considerably less than the cost of staying in Belgium or returning to Canada.

We caught up with them both 4 months into the journey where they share the mistakes they made getting started, where you can stay for free and the benefits of traveling slow (plus the fun of two cats in a confined space!). You can follow their journey via their website where they have just released their book on how to appreciate food in Belgium


What I learned from talking to Andrew and Alison:

  1. Pets don’t have to be a problem. The Matheson’s discovered a travel plan that worked well for them; they didn’t want to rough it, they still wanted to control costs and they wanted to bring their pets with them. RV’íng in their motorhome was the answer.
  2. Try before you buy. They did jump in to purchasing their RV / motorhome and hitting the road without testing it first. It all worked out well but they would suggest you discover if you really like to RV before making the commitment
  3. You need to be very conscious of space if traveling this way. Not only do you need a home for everything but you need to secure it before moving on! It does make you think seriously about what you do and don’t need and is an enforced form of minimalism that they are both comfortable living with.
  4. They highlighted the benefits of cheap accommodation for RV’ers motorhoming especially in France. Aires are free stopping points for RV campers often in great locations that let you stay a night or two before moving on. France Passion is also a website they and friends of ours have used where you can camp on farms for free in return for checking out the farmers local produce (and hopefully buying). They have enjoyed everything from cheese “farms” to Angora rabbits and even buffalo farms during their stays.
Dec 3, 2015

If hitchhiking through Iran, joining the Arab spring or camping (accidentally) in a minefield in Bosnia sounds like your idea of fun then you’re going to love today’s episode.

Growing up as a West German living in East Germany was a strange experience for Josh Cahill. The wall had fallen but much of East Germany was still stark and oppressed. He felt like the odd one out and developed a desire to explore the world and discover the realty of things for himself.

The 29 year old has been on the road now for 7 years exploring many exciting places along the way – in fact he often makes a point of seeing the places that the media will often tell you not to go to (Kabul, Afghanistan anyone?) and his experiences have always been enjoyable.

We caught up with Josh in China where he is currently teaching English and he shared his experiences of life there (including how to get around the internet restrictions) , how couchsurfing works for him, and much of the wonderful journeys he has had so far. His website details much of his journey.

What I learned from talking to Josh:

  1. Going to China doesn’t have to be a problem if you’re a digital nomad. Josh gets around Facebook and other restrictions by using a VPN server to cover his location and whereabouts.
  2. Again Iran gets a mention. This is the third time now (after Uncornered Market and The Crowded Planet) we have had travelers tell us how much they have enjoyed the experience of visiting there. Access is getting easier with visas now being available upon entry and even Americans and Canadians can find it relatively easy to gain access. It sounds well worth a visit.
  3. Josh is a couchsurfing master having done it almost since the concept was created. He talks about building up your credibility and the benefits that couchsurfing meeting groups can bring when you’re new to a town, not only in finding accommodation but discovering the things to see and do.
Dec 3, 2015

Here’s a question for you… if you could travel the world or spend the equivalent on a one bedroom apartment in Harlem which would you do? For architect Norbert Figueroa it was no brainer decision.

 Having become addicted to travel the Puerto Rico native spent 18 months building up his blog while downsizing and cutting costs ahead of his trip.

Over the last 4 years he has visited 95 countries on his mission to see every one of the 195 countries recognized by the United Nations – his biggest challenge will be getting to Antarctica!

We caught up with Norbert where he shares how to get started as a worldwide wanderer, some of the good and not so good experiences of being on the road and how he lives his travel lifestyle for less than $US20000 per month.

You can check out his blog at where you can find his book The Ultimate guide to Travel the World.


What I learned from speaking with Norbert:

  1. You may need to make sacrifices if you want to choose this lifestyle. Norbert spent a good period of time prior to traveling building up his war fund and was willing to make sacrifices like leaving his apartment to move in with friends, cutting out cable tv and eating in more. He paid himself first by committing up to 50% of his income towards his travel fund. You just need to decide how badly you want it
  2. Norbert has become a master at managing his expenses thanks to his handy tip about the Trail Wallet app. He averages around $US20000 per year of travel, with 2 of the 4 years so far costing him the equivalent of his rent back in Harlem!
  3. He has learned to not sweat the small stuff and has had to learn to lose some of his attention to detail mindset so carefully developed as an architect. Travel really can put everything into perspective.
  4. He has had more than his fair share of scary experiences showing you still need to be careful out there – but the good has outweighed the bad and his faith in humanity has only been heightened by what he has done.
Dec 3, 2015

To many, being a BBC producer sounds like the dream job. It certainly gave Dave and Carmen Allan-Petale a good bragging story at cocktail parties. But deep down, neither of them were happy with their high flying career jobs in London.  While at a seminar in Portugal, the two Aussie natives heard some travel bloggers talking about their lifestyle and it ticked all the boxes…could they do it too?

With some savings to their name, they headed off 2 years ago to start their journey. They’ve travelled through North and South America, the Caribbean and a good chunk of Asia, saving money along the way…yes you heard me right, these two make a living while copywriting along the road and are able to live comfortably on around US$2000 per month! You’ll enjoy their sense of humor on this interview, and can find out more about their travels on their blog where they have recently launched their book  “ Make Your Travels Appy” where Carmen reviews 50 of the top travel apps that can save you time and money while you travel. (Check out the book here on Amazon )

What I learned from speaking with Carmen & Dave:

  1. If you’re building business, Linkedin can be a great tool to help. You can find out who has been looking at your profile and follow them up. Something most other forms of social media don’t give you the opportunity to do.
  2. Always carry business cards, even if you work online. There are lots of times where you can pick up business face to face so miss the opportunities when they come along
  3. If you planning to go travelling, get some savings behind you to take the pressure off This provided Carmen and Dave with a buffer to enable them to choose their work when the time was right
  4. Remember there are plenty of hubs you can work from in the world when you travel. These guys spent a period of time at Hubud in Bali and have seen nothing but growth happening in this type of working environment. Don’t forget we’ve also got we’ve got a link to the interview with Steve Munro from Hubud on this podcast page so you can check out more about them.
  5. Travel can be lonely. Attending Travel Conferences can provide you support from like-minded people who get what you do. It can be a lonely world for the perpetual traveler. If you are looking to develop your travel blog, conferences like TBEX can be a great way to learn and grow.
Dec 3, 2015

 If the harsh Minnesota winters get a little too much for you after a while there is always an alternative. Betsy and Pete Wuebker were ordinary 50 somethings living a suburban lifestyle and working the corporate job – in Pete’s case in a stressful marketing position. Deciding they needed to supplement their income with retirement on the horizon they took to online marketing as a means of building a business and soon realized after a period of time that they were doing well enough to throw in their day jobs.

With freedom now an option they moved to Hawaii, a place still dear to their heart, but after a trip to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014 they decided that a life of travel was what they needed most.

They’ve been on the road since last year using housesitting as one of their primary means of reducing costs while their online income from various sources keeps them in the manner to which they are accustomed.

You can check out their blog at

What I learned from Betsy and Pete:

  1. You’re never too late to start an online business. These guys were into their 50’s before they started to learn how to make money online. From a standing start they’ve built a thriving little business that enables them to live their travel lifestyle on their terms.
  2. Have a plan and a vision for your online income. They treat it as a serious business and regularly hold meetings to plan and strategize. Like many others they don’t rely on one income but they do like to bring traffic back through their blog – a central spot where they can build a good following before sending people out to their various income methods.
  3. Their secret to picking up housesitting gigs is to build a good rapport with the home owner. They let their seniority work in their favor – showing themselves as the ideal prospects to look after anyone’s home. They have followed Nat and Jodie’s recipe at the Housesitting Academy which has helped them get more housesits than they might have otherwise.
Dec 3, 2015

How many habits do you live by? Most of us are inundated with things we do without really thinking. Chris Backe sees life very much as an experiment where you question every option you have – including where you want to live.

Since leaving Kentucky in 2008 Chris has lived in South Korea as an English teacher and over the last three years has taken to trialing life for 6 months at a time in a variety of places including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, and Krabi in Thailand. He is currently settled in Medellin, Colombia where he will spend a few months before trying another Colombian destination then heading for Ecuador – and who knows where else!

If you’d like to find out more about Chris and his social experiment plus check out his impressive range of books he has written on the countries he has visited check out his blog at

What I learned from Chris’s interview:

  1. Life can be an experiment. 6 months in each place is ideal if you want to find out what a place has to offer but not find yourself in a rut. It depends on the size of the city/country that you choose however with some places (Seoul being a personal favorite of his) needing longer to see everything worth seeing.
  2. Renting furnished in Medellin can be a lot dearer than unfurnished. If you plan on staying more than 12 months then buying your own furniture is a good idea
  3. Facebook groups are one of the best sources of information before considering a move. Chris finds this to be far more reliable than any information he might pick up elsewhere (including the media). Old perceptions (like many people have of Colombia) seldom ring true.
Dec 3, 2015

Dan and Cindy Gaskell left the comfort of Wichita Kansas for the climate of Costa Rica only a few months ago. Their website 82 Degree Quest refers to their search for the perfect climate but in many ways it is a metaphor of their search for the perfect life. So far they have found it in Gracia a mountainous city that gives them ideal living conditions with everything they could need

Dan and Cindy did a lot of research talking to others before they moved and they believe hearing others talk about their Costa Rica experiences is critical for anyone considering the move themselves. With that in mind they set up their 82 Degree Quest podcast (link here) last month to talk to fellow Costa Rican “gringos” about their experience of living in the country that has been called the friendliest on earth.

You can check out the website and get the link to their podcast here.

What I learned from talking to Dan and Cindy:

  1. 90 days is the limit for a visitor’s visa but you only have to cross the border and return immediately – there is no time frame required before you return – unlike other countries that you might visit in Central and South America. It pays to keep this in mind when choosing your location – you don’t want to have to make a long trek every 3 months to meet requirements.
  2. Once you start the process of applying for residency which can take up to a couple of years you no longer need to do border runs – a definite plus.
  3. You do need to think about income if moving to Costa Rica as you aren’t able to work there as a visitor. In the Gaskells case they are living off savings and can comfortably survive for under $US1700 per month – their targeted budget.
Dec 1, 2015

You can’t get further contrast than moving from the beaches of Sydney to the mountains of Canada – for Kate Wan the shift was a continuation of an expat lifestyle based around her husband’s career in the mining industry.

Having traveled extensively during their younger days the couple have experienced the expat lifestyle in both the US and Canada. For Kate the move overseas provided an opportunity to start her own business which now operates in 3 different countries – but it’s not all about work. Kate has created a business based around work life balance in one of the most beautiful places in the world – and manages to find time to ski a couple of times per week during the winter.

She has written for Huffington post among others and will shortly be releasing a book that has already picked up awards ahead of its launch. You can find out more about her journey via her Facebook page at

What I learned from Kate’s interview:

  1. Sometimes being an expat can empower you to try things you might not otherwise do. For Kate she was able to start a new business from scratch without the pressure of expectation (or failure in front of her peers) while her husband provided income security for her.
  2. Work/Life balance is so often talked about but seldom followed through on. Sometimes it’s about setting yourself up in the right environment that will make you happy and give you the chance to escape when you need to. Working an online lifestyle in a place as pretty as Rossland British Columbia is a natural cure for any overworking disease. Where would your dream working location be?


Dec 1, 2015

Fancy life as a luxury travel writer? Would you like to be whisked around the world, all expenses paid being wined and dined in some of the world’s most celebrated restaurants, resorts and hotels?

For Leah Walker it is a dream come true. The Texan girl gave up her former career as a teacher to become a fulltime travel writer only a few years ago. She now writes articles for prestigious publications such as Bonjour Paris, Luxe Beat Magazine and Forbes Travel Guide to name a few.

Despite the glamour and perks that come with the job (she was heading off the next day to Austria to interview caste members of the Sound of Music in celebration of the movies 50th anniversary) Leah’s job is not easy or her real life as glamorous as her alter ego writer gets to portray.

During our interview she shares the realities of travel writing and what you need to be prepared for if you plan on following in her footsteps.

You can follow Leah more closely via her blog at

What I learned from Leah’s interview:

  1. Travel writing may look glamorous but it’s hard work and means writing on the move. It’s important to realize the difference between the image that is portrayed in articles and the real life of a travel writer, who seldom gets to live at that standard in their home life. That said it offers many opportunities and as Leah says herself – it’s not the worst job she has had!
  2. Sometimes the best travel experiences are the unexpected and the free. Leah’s opportunity to stand atop the roofs of Paris was a delightful surprise as well as her special dinner out. Even when shipped around the world to exotic locations and 5 star adventures she always takes time out to get into the street and discover the real world of the places she goes.
  3. Travel is still all about people. They are her best memories of many of the places she has been and again emphasizes that you don’t need to be living luxury to be getting the best out of your travel experiences.
Dec 1, 2015

If you are a digital expert who talks to their clients about being location independent it certainly helps if you can show them by example! That’s precisely what Michelle Frost and her husband Simon did when they embarked on a long term trip around the world with their 3 teenage children.

The Frosts left Australia just over 12 months ago and have traveled through Asia and Europe spending long periods of time in different locations living much like the locals. They have successfully home schooled their children with the support of their school back home who felt the children would be richer for the experiences they would encounter.

We caught up with the Frosts in their current location of Formello, Italy where they had just spent the day delivering the olives they had picked to the factory to be pressed – ah the joys of travel!

You can find out more about them and their journey via their blog at or get their tips and advice on being a digital nomad and building your audience at and

What I learned from speaking with Michelle and Simon:

  1. We’ve said it before but kids really are a reason to travel. Their relationship has strengthened as a result of spending quality time together and creating memories that they will never forget
  2. I liked Simons take on safety – as he says everyone basically wants to be happy so why would they gain from hurting you? You still need to be wary for the 0.0001% who aren’t but most people you pass are just like you
  3. I didn’t realize the reciprocal medical benefits between Australia and the UK and Italy meaning your medicare card in Australia can be used for healthcare in these countries – that’s definitely a benefit
  4. If you plan on transitioning back to normal life (even if temporarily as the Frosts are) then you need to rebuild your income stream for the higher costs of living you might encounter back home. They have spent the last couple of months building up their digital business so they can recommit to it more fully when they return.
Nov 26, 2015

Ever heard of Wwoofing? No it doesn’t involve howling at the moon! Wwoof is a means of swapping work for travel where you trade a couple of hours per day in return for accommodation and meals on an organic farm. Today’s guests have successfully wwoofed their way around the world in a variety of countries but in recent years as their desire to live a backpacking life has diminished they have switched to housesitting as a means of reducing their travel costs.

Cheryl MacDonald and Lisa Chavis spend around 8 months of the year overseas while still generating income online working in their respective areas of expertise. For the four months back home they up the rate of earnings and plan their next adventure. Their lifestyle has enabled them to see much of the globe while controlling their living costs and topping up their income during the months they are back in the US.

We spoke with Cheryl and Lisa where they shared their experiences of Wwoofing and talked about the perceived boundaries that make people stop living the type of lifestyle they now have. You can find out more about their adventures on their website

What I learned from talking to Cheryl and Lisa:

  1. Wwoof provides an opportunity to swap work for travel in over 100 countries worldwide. You can choose your destination and generally only have to give up a few hours per day of your time – but it’s not luxury living and suits the backpack fraternity best. As 40 somethings however they enjoyed the experience and didn’t feel out of place with the younger travelers they encountered.
  2. Earning from your old skills is always an option. Who would have thought a pharmacist could still make money while traveling? For Lisa she is able to top up her income checking medical records and doing some medical writing p roving that almost any skill or career can provide you with money while you travel.
  3. Ask the right questions. These two are a glass half full couple! They ask how they can do things not complain about why they can’t and it has opened many doors for them.
Nov 24, 2015

One of the benefits of living an expat lifestyle is that you can save a fortune living in some wonderful countries that offer a high quality of life for cents on the dollar compared to the western world. But who says you have to sacrifice income and live on the smell of an oily rag? Today’s guest has combined the best of lifestyle with building an online business that last month provided him with over $22000 in largely passive income.

Johnny FD (the FD stands for fighting and diving - his two Thai passions) left Los Angeles and a corporate job with Honeywell to enjoy an overseas holiday in Thailand. Loving the experience he returned to his cubicle intent on relocating – after all he knew he could live on $600 per month while there. Depending on savings for the first twelve months he took a dive course to be an instructor but knew he needed an alternative if he didn’t want to turn his passion into a chore. He investigated online income options and created an e-book that generated sales but a coffee meeting with an entrepreneur who made money from drop shipping convinced Johnny that there were more opportunities on the internet than he had investigated.

Three years on and he now has several successful online stores but is earning just over half of his money from affiliate marketing. He hasn’t lost his passion for work but now focuses on building his income rather than trading time for money – his income occurs whether he works or not

In this interview Johnny shares the story of how he got started and some tips on how to determine an online income that works for you. You can follow his exact recipe via his blog


What I learned from talking with Johnny:

  1. Living an expat lifestyle doesn’t mean doing without. Johnny still lives comfortably on considerably less than he’d spend back in the US but his strong income gives him peace of mind and the chance to build investment savings while he relaxes on the beach.
  2. Online income can be erratic – you can’t guarantee it’s consistency but it pays to have more than one string to your bow. Johnny had initially built his income from drop shipping (the process of selling online where the manufacturer sends the goods direct to the buyer and you don’t have to handle it) but now gets just over half his income from affiliate marketing (promoting other people’s products)
  3. Johnny does much of his own work because he enjoys it with limited use of outsourcers. His income however is largely not connected to the time he puts in – most of the time he does spend is on growing his business and adding other forms of income.
  4. Get help from others. When he was learning he would regularly take entrepreneurs out for coffee and pick their brains and he doesn’t stop learning now just because he has achieved success.
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