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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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Now displaying: October, 2015
Oct 28, 2015

Sometimes circumstances outside of your control can be the catalyst to finally make the step to becoming an expat.

For Ron Perry the 2008 economic crisis forced him to downsize his web design business and think about how he could run his operations while being location independent. Influenced by The Four Hour Workweek Ron made a conscious choice to reorganize his life and in 2010 he headed abroad setting up shop in Chiang Mai Thailand.

In this interview he talks about the challenges of setting up a bricks and mortar bar in Chiang Mai, the online tools that have helped him build his web design business https://egnite.biz/  to being 10 times bigger than it was before he left and the excitement he gets from living in his new location of Tel Aviv, Israel – and why it’s not as dangerous as most people think.

 

What I learned from Ron’s interview:

  1. Tel Aviv, Israel is safe. Sure you have to be a little more cautious than other parts of the world but he is comfortable in that environment and has not encountered any problems during his time there. If you’re looking for a bargain lifestyle though Israel isn’t it – with many of the costs being comparable or higher than the United States.
  2. If you’re planning on opening a bricks and mortar business in Thailand you need to be patient, with paperwork issues and various business “fines” being the order of the day. You may find an easier way to make a living!
  3. If you’re thinking of becoming remotely connected to your business there is so many tools available that can help and are easy to use. Ron uses online services from mail forwarding to file sharing, project management platforms to communication websites that have enabled him to grow his business substantially while removing himself from being caught up in the middle of the process.
  4. If you do become a cloud based business you might need to rethink your marketing strategy. Ron went from having a team of on the ground sales people to working with affiliates who were able to promote his services in return for a percentage fee. The result was a much better return on his investment in generating sales.
  5. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do something – ask yourself how it can be done. Ron used this approach with much of the challenges he faced when moving overseas and always managed to work through a solution. Asking the right questions can make all the difference!
Oct 27, 2015

Some business headaches were the catalyst for Tom Bartel and Kristin Henning decision to leave their Minnesota home and start traveling the world in 2010. Their publishing business had met some resistance with the global financial crisis and the couple decided it was the perfect opportunity to put their plans for a location independent lifestyle into gear.

5 years on the couple have now seen much of the world and have no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. We caught up with them visiting family at Lake Tahoe during one of their return trips to the US.

They show age is no barrier to travel! You can follow their journey at https://travelpast50.com

 

What I learned from speaking with Tom and Kris:

  1. Safety hasn’t been a big issue for them traveling, although they haven’t had the best memories of Quito, Ecuador in terms of theft! Even traveling the Middle East they felt reasonably comfortable. They believe that in more dangerous zones you can be better traveling alone like a local rather than in tour groups where you might appear more as a target. As Tom correctly pointed out there may be 3000 Americans killed by terrorists in the last 20 years but over 30000 have died from handguns – he feels much safer overseas and you can understand why!
  2. Travel is very much about the people you meet. Most of their itinerary is now dictated by catching up with friends and fellow travelers they have met along the way. They have already made a number of trips to meet up with friends they made while walking the Camino Santiago in Spain.
  3. Do what works for you. Although Tom and Kris don’t go high end they also prefer not to skimp. They use a variety of accommodation options and recommend that when it comes to travel you find what makes you comfortable.
  4. Spain is high on their most enjoyable venues – as many travelers comment they love the Spanish joy for living and the relaxed way they approach life.
Oct 26, 2015

 It took Brendan Lee around 72 hours as a chartered accountant to realize that it wasn’t the career for him. But leaving wasn’t easy – he was on a committed tenure that meant he had 4 years to work – and what about his degree? 4 years of his life looked like going up in smoke, plus the additional time he had to spend working it off.

It would have been enough to worry most people but Brendan had a goal – travel. He knuckled down, paid off most of his student debt, worked out his tenure saving 50% of his salary along the way – and in 2010 embarked on a travel journey that doesn’t look like ending.

His travels have taken him through China, Asia, South America, Africa and parts of Europe – spending 8 months or so of each year overseas with 4 months back in his home country New Zealand.

We caught up with him in Zanzibar where we discussed the affordability of travel; why more people don’t do what he does, and why the current education system doesn’t provide people with the skills they need for the new global world in which we live.

This interview is a little longer than most but worth every minute. You can follow Brendan at http://www.brenontheroad.com where his new book is due for release shortly

 

What I learned from Brendan:

  1. Most people are fearful of becoming location independent because of the commitment they have made to their current lifestyle. It’s tough when you’ve committed a large amount of time and money on a career path to admit that you’re not happy and walk away from it. Brendan felt this as a graduate accountant but didn’t let it stand in his way.
  2. Talking to Brendan really has me questioning if the modern education system is helping young people or becoming a noose around their neck. Certainly specialized degrees can lead to fulfilling career paths for those who know what they like but for many young people a degree is ending up as a load of debt with no job prospects, or job prospects that aren’t what they really want to do. Wouldn’t it have been easier if Brendan had known he didn’t want a career in accounting without spending 4 years of his life working towards it.
  3. I love how he makes a point of leaving each place he lives in with a new skill or talent he didn’t have before. Salsa dancing in Ecuador; Boxing in the Philippines. Travel can develop you anyway but having a conscious plan to grow as a person in each destination makes the experience so much more rewarding.
  4. Travel can change your attitude to money. Brendan’s desire to be rich largely disappeared once he started traveling and realized happiness and cash didn’t have to go hand in hand and the experiences that truly mattered weren’t going to cost him a lot.
Oct 26, 2015

 The Middle East can seem a scary place – and not the ideal location for a single British woman to be heading to. For Amanda Settle spending more time in the British education system as a teacher wasn’t going to provide her with the fulfillment she was after. Feeling disillusioned she took a teaching position at an international school in Kuwait.

Since then she has worked in Qatar and Dubai, meeting her husband along the way. Amanda has now taken a break from teaching and relocated to the Greek island of Rhodes very close to the mainland of Turkey where she is enjoying the slow pace of village life.

Amanda joins us to talk about her experiences as a single woman in the Middle East and how she is enjoying the slower pace of life living in Greece.

Catch up with her at http://www.amandasettle.com

 

What I learned from Amanda:

  1. Accept the local culture particularly in the Middle East and don’t try and change it. You might be offended by some things that are considered commonplace but remember you are the visitor – so when in Rome! Do your homework before moving to the Middle East – know that it’s a totally different experience to what you’re used to. Talk to others who have done it first
  2. If doing a teaching job there check your contract carefully. They can slip conditions in a little underhanded that you might need to look out for so go over it with a fine tooth comb and make sure you are comfortable with what’s expected.
  3. Rhodes is affordable - try 1000 euros per month - but not as cheap as mainland Greece as goods have to be transported across. Source larger goods elsewhere. Amanda purchase most of her furniture for her rental property in the Middle East before shifting, finding that even with moving costs it was still better than buying it on the island.
  4. Schengen rules allow only 3 months stays with 3 months leaving the Schengen zone so if you’re planning to go to Greece and don’t have a passport that gives you free access to Schengen zones you’ll need to accommodate these requirements. Do your research first.

 

Oct 19, 2015

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

 

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.
Oct 19, 2015

Although Barnaby Andersun had lived the typical suburban lifestyle of house, mortgage and car for 18 years in Brisbane,Australia he always knew that with a portable business there was a less stressful option that would cost him less and allow him to travel the world on his own terms.

In 2012 he finally made the leap, taking his branding business with him. He started in Bali, before moving to Chiang Mai, back to Bali, on to Canada and New York before settling in over the last 6 months in Mexico. Barnaby sees himself as a citizen of the world and loves the freedom his lifestyle affords him.

He now runs an online business which employs over 50 web designers (all based in the Ukraine) and he’s currently doing it from a beachfront housesit overlooking the Carribbean in Xcalak Mexico .

To find out more about Barnaby check out his website at http://learntolivefree.com

What I learned from speaking with Barnaby Andersun:

  1. Barnaby has given a lot of thought to his lifestyle and embraced it whole hog. He’s not just a temporary traveler with a travel blog – he’s turned his lifestyle into a serious business filled with adventure along the way. He’s mastered the art of cutting costs while maximizing income.
  2. Again Barnaby has emphasized how little it costs to live the location independent lifestyle. His current abode in Mexico costs him around $10 every couple of days for food, being a housesitting position everything else is largely paid for.
  3. It’s never been easier to make an online income than it is today. There are so many online resources that can make the average layperson into an internet expert. Even if you don’t want to make money online simply letting out a mortgage free house can be enough. One of Barnabys house-sharing friends has been traveling the world for a number of years just funded by $20000 in rental income from a place he owns. Maybe you could too.
  4. Try before you buy. Barnaby spent two months living out of a suitcase in Sydney to see how well he would handle it. He believes most people should try it in small steps as you never know what or where might appeal to you as a traveler.
  5. Earning an online income doesn’t have to be expensive to set up. Be prepared that the first thing you try might not work but as long as you don’t throw a lot of money at it nothing is lost. Try again until you find the niche that works best. Don’t forget you don’t need a lot of money to live like a king in many parts of the world.
Oct 19, 2015

Do you consider yourself too old to move countries? Maybe you’re a middle aged single woman who’s fearful of the world… or perhaps you have no skills to earn money with if you do shift. All perfectly legitimate barriers to becoming an expat.

Or are they? Barriers often only exist in the mind – and for Nancie McKinnon they weren’t going to be factors that stood in her way. The Nova Scotia native left Halifax 15 years ago, leaving behind a corporate lifestyle and embarking on her new career as an English teacher.

After a period in Taiwan Nancie moved to Korea where she has continued to teach – combining her university position with the opportunity to take a couple of semesters off each year to travel where she spends part of her time in Chiang Mai Thailand and the rest traveling whichever parts of the world take her fancy.

We caught up with Nancie in Seoul where she discusses the process of becoming an English teacher, what she loves about Korea, and why Chiang Mai and Portugal are two places on her radar for an expat to live. You’ll follow Nancies story and enjoy her Travel Photo Thursday updates at http://www.budgettravelerssandbox.com

What I learned from speaking with Nancie:

  1. Getting a job that allows you to travel is a great way to go. Nancie gets 15 weeks off per year and uses it wisely! It helps to get out of Korea in winter which can be one of the more expensive times of year to be there thanks to heating costs. Nancie finds she can earn enough when she’s working to cover her lifestyle year round, and generally spends substantially less when staying in Thailand than it costs her in Korea.
  2. Again you don’t need “stuff” I loved Nancie’s comment about spending $500 on a coat or a plane ticket – easy decision to make! She is able to live affordably for around $US1500 per month in Korea and even less when traveling in the rest of South East Asia.
  3. Teaching English can give you the opportunity to progress as a career. Nancie started with no previous experience and is now teaching at University level. You can upgrade as you go. Although teaching English in Korea is not as easy as when she started there are loads of other countries you can explore as destinations where English can be taught relatively easily.
Oct 19, 2015

One of the tricks to being able to travel is making sure you have enough money to do it. It’s less expensive than you think but some form of income is still going to be handy! Sometimes this might involve an existing skill you have or sometimes you develop new skills that can be used anywhere you go.

Jenna and Micah Kvidt are Minnesota natives who in the last twelve months have made the world their oyster. Through their website www.wanderthemap.com  they’ve been everywhere from Iceland to Japan and large parts of the US and Canada as well. They have developed their skills to the point where Micah earns a living as a freelance photographer and videographer while Jenna supplements their income through her online Etsy store. Like many others they gave up their corporate jobs to travel and haven’t regretted it since

You can follow their travels at http://www.instagram.com/wanderthemap  http://www.youtube.com/wanderthemap and on their pinterest and Facebook pages as well

 

What I learned from Jenna and Micah’s interview:

  1. There are dozens of opportunities to make money online and travel the world. They were both surprised how relatively easy it was to start making an online income using their respective skills. Their travel is now supplemented by a hotel group who they do work for – and the best part was the hotel group approached them!
  2. You need to make sure you treat your income source as a business. It’s easy to get distracted while traveling and not get around to doing the stuff that is important. You still need to make that income and just because your surroundings are exciting is no reason to forget the work that must be done. Make sure you travel slow enough so you don’t begrudge the time you spend on paying the bills.
  3. Don’t forget those air miles and hotel points! Jenna and Micah use these wisely to cover the cost of more expensive areas. They seriously reduced the expense of going to places like Norway, Iceland, and Japan by using the points they had accumulated while saving their money for cheaper destinations and those closer to home.
Oct 19, 2015

To many a comfortable lifestyle in Corpus Christi Texas would sound like retirement bliss and for Anita and Richard Oliver it had its benefits. Anita was still working as a pharmacist while Richard had retired and enjoyed his mornings walking or catching up with friends. They had the typical house with the typical toys – but something was missing.

3 years ago they made the decision to sell up or giveaway most of their possessions except the house and start travelling. After working their way through much of central and South America they travelled to Europe where they fell in love with the Algarve region of Portugal.

We caught up with them back in Corpus Christi where they were housesitting while waiting for their Portugese visas to be come through.

You’ll find their blog at http://noparticularplacetogo.net

 

What I learned from Richard and Anita:

  1. You don’t need “stuff” to be happy. Both of them found downsizing to be a liberating feeling, Richard called it a relief! They did however emphasize that their approach is not what they would recommend to everyone. If you decide to embark on their journey there is no easy way to go back.You can’t replace 35 years of possessions overnight!
  2. Check out local expat blogs when looking for accommodation somewhere. You will find plenty of fellow travelers who will be willing to share their information on where to stay. Generally the Olivers used AirBNB for up to a week somewhere and looked for cheaper long term accommodation beyond that. They have had a good experience with Air BNB. The only issue they had was quickly resolved by an Air BNB reimbursement
  3. Central American health care can usually be covered out of pocket. Although the Olivers had travel insurance the higher excess meant it was more economical to pay directly for health costs than trigger the insurance.
  4. If looking to get visas to relocate be prepaid for paperwork and the need to be patient. The Olivers aren’t necessarily expecting their Portugese application to be all plain sailing. They have employed a lawyer with the expertise to get their application through quicker and easier but know there are no guarantees with the process.
Oct 15, 2015

Today’ interview is longer than our normal but I think you’ll agree it’s worth every minute.

Just over 4 years ago Talon Windwalker was dealing with depression and his 9 year old son was battling with anxiety. He had become disillusioned in the US and felt the education system wasn’t providing his son with what he needed.

Together they embarked on an adventure that has seen them travel through 6 continents and share the sort of father and son experiences that few others would have had.

We spoke with Talon housesitting in England where we discussed the pros and cons of travel and the opportunities that self-schooling can provide a young boy which traditional education doesn’t.

Their story is inspiring of what you can do with children when you don’t conform to the norm. You can find out more here at their blog http://1dad1kid.com

 

What I learned from these two travelers:

  1. You can’t let conformity get in your way. It’s so easy to let children be your excuse to not do something. It’s also easy to do what the system says you should do but you need to stand up for what you believe is best for you and your children. That can take great bravery, but if you don’t stand up for your beliefs then what do you stand up for?
  2. Don’t rely on one source of income. If you depend on Facebook or Google you can find yourself losing a good portion of your income if they have one of their shake ups. More than one string to your bow is important so there are no shocks to the system
  3. Much of the Balkan states are now on my wishlist. They are affordable, beautiful and offer a good quality of life for those wanting it. They are also outside the Schengen agreement which can restrict how long you spend in some countries within Europe. Check out Talons website if you want to know more about Schengen and visas, particularly for Americans.
  4. Things always work out. Talon had moments where he wondered where the money would come from but good opportunities would often kick in.
  5. Once more it’s clear that travel can be as cheap as you want it to be. Their first year the two travelers survived on $12000 including traveling South America and going to Europe.
Oct 15, 2015

One of the issues facing perpetual travelers and those wishing to become global nomads or expatriates is “where do I make some money?” Well there are lots of options available online but if you’re into a more traditional form of work and don’t mind giving up some of your privacy then being an au pair or child carer could be the perfect option for you.

Today we talk to Roisin Grace about her experiences of being an au pair in Paris, the do’s and don’ts of being an au pair and where you can start if you’re wanting to become one.

You can follow Roisin’s blog at http://roisingrace.com

What I learned about being an au pair:

  1. It isn’t difficult to become an au pair and no qualifications are required. You can choose to go through an agency or look via Facebook to see who is interested. You might have to give up a little bit of money through an agency but it will give you a little more certainty about who you are dealing with and an out if the arrangement doesn’t work (agencies can normally deal with relocating you if the relationship doesn’t work out)
  2. Money isn’t great with being an au pair but the perks can be worth it. You need to be clear if you are living in or getting your own accommodation. If you live out then you’ll need more money to cover your living costs. Travel may be part of your additional benefits so it pays to ask what the plans are with this
  3. Make sure both parties are clear on expectations. Will you be cooking or cleaning? Setting the ground rules from the beginning for both parties is very important.
Oct 15, 2015

Being a perpetual traveler is one of the new ways to see the globe but 30 years ago it was more a rarity – and even more of a rarity for a single woman to be doing it on her own.

For Leyla Giray Alyanak travel was in her blood. Her parents and grandparents were all expats and she grew up on the move. When the time came to make the decision to end her journalism position and take to the road it was probably no surprise to anybody.

30 years on this multi-national citizen has settled in to France as her home but the urge to travel is still strong and she will again be hitting the road ready to use her multi language skills to help traverse the globe.

We hope you’ll enjoy today’s interview where you’ll discover how travel has changed and Leyla’s opinions on what a modern day traveler would need to do if they want to follow in her shoes.

Leyla is indeed one of the grandmothers of modern nomadic travel. You’ll find her blog and e-book at http://blog.women-on-the-road.com

What I learned from speaking with Leyla:

  1. Earning money while traveling has changed considerably since she first started. There are a lot more travelers and a lot more blogs! That said the internet has opened up more opportunities to make money online making it easier for the modern day expat traveler to earn a living while on the road.
  2. You can take something out of every experience. Even the bad times when traveling, and she’s had her fair share including near drownings and earthquakes, can give you moments that you can always remember even if their bad!
  3. Every travel experience adds to your confidence account in some way shape or form. You gain more confidence the more you try and you expand your comfort zone when traveling just by the art of dealing with your day to day environment.
  4. The best phrase to learn in any language is “What is the word for?” Leyla found doing this and pointing at objects enabled her to quickly expand her vocabulary in any country she was in.
Oct 13, 2015

If your image of the typical house-sitter is a cat loving baby boomer than think again. Laura and Tanbay are two twenty somethings travelling the world and enjoying it without the cost of accommodation.

A chance search for how to live rent free led them to discover the art of minding houses and three years later the two young people have enjoyed many parts of the world while living on minimal costs.

Their adventures have taken them from Australia to the Azores. We caught up with them both in Germany where they were visiting friends and family between housesits.

You can follow their adventures and grab a copy of their e-book: Housesitting in Australia; A Guide for First Time House-sitters at their website http://www.travellingweasels.com

What I learned from speaking with Laura and Tanbay:

  1. Housesitting can save far more than just the cost of renting or hotel accommodation. Food is one of the most expensive parts of living and eating out from a hotel can be a killer. Housesits of course come with kitchens and the ability to save more money in this area. Housesitting also cuts down on possessions and saves money being frittered away on things that you don t necessarily need
  2. Get a police check done before you start. This gives you a credible reference and more peace of mind for people seeking housesitters.
  3. Start with friends and family so you can build references. It can be a catch 22 otherwise – no housesits without references and no references if you don’t go housesitting first
  4. Make sure the rules are clear for both parties. Everyone has expectations that are different and this needs to be discussed, often via skype, in advance.
Oct 13, 2015

So you’re looking at heading overseas and want to set up an online business, maybe a travel blog, to bring in a little money. Trouble is you don’t know the first thing about website building, affiliate marketing, and have never run a Facebook ad in your life. No problem!

The good news is you don’t have to know it all. There are well qualified people with the expertise to do all the technical stuff you don’t know so you can focus on the more important parts, namely sunning yourself on the beach and having a good time!

Today we talk with Sam Patton an outsourcing expert who explains what outsourcing is, why you should use it, how you can use outsourcing both to help with an online business and the personal aspects of your travel plans, and he shows you some cool tools you can use to make outsourcing easier for you if that’s the way you’re planning to go.

If you want to know more about outsourcing and how to get started you can contact Sam through his website www.savetimeoutsourcing.com   . He has a great little report on 77 things you can outsource from your business and your life at www.savetimeoutsourcing.com/task-list

 

 What I learned from speaking with Sam:

  1. Outsourcing has three main advantages. Firstly it can save you time which is invaluable if you’re travelling and – let’s face it – no one wants to spend time working if they can go sightseeing instead! Secondly it can be a cost saver if going offshore. Thirdly it fills an expertise gap. As Sam says no one can be a complete business themselves and online outsourcing can provide you with the skills in areas you don’t have so you can get an online business underway sooner
  2. There are some great little tools you can use to help manage outsourcers and control the workflow. Sam touches on a few of these during the interview including some I’ve not heard before.
  3. Good communication is crucial. Most outsourcing breaks down because instructions aren’t clear and outsourcers are left to their own devices. Don’t leave things to chance – keep the communication open and don’t assume it’s all their fault if they don’t do it right first.
Oct 8, 2015

Travel can be tough if you go against the norms of society. You left the career path you had lined up to do what? You’re travelling the world with two kids under 5…are you nuts??

You could listen to others…or you could do what you knew was right for you. For Billy and Scarlett Thomas the standard well-worn path of get career, have kids just didn’t feel right.

There motto is “have kids, will travel” and indeed they do! Since leaving the United States 3 years ago their young family have journeyed through much of Europe, and Central and South America discovering what people and life has to offer along the way.

Today we talk with the Thomas’s during a break catching up with family in Utah (they are about to head to Japan for six months). During our talk they discuss the expectations that society can put on you as a graduate and as parents, and how what they have done have helped both them and their children grow. They also discuss education options for children when travelling and how you can combine travel with running a bricks and mortar business back home.

You can follow their travels on Scarlett’s blog http://dancingontheground.weebly.com and talk with Billy about running a bricks and mortar business remotely at www.highergroundlearning.com

What I learned from speaking with Billy and Scarlett:

  1. Children are not a barrier to doing this. Their children have embraced international travel and the experience of learning in foreign schools. They are happier and healthier for the experience and have to learn to interact with others more freely than what they may have done in a conventional environment.
  2. You can’t (and shouldn’t) protect your children from the realities of life. Their kids have seen drunks in the street and know that the world is not always a perfect place. That’s life – protecting them from it may make you feel better but it doesn’t necessarily serve them in the long run
  3. You can run a bricks and mortar business from the other side of the world. The Thomas’s have not let their business hold them back and have discovered the advantages of earning $US while living in pesos elsewhere. If you’re willing to empower others then your business needn’t hold you back.
Oct 8, 2015

Do you live to work or work to live? This is a question Margo Eggeling finds herself asking more frequently after her experience of living in Heidelberg Germany. Her time away has provided her and her husband with fantastic memories, great photos and an ever expanding group of friends in all parts of the world – but the question of what she wants to do with her life is now foremost in her mind.

A child of the American university system who has to date followed the corporate line Margo has recently returned from her expat experience looking for new adventures. With her husband, a former accountant with KPMG, they are now ready to embark on the next stage of life’s adventures – a one way ticket to Bali is already booked with no clear cut plans of where they will head to next.

We spoke with Margo about her experiences of Germany, how cheap and easy travel is around Europe when you’re based there, the true experiences of Heidelberg beyond the tourist regions and how her experiences have changed her priorities in life.

If you’re keen to find out more you can contact Margo through her blog http://www.theoverseasescape.com

What I learned from speaking with Margo:

  1. As a non-American it comes as something of a surprise to understand that not only do Americans only get two weeks holiday per year, they are frowned upon if they take it! The concept of a gap year for young people which is so common in Australasia and Europe is largely unknown to young Americans. Although Margo’s German friends are encouraging of her plans to get a one way ticket to Bali it is greeted with a little astonishment by those she talks to state side.
  2. European air travel is so cheap! One way flights from Frankfurt to Ireland, a two hour journey, for $US30?? You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s worth basing yourself in Europe just to enjoy that!!
  3. Travel can change you. Margo freely admitted that without their experience in Germany they would never have contemplated their upcoming journey to Asia.
  4. Germany, and particularly Heidelberg as a tourist town, is cheaper to live in than I had thought. Margo’s apartment was almost double the size of what she had in Washington for the same money, eating out is affordable, and groceries cost far less than in the US. Some other costs were higher but had they moved outside of Heidelberg there would have been cheaper options again. Overall they were able to live to the same standard for less than what it had cost them stateside.
Oct 8, 2015

Facing death is the ultimate motivation to revisit your life’s purpose and ask yourself whether what you are doing is truly making you happy. For Barbara Weibel that challenge came to a head in 2007 when, dealing with lymes disease, she realized her corporate life was making her richer but leaving her feeling empty inside.

She hopped on a plane to Vietnam writing the story of her journey while away. Upon returning to the US she discovered that over 1200 people had found her journey worth reading and with that as her motivation she embarked on a permanent travel lifestyle that has taken her to 60 countries over the past 9 years.

Barbara has become one of the world’s biggest travel bloggers and has proven that a single woman in her 50’s can travel the world safely with the right attitude. Her saying “Faith and fear can’t live in the same place” has been her source of comfort along her journey.

We caught up with Barbara in Croatia where she shared her insights into how she lives her life and why the American dream is not delivering on its promise.

You can follow Barbara’s journey at her popular blog www.holeinthedonut.com . If you’re looking to send a picture from your own journey Barbara offers $1 e-postcards of her travel photos. Barbara is a strong supporter of charities in many of the countries she visits and you can support her work with an e postcard from her many travel photos at www.holeinthedonut.net

 

What I learned from speaking with Barbara:

  1. There are no barriers to being a perpetual traveler. Barbara has not allowed age, sex or any other barrier to stand in her way to doing what she loves. She is happier for the experience and stands as motivation to millions of baby boomers that the best years don’t have to be behind you once you reach your fifties or sixties.
  2. Travel is all about people. A wonderful as many of the countries have been that she has visited ultimately it’s the people that make the difference. You can’t build a relationship from an air conditioned bus during two weeks of annual holidays. If you base yourself in a location and put yourself out there you’ll be continually staggered at the kindness that your fellow humans will show you
  3. Barbara highlighted many of the well-known expat destinations as being well worth visiting (and Columbia again gets a mention from those who have visited there) but what was particularly interesting was her take on eastern Europe, including Hungary, but particularly the Balkan states such as Croatia, and Bulgaria. These places offer a lot with very affordable lifestyles and I feel sure they will become increasingly popular as expat havens in the future. We will be following these areas with more interest.
  4. Being a woman doesn’t expose you to greater travel risk. Barbara has had no incidents in 9 years (outside of the US that is) and believes much of the concern is misplaced
Oct 8, 2015

It’s a long way from California to the west coast of France, especially if you’ve never visited before. Daniele and her husband Mike made the big move after Mike got a job opportunity in the French city of Biarritz, one of the surfing capitals of Europe.

Although something of a culture shock Daniele has so far enjoyed the tradition – swapping the business suits of her former life as a lawyer for the running shoes as she enjoys a more relaxed lifestyle in France.

Today we talk with Daniele as she discusses the culture shocks of France, how travelling opportunities have opened up from her new European base, and why the French have mastered the art of living in a way that is both challenging and refreshing to enjoy.

You can follow her and what’s happening in Biarritz at www.lexpatblog.com

What I learned from Daniele’s interview:

  1. Biarritz is part of the Basque region which shares more in common with northern Spain than it does with the rest of the county. It’s important to appreciate how strong regional cultures are in the part of the world and to be respectful to the independent nature that many of the locals may have
  2. There are some very affordable pockets of France even within cities. Biarritz is a popular tourist area yet it is still possible to live comfortably for around $2000-$2500 per month as a couple. The quality of life is good and the summers mild although Biarritz can be cold when winter rolls around.
  3. You definitely need to adapt to a slower pace if moving there. Long lunchtimes are common with many businesses closing down for up to 90 minutes at a time. The French love life and live for holidays with more holidays per year than Daniele was used to in the US. Long weekends are something that occurs regularly and with some attractive locations including Spain just a couple of hours way, weekend trips is definitely something to savior and enjoy!
Oct 8, 2015

What do you do if you’re a stand-up comedian who has just lost his day job and your artist girlfriend has also lost hers? You move to France of course! Today we interview Tommy Barnes who with his girlfriend left London 5 months ago to get away from the rat race and stress of big city life.

They moved to the Auvergne region of France and have embraced the contrast between their old London existence and what small village French life has to offer. They have even dispelled a few myths about the French way of life that the English have stereotyped the French as having. To many their existence may seem precarious – Tommy has spent his days writing a book he hopes to publish while Rose looks to sell her sculptures, and they currently are surviving on redundancy money. Despite this however they are happier, healthier, and with their recent commitment to buy a house in the Loire valley, they are now determined to make France their long term home

We caught up with Tommy one beautiful summer’s morning. You can follow his hilarious stories about life in the French countryside at http://thomasprinceoffrance.blogspot.com.au

What I learned from Tommy’s interview:

  1. The French are far more welcoming to the English than many English might think! They have both been welcomed by the locals and made to feel part of the community. The community spirit in French villages is a lot stronger than Tommy feels the equivalent would be in England
  2. Buying property in France doesn’t have to be complicated. Tommy purchased his house from a fellow British expat which helped make the process easier. Taking your time before committing to purchasing is also a good idea. Tommy rented in a couple of places and actually finished up buying a place he had previously rented.
  3. Not having a means of income isn’t necessarily a deterrent to making the leap. In Tommy’s case he’d lost his job and moving countries would have seemed highly unlikely in those circumstances but they have both used their redundancies to sustain themselves while effectively reducing their living costs by moving to rural France over the more expensive lifestyle of staying in London.
Oct 5, 2015

If you’re keen to live the expat life but overseas travel and cultures are not for you then why not consider being an expat traveler within your own country? Lots of people are doing it and todays travelers are no exception. Chuck and Lori Ros are combining the best of overseas travel with the chance to see more of the United States and they’re using a multiple of methods to cover the cost of their adventures including swapping work for travel, housesitting, house swapping and some very affordable one way cruise deals we’ll share with you on the show!

They are loving their new life and don’t see themselves going back to the old one anytime soon. If you want to hear more about their new lifestyle and how you can enjoy the benefits of your own country affordably as an internal traveler then listen to what they have to say.

You’ll find out more on their blog at www.chuckandlori.com

What I learned from speaking with Chuck and Lori:

  1. Being flexible is a great way to take advantage of whatever’s going. These guys are very much making it up as they go along; but that’s half the fun of their adventure and gives them the chance to grab great cruise deals like the one way relocation from Miami to Barcelona
  2. If you’re looking at using your house as a lifestyle asset you need to choose what’s right for your market place. When Chuck and Lori first decided to use their home in Georgia for house swapping they struck the snag that no one really wanted to go to Georgia for a break! When they repositioned it as an executive house rental and started earning money they were able to tap into the corporate market in their region. If you want to see your house as an income earner or an expense offset think carefully about the market it is most likely to suit. Maybe the best answer is just to sell it!
  3. Again having a career that allows you to work on the road gives you the chance to top up with as little or as much income as you need. Chuck’s web design work really only ties up two days per week for him while giving him e freedom to move as he likes. If you’re current work isn’t portable is it time to start skilling yourself up in something that is?
Oct 5, 2015

If you’re in need of some heart repairs would you be comfortable with having it done in another country? For many people the thought of this would seem terrifying – but as an expat living in Colombia Michael Kershaw was able to relax confident in a medical system he knew would look after him.

Colombia is fast developing an excellent reputation for both medical and dental care and medical tourism is on the rise. Michael’s hospital visit was covered under his medical insurance with no out of pocket expenses and considerably less hassle and better care than he received in the US.

In today’s interview Michael talks about medical care in Colombia from his first-hand experience plus shares the journey that brought in there and why his life is so much richer for the experience of relocating from the United States. He dispels many of the myths surrounding the safety in Colombia as well and explains why it should be on your radar if you’re looking for an expat location to move to.

You’ll find more about Colombia, and the best places to get a good coffee, on Michael’s blog at www.michaelandgraciela.com

What I learned from speaking with Michael:

  1. I had heard good things about medical care in Colombia but Michael is the first person I’ve spoken to who has experienced and can back it up. Off air he also shared the story of a friend who had a serious heart attack. He was rushed to hospital, had a stent put in, and was home within a week – and no additional cost was required on top of his medical insurance. It seems the stories are true!
  2. I had no idea Colombia was the rose growing center that it is – with 70% of Valentine’s Day roses in the US coming from the country. If you’re a keen gardener than Colombia might just offer you the environment to develop your skills further, and with housing relatively cheap a bit of land can be very affordable if you want to get serious about it. For those interested in growing fruit and vegetables Colombia offers an abundance of natural choices and you can grow to your hearts content - while enjoying the eating as well!
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