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 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.
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