Lifestyle

What Would You Do Even If You Knew That You Might Fail?

‘What would you do even if you knew that you might fail?’

This is a question asked in one of my favourite productivity books “Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.

It’s not a productivity book, per se. It’s a book about unleashing your creativity into the world even if you’re scared to!

However, summarised in one sentence, this book basically says – take action! Go do what you want to do and to heck with external or internal judgement. You only live once so make it happen.

Here’s an awesome passage from one of the very last chapters which I urge you to consider, particularly when fear is holding you back from moving forward;

There is a famous question that shows up, it seems, in every single self-help book ever written: What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?

But I’ve always seen it differently. I think the fiercest question of all is this one: What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail?

What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?

To me, that question is asking us to consider what we love to do so much, that even if we gave it a lifetime of effort and never reached the lofty heights of stardom or great riches would we do anyway?

Versus, the usual question which might evoke answers such as starting a billion dollar business, becoming a pop star, an astronaut, a multiple award winning best selling author, climb Mount Everest, starring alongside Ryan Gosling, and all those other big seemingly unachievable goals reserved only for the rich and famous.

And I must admit, as I get older the question becomes easier to answer.

When we’re young we’re happy to sacrifice our time and joy chasing things we think will make us happy such as a big house, a nice car, all the latest gadgets and ‘stuff’.

Society defines success as having the biggest bank account or the most accolades, so it’s no surprise we buy into this and work our asses off to keep up with the Joneses.

But as we get older and hopefully wiser, our priorities shift.

We start to realize that the things we once thought would bring us happiness are mostly just superficial and fleeting.

We begin to understand and appreciate that;

time is our most precious commodity.

So why spend a minute of it doing things we hate to buy crap we don’t need.

I get that we need to eat, have a roof over our heads, and pay the bills, but beyond that as Maslow so thoughtfully laid out for us, we don’t need the latest Tesla or to live in Beverley Hills to be happy (although I wouldn’t turn it down if someone gifted it to me 😂).

Happiness comes from connection, friendship, self-esteem and the feeling that we’re being the best version of ourselves.

So, take a minute to ask yourself that question.

What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail?

The answer might not come easily.

Somewhere along the way, as you were navigating the minefield of life, being bombarded with images of what life is ‘supposed’ to look like, and filling your mind with the dreams, successes and achievements of others, you may have swept your dreams under the carpet.

But you need to give yourself permission to dust them off and shine them up.

As Elizabeth so rightly says;

‘What else are you going to do with your time here on earth – not make things? Not do interesting stuff? Not follow your love and your curiosity?’

At the risk of simply quoting others (they say it so well);

woman playing in the rain with quotes ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ - Mary Oliver - The Summer Day

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6 Reasons I’m Going From Home to Hobo in My Fifties

Yesterday, my husband and I completed the daunting task of packing up our house and handing over the keys to the managing agent.

After 5 years in our lovely house and 7.5 years in the same expat neighbourhood, we finally pulled the plug and have started our nomad journey.

The most heart-wrenching moment was saying goodbye to our beloved rescue dog, Buddy. Fortunately, he’s moving in with a family who already know and love him like their own. They live just a few doors from us and Buddy has grown up staying regularly with them and playing with their beautiful same age labrador Honey.

picture of our beloved Buddy
Beautiful Buddy

While it’s comforting to know he’ll be loved and well cared for, it didn’t make the farewell any easier. Seeing my usually very stoic husband show some raw emotion was particularly gut wrenching.

Our journey began yesterday afternoon in Khao Lak, about 90 minutes north of our house in Phuket. We’ve planned a 9-day stay at a lovely hotel here to rest and recharge after the whirlwind of the past few weeks, which included our daughter’s graduation, packing, and moving.

outrigger hotel - khao lak
Outrigger Hotel – Khao Lak

However, instead of feeling excited and looking forward to this new chapter, I found myself overwhelmed with regret and homesickness last night. I longed for the comfort of my house, my couch, my bed, and of course cuddles with Buddy.

The thought of living out of bags and hotel rooms suddenly filled me with dread, and after hours of tossing and turning, I fell into a disturbed and anxious sleep.

I realise in the cold light of day that it is going to take some time to adjust to this new reality. But despite the fears and uncertainties, I know in my heart that embracing this nomadic lifestyle is not only right path for us, but also an incredible an opportunity for growth, adventure, and self-discovery.

Here’s why I’ve chosen to throw myself into the deep end and embark on this journey, at the ripe young age of 51!

Reason 1: This Was Always the Plan!

When we first embarked on our online adventure in 2010, our plan was to travel full time. We took our first step by house-sitting for a friend in Cyprus, with our then 4-year-old daughter in tow.

It was during this time that we began building our online business, which would become the foundation for our nomadic lifestyle.

our first house sit in Cyprus

After Cyprus, we lived in Australia for a while but continued to travel through Thailand. As our daughter reached school age, we made the decision to settle in Thailand and adopt the expat lifestyle.

At the time, it seemed like the perfect compromise – we could provide our daughter with a stable education while still enjoying the benefits of living abroad.

However, as the years passed, Phuket became increasingly expensive, and our once-flexible lifestyle started to feel more like a ball and chain.

We found ourselves tied to one place, waiting for our daughter to finish school before we could resume our original plan of full-time travel.

New Beginnings

Now, 14 years after we first set out on this journey, we’re finally picking up where we left off. Our daughter is nearly 18, and we’re ready to embrace the nomadic lifestyle we always dreamed of.

Of course, embarking on this adventure feels very different at 51 than it did at 37. We’re older, wiser, and perhaps a bit more cautious than we were back then. But we’re also more experienced, more resilient, and more certain of what we want out of life.

In many ways, this journey feels like a fulfilment of a long-held promise to ourselves. It’s a chance to reconnect with our original vision and to create the life we’ve always wanted.

And while it may come with its own set of challenges and uncertainties, we know that it’s a path we’re meant to take.

Reason 2: Facing Fears and Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

As we navigate through life, it’s easy to become comfortable with the familiar and avoid stepping out of our comfort zones. This is especially true as we grow older, when the idea of making significant changes can seem more daunting than ever.

However, facing our fears head-on and embracing new challenges is not only empowering but also essential for personal growth and fulfilment.

Comfort zones are, by definition, comfortable. They’re the spaces where we feel safe, secure, and in control. But while there’s certainly nothing wrong with enjoying the cosiness of familiarity, it’s important to recognize that staying within our comfort zones can also be limiting.

When we become too comfortable, we risk stagnating, missing out on new experiences, and failing to reach our full potential.

Embracing new challenges and confronting the things that scare us can have a profound impact on our confidence, resilience, and overall life satisfaction. By pushing ourselves to try new things and venture into unknown territories, we prove to ourselves that we are capable of much more than we often give ourselves credit for.

This newfound confidence can spill over into other areas of our lives, making us more self-assured and better equipped to handle the ups and downs that come our way.

Facing our fears is also a powerful way to keep our minds sharp and our emotions in check.

When we challenge ourselves and step outside of our comfort zones, we create new neural pathways in our brains, which can help to keep us mentally agile and adaptable. This is particularly important as we age, as it can help to stave off cognitive decline and keep us engaged and excited about life.

Of course, stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary. It requires a willingness to be vulnerable, to take risks, and to embrace the possibility of failure. But it’s precisely this willingness to be uncomfortable that sets the stage for personal development and transformation.

By leaning into the discomfort and pushing through the fear, we become more resilient, adaptable, and self-assured.

In my case, the decision to leave behind the comfort and familiarity of my home and embark on a nomadic lifestyle is a direct confrontation of my fears. It’s a choice to embrace the unknown, to push myself beyond what feels safe and comfortable, and to prove to myself that I am capable of thriving in new and challenging circumstances.

Reason 3: Staying Young Through Adversity

One of the most surprising benefits of facing adversity is its ability to keep us feeling young and vibrant.

When we encounter challenges and obstacles, we’re forced to tap into our reserves of strength, creativity, and resilience. We have to think on our feet, adapt to new circumstances, and find innovative solutions to problems we may never have encountered before.

This process of constant adaptation is crucial for maintaining a youthful outlook and spirit, regardless of our chronological age.

When we embrace adversity as an opportunity for growth and learning, we stay mentally and emotionally flexible. We avoid getting stuck in ruts or becoming rigid in our thinking, which can make us feel old and stagnant.

Adversity also has a way of putting things into perspective.

When we’re faced with real challenges, the small, everyday stresses that once seemed so important suddenly feel much less significant.

This shift in perspective can be incredibly liberating, allowing us to let go of petty concerns and focus on what truly matters.

In my case, the adversity of leaving behind my comfortable home and embarking on a nomadic lifestyle is sure to keep me on my toes. I’ll be constantly encountering new people, places, and situations, each with its own set of challenges and opportunities. I’ll need to be adaptable, open-minded, and willing to learn from each new experience.

But rather than seeing this adversity as a hardship, I’m choosing to view it as an adventure.

By embracing the challenges that come my way and staying open to the lessons they have to teach me, I know that I’ll be approaching life with a sense of wonder and enthusiasm. And while the road ahead may be uncertain, I’m excited to see where this adventurous mindset will take me.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Reason 4: Reinventing Myself Through Travel

Travel has a way of changing us in profound and unexpected ways.

When we leave behind the familiar routines and surroundings of our everyday lives, we create space for new perspectives, experiences, and discoveries.

We encounter new people, cultures, and ways of living that challenge our assumptions and broaden our horizons. In the process, we often find ourselves questioning who we are, what we want, and what truly matters to us.

This process of self-reflection and self-discovery is at the heart of why I believe travel is such a powerful tool for personal reinvention. Every new place I visit, every new experience I have, and every new person I meet will contribute to a shifting sense of self.

By immersing myself in new environments and embracing new challenges, I’m giving myself permission to explore different facets of my identity and to imagine new possibilities for my life.

Perhaps I’ll discover a hidden talent or passion that I never knew I had. Maybe I’ll meet someone who inspires me to pursue a new career path or philanthropic venture. Or perhaps I’ll simply gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the world around me, and a stronger sense of my place within it.

The beauty of travel is that it breaks us out of our routine and exposes us to new ideas and ways of being. It challenges us to adapt, to grow, and to see the world (and ourselves) through fresh eyes.

And while the process of personal reinvention is never easy, I believe that travel provides a unique and powerful catalyst for this kind of transformation.

Ultimately, the decision to embark on this nomadic adventure is about more than just seeing new places or having new experiences. It’s about giving myself permission to explore, to grow, and to become the best version of myself – wherever the journey may lead.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Reason 5: Embracing the Gift of Lifelong Learning and Adventure

As we grow older, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our best years are behind us and that it’s too late to pursue our dreams or embark on new adventures. However, I believe that every moment we have is a precious gift, and that there’s no better time than the present to make the most of it.

One of the greatest benefits of travelling later in life is the opportunity it provides for lifelong learning and personal growth. By immersing ourselves in new cultures, trying new things, and stepping outside of our comfort zones, we continue to expand our horizons and gain fresh perspectives on the world and our place in it.

Travel has a way of challenging our assumptions, forcing us to question our beliefs, and opening our minds to new ways of thinking and being.

Whether it’s learning a new language, trying a new food, or engaging in meaningful conversations with people from different backgrounds, each new experience adds to our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

The process of continuous learning and personal growth is also essential for staying mentally sharp, engaged, and curious as we age.

By embracing new challenges and experiences, we keep our minds active and agile, staving off cognitive decline and maintaining a youthful sense of wonder and enthusiasm for life.

For me, embarking on this nomadic adventure is not just about seeing new places or having new experiences, but about seizing the opportunity to make the most of the second half of my life.

Plus if I can inspire others along the way and demonstrate that it’s never too late to pursue your passions, challenge yourself, and create a life story that inspires and leaves a lasting impact on the world, all the better!

Reason 6: Living with Purpose and Passion

At the core of my decision to embrace a nomadic lifestyle is a deep desire to live a life of purpose and passion. For me, this means aligning my daily actions and choices with my values, pursuing experiences that bring me joy and fulfilment, and making a positive impact on the world around me.

In many ways, the decision to leave behind the comfort and security of my home is a reflection of this commitment to living purposefully.

By letting go of the things that no longer serve me – whether it’s material possessions, limiting beliefs, or stagnant routines – I’m creating space for the things that truly matter.

By embracing a life of travel and adventure, I’m opening myself up to new opportunities to learn, grow, and make a difference.

One of the things I’m most passionate about is exploring the world and connecting with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. I believe that travel has the power to break down barriers, increase understanding, and create bridges of empathy and compassion.

By immersing myself in new communities and learning from the people I meet along the way, I hope to gain a deeper appreciation for the richness and complexity of the human experience.

At the same time, living a nomadic lifestyle allows me to pursue my passions in a more focused and intentional way. Without the distractions and obligations of a traditional home life, I’ll have the freedom and flexibility to devote myself fully to the things that bring me joy and fulfilment.

Whether it’s writing, photography, volunteering, or simply spending quality time with loved ones, I’ll be able to prioritise the activities and experiences that matter most to me.

Ultimately, my decision to embrace a nomadic lifestyle is about more than just travel or adventure. It’s about living in alignment with my deepest values and desires, and making the most of the precious time I have on this earth.

And while the road ahead may be uncertain, I’m excited to see where this purposeful and passionate approach to life will take me.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Our house in Boat Lagoon, Phuket

Final Thoughts

As I sit here, at a breakfast table in The Outrigger, Khao Lak, on this rainy Saturday morning on the cusp of this new adventure, I can’t deny that there’s a big part of me that feels scared and uncertain.

The thought of leaving behind the comfort and familiarity of my home, my routine, and of course our little Bud, is daunting.

To be honest there’s a part of me that wishes I was in my twenties again, with the boundless energy and fearlessness of youth.

However, I also recognize that at 51, I bring a level of wisdom, perspective, and appreciation to this journey that I simply didn’t have in my 20s. I know that I’ll savour each new experience, each new connection, and each new lesson in a way that my younger self never could have.

And while I may not have quite the same physical energy I did back then, I believe that the adventure itself will reinvigorate me, filling me with a renewed sense of purpose and vitality.

If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a similar leap, I encourage you to listen to your heart and take that first step. The world is waiting, and the possibilities are endless.

Embrace the journey, stay open to the lessons and opportunities that come your way, and trust in your ability to navigate whatever challenges lie ahead.

As for me, I’m ready to face the unknown, to chase my dreams, and to make the most of this one wild and precious life. The road ahead may be uncertain, but I know that with an open heart, a curious mind, and a spirit of adventure, I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ❤️


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14 Travel Mistakes From 14 Years on the Road

Honey, where are the passports?’

We’d just arrived at our hotel in Kuala Lumpur after a very long journey and my husband was holding out his hand for the passport wallet at the check-in desk.

As my face drained of all colour I realised I’d left the wallet in the back of the taxi with our passports and money inside!

Thankfully after a frantic couple of hours with the hotel calling cab companies, the very kind and honest taxi driver returned with our wallet in hand and all present and correct.

Suffice to say he got a big tip!

We were crazy lucky. Forget the money, the effort it would have taken to replace all 3 passports for me, my husband and daughter doesn’t bear thinking about.

This is just one of many travel mistakes we’ve made over the years.

Here are some of my faves with some tips on how to avoid making similar mistakes when you’re travelling!

cartoon image of a woman with camera on her hand travelling with many luggages and bags and looks exhausted

1. Losing Passports

Following on from my story above, thankfully this is the only time I have lost the passports (she says touching anything wooden around me).

However, here’s a tip.

When travelling, your best bet is to invest in a bum belt (or fanny pack they’re called in the US), for your passports and money. This is then physically attached to your body at all times, plus it’s almost invisible under a t-shirt or jacket, making it more difficult to be swiped in the airport or when you’re out and about.

Once you’re on the plane, it’s small enough to be transferred to your backpack or handbag, and can then be attached to you again at the other end until you can safely stow your belongings away in the hotel safe.

It’s also super handy if you’re in a cheaper hotel without safes or an area where you feel more comfortable having your belongings with you at all times.

screenshot of belt bag for sale online

2. Forgetting to Apply for a Visa

A few years back my husband had gone to Australia early (I can’t remember why) and my daughter and I were following on.

It wasn’t until we were checking in at the airport and the lady at the desk was asking where our Australian Visas were, that we realised we had completely forgotten to get them! 🤦‍♀️

Thankfully we were staying in an apartment at the Marriott in Mai Khao Phuket for the week, and had checked out early to catch the plane. So they were able to check us back in for the weekend until we got our visas sorted!

my picture holding a wine glass with red wine
Me, stuck in Paradise for another couple of days!

Pro Tip

Don’t forget to get your visa! 😂

But in all seriousness, you do need to do your due diligence when travelling to different countries. Many countries now have electronic visas which can take from an hour to a couple of weeks to approve. Some have visas on arrival and some require much more paperwork than others.

Use a site like ivisa.com to get the latest info on Visas and always be prepared!

3. Forgetting they don’t allow Google in China

My sister & I arrived at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport at around 10 pm from Hong Kong on our Asian City Tour.

I eagerly swapped the sim in my phone to quickly find our hotel and work out the fastest route to get there.

However, panic ensued when it suddenly dawned on me that there was no Google in China! The taxi queue looked to be about 2 hours long and we were tired and didn’t fancy standing around for that long.

Unfortunately, my VPN didn’t want to fire up so eventually with the help of the lady at the phone desk, we accessed an English metro map and were able to find our way back to the hotel.

screenshot of online map to show the road

Pro Tip

  1. Always have a VPN ready to go on your phone for when you might need it. I’m not sure why mine didn’t work at the time, but most VPNs work anywhere in the world, so just do a quick check that your VPN covers where you’re going.
  2. Work out your route and how you’re going to get to your hotel ahead of time! These days Google Maps has a feature that allows you to download a map to use offline.

Here’s how;

  1. On your phone or iPad open the Google Maps app
  2. Search for your destination as you would normally
  3. Then at the bottom of the screen tap the name of the place, then tap the 3 dots on the top right hand corner and ‘Download offline map’
  4. Then when in an area with slow or no internet, just use Google as you would normally and it will guide you to your destination.

NB: If going to China, do this before you leave the country you’re in!

4. Missing the Cherry Blossom in Japan

As part of the same trip, our next destination was Japan and it was a bucket list item for my sister to see the Cherry Blossom in Tokyo.

Unfortunately, we’d got the dates wrong and were about a week, maybe two, too early.

My poor sister was devastated!

Pro Tip

Do your due diligence!

Don’t just rely on the first search result in Google. If something is super important to you, you need to do the research and make sure you’re in the right place at the right time.

For info, the cherry blossom in Japan is blooming anywhere between March 19th – May 4th, but it depends on where you are! Tokyo is March 30th, but Sapporo isn’t until May 4th. It’s a big country!

Do your research!

5. Bad Budgeting

This is more of a general travel mistake than a specific example of a time we ran out of cash. Though there have been a few hairy moments.

The fact is, it’s so easy to overspend when travelling. You think you’re doing a good job by setting up spreadsheets and tracking hotel costs, flights, trips, etc.

But all of a sudden a couple of weeks in you start to wonder where all your money’s gone. Especially in the cashless society we live in now. It’s so easy to swipe and go.

Pro Tip

The trick to great budgeting isn’t just to track your expenses, but to forecast your costs and then pick a spending limit you stick to!

If you can have a separate travel account/card from all your other expenses, even better. Create a weekly budget, put enough cash into that card for just the following week, and spend only that and no more.

If you have bookings that need to be paid for in advance, factor them into your forecasts and ensure you only transfer the balance to your spending card for that week.

When you can physically see how much you have left just for that week, you become so much more aware of what you’re spending and your funds will go much further.

Apps like TravelSpend and Trabee Pocket can help you set budgets and track expenses, use them!

screenshot of travelSpend download App

6. Flying by the Seat of our Pants

I’m not going to lie, I love flying by the seat of our pants. In other words, we are not really planning ahead and just deciding what our next move is on the fly.

But I have no doubt it’s cost us money over the years.

A few years back, because we were staying at the Marriott in Mai Khao so often, they gave us the option of staying in one of the apartments for 12 months at a very special rate.

Because we were unsure of our long term plans we had to turn it down, and continued our stay at the rate we were on. Unfortunately though, for the length of time we were there in the end, we would definitely have saved a decent amount!

On the plus side, planning last minute means you can get some good discounts, take advantage of offers, and get all the benefits that come with maximum flexibility.

On the downside, however, some things will undoubtedly cost more.

Leaving long haul flights to the last minute, for example, would likely result in increased flight charges.

Also, if you know your plans upfront, and are perhaps planning to stay somewhere for a longer period of time or rent a car for a few weeks, etc, then it’s possible you can negotiate a better, more long term deal.

Pro Tip

If you know you’re going to be country or city hopping for a while and your goal is to explore as much as possible, then don’t be afraid to leave bookings until the last minute and be a bit more flexible.

If you think you’re going to want to engage in slower travel and spend some time in one particular area or region, then it’s worth being a bit more forward thinking and planning ahead.

7. Planning too Far Ahead

On the flipside of flying by the seat of your pants is being a little too prepared and planning too far ahead.

When my sister and I arrived in Bagan in Myanmar, the hotel that I had booked upfront was not where we wanted to be.

Out in the middle of the sticks with nothing around us, the hotel and the surrounding area were barren and a bit uninspiring.

The following morning on a hot air balloon trip, I spotted the hotel that I wanted to stay in. A beautiful structure slap bang in the middle of all the temples and stupors that made up the UNESCO heritage site.

aerial view of a hotel surrounded by green trees and near body of water

Thankfully, due to my ‘fly by night’ attitude, we only booked one night at the hotel we were staying in and were therefore able to easily transfer over to the new hotel and have an amazing stay.

Had we booked a week at the hotel we initially arrived in we may have been locked into that and been unable to move and have the same experience.

Pro Tip

You’re not always going to win. Sometimes you’ll decide to only book a night or two only to find that the hotel is beautiful and now booked out, other times you’ll book a week or two ahead to get a bit of security, only to find you’re in the wrong area and should have only booked for a night or two.

The more you travel the more you’ll know when to book ahead versus when to ensure maximum flexibility. However, your goal is to try to maintain a balance as much as possible.

Roughly plan out your trip on a spreadsheet. Find the hotel you want to stay in, even if you don’t book it yet. Work out if you need trains, buses, rental cars, etc in between, and then, depending on your risk levels, book as far in advance or as little in advance as you feel comfortable with.

Where possible book rooms, cars, and experiences with easy cancellation clauses, just in case your plans change.

8. Not Travel Hacking

In my post about travel hacking, I talk about how my husband and I executed our biggest travel hack ever 15 years ago when we bought into the Marriott Vacation Club program.

However, apart from that one stroke of genius, we have not taken advantage of all of the different travel hacking strategies over the years, and I’m certain we would have a significant amount of points and rewards by now if we had.

Pro Tip

Start today. Even if you’re not travelling yet.

Sign up with a credit card that offers great signup bonuses and has an established points and rewards scheme, and start purchasing all of your everyday products on that card from dining out, shopping trips, and weekends away. The more you buy, the more points you’ll get awarded.

Then, when you’re travelling, sign up for hotel loyalty programs, airline loyalty programs, you name it. Sign up for everything, it’s free.

Always remember, however, that the more consistent you are with one airline alliance one hotel chain, or one vacation club program, the more points you will accumulate and the more rewards you will benefit from.

Check out my post on travel hacking for more details.

9. Not Having any Cash

A few months ago, my daughter and I went to Singapore for the weekend for her birthday.

I completely forgot to take any kind of cash with me, but luckily Singapore is such a cashless society that I actually didn’t need to draw out any Singapore dollars for the entire four days we were there.

Then just before Christmas, we went to Tokyo for a few days and I made the same mistake turning up to Tokyo airport with not a single yen on me.

Unfortunately, Tokyo isn’t quite as cashless as Singapore and within a few minutes of entering the country I needed cash to buy a train ticket.

Luckily, I have a Wise account which allows me to quickly and easily draw out local currency, wherever I am around the world. However, it’s not always that easy, and you are running around looking for an ATM machine.

Pro Tip

As we become more cashless, we start to forget about cash, and yet there are so many countries, particularly some of the smaller Asian developing countries, that still rely solely on cash.

Whatever you do, you do not want to be exchanging your money at the airport as the exchange rates are awful and fees are extortionate.

My recommendation therefore is always to arrive in a country with just a little bit of the local cash in your pocket, exchanged at your local post office or bank before you leave.

Plus get a wise.com account so you can easily transfer money into the local currency and avoid huge currency conversion fees every time you withdraw cash or make a payment.

screenshot of Wise log in page

10. Overpacking

meme of a women in front of a large red luggage

When I went backpacking across Europe with my sister in 2022, I was also heading back home to Thailand after the trip from an extended stay in the UK over the summer.

I had sent some essentials in advance and attempted to pack only what I needed for the Europe trip. My backpack weighed 11 kgs.

Invariably I still took some items I didn’t wear/use and the pack was crazy heavy when heaving it onto trains, buses, and walking any distance.

No matter whether you’re packing for a 2-week summer break or an extended trip across the world, you still need less than you think you do.

Save yourself the luggage fees and pack less!

Pro Tip

Outline your trip by days, detailing the activities and places you’ll be visiting. Then, get into planning mode for your outfits. The goal is to create a mix-and-match wardrobe where, for example, one t-shirt pairs well with two different trousers and vice versa. This not only maximises your outfit options but also minimises what you need to pack.

Then, once you have your outfits planned, (here comes the challenge), take a moment to review and then halve the amount.

It might seem like a stretch, but experience has taught me (even with a carefully packed 11kg backpack for my European adventure) I still ended up not using some items.

Cutting down your initial pack list can save you from carrying unnecessary weight and make your travel more enjoyable. Remember, packing less is often more than enough.

11. Name on Flight Booking

A few months back, I was flying one of my Filipino team members over to Thailand to work with me for a couple of weeks.

When booking his flight I accidentally mixed up his middle name and his last name on the booking.

Bearing in mind, all three names are on the passport and it’s clear it’s the same person, you’d think that would be enough right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

If any detail on your booking does not match up precisely with the details on your passport, you will be unable to fly.

The same thing recently happened to a good friend of mine who was bringing her daughter’s friend over with her on holiday to Thailand. Unfortunately, because she booked through an agent rather than directly with the airline, and she was being passed from pillar to post days before the trip, she ended up having to book an entirely new flight.

Knowing my friend she won’t stop until she gets a refund, but the hassle that you have to go through from a simple mistake isn’t worth getting it wrong.

Pro Tip

Carefully check all details before pressing that confirm button, The extra few minutes to make sure it’s correct will save you time and money in the long run!

12. Pulling Cash Out – Currency

Whenever you are abroad and you’re pulling money out of a cash machine or you’re at the shop and the merchant asks if you want to pay in your own currency or the local currency, please always always pick the local currency.

That means if you’re in Thailand pay in Baht, in Vietnam, pay in Vietnamese Dong, in Mexico, pesos. You get the picture.

If you allow the ATM provider or shop owner to do the currency conversion for you, then you will be liable for something called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC).

This means that the bank or merchant will charge their own currency exchange rates on your cash and will undoubtedly add a bit extra for their troubles.

If you pick local currency, it means that the currency exchange is done by the network or card provider’s rates which will be much cheaper.

Unfortunately, before I knew this little tip, I always used to pick my own currency and would have therefore paid over the odds.

Pro Tip

Get a wise.com card and account. Transfer your cash instantly into the local currency paying standard exchange rates with minimal fees and use your card across the globe to pay in local currency or draw money from the ATM.

It’s also a lot easier to use than a bank these days. They’ll never ask you to ‘go into the branch to verify your details’, which when you’re in Australia and your bank has frozen your card in the US, is mighty handy!

13. Tina – Machu Picchu stamp

Back in 2020, just before the Covid outbreak and subsequent lockdown, my husband and I sneaked in our dream wedding on a beach in Phang Nga, Thailand.

En route a friend of mine from the UK, but living in Spain had been stopped at the airport and was unable to board due to the fact that she had a Machu Picchu tourist stamp in her passport.

When visiting Machu Picchu a year or so prior, they’d asked her if she wanted her passport stamped. Like any other unsuspecting tourist might, she eagerly said yes.

However, because this was simply a tourist stamp and not a legal document it meant that she had essentially invalidated her passport.

Thankfully, she was able to get a new passport pronto and made it to the wedding. However, a harsh lesson was learned.

passport stamp in Machupicchu

Pro Tip

Do not under any circumstances allow anybody to put anything inside your passport, unless it is going in or out of a country at immigration or at a Visa office and is an authorised legal marking/document.

Also don’t leave your passport in the pocket of your jeans when washing them. Apparently, as we discovered first hand, a washed passport will invalidate it! 😂😂

14. Living like an Expat

Last on my list of travel mistakes we’ve made over the years is the trap of living as you would in your home country, simply in another country.

My goal was always to travel the world and immerse myself in the local culture, learning about the people, the food, the history, etc.

However, putting my daughter through an International school here in Thailand meant living in an expat area and building a network of expat friends.

Me and a group of friends helping out at international day at school
Helping out an International Day at the School

I don’t regret it for one minute as I have the best group of friends who I will know and love forever, and my daughter has had a fantastic start to life.

However, it’s been expensive, and even though I live in paradise I sometimes feel stuck in a rut, and a bit ‘Groundhog Dayish’, much like many of us feel in our home country.

To now go ahead and meet my true goals, it’s time to step well out of my comfort zones and immerse myself in the destinations I’m looking forward to visiting!

Other Mistakes to Consider

Dining Near Major Attractions

A classic misstep is opting for meals too close to major tourist spots. It’s a quick fix for hunger, but the prices in these areas often reflect their prime location rather than the quality of food.

This mistake can lead to overspending on mediocre dining experiences and missing out on authentic local cuisine that’s usually just a short walk away.

Neglecting Passport Validity

Another easily overlooked blunder is not verifying your passport’s expiration date. Don’t get caught off guard and learn too late that the country you’re going to requires your passport to be valid for six months beyond your travel dates. Always ensure you have six months on your passport and you’ll be good to go.

Forgetting to Notify Your Bank

A very frustrating experience is when your credit card gets declined at midnight as you’re trying to check in to your hotel in Japan because your credit card company thinks it might be fraud. Let your bank/credit card company know you’re heading overseas and to look out for some unfamiliar charges!

Overlooking the Weather

Don’t get caught out by not checking the destination’s weather before packing. You might be surprised to learn it’s a few degrees cooler than you were expecting or vice versa!

Skipping Research on Local Customs

Did you know that if you make any disparaging remarks about the royal family in Thailand you can get jail time? And if caught chewing gum in Singapore you’ll most certainly get a fine. Failing to familiarise yourself with the local customs and regulations of your destination is a mistake that can lead to uncomfortable, and sometimes legal, predicaments. Do your research ahead of time to avoid inadvertently offending locals or breaking laws.

Wrapping Up

I’m certain I’m only scratching the surface of mistakes we’ve made over the years and look forward to making many more in our future journeys!

The more mistakes we make, the more different things we’re trying.

I hope my insights can help you on your travel journey. The key is to remain adaptable, curious, and always prepared to embrace the unexpected twists that travel throws our way.

That way we become more astute and resilient travellers with lots of stories to tell!

Have fun out there 🙂


Subscribe to the Working Traveller Newsletter and alongside weekly money making and nomadic lifestyle tips, get instant access to my FREE ebook – 200+ Ways to Generate an Income While Travelling the World!

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P.S. Do you have a specific question you’d like me to answer in a blog post, podcast or in my weekly newsletter? If so click below and ask away!

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12 Common Pitfalls of Nomad Life and Practical Solutions to Tackle Them

I looked up, breathing heavily. The 11kg bag on my back felt like the weight of 3 grown men & my knees were creaking with every step.

The hotel looked fabulous in the pictures but nowhere had I seen, ‘must navigate 300 steps up extremely steep hill’ to get there!

aerial view showing houses and green hill beside body of water
The view was spectacular though!

That was just the first night of our stay in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Pretty much every hotel in that city is at the top or bottom of a seriously long set of steps.

Not a problem on their own. Big problem with a huge backpack and, interestingly, a local law against roll along suitcases (not that we had one anyway).

By the end of that jaunt my big sister swore she was never backpacking again!


Carrying everything you own with you is both a pro & a con when travelling the globe.

But many times you’ll only be shown the glam side.

Youngsters casting aside their hiking boots and dirty tees to reveal six pack abs and diving into a random spectacular waterfall they just happened across.

You don’t often see reels of middle aged women with purple faces navigating steps with bags clearly too heavy for them, looking like they’re about to collapse. (It’s my mission to show those moments on my future travels!)

Here are some more challenges of the nomadic lifestyle that are rarely seen in picture perfect reels on Instagram;

1. Loneliness

Years ago, flanked by the Sydney Opera House on one side and the majestic Harbour Bridge across the river on the other, I should have been the happiest in my life. Instead, I remember feeling sad. I was alone and had no-one to share the moment with.

I know privileged or what? But loneliness isn’t just limited to the nomadic lifestyle.

The growing trend of remote working from home is accelerating feelings of isolation and solitude. I’m not a psychologist but just a quick scroll through social media and it’s fairly obvious that this isn’t a good thing.

While having some alone time can nourish the soul, too much can leave us feeling sad and lonely.

If we learn to use social media for us though rather than against us there is no reason to feel lonely ever!

  1. Join like minded groups on Facebook or Discord or wherever you hangout. No matter your interest I’m betting there’s a group for it.
  2. Chat with others every day and where possible set up Zoom meetings to chat with people you connect with and talk to often.
  3. Look up local meetup events in your area and attend workshops and get togethers.
  4. If travelling or working from home find local co-working spaces to work from. You’ll meet people and many times these places hold workshops and events.
  5. When travelling join an organised tour group or book experiences via a tour guide that are likely to be with a group of people.
  6. Can’t find a group that meets your needs? Start your own! If you’re interested in something there are bound to be others.

I know it can be hard, particularly if you’re on the shy side and it can feel very intimidating. But you’re not alone. There are so many others out there who feel the same way as you do.

You just need to take those first few steps of reaching out and there will be people waiting to meet you!

2. Unstable Internet

This is becoming less of a problem these days, but back in 2010 when we were living in Cyprus, I remember bouncing from hotel to hotel trying to find strong enough WiFi that I could upload videos!

The same was true of Cairns in Australia in 2014. The internet was terrible everywhere! (I wonder if it’s changed?)

In fact most of my dodgy nomad stories are about chasing decent internet;

  • The time we bought a dongle in Bora Bora that we could only turn on and use for 3 minutes at a time as it was so expensive and would run out super fast (not ideal from a boat in the middle of the Pacific).
  • The time we had a day of webinars and had to move from a house to a cafe, to a pub, and even then one of our guests hosted the entire webinar himself as we just couldn’t get connected.

However, even though it’s much better in most countries across the world now, when your livelihood depends on connectivity, a dodgy connection can mean missed deadlines and frustrated clients.

screenshot of internet speed

To mitigate this, always have a backup plan, like a local SIM card or eSim with plenty of data, or knowing where the nearest café with solid Wi-Fi is.

You can also buy a portable Wi-Fi router that supports multiple countries. (Who knew? – I’ve never tried one so can’t attest to their effectiveness).

screenshot of pocket size wifi available in amazon

The trick is in preparation. If you know you’re going to need the internet for something important;

  • Research connectivity before arriving at a new destination
  • Carry a high-quality portable Wi-Fi device.
  • Find cafes and spaces with reliable internet.
  • Buy a decent data plan for your phone

3. Time Zone Troubles

Juggling different time zones depends on your age.

time zone meme

I’m not joking! Gone are the days I’d get up at 2am to watch a webinar or even 4am to host a webinar (I have done this on multiple occasions)

I need my sleep, or else I’m a grumpy b**ch, and am completely unproductive.

You need to manage your time zones according to your personality and sleep schedules. However, here’s a neat trick I found out about moving through new time zones which really works!

Work out what time zone your next destination is in. Then as much as possible start to mimic it for 2-3 days before you travel and on the plane.

For example, when I’m heading back to the UK from Thailand, which is 7 hours behind. For a couple of days before I’ll head to bed an hour or so earlier, and will try to sleep on the plane during the UK night time.

It’s not a perfect system, but the closer I get to mimicking the time zone the better I feel. (Also drinking copious amounts of water on the plane helps!)

If you have clients or people you work with in different time zones, then use tools like World Time Buddy to schedule meetings that suit you both.

Also, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, even if it means working unconventional hours.

Working through time zones can be a pain, but the most important thing is to ensure you get enough sleep so you can stay happy and healthy at all times!

4. Healthcare Hurdles

Talking about staying happy and healthy, accessing quality healthcare can be unpredictable in foreign countries.

It’s crucial to have a reliable travel insurance policy that covers medical care abroad.

Also, familiarise yourself with the healthcare system of your current location and keep a list of nearby clinics and hospitals.

Here in Thailand, the healthcare system is amazing. The hospitals are sparklingly clean, the doctors are internationally trained, no waiting lists and the service is like being at a 5-star hotel.

image of nurses walking at the hotel lobby
Phuket Bangkok Hospital

It costs, but if there was anything ever seriously wrong with me I would pick Thailand over the UK National Health Service every day of the week.

Before travelling to a new country make sure you;

  • Invest in comprehensive health and travel insurance.
  • Research healthcare facilities in each new location.
  • Keep a basic first-aid kit and essential medications with you.

5. Visa Viability

Visa requirements are pain and different in every country, however, they are a massive part of being a Digital Nomad.

You need to do your due diligence and find out what the requirements are for each country ahead of time.

A simple – ‘Do I need a visa for X’ Google search will usually suffice, however, websites like ivisa.com and atlys.com are handy resources.

Some other useful tips include;

  • Always have some passport photos on hand for countries with ‘visas on arrival.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute! Some visas can take a few weeks to organise.
  • Keep digital and physical copies of all important documents.

Also this post on 71 Countries Offering Digital Nomad Visas should help.

6. Financial Fluctuations

How far and how long you can travel is obviously budget dependent and the nomad lifestyle can lend itself to a feast-or-famine style of income. Particularly if you’re freelancing and picking up irregular contracts as you go.

My advice is to start your own online lifestyle business that grows steadily and begins to bring in a regular source of income over time that you can rely on.

Typical business models include e-commerce, Amazon FBA, blogging, selling digital courses or products, building a subscriber database, and monetizing a newsletter.

how to make money fast as a woman - shopify

There are lots more and you can see my guide to 190 business ideas here for some inspiration.

The trick is to diversify your income streams and maintain a healthy emergency fund. Plus you need to become an expert budgeter and financial planner!

Tips:

  • Start your own recurring revenue online business
  • Keep at least 3-6 months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund.
  • Track your expenses religiously and adjust your budget regularly.

7. Burnout

Without a clear separation between work and leisure, it’s easy to overwork! I know, I’m super guilty of being on my laptop from morning until night.

In fact, after a while, you’ll even start to feel guilty if you take some time away from your business. That’s the ‘24/7 always on’ society we’re in nowadays.

We start to get nervous that if we miss a day we’ll fall behind.

It’s not true. Everything will still be right where it was tomorrow, a month from now, even 6 months from now. Your lifestyle and your business is a marathon, not a race. (I know twee, but true!)

In fact I’d go so far as to say mine’s a bit of an amble these days! I’m sorry, I know that ‘money loves speed’ and all that, but I’m the tortoise. I want to stop and smell the roses, swim in the ocean, and feel the sand between my toes.

sitting in front the beach showing feet and a bottle beside

What’s the rush anyway?

I always remember a story Tony Robbins told from the stage during one of his events. He said – and I’m paraphrasing – that when he was younger and speeding through his career, he met a guy who lived in a shack on a beach in Fiji.

The guy had no money, no luxuries, and would simply sit relaxing in front of his hut or fish for his dinner. When Tony approached him to chat about his lifestyle, he said ‘I don’t understand everyone rushing around trying to make as much money as they can, just so they can spend their time relaxing in front of a hut or fishing like me. I can do that every day for free!

I realise that’s super simplified but it’s not far from the truth. The number of times in our early online days my husband and I would bob around in the Andaman Ocean and say ‘what would we do differently if we were millionaires’ and other than perhaps give more – the answer was always NOTHING!

Anyway I digress, even if the coffers are running dry a bit, there is no need to work yourself into the ground. It’s not worth it. Especially when you can rent a beach hut on the coast of Thailand or Vietnam for less than a monthly grocery shop and live on less than $10 – $20 a day if you really need to.

Set strict work hours, take regular breaks, and make time for activities that relax and rejuvenate you.

Remember, taking time off is not only okay; it’s necessary for long-term sustainability.

8. Pack Up & Go

I’ve spent long periods of time living out of suitcases and after a while, it can become a bit tiresome.

However, I’m lucky as I am not into fashion. I’ll happily wear the same t-shirt a couple of days in a row, and can live in only 3 – 4 mix-and-match outfits for long periods of time.

Famous British actresses Maggie Smith & Judi Dench once said how glad they were that they weren’t born beautiful as it sounded ‘exhausting’!

I feel the same way about people who are into all the latest fashions. Sounds way too tiring to be worrying about what I’m wearing every day!

However, even with minimal clothes, it can still become very laborious constantly searching through your bags to find your stuff, rather than having a home for everything.

Here are some tips to make the experience more palatable;

  1. Pack light. Work out how to mix and match and invest in high-quality, multi-purpose clothing and gear.
  2. Streamline your packing process with a checklist and packing cubes! Packing cubes are great for separating tops from bottoms, underwear, washing, etc.
  3. Learn how to see laundromats as a pleasant experience. I see laundromats as ‘freedom’! Wacky I know, but if I have to go to a laundromat it means I have no fixed abode. I can put my clothes in, go for a coffee, read a book, etc.
  4. If you can’t stand it any longer, opt for some longer stays to minimize the hassle of moving.

9. Lack of Routine

This is a double edged sword. Personally, I hate routine. I know it’s good for me and certainly aids with productivity, but after a while, I get bored, frustrated, and very agitated if I stick to the same routine day in, and day out.

It says more about my potential ADHD tendencies I guess, than anything else, but you need to do what’s right for your personality.

Make a list of jobs you know you must get done every day/week. If you’re somewhere you’re confident you’ll have a few hours every day to work, then you can plan what you need to do each day.

If however, you have lots of trips planned and want to do some serious exploring you may have to batch complete your tasks ahead of time.

For example, I like to write a post every morning before I do anything else. It sharpens my writing skills, gives me content for my website, socials, newsletters, etc, and is a habit I’ve long wanted to adopt.

However, if I’m on route to the Masai Mara and know I need to get a week’s worth of posts done ahead of time, that’s what I’ll do!

When travelling it’s very difficult to establish a regular routine, so the secret is in knowing exactly what the non negotiable jobs are that you need to get done each day/week, then you can work according to your schedule.

10. Maintaining and Building Relationships

Maintaining strong relationships while on the move requires extra effort.

It’s worth it.

Nomadism is such a transient lifestyle, that you can almost be in a constant state of mourning as you move from place to place!

This links back to point No 1 about loneliness, but also it’s about building your network of amazing people you meet along the way and maintaining your long-term friendships and relationships.

All too often we share a life-changing experience with someone and then just go on our way. I’m not suggesting you get the details of everyone you meet, but there will be particular people along the way that you will just instantly connect and resonate with.

me with other woman in blue dress in front of white building
A lady I met in the Visa queue in Penang. We ended up sightseeing together for a couple of days

These days it’s easier than ever to stay in touch and even if a long call isn’t on your agenda, a quick ‘thinking of you’ pic or smiley message can brighten someone else’s day.

Tips to both build and maintain relationships;

  • If you meet someone you connect with, make the effort to exchange WhatsApp details or connect on social media.
  • Schedule regular check-ins with friends and family, and use technology to your advantage with video calls and social media.
  • When possible, plan visits or meetups in person.
  • Be the reason someone else smiles on any given day through a meme, a short message or a simple ‘I’m thinking of you’.

11. Safety

Keeping your belongings and data secure is paramount, especially in unfamiliar territories.

Use VPNs to protect your online activities and be mindful of your surroundings when working in public spaces.

Additionally, invest in anti-theft bags and use safes for valuables when available.

The irony is that right now as I write this, I’m sitting in Starbucks in a shopping center in Phuket, Thailand. I’ve just nipped to the bathroom, which is out of Starbucks in the main shopping area, and I’m so used to leaving my computer and bag here without worrying about it.

I know I won’t be able to do that in most countries I go to and I don’t recommend that to anyone unless you know a place super well. And even then, there’s always a risk.

Takeaway Tips:

  • Always use a VPN when accessing public Wi-Fi.
  • Be cautious with your gadgets in crowded or public areas.
  • Use anti-theft bags and devices to secure your belongings.
  • Use safes in hotels where possible to leave your passports, money, computer, etc
  • Carry a small padlock for your backpack, especially if stored somewhere publicly, like in a bag room in the lobby of a hotel, to go out for the day.

12. Environmental Impact

Lastly, the travel-heavy lifestyle of a nomad can contribute significantly to carbon emissions.

I’m very mindful of this and yet also want to be able to explore as much of this world as I can.

To lessen our environmental footprint, opt for overland travel when possible. Choose buses, trains, and electric vehicles if you can.

Choose eco-friendly accommodations, and support local economies by shopping and eating locally.

two teenagers selling local foods in a food stand


Takeaway Tips:

  • Prioritise trains, buses, or car-sharing over short-haul flights.
  • Choose accommodation with sustainable practices.
  • Participate in local clean-up events or eco-tourism activities.
  • Use eco-friendly sunscreen.
  • Refuse plastic bags/straws etc when shopping at markets. Carry your own reusable cloth bag.

Wrapping Up

The life of a digital nomad is portrayed as cliff diving into azure waters, sunset walks along pristine white silky sand, palm trees, floating breakfasts, being at one with nature, and more.

The reality is more often than not, frazzled panic at the airport, sleeping on a bench while waiting for a room to be ready, watching your back as you navigate new terrain, losing your passports, money, and room keys, vomiting after bad prawns on the beach, lack of sleep and lots more.

It’s also, however, a lot of laughs, meeting amazing people, experiencing incredible cultures, having your mind blown and stretched over and over again, understanding, tolerance, education, resilience, and much, much more.

my picture riding a bike with local kids
Mixing with the locals in Cambodia

Approaching this lifestyle with some pre planning, preparation and an understanding of the potential pitfalls will make for a safer and more enjoyable experience.

An experience I highly recommend by the way.

Happy travelling!

Jo 🙂


Subscribe to the Working Traveller Newsletter and alongside weekly money making and nomadic lifestyle tips, get instant access to my FREE ebook – 200+ Ways to Generate an Income While Travelling the World!

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P.S. Do you have a specific question you’d like me to answer in a blog post, podcast or in my weekly newsletter? If so click below and ask away!

20 Critical Lessons I’ve Learned in 14 Years of Being a Nomadic Solopreneur

It was 10 pm and I was tired from travelling all day.

As we walked through the ‘nothing to declare’ lane of the airport I headed straight for the sim card desk. A few minutes and 20 yen later, I fired up Google to work out how to get to our hotel ASAP.

As a DNS error filled my screen it didn’t take long for it to dawn on me that of course there is no Google in China.

Having not pre-planned our late-night route and with the taxi queue outside looking like a 2 – 3 hour wait, I frantically opened what looked like a search engine and sought help from the lady behind the sim card desk.

Unfortunately, the search engine was all in Chinese, the signs around us were all in Chinese, and she spoke only Chinese – spoiler alert, we were in China after all!

Somehow together we pulled up an English version of the metro and with more luck than judgement were safely ensconced in our hotel in Shanghai an hour or so later.

screenshot of map in China
The map I pulled up on my phone

You might be wondering why we didn’t just use a VPN.

Great question.

I did have a VPN, but unfortunately on this occasion, it didn’t work. I didn’t know at the time, but not all VPNs work in all countries. It is down to us to do our own due diligence and check these small facts before we travel!

This is just one of many, many lessons learned over the years while travelling and working online.

Here are some that stand out;

Travel Lessons

1. Your Budget is Your Bible

I’m not the thriftiest person in the world. In fact I’d say I was a bit of an expert in spending money!

However, it’s very easy for costs to spiral out of control if you don’t have a clear budget that you stick to. And there’s no faster way to thwart your enjoyment of a place than to feel like you’re throwing money away with nothing to show for it.

Particularly when navigating different currencies and cost of living standards, make sure you track every expense, no matter how small.

Actionable Tips;

  1. Use tools like XE.com to convert currencies and tracking apps like Trabee Pocket, Travel Spend, or Splitwise, to set budgets and track expenses.
  2. Set aside a contingency fund for unexpected costs.
  3. Regularly review and adjust your budget based on current spending patterns and future forecasts.
screenshot of trabee website

Sticking to a budget is paramount in the unpredictable journey of a nomadic solopreneur. A well-maintained budget will keep you on course and help you travel smarter for longer!

2. Wikipedia is Your Friend

It’s always a good idea to arm yourself with a bit of knowledge before stepping foot in a new country.

Learning some essentials about a country’s culture, customs, and crucial dos and don’ts can avoid any potential awkward encounters.

Actionable Tips;

  • Spend some time researching each new destination, focusing on cultural norms, historical context, and essential local information.
  • Look for community forums or travel blogs for insider tips and advice.
  • Learn a few basic phrases in the local language to show respect and enhance communication.

Wikipedia and just a quick, google search can provide invaluable insights. It’s also a good idea to learn how to say Hello, Thank You and Where’s the Loo in the local language!

3. Make Friends, Everywhere

The nomadic lifestyle is incredibly enriching but can be lonely at times.

Making friends, both online and offline, in various corners of the globe, can help combat this loneliness.

I now have friends who live in France, America, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, various spots throughout Asia, and more.

image of me my family and freinds wearing helmet
With our friends on a trip in Bora Bora

Having a supportive community that can offer assistance, advice, and companionship, no matter where you are is priceless.

Actionable Tips;

  • Start by finding online groups on Facebook, Linked In, or forums filled with like-minded people.
  • Engage in local events and meetups related to your interests.
  • Use social media and networking apps to connect with fellow travellers and locals.

Also, be the person who offers help and value to others. By helping others you’ll attract people to you and you’ll start to cultivate meaningful connections that go beyond mere acquaintances.

4. Embrace Minimalism

Embracing minimalism in both your personal belongings and your business practices can lead to a more focused and liberated existence.

Packing light and owning less not only makes travelling easier but also declutters your mind, allowing for greater creativity and efficiency.

What do you own? Do you really need it?

My friends are amazed that we’ll leave Phuket as we arrived, with 3 suitcases. But having cleared out my Mum’s in 2022 before she passed I can promise you, when the time comes, that rug you got from Venice, or the vase you bought for your first marital home won’t matter a jot.

Actionable Tips;

  • Regularly evaluate your possessions and digital tools, keeping only what serves a clear purpose.
  • Adopt digital solutions for documents and books to reduce physical bulk.
  • Simplify your business processes to focus on core activities that drive value.

5. Make Sure Your VPN Works. Even in China!

screenshot of express VPN website

Accessing the internet freely and securely as a nomadic solopreneur is crucial, especially in regions with digital restrictions.

A VPN also protects your online activity, particularly when working in public spaces.

Actionable Tips:

  • Choose a reputable VPN service with strong security features and a no-logs policy. (I use Express VPN these days, which seems to have great access across the globe)
  • Always connect to a VPN when using public Wi-Fi networks to safeguard your data.
  • Regularly update your VPN software to ensure optimal performance and security.
  • Double check it definitely works in the countries you’re going to – check forums, travel groups etc.

6. eSIMs Rock

For as long as I can remember I’ve hot-footed it to the mobile data counter as soon as I’ve landed in a new country.

There, my sim card is taped to the inside cover of my phone case, a new sim is activated and I’m left replacing my original sim with a paperclip on the next onward flight.

It works. But it’s a hassle.

Not anymore!

eSIMs offer a more straightforward, often cheaper alternative to traditional data cards, providing seamless connectivity across borders without the hassle of physical SIM swaps.

Actionable Tips:

  • Download compatible eSIM apps before arriving at your next destination. (I use Airalo)
  • Buy a package for your next destination and set it up as your ‘travel’ plan.
  • When you land simply turn your ‘travel’ plan on and Bob’s Your Uncle!

When you leave you simply turn it off. No more paper clips and messing about with sim cards.

7. Always Carry Passport Photos

Having extra passport photos can save you from numerous bureaucratic headaches while you’re traversing the globe.

Whether it’s for visa applications, permits, or local IDs, being prepared with passport photos keeps you one step ahead.

Actionable Tips:

  • Keep a digital copy of your passport photo on your phone or cloud storage for emergency prints.
  • Store passport photos in multiple safe places, such as your wallet, travel pouch, and luggage.
  • Regularly update your passport photos to reflect your current appearance.
my sister and I arriving at the maldives
My sister & I arriving in the Maldives

8. Change is the Only Constant, Learn How to Embrace It

The one thing you can be absolutely certain of when travelling is that plans will change, flights will change, bookings will change, times will change, the weather will change.

If you don’t enjoy change, a nomadic solopreneur lifestyle may prove a tad challenging!

However, embracing change rather than resisting it can lead to unexpected opportunities.

A few years back the student protests in Hong Kong caused our flights from Japan to be cancelled and at the last minute we completely changed our route and ended up in Seoul, Korea for a couple of days. What a pleasant surprise that was! I can’t wait to go back and explore further.

Changing tides can actually make you more resilient and versatile as both an individual and a nomad.

Actionable Tips:

  • Stay informed about global and industry trends/news to anticipate changes.
  • Develop a flexible mindset, viewing change as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Business Lessons

9. Master the Art of Prioritization

With the absence of a traditional routine, managing your time effectively becomes a challenge.

Identifying the tasks that yield the most significant results can dramatically enhance your productivity and satisfaction, allowing you to focus on what truly moves the needle.

I love the framing of these two questions from Tim Ferriss;

screenshot of Tim Ferries post

Actionable Tips:

  • Use the above questions to determine the most important priorities you need to be focusing on
  • Each week, identify the top 1 – 3 tasks that will contribute most to your goals and commit to tackling them first.
  • Use tools and apps to manage tasks and deadlines efficiently.
  • Regularly evaluate your activities to ensure they align with your priorities and adjust as needed.

10. Build Systems for Those “Off” Days

If I hear one more guy tell me to ‘embrace the grind, even when you’re not feeling it’, I’ll shove his grind where the sun doesn’t shine.

You try navigating the menopause pal; where you wake up one day and the world smells of roses only to wake up the next and feel as if dementors have come and sucked the life out of your very being.

Then you go ahead and ‘embrace the grind’!

The fact is, particularly if you’re a ‘woman of a certain age’, navigating days when motivation is low, calls for a compassionate yet strategic approach.

It’s not always about pushing through. You need the right systems in place to carry you through those moments.

Recognizing the need for rest and giving yourself grace on tough days is just as important as maintaining momentum in your business.

By setting up systems and structures, you can ensure that your business continues to thrive, even when you’re taking the time to recharge.

Actionable Tips:

  • On the days you’re feeling in the zone, take the time to batch create content or prepare up front the more challenging tasks you tend to struggle with on ‘off’ days.
  • Automate repetitive tasks or develop a support network or team that can cover for you or share the load when needed.
  • Give yourself a break. Things will get done when they get done. It’s not like you’re performing brain surgery (unless of course you are and then I’m not qualified to help!)

11. Don’t Put All Your Eggs into 3rd Party Platforms

While platforms like Google, Facebook, and YouTube are powerful tools for growth, they operate on their own agendas. Algorithms change, and what works today might not tomorrow.

Right now as I write this Google is systematically dismantling thousands of blogging businesses. All in the name of progress and ‘helpful content’.

The key is to use these platforms strategically while investing in assets you control, such as your own content platform, ecommerce store, and email list.

Actionable Tips:

  • Create your own platforms. Your own website, your own email list, your own ecommerce store. Even if you’re writing on Medium, selling on Amazon or have a huge following on TikTok.
  • Make building and nurturing an email list as your direct line to your audience, your No 1 priority.
  • Diversify your online presence to mitigate the risks of platform dependency.

Mindset Lessons

12. Live for Now; Tomorrow is Promised to No One

I recently lost a friend way too early.

It’s so easy to get sucked into what we think is important in life, like money, and objects. But what’s really important is all around us.

Just living.

The nomadic lifestyle teaches the value of living in the moment.

By focusing on the present, you can fully embrace and appreciate your experiences, making the most of every opportunity without taking time for granted.

Breathe the air, smell the ocean, feel the breeze, and walk barefoot on the grass.

Actionable Tips:

  • Practice mindfulness and gratitude to anchor yourself in the present.
  • Make conscious decisions that align with your immediate happiness and well-being.
  • Avoid over-planning or postponing joy for “the right moment.”
Image of me sitting on the beach doing yoga
Me attempting to do Yoga on the beach in Koh Samui

13. True Freedom is Choice

We often picture freedom as globe-trotting adventures or the luxury of working from home.

But at its core, freedom is about choice.

It’s the power to decide where you’re headed next, how you spend each day, and who shares those moments with you.

When our choices are not truly our own, our sense of freedom diminishes.

It’s natural to sometimes narrow our options for the sake of loved ones or to consider the wishes of others. But, it’s crucial to stay vigilant, ensuring we don’t inadvertently craft a life more about pleasing others than achieving our own aspirations and joys.

Actionable Tips:

  • Regularly assess your path and choices to ensure they align with your personal and professional goals.
  • Embrace the responsibility that comes with freedom, understanding that your choices shape your reality.
  • Be proactive in creating options for yourself in all areas of life.

14. True Wealth is Health

Around 10 years ago my right knee started to hurt as I walked upstairs.

Not thinking too much of it I left it & carried on about life. 10 years later at the young age of just 51, I have two severely arthritic knees and can no longer play tennis, run, squat, or do anything that causes further deterioration of the already nonexistent cartilage.

As a traveller who wants to hike & explore the world, this is a bit of a pain and something I will have to work around.

But it demonstrates to me the importance of our health above everything else.

It doesn’t matter how much money your business makes, without health, the joys of nomadic entrepreneurship can be severely limited.

Prioritising physical and mental well-being ensures we have the energy and vitality to pursue our passions and overcome any challenges.

things to do in phuket - muay thai boxing
Me looking sporty for once! – Muay Thai lesson

Actionable Tips:

  • Incorporate regular exercise and a balanced diet into your lifestyle especially as you get older!
  • Make strength training and stretching a priority.
  • Schedule regular health check-ups, listen to your body’s needs & try to catch things early!

Here in Thailand, they have packages at the hospital for all over body checks, blood counts, bone density, cancer markers, etc. My husband and I try to do it once a year.

The earlier we can catch anything the more action we can take to reverse it!

15. Let Go to Move Forward

Years ago I had a fantastic tennis coach who, as I was having a John McEnroe moment, would say to me – ‘let it go, focus on your next shot’.

The same is true in life.

Holding onto past mistakes or regrets can hinder your progress.

Learn to let go of past baggage to move forward with clarity and purpose.

Actionable Tips:

  • Practice forgiveness, both towards yourself and others, to release emotional burdens.
  • Focus on actionable steps you can take now to improve your current situation.
  • Use setbacks as learning opportunities, not anchors that hold you back.

16. Question Everything

Accepting information at face value can lead to missed opportunities for innovation and growth.

Just because someone else said it doesn’t make it true for you.

Just because it’s written in a book doesn’t make it true.

Even all these lessons in this post may not necessarily be true for you.

By questioning the status quo and digging deeper, you can uncover truths that align with your unique path and vision.

Actionable Tips:

  • Cultivate a healthy skepticism and do your own research before making decisions.
  • Talk to people with diverse perspectives to challenge your beliefs and expand your understanding.
  • Encourage open dialogue and have friendly debates with your family or community to cultivate innovation.

Next time you read something or learn something new, turn it on its head and ask yourself ‘Is that true?’

17. Everything is Figureoutable

Marie Forleo wrote a book with this title and it’s something I’ve believed for years.

image of the book Everything is Figureoutable

Never more so than when travelling!

  • Like the time my sister & I got (almost) scammed in India.
  • Like the time our longboat broke down in the middle of the Andaman Ocean.
  • Like the time we caught the wrong train in Germany & started going in the wrong direction.
  • Like the time my VPN didn’t work in China!

Facing challenges with the belief that you can find a solution heightens creativity and persistence.

Choosing to adopt a mindset of resilience and resourcefulness will make life as a nomadic solopreneur far easier.

Actionable Tips:

  • Break down overwhelming problems into manageable parts to tackle them step by step.
  • Build a network of mentors and peers for support and advice when needed.
  • Make sure you have a good sense of honour and can laugh when others might cry!

18. Be Kind

image of a women holding paper saying kindness pass it on

Kindness is a universal language that transcends cultural and language barriers.

Small acts of kindness can open doors, forge connections, and enrich your travel experiences in unexpected ways.

A friend of mine would always tell me the reason people were so kind to me was because of my innate kindness to them.

As my Mum used to say – ‘do unto others…’

Actionable Tips:

  • Practice empathy by considering others’ perspectives and circumstances.
  • Offer help without expecting anything in return, whether to a local community member or a fellow traveller.
  • Share your knowledge and experiences generously with others.

It costs nothing to be kind and yet it can bring so much happiness to you and to others.

19. Be a Connector

We very sadly live in a world rife with division.

With global connectivity at our fingertips, instead of kindness and love, we get embroiled in hate and intolerance.

It’s easy to point fingers at external forces like governments and corporations for wielding influence not always in the public’s best interest. But, the real challenge lies not in the external forces but in our response to them.

Instead of getting drawn into fruitless debates or internalising the online chaos, we have the choice to be the change-makers.

By adopting the role of connectors, we can use the very platforms that often divide us to build bridges, spread positivity, and remind us all of our shared humanity.

Actionable Tips:

  • Initiate and participate in community-building activities, both online and offline.
  • Use social media to share stories and ideas that unite rather than divide.
  • Participate in conversations with an open mind and heart, cultivating mutual understanding.

Let’s use the tools we have in our pockets for good.

20. Design Your Own Life

Living a nomadic solopreneur life is the epitome of intentional living.

Every choice, from relocating to a new country to starting an online venture, is a step in designing the life you desire.

Embrace this power of choice and use it to navigate obstacles and craft the existence you’ve always dreamed of.

Actionable Tips:

  • Set clear, long-term goals for both your personal and professional life.
  • Create a vision board or journal to visualize and plan the steps toward your ideal life.
  • Regularly assess your progress and adapt your plans as needed, staying true to your core values and desires.

You are in control of your life. You can choose to move to a cheaper country, start a more enjoyable job, build an online side hustle, etc.

Design your life the way you want it to be and if it’s not possible now, create a clear vision and start working towards it.

Worship the altar of intention and obstacle (as Aaron Sorkin would say) – live with intention, and move beyond the obstacles.

image of feet on a beach
Chillin’ on the beach 🙂

Wrapping Up

There are so many things travelling & running your own business teaches you.

From more tolerance and understanding of people, cultures, differences, etc to learning about yourself, your true beliefs, and values. It’s a journey of self discovery.

On this page are just a few of the lessons that have helped me along the way. I hope some resonate and help you too.

If I were to remember just one, I think it would be about living for now.

My friend who passed away left behind his wife, 19 year old stepdaughter, 10 year old daughter, brother, sister, Mum & a lifetime of friends.

He will be dearly missed.

image of my friend Gee showing thumbs up sign
RIP Khun Gee ❤️

There is nothing we can do that matters more than recognizing life is happening right now. At this very moment. This is life.

Not tomorrow, not yesterday, not next year. Right now. And you need to live it.

Thanks for reading!


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Free ebook image - 200+ ways to generate an income while travelling the world

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