Tag Archives: digital nomad

I Dream of Cyprus…

For the past few years I’ve been slightly obsessed with the idea of traveling to Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece.  And by obsessed, I mean I’ve been pinning white-washed bungalows and electric-blue harbors on Pinterest like it’s going out of style.

I mean, what could possibly be more alluring, more indulgent, more idyllic  than swimming in one of those shallow, expansive resort pools – the ones conveniently located right next to a sparkling turquoise ocean – while sipping ouzo and lazily gazing upon stone houses built right into the mountainside?

Southeast Asia is tame. Western Europe is tired. A journey to Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, and the like feels impossibly exotic; a chance to brush up against the nucleus of the ancient past, the birthplace of Western civilization, and trace the roots of your own soul back across the millennia.

Besides stepping upon the same soil as the ancient mystics and treading in the footsteps of gods and philosophers, playwrights and poets, mythic creatures and faces that launched a thousand ships, a journey to this part of the world is a journey into the heart of our most passionate modern-day dramas.

Night view of the Paphos Castle (Paphos, Cyprus). Stupid beautiful.

Night view of the Paphos Castle (Paphos, Cyprus). Stupid beautiful.

The proximity of Syria, of Iraq, or Israel and Egypt makes a journey to Turkey and Greece like buying a ticket to humanity’s fiercest boxing match – you’re not quite inside the ring, but ringside seating is readily available.

Excitement, beauty, conflict, danger, the birthplace of the world and the imminent threat of the death of that world, all in one place. It’s as if this part of the planet is the heart of humanity itself, forever beating in and out as the human race strives to lower its own blood pressure.

But Cyprus! The conflicted island, torn between Turkey and Greece, floating in the Mediterranean sea like a polished jewel. It’s packed with the requisite bars, clubs, and white sand beaches, but the Cyprus holidays you can book offer a much richer experience of the island.

Pissouri village in Cyprus. I am annoyed by how gorgeous this is.

Pissouri village in Cyprus. I am annoyed by how gorgeous this is.

Check out Aphrodite’s Rock, rumored to be the birthplace of the goddess herself, before exploring the Tombs of the Kings in the island’s famed Paphos region. Take in sweeping views of the surrounding sea from Kykkos Monastery, set over 1300 meters high atop the Troödos Mountains. While you’re mountainside, you’ll probably be tempted to check out one of the nine – nine! – UNESCO world heritage sites that dot the foothills and peaks in breathtaking abundance.

Spending holidays in Cyprus is sort of like combining your trip to Turkey and Greece into a single adventure – and not just because the island is disputed by the two countries.

That’s not to say I’ve given up on the white-washed wonder of Santorini, or the blue-domed mosques of Istanbul. I’ve simply found a new starting point from which to begin my exploration of this fascinating region.

Aphrodite's birth place at sunset in Cyprus. STUPID GORGEOUS.

Aphrodite’s birth place at sunset in Cyprus. STUPID GORGEOUS.

 

If you’re as enamored with Cyprus as I am, check out FirstChoice to book your trip to Cyprus. I really dig this site because it gives you all the info you need, including maps of the area (crucial!), a detailed layout of the different districts on Cyprus, places to go, stuff to do, weather and seasonal tips, and what you can expect to pay for it all.  Even better, you can book flights, hotels, and packages without having to navigate away from the page. It’s sort of like Lonely Planet meets TripAdvisor meets WikiTravel.

Late afternoon view of the Paphos Castle (Paphos, Cyprus)

Late afternoon view of the Paphos Castle (Paphos, Cyprus)

While many may plan on visiting Cyprus for the nightlife or beautiful beaches, my inner nerd is far more excited to climb upon Aphrodite’s Rock (not sure if you can do that, but still), watch a play in a 2,000-year old outdoor theatre overlooking the sea, and spend my afternoons marveling at the mosaic floors of the House of Achilles.

Have you been to Cyprus? What about Turkey or Greece? 

Am I mistaken in my newfound wanderlust for Cyprus?

 

YE OLDE DISCLAIMER: This post was contributed by FirstChoice because they’re awesome. I never recommend products, services, or websites that I wouldn’t use myself. 

Quick+Dirty Takeaway

1. Cyprus suddenly trumps Turkey and Greece for the top slot on my travel bucket list.

2. You can book Cyprus holidays that combine crystal blue waters and white sand beaches with amazing history and culture.

3. The Troödos Mountains on Cyprus are home to 9 different UNESCO world heritage sites.

4. Cyprus is stupid beautiful and I hope to see you there in 2015!

Want to dig deeper? Go for it!

5 Easy Ways to Make Money Traveling

If you make money traveling, it means that you can travel indefinitely.

Making money while you travel means you don’t have to stick to a strict budget because money is always flowing in.

It also means you’re free to roam the planet at will without being stuck working abroad at a teaching job or other full-time gig.

So how can you make money traveling without signing a teaching contract, becoming an au pair, or searching for one of those elusive private yacht jobs?

By becoming a digital nomad, that’s how.

If you have a laptop and basic computer skills, you can easily make the world your office and travel abroad forever.

Here are 5 websites to help you make money traveling without committing to a “regular” job.

1. Elance.com

Plug Into the Power of Elance

Elance.com is a website for freelancers.

Companies and small businesses post jobs for everything from copywriting to web design to tutoring services. Freelancers then compete for said jobs by creating and submitting job proposals.

But don’t worry if you’re not a brilliant web programmer and can’t write your way out of a paper bag. There are zillions of jobs posted on Elance every day, and I know you’ll find something that’s a good fit for your skill set.

When I first started doing online marketing, I got 95% of my clients via Elance. I tell everyone about the site and I’m amazed that more people don’t use it to make money traveling.

There is an art to getting your proposals chosen, however. If you need help boosting your Elance profile, you can contact me for Elance coaching and I’ll teach you how to get a 5-star rating and make $20k working part time like me.

make-money-traveling

2. Fiverr.com

On Fiverr.com, people will pay you $5 to do just about anything.

That could be something that requires technical skills, like web design or social media, OR it could be something completely ridiculous like paying you $5 to break up with their girlfriend.

Check out the site and see who the high rollers are, look at who’s making the most money and how.

Figure out how you can incorporate travel into what you’re offering. For example, can you send people postcards from anywhere in the world for $5? What about writing their wife’s name on a sign and taking a picture with it in front of the Eiffel Tower?

Remember that you’re traveling and people wish they could be you. Work that to your advantage on Fiverr, and don’t forget to offer “upsells” – the postcard is $5, but for $10 they can get rush delivery, and for $25 you’ll send 5 postcards.

Also, don’t forget that if you’re traveling in low-cost countries, $5 goes a lot further than it does back home. (Like, a lot further. Like hotel room-further.)

3. TakeLessons.com

TakeLessons is a site for teachers and students. I use those terms loosely. If you have something to teach, you can connect with someone who wants to learn it.

Teachers teach lessons to students via Skype, Google Hangouts, or in person. Since you’ll be traveling, you’ll probably want to shoot for online lessons, though it could be cool to set up some in-person lessons in the cities you’re visiting abroad.

Popular categories are things like singing lessons, French lessons, WordPress lessons and acting lessons, but don’t let those categories deter you. If you are passionate about World of Warcraft or Flamenco, chances are other people too.

Create a free account, set your hourly rate, and make sure you specify your time zone. Students will sign up for a time slot and you’ll get paid via Paypal.

Voila! Who’da thunk you could make money traveling so easily?

4. Clarity.fm

This site is sort of like Fiverr meets TakeLessons. It’s more business-focused, so if you have a background in online marketing, design, or technology, this is totally your bag.

The way it works is simple: set up a free account, fill out your profile, specify your areas of expertise, and set your “call rate.”

You call rate is the amount of money people pay you per minute to speak with you on the phone (or via Skype) and pick your brain about whatever topic you’re an expert in.

“But I’m not an expert in anything!” I hear you cry.

Oh no? Well, you can read this sentence, can’t you? Which means that a) your English skills are better than billions of other people on the planet, and b) your computer skills, which allowed you to open a web browser and navigate to this page, are equally as impressive.

Clarity also has an “other” section for non-business related skill sets, so now you really have no excuse not to make money traveling.

5. Skype

I will never understand why people moan and groan about the cost of travel when Skype exists.

Using Skype, you can make money traveling anytime and anyplace, as long as you have an Internet connection. You don’t even need a laptop because you can use the Skype app on your smartphone.

Here are just a few of the ways I’ve seen people make money traveling while using Skype:

  • As an online therapist
  • As a life coach
  • As an intuitive healer
  • As an academic tutor
  • As a singing teacher
  • As a business consultant

The benefit of using Skype instead of the above-mentioned websites is that Skype won’t charge a fee when you book a client (the other sites take small to medium cuts of any business you get through them).

On the other hand, if you choose to use Skype you’ll have to do all of the legwork to find and book clients. The other sites make it easy to find prospects and score more business.

The other day I celebrated my 6th full month of long-term travel. Hey, it’s not much compared to rock stars like Wandering Earl who’ve been traveling since 1999, but for me, it’s a huge accomplishment.

And I never could have done it if I’d had to save up a bunch of money first (I suck at saving money), or gotten a job teaching English abroad.

For me, working full time for someone else in a different country is just as constricting as working full time for someone else at home.

I want to be free to travel where I want, when I want, and the only way I can do that is by being a digital nomad.

It’s not all roses and milk tea, though. You have to work hard, and you have to, well, work.

That in and of itself can be challenging when everyone else around you is on holiday and you’re cooped up in your hotel room strapped to your laptop.

But you know what? On days I’m stuck instead working for 8 or 10 or 14 hours, I still get to take a break, have lunch, and walk outside and see this:

make-money-traveling

And I still get to marvel at thoughts like “holy CRAP I’m in [insert crazy destination here] right now!” And thoughts like that make the long hours more than worth it.

If I were you and I wanted to see the world, but I didn’t know how I could afford it, I’d look into any of these websites.

If I had to choose one, it’d be Elance, especially if you are a native English speaker because you will crush the competition.

Questions about making money traveling? Post them below! (Unless you need Elance help – in that case, contact me here).

SUBSCRIBE now for solo female travel tips and get your FREE copy of 175 WAYS TO TRAVEL TODAY! Enter your email address below to download your copy of the book now. 

Quick+Dirty Takeaway

1. Elance.com

2. Fiverr.com

3. TakeLessons.com

4. Clarity.fm

5. Skype!

Want to dig deeper? Go for it!

5 Must-have’s for your Digital Nomad Toolkit

The benefits of working as a digital nomad are obvious – the freedom to travel, the ability to make money anywhere, and the gloriousness of being your own boss.

I’m quick to say that all you need to be a digital nomad is a laptop and a strong WiFi signal, but that’s not exactly the whole story.

To perpetuate the digital nomad lifestyle, you need to have a variety of tools in your toolkit.

Some of these tools are tangible things like apps and helpful websites, while others are a bit more esoteric.

Here are 5 ways to pimp out your digital nomad toolkit and make sure your long-term travel lifestyle keeps on keepin’ on.

5. Infusionsoft

Monday's office

Monday’s office

Infusionsoft has saved my life (and my as$!) time and time again.

It’s the application I use to send you all those snazzy emails, manage my contacts, and run my entire marketing department (which consists of, well, me.).

Recently I got really sick while traveling in Vietnam.  I mean really sick, like maybe-my-mom-should-fly-here-to-say-goodbye-sick.

And during the entire month when I was in and out of hospitals, my marketing kept churning as if I was still in my digital office.

Infusionsoft lets you automate everything, and I mean everything.

So when I was lying in the hospital with tubes sticking out of my arms, you were reading an email from me as if I’d just sent it.

It’s truly bomb. If you’re a digital nomad, you have clients and other human-types who send you money when you do work for them.

Infusionsoft lets you keep track of said clients, keep in touch with them, and make sure their money keeps landing in your pocket.

Watch a free demo of Infusionsoft when you click here.

4. WordLens

digital-nomad-tuesday-office

Tuesday’s office

i just discovered this app when the developer shot me an email and was like “Rebs, why aren’t you using my app?”

And I was like “Menno, why should I?”

And Menno was like, “Because it’s awesome!”

I downloaded WordLens for iOS and have been hooked ever since.

Here’s how it works: open the app, hold your phone up to a sign or other text in a foreign language, and click “start.”

The app reads and translates the sign right on your phone.

After having some serious miscommunications thanks to Google Translate (which might as well be called Google Transcrap), this app came as a life saver.

It’s great for a digital nomad who is traveling between “offices,” is on the hunt for a new guest house, or simply needs to know whether they’re walking into the men’s or the ladies room.

Right now the app works with signs that are in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian. I’ve begged Menno to add Chinese and Vietnamese, so hopefully that’s in the works too.

3. Hustle-aciousness

digital-nomad-wed-office

Wednesday’s office

You can’t be a successful digital nomad without hustle-aciousness (n. the ability to consistently hustle). 

Digital nomads can’t sit around waiting for work to come to them, and they can’t travel the world like they’re on perpetual vacation.

Make sure you’re spending some time every day working, following up with clients, and taking care of your bidness – especially on days when you’re out seeing the sights in whatever city you happen to be in.

It can be really, really easy to get sucked into the non-working mentality other travelers have, and to let your laptop start collecting dust.

But if you do that for too long, you’ll have to go home. And that’s the last thing you want to do, right?

2. Shoeboxed

digital-nomad-thurs-office

Thursday’s office

You’ve got to, got to, got to get and keep yourself organized as a digital nomad.

Shoeboxed is a great way to do it. Shoeboxed is what I use to scan all of my receipts and do my taxes while I’m traveling abroad.

If you’re a digital nomad, just about everything you buy is a tax write-off. It’s tough to keep track of zillions of hotel receipts and flights, especially when you’re constantly changing hotel rooms and cities.

With Shoeboxed, I snap a photo of a receipt the second I get it, then recycle it. All of the info I need for my taxes is magically beamed to a cloud-based account, and my backpack stays nice and light without the added burden of paper piles.

Shoeboxed lets you do a free 30-day trial too, which is rad because you can scan a lot of receipts in 30 days – check it out here.

1. Extreme flexibility and mind-boggling patience

Friday's office

Friday’s office

A digital nomad is defined by his or her ability to be flexible and patient in less-than-ideal work circumstances. [CLICK TO TWEET]

  • The WiFi goes out, or is painfully slow, or won’t let you log on to Facebook.
  • Monday you’re in a quiet guest house, but by Wednesday you’re forced to work from a coffee shop.
  • The power goes out so you have to write/design/brainstorm/research using – gasp!  – pen and paper.

Never knowing where you’ll be working (or if you’ll be working) is half the fun of being a digital nomad.

If you’re an aspiring digital nomad, cultivate patience and flexibility within yourself before you get on the road – believe you me, you’re gonna need it.

YE OLDE DISCLAIMER: I’m a proud-as-punch affiliate of some of the services I’ve listed above, like Infusionsoft, Shoeboxed, and some other secret linkedy-links you’ll have to click to find out about! What this means is if you end up taking my advice and signing up for a service through this site, the fine folks at Infusionsoft and Shoeboxed might find it in their hearts to throw a little scratch my way. Scratch that I’ll use to continue being a digital nomad!

SUBSCRIBE now for solo female travel tips and get your FREE copy of 175 WAYS TO TRAVEL TODAY! Enter your email address below to download your copy of the book now. 

Quick+Dirty Takeaway

Mighty Digital Nomad,

Make sure your toolkit contains the following 5 essentials:

1. Infusionsoft for email marketing and CRM

2. WordLens to you can magically read signs in foreign languages

3. Hustle-aciousness so the dough keeps flowing and you can keep traveling

4. Shoeboxed so you can track your travel expenses and scan your receipts

5. Flexibility and patience so you don't lose your s$%! every time the power goes out, the WiFi is slow, or your guest house owner decides to throw a party with 67 of his closest friends during your regular work hours.

Want to dig deeper? Go for it!

Digital Nomad Dream: A Room with a View

I arrive at the Harvest Moon Pokhara Guest House in Pokhara, Nepal, after spending a very bumpy 7 hours on a tourist bus from Kathmandu.

It is Wednesday, about 3pm, and the taxi drops me off at a flower-drenched bungalow of a home, a two-story L-shaped affair that you’d never know was a hotel except for a single hand-painted sign sighing in the mountain breeze.

After the dirt and noise and pollution of Kathmandu, Pokhara has already proven itself to be the peaceful, clean(er), spiritual ski lodge oasis I’d been promised by some random Australian guy in an Internet cafe.

If the quiet streets surrounding Pokhara’s main tourist area are a refuge from the big city, then the Harvest Moon is a veritable bunker of well-being: rich pink flowers and shiny green leaves rustle in the breeze, their lush offerings turning the second story abode into a protected jungle-garden.

No other hotel on the street looks anything like it, and I get the impression that it’s the flowers themselves that serve as a protective force-field against the noise of the world.

I’m welcomed by the owner’s son Kshitiz, a painfully shy student of 19, and am promptly offered a tour of the place with much smiling and nodding and “Namaste”-ing.

The first floor lobby is the family’s living room, which lies open to the street so the cool mountain air can mingle with the scent of ever-burning incense.

A rooftop patio offers views of the surrounding mountains – to the Southwest I can see the World Peace Pagoda, affectionately nicknamed “the stupa” by locals. It’s possible to see the rounded dome of the enormous structure atop a 1,000 meter hill, and I marvel at how it watches over the city like an amiable guard dog.

View from the Harvest Moon Rooftop - Clouds roll in over Pokhara

View from the Harvest Moon Rooftop – Clouds roll in over Pokhara

After the tour, which takes all of 2 minutes, Kshitiz carries my bag to a second story room that is pressed so far back from the street, it must be playing hide and seek with the rest of the town. The outdoor hallway leading to my door is so saturated with flora, it feels like a terrace one might walk down in order to meet a waiting groom.

Somewhere deep in the bowels of history, a 17th century librarian is missing the key to her traveling trunk. It is with this archaic, cartoonish-looking key that Kshitiz opens the door to my waiting room. And it is because of this very key and its portal-opening capabilities that I am suddenly breathless.

I don’t worry about tipping Kshitiz right now – I’ll have plenty of time for that during the next three weeks of my stay. I thank him and shut the door gently before I attempt to regain my breath.

Terrified that it’s all a mirage, I squeeze my eyes shut and slowly turn from the door to face the room once more.

Welcome to the Harvest Moon

Welcome to the Harvest Moon

I open my eyes and the room is still there, every molecule in place. As I realize that it’s not just a mirage, a squeal of delight escapes me, bouncing off the freshly painted walls like a flying squirrel. Kshitiz probably just heard the shriek but I don’t care – such a beautiful room deserves nothing less than a vocal celebration.

When you’re a digital nomad, the only thing more important than a strong WiFi signal is your room. The room is everything – it’s your office, your creative haven, the place where the magic happens.

If the room sucks, your work will suck. If your works sucks, you don’t eat.

I have to have somewhere quiet, somewhere I won’t be interrupted, and somewhere with a window. It need not be big, and it need not even have a bathroom, but it must be all mine and it must facilitate motivated concentration. If it can inspire with a brilliant view or sparkle with feel-good energy, all the better.

But this room…..this room is other-worldly.

Garden view from Harvest Moon, Pokhara

Garden view from Harvest Moon, Pokhara

There is an enormous double bed with a comforter neatly folded to one side, as is the custom in Nepal. A beautiful, dark wood bed frame hugs the mattress. It has built-in cubby holes, each with a lock and key to store valuables.

I notice sturdy locks on each of the windows, and another enormous bureau with additional lock and key – have they had many problems with theft? I find it difficult to imagine that a place as perfect as Pokhara could ever fall victim to any sort of crime, but I vow to stash my valuables whenever I leave the room, just in case.

I have my own en suite bathroom in Pepto-Bismol pink, and there is even a “work area” where I can write – two leather chairs are gathered around a small bureau, creating an ideal office space that lies smack dab between two – TWO! – sparkling windows.

The room.

The room.

What have I done to deserve this room?!

My “office window” faces south and looks out over the garden pathway and into the yard below. From here I can see the owner’s wife, Shova, bless the yard each morning with prayers and incense as she happily hums her “Hindi song.”

And then there is the window that faces northwest.

From where I sit at my makeshift desk, the northwest window serves as a picture-perfect frame of Fishtail Mountain – that same glorious vision that defines the landscape and feeling of Pokhara for all who journey here.

I can sit in the same spot all day, writing and working, and watch as each minute is measured by the various moods of this mountain beauty. I can tell which jacket I should wear based on how the clouds hang around her neck. I make plans for the day based on whether or not I can see the top of her head in the morning.

View of Fishtail Mountain from the Harvest Moon Guesthouse

View of Fishtail Mountain from the Harvest Moon Guesthouse

At each break, every interval, every moment of frustration or joy, I am always accompanied by her, always watched over.

My room is known by the family as the “writer’s room” as I’m eventually told by Hari, the owner of the guest house.

I could stay here all day. I could stay here forever.

This post is an excerpt from My Week With Deepak: A memoir of Nepal, available February 2015 from THP Publishing. To pre-order your copy, click here!

SUBSCRIBE now for solo female travel tips and get your FREE copy of 175 WAYS TO TRAVEL TODAY! Enter your email address below to download your copy of the book now. 

 

Quick+Dirty Takeaway

1. The Harvest Moon Pokhara Guest House is an oasis of awesome in Pokhara, Nepal.

2. As a digital nomad I always look for 3 things in a hotel room: strong WiFi in the room, privacy/quiet, and a window.

3. The better the room, the better your work will be. Having a stunning view, lots of light, multiple windows and gorgeous natural surroundings will help you thrive creatively, and help you work quickly so you can go out and see stuff when you're finished!

Want to dig deeper? Go for it!