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10 years ago, we sold everything we owned in a 5 day gumtree sale (the UK equivalent of Craigs List), generated a princely sum of £900, jumped on a plane with our 4 year old under our arm and haven’t looked back since!
It all came about when a week earlier I had attended an online marketing conference in London to see my good friend Daniel Wagner sprinkle his magic on stage. A compelling & engaging speaker I was always in awe of how he resonated with an audience.
Sat at the back of the room with his then-girlfriend Lieve, she told me how they were traveling around Europe for the summer.
Having visited their gorgeous apartment in Cyprus earlier that year, I joked, ‘you’re not looking for house sitters while you’re gone are you?’
That was that!
She said Yes, I called my partner who is an action taker like none other and by the time I returned home on the Sunday afternoon all of our worldly possessions were for sale on Gumtree.
By the following weekend, we were sitting on a balcony overlooking the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea, not a cloud in the sky, glass of wine in hand!
Since that day we have visited and lived in over 30 different countries and have plans to experience many more, however, it’s not all chocolate and roses, especially with a child.
We’ve had our fair few challenges along the way, have learned a lot and have made plenty of mistakes, however, it’s quite possibly been the most interesting, eye-opening and mind-broadening 10 years I’ve ever had – particularly seeing my hubby in a pair of cut off women stockings acting as a pair of knick knack paddy whacks in a massage parlor!.
I’ll get to that in a bit…
Here’s some of the biggies;
1. Burn the Boats!
Although I had been overseas plenty of times in my life heading to Spain & The Canary Islands regularly on childhood holidays, heading off to the Greek Islands on girl trips in my 20’s etc. This was the first time I had ever done anything which seemed at the time so wildly crazy!
I had a daughter! I had a mortgage, I had responsibilities, right?
Sell up everything & just go was something out of my wildest dreams & yet at the time it just felt like the right thing to do.
I didn’t have time to get nervous or scared we just did it!
What followed was an unbelievable journey of recording videos on the beach, building a business from a balcony with the most amazing view, traveling through Thailand for the first time on route to Australia & within 9 months my first six-figure launch.
This is what I mean by burning the boats. I had rented my house out, sold everything I owned, said goodbye to family & friends and if we wanted to keep living the life we had to find a way to make money.
So I went on to launch a six-figure business that I did within the year and if you watch episode 88 of my MIHM vids on youtube, I go through exactly what I did to make that happen.
But in brief, I worked my pants off to build an audience and launch a membership site.
When I started I knew nothing about running an online business.
I went from a total internet moron to $117,000 in 9 months. Believe me when I say if I can do it, you can! 😁
2. No need to be a millionaire
Very quickly we started to spend quite a lot of time in Thailand.
The weather was amazing, the food out of this world, the people super friendly and the best part it was cheap!
Cheap cheap cheap! You can get decent apartments and small houses for less than a couple of hundred bucks a month, a meal, with beer for two of us, would be less than a fiver. We weren’t paying car payments, gym payments, internet, phone contracts, electricity, water, etc.
All the stuff that mounts up at home, you don’t have when you’re traveling.
You buy a cheap Sim at the airport, bills & wifi etc are all wrapped up in your accommodation and you exercise by swimming in the sea and walking about exploring the country!
You just don’t have the same kind of expenditure.
Stupidly as I record this we have allowed ourselves to get trapped into the expat lifestyle and therefore our expenses have exploded, but not for much longer. We are going to get on the road again. I’ll save that story for another podcast.
3. Batch Content
One of the challenges though is that it can be very challenging to focus and run your business on the go.
Firstly there’s so much to see, you want to be out and about exploring most of the time. Secondly, it can be super disruptive if you’re not used to it, to be traveling and then to try and refocus on a task.
Nowadays, I can write wherever I am, make videos wherever I am, talk to my team wherever I am.
But even now, especially if we cross time zones, it can be quite a challenge to keep up the momentum.
I tend to do stuff in batches to make sure I’m prepared and have content ready to go if it takes me a few days to readjust.
4. Connect, connect, connect!
Another challenge is it can get quite lonely. Travel by its very nature is very transient and you’ll meet people who are also traveling or on holidays etc, as they’re or you’re passing through.
This is what I love about social media and the online world.
You can connect with so many people and alleviate any loneliness you may feel.
My recommendation is to get on Skype and actually face to face talk to people. Create a small networking group or have an accountability partner, but don’t try to do everything yourself, in your own little bubble behind your computer.
It will burn you out and lead to depression.
I’ve been there and done it.
5. The confidence code
It undoubtedly increases your confidence and stretches your comfort zone without you even realizing it!
Like the time I went backpacking across India with my Sister, or up in a hot air balloon in Myanmar, or my first time in China when I realized they didn’t allow google.
All these little experiences add up to you becoming more worldly-wise, more practical, more problem solving, more independent, braver and more confident which bleeds into the rest of your life.
You’ll find yourself doing things you never thought you would.
Right now you might be worried about making a video, or releasing a new blog post, or confessing to your husband about that small dent in the car, etc. Go traveling and those kinds of things will be the least of your worries.
In fact after a few years traveling…
6. Make a Difference
After a beautiful bike ride through a small Cambodian village where I had been surrounded by kids all desperate to be in a picture with the strange white woman, we arrived at a large community of wooden huts on stilts.
Men & kids as naked as the day they were born were jumping in and out of boats, dragging fishing nets and looking both playful & industrious at the same time.
I turned to my guide and asked him what people here strived for.
His answer was simple – to survive he said.
There’s no time for personal development or finding oneself, or building a lifestyle business or exploring their creativity.
They simply need to eat.
And these people would give you their last bowl of rice if they felt you needed it more than they.
After a few countries of experiencing this most basic human need, you begin to realize how abundant the West is and how because of various reasons (most corrupt) that I won’t go into on this podcast, how huge the gap truly is between those who have and those who have not.
And without a doubt, it gives you reasons bigger than yourself for wanting to create the lifestyle you strive for. To put yourself in a position where perhaps you can have a greater impact on the world as a whole.
It gives far greater meaning to the words ‘make a difference’ and ‘give back’. And don’t ever think that you cannot have an impact.
Each and every one of us simply by experiencing and sharing their stories begin to have an impact, and if we can do more. If we want to do more then all the power to you my friend!
7. 15 Minutes of Fame
While on the Great Wall of China a couple of years back, I was heading up to one of the watch towers when a very recognizable face and his entourage walked past me.
I shouted down to my sister – ‘Natalie! It’s Mark Zuckerburg!‘
‘Really‘ she shouted back, ‘I thought it was Chris Martin.’
Mark Z turned and laughed and carried on walking up the steps.
At the time Periscope was all the rage and so I flicked my vid camera on and attempted to chase him up the steps.
Hasten to add he’s a lot younger and fitter than I am so although I was able to have a quick convo with a couple of his team and get quite a good close up side shot of him, I was unable to actually greet him.
But hey! Claim to fame we were on the wall together and I had the most number of people watching my Periscope ever!
8. It’s complicated
You need to be aware that life does become a little more complicated.
Things like bank accounts, taxes, medical care, phone contracts, all that kind of stuff.
If you’re traveling full time, you’re now not essentially a resident of your own country.
Your local doctor’s surgery may not like that. If your credit card gets hacked, your new one will be sent to an address in your home country. Sometimes you need a home country number to access apps on your phone. You may now be classed as a digital nomad etc etc etc.
Now don’t let this stop you going, just figure it all out on the road as we did, but you just need to be aware and look into this stuff.
My biggest recommendation would be to get travel insurance from the getgo. Everything else you can resolve as you go.
Some good resources are;
9. Caught in a Trap
It’s very easy, as we did, to fall into the expat trap.
You’re traveling, you get a bit tired of all the travel. You find a nice place, you settle for a while.
A while becomes 6 months. 6 months becomes 2 years. 2 years becomes 5 or more.
All of a sudden you’re living in a bigger home, you have more stuff, you have a car, you’re going to local gym, you need to pay bills, and one day you look up and realize you’re living the same life you were at home just in a different country, miles & miles away from all your family & friends.
Now there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you’re actually looking for long term.
But if your goal was and is to travel and one day you look up and realize you’ve stopped then get up my friend and keep going!
This is precisely where we find ourselves as I record this.
Life got so easy. Things just fell into place.
Until I just stopped and looked around and realized there was so much more of the world I had yet to conquer!
More about our future travel plans with a teenager by the way, in another episode. But the reason for including this as a lesson is that it’s easy for this to happen without you even being fully aware of it.
You have to be self-aware enough to wake up and ask yourself, is this what I really wanted?
10. Stretches the Mind, Irrevocably
I have changed.
I’m a totally different person now to the person I was 10 years ago. Well, not totally different…
But, I see the world differently now.
Travel expands your mind. The small daily struggles that you get consumed by in normal society become less important.
As I started to say in point 6, the culture in the West is so abundant, that we have in my humble opinion far too much time to dwell on why we are or aren’t happy.
And when you experience some of the horrors of what’s happening or has happened in the world around you;
- The killing fields in Cambodia
- The peace memorial in Hiroshima
- The war museum in Ho Chi Minh City
- The slums in India
- The migrant worker camps in Thailand
- The rates of infanticide & female subjugation in India & China which can be experienced first hand just visiting these countries.
You start to question what’s really important.
And for me, that’s manifested itself as the realization every single day of how incredibly lucky I am.
How lucky I was to be born into a country of freedom and opportunity.
And that knowledge alone makes me a far happier person.
I’m sure there are many more lessons I could share with you, but these are my big 10.
Next week I’m going to share the 10 biggest lessons from building and running a lifestyle business while traveling, so listen out for that one!
I’d love to hear your comments and feedback.
Let me know which lesson resonated with you the most.
The best place to come and have a chat with me is in my facebook group. Just search for ‘Your Lifestyle Business’ on FB and come and join the fun!
In the meantime, Live Life on Purpose and of course as always Make It Happen.
Thanks for listening, speak again next week.