Nomads share their stories from the road!
Nomadtopia Radio is a weekly podcast that features interviews with people all over the world who are living their version of Nomadtopia. They might be living abroad, settling down (for now), traveling overland with kids, homeschooling, or backpacking solo around the world… You name it.
Their stories highlight all the different ways to explore the world, live and work on your own terms, and have the freedom and flexibility to create the lifestyle that matters to you.
Listen in as Amy and her guests talk about the ins and outs of daily life as a traveler/expat/nomad/entrepreneur; nitty-gritty details of living and working anywhere in the world, like banking, technology, what to do with your stuff, and having a home base (or not); getting started and making it happen; and much, much more.
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As she prepares to take a break from the podcast, Amy shares her travel plans, tips on some of the logistics of traveling to the U.S. (or anywhere, really), what's next for Nomadtopia Radio, and more.
Britany and her husband recently sold almost everything they own (including their home) and quit the highest-paying jobs either one of them has ever had. When we talked, they were just about to embark on an open-ended journey around the Western half of the United States in their travel trailer with their two dogs.
Lifelong entrepreneur Bobby lives primarily in Latvia these days, and he travels frequently to get the "boots on the ground" experience necessary for his work offering offshore corporate and trust services. He also advises location-independent entrepreneurs on how to properly structure their businesses to minimize taxes and take advantage of global opportunities such as second residency and citizenship options, all of which we talk about in great detail on this episode.
American writer Mel and Italian filmmaker Armando met while she was living in the Czech Republic and he in Bulgaria. A couple years later, a few spontaneous decisions found them living and traveling together in a VW T4 Westfalia, and they’ve now been on the road since 2012.
Billy and Akaisha retired at age 38 in 1991—long before Skype, email, and online bill pay!—and have been traveling the world for the past 25 years. They typically set up housekeeping in a foreign location for a while and then hit the road again for more exploring. Sometimes they house sit, or rent apartments or live out of an apart/hotel for months at a time. Over the years they have survived financial crashes, bear markets, and the Great Recession, and actually have more money today than they did when they first retired.
Originally from Spain, Carlos Peñalba is a passionate traveler and photographer who quit his job in New York to backpack through Asia for a year. It turned into an 18-month journey, during which he was also launching a new freelance career. After leaving Asia and as he tried to figure out what was next for him, Carlos wrote a memoir about his adventure, The Year I Became a Nomad: A Journey through Asia on a Quest for Freedom, Love and Happiness.
A former social worker, Nicole is a business strategist + coach who helps entrepreneurs make money doing work they love and create multiple income streams through her program the Authentic Affiliate Academy. She lives in New Jersey full time but travels regularly and takes one-month international trips to experience new countries and escape winter.
After 4+ years living in Argentina, developing location-independent skills, and taking a few trial runs, Louise is back on the nomad train. This year will be full of new (and old) countries, as well as the first time nomading with her partner. They only have tentative plans/ideas of where they’re going through winter. After that they’re not sure; they may even pick a base to stay for a while (but not Buenos Aires!).
Before she made the switch to digital entrepreneurship, Michelle had a long commute, was stressed out, had family problems that prohibited her from leaving her job, and felt rootless. Then, she began blogging about personal finance and was introduced to the idea of digital entrepreneurship and lifestyle design, fell in love with the idea, and never looked back. Now she is growing a digital business helping people who are working on quitting their 9-to-5 but can't quit yet. And although Michelle loves to travel and live abroad, right now her goal is to get further connected to her community in Denver.
Barry and Simone started their location-independent life by accident in 2012. They now split their time moving between Scotland (where they met) and Australia (where she is from) each year, by spending a few months in different locations each time. While they travel, Barry runs several businesses and Simone sometimes works with him, sometimes teaches English, and sometimes temps as an executive assistant.
After starting her most recent business while living in a van, Rebecca has created a flexible lifestyle that allows her to balance rock-climbing trips, running retreats, and other adventures with time at home.
Ebonie is an author, a coach, and an entrepreneur. She’s currently settled in Brighton, England, but incorporates a lot of travel into her location-independent business and lifestyle. Tune in to learn about the 1% that’s not location independent and much more.
Emily set herself up as a location-independent freelance writer so she’d be ready to go anywhere her husband's job might take them, and they’re currently living in Maputo, Mozambique, with their two-year-old daughter (and another baby on the way!). Although she considers herself a digital nomad by circumstance, not by choice, Emily loves living overseas and working remotely.
Amy and her husband made the transition from living the typical life in suburbia to organic farmers in New Hampshire to now location-independent entrepreneurs. They are currently on a two-plus-year road trip across the US and Canada with a focus on discovering great real food spots and natural beauty, connecting with their online community, and more.
Jeremy and his wife, Winnie, achieved financial independence and retired in their thirties so they could travel and start a family. With their one-year-old son they now travel slowly, eating their way around the world.
Amy has found a way to make her love for travel a lifestyle by running a travel blog and a travel planning service while keeping a full-time remote job. She has been to more than 22 countries, mostly traveling solo, and is considering setting up a base in Hawaii.
Erin sold everything she owned and left the UK in 2010 to travel the world with her partner, Simon. They mix living in one place for a few months with faster periods of travel and have travelled to more than 30 countries with just their carry-on backpacks while running a popular travel blog, Never Ending Voyage, and creating iPhone apps like Trail Wallet.
After years of squeezing every minute of travel possible into her vacation time, Melissa loves being her own boss and working from anywhere, which means she doesn’t have to ask for permission or time off to continue exploring. You’ll find her enjoying her home base, Portland, Oregon, when she’s not roaming the globe.
After trying out a number of different living arrangements, including Berlin and living in a van in the U.S., and setting everything up so she could live and work anywhere, Nicole and her partner ended up in the tiny island nation of Malta, where she’s loving life and running her location-independent web design business.
Tommy started his adventure abroad teaching English in South Korea. Eventually he landed in Medellin, Colombia, which is now his home base for further travels while he runs a content marketing agency and helps freelancers transition from side income to a full-time living.
After starting a successful online business (and getting burned out and losing sight of their bigger goals along the way), Nick and Gen decided to try out a more nomadic lifestyle. They discovered that it allowed for more inspiration and creativity (and time off), so they sold everything and now run two full-time businesses together while traveling full-time.
Since having their daughter in 2013 (and with a second child on the way), Hannah and her husband, Chris, have seen their travel lifestyle change to involve longer spells living in one new place rather than constantly traveling like many nomads do. They occasionally return to their flat in the UK for a few months at a time, and spend other periods focused on travel and living overseas.
Since he became a nomad in early 2011, Eli has been changing locations every two months. He almost always chooses to go to new places rather than ones he’s been to before, and over the years he has created a set of “rules” to guide his lifestyle that allow him to work on his businesses, connect with locals, and explore his surroundings.
Since she was a teenager, Caz has made travel a priority in her life. As a solo traveler, then with her husband, Craig, and now with two young daughters, the travels have continued—and along the way, she and Craig have built one of the world’s most successful travel blogs. Their most recent adventure was an 18-month road trip around their home country of Australia, and they’re already gearing up for their next road trip in the U.S. in late 2016.
Jasper travels the world while renting out his apartment in Amsterdam on Airbnb. He spends most of his time between Asia, the US, and South America. He typically stays put for a month or two in a city to focus on work, alternating that with a few weeks of scuba diving.
A honeymoon in Thailand led Lewis and his wife, Jenny, to quit their jobs to start traveling, which turned into more than three years on the road. They have recently returned to the UK, where Lewis has taken on a six-month contract job, and they’re finding that just as travel gives you a better perspective on your home country, being home gives you a better perspective on your travel!
Shannon and her husband currently live in Shanghai, China, where she is a freelance writer and he teaches English and business skills. They enjoy being serial expats, settling down somewhere but being able to travel and try new places after a while. This allows them to balance the needs/career of one partner who is more location independent and one who really needs/wants to do his job in person.
Aglaée and her husband have been digital nomads on and off since 2010, both before and after their son was born. She is also a registered dietitian whose work has been greatly influenced by her travels. In 2015 her family spent time in rural Québec and Costa Rica, with more adventures planned for the coming year.
James is currently based in St. Louis, Missouri, but from July 2014 to July 2015 he was on a road trip around the US. He stopped perpetual travel to focus more closely on building his business. While he can work from anywhere, James has found that he doesn’t have to be on the road all the time in order to be location independent, and he’s created a lifestyle that offers him both the security of having a place of his own and the flexibility to travel when he wants.
As the host of Nomadtopia Radio, I’m busy interviewing lots of other nomads and I don’t often have the chance to share more of my own background and experiences. So to celebrate Episode 60 of the podcast and the first of 2016, I invited my friend Jill Sessa (whom I interviewed in December 2014) to come on the show to turn the tables and interview me. Jill did an amazing job digging into the back story of how my own Nomadtopia came into being back in 2004, my early days as a freelancer, meeting my husband in Argentina, how we travel together, the pressure I sometimes feel to fit a certain profile or image as a nomad, and so much more.
After spending most of her adult life outside her native New Zealand, Vicky moved back in 2014 and is now enjoying a nomadic lifestyle living in a bus and traveling around the country. Along the way she realized she didn’t want to continue her coaching business, and that thanks to her simplified lifestyle she doesn’t need to work right now, giving her even more freedom.
Now a web developer and digital marketing strategist, Tamala first started exploring the world of online business as a side hustle in the late ’90s, and she’s been location independent since 2010. All along, she’s been motivated by a deep desire for freedom, and in 2015 that led to her first international adventure in Costa Rica. When we talked she was back in the States, regrouping and figuring out what’s next.
Yasmine has lived in eight countries and describes herself as “a typical third culture kid trying to find my place.” She’s on a mission to visit every country, and is currently traveling to connect with friends she’s met all over the world. As she travels, she continues to work helping small business owners develop systems to scale their businesses, and she enjoys developing a daily routine to work and live like locals do wherever she goes.
DJ/music producer and entrepreneur Marc Freccero spent 10 months visiting 10 major cities in the U.S. and produced a song about each city that was his personal reflection of that city's ambience, culture, musical influence, and vibe. Not only that, he did the whole journey on a lean budget and while living out of his van. Stay tuned to the end to hear a clip from “GPS,” the bonus track Marc created once the trip was over.
Mollie negotiated with her employer to work remotely so she could continue furthering her own professional development while also supporting her husband as he does the same (he's a pro baseball player and spends six months a year on the road). They keep a home base in Nashville, Tennessee, and Mollie has found that no matter the city, the team, or the time zone, being a digital nomad has enabled her to thrive professionally and personally.
Danny has been a nomad since 2011 and has been based in Thailand for almost a year. He enjoys finding ways to hack everything from sleep to email, and while he travels he writes books, records podcasts, creates video courses, and is launching a digital magazine to help people live the life of their dreams.
In 2013, Shawn rented out her house, got rid of most of her stuff, and shifted to an online business model. Ever since, she has been wandering the world while running her coaching business. She’s passionate about the work she does, and she’s passionate about exploring new places, so she takes an intuitive approach to deciding when to move and when to stop.
After spending nearly a year in Southeast Asia, Curtiss and Ashley’s Nomadtopia is emerging as a nice blend of his web design business, her savvy with Airbnb, and their combined forces living in exotic locations for a few months at a time. At the tail end of a two-month stay back in the States, they joined me to talk about how they make the lifestyle work for them.
Annette is a freelance journalist from Ireland who lived in France for many years and has been living a nomadic lifestyle since January 2013. She spends most of her time in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia, staying in small hotels and homestays, with friends, or cat-sitting. She writes mainly about environmental and human rights issues, as well as health and well-being.
After spending time in the Peace Corps in Africa, and living a “regular” life back home for several years, Katherine set off to travel and do more volunteering in Europe, then taught herself the tech skills that now allow her to work online and be location independent. When we spoke she was wrapping up another extended stay in Europe while working as a contractor for a U.S. company.
When Brittany met her husband, Bruno, in Mozambique several years ago, they quickly found a way to weave together their different travel backgrounds and experiences to create their own version of Nomadtopia: (very) slow overland travel in a homemade campervan. I caught up with Brittany while they were taking a break in France after extended travels in Africa and the Middle East.
Betsy and Warren left the US in 2010 at the age of 40 after saving and downsizing for two years to make their dream come true. These days, when they aren’t traveling the world you can find them writing their next book in a small, whitewashed village in Spain.
Since she quit her job on Wall Street a few years ago, Laura’s been splitting her time between New York and Bali, and is also starting to scope out a third location to use as a base.
A location-independent lifestyle had been on Emily’s mind for years, and just a few weeks ago she finally took the plunge. She joined me from Paris where her nomadic adventure is off to a magnifique start.
City life with two young kids left Dan and Danielle wondering when they’d be able to slow down and catch their breath. Eventually, they took matters into their own hands and intentionally chose to slow down by selling everything and leaving Australia in 2011. They have been enjoying a relaxed, fulfilling lifestyle in Costa Rica ever since, and have their sights set on new horizons for the future.
After growing up a third-culture kid, serving in the U.S. Navy, and living and studying abroad, James is now based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and encourages others to live a “borderless” life, especially through PT Theory and Flag Theory. Tune in to find out what it means to live a borderless life!
Gillian and her husband, Jason, have had a wide range of experiences since they first set off on a round-the-world trip in 2009. On their most recent adventure, their goal was to make enough money to continue to support their lifestyle, and after trying everything to make it work and not seeing the results they hoped for, they decided to head back to Canada, where Jason is looking for consulting positions. Gillian joined me to share the reality behind the lifestyle that not everybody is willing to talk about.
After leaving her corporate job to take a break and travel, Ellen discovered the possibilities of living and working from anywhere, and gradually went about creating her ideal lifestyle. She now keeps a base in Thailand while she pursues personal projects and travels internationally as a freelance management consultant.
Fabian longed to travel and have more work/life balance, so when his employer wouldn’t give him the scaled-back hours he asked for, he started his own company. He and his team are just wrapping up seven months on the road in South America, where they’ve been running the business and gathering stories about people reinventing work and education for their project Startup Diaries.
A life-changing experience in 2004 in the Brazilian Amazon inspired Lorna to create more freedom in her life. After years of teaching herself everything she needed to know to support herself online, she finally took the plunge into location independence in 2012 and has been traveling ever since.
Dustin didn’t let having a local business stop him from realizing his travel dreams. He took off on a one-year round-the-world trip and is still traveling five years later. Now he runs several businesses from the road (including that local one back home) and, after many years of nearly non-stop travel, he is planning to build a tiny house that will be his home base in Canada.
What started out as a six-month career break for Mish and Rob turned into a lifestyle. They typically spend a few months in each place they visit so they can live like locals, exploring the city while running their copywriting business and a location-dependent real estate business back in the UK.
Maya, her husband, and their teenage daughters left the U.S. ten years ago to spend a year in Mexico. They’ve been living and traveling abroad ever since; after stints in Argentina, Uruguay, Japan, and China, they have recently found themselves back in Mexico.
In addition to traveling to lots of other places, Louisa and her husband split their time between Eureka, California, and Guanajuato, Mexico. Their two homes allow them to be comfortable both together and apart, and enjoy the benefits of each place—more work, projects, and water in California, and hiking, hills, and Spanish in Mexico.
Inspired by Che Guevara’s adventures in The Motorcycle Diaries, Leon quit his job in London and set off on his first big adventure: traveling across the U.S. on $5/day. Since then he’s traveled around the world combining his wanderlust with philanthropy, and he’s developed TV shows and written books about his travels.
Longtime traveler and expat Kylie has relocated more than 15 times. Wanting to build more international experiences into their lives, her family jumped at the opportunity to move to Tonga in the South Pacific. Kylie, her husband, and their two school-age daughters have been enjoying life there for nearly a year, and are excited to see where their next adventure will take them.
Paul and Becky have made choices over the years that just happened to make their family of six location-independent, and eventually they realized they had the freedom to live and work anywhere in the world. They’ve already toured parts of Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa looking for a new home base, and are preparing to head overland through Central and South America as the search continues.
In 2006, Nora sold everything she owned in Canada (including a busy financial planning practice) to embrace her dreams of traveling and living around the world. She’s been on the road ever since, having lived in and traveled through over 50 countries and counting.
Victoria knew from an early age that she wanted to leave her native Russia and live and travel abroad. In 2013 she made that dream a reality, first by working as an au pair in France and Italy, and ending up as a remote worker for an Italian company.
Chris and his wife split their time between Spain, Panama, and Canada while running a global company with no physical office. He didn’t end up with this life because he’s “lucky”; it’s all about the deliberate choices he’s made.
Caroline has been traveling since she was three weeks old and has lived in 11 countries. Her daughter, who is just two, has already lived in four countries! Caroline’s location-independent business has allowed her to be a hands-on mom while she and her family follow their travel dreams.
Gianluca has been fascinated by foreign cultures and languages since he was a young boy in Italy. Now, he’s a freelance photojournalist focusing on the countries of the former Soviet Union and Sub-Saharan Africa, where he captures locals’ lives and stories to share with the world.
An around-the-world trip in 2010 sparked a whole new way of living for Valerie Conners. She and her fiancé, Ayaz, have been location independent since early 2013, and have spent most of that time exploring their own backyard in the United States, as well as taking several jaunts abroad.
Getting laid off from his job led Ryan to reevaluate the way he lived and the way he worked. Eventually he created a location-independent livelihood and a pared-back, debt-free lifestyle in a tiny house, giving him the time and flexibility to travel and focus on what matters most to him.
Carina spent most of her life moving around but now lives in Denmark. Because she’s location independent, she and her family have the freedom to live life as they choose, with fewer rules and more time to spend together.
After seeing expats’ tax challenges first-hand when he moved abroad in 2010, Vincenzo started a new business helping expats with their taxes. He’s been an expat and nomad ever since, and in this episode we talk about his favorite festivals around the world, tax tips for American nomads, expats, and travelers, and much more.
Monika and John have had their share of adventures over the years, but eventually ended up feeling a little stuck living abroad in Australia. They decided to revamp their lives and have been on the road, traveling mostly by cruise ship, since March 2014.
After US immigration wouldn’t let his Australian wife back into the country, Ian Robinson had a big decision to make. He ended up leaving his growing biofuel business in Hawaii to join his wife in New Zealand, and they’ve been traveling and working online ever since.
James Clark started working for himself while living abroad in Europe, and he’s been location independent since 2003. His lifestyle has shifted over the years, but he’s still happy to be a nomad and has no intention of “settling down” anytime soon.
In 2013, Jill Sessa took off on what has turned into a 20,000-mile-plus road trip, first by bicycle, then cross country on a Vespa, and then moving into a tiny RV. A serial entrepreneur with a number of prior businesses, Jill now manages her website maintenance service, UltimateWPHelp, while enjoying an ever-changing view from the “office” window.
Jay Malone decided to get his Master’s degree in Germany instead of at home in the US, and it led to a whole new business and lifestyle. He now splits his time between the two countries and helps others study abroad in Germany.
Ryan Biddulph quickly recognized that getting laid off from his job as a security guard had given him an opportunity to truly set himself free. First, he researched and got started making money online, and after a couple years he realized he could easily take his work on the road. Tune in to find out how Ryan, who’d never traveled outside the US until he and his fiancée took off to Bali, became a long-term traveler and successful online entrepreneur.
In 2006, Audrey and Dan left their traditional jobs and expat life in Prague for what was meant to be a 12-to-18-month creative and travel sabbatical. Through their blog, freelance work, sponsorship, speaking, consulting, and more they have turned their journey into a lifestyle and a business. After 6 years of being nomadic, they now have a base in Berlin, Germany, and continue to explore the world.
After Lydia Lee left a well-paying but unfulfilling cubicle job in Canada to launch small business startups, her itchy feet led her abroad. Now based in Bali, every day feels like an adventure, and she's cut her living expenses to 1/3 of what they were in Vancouver. Tune in as we talk about riding scooters in Asia, island living, and so much more.
Business strategist Heather Thorkelson has built a location-independent business that gives her the freedom to stay in one place or to move on, and to switch things up based on what she needs at the time, whether it’s adventure or connection or time to unplug. Tune in to hear more about her inspiring approach to life, work, and building a business.
When I talked to Carlton Taylor, he and his wife, Varsha, were just wrapping up a three-month adventure in Ecuador. But it’s not something that came about overnight. It took planning, determination, and intentional action (not to mention a strategy to show his wife it was possible and bring her on board). Tune in to find out the steps they took to make it happen, what they’ve experienced in Ecuador, and what’s next.
In January 2014, Michelle Fetsch was feeling fed up and decided she needed a change. Two weeks later, she’d quit her job, packed up her apartment, and was on a plane to Bali. In this episode, we talk about how she made it happen so quickly, the rewards of taking big risks, and more.
Lainie Liberti and her nine-year-old son, Miro, left the U.S. in 2009 for what was going to be a one-year adventure—and they’re still going! Continuing their slow travel through Central and South America, they allow inspiration to be their compass. Along the way they’ve taken a global approach to education, using the world as their classroom.
Betsy Wuebker says she and her husband, Pete, are “just your garden variety baby boomer pre-retirees”—but there are at least a few things that make them unique. They’ve been location independent since 2011, and two years ago, they sold everything and moved to Hawaii. In September 2014, they took off again, this time for a two-year round-the-world trip.
Gustav Andersson's wanderings began in 2011 as an experiment to explore how a modern nomadic life can best be geo-independent, sustainable, and eudaemonic (you'll have to listen to find out what that means!). Now, he's working full-time as a remote worker as he continues to travel the world.
Writer and coach Sasha Cagen’s life looks very different than it did five years ago. Tune in to find out how she went from co-founder of a Silicon Valley tech startup (and creator of the Quirkyalone movement) to leading tango adventures in Buenos Aires and writing a memoir called Wet.
Liz Scully has been location independent for several years, but she recently gave up having a central base. This has led to a different set of challenges, as she continues to discover all the ways the world isn't really set up for someone who has no permanent home, not to mention someone who doesn’t actually legally live anywhere! Tune in as Liz and I talk about everything from avoiding holiday madness to losing your luggage.
After years of taking trial runs and working to move her business completely online, writer Pernille Norregaard sold her apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark, and became a full-time nomad in January 2014. Tune in to find out where this dream started, what she’s learned along the way, and much more.
Paul Strobl has worn many hats over the years: backpacker, reality-show participant, English teacher, sales manager, business coach, expat, and more. Tune in to find out how these experiences have shaped his life and led him where he is today, enjoying life with his wife and dogs, no matter where they are in the world.
Lynan Saperstein's intuition and sense of her greater purpose has led her to places like Costa Rica, Peru, Italy, Croatia, England, NYC, and California—just in the last two years. Along the way, she's found a rhythm that works for her, her business has gone global, and she's gathered an international team and community to support her and her clients.
Rebecca Beaton was already an entrepreneur when she realized she could work from anywhere, so it was an unexpected bonus! A rather spontaneous decision to take a road trip while building her newest business taught her a lot, and it was the beginning of many more adventures, at home and abroad.
Sundae Bean lives in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, with her husband and two young children. Her husband is on assignment there, but thanks to plenty of vacation time and Sundae’s location-independent business, the family is able to spend two or three months each year visiting their home countries (the U.S. and Switzerland) as well as other destinations around the world. Tune in to hear our conversation about living in Africa, raising third-culture kids, and more.
Whenever people tell me they can't (or don't know how to) live their Nomadtopia because they have kids, I tell them about Greg and Rachel Denning, who are slowly traveling overland from Alaska to Argentina (and beyond) with their six children, world-schooling as they go.
After running a local skin-care business in Portland, Oregon, Anna Long decided it was finally time to make her dreams of living and traveling abroad a reality. Eight months after she sold her business, and with her online work as a business strategist ramping up, Anna and her new husband, Shea, hit the road. After two months of traveling in Asia and working online, they went home to pick up their dog and drove south to Baja California, Mexico, where they spent five months.