Archives for September 2017
A Nomad Suitcase changed the way I live my life and I want to share my journey…
I remember the days of traveling with my family as a kid and at the airport getting the luggage cart, filling one and then getting another and filling it too. I had never even heard of a Nomad Suitcase before.. We didn’t travel lightly but then again looking around everyone seemed to have full luggage carts too.
Even into when I began traveling as an adult I still would fill a suitcase for travel, think nothing of it rather than wish it was lighter.
A few years ago I caught what some people call, ‘the travel bug’.
I began to travel whenever I had vacation time from work…
…and when I had enough money to pay for my trips. I travelled to the Caribbean a lot to all inclusive’s, which now that I think about it, I shake my head wondering why I filled a suitcase of clothes I didn’t wear as I spent most of the time on the beach. I also went on group vacations which were multi city adventures, trying to see as much as I could in a short time. Ten days to see ten cities combined with jet lag, it was tough on a seasoned traveller but so worth it especially when your job didn’t afford you many vacation days!
It was during these trips that I learned having a large suitcase on such an adventure made it difficult to navigate cities and required either large lockers or luggage holds at hotels. As I continued traveling I began to realize that I could do laundry at the hotel or hostel I was staying at to minimize my packing list and by using extra large plastic zippered bags, I could reduce the bulk of what I was carrying.
Proud to be traveling with only what I needed, exploring became easier. Eventually I gained enough confidence to stop checking in luggage and began doing carry on only.
It was seriously liberating. I no longer needed to wait for a luggage cart or pay for a luggage cart.
I’d now see individual travelers or families with tons of luggage and a feeling of satisfaction would come over me…it still does because I don’t miss that frustration.
Once this was mastered and I realized how much I loved travel, I began to reevaluate my life.
I wanted more, my life was boring and really what was getting me through the days, weeks and months was planning my next trip
I come from a family where everyone works at a nine to five job and they go on vacation when and if their employer approves a vacation request; this is what you do. I was never introduced to anything otherwise but I knew this was not my happy ending. The more I researched the more I found working remotely could be the answer for me.
There were people working for the same company as me who worked from home so I knew a remote position wasn’t out of the question and I was lucky that my employer could accommodate my specific requirements and I was free to do anything.
Along with this new found freedom I needed to figure out how to pack up my life and work but keep it to a carry on. My days of travel were over and my real adventure was about to begin.
I remember when I started my new lifestyle the first ‘hikers’ backpack I tried ripped while I stuffed it with my necessities. After that fail I tried a duffel bag but everything just seemed to get lost in it and there was no organization.
I had a lot of trial and error, but I knew eventually I’d find what I needed. It didn’t take long, maybe a month into working and living out of a bag, I found the Nomatic Travel Bag, it literally made packing up my life easy.
I met another traveller doing exactly as I was…
… at one of the hostels I was staying at. He was working remotely and traveling with one bag. The Nomatic. Seeing as we both had the same goal we ended up traveling to a few destinations together, it was great to have companionship and even better to have someone share tips as he had been doing this for just over a year at that point.
It didn’t take long to notice his bag was somewhat of a magic act.
He easily had double the belongings that I had but when he packed up his bag it wasn’t bulky or pulling at the seams.
He laughed when I mentioned it and asked if I had ever heard of a Nomad Suitcase, I hadn’t.
In my excitement to start my adventure I researched how to work remotely abroad, places I wanted to go, places I wanted to see and never really researched travel bags…after all I could travel with a carry on right?
This discussion revolutionized the way I travel.
It didn’t take long to find what bag he was using and it didn’t take long for me to find exactly what would work for me and I ordered my Nomatic Travel Bag which is what I am still using!
For example, like I said above I had been using zippered bags to reduce the bulk, this translates to me sitting on a plastic zippered bag filled with my clothes to let out the air and then sealing it to reduce the space needed in my carry on. The bundle came with a vacuum bag that not only did the same thing but is 100% better quality and it is reusable. All this time I thought I was so smart finding this space saving idea to then realize there was a better option!
It also came with a toiletry bag and I can’t say enough about how much space the wrong toiletry bag can take. The Nomatic Travel Bag has a spot for EVERYTHING, the person or people who designed this bag had me in mind!
- Shoes, they go at the bottom keeping them separate from your clothes and personal items.
- Laptop, there is a space that your laptop or tablet slides into and separate there is a spot for cords so you can keep them neat and accessible.
- Underwear and socks, there is a compartment so you no longer have to dig through everything else to find these.
- There is a spot for a water bottle, there are waist straps so if the bag is heavy you have added support giving your back a bit of a break.
Literally everything was thought of, I’ve only highlighted some of my favourite designs and compartments. It is amazing!
So, back to my friend and the Nomad Suitcase.
Do I now have a bag that fits everything, keeps it organized and is carry on size? Yes. And do I have a desk everywhere I travel? Well, if there is wifi and a table, you bet I do!
My friend and I were recently chatting online because we have since gone on to different destinations but you know what we still talk about? That Nomad Suitcase conversation because it has made such a positive impact on the way I go about my everyday life.
I have been traveling for almost two years now, my family is always asking when I’m coming home to fit their mould but the lifestyle I’ve made for myself is exactly where I want to be. I am still working remotely for my original employer but I’m no longer a slave to a desk, I am in control of my environment. Better yet, I enjoy everyday, I don’t have to wait for my next vacation because I am living it!
Vacation time from my job is now used to spend time with family members and friends who come to where I am and want to explore. I plan to continue working my regular job as long as it gives me the freedom to work remotely and I have now begun to focus on travel photography.
I am thinking it won’t be long until I will be able to make my new passion a source of income and perhaps become my new career. So many factors came into play to get me where I am today, I am happy.
If I can offer any advice, live your life. Get yourself a Nomad Suitcase and make the most of everyday!
Have you ever fantasized about quitting your job and moving to a place where it’s so cheap that you barely need to work — if at all? “It’s a great idea, and it’s not that far-fetched,” says Kathleen Peddicord, who has turned this fantasy into a business. As founder of the company Live and Invest Overseas, Peddicord advises global nomads on where to move in order to live on the cheap.
A long-time global nomad herself, Peddicord is originally from Baltimore. She left the U.S. about 20 years ago for a job in Waterford, Ireland, then made a pitstop in Paris before setting her sights on Panama City, where she now lives with her husband and family.
Here, Peddicord shares her top picks to live around the world: eight places where expats can get by on next to nothing. “They’re beautiful, interesting, welcoming and adventure-rich places that are also single-friendly and uber-affordable,” she says.
A note: In each case, the budget referenced is a base amount that gives a snapshot of monthly living costs for a single person and includes the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood where an American would be comfortable living. You could reduce your total budget by renting a smaller place. Costs for groceries, transportation and entertainment are also per person; internet and cable are often bundled with a telephone plan. And in some destinations, items like electricity or heat are listed as free because they’re either included in the rent or unnecessary. These budgets do not include travel, clothes, health insurance and other costs.
8. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo
“This laid-back and quiet city is one of the most pleasant places to live in Asia and is incredibly welcoming,” says Peddicord. “Its biggest practical advantages are the low cost of living and the high standard (and low cost) of health care.”
The city is small and walkable. “Life revolves around the water and is lived out-of-doors,” says Peddicord. “At home, you can fill your days snorkeling, diving, boating and ferry hopping from the city center to neighboring islands.”
And while Kota Kinabalu might seem outside the box and comfort zone for most people, Peddicord says there is an emerging expat community, and it offers a mix of adventure and the exotic, as well as a “serene, close-to-nature lifestyle at a cost that’s a global bargain.”
Total monthly budget: $850 per person (MYR3,833)
- Rent: MYR2,500
- Transportation: MYR100
- Gas: MYR30
- Electricity: MYR200
- Water: MYR20
- Telephone: MYR50
- Internet: MYR60
- Cable TV: MYR70
- Entertainment: MYR253
- Groceries: MYR550
7. Granada, Nicaragua
“Nicaragua is a beautiful country with a troubled history that appeals to the romantic, the poet, the eco-traveler, the surfer (the break off Nicaragua’s Pacific coast is world-class) and the bargain hunter,” says Peddicord. “The cost of living, of real estate and of everything else is a steal.”
Geographically, Nicaragua is blessed with two long coastlines and two big lakes, plus volcanoes, highlands, rain forest and rivers. “In this regard, it’s got everything Costa Rica’s got, all less discovered, less developed and less expensive,” she says.
Architecturally, too, Nicaragua is notable. “Colonial Granada is its architectural jewel,” says Peddicord. “This city, one of the oldest in Latin America, is busier and livelier today than at any other time during its near five centuries of history, attracting tourists and expats in record numbers.”
And Peddicord says that when you see it, you understand why: “The setting for this colonial town is like something out of a fairy tale — the lake, the volcano, the mountains. At night, the backdrop is an ink-streaked sky that, just before the sun sets, illuminates the yellow and white cathedrals in ways that would have inspired Matisse to set up his easel.”
Total monthly budget: $1,225 per person (35,945 córdobas)
- Rent: 22,870 córdobas
- Transportation: 500 córdobas
- Gas: 290 córdobas
- Electricity: 3,525 córdobas
- Water: 285 córdobas
- Telephone: 150 córdobas
- Internet/Cable TV: 1,000 córdobas
- Entertainment: 2,450 córdobas
- Groceries: 4,875 córdobas
6. Barcelona, Spain
Peddicord’s next pick: Barcelona, in the northeast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea. “It is a vibrant, colorful, proud city that combines the passion of the Spanish with the efficiency and organization of the Catalans,” she says, pointing out that it’s a city with a strong energy that has not been dampened by Spain’s ongoing economic woes. And it’s incredibly affordable to live here, versus vacationing here.
Another advantage: “Spain’s second-biggest city is easily and quickly explored, thanks to its compact, well-laid-out design and the opportunities for diversion, entertainment and discovery,” says Peddicord. You’ll find art and architecture from pre-Roman times to the modern era around every corner. “This is a city of galleries, museums, monuments, theaters, restaurants and shopping, with the beach just right there.”
Total monthly budget: $1,600 per person (€1,518.60)
- Rent: €900
- Transportation: €40
- Gas: €80
- Electricity: €60
- Water: €20
- Telephone: €45
- Internet: 0
- Cable TV: €20
- Entertainment: €153.60
- Groceries: €200
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
“Since the 1800s, the Thai city of Chiang Mai has been luring expats from the West with its uber-low cost of living, great weather (especially compared with elsewhere in Thailand), rich history and distinct culture,” says Peddicord.
“The biggest advantage to life in Chiang Mai is its cost in general and of health care in particular,” she says. A person can live here comfortably on as little as $1,000 per month , and you can see an English-speaking doctor for $20.
The heart of Chiang Mai lies within its old city walls, where ancient and modern Buddhist temples coexist with public and international schools, residential and commercial neighborhoods. Modern Chiang Mai has grown beyond the ancient walls and offers mega-malls, huge multi-national grocery and department stores, and all other trappings of life in the 21st century.
“You will need to learn some basic Thai to get by, but there is an established expat community here that communicates in English,” says Peddicord.
Total monthly budget: $1,000 per person (36,380 Thai baht)
- Rent: 25,000 Thai baht
- Transportation: 400 Thai baht
- Gas: 300 Thai baht
- Electricity: 2,000 Thai baht
- Water: 200 Thai baht
- Telephone: 600 Thai baht
- Internet: 1,000 Thai baht
- Cable TV: 1,100 Thai baht
- Entertainment: 1,280 Thai baht
- Groceries: 4,500 Thai baht
4. Santa Familia, Cayo, Belize
“If you want to leave the troubles and the worries of our age behind, the little Santa Familia village in Cayo, Belize, is calling your name,” says Peddicord. “Life in Cayo is back to basics, simple and sweet. You know your neighbors, they know you and you all look out for each other.”
Peddicord recounts a 60 Minutes segment that Morley Safer did on Belize about 25 years ago. “He sat in a row boat and said ‘The news from Belize is that there is no news from Belize.’ And it hasn’t changed since then. That’s the reason Belize is on my list.”
Cayo is a region of wide-open spaces, fresh air, warm sun and fertile land. “It’s the world’s best place to disconnect and unplug,” says Peddicord, which can have its disadvantages, too. “It’s is a paradise where the roads aren’t paved and the internet goes out constantly.”
According to Peddicord, Belize is a country with limited government, limited resources and limited budgets — which is a positive thing, since the government leaves its residents well enough alone. “People are self-sufficient and self-reliant. The whole country is like a small town in the Midwest.”
Total monthly budget: $1,200 per person (2,397.50 Belize dollars)
- Rent: 1,200 Belize dollars
- Transportation: 190 Belize dollars
- Gas: 25 Belize dollars
- Electricity: 350 Belize dollars
- Water: 12.50 Belize dollars
- Telephone: 100 Belize dollars
- Internet: 100 Belize dollars
- Cable TV: 45 Belize dollars
- Entertainment: 175 Belize dollars
- Groceries: 200 Belize dollars
3. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
“Las Terrenas is quintessential Caribbean with a French twist,” says Peddicord, describing this small coastal town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. “The big and established community of French expats living in this white-sand beach town means fresh baguettes, great restaurants and greetings with kisses on both cheeks.”
Add to that: “Infrastructure is improving, establishing residency is easy and the cost of living is one of the great bargains of today’s Caribbean.”
Peddicord also points out that when many people look at the Caribbean as a region, the Dominican Republic is not necessarily the first place that comes mind — which has its advantages. “Other places like the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas are more developed and not necessarily in a good way,” she says. “Tourists pay the highest prices for the worst services. The DR right now is enjoying a very strong economy — the strongest growing economy in Latin America — and an administration that’s working hard to bring attention to the country. Plus, crime is falling.”
Total monthly budget: $1,250 per person (58,472.50 Dominican pesos)
- Rent: 36,500 Dominican pesos
- Transportation: 687.50 Dominican pesos
- Gas: 350 Dominican pesos
- Electricity: 2,755 Dominican pesos
- Water: 230 Dominican pesos
- Telephone/Internet/Cable TV: 2,200 Dominican pesos
- Entertainment: 6,750 Dominican pesos
- Groceries: 9,000 Dominican pesos
2. El Poblado, Medellín, Colombia
“Escobar’s dead and the city he and his goons once terrorized is today at peace,” says Peddicord, describing Medellín, set in the mountains of Colombia. Her pick for where to live in Medellín: El Poblado, a neighborhood located in the heart of the city. “Medellín is culture rich and Euro chic; its people are well dressed, well mannered and welcoming. The city offers a comfortable, tranquil and idyllic way of life for a super affordable cost.”
The current exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Colombian peso also allows expats to live a luxury cosmopolitan life at a great bargain. Another advantage: the weather, thanks to Medellín’s location. “The climate is lovely all the time — upper 70s and low humidity,” says Peddicord.
Medellín has also benefited from fear factor. “People have been afraid of it and have stayed away longer — both investors and tourists,” says Peddicord, who points out that it’s much cheaper, cooler and less touristy than Colombia’s better known city, Cartagena.
Total monthly budget: $1,650 per person (4,760,000 Colombian pesos)
- Rent: 3 million Colombian pesos
- Transportation: 150,000 Colombian pesos
- Gas: 300,000 Colombian pesos
- Electricity: 0
- Water: 0
- Telephone/Internet/Cable TV: 300,000 Colombian pesos
- Entertainment: 410,000 Colombian pesos
- Groceries: 600,000 Colombian pesos
1. Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal
“Looking at the whole world map right now and based on my experience and the input of people I know, this is my pick for the top place to live,” says Peddicord, who also describes Portugal as “the best-kept secret of old-world Europe.”
Carvoeiro, a town on the Algarve coast, qualifies as the most appealing place on earth to call home for several reasons, says Peddicord: “The take-your-breath-away views from the rocky coast, the constant sunshine, the near-perfect weather year-round, the food, the wine, the history — it all adds up to top-shelf living for a very bargain price.”
“It’s also a great place for single women to start a business and start a life,” says Peddicord. The current down value of the euro helps contribute to the budget factor. “I think Carvoeiro is the best place to live abroad, unless you hate Europe and hate the beach.”
Total monthly budget: $1,150 per person (€1,069)
- Rent: €650
- Transportation: €37.50
- Gas: 0
- Electricity: €90
- Water: 0
- Telephone/Internet/Cable TV: €70
- Entertainment: €96.50
- Groceries: €125
There are few things better in life than a) travelling the world and b) cute animals. Those two things may seem unrelated, but they don’t have to be, thanks to Trusted Housesitters — a handy site that matches pet-owning homeowners trying trying to score a vacation with top-notch, vetted pet sitters looking for a free place to crashduring their own travels.
Eat your heart out, Airbnb.
To participate on either end, you’ll need to become an official member. To get the keys to the best homes (and the pets inside, of course), you’ll first need to rack up a series of good ratings, but that shouldn’t be too tough as long as you can pencil in a few local house-/pet-sitting stints the first few times.
Once you earn your stripes as a 5-star sitter, you’ll be more likely to be picked by the most desirable sittees, and score access to some seriously kickass properties from oceanfront spreads in Australia and sprawling London flats, to private villas in the Spanish countryside and 5-bedroom homes in North Carolina. Since you won’t be paying for your lodgings, it’s one hell of a cheap, convenient, and potentially luxurious way to see the world, as long as you’re down to tend to whatever furry/shelled/scaly/feathered creature is in need of attention.