As my life is completely on the road, packing is a skill that I mastered very quickly and have become an expert over the years. As much as I love my lifestyle there is that one thing that I dislike about it too, and that is carrying my suitcase! Not because it is so heavy but it does become one very quickly after dragging it around uneven Bangkok streets or walking mile after mile in Heathrow Airport. My suitcase takes just over 60 L and generally it weights around 13-15 kg. I use compression packing bags to ensure I can fit as much as possible in small space and it keeps clothes clean. I also have high end backpack for my laptop and it could also take couple of day’s wardrobe if necessary.
Over the years I have learned that you need way less that you think first time packing and as long as I have passport and visa, rest I can buy!
Over the years I have noticed that I never use all the clothes I have with me. On average half of items are never taken out from suitcase during trips. When leaving from home or after staying in one place for longer I do purchase new clothes more freely hence the need to think twice what I take with me.
I start packing with putting everything I want to take with me on bed and then one by one remove items. I consider how many times I would wear this during the trip and if it is just few times – item is out!
This rule applies also to cosmetics and for example hair drier/straightener. Pick your favorite cosmetics and get rid of rest – you do not need five different moisturizes!
Mix and match go together with previous tip. Make sure every item in your suitcase goes together with everything in your wardrobe. Consider style and colors when purchasing new items to make sure you get many different outfits by mixing clothes together. For example taking 3 tops and 3 bottoms you get 9 outfits! Check out inspiring boards on my Pinterest page.
This does make wardrobe maybe bit on the boring side but you could spice up your outfit with scarves.
When living on the road you always have the same kg amount you can take to new destination. That means shopping aint so much fun anymore as you will need to carry it around the world with you. My rule is if I buy something new, I need to get rid of something – this rule keeps the weight of my suitcase standard.
Or have just one pair each and wear while traveling. They take quite a bit of space in your suitcase and are harder to wash/dry. Instead of jacket, consider layers and instead of jeans have other pants that take less space in your suitcase. This works in countries with warm climate so I follow this rule at times.
You can purchase anything and everything in travel size but best is if you find small bottles that you can fill up with your favorite products with. If you don’t have any at home you can purchase travel bottles like Humangear travel bottle. General rule I have is that if I don’t find travel size, I don’t buy it or take it with me.
Many long term travelers insist on having only a carry-on (like Tim Ferris) but I personally see no point in that as I am never in that much of a hurry to get out of airport or could not survive day or two without my suitcase. My travel insurance covers me in these cases so I get to purchase couple of new items to change up my outfits. Plus when airline loses my suitcase, I get it delivered to my hotel i.e. no carrying for me! This have happened to me once in all my life and it happened only because the plane I was supposed to fly with broke down at last minute and I was put on another that left right after – no time to move my suitcase – I was totally ok with it as my suitcase weighted 25 kg and lived on third floor with no elevator… felt pretty sorry for the guy who brought it day after!
Traveling the world is one of top dreams people have and one that has been tough or even impossible to materialize for many. But good news now is that it is possible for anyone who wishes to quit rat race and become location independent. By working Online it is possible to be located anywhere you wish – it could be by the beach in Thailand, remote ski cabin in the Alps, central London or anywhere else where there is internet connection!
Working online really opens up totally new doors for wannabe travelers. It’s no longer an unattainable dream but one that can be turned into reality by anyone. And highly recommend to go after it with full force as there is nothing better than to pick your own office view!
I think one of the easiest ways to nomad lifestyle is online freelancing. Its miles ahead any other option, as well as being cheapest, compared with starting your own company and selling products. As an online freelancer you could sign up today and start work tomorrow! When you are freelancing online you can pick your office view as clients generally do not mind where freelancer is located as long as work gets done.
So what is your dream office view?
Here is my next dream for an office view…
Yes, New York. Fell in love with the place immediately on a holiday and loved the opportunities it offers both on business side but culture, cuisine and so much more. Why is it a dream? Well there are still many other places on the list too and been too busy house sitting in Australia and Europe to get to New York yet – plus I am waiting for that dream house sit in Manhattan!
To get to the point of being able to pick office view you want, there are few steps…
Becoming an online freelancer is pretty straight forward and quick to do. Check out this list of online freelancing websites. Depending on your background, choose a website(s) that has most jobs on your profession and sign up. Don’t get scared of the competition you see on these website. Why? With my experience I can confirm that 98% of freelancer proposals are binned in first seconds! Reason for that is that they proposal letters and/or profiles are so poor that they never even stood a real chance of getting the job. So do not worry about competition and focus on perfecting your profile and proposal letter. Here’s an article about How to Win Contracts on Odesk that you may find helpful.
Why I recommend online freelancing?
Because it is easy to get started and last there are thousands of clients with existing need for a talent! If you start a company it takes time to build solid client base to keep you going on long term, but with freelancing you are meeting a current need for work to be done. If you have not taken the plunge yet, you can start freelancing part-time while you still work on your day job and build solid client base.
It is also by far the quickest way to nomad lifestyle as you will be making money much sooner than you would by starting a blog for example. You can do these parallel and freelance until your blog is making enough money to support your travels.
Great thing about working online is that it really does not need that much in the beginning, at least on monetary wise. Most important thing you need is a strong will, great set of goals and positive mind-set to keep going.
Necessary investment is very low, or most likely a zero, if you already have a laptop and internet connection at home. It does not cost anything to sign up on these websites nor to send out a proposal (although some websites have paid membership plans but I do not recommend buying those in the beginning). So only expense comes into play when you book your flight tickets.
Same goes with software – you most likely have everything already or if not there are tons of free or low cost options available. Read some recommended ones here.
You will need to dedicate couple of evenings in the beginning to research on best website for you, write your profile, get professional profile photo and research and set up payment systems. I highly recommend taking few nights time to perfect your profile and proposal letter as these two are the key to your success! Once you have these in play its time to send proposals, but don’t just apply to any odd jobs but go after your dream jobs.
The hardest step in the whole process is the first – making the decision to change your life and go after your dreams. So many people stop at this stage because of fears of all kind, pressure from friends and family and many others. But once you make the critical step to follow your passions and dreams – rest is easy! If you would like to connect with like-minded people and chat about all things working online, house sitting and nomad lifestyle – please join shiny new Facebook Group for Anywhere Freelancers.
Would you like me to help you out to perfect your profile, coach your on nomad lifestyle and star working quicker? I am currently finishing an eBook and working on an online course on Nomadic Lifestyle -sign up to get my VIP newsletter and be the first to hear about it (and get a discount coupon!).
House sitting is one of the best parts of my lifestyle, along the possibility to see great places around the world – and these two are heavily connected. I have been house sitting for last couple of years and it has enabled me to live in three continents in amazing locations around the world. House sitting is great option for digital nomads who can take their work anywhere in the world.
My secret to house sitting success have really been persistence, perfecting the application process and offering superb house sitting services to house owners.
House sitting is pretty competitive business, but saying that is does not mean its not doable. Quite the opposite actually especially for location independent freelancers. Freelancer can offer bit more to the house owner than that just someone who sleeps in the house. I work while I am on the assignment which means that I spend considerable time in the house, meaning its secure and more importantly pets have constant company.
What is my secret to house sitting success?
For me it was first taking time to write my profile to make it as appealing as possible with clear information of what I can offer as a house sitter and what I am looking for as a house sitter. I read many house sitter profiles and learned what worked and what not – what successful house sitters had on their profile. From there I applied to short assignments near me so that I could meet the owner and so one. And as they say, rest is history… I am about to start house sit in wine region in France for the summer.
Is to win first assignment. This may take so time and persistence but its well worth it. You also may need to lower your expectation of your first assignment – it just may not be five bedroom beach house you’ve dreamed off. But that is ok – anything good in life usually takes time and once you have one references its way easier to get second.
So how can you get over that first hurdle? Lower your expectations and try to get assignment that is close to your location so that you can see house owner in person (makes huge difference) and take on short assignments, a weekend for example. Short assignments are generally less popular so you have less competition. Also think about the location – of course its great to have beach house but its not bad being in county side to start with.
Just like when wanting to win a freelancing contract in competitive market its important to stand out. House sitting is no different – it is critical to stand out from the pool of candidates. House owners get hundreds of replies and only reply to those that caught their eye from the crowd.
I recently got an assignment in Southern France, in wine region I might add, because I stood out from the massive applicant crowd. The house owner had 200+ replies to their add, but I stood out and got the owner to open my message and read what I can offer and to make the call to me to talk more. And now in six days I’ll fly to Paris and then take train to the wine region and call it home for the summer.
This does not mean professional in a way the you need to have your resume ready and wear a suit but make sure that all communication you have with owner oozes professionalism, trustworthiness and you being serious about the assignment. Owner is leaving their house, loved pets and basically their whole life to your hands. You would want that person to be responsible who takes pride in themselves. Being a freelancer gives me an added advance as house sitter as since I take work seriously it means I take assignment equally serious.
Here are four of flat mates while house sitting around the world:
House sitting is great option for anyone who wants to travel and reduce costs, and especially for location independent freelancers as you get free home office too! For freelancer its great way to reduce your cost base while living in new location and perhaps work on a new project.
House Sitting Websites:
and many, may more (do a Google search: house sitting website). Membership at house sitting website ranges $20-75 depending on the website. I am currently subscribed to three that in total costs me $150 per year. I find that pretty cheap living cost compared to rental fees for services apartments. Plus I’ve had amazing experience, met great people and wonderful pets.
Of those three I wholeheartedly recommend the first. Why?
Because its only one with a reference system that really puts house owners at ease. I have got many house sits thanks to references from verifiable house owner members of Trusted Housesitters.
Check out great offer to sign up with Trusted House sitters (its less than one night in nice hotel by the way)
Motivation is what one needs to start a change in life and reading motivational quotes may just give you the extra kick to get going, or get started. Here are 20 great quotes to live by.
Location Independent lifestyle does not really have to difficult, but it may feel like it is a distant dream. But like Walt Disney famously said:
If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Here are ten small steps you can start your location independent lifestyle. Even a small step is step to right direction. These are in no particular order, start with the easiest but do finish the list.
That is a just and step to the right direction. We all have to start somewhere and if location independent lifestyle is what you want, then there is no better time to start.
Let me know how its going and say hello any time.
I’n my way to Melbourne for two months to do a house sit so need to find great options for coworking spaces in Melbourne. Within minutes googleing I found numerous options for my “away office”, which is great. As Melbourne is big city it is great to see coworking spaces all around the city reducing time spent on tram to get there, and not just in city centre but in suburbs.
As it turns out Melbourne offers great selection of coworking spaces for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Many of the spaces are also heavily community focused and organize various events for members. Some offer free trial pass so you can get to know the space and decide if you want to set up your office in their space. All of them offered free coffee but I wonder if the coffee is as good as from café as Melbourne is renowded of its superb coffee culture.
I have (yet) been to any – if you have please comment below and let me know what you though of these places. These are in no particular order.
270 Church Street, Richmond and 501 Church Street Richmond
Epic Office Share is a coworking space based in two locations in Richmond. They offer dynamic and friendly space where to work one day, week or even full year! Epic offer flexibility, full range of services as well as community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
Level 1 41 Stewart Street Richmond
The Space is in one of the oldest building in Richmond, former Australia Knitting Mill, is now bubbly hub for entrepreneurs and freelancers. There are some companies who have their office in The Space but they welcome all visitors no matter how long you are planning on staying. You can even collaborate with someone in next table or have a break and play game of table tennis!
Level 3, 673 Bourke Street
Community is the heart of HUB Australia and they welcome all types of freelancers and entrepreneurs whether its short or long term. They also have range of events happening on weekly basis and their memberships offers more than just a desk and chair! HUB has three locations in Australia; Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide – great if you want to travel around! Read more about HUB community on their website.
Suite 6, Level 6, 20 Collings Street Melbourne 3000
Centrally located Collins Collective offers space for entrepreneurs and freelancers to come in for one day or stay for longer. Like many coworking spaces – Collins Collective is a space for start-ups, freelancers and entrepreneurs of all kind. On top of work space you get free coffee, tee and couch where to take break.
62-66 King Street, Melbourne, 3000
You cant work there for just one day but can opt for part-time membership which allows you to work for one day a week for a month or reserve your own desk as a full-time member. If you work best during evenings and weekends they also offer After-Hours option. Your Butter Factory hosts start-ups in mostly in consumer internet space. You could also score funding for your start-up when renting a space here! Its right in the city centre so you can get there easily with extensive tram network in Melbourne.
Am I missing a space on the list? Do contact so I can add yours to this list – and invite me to work for the day and I’ll write a review!
by Nina Kolari
Hot Desk Bangkok – review
I was invited to work for one day at Servcorp offices at Park Ventures Ecoplex on Wireless Road in Bangkok. I spent a day working on their business lounge and here is my review of their hot desk in Bangkok.
Servcorp provides virtual offices, Executive Suites and Office Space all around the world. I visited in their Bangkok Park Ventures branch but am sure offices around the world are more or less identical with their service offerings.
You can access Park Ventures building directly from BTS Ploenchit walkway (exit 2). This is fantastic as Bangkok is one hot city making walking outside the last option on the list.
Before you get to level 18, where Servcorp office is, you need to get a visitor pass at Park Ventures reception at the lobby. Take an ID with you as they’ll request it. You’ll get a visitor pass that allows you to go up to Servcorp offices. As you arrive to the 18 floor you are greeted by very friendly receptionists, great view of Bangkok city and professional atmosphere.
Hot Desks & Office
Hot desks, currently six cubicles, are just behind reception and provide comfortable area to work at. There is a small table space, phone, pen, paper plus two power outlets to use, so pretty much everything one needs to work effectively. Around the corner you’ll find kitchen with complimentary coffee, tee and drinking water as well as TV with CNN news channel.
I found table space big enough to work on and together with very comfy office chair, really cannot complain. Office chairs especially are comfortable and fully adjustable making it not only great place to work but also highly ergonomic one too. Nice change for fixed table and chair combo in a coffee shop!
Lighting on the desk and in the office area are sufficient and general decor is similar to what you would except from any virtual office/office space provider.
They do play music in the background, and most of it during the day was classical so if that is not your cup of tee, bring headphones and your own tunes. I did not mind the music at all as it was not distractingly loud. I have read that music increases productivity and I did certainly had great results at the end of the day.
During the day there were few people working in the cubicles but walls are pretty high so you are not distracted by others.
Location could not be better, it is just off Ploenchit BTS station with direct walk way from the station. There is a coffee shop and 7/11 downstairs plus numerous local and international restaurant options for lunch in the area.
To Sum up
I worked full day at one of the hot desks and must admit was very happy with both Servcorp services and my work results.
Would I recommend Servcorp? Absolutely.
I did love their hot desk set up as it was very comfortable with great office chair, service was excellent and coffee was good. I occasionally work from virtual offices, have been to few in Bangkok and Servcorp did not disappoint in any way.
Here are few photos from Servcorp office. First is photo of my work desk for the day, second is of the great view into Bangkok city and third complimentary coffee, water and a cold towel – lovely way to start a day! Top photo on this post is the view you can admire from the office – shame it was a cloudy day.
Location: Level 18, Park Ventures Ecocomplex, 57 Wireless Road, Lumphini, Bangkok. Nearest BTS is Ploenchit station, just couple of minutes walk via walkway (exit 2).
Opening hours: 24/7 access if you have monthly pass.
Cost: Depends on frequency, casual daily bass for example is THB 950 / day, 24/7 business centre access THB 8,500 THB / month. Check various options, and discounts for longer term contracts, on Servcorp.com.
Internet: Unlimited fast wi-fi. You get log-in from reception.
Noise level: Very quiet except general office sounds – copy machine is right next to hot desks. They play background music that is mostly classical so bring headphones if you prefer other type of music.
Tip: skip Dean & Deluca on the way and have your coffee at Servcorp as its pretty good, plus bring your own music if you are not into classical music.
* I was offered free day pass by Servcorp in exchange of writing this review. I genuinely enjoyed working there and would not hesitate to work there again – and paying for the service.
Review by Nina Kolari
MatadorU Online Freelancer Course
MatadorU provides comprehensive and practical e-courses on Travel Writing, Travel Photography and Travel Filmmaking. All courses are online so you can be based anywhere or just travel same time as you study. There is a great need for talented travel writers, photographers and filmmakes in the online freelancing world as well, and to get premium rate you need to show talent – which you’ll definitely get by attending these courses.
I wish I had seen MatadorU at the time when I wanted to learn travel photography, but did not. So best option for me at that time was to learn by watching Youtube and reading numerous books and articles online. It took lot of time and effort, and still do not know how to get free press trips. Not that I am looking to make full-time career out of freelance travel photography, but it is a great hobby of mine.
I have heard so many great things about MatadorU course and instructors insider knowledge on for example how to get free or paid press tips. I have met many of their students who have all been very happy with their (small) investment, that has paid dividend very soon after starting the course – and still keeps paying!
If your aim is one day to become a travel writer or photographer for National Geographic – you’ve just hit the jackpot as…
National Geographic Traveler, the world’s most widely read travel magazine, is looking to Matador to help us find new talent–writers, videographers, and multimedia reporters.
Keith BellowsEditor in Chief, National Geographic Traveler Magazine
For example MatadorU Travel writing course includes following chapters:
As well as insider tips and tricks on how to get started, how to pitch to an editor and last, but not least, how to get invites to free or paid press trips.
You can test drive all courses by $10 – so there is really nothing to loose and everything to gain.
By Nina Kolari
Chiang Mai got its newest co-working space few weeks ago when the new shopping center Maya opened in west side of the city in trendy Nimman area. Camp is the new coworking space in Chaing Mai both for locals and expats alike.
Camp is a co-working space and a café where both locals and expats hang out and get work done. There are always many students studying there, as well as many digital nomads working on their projects and blogs. For the price of cup of coffee or any other beverage, you get two hours of free internet. Drinks and food are moderately priced; large coffee frappe for example is 55 BHT and can of Sprite 20 BHT.
At Camp they have different type of tables and areas where you can work. You can choose regular table and chairs, or go for high table and stand while working (very good for you and your health by the way!), or choose to sit a bean bag or any other table/chair combinations available.
They offer high speed reliable wi-fi for two hours for all customers who purchase a beverage. If you do not need internet you can work for free. I was able to log in to wi-fi easily without any issues and found internet to be fast and reliable most of the times. I have not heard any down serious time happening since opening.
Lighting is good in the area as there is plenty of natural light coming in from the large windows yet you don’t suffer from direct sunlight to your laptop screen. Some areas are tad bit on the dark side but generally lighting is good.
Staff is friendly and really helpful. I’ve heard that at some point in the future Camp will be open 24/7 but could not confirm when, if ever, it will happen.
I’ve been working from Camp for few days now and overall it has been good experience. Coffee has been good which is pretty bid deal for me, and I’ve always gotten the table I wanted – but then again I’m there early. In the beginning Camp was very noisy as they kept the door to the movie theater open but have since decide to keep front doors always closed – smart move! Added bonus is pretty awesome view towards Doi Suthep from Maya’s terrace.
Location: Maya Shopping Centre in the corner of Nimmanahaeminda and Huay Kaew Road.
Opening Hours: same as Maya’s Monday Friday 11- Saturday 10-
Cost: moderately prices coffee and beverages starting from 20 BHT for a can of coke
Internet: high speed and reliable wi-fi. I’ve never had any problems either logging in or using the wi-fi although at times it can be bit on the slow side.
Plug: plenty available on the table, floors and walls.
Noise level: high at times – don’t forget noise cancelling earphones and your best work tunes.
Tip: be there early as Camp fills up quickly!
Camp review by Nina Kolari
How to Live Free Anywhere in the World
One of my secrets for Anywhere Freelancer lifestyle is house sitting. I often get asked about my lifestyle and one of the top question is: How to live free or cheaply around the world?
If you do not know what house sitting is, do not worry as I didn’t either until couple of years ago. House sitting is a service where house sitter lives in a house owners home and takes care of their property and/or animals. It is a free service although I know some house sitters who charge for their services. I do not, because I am ok with just living for free and have an quiet “office space” where to work.
House sitting is great option for location independent entrepreneurs as it offers quiet environment where you can work and getting new office view every so often. Its particularly great for home owners as they have someone in the house all day long – pets have company and house stays safe.
There are numerous house sitting websites on the internet so choose one that features most opportunities in location you are interested in. I have signed up with three different websites but will not renew subscription for two of the sites as I dislike their search/email functions so I never use the site anyways, plus I find enough suitable opportunities in the one site. It is one of the most expensive sites (annual fee of 70 USD) but it also offers best email updates and search functions. I don’t mind payment the annual fee as I get my investment back with just one house sit I do.
I’ve house sat in Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Finland and looked after many cats and dogs, including ever so adorable Chelsea here below. I house sit mainly for two reasons: I love animals but can not have one due to my nomadic lifestyle and I get to live like a local and get to know local lifestyle. I have taken care of many animals and homes around the world all while sustaining successful online freelancing career. I have soft spot for dogs and cats, and love nothing more than to spend time with furry friends and photograph them (my hobby business). Plus having a dog or cat is the best stress reduction I have ever come across.
There is a great house sitting guide “Break Free: the Ultimate Guide to Housesitting” that I highly recommend getting! It is a truly comprehensive and practical guide into house sitting. I have it and used it to get started in house sitting. You learn what to write on your profile and on your application plus long list of websites you can sign up for house sitting services.
I use three websites but there is one that has been best by far – Trustedhousesitters.com
By Nina Kolari