The Ebb & Flow of Life & Biz Abroad


The ocean view from my Miami hotel reminds me of the importance of establishing a work-play rhythm when you’re working abroad—wherever that is.

Set work hours that allow you to keep your business humming and the income flowing AND make sure you have dedicated adventure hours to expand yourself.

BOTH are needed. One without the other results in worry (“I’m working too much and not getting to enjoy where I am!” or “The money’s drying up…I’m not getting any work done!”

Making sure you book time for BOTH is like sprinkling pixie dust over your life!

Beauty and Your Business

colorful_tiesLet’s be honest: running and growing a business takes effort. And sometimes lots of it.

One thing that has always been a motivator for me — something to keep me going when I get tired — is something you can find in abundance ANYWHERE!

It’s beauty.

Sometimes, all it takes is for you to put your head up from your work and notice (the way the light plays on your dog’s ear, the graceful arch of the plant in the corner, etc.).

And sometimes you have to go in search of it. That’s one of the reasons I travel…I’m in search of beauty because it inspires me so.

If you can’t travel at the moment, take your laptop to a beautiful hotel lobby and work there.

Wherever and whenever, let beauty work its magic. You’ll be amazed by the possibilities when you align yourself with it.

The hats! The skirts!

I had to ask around to see if it was OK to photograph members of the Andean indigenous population in Cuenca, Ecuador. I LOVE their brightly colored traditional clothing so reminiscent of Peruvian style.

Sometimes indigenous communities have very strong feelings against being photographed, or they want something in return. Once, in my earlier, more inexperienced, years of travel, I asked an indigenous woman in Oaxaca, Mexico, if I could take her photo.

At the time, I was a newspaper journalist, and we had ethical problems with “paying” for a photo. So I refused to pay her and she screamed at me. I could tell she was “cursing” me…literally.

Sure enough, when I was back in Mexico City, I ended up leaving my camera in a taxi, never to see it—or the photo I took of her—again.

So back here in Cuenca, I made sure to ask and several cab drivers told me “No problema.” But I still felt the need to keep my camera as unobtrusive as possible. So I sat far away and cropped these two lovelies into full view at home.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the person in the foreground is a woman, though this shot makes her look quite manly. But you’d never catch a man in a skirt here!

BIG passport tip

Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca, Ecuador

Hard to believe it: I’m in Ecuador! My first time south of the equator.
I am so excited to finally be here that I’m pinching myself! This has been a dream since last year.

But I almost didn’t make it!

Just before my flight from Atlanta to Quito began to board, I was called up to the desk and told that because my passport was to expire in JUNE—yes, JUNE—they wouldn’t let me on the plane.

Turns out that Ecuador has a rule that you can’t enter the country if you have less than 6 months remaining on your passport. I’ve learned now that a number of other countries do this, too, but I’d never come across it before in all my years of travel.

BIG TIP: Always check your passport before traveling—and be sure you have at least 6 months left before it expires.

Anyway, long story short, I spent the night in Atlanta, lined up at the downtown Passport Office the next morning, and to my shock, it took less than 1.5 hours start to finish to get a new passport. Bless them!

So here I am! Woohoo!

Cuenca is a beautiful Spanish colonial city in the Andes, founded back in the 1500s. I’m still catching my breath—literally—because of the altitude: 8,300 feet! But also the beauty.

The home I’m staying in (a home-swap arrangement) is right across the street from one of 4 rivers that run through Cuenca, and I hear the rushing water all day. LOVE IT! Out my window, I see local indigenous women scrubbing and slapping clothes against rocks and rinsing them in the river. Nearby, people keep fit on what looks to be an outdoor par-course gym. This is going to be interesting, I can tell!

You know, a number of people wished me a “good vacation” as I left—but this isn’t a vacation at all. I brought several projects to work on here. This is just what I do…find interesting and inspiring places to work from. The adventure and newness opens me up and stimulates my creativity. Makes it more fun to do my work. Just last night, I wrote a POETIC sales piece!

That’s not to say that it isn’t a little scary to arrive somewhere completely unknown, on my own, and set up house here for a month. It is. But I think it’s important to do scary things. Giving in to fear is like giving up on life.

Where is your next stop on your business adventure? Do you have plans (or dreams) to work abroad?

Longing for travel

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I’ve barely been back a month from my 3 months away, and I’m already jonesing for another experience abroad!

I mean, I love my home, my dog, my friends. AND…I’m so aware of how much traveling feeds me — and positively affects my business — that I’m no longer willing to wait too long for the next adventure.

So I’m checking airplane schedules and home exchange options, looking at maps, dreaming. In fact, I think I just landed a place to stay — a home swap — in Ecuador for the month of March! Woohoo!

What I LOVE about bringing your business with you on the road is you get to indulge your love of exploring other places and cultures WHEN you choose and for however long you choose. This isn’t “vacation” travel, so you don’t have to get back to the office. It’s with you!

Where are you longing to go?

Home, Sweet Home.

Sloppy wet dog kisses and a portable business.
Quite the diverse blog, eh?! As always, it’s fun writing it for you…enjoy!

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So the big news: I’m home! After 2.5 months “on the road” in Italy, Paris, Texas and South Carolina, I’m back in my own diggs, and look at the happy reception I got! (Boy, I had to wash my mouth after that hello!)

I love traveling more than anything but I do miss my sweet Tuki. Luckily I have a fantastic gal who watches my sweet pet while I am away so that I feel she is taken care of – and in return I can take care of myself, explore the world and grow my business from the road.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is about what do you do with your pet(s) when you’re away? Find someone who cares about your pet and is available to them (a housesitter, pet sitter, Nanna, Aunt, Sister, Friend – someone you trust) so you can truly enjoy where you are at in the moment.  One of my favorite moments in any trip is opening the door to my house upon my return and having my dog greet me. Oh happy day!

What have you done with your pets while you’re on the road?

You Can Run Your Biz from an Italian Villa

There’s never been a time on our planet when it was
SO easy to run a profitable business from anywhere
you choose.

A beach house in Thailand. An Italian villa. A hotel in
Belize. An African lodge. An ashram in India.

If you can dream it, there’s a way to make it happen.

In 2014. (Not “someday.”)

You know how much I LOVE running my own business
while traveling abroad, and I’m on a mission to help others
fulfill their “travel freedom dreams” in THEIR dream locations.

Unfortunately, the reality is that for most travel-hungry
business owners, this cherished travel freedom dream
remains just that. A dream. Never a reality.

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you.

Follow me and discover a treasure trove of crucial business-building
strategies — AND nitty-gritty travel tips — that will help you
start living YOUR travel freedom dream today!

Stuck in Rome Without My…

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One of the most hilarious situations I have ever found myself in happened just a week ago in the Rome train station.

I had gone there, not to catch a train, but to do a little last-minute shopping at a well-known Italian department store that I knew had late night hours. I heard the “closing in 10 minutes” message and headed into a dressing room to try on a couple of dresses. And when I heard the “store is closed” message, I headed out of the dressing room within 1-2 minutes.

I walked from exit to exit to see which one they were letting folks out from and soon discovered that ALL the doors were locked and NO ONE was inside. No other shoppers. No store employees. Just me. Inside a now-dark Italian department store. With only my Italian mobile phone (on which I had only my Italian friends’ contacts, none of whom answered my call).

Luckily, it was in a train station! There were people around! A young woman quizzically approached one door when I beckoned to her from inside the store. Ninety minutes, 4 police officers, 5 recalled store employees and countless bemused passersby LATER, I finally was free to go. OMG!

The only person who knew what was happening to me was my son in Los Angeles, whom I was amazingly able to call from my Italian mobile. He promptly posted my predicament to his Facebook page, asking “Why does she get to have all the fun?”

THE BIG TIP: This would have made a fantastic video. I could have at least gotten photos of my rescue party. BUT I DIDN’T HAVE MY IPHONE WITH ME. Whether you are traveling with your business or just heading to the grocery store at home, don’t leave to go ANYWHERE without your smart phone. You never know what you might need to capture!

Washing Machine Woes

For some reason, European washing machines (especially the washer-dryer combos) freak me out. One time I almost burned all my clothes!

So here I am at this cool Italian apartment in Bologna (found it on AirBnB) and have the chance to catch up on all my laundry. The machine has an instruction booklet. Check!

But uh-oh, the instructions are in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek. Nothing in English. I can do conversational Spanish and Italian, but reading technical instructions is a different story. So here I am with my translation website, HOPEFULLY getting all I need to know so as not to burn the clothes or flood the house!

Wish me luck!