Hi, I'm Rachel! In 2010, my now husband Sasha and I moved to China to teach English (ESL) and never moved home! We graduated from university right into the Great Recession and struggled to find jobs. We needed food stamps to get by and got robbed twice. Our only two goals were to support ourselves and have a grand adventure and China gave us a way to do that.
After over 3 years in Beijing, we took a gap year and traveled for 14 months straight. It was the feeling of freedom that motivated us to find a way to work remotely so we could continue to travel whenever we felt like it without having to ask someone for permission. We did it and have now been digital nomads since 2016.
We run a travel blog called Grateful Gypsies. We help digital nomads and live music fans plan for life-changing travel experiences and a location independent lifestyle. Our goal is to inspire people to take that trip they've been dreaming about or take it a step further and create a lifestyle of their own design so they can travel whenever they want.
We share travel tips, information about the cost of travel and living in certain places, and information about how to work online and the types of remote jobs or businesses you can start.
In addition to our travel blog, we both teach English online. We do this through a couple of different platforms. I am in the process of starting a new business finding my own students independently. I also work as a freelancer with a company called Bridge to help them plan a promote their webinars. Sasha is also a freelance writer for other blogs.
The desire to work remotely came from the freedom we felt on our gap year trip. Being able to go anywhere anytime without having to ask permission is very intoxicating. I started our remote work journey by monetizing our travel blog and teaching English online. Sasha started with freelance blogging and added teaching English online later.
Working remotely give me a flexible work schedule and allows me to work from anywhere with a decent WiFi signal. It means I can visit my friends around the world for any special occasion. It means I can be there to help my family if they need it. And it means I can take a day off if I need to. Ultimately it means I have the freedom to be anywhere and do the things that make me happy.
It's very important for me to feel like I belong to a group so for me, that's the biggest disadvantage of being on the road all the time. It's taught me that community is super important and takes effort so I've made cultivating community one of my big priorities no matter where I am.
We've worked from 20+ countries and even more cities as digital nomads. I can find something to like about anywhere so it's really hard to choose a favorite. I especially prefer places with a vibrant culture, night life, and lots of things going on.
I generally prefer to work from wherever I'm staying. I find it easier to focus when I don't have to commute somewhere. I will find a co-working space when I'm in a new place mostly for networking purposes and making new friends.
I've traveled pretty extensively in Asia and the Americas but I've only been to three countries in Europe and zero in Africa so I'm looking forward to visiting more places on those continents. I'm also very eager to return to several of the places I visited in South America.
Loneliness has been my biggest challenge. Even though I travel with my husband, I'm a very social person and need more friends around. I love to see live music and all my favorite bands are in the US so I make it a point to return to the US to see my friends, family, and favorite bands for an extended period each year.
I'm still working on this but I've found color coding Google calendar to be extremely helpful.
Right now, we manage everything with spreadsheets in Google Drive. We have an accountant do our taxes for us.
Being productive while moving around is really hard. You can keep up with administrative tasks and post to social media but if your job involves creating content, it's better to plan to spend more time in less places. Doing so gives you enough time to see the sights, experience the culture and nightlife, and get to know the locals.
Rachel's website: https://www.gratefulgypsies.com/
Rachel's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gratefulgypsies/
Rachel's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gratefulgypsies/
Rachel's Twitter: https://twitter.com/GratefulGypsies
Rachel's Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/gratefulgypsies/
Rachel's Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/gratefulgypsies