In today’s episode, I talk with Amy Scott from Nomadtopia about what it takes to run a business whilst you’re travelling.
Amy Scott quit her office job to travel the world in 2004 and never looked back. She now keeps a home base in Buenos Aires while she travels the world with her Argentine husband. She’s the founder of Nomadtopia, a hub of information, inspiration, community, and support for others who also want to live their ideal life, anywhere in the world. Through her other business, Nomad Editorial, she helps nonfiction writers finish their books.
And boy we had an amazing conversation today!
Amy has been a digital nomad for a long time and really knows how to keep her business going whilst she’s on the move. We both share our experiences with making mistakes and explain how you can avoid them yourself.
I hope you enjoy this episode and if you want to reach out to Amy you can find links down below!
IN THIS EPISODE WE COVER:
- The importance of planning
- Why you should be batching things out when you’re travelling
- Being weary of time zone changes when you’re travelling
- Creating a schedule for yourself
- Building a team
- Making sure you have a good internet connection no matter where you go
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED:
Where you can find Amy:
LT: So, Amy, thank you so much for coming on to the show today and co-hosting this episode with me.
AS: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to do this.
LT: You are more than welcome. So I did give all the dudes and dudettes a brief introduction of who you are and sort of, like, what you do online. But would you like to just introduce yourself to everyone really quickly, again, talking about who you are, sort of, like, what you do online and sort of, like, a brief travel history as well.
AS: Sure. So, yeah, I always have a hard time with the brief part. I’ve been location-independent since 2004 when I quit my job back in San Francisco to start travelling, and then basically didn’t want the adventure to stop and so I started working for myself. Because of my publishing background, I started working as a freelance editor, and that’s still my bread and butter 10, 11 years later. And then a couple – gosh, no, five, six years ago I founded Nomadtopia which is a hub of community and resources and information and inspiration for people who would like to do something similar. And I’m currently in Mexico in San Miguel de Allende. My husband and I have been mostly nomadic for the past four years. Before that, we were living in Buenos Aires where he’s from. And, yeah, we’ve been spending more and more time in Mexico. So we just landed here again a month ago and are actually planning to stay put for a little while.
LT: That’s pretty cool. I mean, I remember listening to your podcast a while back and, you know, you talking about living in Buenos Aires and that is the one place that I would really love to visit because back in England – I think it was, like, two – no, longer than that. Like, 2012 was the last time that I did it but I used to be, like, a semi-professional Argentine tango dancer. I was a part of, like, this tango company.
LT: And we did, like, tours around England. So I am, like, super excited to go to Buenos Aires and actually dance tango in, like, some proper authentic tango clubs.
AS: Yeah. Absolutely. Got to do that.
LT: It’s one of those things that’s on my bucket list that I still haven’t crossed off yet.
LT: So today I would love to talk to you about sort of, like, what it takes to work and sort of, like, run a business whilst you’re travelling because, like you said, you have been doing the nomad thing for a long time now and I think you are probably one of the best people that I could bring on to talk about this topic. So shall we just dive right in?
AS: Yeah, let’s do it.
LT: Awesome. So one of the things that I had written down as something you need to consider when you’re planning on going travelling or if you’re travelling already is that you need to plan ahead of time. If in your business, like, you either do podcasts or you do videos or you write blog posts, you need to – well, it’s best if you sort of, like, batch this content out. So you do all the work upfront and you can schedule it to go out on time. That way, if you’re travelling and you, like, need to publish something, you’re not rushing around to try and get something done as quickly as possible, which might not be sort of, like, the best quality and, you know, your audience will know that it’s rushed. So I think batching is probably one of the best things you can do as a digital nomad to make sure you’ve got some consistency in what you’re releasing out into the world.
AS: Yeah. I totally agree. I mean, I – I wish I kept track. I don’t know how many different locations I’ve recorded podcast episodes from, but there were a lot. And not only can possibly your audience tell the difference, but it’s just super stressful. You know, if you arrive somewhere new, it’s Monday, you’ve got to get an episode out on Wednesday and you don’t have anything ready: super, super stressful and it’s just not worth the stress. And, you know, when you said “plan ahead of time”, I feel like that is also something that – not just in terms of batching and things but just in general. You know, I think a lot of people – it’s easy to think, “Oh, well, you know, I can work anywhere I have internet,” and so off you go. But there’s a lot of different pieces of the puzzle to look at in terms of how you work with people, how you’re going to stay connected, how you’re going to keep your clients happy while you’re on the move. And if you haven’t taken some time in advance to kind of plot that out, make sure you have the right tools in place, all of those different things so it runs smoothly, it’s not stressful and it’s sustainable, basically.
LT: Yeah. I mean, my very first business was a fitness-based business where I worked with clients, like, over Skype. I would help – like, do training programs for people. And I ended up going to Thailand and I spent about a month there and then I went to Australia, and all of my clientele were in England. And I know this is something that you wrote down as something to talk about, and that’s time zones. But, for me, I didn’t have the right tools or systems in place to manage as many clients as I had, like, whilst I was travelling. Well, plus the fact that when I was in Thailand, I turned into a bit of an alcoholic and just ended up drinking and partying every day. That didn’t help either. But the fact that I didn’t have – you know, I didn’t think ahead and make sure that, okay, right, not only am I going to be in a different time zone but I’m not going to have all the – like, the eight hours a day that I might have spent, you know, working with the clients one-on-one. I’m not going to have that anymore. You know, don’t think about the time zone difference and the fact that I was being an alcoholic; you know, I still wouldn’t have those eight hours just because I would be moving around quite a lot. Because I was there for, like, 27, 28 days and I think we probably spent four days max in a single location.
AS: Right. Yeah, exactly.
LT: So I think it’s definitely something you need to think about, for sure.
AS: Yeah. When I was in Thailand the first time, I had a couple coaching clients at the time and I think they were all in the US. And I was doing calls at midnight. And, you know, I’m a bit of a night owl so that was fine, and yet kind of a drag, you know. Who wants to be doing coaching calls at midnight? But, you know, I had already – I had an established schedule with those clients and I couldn’t really be like, “Oh, sorry. Can you meet at, you know, 9 pm your time because I’m in Thailand.” Like, that’s just not – you know, that’s not fair to them. So I was always – one thing I always say is that, for me, the goal – and I encourage other people to have the same goal – is to make your location as irrelevant as possible. And so this is a prime example, right. Like, I was the one who chose to travel. I was the one who was moving around, who went all the way to Thailand. And so I don’t expect my clients to shift because of that. So I realise, okay, yeah, if I really want to be in Asia and I want to keep coaching, then I’m going to have to do it at crazy hours. And, you know, so that’s something to build in also is to think about how you’re working with people and how you’re going to continue to be able to serve them in the same way no matter where you are.
LT: Yeah. I mean, this sort of, like, ties in, like, a point that we’ve both, like, wrote down and, you know, you talking about, like, making sure you keep your clients and your customers happy. And one of the things I wanted to talk about was about creating a schedule for yourself. So I’ve, like, spoken to a few people now and everybody, like, works slightly differently. And, you know, some people like to do, like, two, three, four hours every morning and then spend the afternoon, like, enjoying wherever it is that they are, and some people like to do, like, seven solid days of work and then take a week off or do, like, two weeks and two weeks; whatever you want. And I think, like you said, you know, you are the one that chose to move to this location. So you should sort of, like, work around your clients. You know, you shouldn’t expect your clients to work around you when you’re the one that chose to live this lifestyle. And if you do decide to only do two to three, four hours of work a day, make sure that they’re, like, in the hours that works best for your client as well.
AS: Right. Yeah, great point. Yeah, I usually do – yeah, it kind of varies. I feel like I do a mix of all of those things you mentioned depending on, you know, where I am and what’s going on. I’d say my default is probably like you said, do a couple hours in the morning, spend the afternoon kind of out exploring or doing whatever and then, if necessary, coming back and doing some more work in the evening. And then, yeah, you know, if I’m doing a launch or I’m planning to take some significant time off, then I might, you know, cram in more work in a shorter period of time just to get things all set up so I can take some time off.
LT: Yeah. And one of, like, the important things that I know you want to talk about is about, you know, not scheduling things or, like, creating deadlines for yourself that are close to days when you know you’re going to be travelling.
AS: Yeah, totally. For me, that’s been a huge way to ease stress. I feel like I’ve mentioned avoiding stress like three or four times. Obviously this is something that’s important to me. Like, what’s the point of any of this if you’re stressed the whole time, right.
AS: So, yeah, I have always avoided having anyone expecting anything of me, of course as much as possible, within, say, a few days of arriving somewhere new. Because, again, it’s just super stressful. Say you arrive somewhere, they say the internet’s going to be working perfectly and, you know, you assume that you’ll be able to pretty much, you know, pull out your laptop and get to work. And if that’s not the case, it is so stressful trying to figure out, like, how you’re going to get online if the internet’s not working or, you know, whatever other – or say you’re flight’s delayed, right, and you end up getting there 12 hours later than you were supposed to. All kinds of things can come up that if someone’s waiting for something from you, it’s just – yeah, it adds to the stress.
And same goes for me, you know, with podcasts, interviews, coaching calls, editing deadlines; you know, all of those things I avoid scheduling if I know I’m going to be travelling right away. And also I – usually if – even if I’m staying more or less in one place, I try to schedule all my calls and things like that that, you know, have to happen in real-time, try to schedule them only on, say, two days of the week. So I usually do all my calls on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I’m breaking the rules today; it’s Monday. But, you know, that way, say, I know I only have calls on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and so then an ideal scenario is that we never travel on those days. And so I always know that, you know, basically I can work around that, right. I can say, okay, well, let’s move locations on Friday so I know that by the time my next set of calls rolls around, we’ll be ready to go.
LT: Exactly. And that goes back to, like, building a schedule for yourself so you know, like, even though we are people that want to really build a lifestyle where travel is the focus, if we build schedules and routines for ourselves where we do have a little bit of predictability and, you know, like you said, you know what days not to travel on so you don’t create conflicts, it definitely makes life so much easier and, like you said about six times now, makes everything less stressful.
LT: Because, like, this lifestyle isn’t all glitz and glamour like you see on, like, people’s Instagram feeds. Things do go wrong. And if you can avoid as much of that as possible, then you are going to be head and shoulders above everybody else who’s pulling their hair out because they decided they were going to schedule a call, like, for the evening that they landed in a country that’s, like, on the opposite side of the world than where they were before.
AS: Yeah. Exactly. And another thing that ties in with that that I often talk about on this subject is just about managing expectations. And so a lot of the things we’ve just talked about help with that, for sure. But also, you know, I – I don’t remember. Like, I might have even told you this as we were scheduling this interview, but I’ve told a couple people recently, like, “Oh, my internet’s been a little sketchy so, you know, like, I probably won’t be able to video.” Or, you know, just setting some expectations in advance so if the internet is crappy or there’s some other issue that it’s not a total shock, right. Or say somebody really – say, you know, you’re working with a client and they really, really, really need you to have something done on a certain day and then it ends up coinciding with travel, you can be like, “Okay. Just so you know, you know, I’m going to be on the road. I should have internet for a few hours in the middle of the day,” you know, etcetera. I would rather give people kind of – basically lower their expectations and then have them be impressed that I got it all done rather than not saying anything and then totally dropping the ball.
LT: That’s a really good point. And that was something that I really failed at with that fitness business. I didn’t tell people that I was going to Thailand or that I was planning on going to Australia for a while. I was planning on, like, doing everything – like, continuing the way I was going, like, even when I was in a country that was on the other side of the world when, you know, time zones would’ve been an issue. But, yeah, I didn’t tell anything to anybody and just in that one month alone that I was in Thailand, I probably lost about 90 per cent of my business.
AS: Ouch. Yeah.
LT: Just because I didn’t set any expectations or let people know what was going on. And, you know, these were people that I would speak to, like, regularly as well. So, you know, missing one call or two calls made a big difference to these people.
LT: Because it was fitness. It was do with their, like, health and all that sort of stuff. So a lot of people wanted regular contact, and it was something I just couldn’t give them anymore and, yeah, lost, like, 90 per cent of my business in four weeks.
AS: Right, right.
LT: It was crazy.
AS: Yeah. That’s intense. And it’s – shoot. I was just going to say something else related. I know. And I have found that, you know, sometimes it can be nerve-wracking to have those conversations, right. Like, you don’t want to make people nervous or feel like you’re, you know, leaving them in the lurch or whatever. But I would say 95 per cent of the time or even more, you know, in my case clients have been really supportive about what I’m doing and in fact they probably would like to do the same thing, you know. And so they just kind of – you know, they’re just happy to kind of live vicariously. And the few times that it’s really just – people have gotten really bent out of shape about it, I just – you know, in the long run, I usually end up not working with them anymore, you know, they just weren’t the right kind of clients for me.
LT: Yeah. Yeah, and that’s one of, like, the benefits of doing something like this is compared to, like, owning, like, a physical store or something like that, you know, we do have the freedom and we do have, like, the option of working with, like, pretty much anybody around the world. We’re not, like, limited to people that are, like, just in our city or whatever. So, you know, if you do get that one client or one customer that’s, like, giving you a lot of shit, then you can always drop them and, you know, you can always find more clients to, you know, make up that revenue gap that you may or may not be relying on for your travels.
AS: Right. Exactly.
LT: Yeah. And something else that I would like to talk about – I’m not sure if you do this or not, and that’s, like, building teams to help you out. I know – especially with, like, the online thing, you know, it’s very popular to hire VAs or virtual assistants to help you out. And I think especially as digital nomads or location-independent entrepreneurs, like, whatever you want to call yourselves, I think hiring, like, team members to especially do sort of, like, the day-to-day tasks, whether that’s, like, customer support or social media management or, you know, whatever it is that you decide that you want help with, I think building a team is extremely important, you know, for those days when, you know, you’re travelling and, you know, your flight was delayed by 12 hours and, you know, you have no access to internet or anything like that. Have you, like, built teams in the past yourself?
AS: Yeah. I’ve gone through a couple different phases with all of that stuff. And, you know, I will say – I’ll preface all of this by saying I think it depends a lot on the kind of work that you do.
AS: Specifically with my editing work, I have found that – so, yeah, when I had a VA – so, okay, let me back up. There was – I had a VA pretty consistently for, I think, a couple years at least. And it definitely gave me more freedom to kind of come and go as I please. I definitely – like, I took – I did a silent meditation retreat in Thailand a couple years ago, and so I was offline altogether I think, like 12 or 13 days. And at the time I remember feeling like there’s no way I could do this if I didn’t have my VA. And yet at the same time, like, when I came back, seeing the things that had come up while I was offline was really interesting, and I discovered, like, for example, with the editing work, there wasn’t much she could really do to help. And I’ve tried to actually contract out editing work and it’s never gone well. I have a hard time finding people who are up to my standards. And, you know, people get recommended to me or I’m recommended to people because, you know, of my work. And so that kind of thing I’ve definitely not found I can outsource.
With the podcast, it was super helpful to have my VA helping with a lot of those pieces. So she would schedule all the social media. She did almost all of the, you know, interaction with guests. So, like, if we didn’t have a photo, you know, she would follow up on that kind of stuff. And that was awesome because I didn’t have to do it. But actually recently – well, I haven’t been doing the podcast for the last – sorry. I’m embarrassed to say it’s been, like, six months. I thought it was taking, like, a two-month break.
LT: But you are going to be coming back out with it again soon, though.
AS: Yes. Okay. You’re putting me on the spot. I’m going to have to do it. Yeah. So basically things have been quieter recently. You know, I’ve mostly been focused on editing work. And my VA was doing, like, maybe five hours a month for me, and she actually was super busy with other clients and so we decided – just a month or two ago I guess, we kind of made a mutual decision that we were going to part ways. And so I’m doing everything myself right now, and it’s – I think (1) it can be helpful to go back to that situation and kind of regroup, right, and so now I’m looking at, like, right, she did that part. That was kind of awesome, you know. And then other things where I’m perfectly happy to do it myself. And I think sometimes we hire too soon. You know, a lot of people say, like, you have to, like – how do people put that? Like, you have to, you know, expand and build a team in order to make money or whatever.
And yet there were definitely times when I was paying her, you know, couple hundred a month and it left me feeling really strapped. And I was like, “Let’s be honest. I have the time to do this stuff myself,” you know. And when there’s not a lot of money coming in, it just doesn’t really make sense, I think, to spread yourself thin when you don’t really need the help. So I think it’s just important to look at, you know, kind of what your situation is, the kind of work that you’re doing, how often you’re really not online or, you know, how busy you really are and identify the kinds of things that you do truly need help with.
LT: Yeah. It’s definitely going to, like, depend on your travel style and how much sort of, like, income or revenue that you have that you can spend on building a team. I mean, I know for myself I’m planning on being here in Canada for the next, like, six, seven, eight, nine months. My visa doesn’t expire until November 2017. So, you know, I could be here until then. And I do have, like, the income to hire people, and I’m actually looking at making my very first hire fairly soon. You know, at the time of recording, I’m, like, batching loads of interviews out to, you know, when I do launch this podcast, you know, I’ve got loads of content for everybody to enjoy. And the first hire I’m looking at doing right now is hiring someone to write some transcripts for these episodes. You know, the majority of these interviews are between 35 and 45 minutes. You know, there’s an odd couple that’s up in, like, the 50-odd minutes. You know, I would like to hire somebody to do a transcript for those. And it’s something that I potentially could do myself. I do have the time that I could do that, but it’s something that I really, really do not want to do.
LT: So I can hire that out, and then eventually I would like to hire somebody to help with the show notes and help with, like, the social media stuff around the podcast. Because a lot of people don’t realise, like, how much work it does take to do a podcast.
LT: You know, it’s not as easy as just jumping on a Skype call or jumping into Garage Band and hitting record and talking. You know, there’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes that go into that which – I was a little naïve when I first started this venture and thinking, “Oh no, podcasting seems easy. It’s going to be much easier than just writing blog posts.” There is a lot more work involved. So, you know, I definitely think, you know, for me at least, definitely getting some, like, team members to come on to help with this side is definitely going to open things up for me to focus on other parts of the business.
LT: And, like you said, if you can’t afford it, you know, if you’re strapped for cash when you are paying for these things, then maybe, you know, hiring team members is not the – at least it’s not right for right now.
LT: But I think, yeah, if you’ve got the money to invest in building a team, definitely do it. And, again, depending on your travel style, you know, if you’re moving around every single week, then you’re definitely going to need somebody there to help out with, you know, with whatever, again dependent on what type of business that you have. You know, you’re going to need the help for those times when you’re not going to be able to get online or, you know, god forbid, something, like, comes up that, you know, you’re incapable of, you know, being online for a few days or, you know, whatever.
LT: I think it’ s definitely all dependent.
LT: But I think hiring a team early on, if you can afford it, is a good idea.
AS: Yeah. And you also mentioned, you know, like, transcription is a great example of something that, like, yeah, technically you could do it yourself, but it’s actually a pretty specialised skill.
AS: And, you know, hiring someone who knows what they’re doing could save you a ton of time and a lot of heartache. And those kinds of things can also be kind of a one-off project, right.
AS: I’ve had a couple times – well, like, I hired someone, you know, to do, like, the voiceover intro for my podcast and stuff like that. So I think that can be kind of a good way to kind of bridge the gap, I think, is hiring people for one-off things rather than – you know, like, a lot of VAs, they require a certain number of hours from you per month, right, and that’s kind of what happened with my VA. It got to a point she’s like, “Look, for a couple hours a month, like, it’s just not working for me, you know. I’m distracted with people who have a lot more work for me.”
AS: So if you don’t have either the money or just the amount of work that – you know, to commit to having a VA month after month, then hiring people just for kind of those one-off projects as you go, I think, can be a good middle ground.
LT: For sure, for sure. And we’re getting on a little bit now and there’s one other, like, important thing that I know you want to talk about and it’s something that I have talked about in the past. And that is, you know, keeping on top of everything and keeping things from falling through the cracks, like you say.
LT: You know, hiring a VA definitely helps with stuff like that. But I would like to talk about sort of, like, how you can stay connected online when you’re travelling.
AS: Yeah. Okay. So I just – to me, those are kind of two separate topics, so I just want to say one thing first about staying on top of everything.
AS: Which would just be document everything, automate as much as you can, have, like, reminders for everything and – you know, because it’s amazing how quickly you can get thrown off by – you know, when you change time zones or just being in a new location and, you know, you’re excited to be there and, you know, even if you have something – say, for example, you put out a blog post every single Monday and to you it’s just like clockwork. But it’s amazing how easily all of those routines can just fly out of your head when you’re travelling. So I have – I use Asana for task management and then Google Calendar, and between the two of those I just have everything documented like crazy. So, like, reminders to pay bills. Of course you can put some on autopayment which also helps, but, you know, reminders to pay bills, reminders to, like, follow up with somebody. You know, all of the things that can’t be automated but that I have to just remember to get finished or, you know, get handled at some point. I highly recommend just having that stuff squared away as much as possible because it’s – you just can’t keep it all in your head, and when you’re travelling it’s even harder.
LT: That’s a very good point. I’ve actually recently in the last – well, actually since starting to, like, record these interviews – I don’t like to call them interviews. Having guests on to co-host an episode with me. I’ve actually been starting to make a lot of use of Apple’s calendar.
LT: So I, like, have a – I’ve got a MacBook Air. I’ve got an iPhone. So, you know, I can add something to the calendar on my computer and it syncs with my phone and, you know, I can always check what I’ve got coming up and, you know, you can set alerts and stuff like that. So, yeah, definitely, like, keep schedules and, you know, making reminders of yourself for those things definitely, definitely helps.
AS: Yep. Absolutely. And so then I think the other thing we’re alluding to was the all-important internet.
LT: Yes, yes.
AS: Right. And having good internet or just basically being able to get and stay connected. Yeah. So, again, like I said earlier, I think there’s this tendency to think, like, once I have internet, everything’s fine. Which is true, but it’s amazing how often you might find yourself without internet or without good internet. As I mentioned, we’ve got kind of a sketchy internet situation right now, and so mine my main backup option is to have – so I have an unlocked phone and then I get a local SIM card. So I’m actually using the data hotspot, 3G, whatever, on my phone right now because I can’t trust that with our internet connection it was going to be good enough for this call. So, yeah. So basically, for me, getting a local SIM is usually the easiest and, depending on where you go, the cheapest backup option, especially for phone calls and stuff. Because obviously you can always go to a café. I mean, virtually anywhere these days, right, there’s coffee shops and whatever where you can get online. But I’ve found that they’re definitely not the ideal location if you’re doing coaching calls or, you know, interviews, things like that, where you need some more quiet and some more privacy. So, yeah, that’s why I like to use the SIM.
LT: Yeah. And I used to travel around with one of those – I can’t remember what they used to call them, but it’s like a portable modem sort of thing. It was a tiny little box. It worked the same way. Like, you pop a local SIM card in, you know, instead of doing it in your phone.
AS: Yeah. Is it that like a MiFi.
LT: Yeah, yeah. One of those sorts of things, but it was one that I got in Australia and I used it whilst I was in Fiji, but even then Fiji the internet was still crap. I just had one of those things and, yeah, got a local SIM card because I find sometimes if you get one of the – you can get, like, different plans, you know. You can get ones that are made for your phone and you can get ones that are made for, like, dongles and all that sort of stuff. And I’ve found, especially when I was in Fiji and Australia, it was a lot cheaper to go through, like, a plan like that. But now, yeah, I just use my phone.
LT: I’m with, like, Virgin Mobile here in Canada and, you know, I get – I think it’s, like, 6GB of data that doesn’t really cost me a lot compared to, like, if I went and got, like, a separate plan. It’s much easier doing it this way and, yeah, it’s a very good backup. Thankfully, I’m in a country where the internet is normally pretty reliable. But, yeah, it’s definitely good to have a backup. And when I was in Fiji trying to, you know, get That Marketing Dude going, having really bad internet – the fact that I lived on, like, a remote island didn’t help.
LT: But, you know, having good internet definitely sort of, like, hindered what I could and couldn’t do for the business. So, yeah, definitely having a backup. And even, like, go ahead and research in advance on what the internet quality is like before you get to a place. There’s, like, loads of websites out there – there was one that I used to use. I can’t remember what it’s called. I think it’s NomadPass. No, that’s something else. I’m going to have to look it up and I’ll chuck it into the show notes, but there’s a website out there where, you know, you can – it rates the cities based on all these different criteria that, like, nomads look for.
AS: Nomad List.
LT: Nomad List, that’s the one. I knew it was nomad-something.
LT: Nomad List, yeah.
LT: Nomad List, you know, you can filter cities or – I think it’s cities. I think you can do countries as well, but cities at least. You can filter the cities based on the quality of the internet out there. So obviously being online entrepreneurs, digital nomads, location-independent entrepreneurs, we need to have internet connections. But, you know, if you are doing, like, video, like, Facebook lives or podcasts or whatever, you know, when you need a good quality internet, it’s definitely good to make sure you are travelling to a country where you can get good internet, whether that’s through a backup like using your phone like you’re doing right now or, you know, just the country itself has good internet in general.
AS: Yep. Absolutely. And, yeah, I would say don’t rely too heavily on that information because, you know, like – yeah, we had amazing internet. We just stayed in Montreal for two months, we had amazing internet, but then the power went out one day, right.
AS: Like, in Canada, and people would be like, “Oh, but it’s, you know” – it wasn’t like we were in Fiji, right. Like, you would think in Canada you’re going to have good internet forever. But, yeah, shit happens no matter where you go.
LT: Yeah, that is true.
AS: So I would say – yeah, no matter where you’re going, I would say, you know, getting a backup sorted as soon as possible is highly recommended. Because I – I forgot what I was doing. I had something – I was, like, in the middle of something important when the internet went out and I was like – when the power went out and I was thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Okay, well, and I just regrouped. I turned over, I turned on the hotspot on my phone and carried on, you know. So, again, it wasn’t stressful because I had my backup plan. But you just never know, you know. Doing your due diligence is definitely a good idea, but I’d say also be prepared for anything.
LT: Yeah. And, you know, talking about making backups or, like, having backups of, like, ways that you can get connected online, it’s always important to get a backup of your work as well.
LT: Because that did happen to me before is that I – like, something, like, lost power and I lost all the work that I was doing.
LT: So definitely not only get, like, a backup internet source but also backup your work regularly because that will definitely create a lot of stress in your life.
AS: Yeah, that’s so true. And also I’d say keeping track – making sure, basically, that you can access important information when you’re offline, you know, while you’re travelling or the internet goes out or whatever. It’s gotten to a point that because of smartphones, I feel like virtually every app and program relies on the internet to some extent. And, you know, if you don’t have – if you’re not online, that, you know, the functionality can be limited or you can’t actually load something or whatever. Like, for example, I have Evernote and you can have offline notebooks I think with the premium version or whatever. And so I was like, “Oh perfect, so I can access this at any time.” I didn’t know you had to actually turn on – you know, there’s, like, a toggle and you have to say, “This notebook I want available offline.” And so I was travelling somewhere and needed something in Evernote, and I couldn’t get to it because I didn’t know you had to turn that on in advance. So it’s like, you know, all of these little nuances that can really throw you off if you haven’t sorted it out. Of course, once it happens once, then you learn your lesson and, yeah, then you can do it better next time.
LT: Yeah. Definitely learn from our mistakes, guys. Don’t think that, like, nothing’s ever going to go wrong because eventually it will.
LT: Hopefully it won’t, but it probably will at some point if you travel enough. Cool. So, Amy, thank you so much for coming on. I think this is a perfect end to wrap up this conversation. But before you go we do have one last thing to do, and that is the rapid-fire question session.
AS: All right.
LT: Are you ready for this?
AS: I’m ready.
LT: So I want the first answer that comes into your head. Doesn’t matter if it’s – if you think it’s a good or bad answer; first thing that comes into your head.
LT: So number one: what is your favourite country that you’ve travelled to so far?
AS: Oh god. Mexico.
LT: What is the last YouTube video or movie you’ve watched?
AS: Right before this I was trying to let off some steam. I watched one of the Donald Trump/Alec Baldwin Saturday Night Live openings.
LT: Very appropriate for right now.
LT: What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve eaten?
AS: Oh. Well, we just – for lunch I had hummus – they have hummus in Mexico that has, like, roasted chillies in it. So it’s kind of, like, spicy kind of funky hummus that I don’t know if you could get anywhere else.
LT: Number four: what is your favourite drinking game?
AS: You know, I haven’t played a lot of drinking games, but I would say any one that’s based on – like, I heard people were doing this, like, during the debate. So, like, any time Donald Trump said some stupid phrase, that you would have to take a drink. So I like those kinds of things. It has some structure around something that you’re watching or something that’s happening around you.
LT: Sweet. I like those games. I love playing, like, The Game of Thrones ones. You know, there’s so many different versions and I absolutely love that show. So give me a drink and put that show in front of me, I’m happy.
LT: Number five: if you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be?
AS: Oh my god. Gandhi just popped into my head.
LT: I’ll take that one. Number six: name one book you would recommend everybody should read.
AS: There’s so, so, so many. Your Money or Your Life.
LT: Number seven: what is your go-to song when you need to get into the mood to get shit done?
AS: What’s the name of it? Can’t Hold Us, Macklemore.
LT: I love that song.
LT: I was actually listening to that song before we actually jumped on, actually.
LT: It’s a really good song. Number eight: what’s your favourite swearword that you’ve learnt in another language?
AS: Shit, there’s so many in Spanish. Well, in Argentina they have hilarious ones. Well, “hijo de puta”, I guess, which is, like, son of a bitch. And then they kind of turn it up with, like, “la puta” – what do they say? “La puta que te pario” which means – it’s, like, the whore that birthed you a thousand times or something. Like, there’s just – like, it’s just gets very poetic and, yeah, it’s hilarious.
LT: Love it. What’s your favourite podcast, apart from this one?
AS: Of course. Believe it or not, even though I have a podcast, I don’t listen to a lot of them. Recently, actually, I’ve been listening to Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert.
LT: I will have to check that one out.
LT: And, finally, number 10: can you give me your best travel story you have in under five minutes.
AS: Okay. So, yeah, I gave this some thought. I didn’t time it. I’m assuming this will be less than five minutes. So, of course, there are so many, right, when you’ve been doing this a long time. But this is one that always sticks out, partly because – well, I’ll just get into it and it’ll make sense. So I was – when I first quit my job – as I said before, I quit my job to travel. So I did a solo round-the-world trip that lasted about nine months and spent I think about six weeks of that in India kind of in the middle of my trip. And I had been nervous about going to India travelling by myself; I actually convinced a couple friends from college to come meet me. But for some reason, I landed in the town of Jaipur and they weren’t arriving until later. I guess this was the first point we were meeting up or something; I don’t remember.
So, anyway, I’m at this hotel. My friends were supposed to be arriving in a couple hours. And so I check in and – I don’t know if it was during check-in or not. I talked to the guy at the desk and he’s like, “Hey, listen. I’m just filling in for my friend. You know, it’s his hotel. I’m just filling in.” And it was more like a guesthouse, really. And he’s like, “I’m going to be done in a couple hours when he gets back. Do you want to go for a drink?” And of course – see, this is why I like to tell this story because this is one of those – like, on paper, that’s a terrible idea, right. Like, a single woman travelling by herself in a country that she barely knows. Like, you shouldn’t just go for a drink with some random guy. But I just – it was one of those situations where I just trusted my gut and I just kind of scoped out the situation. I knew my friends were arriving – it would be probably another hour or two after that drink would be happening. And I said yes.
And he ended up taking me to this super fancy hotel that had, you know, like, a cool bar and it was, like, in an old, like, maharaja’s palace or something. It was really cool. Invited a couple of his friends to come meet us. And, anyway, this ended up turning into just an amazing experience over the next few weeks because – so I had a great time with them, went back to the hotel to meet my friends. The next day the same guy invited us to a little party at his house. Another day the guy who ran the hotel invited us to his house, like, to meet his family. And then the first guy who had invited me out, he ran a clothing factory and he invited me to come, like, check out the factory which was cool. And I needed to send a package home, and he had one of the seamstresses at his factory, like, wrap it up. They actually wrap packages, like, in muslin or whatever. And then had his employee, like, put me on the back of his motorcycle and take me to the post office to navigate that whole crazy thing, you know, to mail my package.
What else happened? Well, I think that was the first time. And then I ended up passing through that town a couple weeks later by myself, and I think I arrived on the bus and I had, like, say, five hours until I was supposed to go take a train – an overnight train. So he picked me up at the bus station and he was going to take me back to the hotel – the same friend’s hotel. He said, you know, “We got it set up. You can take a shower. We’ll get dinner. Do you need to get anything on the way?” And I was like, “Actually, I’m out of toothpaste. Can we just, you know, stop somewhere I can buy toothpaste?” So we, like, stop at a store. He insists on paying for my toothpaste. And then we go back to the hotel and he’s like, “Here, you know, you can have this room for an hour, whatever. Relax, take a shower, whatever, and then meet us in the conference room when you’re done.” And I come down and they’ve got, like, a whole spread. They had food delivered. Of course, amazing Indian food. So, anyway, it just – and then I think that was it. And then they drove me off to the train station and sent me on my way.
And it’s funny because I actually haven’t kept in touch with them, but it was – it adds – you know, all of those little things – I’m kind of rattling them off, but it was – all of those things were just interesting and meaningful experiences that I just wouldn’t have had, you know, otherwise. And there was never anything weird or inappropriate or – you know. He was just a nice guy and just wanted to help someone out and, you know, we became friends during that time. And looking back, it’s one of those things that I always think about in terms of, you know, if I hadn’t said yes, right, if I had stuck to that, like, rulebook that says, like, single women don’t go for drinks with strange men – and, of course, I realise in other situations that story could have a very different ending.
AS: But, you know, it all worked out and it was an amazing experience. And so sometimes saying yes pays off.
LT: I always find that some of the best stories that I hear, not only, like, on this show but, like, just, like, from travellers in general, normally come from, you know, like, interacting with a local from the country that you’re in. And I think your story there is, like, a perfect example of that. Yes, it could’ve gone wrong or could’ve gone bad; thankfully, it didn’t. But, you know, just imagine, like, what would’ve happened if you did say no.
LT: You know, what would your experience of that country or of that town, that city – you know, what would that have been if you turned around and said no.
LT: So I think that’s an amazing story. So thank you so much for sharing it.
AS: Yeah, absolutely.
LT: So if people wanted to find you online, whereabouts can they find you?
AS: So the best place is my website, nomadtopia.com. I also have a Facebook group. You can just search “Nomadtopia community” and join us there. And I’m Nomad Amy on Instagram; Nomad Amy Scott on Twitter; and then my editing website is nomadeditorial.com. And I think that’s it.
LT: Awesome. And I will make sure all of that goes into the show notes for today’s episode. So if you can’t remember all of that, just go to the show notes page and you’ll be able to find Amy that way. So, Amy, again, thank you so much for coming on and co-hosting this episode with me. It’s been an absolute pleasure. And hopefully we get to talk about more in the future.
AS: Sounds good. Thanks.
LT: Take care.
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