Airbnb strategies – Part 2: Digital nomads

In Part 1, I shared my thoughts on Airbnb strategies for hosts, particularly geared towards those of you considering subletting a place you rent. If you decide to try that out, it can be a great experience. And of course the side income stream to help fund your travels doesn’t hurt!

 

But what about using Airbnb as a digital nomad?

 

Part 2 will discuss strategies for digital nomads to use Airbnb as part of their accommodation planning process, and the 3 ways I think digital nomads can benefit from including Airbnb in their housing search.

 

What’s different about digital nomad housing needs

 

I’ve used Airbnb many times as a typical guest, most often for stays of less than a week. And I think it’s great for that purpose. I generally prefer having a more “like a local” experience, rather than staying in a hotel. And while Airbnb can certainly be pricey in some cities, I still think it can be far more affordable than most hotels. It’s also just a more interesting experience. But I’m really not a fan of hotels. I don’t like how sterile they often feel. Staying in a real home is much more comfortable to me.

 

However, as digital nomads, our housing needs are a bit different than the typical traveller who spends a few days or a week at a time in any one place. A digital nomad might spend more like 1 to 3 months at a time in a location.

 

That’s the time frame that I’m planning on, which dovetails nicely with the amount of time many of us may have to spend in countries visa-free. There are plenty of good resources to help you figure out how long you can stay visa-free in various countries. But once you decide how long you want to stay in a given place, what’s the best approach for finding housing?

 

I think there are 3 advantages to using Airbnb, but I’m also keeping my eye out for new and emerging tools and solutions. I really think this is an underserved area right now, but there are a few interesting and creative solutions coming out that digital nomads will want to be aware of.

 

  1. Planning
  2. Rent, don’t own
  3. Socialising/normalising in a location

 

 

1. PLANNING

 

I love planning. One of the most fun parts of getting ready for a trip of any length is getting stuck into research and anticipating what neighbourhoods you’ll explore and what unique experiences you’ll want to seek out.

I know many digital nomads advocate a boots-on-the-ground approach to finding housing, and I intend to test out that approach myself. But even so, I’d want to do some research into a completely new place before deciding to go there.

In fact, I think a reasonable approach for the digital nomad who’s looking to keep her costs low, is to choose a location with housing costs very much in mind.

The way I’ve begun to tackle this is to start by searching Airbnb for a somewhat random month, and comparing the selection across a few different cities. The trick to searching for an entire month at a time is it allows you to see the discounted monthly rates that many hosts offer.

 

For example, by searching for at least 4 weeks at a time, the site shows you the monthly rate, instead of the nightly one. And many hosts offer steep discounts off their nightly rates when you book for an entire month at a time.

 

Here are some examples of searches for the month of March, in Prague and Budapest:

Prague daily rates

Prague monthly rates

Even for one of the cheaper daily rates, at €27 * 28 nights = €756. As you can see, there are plenty of monthly rates offered well below that.

Let’s compare Budapest as well:

Budapest daily rates

Budapest monthly rates

Besides a few cheaper outliers, the daily rates don’t come close to the value found when you search monthly. That first one for €485/month?! What a steal. See ya soon, Budapest.

As you can see, by searching for 4 weeks or more, you open up a lot more affordable options.

For comparison, here’s what you get when you search in Dublin. Much as I love it here, the housing market is not conducive to those looking for short term housing. Or any housing. Or wishing to pay less than €1200/month. 🙁

Sad map

 

Now, ultimately, savvy nomads may find they can source even more affordable housing once they’re actually on the ground in those cities.

But, I appreciate knowing that I can secure housing in advance, and knowing exactly what it will cost. It’s there as a backup in case you need it, or in case you can’t find anything better or cheaper.

When I search Airbnb for monthly rentals and can’t find anything suitable for less than €1000/month, it gives me a good idea of how expensive housing is in that city, and I may rule it out for longer stays.

 

 

2. RENT, DON’T OWN

 

When putting together your monthly budget, don’t forget about all the things you don’t need to buy/bring when you are renting a furnished, fully stocked Airbnb. This is a huge advantage of the digital nomad lifestyle.

It also means there’s far fewer things for you to do when you arrive in order to get set up. You don’t need to set up wifi. You don’t need to go buy towels and bed linens. And you don’t have to pay separately for heating or bin collection.

That makes those lovely sub-€600 monthly rates even more appealing. Even if I’m just comparing that to my current base monthly rent, I’d come out ahead, but when I factor in all the bills, heating/electric, bins, wifi, etc, the difference is really significant.

You don’t need to kit out a whole kitchen, so if there are a few things that would make your month more enjoyable, you may not mind shelling out for a better knife*, or a decent bottle opener. Then just leave them for the next guests, to pay it forward.

*Incidentally, what is it about most Airbnb’s having nigh-unusable knives? I’m far from a kitchen gear snob, but something that can chop vegetables would be nice! But if I have to pick up something for €15 (or in all likelihood, far less) so that I can properly cook, I will happily consider it a friendly parting gift to my host when I leave it behind.

 

 

3. SOCIALISING/LOCALISING

 

If you’re going to be in a place for a month or more, you may prefer to get a full apartment to yourself. However, in many of the places I’ve researched, the hosts either live nearby or clearly state they are happy to provide tips and show you around. This could work as a nice way to develop your local knowledge, or even make a new friend.

Places that are willing to rent you a room in their home for a month at a time would likely be even more open to socialising. It could be an easy, natural way to make some local contacts and to avoid feeling isolated in your first few days in a new location.

 

And, since you’ll most likely be in a real neighbourhood, rather than an area that only tourists stay in, you’ll get an instant look into how and when people shop, go out to eat, have coffee, and/or commute into city centre. You can adapt to the local rhythm much quicker that way. Plus, wandering around your new neighbourhood you can scope out the best places to buy groceries, as opposed to the overpriced and understocked options you’re likely to find adjacent to hotels.

 

 

PITFALLS

 

After having such a good track record with Airbnb, my last few bookings have had some unexpected twists and turns. There were last minute cancellations from the places I’d booked in Oslo, Madrid, and Nice. The one in Madrid was the most dramatic, as unfortunately the host wasn’t able to contact me and I was left waiting outside the apartment at 1 am, and eventually had to check into a hotel. Exciting!

 

These things happen, and Airbnb’s customer service were very helpful and reimbursed my hotel straight away so I wasn’t out of pocket. And in fact, I ended up in a way cooler part of Madrid, so I wasn’t too disappointed.

The view from where I ended up in Madrid

To be fair, unexpected adventures in housing can happen no matter what. Dealing with them with a good sense of humour goes a long way. To me, the random factor is a small price to pay for having access to such a wide array of housing options around the world.

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

Right now, I haven’t come across a site that’s as comprehensive for searching in many different locations. There are a few sites that are highly specific to particular regions, which seem like they can often offer better prices. And there are a few alternatives which have their own pros and cons.

 

Sites like NomadList are a good resource, as are many of the various nomad-oriented Facebook groups out there.

 

One of the sites I’ll be keeping my eye on is GoGoPlaces, which offers some amazing looking deals in parts of Europe. Their selection in Croatia is especially good.

 

And then there are coliving sites, like TheRoof.io which I was fortunate to take a look at in Las Palmas. And more are popping up all over the world. My main hesitation with many of the coliving sites would be the price. Many are more expensive than what you might find on Airbnb. But they do offer networking opportunities with other nomads, and often times access to coworking spaces as well.

 

Opportunity

 

What I’d really love to see is a site that offered an easy way to search all of these options, rather than having to hear about each one individually, or scrolling through various forums. That’s something I could really see giving Airbnb a run for its money in the digital nomad community.

 

I’m looking forward to reporting back on how my little Airbnb experiment goes! What tools do you use when searching for short-term rentals? Please share in the comments below! And let me know if you want to work on that idea for a nomad housing search tool…

Nomad City Recap

From 20-25 September 2017, I was privileged to attend Nomad City Las Palmas, which is a conference for digital nomads held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It was the first conference like this that I’ve attended, and was also my first speaking engagement since going into business for myself, so I was really excited to check it out.

The excellent team at Nomad City kindly set me up with a loft share with some of the other speakers. It was a perfect place to explore Las Palmas for a few days.

The view from Loft Canteras. Really. Walking distance to the beach, naturally.

Overall it was an amazing experience, and it’s an event I will continue to follow and hope to be a part of again in future! I really can’t recommend attending an event like this highly enough. The networking opportunities were amazing and it was so much fun.

The organisers of Nomad City deserve a ton of credit for putting on such a high value and well-executed event. I’ve summarised my thoughts on the various components of the conference below.

 

Meetups

Each day there were both daytime and evening meetups organised for attendees and speakers. Due to when I arrived, I only made it to the after-work meetup on Thursday, in the Mercado del Puerto for some drinks and tapas. The market has a cool vibe, with really good tapas and drinks at great prices. It was so much fun to socialise with the other attendees, and people were all super friendly. It ended up being a late night with some new friends!

New friends!

Workshops

The workshops were on Friday, at the INFECAR conference facilities in Las Palmas. First off, the facilities are really world class. They are sleek and modern and allowed for a nice collaborative atmosphere.

Listening intently to Sergio’s workshop

The workshops themselves were primarily 1 hour sessions with various experts, and were really informative. Of the ones I attended, I really got a lot of value from Sergio Sala’s session on how to attract better clients and earn more as a freelancer.

Another cool part of this day was getting professional headshots taken, which was set up as a drop-in session, open throughout the afternoon.

There were free beers flowing as well, which was much appreciated!

 

Talks

Getting set up for the talks

Saturday was the talks, one of which was mine! There were so many amazing sessions, it would be really difficult to pick a favourite. The talks ranged from the future of remote work, to AI, to lessons learned from sailing across the Atlantic, to coliving, to yours truly giving a brief overview of tax issues for digital nomads.

Suzanne, the Oceanpreneur!

The only small tweak I might make to this format for next time, would be to give each speaker a bit more time, and perhaps to break this up over two days. By the time we got to the end of the day, it might’ve been a bit of information overload.

They used Slido for taking questions from the audience, which worked really well. It would’ve been nice to have a little more time for questions, though.

I got great value from all of the speakers here, and there was some chance for networking on the breaks between the talks.

The littlest Nomad.

 

Social events

I attended two social events in connection with the conference. First, on Friday evening there was a gathering for speakers and sponsors, at the rooftop of an amazing coliving space in Las Palmas (called, appropriately enough, The Roof).

Sleek interior of The Roof

This was a super fun evening with great food and drinks. And the coliving space itself looked unreal. It’s so well designed, with a huge wraparound rooftop and lots of nice, inviting spaces. Places like this will make Las Palmas especially interesting to digital nomads.

The second event was the wrap party on Sunday night. It was also our chance to bid bon voyage to those continuing on to the Nomad Cruise. It was on the rooftop of the Hotel Cantur in Las Palmas. Once again, this was a really fun event. There was a real festive atmosphere and it made me wish I was going on the cruise as well! I can guarantee those guys are having an amazing time right now.

The Nomad City wrap party getting started

 

Las Palmas

If you’ve never been to Las Palmas, book a trip immediately! It’s in the Canary Islands, so of course the weather is amazing, and the beaches are top notch. But beyond that, there is a super friendly, relaxed atmosphere, plenty of great food, and really good value compared to much of the rest of Europe.

I’d seriously consider spending more time here, and I definitely don’t think 5 days was nearly enough! Las Palmas is positioning itself to become a major digital nomad hub, with coliving spaces like The Roof, and a surprising amount of choice in terms of coworking spaces.

I had perfect cell coverage and 4G/LTE data connection everywhere we went, and the city is really easy to navigate on foot, by bus, or even by reasonably-priced taxis. It goes without saying, but of course since the Canary Islands are part of Spain, they’re on the euro which makes life easy for those of us based in Europe.

I can see a lot of advantages to the Canary Islands, in particular Las Palmas and Gran Canaria. There’s ease of access to Europe, and the opportunity for a really great lifestyle on a reasonable budget.

I learned there are also certain advantages for residents of the Canary Islands, in terms of discounted travel to mainland Spain. I haven’t investigated this fully, and it might not be of much relevance to digital nomads, but nonetheless it’s an interesting feature.

 

As you can see, this was a great experience. I can’t thank the organisers, Nacho in particular, enough for this opportunity. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone considering it. I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for future conferences like this, and hopefully attending Nomad City 2018!

Tiny apartment tour

I’ve been thinking about housing options lately. Becoming location independent can give us beleaguered millennials a much-needed leg up in a housing game that can feel rigged against us.

Refusing to play by rules that aren’t fair is a perfectly rational response. But what does that actually look like? In the interest of transparency, I thought I’d give a glimpse into my current housing solution. As I transition into alternatives, I’ll continue to share how those options look and evolve over time. It is and will continue to be an exercise in compromise and is but one possible path among many.

*Not my apartment building

Current location

I’m presently in my apartment in Dublin. I chose it for its proximity to my former office and it’s served its purpose well. It’s the smallest space I’ve lived in to date, and I have very few complaints in that regard. I wasn’t given the exact floor space when I moved in, but I’d say it has to be less than 300 square feet. It was mostly fully furnished, but I had to buy all the kitchen stuff myself.

I’ve had overnight guests stay on an air mattress twice now, for multiple nights each time. It worked fine, and that’s about as often as I hosted overnight guests in a year even when I had much more space.

Without further ado, here’s the grand tour:

Entrez-vous

The entry, as seen from the front door. To the left is the bathroom, to the right is the bedroom.

 

Living space

The living space, comprised of the kitchen to the left, and the seating area to the right. That vast expanse of floor space in the middle is exactly big enough for a queen size air mattress… if you move the storage ottoman/coffee table aside, that is.

 

Seating area

Desk and chair to the left. The set of drawers on the right contains the wifi modem, my yoga clothes, and a few extra pairs of shoes. A large canvas duffle bag is stored under the loveseat, containing some extra winter clothes.

Kitchen

This actually functions really well! I’ve been able to cook everything I’ve wanted to here. There’s enough counter space for chopping, and the dish drying rack doesn’t take up too much of the more useable space. Sometimes North Americans balk at the under-counter fridge. But I’d say for a household of 1 or 2, it’s perfectly sufficient.

 

Kitchen stuff

Here’s all my kitchen stuff. The more eagle-eyed may note there are no drawers in this kitchen. I just keep my cutlery in that orange rack, and other utensils in the bamboo holder to the right of the sink. No junk drawers here! The cabinets contain all crockery, glasses, pots & pans, and miscellany. There’s plenty of space.

 

Bathroom

This is really just to show the very limited footprint of the bathroom! It’s entirely possible to brush your teeth from the hallway. No space to keep many toiletries in here so it’s a good thing I have a pretty minimal routine.

 

Bedroom

Bed is tucked away in the corner, but it’s nice having it separate from the living area. That’s a luxury in the Dublin rental market!

 

Wardrobe/”vanity”

 

Tiny wardrobe

Inside the wardrobe, a minimalist amount of clothes. That black tote bag functions as the laundry bag. Yes, that’s Estonian on the canvas tote on the shelf. I’m delighted you noticed.

Because I enjoy being a voyeur on other people’s tiny wardrobes, I’ll do a tiny wardrobe post soon. It’s really more clothes than I need and I’ll probably pare it down before I move out of this flat.

Trade offs

It’s not fancy or terribly modern, but I pay €300-400 less per month than many people I know, even people who have flatmates. That’s €3,600-4,800 less per year. That’s a lot of travel and/or savings. For that, I don’t mind doing my laundry in a weird, dark, spider-webby shed. Yeah, that’s why you don’t see a washing machine anywhere.

I’m very glad I’ve had this experiment in small space living. I’ll definitely seek out a small, minimalist living space again in future. And I’m really exited to see what other, lower cost options await in the rest of Europe.

Would you give small space living a try?

Housing can make or break you

Housing is a hot topic for everyone, especially millennials. In many cities around the world, prices are rising faster than wages, home ownership feels out of reach for many, and even renting is becoming unsustainable. As though that weren’t stressful enough, it’s also the single biggest line item on most people’s budgets. That’s why it’s such a huge opportunity. Yeah, yeah, I know. But stick with me.

No matter your situation, I think that optimising your housing choices is the single most powerful tool in your arsenal to improve your finances and your life. There are a number of variables you can play with, depending on what matters most to you. More flexibility will result in more options, so I think with the right mindset, anyone can improve their situation by carefully examining this one, crucial choice. We tend to have a lot of emotions and preconceived notions wrapped up in our housing choices, but taking a step back and approaching it intentionally, as a deliberate choice, will dramatically impact your life and your goals.

Church ruins are an adventurous, if unconventional, choice

When you are location independent, a lot of the standard personal finance advice may not apply to you. I’m thinking of things like debates over whether to pay off your mortgage early, etc. Depending on your personal circumstances, it may not make sense for you to buy a property at all. And, don’t despair, because there are plenty of smart people with good reasons why that may not be a bad thing. However, when you don’t own your home, you constantly have to (aka: get to!) reconsider and reevaluate your housing situation.

Broadly, I think of housing consumers (that’s all of us, for the most part!) as fitting into three main categories, depending on how long we’re going to be staying in a given location. Most personal finance advice I’ve seen tends to be tailored to those who will be staying put for the long(ish) term. In my mind, that’s more than around 5 years, which might not seem very long to some! For the location independent or digital nomad communities, we may find ourselves looking at more the medium term (say, 1-5 years) or more often shorter term (1-12 months). Thusly, I’ll focus more on the latter two of the below categories:

  1. Long term: when you’re staying put for a long time (5+ years)

  1. Medium term: when you’re staying for the time being (1-5 years)

  1. Short term: when you’re testing the waters or just passing through (1-12 months)

In any of these situations, however, I think the main competing variables to consider are as follows:

Variables:
  • location

  • cost

  • size/privacy

  • fanciness/amenities

  • specifics (i.e. large kitchen, outdoor space)

  • commitment

Generally, the more flexible you can be with each of these variables, the more options you’ll have. One of the advantages of being location independent is the freedom to play with the first variable as much as you like. It’s the factor that I think is the single most powerful, and gives you the most choice within each of the others.

Beyond location dependence

A large part of why housing markets can suck so badly is that they traditionally have you as a fairly captive consumer. You have to live in a particular area because of where your job is, so you’re stuck with very little latitude on perhaps the most important variable. By becoming location independent, we remove that condition. Instead we can come to view it as a competition of where can offer us the best combination of variables based on our particular values and needs.

Looking at each of the above variables in turn, I think we can make some deliberate and intentional choices about what really matters to us, and what will ultimately make our lives better. Then, we can apply some creative thinking and find housing solutions that work for us rather than against us.

Location

This is a real estate cliche for a reason. But as digital nomads we can think about this beyond neighbourhood and commute time. Considering location, we can expand our search across cities and countries, and then narrow it down to our ideal neighbourhoods. Looking beyond the area you’re in can dramatically improve your options. You can choose less expensive cities and countries for part of the year. You can choose areas outside those adjacent to the CBD of a particular city, if you won’t need to be commuting into city centre every day. However, you may be more concerned with finding a walkable neighbourhood, or somewhere within easy reach of the nearest major airport.

Some of the high cost of living cities around the world don’t offer great value for money. Dublin, where I’m currently based, is in a full blown housing crisis. If I don’t need to compete with thousands of others for overpriced, substandard options, why would I? Then, when I am evaluating a location, I can narrow my search to locations that offer the lifestyle I’m looking for, and be a bit more stringent with the next, and next most important, variable.

Cost

As cost of housing rises, we have to either earn more to keep up, or accept that a higher percentage of our current income gets eaten up by this greedy line item. I prefer to set a maximum percentage of my take-home income that I’m willing to spend on housing. I think 30% of take home is a reasonable maximum. And yes, I’d want to be firm on making that 30% after taxes and retirement contributions, or in other words, 30% of spendable income. If that’s not possible in a given location, I’d have to concede that that location may be temporarily off the short-list. Or maybe it’s a location to work into your plans in shorter increments, or by utilising some unconventional options (some examples of which are briefly noted below).

Location and cost are of course very closely linked, and are the most important variables. If you’re going to be very picky on either of those, you’ll want to be quite flexible indeed on the below, secondary variables.

Size/privacy

In many desirable locations, having housemates is a very common solution to rising costs. If you’d rather more privacy, you’ll likely want to be very flexible on the size of your accommodations. I’m quite happy in small spaces, so that’s an easy one for me to concede. I’d happily accept less space for a location and cost I was happy with.

Fanciness/amenities

If you’re going to be a digital nomad, and sampling the housing offerings of many different locales around the world, being quite flexible on this will serve you well. I personally don’t derive much life satisfaction from expensive finishings or lots of fancy features. Sure, those things are nice to have, but if they become deal-breakers, you will find your options severely limited. Clean, safe, and functional are about as fancy as I personally need. Plus, if you’re looking for somewhere for a shorter term stay, it can be an interesting quirk to practice living without certain things you may have become accustomed to. You may find they’re less essential to your happiness than you thought!

Specifics

This is where you can tailor your search to the things that really do provide you with life satisfaction. I’d want a place I could cook in, in most places if I was staying for longer than about a month. Reliable wifi is probably another must-have. But what makes you happy? Do you crave outdoor space? A quiet street? Enough floor space to bust out a few yoga moves? Or space to host friends and family when they come through town? For me, once I’ve been sufficiently flexible with the categories that matter less, I find I can devote the appropriate level of attention to those few areas that matter most. And then keep experimenting, because they can and will fluctuate over time.

Commitment

As a shorter term housing consumer, you may wish to avoid signing year-long leases. This is easier to pull off if you don’t have a lot of stuff you need to move around with you. I think the default assumption is you’ll need to pay a lot more for the luxury of less commitment, and this is very likely true in many expensive cities in the West. A cursory search on Airbnb reveals at least a dozen attractive cities where a month-long rental is far less than I pay now on my year-long lease in Dublin. And that’s including wifi, heat, electricity, etc. If the conditions are right, I think this is another variable that can work in favour of the location independent.

Unconventional ideas

I’m going to be experimenting with a few untraditional options, such as month-long Airbnb rentals, coliving spaces, and some newer sites that appear intriguing, such as GoGo Places. I  think the options will only continue to increase as more and more people adopt a location independent lifestyle. I’m excited to see this space develop and what other creative solutions people come up with.

 

What does housing mean to you?

Ultimately we each need to decide what really matters to us. Is housing just a place to rest your head, or do you need your home to be your refuge, your nest, a reflection of your taste and personality? I don’t think there are any wrong answers, but examining our answers honestly can help hone our housing choices. And those choices will drastically impact our ability to progress towards our other goals, like financial independence, contribution, and travel.

What does it take to be happy? I believe that the fewer “must-haves” on our list, the greater our access to contentment. And the more flexibility we allow into the most expensive line items on our budget, the better. When approached as an opportunity to be flexible and creative, you can avoid being a victim of the housing market and instead continue to advance towards your goals.

Where would you go? Choosing a location as a digital nomad

Where would you go, if you could go anywhere?

It’s a delicious question, and perhaps a daunting one. For the longest time, my answer would have been a very thirsty “everywhere.” First I was lacking money, then time. When both barriers can be satisfactorily addressed, what next?

In many ways it’s the epitome of a first world problem. It’s certainly one that very few people in the history of the world have had the luxury of facing. Those of us who are privileged enough to live in the developed world, however, are probably familiar with the concept of too much choice being perceived as stressful or overwhelming. We are now also well acquainted with the concept of FOMO, as cringe-worthy an acronym as that may be. Choosing one thing means missing out on something else, right?

So what happens when you’ve conquered the barriers of both time and money, and can choose your own adventure? I’ve compiled lists upon lists of places I’d like to go, but when it comes to actually deciding where to go next, I find myself facing analysis paralysis. Maybe you do too. Here are some ideas on how to refine your thinking.

Identify (and conquer) the barriers:

What’s currently holding you back? If location independence is your dream, identify what’s currently standing in your way. For me, growing up I longingly pored over maps and memorised world capitals, to recite like mantras, from Addis Ababa to Zagreb. They all sounded like magic. But I had to sort the money barrier out first. Beyond simple survival, travel pretty much seemed like the main purpose of money to me. It still does.

Then, once I had an education, and a profession, and my finances more or less in order, I found my time wasn’t nearly as free as I needed it to be. So that became the next, much trickier challenge. I’m still working on the balance between cultivating an income stream, and being fully location independent. But for me, once I found satisfactory solutions to both the money and time barriers, I decided to just go for it.

For others, the barriers could be more specific, or more complex. You might have to get key loved ones on board, for example. Beyond that, most of it comes down to logistics, and a bit of boldness. I think both of those are within the grasp of most people who want it badly enough.

How to choose your next location when you’re newly location independent:

Perhaps a lot of time and planning went into getting you to the point of being able to choose your location at will. Or maybe you’re very brave, or very lucky. However you got here, the world is now essentially your oyster… or is it?

There are a few areas that I’ve identified as being key considerations when choosing my next location, even if it’s a temporary one. They seem to broadly fall into two categories, Practical Concerns, and Lifestyle Questions:

Practical Concerns:
  • Will you need a visa to go there? How long can you stay? This varies tremendously depending on how you fared in the lottery of where you happened to be born, and to whom. It’s a variable that’s totally out of your control, and it significantly impacts your choice of location, or at least the array of easy choices open to you. In Europe, for example, I’m including a combination of both Schengen and non-Schengen countries, because as a Canadian, counting my Schengen days is something I’ll need to keep on top of.

  • Amenities. For many of us, reliable wifi would be a must-have to maintain our income streams. Beyond that, my personal list of must-have amenities is pretty minimal. Consider what your list includes, but be honest and avoid being overly restrictive. Not having a Sephora should not be considered a deal-breaker, for example.

  • Cost of living. This is a key consideration especially if your income stream is variable and/or if your budget is tight. In building my list, I’m including a selection of places where cost of living is very low, in case I ever need to cut expenses to the bare minimum for a while.

  • Types of accommodation: In doing my initial research, my first port of call has been Airbnb but I know that in many locations, that’s not the best place to ultimately book. But I like that it allows you to get a quick overview of what’s on offer, and even if better prices are to be found elsewhere, it’s informative to know what the “worst case”* would look like. (*It’s hard to define choosing comfortable lodging to one’s taste and specifications, in any city, anywhere in the world, as the “worst” anything, but you know what I mean.)

  • Access to international airport: If you’ll be moving around a lot, even while you’re based in a particular place, then perhaps airport accessibility will be a concern. It’s a good idea to consider transport costs in general, as a low cost of living otherwise could easily be undone by excessively pricey flights or local transport costs.

Lifestyle Questions:
  • Nearness to family/loved ones: I now have two places that will perpetually call to me, Vancouver, which is where most of my family are, and will always be home, and Dublin, where someone very dear to me happens to be from. So I have been testing out sample flights for both locations, when I’m thinking about cities. Europe is especially appealing, with the many short, cheap flights back to Dublin. But it does make some locations more appealing than others. For example, Tbilisi sounds great, and appears to be super affordable, but there are no direct flights to Dublin, and they’re mostly fairly long and expensive. Not ideal.

  • Day to day lifestyle: This comes down to the type of day to day living that you want to achieve. I prefer cities that are walkable, or at least have good public transport. I’d also be thrilled if there were a yoga studio nearby. For now, I’ll safely rule out anywhere too rural, or too car-centric.

  • Language: I’ve heard people talk about this as a limiting factor, as though anywhere that doesn’t speak your native language is somehow off limits. To each their own, but I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to learn a new language and to have more than a few days to practice it. Is there a language you want to learn? Or have you some language skills you’d like to put to use? I personally plan to learn as much as I can of whatever the local language happens to be, and if it’s available on Duolingo or another similar app, all the better!

  • Experiences/food/culture: It’s hard to go too far wrong in this regard, as it seems like interesting experiences, food, and culture are to be found literally everywhere on this amazing planet of ours. It’s worth thinking about what it is you hope to experience in the location you choose.

My list:

With that being said, here’s my initial list of potential locations I’d like to try in the next few years.

Europe:

Prague

In Schengen zone (limited to combined 90 days in 180 day period)

  • Prague

  • Budapest

  • Tallinn

  • Barcelona

Non-Schengen

  • Bucharest

  • Sofia

  • Belgrade

  • Zadar

  • Sarajevo

Asia:

Bali

  • Chiang Mai
  • Bali
  • Hong Kong
  • Seoul
Central/South America:

Buenos Aires

  • Buenos Aires
  • Medellin
  • Oaxaca
  • Panama City
Africa:

Cape Town

  • Cape Town
  • Nairobi
  • Lagos
  • Kigali

It sounds like a lot, and it is! I’m going to start out in Europe, both to be close to Dublin, and also because I like it here a lot, and there’s so much I still haven’t seen.

What about you? Even if it’s just for fun:

where would you go, if you could go anywhere?

Planning an international move: a checklist for minimalists

Making your move as a minimalist

When you’re getting ready to make a big move, the to-do list can start to feel overwhelming.
You can get caught up in minutiae that isn’t worth your time, and that can distract you from
fully being in the moment and really living those last few weeks or months before you start
the next chapter.

In my most recent international move, from the US to Ireland, I had fortunately been in the
process of decluttering and moving towards minimalism for about a year prior, so it was
about as stress-free as an international move can be. I realise not everyone making an
international move will have such a spartan amount of personal possessions. But I think anyone can encourage a shift of focus off of the physical possessions that can loom so large, and
onto some of the less obvious things that future-you will really thank you for getting figured
out.

Plus it’s just fun being a minimalist and making lists.

Various types of stuff and what to do With it:

Physical stuff:

General rule: Decide what you’re bringing, and then bring less. This is a good
time to get rid of old stuff: donate/give away most, sell some if you have time,
store an absolute minimum. I stored a box of sentimental stuff with my parents,
and got rid of the rest. Any clothes you have that you’re not bringing, you
probably don’t need. Donate, donate, donate. (Bonus tip for future-you: remember those trips to the charity shop before your re-accumulate more stuff.)

Kitchen stuff: I love to cook, and even as a minimalist, I briefly considered
whether I should try to bring some of my kitchen stuff with me to Ireland. NO! I
happened to mention this insane notion to my cousin who’s much smarter than
me, and her response was: “Um, no. Definitely don’t do that. I thought you’d done
this before?” Touche. Kitchen stuff was donated and zero fucks were given that
day.

Furniture: This is one of the worst categories of stuff. It’s big and heavy and hard
to get rid of. Get rid of as much as you can, ideally by selling it. I’ve had good luck
with Craigslist in Canada and the US, other countries have similar sites.

Clothing/personal effects: Keep these to one or two suitcases, max. Yes,
including shoes and accessories. You’ll replace a good bit of it once you settle
into your new location, anyways. I try to keep only what I’m currently using, plus
what I’ll definitely use in the next 3-6 months. Even doing this, and even with an already minimal wardrobe, I still got rid of yet more stuff within a few months of arriving in Ireland. Bring less than you think.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30, my ride or die

Bring like this amount of stuff, if you can

Money stuff:

Banking: This comes up surprisingly often on various expat subreddits etc., especially
given how simple the best approach is: Keep your bank account in your home
country, and open a new one in your new country. Done and done. There’s usually no downside to this and it will make your day to day life so much easier.

  • Americans will need to remember file an FBAR to report any non-US bank
    accounts, to the extent their total foreign accounts exceed $10,000 USD in a given
    year. Talk to an expat tax pro (such as yours truly!) about this if you don’t
    know how to file it!

Credit cards: If you have a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction
fees, and has a low (or no) annual fee, keep it. I’ve learned the hard way that
credit cards are expensive and sucky in some countries (hi, Ireland!), so I like having my
US credit card as a fallback for any time I’m in a country with a currency I don’t
normally deal with.

Retirement/savings: Consider what you’ll do with your retirement/long term
savings accounts in both your departure and destination locations. I rolled my old
401k into an IRA, and I’m planning on maintaining that for the time being. I have
some specific ideas on what to do with US retirement accounts when leaving the
US, both as a US citizen, and as someone who will become a US non-resident,
but that’s for a future tax-nerdy post.

Transferring money: I like Transferwise for quickly moving money between
currencies, for a good exchange rate and with low, easy to understand fees. Don’t do anything silly and complicated like old fashioned wire transfers, unless there’s really no way around it.

Taxes: Just adding this to the checklist, as you’ll want to consider your residency
status in both locations, as well as arrival and departure filing requirements.
These really vary a great deal depending on your personal circumstances, so,
again, find a friendly expat tax expert for all the countries you deal with!

Simplify: I got rid of any excess cards and accounts that I wasn’t using, and
continually re-examine this to see if there’s anything further I can minimise or
simplify. I like having as few accounts as possible to get the job done. Right now that tends to average two per country I deal in, one for everyday banking, and another for long term savings/investing.

 

Practical stuff:

Communication: Everywhere else in the world uses Whatsapp, but I had to get a
few of my American pals on board with it. Yes, you may be used to texting me.
Now you can text me on Whatsapp and then the evil empire (aka the cell phone
company) doesn’t triumph over the downtrodden.

Free your phone: I happened to own my phone outright, so I was able to ask my
previous phone company to unlock it before I left. This made getting a new SIM a
snap. I’d suggest this where possible. Using a foreign SIM sucks for a number of
reasons, not least being extortionate roaming charges, and not being able to easily give your number to cute people you meet. Trying to explain your weird foreign phone number with its country code and plus signs and leading zeroes will really kill your flirtation game. Kidding! Sort of! It’s good for giving your number to local services too. Just get on a local SIM as soon as you can, and start living your life.

Mailing address: This one doesn’t come with any easy, pithy answers. Physical,
paper mail is the sucks and there’s no really satisfactory way of transporting those
horrible bits of paper around the world. Minimise the amount of physical mail
you’ll need to the extent possible, and then ask a friend if they can forward you
the really essential stuff.

  • For me this basically amounted to my W-2, as my previous employer wouldn’t email
    it to an external email address. And even this managed to suck! They
    ended up sending it to my old apartment, despite my best attempts to update my forwarding address to my friend’s address before I left. Ugh, fine. Fortunately, I had set myself a reminder to follow up on the W-2 if it hadn’t arrived by a certain date, so they would have time to resend it to the correct forwarding address. Doing this one time was fine, but doing this monthly would be unpleasant. Avoid paper mail to the extent possible.

Passport: If it will be expiring anytime soon, you might want to renew before you
leave. I have a gorgeous 10 year passport and it’s my most prized physical
possession.

Driver’s licence: In my experience you really don’t need that “international driver’s
licence” thing people sometimes mention. But it will be handy if your current
driver’s licence has as much time left before it expires as possible. Fortunately, I had just renewed mine before I moved, so I’m using this
to buy time and decide if I want to get an Irish driver’s licence. They make you
take the test, so I’m leaning towards no. I haven’t had any difficulty renting a car here on my old licence.

Anything else?

I’ll be making another move soon, this time to become semi-nomadic and
location independent. I envision having a few mini-bases in a few important locations where
my most beloved people are. But I’ll still rely on the above concepts of minimising and
simplifying, as they have served me well. What would you add to this list?

8 countries in 6 months

In the first half of 2017, I’ve done a good bit of of travelling. It was a mix of work, family, and fun/random trips, and it made these past few months fly by. It felt like I was rarely in the same city two weekends in a row. Which was good, as it was a stressful time at work and I welcomed the diversions.

And also, it’s honestly a big part of why I’m here in Ireland. I’m going to make the most of being in close proximity to so many countries, and having an array of cheap Ryanair flights to peruse every time a bank holiday weekend crops up.

Here’s where I’ve been since 1 January 2017, in order:

  • Edinburgh, Scotland

    Edinburgh, for Hogmanay

  • Brussels, Belgium

    Brussels

  • Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Vancouver is amazing

  • Seattle, WA, USA

    Seattle from a friend’s rooftop deck

  • Paris, France

    Paris in spring

  • Marbella, Spain

    Beach club in Marbella

  • Prague, Czech Republic

    Prague, from the Petrin Tower

  • Portland, OR, USA

    I didn’t get many pictures in Portland, but this cool neighbourhood was cool

  • Rome, Italy

    Rome is stunning

That’s 9 cities, in 8 countries, in less than 6 months. It actually wouldn’t be my first choice to travel so quickly, but for now I need to make the most of limited vacation time and bank holiday weekends. Someday, post-location independence, I’ll be able to travel more slowly, and avail of cheaper flights mid-week. But for now I think it’s important to keep doing what I love, namely, travel, as it’s motivation to get to location independence/financial independence all the sooner.

Here are 8 things I learned travelling to 8 countries in 6 months
  1. Flights don’t need to be wasted time: I’ve been a pretty regular flyer for the past few years now, although I used to dread the wasted hours on planes. No more! With a little planning, those hours can be relaxing and productive. Catch up on podcasts, read, write, or watch movies you never have time to watch at home.

  2. Short trips are still worth it: Sometimes it can feel like a waste of time to travel for just a few days, but I’ve found these trips to be invaluable in terms of recharging my batteries and giving me inspiration and motivation. Even if an international trip isn’t always practical, switching things up and putting yourself in new scenarios is good for your brain.

  3. Always have a portable charger: You will absolutely positively require your phone to navigate a new city, in the dark, in the rain, exactly and precisely when your battery jumps from 21% to 2%. Plan for this eventuality.

  4. Travel light! This is my incessant mantra, but only because it works so well. In each of these trips I still could’ve packed even lighter than I did, and I only brought a large purse for a few of them, and a 30L carryon for the rest. Pack light, and then pare down even more. You won’t regret it when you’re breezing through airports and hopping onto public transit without a care in the world. Plus, packing/unpacking takes less than 15 minutes.

  5. Stay where the locals stay: By staying in AirBnB’s for most of these trips, I got to experience what life might be like in actual neighbourhoods where actual people live. Imagining what it would be like to live in a new city is a lot of fun, even if you’re not a perpetual expat/nomad. But if you are, every trip is just more research. That charming corner coffee shop could one day be your local haunt!

  6. Go with the flow: Travel is so different depending on who you’re travelling with, and their particular pace and style. Thinking back, each of these cities took on a unique feel that had a lot to do with my travelling companions, even when I travelled solo! It’s good to have a mix, and it’s best to just embrace the uniqueness of the trip you’re on. My friends have been kind enough to accept my innate desire to not do anything before 10 am, and I’ve in turn tried to accept that not everyone wants to walk 25 km per day (bizarre though that may seem to me). And we’ve had amazing experiences in spite of (or because of) those differences! Don’t let it stress you out if things aren’t going exactly to plan; we don’t travel to stay in a bubble of predictability, after all.

  7. Public transport makes for the best stories: Seriously. Like the time this cool Oregonian dude and I had to walk to a random bar in Rome to find change, because the metro ticket machines didn’t take notes or cards, only coins. And the solution offered by the metro worker was a vague gesture and half a shrug. Sure why not go on a random stroll in search of change! Or, did you know the Prague metro apparently operates on an honour system? All the cool locals just stroll out without scanning or showing their tickets anywhere. (Still buy a ticket though!) Public transit, like staying in AirBnBs, gives you an amazing view into everyday life in another place, and for me, that would be worth it even if it weren’t also vastly cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

  8. Down-time is acceptable: Travel is exciting, but that can also mean sensory overload. And sometimes, midway through your travels, you might need some chilled out time to recover and to prepare you for your next round of adventures. Sometimes you might just need a few hours of no-talking (if so: what’s up, fellow introvert!). Never feel bad about this. While I wouldn’t suggest a short trip as an ideal time for a two day Netflix binge, sometimes you need to unplug and relax in order to fully enjoy the rest of your trip. Don’t feel badly about this if it’s what you need to really be present and absorb your experience.

I don’t have any trips planned for the next few months, although I’ll probably pop over to Glasgow to see my sister in August. I plan to relish this stretch of airport-free living and make the most of Irish summer, such that it is! But I love knowing that a fresh batch of inspiration and discovery is only an airplane away.

Have you got any summer travel planned? How do you make the most of your limited vacation time?

Frugal Travel Tips

One of my primary intentions is to enjoy life to the fullest while still moving towards my financial goals. Location independence + financial independence is the ultimate dream, but until I get there I have no intention of cutting travel out of my life. I live simply in most ways so that I can experience the things that really matter to me, and travel is, and always has been, high on that list. And it doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive, if you’re thoughtful, creative, and adaptable.

Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your travel planning, to travel lighter, travel simpler, and travel more:

1. Pack light: This will save you in more ways than one. Firstly, don’t pay to check bags. Ever. (*Unless you are moving countries permanently, and even then, question each item ruthlessly.) This will save you up to €100/$100 per trip, since checked bags can range from €25 per bag, each way.

But the savings don’t stop there. When you travel carry-on only, you can easily avail of (fun, interesting, character-building!) public transport instead of needing to take boring, expensive taxis to fit your luggage. You can also happily stay in small Airbnb’s or hostels because you don’t have lots of stuff to store.

Are you travelling to admire your possessions, or to get out and experience something new?

2. Fly cheap(er): I avail of Ryanair whenever possible, but not everyone lives in an area that’s well served by low-cost carriers. (Ahem, I’m looking at you, basically all of the United States and Canada…) So here are a few ways to be sure you’re getting a good deal:

  • Google Flights: Are you using Google Flights yet? You should be. You can set up tracking for any flights you’re interested in, and it will let you know when it thinks the price is at its lowest. I really like the calendar feature as well, especially if you have flexible dates.

    Hopefully making a trip to gorgeous Cape Town later this year…

    I also like the Explore feature, where you can have a gander at where’s cheap to travel if you have specific dates in mind (like a long weekend, and you don’t mind where you go in a region with lots of great destinations, like Europe, or Southeast Asia, for example).

I wish they had a dedicated mobile app, but that’s my only quibble.

  • Hopper: I also like Hopper for helping me decide when to book or wait on a particular flight. It gives handy reminders from a mobile app telling you when it thinks you should book.

Savings: I’d say I average €100 savings on most round-trip flights I book, by following the sage advice of Google Flights and/or Hopper.

3. Airbnb: Airbnb is my first stop when booking accommodations. Rarely do I find a better/cheaper/overall more appealing option than on Airbnb. It’s great as a solo traveller, because you can book a room in a shared accommodation if you want the potential to interact with the host, or you can book the entire apartment if you rather have privacy. I’ve also had great experiences with Airbnb in groups, where we got lovely houses for a great price, and were able to cook/relax together either as a group of friends, or with family.

I was an early-ish adopter of Airbnb and have been using it since 2012, with almost entirely positive results.

If you still haven’t given it a try, here’s a code to get €20 off your first trip!

Get €20 off your first booking on Airbnb!

Savings: The places I stay tend to average €50 per night, and hotels can be up to €200 per night (!?! Or so I’m told! That sounds insane to me but okay…) So let’s say that’s an average savings of €450 per trip, since my weekend jaunts tend to be around 3 nights.

5. Ground transportation: Walk when you can, and public transport all other times, should be your default approach. Sometimes safety or practicality can make public transport untenable, but give it an honest consideration at least, and approach it from the perspective of being a bit adventurous and anti-fragile.

Savings: At my home airport, I save at least €50 per trip, just by taking the Dublin Bus Airlink, at €6 each way, or €10 round-trip, instead of taxis at ~€30 each way (or more in traffic). Then at my destination, I’d say it’s easily another €50 savings on average, as most European cities have even better airport-to-city-centre transit options than Dublin.

So, let’s estimate the total savings per short, weekend trip, of applying a few really basic principles:

TOTAL SAVINGS:

  • Pack light = €100

  • Fly cheap(er) = €100

  • Non-insane accommodations = €450

  • Ground transportation = €50-100 per trip

TOTAL= €700- €750 per trip!

Stick that chunk of change into your low cost index fund, or your fund for your next trip, and travel on, you frugal, personal finance whiz!

I’ve followed my own advice for my trip to Rome this past weekend. A roundup of the #pursepacking results and some pics to come!

Purse packing – Rome Edition!

I considered trying to keep the alliterative thing going by incorporating some forced pun about pasta, but thought better of it (it would’ve been, dare I say… too cheesy?). I did have a pretty good run there of visiting cities that were brought to you by the letter P, namely Paris, Prague, and Portland, all in a pretty pink row.

But as it happens, my latest purse packing adventure is a quick weekend trip to Rome. It’s my first time visiting Italy, and I’m only going for 2 full days, really (my flight gets in late Thursday night, and leaves Sunday morning). But I’m going to try to get the most of it, and with any luck I’ll be back again soon!

The weather for this weekend is forecast at around 30°C (or 86°F for American friends) and sunny, which is way, way hotter than it ever gets in Ireland. So I’m just packing a big vat of SPF 50, basically. (Just kidding, I never pack more than the carry-on limit for liquids.)

So, for two days and three nights, in near-perfect weather, purse packing was a breeze. I remembered to pack something modest enough to visit the Vatican, but otherwise it’s skirts and light, airy tops. I’ll wear my black ballet flats on the plane, and probably for most of the trip, but I’m also bringing a pair of flat leather sandals that don’t suck to walk in. They’re probably overkill, actually.

Half of the clothes

The other half

The trusty Longchamp plus accessories/toiletries

Cover-up for sun/cathedrals

Long pants for cathedrals


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The long trousers are from one of those techwear companies (ProofNY, in this case) that I really wanted to be a thing, but that seemed maybe ahead of their time, sadly. They’re made of super light material that I’m hoping isn’t horrible in the hot weather. I need them because none of my skirts come below the knee, for my Vatican/cathedral day. I’ll probably stash a skirt in my handbag for after, to be honest.

Travel light & travel often!

How to Beat Jet Lag

 

Long-haul flights have become a recurring feature of my life. Living 8 time zones away from my family means there will be at least a few round-trip journeys a year consisting of 12+ hour flights. I’ve recently returned from one such journey, and one of the questions people kept asking me, on both ends, was how horrible did I feel from the jet lag? The assumption being that inevitably my answer would fall somewhere on the scale of horrible-feeling. (This scale, I imagine, runs roughly from “lemon juice in a paper cut,” all the way up to “Donald Trump is really the president of the United States and that’s actually a thing now.”)

But I didn’t feel horrible at all, and I almost never do, and I don’t think you have to, either. Here are some things that will help. 

 1) Stay hydrated. This is probably the biggest single contributing factor to non-horribleness. Apply this maxim with as much zeal as you #staywoke. I look around the plane sometimes and wonder where other people are stashing their giant water bottles, and then am forced to sadly conclude that they for some bizarre reason didn’t bring their giant water bottles. That’s a mistake. Bring a big reusable bottle (I like HydroFlasks) and fill it up when you get through security. If you’re nice to the flight attendants they might even fill it up for you mid-flight if you ask at a non-annoying time in a non-annoying way.

*Aside: I’ve had occasion to spend some time in Heathrow Terminal 5 recently, and I struggled to find a water fountain. They assured me (only a little snootily) on Twitter that there are millions of water fountains and I’m a big dumb jerk for not finding one. I dunno. I looked and failed to find. On more than one occasion. This last time, I found a water jug sitting out at a coffee stand. Desperate times, etc, etc. Just don’t get on the plane without your own water supply, is all.

2) Change your phone’s time zone. Or, do you wear a watch like some classy person in the before-times? Change that too. It can be somewhat disquieting, especially when you’re travelling east and therefore losing hours. My journey back to Dublin from my most recent trip began with a 9 hour flight from Seattle to London. I got on the plane around 6pm Pacific Time, and immediately set my phone to London time, and boom, suddenly it’s 2am the next morning. But it reminded me to try to get into nighttime mode a little bit. I don’t go crazy trying to force myself to sleep, but I swear this trick does help. Especially when you land and have to orient yourself to the new time zone. If it’s morning there, just embrace the morning-ness of it all.

3) Upon arrival, sleep and wake at normal times. Right away. This is probably the next most important thing, after you remember to #stayhydrated (and, of course, to #staywoke). You can get into a surefire cycle of horrible-feeling if you start napping at weird times for days on end. The best thing, I find, is just stay up kind of late your first night, if you can. I stayed up late catching up with my family upon arrival in Portland this time, and on my first arrival in Dublin I stayed up until dawn (perhaps not strictly recommended, but was I jetlagged after those shenanigans? No, no I was not).

4) Stretch, walk, yoga: just do something active before and after. The day before and the day after your long-haul flights, move your body somehow. Bonus points if this movement occurs outdoors. It will feel so good after all that sitting.

5) Don’t overdo it on the alcohol or caffeine. Generally this is a good idea, but never more so than when mixed with extended air travel. I may have still grabbed a large coffee as soon as I landed in Dublin, but I am a seasoned coffee pro. Showing moderation with the in-flight drinks is probably the most important, but if caffeine affects you strongly (or if you haven’t spent years building up immunity, iocane-powder-style), exercise restraint.

6) Remember that it’s awesome that you get to do this at all, chill out, and enjoy the expanse of hours. Yeah, yeah, long flights suck, but remember how we’re incredibly privileged to get to travel this way in the first place, to far-flung locales with varying degrees of glamour? Your dreaded ordeal is someone else’s dream trip. Recapture some of that magic, people. Plus, you’ve been given the gift of time. Get some work done, catch up on your reading, or on some movies. We have so many options for entertainment and productivity at our fingertips, and most likely a rare stretch of no wifi. Enjoy it. 

Be grateful, travel light, peace, namaste, and all that good stuff. Go and be jet-lagged no more, friends.