adult Third Culture Kid

Being an adult Third Culture Kid

adult Third Culture Kid

When my friend Bonnie posted about being a Third Culture Kid, I was intrigued. I’d never heard that term before, but knew that like me, she grew up between several different countries.

When I researched the term, I was absolutely taken aback by the fact that there was actually a name for what I am. For my own personal culture that I adopted when I was a kid.

If you’re not familiar with what a Third Culture Kid is, it’s generally a child that has been raised in a country that neither parents are from. Or in the case of many of us, being raised in several countries.

Being a Third Culture Kid is complex. Asking on of us where we’re from is almost emotionally trying as we attempt to summarize our rather intricate personal culture and where we define as ‘home’. For me, it’s always been France. But since I’m not French nor was I born there, it takes quite a bit of explaining. Yes, I have an American accent and was born in the States but I’m also British and lived in Singapore and France.

Many friends and family think that it was because I’m a grown up Third Culture Kid that we ended up moving to Thailand, but that’s actually not the case: my husband loves it here, and it’s an affordable, enjoyable place to live. I’ve always been craving for us to be back in the UK, but due to changes to the UK spousal visa, my self-employed self would struggle to be able to sponsor my husband.

But I digress.

Being a Third Culture Kid isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but we have an opportunity to see the world in a unique way. We can be more understanding of cultures that are different than ours. We are innovative, intrepid beings that strive to better ourselves and learn as much as possible about the people around us.

We desperately want to fit in and belong, however impossible that can be at times. But it’s that nagging feeling of who am I that makes us sympathetic to the plight of others. It’s no wonder that many Third Culture Kids are empaths or Highly Sensitive People that end up volunteering abroad or work in charities.

Here in Chiang Mai, Third Culture Kids are everywhere. From missionary kids to the children of teachers, I bump into expat families from every walk of life and practically every country. We even have Mennonite families. It’s truly a wonderful place to raise TCKs and connect with like minded holistic, creative families.

For the time being, I’ve found my home.

 

Unschooling in Scotland

unschooling in Scotland

Unschooling in Scotland

I never blogged much about our time in Scotland, as we only stayed there for a few months. This was due to changes to the UK spousal visa, which make it difficult for British-non EU families to qualify. It’s a long story really, but we ended up coming back to Thailand.

But I wanted to talk about one of the main reasons we moved to the UK in the first place: there are lots families who unschool and homeschool there.

As I’ve written about in the past, making friends in Phuket was a real challenge, and there were few homeschoolers. Apparently, there was a group of Montessori homeschoolers that met up near Rawai, but I never found out when they met up nor how many attended. And when I say it was a challenge to make friends, I’m actually talking about Billy and I. It was our last two years on the island-when we lived in Phuket Town- that we finally made strong friendships.

But that was after we left Scotland. So let’s chat for a bit about unschooling in the UK, and what to do if you’re considering becoming a part of the movement. Or, if you’re a worldschooling digital nomad family or expat moving there.

Home education is legal throughout the UK. There are thousands of families who do some form of home education, from unschooling to online learning.

I should point out that a bill just passed in Scotland that will make every child in the country have a social worker appointed to them, who will monitor there activity in the home. I’m not sure if it will affect unschoolers.

unschooling in Scotland

Our Experience

My cousin just outside of Oxford and the rest of my family is from Cambridge, we considered moving to Scotland as my husband’s ancestors are from there. And it’s just an overall beautiful place to live.

I got in touch with a Scottish unschooling family in the Highlands, and we ended up moving to Cromarty on the Black Isle. It’s a lovely town, and we had a stunning ( yet affordable!) house overlooking the firth.

One of the many great reasons to live in Scotland is the countryside. If you don’t mind the cold ( especially in the Highlands) this is truly a nature lover’s paradise. You can find affordable housing using sites like Gumtree Your kids will LOVE unschooling during every season! OK, well maybe not on those days when it’s seriously freezing outside…

It’s also full of a rich, independence-seeking culture and has thousands of museums, castles, and galleries to take your kids to.

I love Scotland. Even though my Mom, daughter, and yours truly are English, I’m proud that my husband’s great grandparents are both Scots, and consider it one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

If the UK spousal visa stipulations were back to what they were before we moved, chances are we would have stayed.

However, I want to mention that I was surprised by the incessant criticism I got from strangers and even neighbors regarding us choosing to homeschool. It was actually to the point where it was insulting, and yet they would then say how smart Kaya was! Another friend who unschools moved to Scotland, and told me she received similar comments.

My Scottish friend told me this negative reception was a wee bit strange, and that where she was in the Highlands, she didn’t receive the same criticism and people were very familiar with homeschooling.

What I took away from our time there was that for what we wanted to do as an unschooling family, we weren’t in the optimal location to connect with like-minded people. If I could turn back time, what I think would have been better would be for us to live in the country and not in a small town, and be closer to Edinburgh.

If you’re in Scotland and are considering homeschooling or unschooling, here are some resources to help you connect with others:

 

 

Wat Rong Khun

7 Must-Visit Temples in Thailand

7 Must-Visit Temples in Thailand

With so many affordable flights to Thailand, there’s never been a better reason to visit this Southeast Asian paradise. Aside from the world class beaches and climate, you’ve got so many incredible sights to enjoy. This article focuses on some of the magical Thai temples. For those taking a family holiday, here are 7 of the best.

Wat Pho

temple2

No trip to Bangkok would be complete without visiting the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. This spectacular monument takes its name from a monastery in India where the Buddha is thought to have lived. At 43 meters long, this bright golden Buddha is guaranteed to leave you speechless. Once you’ve recovered, be sure to visit the first Thai Massage school in Thailand which is located in the grounds.

Wat Phra Kaew

Another must-see temple in Bangkok is The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Considered one of the most sacred in Thailand, this beautiful complex houses a Buddha statue thought to have been created in 43 BC. Carved from a single jade stone, it’s an impressive sight but arrive early as it can get crowded.

Ayutthaya Historical Park

Easily visited on a day trip from Bangkok, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded over 600 years ago. Once considered the second capital of Thailand, it survived for over four centuries before being desecrated by Burmese forces. Fortunately, many palaces and monuments remain including a famous Buddha head entrenched in tree vines.

Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun

Take a short 20 minute car journey from Thailand’s northernmost city Chiang Rai and you’ll discover this jaw-dropping attraction. Known as the ‘White Temple’ this place of worship remains unlike any other Buddhist temple in Thailand. The temple’s white exterior is an unusual alternative to the more commonly seen gold facade.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Situated close to the sprawling metropolis of Chiang Mai, this is another famed temple of Northern Thailand. With its mountaintop location, visitors have to climb 309 steps to reach the complex but it’s certainly worth it. Aside from the spectacular views, there’s a museum to enjoy and countless statues to admire.

Wat Chalong

wat chalong

Drag yourself away from the beaches of Phuket and spend an afternoon exploring this visually striking complex. Designed with a combination of red and golden colors, it’s known as one of the most picturesque temples in the country. Another notable feature is the temple interior which includes an intricate wall painting depicting the story of Lord Buddha.

Wat Phra Yai

Travel to sun-kissed Koh Samui and you’re likely to spot this impressive landmark which overlooks the island from a stunning hilltop location. Also known as the Big Buddha Temple, visitors can admire this huge golden statue whilst enjoying an expansive vista over the Gulf of Thailand.

Take in these sights on your next Thailand adventure and you’ll enjoy an unforgettable experience that the whole family can enjoy. Find out a little bit more about flying to Thailand with this useful guide. Have fun!

Images by Earth-Bound Misfit, I and John Shedrick used under Creative Commons License.

Living in Chiang Mai

Live in Chiang Mai: A Free Guide

Living in Chiang Mai

After visiting Northern Thailand last year, we decided to hold off on moving to Canada and instead move to Chiang Mai. We actually prefer Chiang Rai ( a wee bit quieter and more laid back) but have so far loved living in Chiang Mai.

Or Hang Dong, rather, which is just outside the city.

Hang Dong is quiet and not touristy, and yet also has many of the amenities that Phuket had, from Makro ( similar to Cosco), Big C, wet markets, Central, and Rimping ( an upscale market similar to Villa in Phuket). In addition, you can find an array of restaurants and street food. Everything from good pizza to curries and vegan restaurants are easy to find in Chiang Mai and Hang Dong.

Our Area

We chose to move to Hang Dong for several reasons, one of which is that we have friends here. We stayed at their hotel and had time to explore the area while plotting our move. Initially we thought we’d end up in the city, but instead found an affordable 13K Baht per month  semi furnished 3 bedroom house with an attached office in the front. Our townhouse in Phuket Town was 15K per month fyi, so we’re actually saving money and have a bigger place!

Our area is beautiful, surrounded by rice paddies. And a bunch of little sois with cement walls. Yeah, the last part is kind of creepy when you’re driving or walking at night! But it’s super safe and the people here are wonderful.

We live near Kad Farang, a popular market that includes several restaurants and a Rimping shopping mall. The best part of Kad Farang are the two days when there is a huge market. Filled with food stalls and super cheap clothing and toys, you can basically spend your entire evening having dinner and shopping.

Living in Chiang Mai

living in Chiang Mai

Some of our favorite farang restaurants in the area include Viva Pizza and California Wraps, the latter of which is in the Hang Dong Makro.

 

Living in the city

While many of my classmates from Chiang Mai University live out here by us, several live on campus or in the city center. It’s important to note that like Phuket or any other place in Thailand, each soi or road ( or neighborhood) is going to have something different to offer, and it’s best you spend time investigating each neighborhood to find what place is best for you.

With that being said, I’m going to tell you about my favorite haunts in Chiang Mai that may be draws for you, and give some tips to find an affordable house, apartment, or condo.

Let’s start with househunting. After living in Thailand for 5 years, I can confidently say the best way to find an affordable place that meets your requirements is to look when you get here and ask around. Don’t spend hours househunting online from afar. You’ll probably get ripped off.

There are however some Facebook groups for Chiang Maiers that may offer you some leads.

We found our current house from our friends, who are Thai and can therefore read the signs better than I can ( although I’m slowly progressing). They drove nearby ( literally 2 minutes from their place) and saw ours, then called the number and found out that the person who takes care of the house also runs a small cafe they go to.

We settled on the house then and there!

Our friend Jay found his furnished apartment on CMU campus by walking around. This is the best way to find a place if you don’t know anyone in Chiang Mai, and it was how we found our town house in Phuket Town.

Another option is to ask the reception desk at your hotel or wherever you plan on staying until you find a place. Ask if they know of anyone renting a place or had seen a sign advertising a rental.

Living in Chiang Mai

Or conversely, you could do what we first did when we moved to Phuket and find a place online. As I mentioned, chances are high it will cost you more than if you walk around and find a place on your own. It’s up to you!

We know several people who have lived at some point near Maya shopping mall. If you don’t mind the traffic and tourists and plan on going to Nimmanhemin Road and have a love of ramen, you may like that area.

Again, it all boils down to what you’re looking for in a neighborhood. We prefer a quieter area with amenities, and therefore like Hang Dong.

 

Where To Shop

We do most of our shopping at the markets in our area, one of which is at Kad Farang on Mondays and Wednesdays. Everything from organic vegetables to 100 baht dresses ( that I LOVE) can be found there. But the trendy ( and somewhat pricey) Rimping next to it is a great place to pick up imported items like cheese and beer. Because we all like cheese and beer, right?

living in Chiang Mai

Makro is another place to find imported and bulk items, and is popular with both Thais and farang. On Sunday you can get some mean street food from the Sunday Market starting at Taphae Gate down Ratchadamnoen Road. This is a major tourist attraction and gets mobbed, especially during high season. It’s still pretty awesome, and isn’t as crazy as say Patong, and you can pick up everything from home items to street food and juice.

Then there is my favorite janky-yet-epic mall, Kad Suan Kaew. While the Thais tend to find this mall pretty low on there favorite places to hang out in the city, I find Kad Suan Kaew to be pretty darn awesome. It’s design is Lanna style and has an old school movie theater on the top floor that has hand-painted designs of movie posters from the 90s. You can get a tattoo, see a movie, and grab some coffee at this mall. And get lost in its semi-abandoned back area.

But back to shopping..

At the bottom of Kad Suan Gaew you’ll find a Tops Supermarket at the bottom to get groceries. And on maybe the second or third floor you’ll find a Central to pick up makeup, Christmas decorations, and even a lazy boy recliner if you so choose.

There are many other places to shop, including the Night Bazaar on Thanon Chang Khlan and Central Airport.

 How To Get Around

The most popular modes of transport for Thais and farang is either a motorbike or songtaew ( open bus slash truck type of thing). There are two types of songtaew, yellow and red. The latter you can pay to take you anywhere, but it costs more. The yellow is affordable and takes you into town essentially. Because we typically rent a car, I’ve only taken songtaews here a few times but love them!

Car rentals, while we’re on that topic, are way overpriced here, just as they are overpriced in Phuket. Think about 500USD per month, unless you have a friend that has a friend that will rent one to you for a good price. We currently aren’t renting a car because our rental company decided to break our contract and rent to short term tourists, as they thought they could make more dinero. And chances are they’re right as it’s high season. But since we live near several markets and restaurants and I had to put a pause on my Thai Studies at CMU ( to my dismay) we don’t really need a car. We can walk or cycle up the road and get everything we need.

I want to say one thing about renting a motorcycle: we’ve seen many farang friends get into accidents. Only rent a motorcycle if you are confident driving here, and of course please don’t get wasted and drive. Yes, they are affordable. And yes, the Thais drive them. But they also know how to drive here ( in general) and so many farang don’t. And since many people probably do have a few Hong Tongs and drive- despite it being illegal- you want to make sure you’re a confident driver that can act fast when you have cyclists, songtaews, trucks, cars, tuk tuks, and even random tourists walking in the middle of the road. As well as the odd soi dog.

With that rant now over, you can easily find motorcycle and bicycle rentals throughout the city for a good rate.

Live in Chiang Mai

Questions I’m Often Asked

Is it safe?

Yes, very. Crime happens everywhere but Thailand is in general a very safe country.

Are the hospitals OK? Clean? etc?

Yep. Because I’ve only been in Chiang Mai for about 6 months, I know Phuket’s hospitals better but they have Bangkok Hospital here, and we’ve been to one of the local ones in Hang Dong. We are more into natural healthcare so I’ve only been once ( to drive someone who needed stitches) but the facilities of most hospitals are that of any Western one.

Some are better than others though. I would ask around when you get here for a good, affordable hospital in your area.

Are there too many foreigners in Chiang Mai?

I got asked this question regarding Phuket so often it made me mad as the people who asked it had no idea about the various parts of Phuket and would think Phuket equals Patong.

Look, Chiang Mai draws many tourists, especially young backpackers. And expats. But just like in Phuket or any other popular part of the country, it depends on where you go.

Here in Hang Dong, it’s nice and quiet :)

What about food poisoning?

in the late 80s, I was hospitalized in Bangkok after coming down with a fever. That is the last time I was really sick in this country. I’ve had minor upset tummy but I eat mostly spicy Thai food, so it happens mate.

I have had friends get sick ( one of which had a son hospitalized) after eating chicken or ofal. This includes Thai friends who eat chicken often, so I’m guessing it may be because of bacteria at the open markets and how the chef cooks the food.

Most of my Thai and farang friends have never had food poisoning, even if they eat street food 24/7.

If you do get food poisoning, you can get both natural remedies and drugs at the pharmacy. Look for the sign that says ‘ya’, which means drugs. I would write it in Thai but I’m not sure how to with my English keyboard…

How can I get a long-term visa?

This is always changing, but in the 5 years I’ve lived in Thailand I have had almost every type of visa possible. You can get a 90 day visa ( 60 days which you can renew for another 30 days) at a Thai embassy in say Penang, or you can just stick with the 1 month visa on arrival.

I currently have an educational visa which is 3 months, 3 months, then 6 months. Aka, a year. You get it renewed at immigration here in Thailand.

Is Chiang Mai a good place for homeschooling and unschooling families?

YES! This is one of the main reasons we finally left Phuket. I could go on a rant about the social issues of the island, but I’ll save you my thoughts on that subject! Phuket is a wonderful, beautiful place and really felt like home to me, but I’m glad we made the move up here.

There are a number of homeschooling families as well as unschoolers like us. We have personally met a family of 4 who homeschools, as well as several others here in Hang Dong. Both Thai and farang families, I should add.

Finding extracurricular activities for kids can be a bit of a pain as the majority of places offering say art classes and such aren’t advertised online, or maybe they are but are just in Thai. Or are simply word of mouth. For example, I had someone ask me where her daughter can take singing classes here and I googled for a while and found nothing. That’s not to say there aren’t singing lessons, I just will have to ask around and do some research.

 

I’m a digital nomad and work online. Are there many meet ups or like minded entrepreneurs and bloggers there?

You probably already know my answer to this if you’re a travel blogger. Yep, there are! In fact the travel blogging community kind of looks at Chiang Mai as a hub. You can find a plethora of Facebook groups for entrepreneurs based here.

I hope this short guide helps you get settled here in Chiang Mai! I promise to add to it in the weeks to come, as I get to know the area even more and get additional suggestions for housing, hospitals, and more.

I don’t speak Thai. Is that going to be a problem?

Nope! While I suggest learning Thai to deepen your understanding of the culture and to also learn about what to order at restaurants ( and how to make substitutions and such), most signs are in English. And most Thais speak English, to a degree.

 

unschooling in Chiang Mai

Unschooling in Chiang Mai

unschooling in Chiang Mai

Hello there!

It’s been quite awhile since you’ve heard from us, and I apologize for that! I write regularly on my other blog and neglected to update this one.

We haven’t made it to Canada and instead took a detour to Hang Dong, on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. I must say this move has been fantastic for all three of us. Our good friends Krid and Aung helped us find a very affordable house that is near a community swimming pool and in a quiet, mostly Thai neighborhood.

We were renting a car for several months but after the car rental company decided they could make more renting short-term to tourists, we’ve struggled to find another rental place that has the same rates. Just like in Phuket, renting a car here is pricey.

The good news is that publish transportation in Chiang Mai is better than in Phuket and have both super inexpensive buses that go into the city, as well as private ones that are slightly cheaper than taxis.

worldschooling

exploring Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai

We live near Kad Farang, a market that is popular with both Thais and farang. It has a food court ( that includes live music and beer towers lol) and several restaurants, plus a Rimping supermarket. On Mondays and Wednesdays, there is a fantastic outside market that sells everything from puppies to clothes and food.

I find this part of Thailand to be amazing for a worldschooling, work from home family. Unschooling in Chiang Mai is much easier and more fulfilling than in Phuket, the latter of which has very few homeschoolers. I adore Southern Thailand and lived there for 5 years, but as much as I love Phuket, I’m so happy to be in Northern Thailand and have more book stores, educational opportunities, and playrooms for Kaya to meet kids.

 

If you happen to be an unschooling family or homeschooling family in Chiang Mai, please get in touch with us! We’d love to meet you!

How Ryan Biddulph Blogs From Paradise

 
 This interview was originally published on Savouring Simplicity, but since it’s so fantastic and in depth I thought I should publish it here as well! Ryan is an incredible inspiration to anyone looking to travel and live a life they love. He inspires others to island hop and blog professionally too. 
Ryan Biddulph is the writer and blog coach behind Blogging From ParadiseHe and his wife work on their laptops while ‘island hopping’ around the world. He’s been endorsed by NY Times bestselling author Chris Brogan, as well as many other well-known figures in the internet and consulting world.
I’ve personally read most of Ryan’s books ( which are MUST HAVES) and am currently reading his latest on how he published 10 ebooks in 4 months ( learn more about it here).
Ryan is known for several things. Firstly, he lives ( and blogs from) paradise. His goal is freedom over material possessions. Second, the guy is successful, and he gains much of his success to blog commenting, being prolific, and networking.

Blogging From Paradise has obviously influenced a lot of people to learn not only how to have more success with their blogs but also to live a life that they’ve designed. What prompted you to start your blog in the first place?
 
Ryan:  My hosting service shut down my old blog. Really, this incident caused me to completely rethink my direction. I’d have to spend 3 weeks removing over 1,000 posts manually to go live again or I needed to trash the blog. I trashed all 3400 posts and didn’t look back. I was so hungry to make a change and fed up with my old blog but needed a catalyst. The Universe kicked my butt. Thanks Universe :) Seriously though, for months, I’d wanted to start a blog that shared my life story but I didn’t allow that idea to arise until I had to trash my old blog. I should send royalty checks to my hosting company.
 You’ve mentioned you have had other blogs in the past. What do you think made Blogging From Paradise more successful than the others?
Ryan: I was clear on why I wanted to blog, when I created Blogging from Paradise. I created it to free myself and to free my audience. Heck yeah, I enjoy making money through this joint freeing, yet, with a purer intent I could devote most of my energies to creating, not getting. Like, my old blogs were OK, but largely a study in how to create something, to get something. My energy was too divided to create something worthy. You can’t give away something of note with your hand continually in the cookie jar. I chose to blog, to free me and you, and with that intent, I did a fair job of freeing myself from 100% selfish outcomes, the drivers which ruin most blogs.
What is the top struggle you hear bloggers telling you they face, and what is your response when they tell you about it? 
Ryan: The top struggle I see is bloggers blogging, to make money. Like, they believe that devoting their energies to inanimate objects will make them money. It’s ludicrous. I respond with: “Well, Ryan, does money send you money? Have you ever received a royalty check from a $100 bill? PEOPLE send you money, so you darn well better focus most of your energies on creating something helpful and inspired, for PEOPLE, to inspire them to pay you for your products or services.” Then I may advise them, to blog, to free themselves, and to also free their audiences.
 You’ve written a lot about the power of strategic blog commenting. Can you elaborate for a second on just how powerful this topic is for growing a successful blog?
Ryan: Not sure when this interview is going live, but I’ll likely have spoken to a class at NYU about blogging and about my Blogging from Paradise eBooks, by then. I have been endorsed twice by a NY Times Best Selling Author. I have lived in Bali, Fiji and Thailand over the past 11 months, and I’m living in an apartment on the East River, in a beautiful neighborhood, in New York City now. I have traveled the world for 44 months straight. Blog commenting was my chief marketing strategy. I could never, in 40 million years, strike up a friendship with a NY Times Best Selling Author, nor could I land a speaking gig at NYU, going traditional offline marketing/pitching channels. Nope; I figure, a former fired security guard should take the easy, or at least, simple route. Stop trying to sprint past gatekeepers, go to the comments field, create a mini guest post, and impress the pants off of some really smart, powerful people, and they may just extend you opportunities you never dreamed you’d receive.
One of my favorite posts on BFP is when you call out bloggers on relying on sponsored posts versus writing ebooks and offering services on their blog. Why do you think many bloggers are avoiding selling on their sites?
 Ryan:Elizabeth, I think it’s the sheeple effect. I’ll be honest; the recent sponsored post opportunities finally flowed to me, for BFP, after 5 years of blogging. So many travel bloggers and other well-intentioned folks believe that their blogs command enough respect, to warrant being paid, to publish posts. Then, the blind lead the blind, offering the sponsored post advice, not realizing that, if you make enough money from your blog, monthly, to buy a Happy Meal, that you need to take it up 46 notches before someone would pay for your the privilege of posting on your blog.
During some lean months, Kelli and I stayed in absolute crap hostels in Laos. Yeah, some 3 years ago, paradise wasn’t paradise, lol! We paid about $3 a night to live in these places. We’ve also rented fully serviced villas for the month in Bali. The one spot in particular was…..um…..more than $3 a night, for the entire month. It wasn’t cheap folks!  When bloggers with little experience or success expect to make money off of sponsored posts, it’d be like them owning the run down Laos hostel, and charging full-serviced, Bali villa rates. You’ll be laughed off of the stage. I also feel many bloggers are lazy, and don’t want to create their own product, or fear failure. I know I was a lazy sonofagun, and feared failing, before I took the product plunge.
You’re a prolific author and blogger with a new book on how anyone can write and publish an ebook. What is your top tip for those feeling overwhelmed ( yet intrigued) by the idea?
Ryan: Tie your motivating reason to freeing yourself, and your audience, to cut through the overwhelm. Works every time :) All people who fear, and OBEY their fear, are simply more in love with being comfortable more than they love being free. Me, and a bunch of guys and gals who do stuff that some may consider “cool” (like living in a beach front home in Fiji for 4 months etc.), well, we are more hungry to be free, than we fear doing uncomfortable stuff….at least most of the time, lol!
 Kindle vs selling a PDF directly off a blog or site. Which do you prefer and recommend?
Ryan: I’m still working that one out Elizabeth, ha! For now, I sell my Blogging from Paradise eBooks through Selz, on my site, and I also sell through Amazon too but off of my blog. I’m thinking through this strategy though because Amazon has SUCH a monstrous audience.
You can connect with Ryan on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest as well as on Blogging From Paradise.
tofino

Exploring Tofino

exploring tofino

After more or less 4 years living in beautiful, lush Thailand, we’ve decided our next area to explore ( and hopefully settle in!) will be Tofino, British Columbia.

The politics of immigration in the UK right now doesn’t look like it’s going to change in the near future, and because we are one of thousands of families dealing with the visa issues ( learn more about them here) , we’ve had to come up with a plan B as to where we should go.

And because both Billy and Kaya are Canadian, it makes sense for us to explore that part of North America, and also base our businesses there while exploring gorgeous British Columbia.

Where is Tofino? And why did we choose to go there?

Well first off nothing is set in stone. Tofino was one of many options that we researched and had the type of laid back vibe that’s similar to the one here in Thailand ( sabai sabai as they say). Second, countless people have recommended we investigate it, and after getting in touch with both the mayor ( who is amazing!) and community, it felt right.

Prices are more affordable than Vancouver and Victoria. There are also homeschoolers, and no super strict regulations on homeschooling either. So it has the community we are craving as well as the laid back, hippie friendly lifestyle.

Immigration may change one day in the UK, and at that point who knows. Maybe we will finally get to go back.

But until then I cannot wait to discover Tofino, and look forward to my Mother and Brother coming up for Christmas, as well as being closer to family in general. We also look forward to vacationing in other parts of Canada, and maybe  checking out niagara falls. 

Have you been to Tofino? Tell me about it in the comments below, I’d love to hear more about Vancouver Island in general!

photo: Dustin Scarpitti on Unsplash

Bright-Eyed and Blog-hearted

Bright-Eyed And Blog-hearted ( Lifestyle Design Series)

Bright-Eyed and Blog-hearted

 

Bright-Eyed And Blog-hearted

As part of our Lifestyle Design series, I am reviewing the wonderful blogging course & community Bright-Eyed and Blog-hearted. I originally posted this on my personal blog but because it’s such a valuable resource I wanted to share it here with you.

Blogging know-how rooted in real-life experience
Rachel’s background is in PR, working for 10 years in the corporate world. Her experience in digital communications is infused in Brigh-teyed and Blog-hearted, in every module.
She’s also a fully booked Life Coach and Blog Coach, working with women around the world. This means the course has lots of insight for entrepreneurs.
 
On top of that, she’s a pro blogger. She managed to quit her job and become a fulltime work from home Coach slash author slash in-demand speaker from her blog in almost record time. 
Insanely useful and actionable advice
When I signed up, I received access to preworksheets that made me rethink everything about what I write, why I write, who I write for, what my values are and how I can incorporate them into my site and social media. I wasn’t expecting nearly as much value as Bright-eyed and Blog-hearted delivered even before the course started. My mind was blown that early on, and that’s saying something as I have been a freelance writer and blogger for years. When the course dived in social media, I assumed I would know most of it as I have a consulting business that deal primarily with social media strategy, but I was wrong: Rachel goes into Facebook’s algorithm issues, when to post on where, and other in depth elements about social media that impressed me. She also makes great app suggestions.
 
Clarity
The number one thing I got out of Bright-eyed and Blog-hearted was clarity, that feeling where you understand blogging and how it applies to you, and what you can do with it. How you can remain authentic and yourself while not comparing yourself to ‘big bloggers’.
 
Jam-packed with wisdom on transitioning from blog to biz
The blogger I recommend would be best suited for investing in Bright-eyed and Blog-hearted would be the one trying to transition to a business, or who wants to market their current business through their blog. In reality any blogger would benefit from the course, whether you have a ministry, nonprofit, or just want to reach a larger audience.
There are extra bonuses especially for coaches too, so if you happen to be a coach of any kind you will especially benefit.
Community
Not being a fan of forums or groups, I didn’t plan on interacting much in the Facebook community, but after checking out the different dialogues going on in there plus the useful feedback I was soon asking questions and connecting with other bloggers across the world. It is by far the most supportive online group I’ve encountered.
Bright-Eyed and Bloghearted
Layout and Modules
Bright-eyed and Blog-hearted contains an array of PDFs, audio mp3 files, videos, transcripts, and templates plus custom spreadsheets. There are six modules plus the preworksheets and bonuses and the private facebook community.
Each module has a video, one or two audios, a typically large PDF to study ( gorgeouslydesigned I might add) plus worksheets based on the PDF, and for some spreadsheets to track your social media and networking endeavors.
Topics covered include:
SEO
Copywriting
Social Media Strategy
Branding
PR
Networking
Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
Creating an Infoproduct
Marketing Services On Your Blog ( coaching, consulting, etc)
Final thoughts: BE&BH is a big investment but extremely worthwhile for businesses looking to make blogging work for them, as well as bloggers looking to monetize their actions. I’m an affiliate of the course because I have personally found it highly actionable and filled with lovely, supportive bloggers who give constructive feedback and make me feel welcome.