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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.

Theatre Breaks in Edinburgh

 

It’s not just London that holds the torch in terms of theatre breaks. Edinburgh has several fantastic theatres, all showing world class productions featuring stars of the stage and screen. Stay in the Edinburgh Central Hotel and enjoy an enviable location in the heart of the city, allowing easy access to the best theatres and entertainment venues. Some fantastic shows coming to Edinburgh this year are:

Wicked

Showing at the Edinburgh Playhouse between the 19th of November 2014 and 10th of January 2015, this is a production not to be missed. Telling the untold story of the Witches of Oz, this hugely popular show features amazing costumes, a captivating story, toe-tapping show tunes and technical wizardry. It’s simply amazing and your friends are sure to be green with envy when you tell them you have tickets to this magical show!

Fame The Musical

Showing at the Edinburgh Playhouse between the 21st and 26th of April and based on the Oscar winning film Fame and the TV show of the same name, it’s a high energy, action packed singing and dancing extravaganza that will have you dancing in the aisles. Following the journey of a group of wannabes as they embark on their quest for fame of their own. A great feel good show.

Calamity Jane

Fans of the hit musical movie Calamity Jane will love the stage production. Featuring all of the popular musical numbers from the film, you’ll love watching sharp shooting tomboy Calamity Jane as she causes trouble wherever she goes, before watching this unlikely heroine fall in love with her nemesis Wild Bill Hickock. Showing at the Edinburgh Playhouse between the 23rd and 27th of September.

Singin’ in the Rain

This glamorous show full of excitement, romance, charm and comedy comes to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre between the 25th of February and 15th of March. One of the world’s best loved musicals, it is certainly worth booking tickets to see this fabulous show if it’s on while you’re in town.

There are, of course, plenty of other fabulous shows to see while in Edinburgh. Theatre is undeniably a wonderful part of this lively and theatrical city, but music plays a huge part too. Here you’ll find concerts from the likes of the Manic Street Preachers, Little Mix, Boy George, Matt Cardle, New Faces, The Feeling and One Direction who are playing at the nearby Murrayfield Stadium on June the 3rd. You’ll find comedy acts like Lee Mack, Sarah Millican and Ross Noble on stage here too.

Food goes hand in hand with theatre in Edinburgh and you’ll find many a great pub and restaurant offering special deals for theatre-goers and some even providing pre theatre entertainment. One such place is the Theatre Royal Bar, situated right next door to the Edinburgh Playhouse. This pub is as close to the heart of theatreland as you can get! Furnished with crystal chandeliers, dark wood, draped curtains and show posters which give even more of a hint to the theatrical roots of this bar, it is the place to go in the city for pre theatre drinks or a meal.

Whichever show you choose to see while in Edinburgh you’re guaranteed an amazing, toe-tapping time. Don’t forget the maltesers!

Girl Gone International

We’re Featured in Girl Gone International magazine!

girl gone international

 

We are absolutely delighted to be not only featured in this month’s issue of Girl Gone International, but to have won an award from them!

This beautifully edited travel magazine has quickly become my favorite. Readers will know fellow grown up Third Culture Kid Bonnie Rose from A Compass Rose, who interviewed me for this month’s edition of GGI. Bonnie is also the person who introduced me to the term Third Culture Kid in the first place. It’s been an interesting ride learning about how TCKs act as adults and how in the heck we are supposed to ask the dreaded question, where are you from? It’s been a real journey for me as a mother as some days I am happy to be raising a TCK while others I wish we could find the perfect community to bring her up in.

Check out issue for of Girl Gone International for a unique twist on female travel!

A General Guide To Living Abroad

 

Malaysia

A few days ago I wrote about the growing interest people have in retiring to Phuket and Thailand in general. Today I want to expand and include all age ranges and desires for those who want to live abroad yet are uncertain of what life would be life. Would you still be able to access your favorite TV shows? Healthcare products? Household staples? What about your future medical needs, from a general trip to the doctor to new hearing aids? The good news is that most of the things you really need are still accessible in most countries ( I say most, as I’m sure there are exceptions).

When we living in Italy, we were somewhat remote, living on top of a very steep hill. The local grocery store had limited produce so we took weekly trips down to Camucia; the winding hills made for an interesting bus ride, as did returning with loads of groceries and climbing the mountain like hills that existed outside our door. Getting basic things we needed was initially very challenging, especially without a car nor fluency in Italian. However, we managed. We found out that despite government red tape preventing us from getting orders from our favorite vitamin company, we could order from a UK store that shipped to us in no time. We had family bring us over essentials that couldn’t be found locally.  Instead of renting movies, we downloaded them online from itunes and the likes. Whenever we had a problem or situation we could solve, we asked our closest friend Claudio for his advice and he always helped us.

Which leads me to the most important part of living abroad in a foreign country: relationships to locals is key. Whether you connect well with a long time expat living in a city or a resident, make sure to stay in touch with them and be grateful. Nurture the relationship and appreciate their help, and of course help them in return. Just like with all communities or businesses, relationships are key to helping you integrate into your new home country.

In South Korea, our close friendships with locals in Paju were what kept us going when there was extensive hype about a possible war with North Korea. Western media was blaring this message nonstop and our families were becoming worried. Our friends made it clear war was not going to happen and that this was typical media spin and North Korean tactics. They were always there for us when we needed advice or help, or if I wanted a girls night out. I taught them how to improve their English as well as French, they taught me basic Korean.

So again, the number one suggestion I have for anyone looking to move abroad is to begin finding out where you can get to know locals. Is there an expat forum for the town you are considering moving to? Are there local businesses or schools you can reach out to and get in touch with? Begin doing a thorough search online of what your new city/town has to offer in your language. For example, most Korean cities and towns have websites translated into English, some with contact info.

Reach out to people, both before your move as well as when you arrive. Friendships are the key to living abroad, no matter where you decide to go!

traveling in Europe

Reflections on Living in Europe

 

traveling in Europe

 

Reflections on Living in Europe

I was lucky to have had a childhood in Europe, which happens to be possibly the coolest continent on earth ( although that is arguable). Despite having moved back to the States when I was 19, my desire to continue spending much of my life in the EU has never faded, even when we moved to Asia 4 years ago; we managed to still spend 6 months in Tuscany and 4 months in Scotland. What is it exactly that keeps people wanting to come back to Europe and discover more and more of its unique historic towns and cultures? Or is it simply the food is fantastic?

One of the things that makes traveling in Europe so desirable is the proximity of each country to one another. Friends have described North America as being isolated from other countries in comparison to say how a Brit can hop on an hour flight and be in a different country. Fellow Brits can ( and do) vacation often in say Brighton or Bournesmouth, but many also book an Easyjet flight and visit the South of France ( my home!!) or perhaps investigate family European river cruises. It’s almost too easy to travel within the EU, which is what makes it such a desirable place for those who are seeking to see the world, whether by backpack or luxury cruise. Thanks to having such terrific trains, as a teenager I was able to take impromptu trips from my home in Antibes to Venice, Avignon, Florence, and other places. My favorite trip was with classmates over Easter vacation. We had all planned on staying in the dorms in Sophia Antipolis, a semi remote town near Antibes, but we soon realized it would be much better to all go to Venice during Carnival. Despite having a meager budget we found accommodation last minute, booked our train tickets and headed to the bus for Nice to board the train. The next morning we awoke to the most majestic place on earth ( nothing beats Venice) and had the time of our lives, one that we will never forget.

traveling in Europe

Europe is also relatively close to North Africa. On a class field trip our school went to Egypt. We took a short flight to Marseille and a direct flight to Cairo, where we boarded a boat and took a cruise down the Nile. That too was sheer magic, all of the glorious open air markets and bazaars as well as the ruins we visited. One friend of mine flew over from the States and stayed with our family in Antibes. He saw that flights to Morocco were insanely cheap and without evening telling his family, he booked a ticket and boarded the plane a few hours later. He never stops talking about his trip both in France and Africa and looks at it as a once in a lifetime experience.

I’ve lived in Asia now for roughly 4 years, and absolutely love it here. But deep in my heart I am always plotting moving back to Europe and traveling throughout the continent. I can’t explain specifically what it is that I love about it, but I imagine it’s a combination of the lifestyle, architecture, and food. It’s a place that all should venture to at least once in their lifetime, ideally more!

Blurb Gift Center

Blurb Gift Center

 

Blurb Gift Center

There are a lot of gifts you could give this holiday season, but when it comes to something really meaningful, there’s nothing quite like the gift of a book you’ve made yourself.  But before you start having visions of gluing and sewing together pages, check out the Blurb Gift Center for ideas!

Blurb lets you make seriously beautiful books using their free tools. Just add photos and text, choose your options (like paper and cover type), and then order. Of course, you do have to decide just what kind of book you want to make. But relax, because they have put together the cool Blurb Gift Center to give you lots of ideas. Our first travel photography book is something that we cherish, and so do our family. Made with professional quality paper, it really brings to life images of some on our journeys here in Asia and abroad. Every time we look at it we are reminded of all our memories together. It’s truly precious, and it makes a wonderful gift for friends and family.
For instance, if you’ve got a genealogical bent, there’s the Blurb Family History Book. For those with newborns (or those that know someone with a newborn), a Blurb Baby Book might be just the thing. And if you’re the kind of person who keeps getting asked for copies of your recipes, think about making a Blurb Food Book.This holiday season, make your gift recipients feel really special by making them something special. There really is a book for everyone.

See us in Parent Tribe Magazine!!

Parent Tribe Autumn 2013

 

Several months ago I was contacted by the lovely founder of Parent Tribe, a magazine dedicated to holistic families, about contributing. I was honoroed and found the premier edition of the magazine so inspirational. Loaded with healthy recipes, family friendly yoga poses, and interviews with like minded Moms, I was eager to participate! And here we are, on the cover of the magazine and interviewed within its contents.

Did I mention it’s free? Check it out!!

culinary travel

A Culinary Tour of Thailand

 

 

Thai food

A Culinary Tour of Thailand

Despite foodies the world over favoring France, those who have traveled extensively in Asia will tell you how Thailand sets the bar for culinary travel. It’s a country extremely passionate about food ( and not just Thai cuisine; Thais are the biggest foodies I know) and that won’t hesitate to let the chef or restaurant manager know if the food was delicious, or not the best. They love things spicy, salty, sweet, and even bitter, and their cuisine combines these flavors to create savory soups and delectable deserts.

Thailand’s Hotspots ( for foodies)

When planning your Thailand holidays, keep in mind that despite the fact that each part of the country has terrific food ( and that’s an understatement) each area has its own specialties. Bangkok is known for its cheap street food, available at every corner. According to my friends from here in Southern Thailand, Bangkokians don’t like things nearly as spicy as in the South. Whether that is true or not, you can always let your waiter know if you want your dishes phet mak. The nation’s capitol really has a little of something for everyone, and food from all provinces is available. I’d like to argue that Bangkok also has the best Pad Thai in the country, but that is up for debate!  Urban Thais happen to have a deep passion for Western cuisine too, especially trendy new forms of gastronomic delights, such as ‘gastropubs’. Despite loving their Leo, they import a wide range of beer and coffee ( you will see Illy everywhere) as well as other spirits. Fusion restaurants have popped up everywhere, combining things like spaghetti and green curry!

Isan, located on the Khorat Plateau, is known for sticky rice. Yes, that delicious and highly addictive side dish that you accompanies mango sticky rice or pork. Influenced by Laos, its neighbor, Isan is known for its spicy eats such as som tam. Chiang Mai also has lots to offer for epicureans, such as the sai oua: a spicy pork sausage that even impressed one of the world’s most famous chefs ( and foodies) on Anthony Bourdaine. I also recommend tucking into a bowl full of khao soi ( egg noodle curry) which is popular all around Thailand.

Cuisine in Southern Thailand

Although I know I am completely biased I think Southern Thailand has the best food, period. Grilled fish is on most street corners, as well as women making som tam. Whenever I am asked to recommend restaurants to people visiting the area I always tell them to wait until they get here, as no matter what area they are staying at, I am willing to bet there will be noodle carts and other street food or local type of restaurants. Most of the hotels in Phuket have overpriced Thai cuisine that tasted watered down for ‘farang’ ( foreigners) and is double the price of real Thai food. There are exceptions of course. including Kan Eang@Pier which isn’t the cheapest place on the island but offers exceptional Thai food. It’s located right next to VSet, another popular restaurant on the island ( by the same owner) that serves French inspired dishes.

No matter where you decide to plan your holidays, Thailand absolutely offers you tremendous dishes, served up by chefs that are beyond passionate about making sure you have a delicious meal. Just remember that price is not necessarily an indicator of quality, and that even tiny hole in the wall restaurants can offer dishes that are beyond what some five star establishments serve. That’s not to say you can’t have a great meal at a nice hotel, but make sure to ask the locals what their favorite restaurants are too. There is a bit of everything here, for everyone, and every budget!

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