Profitable Nomad Couple

77. Rewrite Your Life Story | Stephen and Sharlene

January 24, 2024 Austin and Monica Mangelson
Profitable Nomad Couple
77. Rewrite Your Life Story | Stephen and Sharlene
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week is an interview with Stephen and Sharlene from the Rewrite Your Life Story podcast! These are two incredible people and we absolutely loved being interviewed on their show! 

Sharlene and Stephen Licciardello have been married for over 23 years and faced a difficult journey of their own when, after 15 years of infertility treatments, they realized their dream of becoming parents was not going to happen. They decided to rewrite their life story from the pain of shattered dreams and help others do the same when life takes unexpected turns.

With over 30 years of combined experience in counselling, life coaching, meditation instruction, and business coaching, Stephen and Sharlene have turned their challenges into a mission to guide others in navigating through life's twists and turns and rewriting their stories.

Check out the Rewrite Your Life Story podcast!
Click here to learn more about Stephen and Sharlene and their website. 

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Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. This is a show where we share all of our secrets about building a sustainable location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

We're Austin and Monica. We're a digital.

Speaker 3:

Nomad couple here to help you develop an entrepreneurial mindset, ignite your passions and develop a purpose-driven online business.

Speaker 1:

Get ready for weekly insights and inspiring stories to empower you to live life on your own terms.

Speaker 3:

So are you ready to unlock the Nomad mindset and embrace a life of limitless possibilities? Let's dive in.

Speaker 2:

Hey guys, austin, here, in today's episode, we are actually airing an episode that we've recorded with Stephen and Charlene from the Rewrite your Life Story podcast, so this is actually aired on their podcast originally. We're going to link to it below so you can check it out, because Stephen and Charlene are awesome. Their mission is to empower individuals to take control of their lives and to rewrite their own narratives, so we really felt like we connected with these two people on their mission. It was definitely something that we advocate for as well and work with our clients on. So have a listen and I hope you enjoy this episode.

Speaker 4:

Hey everyone. It's Stephen and Charlene from the Rewrite your Life Story podcast, and we're really excited today because we've got the first time, a couple on our podcast show, and it is Monica and Austin, who call themselves the digital Nomad. You are so, monica and Austin. How are you?

Speaker 3:

Hi, it's Stephen and Charlene. We are doing super, super good. Thanks so much for inviting us on to your show.

Speaker 4:

Now the digital Nomads. There's so much we can unpack in this. There's so much ways you've rewritten your story to choose this lifestyle, so why don't you take us right from the beginning and how it started, for you both?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would say it started back in college. We met in college and we both kind of bonded over this mutual love of travel. So, as broke college kids, we traveled as much as we possibly could I would say we traveled a lot more than the average college kid did and then we fell in love through that process. So we ended up getting married and by the time we were graduating college we were like you know what? It does not sound fun to go get a master's degree and it doesn't sound fun to go get an office job. So let's look for something really unique and out of the box that's going to take us on a grand adventure.

Speaker 1:

And we ended up getting hired with the Peace Corps and we were assigned to go live in Mozambique, africa, for the next two years. So we prepped our family for it. We had the big conversations, we sold all of our stuff, we got rid of our housing contract and then, two weeks before we were supposed to leave is when COVID-19 hit. So everything came to a screeching halt and all of a sudden we're like dude, we have nowhere to go. So we ended up moving in with Austin's parents and I would say that was the beginning of rewriting our story.

Speaker 4:

And, like you've sold everything to do this? What told you that play on your emotions and headspace?

Speaker 3:

Oh my goodness, we felt like we were scrambling for a long time to figure out what to do next, especially because, I mean, everybody knows like nobody had any idea how big COVID was going to be. So when we first got the news that our trip to Mozambique was canceled, we were told to just wait a couple of weeks and they would get back to us. So we thought it was going to be like max, a month at my parents' house and then we'd be back out on to our job in Mozambique. And then a month turned into two months and then two months turned into four months. It just kept expanding.

Speaker 3:

So there was definitely this element of stagnation. We were just kind of sitting and waiting for a long time. So we didn't make a lot of forward progress that summer because we're just waiting, thinking that Mozambique, thinking that the Peace Corps is going to come back to us and say they're ready to go. Eventually we got tired of waiting, which was, I think, the biggest thing for us is we didn't want to sit around and just wait for someone else to say all right, it's time for you to go now. We felt like we had kind of lost some control in our life and so we wanted to take it back. So we just went ahead and found something else and moved on.

Speaker 5:

I loved that Great.

Speaker 4:

For our listeners in Australia and other parts of the world. Do you want to explain what the Peace Corps is?

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, of course. So the Peace Corps is a government program that the US put together a long time ago and essentially what they do is they collect volunteers and then they send them to different places in the world, working in several different avenues. So we were in the health sector, so we were going to do malaria and HIV prevention and awareness, mostly working with youth, and then they have some environmental ones.

Speaker 3:

They have agriculture and farming. They have some business.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so, depending on your expertise, they kind of match you with a trip, they match you with a group, and then you go to that country and you live there for 27 months. So you get your training, you learn language, you learn about the history of the country, you really dive into the people and then they ship you off to a little town Now you don't know where you're going to end up and then you are there for two years and you are there to make a difference and then the whole, so everything while you're there is paid for, and then when you get back they give you a good stipend. So well, I mean, it was 20,000 for two years, which actually is not that much, but for broke college kids that seemed like a lot and we were super excited.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, the biggest, some of the big values for the Peace Corps is they want you to be basically like an ambassador of sorts of the US or whatever country you're stationed in, but then when you come home they want you to be an ambassador from that country to the state. So it's a big cross-cultural promotion sort of program that they run.

Speaker 5:

Doesn't make sense, doesn't it?

Speaker 4:

We don't have anything like that here in Australia, so it sounds like a program of great value as well. So, austin, earlier on you said that you felt like you lost control during COVID. Tell us how the shift to regain that control and how that occurred for the both of you.

Speaker 3:

Okay. So whenever I talk about this, my best recommendation is you need to find a Monica in your life, because Monica is the only reason I was pulled out of that. Basically, I felt like I was stuck in such a big rut I couldn't pull myself out of it. So I'll let Monica kind of share what happened to her, and it was because of her that I feel like I was able to start moving on.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, honestly, I am just a naturally very happy person, but during this time I was so angry all the time I was always angry and I remember going on tons of walks during this time. During one of these walks, I was like I am so tired of being angry, I'm so tired of waiting for this to end because it's never going to end. It felt like it was never going to end. So that is when I decided to start. I always call it Pinterest shopping for a new life. I was like I got to find something. And so at the time, austin and I were able to find jobs in the healthcare space, working with seniors, and so we were. I would go to these old people's houses and I'd be working with them and I had a lot of downtime. They were napping or things like that. So during my downtime, I literally created a secret Pinterest board where I was going through and I was like what I want is just to travel.

Speaker 1:

I just feel so stuck and so I went and started collecting all these different ways that people were making a living traveling, and at the time I think since COVID there's a lot more resources, but at the time, the only things I could find were being a virtual assistant or being an influencer, and I was not about to like do my makeup every day and try to show up on camera and be an influencer.

Speaker 1:

So I was like, all right, we're going to be virtual assistants, I'm going to make this work, but I had to be really respectful of Austin's grieving process and so it's kind of a tricky balance. Austin is a lot more logical than I am. I'm a lot more like big picture thinker, like okay, like let's just jump in, let's take the risk, and where he's a little bit more cautious than I am, and I knew that we were both still grieving the Peace Corps and just all of the crazy things that were happening during COVID. So I ended up doing a bunch of like secret research and essentially creating like it wasn't quite a PowerPoint presentation, but basically it was a PowerPoint presentation where I could pitch this idea to Austin and help try to get him on board as well.

Speaker 2:

Awesome.

Speaker 1:

Such a beautiful synergy in there and we can see that it's a compliment to each other.

Speaker 5:

So, Gini, you're talking a little bit about what was probably some of the biggest challenges for you during that time. I know it couldn't have been easy having to move into the parents place after having all these dreams of going out somewhere. How did you navigate those challenges?

Speaker 1:

Not well. So we were quite literally living in the room that Austin lived in when he went to high school. You know Not exactly where we imagined being after graduating college, with all these grandiose ideas, and there are so many challenges. One of the biggest challenges, though, was that we worked opposite shifts, so Austin would wake up at like six in the morning and go to his shift, and then he'd come back and, if we were lucky, we might see each other for maybe 20 minutes, and then I'd head off to my shift and I'd be gone until one in the morning, and so we would never see each other, and we didn't have time. We were so burnt out Like the healthcare industry was so desperate for workers that we were working crazy long days easily 15 hours a day sometimes and we were so tired and we were exhausted.

Speaker 1:

But even when we did see each other, we're like let's sit on the couch and watch a movie. We weren't hanging out. We weren't going out. We loved being outside, we loved camping. We just couldn't do any of those things. We didn't have any energy for it. So I think one of the key things that we did is we both took off Wednesdays and we're like we will not work Wednesdays and those are going to be days for us. Those are going to be days. We went camping on those days, we went outside on those days, we like actually got to talk to each other on those days and I think that that helped us a lot.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it took us.

Speaker 3:

It was a lot of mental energy.

Speaker 3:

It was hard for us to have lost our plans for the next two, three years and then to end up doing things that we didn't really enjoy doing. And I feel like whenever we came home from our shifts at least for me, I never really felt like I had the mental capacity after coming home from work to start planning out my life and I'm like, okay, what are we going to do now that we're off track for where we want to be? What are we going to do to get back on track? And I would come home and I'd just be like kind of just be dead, I guess, and while I was waiting for Monica to come home from her shift, I would just, you know, watch a movie or like I wasn't, I wasn't engaged anymore. Again, Monica, thank you for pulling out of that. It felt like from getting from that point to a point where we're more proactively thinking about what we're wanting to do with our life was a big uphill climb, but with that momentum got started and builds, it was a lot easier to maintain that.

Speaker 4:

Hey. So thank you for being so open and sharing with us. How did you then make the leap? Because obviously what I'm hearing is you were in a rut, like you were in this constant cycle of work and despair and work and everything was just consumed by that. How did you get unstuck and come out of that and actually make the leap to become digital numbs?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we quit everything. We quit our jobs, we quit everything and we're like, okay, we have enough savings for the last six months and we are going to figure this out. We're going to figure out how to make money and we'll see how it goes.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I've heard a coach say that the best way to get yourself out of a rut is just to do something big and drastic. And that's I mean that's essentially what we did is we walked away from our job. I mean, obviously we gave them a notice and everything, but we said we're done, this isn't the life we want to be living and we are going to just quit our jobs, call Turkey and just put everything we have into becoming virtual assistants and figuring out how to make that work.

Speaker 5:

So that takes so much courage right, it does.

Speaker 4:

It takes courage and resilience.

Speaker 1:

So tell us about Desperation, desperation.

Speaker 4:

Desperation so tell us about you know, like this journey of you know from medical background, because my background is in nursing, so I understand that background. How did you then transition then to become VA's? Very different lifestyle, very different fields of practice, talk into that for us.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, the biggest thing is just online education.

Speaker 1:

There are so many courses and resources online, so we spent the next couple of months like really diving in. We took a course from a lady who teaches people how to become virtual assistants. We spent a lot of hours building our portfolio, we got free clients and then, actually within two months, we started getting clients, and at the time, I think there were so many people who were desperate to make their businesses work that they were desperate to find someone to help them, and so finding VA work was actually very easy for us, and before we knew it, we were making a decent living as virtual assistants, but we still were making the life that we wanted to live. We basically went from one job, where they were telling us exactly where to go and exactly what to do, to a job that we created for ourselves, where people were telling us exactly where to go and exactly what to do, and so it wasn't the ideal situation, but it got us unstuck, and so it was the driving force that started the whole digital moment journey.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, huge props to online education. I feel like the self-education industry is super, super big right now and there's I feel like, to some degree, there's almost no limit what you can't teach yourself through online courses, online videos. That's the right that we took and it was so incredibly helpful. And that's one thing we always tell people, like anyone who's wanting to start an online business or to start something new. We always point them in that direction or at least offer it as a potential solution, because there is so many things, there's so much you can learn online and sure, you can't learn everything online, but there's a good start to everything. Anything that you're interested in starting up, you can find someone teaching it and then you can. That's a really good launch pad to go start your own journey from there.

Speaker 4:

Was this the same time that you took off from your parents' house, or did you transition that as well?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it was. So we started that course at the end of 2020. And basically immediately we started traveling around. We started visiting family and friends all throughout the US. They're all scattered mostly on the West Coast, though, so we have friends in Utah, idaho, oregon, washington.

Speaker 3:

So we basically started couch hopping and, because we now were doing all of our work online, we would go spend a couple of weeks to a month or two visiting different family members and friends across the country and we would exchange doing house projects for them, because basically everybody that we knew at the time had either just bought a house or had already owned a home and were doing some sort of house renovations. So we would exchange our labor and help them do drywall or redo their flooring or paint murals and things like that, in exchange for them letting us stay at their house, and so it was a really sweet gig. And, again, we just switched houses every couple of weeks, just one on the West Coast rotation. It was super fun and we're so grateful for our friends and family who let us do that.

Speaker 4:

That's a brilliant idea and how did you obviously now with supporting your lifestyle. So, for someone who's starting out in an online business and wants to scale, what would you recommend them do? Because obviously you're balancing a lot. You're balancing your moving from house to house, you're helping them with DIY projects. Plus, you're being a VA. That's a lot to put on your plate to balance. So how did you scale to the point now that you could afford your lifestyle.

Speaker 1:

That is an excellent question. So the short answer is that we did it, because being virtual assistants required so much like changing time for money. We ended up pivoting and niching down into web design, and with web design it was a lot easier to schedule out our time and to balance our life a lot better. So we were working on bigger projects and I really think the key to that is just scheduling your time Doing it so well. So Austin luckily for me, austin is a really good planner, because I would have been a caught mess through this whole process if it weren't for him.

Speaker 1:

So we looked at our core values. We said, ok, we're here, we have house projects to do, we have a business to grow and we also want a healthier lifestyle. We want to be happy in our life, and so those were the three kind of things that we always made sure we scheduled out in our week. We always have time for play, we always have time for business and we always have time for house projects, at least at the beginning. We don't do house projects anymore.

Speaker 2:

That's good.

Speaker 4:

Niche down. Why is that important?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so actually sorry, I've been talking a lot.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, I'm sorry Okay.

Speaker 1:

Actually, I feel like we have a really unique perspective on this. The first thing is that niching down is important because you can make more money and you can have a lot more fun with it, but I don't actually suggest that it's something that people do right away, because you don't know what you don't know, and we, as humans, are born to experiment, try new things and learn by trial and error, and so I really think that it's important to try a bunch of things before niching down and kind of have like a funnel approach to it, I guess. And as you go, okay, you can learn. Okay, I really hate copywriting, all right, like what's next? Okay, I really hate this, what's next? You know, and you can kind of move down until you find something that really lights you up and feels easy to work on.

Speaker 1:

Niching down is super important because it helps you target your message to people, but I don't think that when you're getting started, online messaging should be your first priority. I don't think branding should be your first priority. I don't think building a website should be your first priority, and the reason I think that is because that's what we put as a priority and it didn't help us at all. It wasted so much time because then as we pivoted, we had to change everything, we had to start over. But if we had, I mean we got clients without any of that stuff and it's so easy to start making money online now as more of a freelance role. And then, as you go and try different things, you can decide okay, like I absolutely love, for us, it was what we love design. So like, okay, like we are all into web design now and we can fully brand ourselves as web designers and bring that messaging out, and it's so much easier when you know who you're talking to.

Speaker 3:

One thing I would slightly change to what you said is not only did we start getting clients when we like, without that stuff that she's talking about, but I feel like once we shifted our focus away from, you know, having a perfect website and knowing exactly what our niche is, I feel like once that stops becoming our focus is when our business started growing more.

Speaker 3:

And I feel like like I definitely agree. I think there's a lot of advantages to niching down and to figuring out who you're talking to, but a lot of times that we've noticed this happened for us and with a lot of the people that we work with. It puts you in a box and you say I'm only going to work with these people. And if you have someone else who's marginally aligned but they don't fit neatly in that box, a lot of times you should put them to the side and say I'm not going to work with them, they're not my target market, when they could be a great client and they could be exactly what you need to grow your business. But because you're focusing so much on I guess a way to say it is you become a little bit too narrow-minded or narrow-visioned, I guess. So it was really helpful for us to, when we expanded, that our business started growing a lot more.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think okay to sum this up, because I feel like we were a little bit all over the place here. A lot of the advice we were given was to niche down, really, really tight, to start and then grow out. And I would flip that on its head. I would say grow out and then niche down.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's great advice.

Speaker 5:

It's like having a funnel. Isn't it Like in here to have a big funnel in order to find out what you don't want, Exactly yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, you mentioned before that you have three core values as a couple, so I'm going to ask you a bit about that. But I'm going to ask you two pronged questions to give you. First of one is how you discovered your values as a couple. The second one is not many people can work with their partner. Not many people can work with their spouse. Obviously, we work together and we make it work. We know that our different personalities is actually our strengths, because my weaknesses are Charlene's strengths, her weaknesses are my strengths. So, one, how did you align your values as a couple? And two, how do you make it work? Because you're living, breathing, 24 hours in the same room together? How do you make it work?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, those are both really really good questions. I have an answer for the second one, if you want to tackle the first one.

Speaker 1:

I have always been a very self-aware individual, and so for me, discovering my values was easy. So discovering our values together as a couple, though, was a little bit more challenging than I thought Like part of it was. Before we ever became a couple, we had really deep conversations about what our values were, and they were really similar to begin with. When it came to building a life together, though, it just took a lot of journaling, I think. We each kind of journaled individually, and then we'd always come together. They're like okay, what did you discover? What is important to you? And for the most part, we're so similar in our values, so I feel like that part was actually fairly easy for us.

Speaker 3:

But there's a lot of communication. Every year we go on what we call a vision retreat. This is an idea that we got from Jimmy Evans, who is I don't know exactly what he is- he's a marriage counselor, I think, but his advice was to go on a vision retreat at least once a year.

Speaker 3:

And this is where you go, spend a couple days out, just the two of you, and you spend that weekend having conversations about everything. You talk about money, you talk about kids, you talk about your intimacy, you talk about every asset. If you have a business, you talk about your business, you talk about your future and you just lay out all out on the table and you have these couple of days where you're separated from kids, you're separated from work, you're separated from other responsibilities, and doing that every single year has really helped us make sure that we are aligned with each other, and if we're not, we can get realigned.

Speaker 1:

I will say, from the vision retreats, we've had some really hard conversations because I have always wanted to own a business.

Speaker 1:

I've always wanted to be a business owner, and that was something that Austin never considered for his life until we had started a business. And then he's like, oh yeah, I guess that could be a business owner. So we've had really hard conversations where things were working or money was tied that much or something, and it's always been our relationship first and so I've always said, hey, if this isn't working, I will walk away. And we've always been able to find a way to make it work because we've put our relationship first and it's always worked out. In our business We've always been able to scrape by somehow, sometimes by the skin of our teeth, but we've always been able to make it work and it's always I would say that it's really made us a lot closer together, like it's really made us have to work together and to figure out what both of our dreams are in our life and how we can, or if we can, make that happen together.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, To answer your second question about how we get along. I love this question. We get asked this question all the time because, like you said, people will say to us I don't think I could be in business with my partner because I'd have to kill them if we were together all the time. And I have two things that come to mind for how Monica and I make it work. The first is exactly what you said Instead of focusing on the differences as weaknesses, recognize that your differences can be strengths and learn how to make them strengths, like in our relationship.

Speaker 3:

I'm definitely more of an integrator. Monica is a visionary. She has a lot of the big ideas and I figure out how to make them happen, and that works really, really well for the two of us. So, finding out what works for you and what each partner is good at, what they're both naturally good at, what they're both more interested in doing. So, if you're going into business, like, does one person want to handle the finances more than the other, let them. Does the other person want to handle client relationships, let them. So that's definitely one big piece of advice, and the other would be to always have the most generous default assumption. I feel like a lot of times when something goes wrong, if your partner does something or doesn't do something that you ask them to, a lot of times we jump to kind of worst case scenario oh, they didn't take out the trash, even though I asked them to.

Speaker 3:

They must be, you know they do it on purpose, they're out to get me, or oh, they said this, they, you know, whatever. And I think, instead of that being the default, if you make it the most generous thing you can think of, oh, I wonder if they didn't take out the trash because they're having a hard day, or maybe they just literally, they just forgot. Or you know, if you, if you go into those situations thinking not oh, they're out to get me, but oh, they, you know, maybe they need help with this, that's been really helpful for me to just be generous in what we're assuming about the other person.

Speaker 5:

I love that. That's very powerful, thank you.

Speaker 4:

And I guess that's a principle you can take in life, isn't it? Not just in a relationship? Yeah, so that's a very powerful principle. Tell us what your business looks like today in Columbia, and, helen, have you been in Columbia, by the way?

Speaker 3:

We've been in Columbia about two months. We have about one month more until we head out. So today we are doing primarily coaching. It's funny, we have a little bit of like residual projects from every past iteration of our business. So we still have a web design client, we still have VA client, but primarily what we do now is coaching. Normally it's kind of small business coaching.

Speaker 3:

Helping people who were in our shoes, where we were a couple of years ago, is who we really like to help. People who feel like they're stuck, feel like they want a big change in their life. They want to be able to find work online so that they can travel more. Not just travel Just if you want more freedom in your life, more space in your life to do whatever it is that lights you up, whatever it is that you enjoy doing, whether that's traveling, whether that's more time with family, any hobbies that you have. We want to be able to help people figure out how to make that work. So we coach them on how to start up the business and it's kind of one part business strategy, one part mindset and helping them figure out how to fit all the pieces of their life together.

Speaker 5:

I imagine there would be a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be a digital nomad. And what are they? How do you dress those?

Speaker 1:

There are so many. This is one that really, like me, I can't see it fired up. One of the biggest ones, I think that you see, is that a nomad is somebody who sits on a beach and drinks a coconut. All the time that's like on social media that's kind of oversold, but that's actually not true. Digital nomads are some of the hardest working people I know, because they're craving this lifestyle so much that they'll do anything to not let it go. The biggest way that I feel like we have been trying to address these misconceptions, I guess, is by giving voices to other people through our platforms. We have a podcast of our own. We have a Facebook community for people who are wanting to be digital nomads. We do a lot of kind of one-up workshops in our group. We do a lot of. We just had a podcast episode.

Speaker 1:

Community events yeah, a lot of community events. We just had a podcast episode come out where we had a ton of people send in little voice clips about what it was like to travel and why they like to travel. We've really worked hard to create a community aspect where you can go and find like-minded people who aren't necessarily just looking to spend more time on the beach.

Speaker 4:

I love that. Tell us what a typical day looks like for you guys, From morning to night. What does that look like for someone who thinks that it's on the beach drinking pinnacle others?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, my favorite way to explain being a digital nomad is that we live very boring lives in very exciting places. Mostly, we have set up our lives so that Monday through Friday, our business days, we work. During those days, for the most part, we'll go to the gym in the morning. We'll come up with some work. The difference is that we can take breaks whenever we want. We'll go hike a mountain, we'll go hang out at the pool, we'll go. If there's a local event or event or anything like that that we want to go to, we can make that happen. We do. Sometimes we'll take some half days or maybe a full day to go explore the city. Then weekends we are exploring hard on the weekends, for sure.

Speaker 3:

I think most digital nomads that I know still work roughly 40 hours a week. You have the flexibility to adjust your schedule as you need. Like Monica said, if there's things you want to go to, if you need a break during the day, you have that chance to shift and mold it to fit your life and to fit your day to day best. That's basically what our day to day looks like is working during the week and then exploring hard weekends and afternoons.

Speaker 4:

How many have you kept count of? How many cities and countries so far?

Speaker 3:

I think Colombia is our 11th country. For the most part, we stay in one city when we go to a country and travel from that city. I know a lot of digital nomads tend to do is if they spend three months in a country, they'll spend one month in a city. They'll end up staying in three different cities. We tend to stay that whole time in one city because we like getting to know it a little bit more. I think we're on country 11.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I think that's a little bit different in a serial to digital nomad. We're like the average digital nomad because we really like to stay in a place for a long time. Our sweet spot is about one to three months in a specific city that we're just really getting to know and integrating in.

Speaker 3:

That's a long time for digital nomads.

Speaker 5:

I can imagine you would pick up a lot of different cultures or different languages. Have you managed to learn any different languages during that time?

Speaker 3:

We learn phrases, mostly Phrases and words. We do our best to learn really polite greetings. We typically don't stay anywhere long enough to really learn the language super well. Luckily, we both speak Spanish fluently, so that's helped with a lot of the countries that we've gone to. For example, when we were in Southeast Asia we were in Thailand and Cambodia we just learned a couple of phrases to say hello, how are you? Things like that.

Speaker 4:

What does living arrangements look like? Are we hostels, Airbnb? What does that look like? Are you going to an RV and just around sleeping in the back?

Speaker 3:

One day Monica wants to do that.

Speaker 1:

I haven't come in Sydney yet. I'm still working on it.

Speaker 3:

I don't know about living in an RV, but maybe we'll see. Right now it's Airbnb. It's the easiest for us. Surprisingly, it's a little bit controversial staying at Airbnb, but that's been the easiest for us. It's reliable. We know there's some good security measures there and we know, because there's a third party involved, that something happens we can get our money back and things like that. It's just convenient. We've always used Airbnb when we booked housing.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes we will take day trips out or a couple of weekend trips or something like that. Then we're more like you, stay in hostels as a couple. Hostels are a little bit hard. When we're looking for our long-term living arrangement, airbnb has been our best bet.

Speaker 4:

Awesome. What has been the standout country? You probably don't have the same. I'm open to you speaking what's been the best experience out of all of this. I've got a bit of a problem, oh, with us.

Speaker 3:

I have two that standout and it's hard for me to choose between the two of these. I have absolutely loved Thailand. We stayed in Chiang Mai and Thailand was so great for so many reasons. It was cheap, so we saved a lot of money living in Thailand. Culturally, it was different than any place we'd ever been, so it was such a different experience to be able to be.

Speaker 3:

All the other places we've traveled to have either been Latin American countries or mainly Christian countries. To be somewhere where it's 95% Buddhist and their belief systems are quite different than ours in Western cultures was a lot of fun to be able to see that. The food scene was amazing. We met a lot of other travelers and made some good friends while we were living there. That one stands out in my mind. The other one for me is Guatemala. We've gone on several humanitarian trips to Guatemala. We have a lot of really good friends there and families that we've formed really tight bonds with. We were in close to Lake Atidlan, so up in the highlands the scenery there is absolutely stunning For the people and the beauty there. Guatemala is really high on my list.

Speaker 3:

Monica how do you like we're?

Speaker 1:

all in good places. It's so hard to choose. To choose something a little bit different, I would say. Actually, it's a place that I went by myself. I hadn't met Austin yet. It was my first out of the country experience and that was in Peru. I really found myself in Peru. I met so many wonderful people. I'm actually taking Austin back to Peru in January. We're going. One of the girls that I lived with down there in Peru is she's from Peru and she's taking up a bunch of time. She's been saving for over a year so that we can travel together and spend some time together. I just Peru is. I could just go on all day about the magnificence.

Speaker 5:

Is that the work of the case of Peru?

Speaker 1:

I love Peru. That's beautiful.

Speaker 4:

Austin, you made a very. You skim past this, but it piques my interest. I'm going to dive deep. You're giving back because you said you're doing humanitarian. Not only are you experiencing the country, you're also giving back. I think that's really commendable and honorable. Tell us a bit more about some of the humanitarian projects you've been involved in. How does that fulfill you as a couple?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, thanks. Thank you for that. I think we have been involved in this organization called Humanitized Expeditions since, actually, that was the first international trip we went on together In 2018, when we were engaged. We left on this trip. We were interpreters for a medical team who went down to Guatemala for about 10 days. We thought it was going to be a once in a lifetime trip and then we ended up going back every year for five or six years. It's so beautiful. That was such an incredible experience because we were medical interpreters for the first trip. But then every trip we went on was a little bit different. We went on some education teams, we went on some physical therapy teams.

Speaker 3:

Then a sister organization to Humanitize Expeditions is this other group called BECCA. Their primary focus is to provide education scholarships to students. That's been something that's really been important to us. We've seen how different people's lives are when they have an education. It's been really important for us to be a part of something that can provide education opportunities to people who otherwise wouldn't have it. We've been a part of those organizations for a few years now. It's been life-changing. What do you want to add to that?

Speaker 1:

I was not expecting to go in this direction. It's a very emotional subject for me. I love providing educational opportunities for kids. That is such a powerful thing. It is such a good way to make every place we're in a better place. I know there's a lot of controversy about whether or not you should help people on the streets or give to the kids who are selling in the streets and things like that. I am just such a big believer that the one place you can always, always, always make a difference, the one thing that's going to keep on giving for generations, is education. Thank you.

Speaker 4:

Thank you, and thank you for opening your heart and being so vulnerable in that, looking in about five to 10 years, when you have a family and little kids of your own, if you choose to do that and feel free not to answer the question if it's too personal Is this a lifestyle? You'll continue.

Speaker 1:

We are open bucks. There is no such thing as a question that's too personal. We are very much into oversharing. So we do want to have a family someday and we will create that family through adoption and I think through that process we will have to have a home base for the adoption process to kind of go through and we kind of just agree on this a little bit. But we're coming around to it. I would love to travel the way we do for the rest of my life. I absolutely love it. We're also in craves a little bit more stability than I do. So I think when it comes down to having kids, we'll probably have a home base we're at for six months of the year, nine months of the year, and then we're traveling the rest of the time. But I mean, I think one of the fun things about this lifestyle is that we don't know after the intro we don't know what's going to happen.

Speaker 1:

It could be anything.

Speaker 3:

We want to make sure that our kids have an experience to travel a lot, whether it's as much as we do now or not. We always want to maintain travel and culture experiences a valuable like a foundational part of our family. We want to make sure that our kids have an experience, have the experience to travel the world to meet other people from different cultures, to see people who are different from them. Because of how much this changed us and how much it means to us, we want to instill that same thing in them.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, I love that.

Speaker 4:

Austin, I want to ask you a question Because I'm very like I can identify more with what you're saying and things like that, whereas it comes to the control right and when it comes to the structure, like your lifestyle is something that a lot of people would love. But I'm the type of person that loves to be in control, knows to know what's happening when it's happening, everything, and it seems to me a little bit like that for you as well. How do you, how does spontaneity play into that? Because I'm not a spontaneous person. I need to be very in control and I need everything planned. But the lifestyle, Monica, you seem very spontaneous and I love that. So, Austin, how have you worked around that for you, with that element of?

Speaker 3:

control. Yeah, that's an interesting question Sorry.

Speaker 3:

I think for me, I definitely identify with those aspects of wanting to have things figured out and kind of know what's coming down the road, being prepared for those things.

Speaker 3:

I've always thought of myself as spontaneous, but I think I'm starting to wonder if that's why spontaneity is like the small thing, to like taking a weekend trip or head to the beach when you were planning on it, but big life things for me.

Speaker 3:

I think I've identified recently that one of my biggest values is helping Monica live her dreams and I know that Monica is an incredibly spontaneous, free-spirited person, like we brought up before in this podcast. If it weren't for Monica, honestly I don't think I would have started a business and I think I can honestly say I wouldn't be living the lifestyle I am now and I've grown to love it and I love the way that we're living. But it's because of Monica and it's because of her value, my value in her being able to live her dreams and express that free spirit and be able to travel across the world. I think that's changed me and made me a more spontaneous person, because the more you live with someone else, the more you take on qualities of that person. So I've definitely taken on a lot of that from Monica, so I think that answers your question.

Speaker 1:

The trend to make me cry on this podcast. That's what it feels like. I feel like I'm being ganged up on here.

Speaker 4:

Sorry, monica, gang up, you guys are just beautiful and that heart space is just so, so beautiful. Well, monica, we'll try not to make you cry, so we'll ask you the final questions.

Speaker 5:

And the first one is what advice would you both give to someone who wanted to start to rewrite their life story?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so I had a hard time choosing between two, so I might give two pieces of advice here. My first one that's been really helpful for me is just realizing that it's okay to change your mind, and I see this playing out in two different ways. The first way is if you've been living one way your whole life and now you want to make a change, I feel like a lot of times there's a there's big resistance to that change, whether you've been I don't know you've been in one industry for 10 years, or maybe you just graduated college with a degree that you no longer want to use. We've seen both of those scenarios, and in lots of different ways, and people feel like they've been on one track their whole life and so they can't make a pivot. But that's okay.

Speaker 3:

Like, honestly, it's okay to change your mind. If you wanted to become a nurse and you went to nursing school and you've been a nurse for five years and now you don't want to do that anymore, that's okay, and there's nothing wrong with changing your life direction at that point. The other way I see that playing out is I see this a lot more in online business you start doing one thing, you start providing one service and you realize that that's not what you want to do. Maybe you've been a web designer for a year, maybe you've been a VA for a year and now you want to do something else. It's okay to change your mind. It's okay to have gone down one path and realized that's not actually the path you wanted, even though you thought it was and to make a pivot. So just allowing yourself to change your mind and realizing how okay that is has been an incredibly helpful thing for me.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, that's really powerful. Looks like you wanted to say something. Add to that, monica.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, actually mine just played really well into that, and I think my biggest advice would be to spend some time to get to know where you want to go, what are your values. I think so often we're kind of put on this fast track to success. We're like kind of sold. Okay, like go to school and you go to college and then you get a master's degree or whatever. Then you get a job, then you have a family and then you buy a house and then all of a sudden you're in your 30s or 40s and you've never stopped to ask what even are my values and where do I want to go with my life? And so if you take the time to know who you want to become, what kind of life you want to be living, what the destination is, then you can always be asking yourself along the way is this taking me there? If not, how can I pivot, how can I adjust? How can I get back on the right path to get there?

Speaker 5:

I love that. I know with some of these kind of changes there would be a lot of naysayers, people that don't quite understand the change or the shift from one place to another. How do you get around that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love this question because most of the time the negative comments that you get come from a place of love, like they just genuinely want what's best for you and they've never seen anybody do anything like what you're doing. Or they themselves feel they're not living their best life or their best degree and that it's painful for them because they're watching you do it. And so I think if we always kind of have that in mind, like either they're hurting or they're scared for us, and then you can approach it in such a different way, with such a different loving attitude towards them, for the most part, people have been really really supportive in our lives. I do think it helps that we went from being gone for two years in the Peace Board to, oh, we're only going to like just be traveling and we'll have better communication and things. I do think that it was kind of like the door in the face approach for a lot of our family members.

Speaker 1:

But those who have been really nervous about us like just genuinely coming to them and being like, hey, like I love and respect you, we have a plan, we're okay, it's going to be okay, and then just going and living our lives. And the coolest thing happens when you do that, and it's that you give permission for everyone around you to start evaluating what their hopes and dreams are and start making changes in their lives and start striving to live their best version of themselves as well, to change their life. To do not a lot of our friends and family have become digital nomads, but because we took such a drastic step in our lives, a lot of them have told us like, hey, because you're doing this and you love it and you look so happy. It made me realize that I'm not happy in my life and I'm making changes now.

Speaker 2:

That's amazing, that's so much of a fear of that, and it's really powerful.

Speaker 5:

So the final question for this evening is if you could go back and rewrite your own life stories now, what would that look like?

Speaker 1:

This is a hard question to answer, because I feel like we are constantly rewriting our story. Every time we move to a new place. I feel like we have a fresh slate to start over. Um, if we could rewrite it now.

Speaker 1:

The one thing that I I don't know if this quite answers this question the one thing that I am working towards that I would love to incorporate more into our business is just more of that community aspect when it comes to travel. I would love to bring people with me on our travels. Um, I love introducing people to new places. Um, Austin's mom is a little bit of a homebody a lot of it, of a whole lot, Um, and so we convinced her to come visit us when we were living in Guatemala, and it was. It was a big deal. She was really nervous, but it was so fun to cater the trip to her and just watch her start to fall in love with the people and the place that we already loved so much, and so I would love to rewrite my life, I guess, a little bit, in that direction. That's something I'm actively working towards to create more of that community feel and to provide more of those group travel type opportunities.

Speaker 3:

We, when we started our business journey, um, we kind of felt like we like doing it all on our own.

Speaker 3:

Um, to some degree, we were very disconnected. Actually, to a big degree, we were very disconnected from our clients. Uh, we actually kind of taught that, um, you know, if your clients could, could waver magic wand and get the service without you involved, they would as what we were told, and so we tried to stay disconnected from people. Um, and I mean, we've been really, really intentional about making that shift in the past couple months, um, towards more of a community focus, being a lot more involved with, um, with people in our audience, whether they're clients or not, whether they are going to become clients or not, just people who are interested in being in our world and engaging conversations with us, and that's made a huge difference, um, both in how happy we are and in how much our business has grown. And so, like I agree, I think that would be a big part of of what we would change from the get go If we were to go back and rewrite extra right now.

Speaker 5:

Well, it's just so beautiful. We really love what you guys bring to the table. And the last, I guess, for me one last question is any clients come to Australia?

Speaker 3:

Yes, I'm a little bit scared about all the animals that want to come to me there, but I would love to go to Australia, yeah.

Speaker 1:

My brother lived in Australia for a couple of years and I'm trying to work on like condensate to take us back, but I don't know if that'll happen, but we would love. What part of Australia are you guys in?

Speaker 4:

We're in.

Speaker 1:

Sydney, in Sydney. Okay, we can make that work, oh yeah.

Speaker 4:

So make sure we'll make it there some time. Make sure when you come to Australia you look us up. No, for sure I'll come and pick you up from the airport.

Speaker 1:

Okay, Okay.

Speaker 4:

Austin and Monica. It has been an absolute pleasure having you on our show today, and if you want to know more about Austin and Monica and what they do and follow their journey around the world and just get inspired by their story and the different areas that they're going, please check out the notes on this podcast and you'll have all their socials and websites as well. Austin and Monica, thank you again.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for having us. This was a really good conversation.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's been such a pleasure. You guys we appreciate it. Thanks so much for joining us here on the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. We appreciate you listening to us today.

Speaker 1:

If you enjoyed this episode, share it on Instagram and be sure to tag us. At Austin and Monica, together, we can inspire others to embrace a location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 3:

And while you're there, we'd love to connect with you, so make sure you follow us for more tips and inspiration on living your dream location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 1:

Until next week. Remember that you have the power to shape your own path. So stay curious, stay adventures and stay connected.

Building a Location Independent Lifestyle
Transitioning to Digital Nomad Life
The Importance of Niche-Specific Online Education
Discover Values for Successful Relationships
Digital Nomad Misconceptions and Giving Back
Lifestyle, Spontaneity, and Changing Paths
Embrace Change, Live Purposefully