Wednesday, May 15

Five Days, Five Jobs

So, I realized today that it might be fun to have a different job every day of the week. Now, all you nay-sayers and party poopers, just stay with me for a moment.

You could have five different jobs, one for each day of the week, and if you have four friends who have the same interests and skills, and five amenable companies, you guys could be a team and rotate jobs! Imagine the fulfillment and intellectual challenge and cross-job enrichment! The brain juice! The happiness level would skyrocket!

Here's what I might design:

Day One: florist, chef, gardener, farmer, animal caretaker

Sell farm veggies. WWOOF or work on a local farm. Animal care at shelter or private. Chef/cafe.

Day Two: ESL teacher, nanny, daycare provider or adventure provider.

Tutor/teach mini courses on variety of topics. Part-time childcare or music classes.

Day Three: Travel consultant, planner, reader, learner, languages.

Travel planning for others. Reviewing travel locales. Attend lectures. Translate.

Day Four: Multimedia installation artist. Calligraphy. Music. Filmmaker, writer.

Installation commissions. Etsy, calligraphy, crafts, import/export. Sell writing. Make music.

Day Five: Volunteer, nonprofit, manual labour, learn a new skill, active kindness.

Charity volunteer work. Barter/trade to learn a skill. Shadow interesting people. Freelance consult. Clear trails. Paint. Help people move.

Whaddya think? Anyone want to have a five-way with me??

Wednesday, May 8


Regular Costs:
  • Monthly loan payments: $300
  • Rent + utilities: $400
  • Food: $100
  • Entertainment/adventure/leisure: $50
  • Savings: $100
  • Business costs (website maintenance, advertising, travel, etc.): ?? $50 ??
TOTAL: $950
(*note: I acknowledge that if necessary, I could cut out adventure/entertainment, savings, and shave some off the food budget: perhaps subtracting 50+100+25= 175, or $775)

To Acquire Before Leaving:

  • MacBook Pro: $1,269
  • Digital camera: $3,000
  • Unlocked iPhone & local SIM card: $450
  • $5,000 to open account with First Republic Bank in California - awesome for travelers!
  • 3 months buffer to cover first three months of relocation without needing to full-time work

TOTAL: $12,569

Yeesh!!!  That's a little absurd, no?

I could move abroad tomorrow, with no laptop (I have an iPad and keyboard), no digital camera, no fancy phone (buy a cheap local on arrival), no fancy bank account with no fees (keep my current account and pay hefty fees for international transactions and withdrawals), and no buffer. 

I think there's probably a nice middle ground to be found. I just wanted to give you a sense of what my 'ideal', 'safe', 'high-town-and-fancy-to-do' vision of being a freelancer abroad looks like. 

And then we'll see how I actually make this happen. 

Because there's NO WAY IN HELL that I'm waiting until I have $12,000 saved up to move. And you shouldn't either. 

Ideas for Staying Alive Cheaply and Comfortably


    • GOOD: learn a skill, meet cool people, engage in community, guaranteed bed
    • BAD: lack of solitude, daily grunt work requirement, too much routine
  • Couchsurfing
    • GOOD: meet local friends, stay in better homes than I could normally afford 
    • BAD: no privacy, accountable to someone else's schedule, can't have all my things
  • Hostels
    • GOOD: meet other travelers, in-the-know info for local sights and spots, cheap
    • BAD: no privacy, no space for my things, security, sharing facilities, tourist vibe
  • AirBNB
    • GOOD: usually a well-maintained space, solitude, room for things, guaranteed bed
    • BAD: someone else owns the space, no help with transport or questions
  • Local rental unit
    • GOOD: landlord to help, legal contract, I 'own' the space, solitude, room for things
    • BAD: no forced interaction with community, tied to a lease
  • Friend/Smithie network
    • GOOD: free or cheap, seeing my favorite/new favorite people, very short-term
    • BAD: no privacy, accountable to their schedules, no space for things
  • Busking
    • GOOD: unique show could pay for daily food in right areas/set list, no obligation to work
    • BAD: various laws about busking, not skilled enough on instruments, no guarantee
  • Translating: eLance, oDesk, Pandora Language Services
    • GOOD: choose my own work schedule, get to work on language skills, marketable later
    • BAD: no guarantee of work, have to develop own business, language skills need work
  • Hostel work
    • GOOD: can be insular and stay in hostel and work for my keep to get established, easy
    • BAD: on a schedule, must clean other people's mess and be around hostel vibe, no place to escape to, living and working in the same place can be tricky
  • Import/export
    • GOOD: enjoyable work, make local connections, art daily
    • BAD: business management is not my strong point, or enjoyable, trick laws for exporting
  • English teacher
    • GOOD: guaranteed income, easy work for me, better pay than other local jobs?
    • BAD: regular schedule, no room for spontaneity
  • PT childcare for expat community or hotel
    • GOOD: maybe flexible work schedule? easy work, high pay for expat or tourist parents
    • BAD: maybe regular work schedule? all-day childcare doesn't inspire as much as art
  • Blogger: advertising
    • GOOD: easy money AFTER everything is established, make connections with bloggers, etc.
    • BAD: feelings of being tied to computer, don't connect to real local community, business know-how
  • Music tutor for expat community or local school
    • GOOD: make music all day, higher pay than other posible jobs, 
    • BAD: regular schedule, not actually music, just ESL music/childcare
  • Travel consulting
    • GOOD: travel for work, make connections, earn lots of money, flexible schedule + vacay
    • BAD: lots of up front work to make connections, pressure to conform to industry norms
  • Installation art commissions
    • GOOD: thrilling work, creative every day, high pay, publicity, connect with creatives and support good causes
    • BAD: pressure to produce would mess with creativity, hard to get materials, connect with community when abroad