The number of pomodoros I will need when I start the Pomodoro Technique

Today's task in the 30 Day Blog Challenge is to examine the "4 Key Areas to Master to Truly Enjoy Being Location Independent." The 4 key areas are; productivity, staying healthy, keeping up with clients, and keeping in touch with your network. So our question is:

"What skills do you need to build or refine to be a happy Suitcase Entrepreneur?"


The very first area I need to build on is productivity. I can find all sorts of excuses not to get down to work, and I know I spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter, as well as reading the day's news in various forms. I have been investigating the Pomodoro Technique that Natalie suggested in her article today, and I can see that is the way to go. I have a kitchen timer that I can press into use. This seems to me an excellent idea to help me focus.

I also found an app called Freedom that stops you from accessing the Internet while you have work to do. You just turn Freedom on, tell it how long you want to focus, and you are offline until your time is up.

Staying Healthy

For a while now, I have been sitting on an exercise ball when working at the computer. It has really helped in making me sit up straight, and enables me to fidget,, and sometimes bounce up and down (which is good for my blood flow). Also, when I sit in a chair for too long, it often hurts the backs of my legs. But now I have a new way of working. I put my computer on a box, and my mouse on a lower box, so that I can stand up while I work. If I am listening to a podcast, I also march up and down on the spot. All this helps me feel so much better and fitter.

The keeping up with clients, and networking, really do not apply to my yet, as I don't have my business up and running. However, I do find Linkedin and Facebook really useful for keeping up with friends, relatives, and like minded people, especially for letting them know when I will be in a different location. Although it doesn't always have the desired effect. As one friend remarked when I put as my Facebook status I was leaving for Crete said, "I'd be more impressed if you were staying in one place for a couple of months!" I just can't help travelling!


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 24

One of my most favourite beaches in the world is the Koekohe Beach in New Zealand. 
It is the home of the mysterious Moeraki Boulders.

I can't believe we are already on to day 24 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. Our topic today is, "Where in the World Should You Travel, and What Should You Prepare For? Our blog question is, "What are your travel essentials for your chosen destination(s)?"

We were given the opportunity to answer in one of two ways: either list out the actual physical packing list of your most essential items you couldn't live without, or you could focus on the destination, and the essential elements you’d want it to have (like history, sunshine, etc.)

My Ultimate Destination.

I do have a vision of my ultimate decision in life. I would like to live in a apartment by the sea, with a swimming pool and gymnasium in the complex. Why an apartment, and not a villa or a house? Because, in an apartment, you can always lock up and go whenever the fancy takes you. No matter how old or infirm I will be, my instinct to travel will never leave me. A house would seem too permanent, too much responsibility.

The sea coast must be wild, and empty, with long, hot summers, and clean, vibrant air. And the sea, crystal clear, gently lapping the shore in summer, but with wild, lashing waves in winter. It would have to be near enough to civilization to have cutting edge WiFi connection, as I couldn't be without the Internet, but far enough away to deter too many day trippers.

I am working hard on making my dream a reality, and, given the direction my chidren seem to be gravitating, it is most likely to be in Australia.

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 23

Today's theme in the 30 Day Blog Challenge, is all about "The Key Qualities and Characteristics You will Need to be a Suitcase Entrepreneur". The question for today is, "What’s your level of location independence and your nomadic quotient?"

My levels of location independence and nomadic quotient are very high. When I think about it, I haven't really had a place to call my own home since I left for college, many, many years ago. My own family has been very lucky in its travels (see the previous post), as we have always arrived in a country, and been driven to the company apartment, which has been our home for the length of the contract. However, unlike many others in our situation, we have no home to go back to, always moving on to the next destination. So, for today's post, I would like to share with you what I believe are the key qualities and characteristics you need to follow a nomadic lifestyle, based on my own experiences.

Inner Happiness

Your most important asset when embarking on a nomadic lifestyle is inner happiness. You must have the ability to be happy everywhere, without thinking the next place will be better, or hankering after the place you just left. It's essential to be happy where you are, wherever that is.

You can't always be in control

You have to go with the flow, relax, and take what comes. You can't control every situation. When you travel, you are meeting other cultures, with other ideas from your own. What you think is acceptable or unacceptable, might not be the same as their's. Watch the locals, if they aren't concerned, you needn't be either. And always remember, a smile goes a long way.

Learn Some Words

If you learn nothing else, always learn to say please, thank you, and sorry, in whatever the language the locals speak. Those three words go a long way. Although, a little more effort will have you finding the bathroom, the shops, and the nearest restaurant.

De-clutter your life.

Although we do have some precious, irreplaceable family mementos in storage, we own nothing in the way of household goods. At the moment, living in Istanbul as we do, we don't even own a car, as taxis. and public transport are much easier than battling with the nightmare traffic. We tried, in the past, moving about with an ever growing pile of boxes as we traveled from country to country. Then we decided, "Enough! No more!", and threw everything out. It was a wonderful moment of release.

Carpe Diem

Seize the Day, every day. Look for every opportunity that presents itself. You never know when the next inspiration will strike. It could be a new acquaintance, a new business, a new country, or just a fun party; be open to everything, and you might be surprised where it leads. An essential part of this is the ability to meet people and quickly make contact. It's all very well being self-sufficient, and happy with your own company, but you must have the ability to reach out to other people too.

I must confess, I do have one dream of stability in my rootless life. I dream of a cupboard in each of my daughters' houses, where I can leave some clothes. My husband intends that when we leave Istanbul, we will leave as we arrived, with one suitcase each. That means an awful lot to get rid of before we move on again! I just don't know where it all came from!

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 22

These are all the places I have lived and worked in the world for any length of time, 
beginning in England.

We have entered the third, and final, stage of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. The title is, "How to become a pro at being homeless." This is definitely my area of expertise. The question we have to answer today is, 

"If you chose to live anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?"

Although I have been rattling around the world for a very long time, it may surprise everyone to know that I still cannot make that choice. It's similar to another question I am always asked, "Which country do you like the best?" I can't choose because I made my mind up many years ago, that to be truly happy, you have to love where you are, and make the most of the situation you are in. My mantra has always been, "Home is wherever I happen to be."

My situation is even more complex, because, although my husband and I are in Turkey, at the moment, I have one daughter living in Italy, one in South Africa, and one in Australia; although it does mean I get to travel - a lot! We are contemplating moving to Chiang Mai, in Thailand in the not-too-distant future, as that would be, more or less, equidistant from all three. We could move near to one or the other of them, but they all had a nomadic childhood, so there's no guarantee they won't suddenly up sticks and go elsewhere.

This year alone, I have been to Australia, Crete, Bulgaria, Italy (twice), and England, and we plan to go to South Africa in October, so settling for one country is very hard to do. I think I am going to have to fail today's challenge, as this is a question I cannot answer. I am happy with my nomadic life-style, and I don't want to have to stop; although, at my age, I'm going to have to finally decide one day.

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 21

My 'About Page' Version 2. (I think I've overdone the social media buttons.)

We've been given a day off from blogging on the 30 Day Blog Challenge, so I have spent the day tweaking my new website. I have been researching and installing some really cool plugins.

I have found the following:

Acurax Social Media Widget
All In One SEO Pack
Contact Form 7
E-MAILiT Social Media Sharing Widget
Google Analytics
Google Plus Authorship
Google XML Sitemaps
SEO Friendly Images
Wordpress Ping List

If you are designing your own Wordpress page, check out these essential add-ons to make your site more likely to be found by a search engine, and shared on social media.


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 20

This is an example of what I will put on my "About Me" page. The actual design might change, but I think this is the essence of what I will say. Any suggestions would be gratefully received (although not necessarily acted upon!)

Today, in the 30 Day Blog Challenge, Natalie named 7 of the resources she uses to build her business and asked us to choose just three that we would find most useful. Her question is, 

"State your top three tools that you will use (or already use) to save time and money 
and make your online world more seamless"

Here is Natalie's list:

1. Get Your Domain & Build Your Website on Hostgator

2. Build Your Audience List and Increase Your Sales With LeadPages

3. Sell Digital Products Online Quickly With e-Junkie

4. Start Selling Your Goods and Services Online with PayPal

5. Manage Your Social Media in One Place Easily With Hootsuite

6. Build Your Mailing List & Send Newsletters With MailChimp

7. Get Help From Professional Freelancers Online With Virtual Staff Finder

Numbers 1 and 4, I can dismiss straight away, as I already have a Hostgator account, a domain name, and I am in the middle of building my site. Added to which I already have a PayPal account, so a tick for all of these.

Number 5 is a little tricky, as I already have a Hootsuite account, and have had for some time. However, suddenly I was denied access and they claimed I didn't have an account. I decided to create a new account, and they said that I couldn't do that as I already had an account. However, I think I have managed to get back in again, but I don't know for how long!

That is already three of the seven out of they way, so I have four left to choose from. Probably I will use all four eventually, although perhaps getting help from professional freelancers is far in the future. So here is my list:

1 I have spent some time looking at the Leadpages site and I would definitely add some of their templates to my site eventually. I'm still in the middle of designing and building my new site, so  I will get to that when I can.

2 Another site I have investigated today is E-Junkie. This company helps with online sales. They offer some very useful tips, and I managed to download some interesting ebooks from their site, all to do with blogging. Once I have products to sell, I would definitely use this company to handle all my sales.

3 My third, must-have tool would be an email marketing service provider. I am torn between MailChimp and Aweber. MailChimp is tantalizing, as you can have a free account, although not with an autoresponder, which I think is essential if you want to automate the sending of a series of emails to your list. So that whenever people sign up, they always get the first email of the series. I need to look into this further before I commit.

Of course, all this in in the future. My first priority is to build my site, write content, and make it live. Watch this space, and I will let you know my launch date.

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 19

One way I will build my platform will be using social media

The question in today's 30 Day Blog Challenge is quite difficult when you can't imagine that anyone would be remotely interested in what you have to offer, but I will have a go anyway!

"Which methods do you want to use to build your platform and increase your influence?"

A Leading Learner

My first method would be to make myself a 'Leading Learner'. I have never stopped learning about all sorts of things related to my blog focus, and I would like to take others on my journey of discovery. This would give me lots of topics to write about, such as travel, photography, and health. I have a lifetime's experience of living and working in different countries around the world, so I can speak from experience too.

Build a Platform

When we talk about 'building a platform' on the Internet, we mean how do we intend to connect with existing and potential followers. How can we make ourselves visible, so we stand out from the millions of other bloggers out there?

Social media is the first thing that comes to mind. I would ensure that I was the face of my brand, and easily recognizable on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, YouTube, and Pinterest, due to my active involvement on all these platforms.

Eventually, I'd like to try public speaking, and reaching out to press organizations. But that is probably a long way down the line, as I am still building my site, and my vision.

This is all so amazing. I would never have got this far if it hadn't been for Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur. What an inspiration she has been for me. I've been thinking about having a more professional blog for a long time, but I've been dithering about how to actually get started. Natalie was the spur.

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 18

Cookies work with web browsers, so sites can remember you and your preferences. 
For example, if you search for travel, you will see travel ads popping up.

In today's 30 Day Blog Challenge, we get down to how to make money with a blog. One way is to use affiliate marketing. So the question is, "What does your dream sales team look like and how will you ensure they help you build your business?"

Basically, affiliate marketing is when you advertise someone else's product, by writing an article or review about it, with a link to their page. When your customer goes to their page and takes some sort of action, you would earn a commission. In this way, you become part of their sales team, as you are advertising their product.

However, it is important to maintain the trust of your tribe, by only advertising products you know and trust yourself, otherwise you can lose your followers, as they will lose their faith in you.

As my website will be about helping retirees to enjoy life, and make enough money to supplement their pension, my dream sales team would be the ones who will promote my products as I promote theirs. I would be looking at affiliates in health, travel, and small businesses that can be run location independently. Added to this would be affiliates who can help those interested in setting up their own blogs, like Natalie, The Suitcase Entrepreneur.

I am slowly building my new website, one brick at a time. Maybe I can make this vision my reality. I do hope so.

30 day challenge

30 Day Blog challenge, Day 17

There is no point building up an amazing website, writing perfect copy, and giving away valuable content, if no one visits your site. It's important to have people wanting to engage with you, and keep coming back to see what you have to say next. So today's important topic on the 30 Day Blog Challenge is, "What three steps can you take to build trust and credibility online for you, your brand and your business?"

1 Be the Brand

It is important that you sell yourself as a person who has valuable information, and is honest and straight forward in dealings with your emerging tribe. Wherever you are seen on your blog, or social media platforms, you must be easily recognized. Your photo and videos should be everywhere, showing that you are the human face behind the business. So much so, that if you were to attend the World Domination Summit, people would come up to you and say, "Aren't you the (put you brand name here)?

2 Respond

Whenever you have someone contact you, on the blog or on through social media, answer them immediately. Try to keep them engaged and show that you care about them. In this way you start a conversation that they will want to continue. This is especially true on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, where you can reach an even greater audience.

3 Be Consistent

Post regularly, and don't miss any planned events on your blog. In this way, people will come to know that you are reliable. Also your posts must be well  thought out, and to your best standard. Any hastily uploaded content, can damage your credibility.

These are my three main focus points for building trust. Can you think of others that are just as important that I might have missed?


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 16

Today, in our preparation for the 30 Day Blog Challenge, we learned about , "Why You Should Hire for Growth and Your Long Term Vision." This means that in order to build a business that can grow, it is important to outsource all those tasks that are time consuming, and prevent you from focusing on your core business. Which leads to today's question:

"How will you build a team around your vision and work smart instead of hard?"

One of the main benefits of outsourcing is the ability to hire experts to solve a particular task like research, website optimisation, editing podcasts and videos, or handling emails, as and when you need them to. I will certainly work towards this, but I doubt if I am anywhere near the stage of having to hire anyone (although, as I have mentioned in a previous blog, I do have some family members in mind!).

In my life's vision, however, I have an IT guru to manage my blog, researchers to find the information I seek, a video and podcast editor, plus a virtual assistant to help keep me organised. One can only dream!

I will keep in mind the words of Henry ford, of the Ford Motor Company when I build my team, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. "

30 day challenge

30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 15

Today marks the halfway point of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, and the question today is, 
"How are you building your email list?"

We've come a long way from the time when direct mailing was the only way to market a product. Today, it's much easier to reach out to people using email. But just randomly emailing the world is seen as spam, and a big no no if you want your clients to take you seriously. This is why it is so important to have the "opt in" widget prominently displayed on your page. This is where people ask to receive your newsletter, and so your email list is born.

I am nowhere near ready to begin an email list for my new blog, as I still have to write some compelling content to make people want to sign up in the first place! My plan is to build up a sequence of email newsletters, and send them, once a week, to my list using an auto-responder, probably Aweber.

The purpose of my email newsletters would be to engage with my readers, and motivate them towards achieving a fulfilling retirement. At first, I would give free information, and perhaps a free eBook, to entice them into reading my blog regularly. Eventually I would want them to respond to my call for action, and buy my eBooks or coaching services, or click on affiliate links.

As you can see, there is much to do before I can implement any of this. What do you think? Is this the way forward?

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 14

So here is today's question on Natalie Sisson's 30 Day Blog Challenge, "What are two key ways you could use the habits of a millionaire to monetize your blog in the next month?"

To enable us to find out about the habits of Millionaires, we listened to a podcast interview between Natalie and Jamie Tardy of Eventual Millionaire. She makes a living by interviewing people who have made serious money, and sharing the secrets of their success. The podcast made fascinating listening, and made me realise how I could become an 'eventual millionaire' myself.

The two main points I gleaned today were: Millionaires make money through hard work, making the most of every opportunity that comes their way, and providing a service to their clients. So the two key ways I can use these are:

Hard Work

Nothing comes easy in life. Forget all those offers of making millions over night with a magic formula. You need a commitment to your cause to ensure a continuous forward motion towards your goal. This attitude will help me build my blog and make regular posts to ensure my clients will keep coming back.

Provide a Service

Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company said, “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large." He built his empire on people's need for cars. I will build my empire on the older generation's need to make a new beginning after years of work, and enjoy life, wherever they want, while generating the funds to do it.

However, I also discovered a third way that can help me to monetise my blog. Maximise all opportunities that come your way. "Ask and you shall receive. Knock and it will be opened unto you." For me, this translates into putting myself out there and talking to people. Telling them about what I do and how I can help, and maybe see if they can help me. Who knows what a simple idea from someone else can spark. I wouldn't be doing this now, if Natalie hadn't thrown out her challenge.

 30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 13

So here is our conundrum for today in the 30 Day Blog Challenge!
"What three things would you most like your website to have 
and how will you go about getting them?"

This question in the 30 Day Blog Challenge has come at just the right time for me. At this moment I am in the middle of designing my new, more professional website on Wordpress.org. I must confess that I struggled with its beginnings. It has taken me two days to sign up to Hostgator and choose a webpage template that I think I can work with. Now I am researching plugins and widgets. My problem is that I have to check numerous articles on the best ones to install. This is not a necessity, checking numerous articles that is, but my typically endless search for information! I think this is the reason I have waited so long to make the leap from amateur to professional blogging. I have saved hundreds of webpages, and signed up to gazillions of eBooks, in my quest to find the perfect answer to all my questions. The answer so far might just as well be 42! Only Natalie has provided the spur I needed to take action.

The Three Things My Website Must Have

1  There must be many others like me out there, who keep searching and searching, but never take that first step. So the most important item on my new blog must be a call to action. Something that makes them say, "Yes, I'm going to do this!" Just like I did with Natalie's challenge.

2  I will have a strong, attractive design, as it will make people want to stay and explore my site.

3  An inspirational message at the head of my blog, that resonates with the type of people I am going to target.

Can I do it? Yes, I can!

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 12


Photography makes me happy

A difficult question in today's 30 Day Blog Challenge, involves putting one's self out there, and highlighting why you think you are special enough to succeed in the global market. We are asked, "What is your USP, Unique Special Proposition, that sets you apart from the crowd?"

What are you better at than anyone else?

My strength lies in being happy, and making those around me laugh.  I am a 70 year-old woman who thinks that 70 is a ridiculous number, so I just ignore it, and carry on regardless. I love life, and I am forever throwing myself into all sort of situations and activities that many women of my age, and younger, raise their eyebrows at. Fortunately, I have no time for their negativity and just continue on my own path!

What do you enjoy doing the most?

I travel a lot, and enjoy connecting with people through activity, and adventure. When I retired, I decided I had to find something to do with my life, so I bought a camera, and went on residential photography workshops; one in Seville, Spain; one in Venice, Italy; and one in Paris, France. I kept all my friends and relatives up to date with my journeys through my personal blog. Now I am a stock photographer, and my work is selling!

What do (or could) you provide that no one else is providing?

I could be an example to other older people, and show them that retirement is a new beginning, rather than an end. And help them to love their life, and perhaps make some money to support it.

What annoys people the most about your industry or blog area?

I think the thing that annoys people about trying to get them to find a new purpose in life, is that many bloggers reaching out to retirees try to make their clients jump too soon, so when they reach the first hurdle they give up. "I don't want to be told I need a passion!", is the remark I hear the most, usually from a grumpy old man! So perhaps a less in-your-face, and a more gradual persuasion is needed to help older people find their happiness.

What is remarkable about you?

I don't think I am particularly remarkable, but I love life and adventure, and I want to share that with others.

Do you have an unusual combination of elements?

My unusual combination of elements lie in my youthful outlook on life, while piling on the years, and the fact that I have been nomadic for most of my working life. To me, age really is just a number, so, although I technically fall into the geriatric age group, the very thought of that makes me laugh so much that I include the term in my blog name.

Do you have a big personality?

Oh, yes! I am often too loud, and I make facetious comments, that people really shouldn't take too seriously. I also have a tendency to organise people, as a result of 40 years in education!

I am unique and different because I provide living proof that a nomadic lifestyle is possible at any age. No one else will provide exactly what I can, because they haven't had my life experience.

Ultimately, we are all unique individuals making our own journey in life. But, if you think of all the glitterati out there, famous for their beauty, their money, their style, or just because they are famous for being famous, it's hard to imagine that anyone can pop up from nowhere, and become a well-known blogging personality. But I am going to try.

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 11

I took this photo today. It shows the Nuruosmaniye Mosque, in Istanbul, 
and the roofs of the Grand Bazaar, where James Bond was chased on a motorcycle in
his latest film. It inspires me to take a chance, like James Bond!

Our task for today in the 30 Day Blog Challenge, is to determine, 
"Which business model is best for you, 
and what one revenue stream is most feasible?"

I am a photographer, and when I look at my life, I realise that, although I intend to have a more professional blog than the one I have, I wouldn't want it to be the only focus of my life. I would want time for photography. Therefore, the business model best for me, is one where I can divide my time between blogging and taking pictures. My main business plan would involve, "Selling other people's stuff".

Affiliate marketing seems the way forward. There is a caveat, however. I would not want to promote random businesses. We are often bombarded with offers to "Make Money Online the Easy way", where they want to use your site to advertise a range of dodgy products. I would only choose affiliates I knew and trusted, who's businesses were aligned with mine. I am not getting any younger, unfortunately, so I am looking to build a residual income from the Internet. I have already established this, in a small way, from my stock photography portfolios. So an added stream of income earned through my blog would be perfect. Achievable? I really do think so!

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 10

At last, I can see my path forward!

In today's challenge, we are asked to respond to the following: 
"What are the key ways in which you want to make money online in your chosen business?" 
OR "Which are the key online revenue streams you want to focus on in your existing business?"

Obviously, my answer is to the first of these two questions as I don't have my business up and running yet. At the moment, I am looking at three key areas to make money online.

1. Affiliate marketing.

This is where I will advertise other people's sites and products, for a commission when someone clicks through onto their site. I would choose affiliates in my line of expertise too, so that I would become the 'go to' person for information, and where to look for more ideas in my field.

2 eBooks and public speaking.

I have put these together as they depend on my own words. What I write about, I can speak about, and I would be looking to selling eBooks, and being paid to attend conferences and workshops.

3 Counseling and coaching.

I will offer to give one on one coaching to help subscribers to find their way forward in making money through a variety of different business models. I will help them to decide on a model that suits them, and their lifestyle in particular. And then give them the tools  they would need to begin their new life.

Of course, I won't limit myself to just these three, as I am sure other ways are out there. But with these three, at last, I can see a way forward!

30 day challenge


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 9

I was confused, I couldn't see the wood for the trees!
Today, we have to answer, "Whose online business do you admire most and why?"

I have to confess, I have been looking at starting a professional blog for ages. But I have always been hesitant about taking that first step. I have followed many successful bloggers, who teach about blogging: John Chow, Darren Rouse of Problogger,  Yaro Starak of the entrepreneurs-journeyGideon Shalwick,  to name but a few. I read voraciously, as they spoke about marketing, and making money with blogging, and how easy it all was. But I didn't have any clear idea of  what niche I would choose, or whether I actually knew anything I could blog about. What could I sell, that anyone would want to pay for? So to me, none of it sounded that easy. Added to which, although they are all lovely people, and genuinely providing a service, I somehow couldn't identify with them. I even downloaded some of their ebooks, many of which, to my shame, remain unread in folders on my computer.

Then Natalie came along with her 30 day blog challenge. "Go for it", said the little voice in my head. "You have to take the plunge sometime. It's now or never!" So I have to say that Natalie Sisson, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, is the one I admire most. She was the first online blogging expert who actually spoke to me, an older woman who couldn't make up her mind how to achieve her goal.

I find that Natalie's daily blogging prompts are invaluable in clarifying my thoughts. At last, I have a way forward. I now know my niche, and I can even visualise how I want my home page to look. Why, I even know who I can outsource work to, as I have an amazing family who will join me in my journey. I know who my Business Manager, my Virtual Assistant, my Accountant, my Business Planning Adviser, and my Legal Adviser will be. I won't name you all now, but I am sure you can guess who you are!

My path will diverge from Natalie's in that I will be speaking to a different audience. But I will follow her in urging my tribe to cut loose and enjoy life, with the freedom to live anywhere they choose. Bring on the challenge for Day 10, I say!


30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 8


Woohoo! I won a prize!

It's Day 8 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, and we've been given a day off from blogging. But I can't let it pass without telling you about my small success.

This is what Natalie of The Suitcase Entrepreneur wrote on her blog today.

Welcome to the new world of digital nomads!

Yep it’s time to celebrate your progress so far and welcome you to my world.

It’s been amazing to look all the blog posts being written for this 30 Day Blog Challenge (which I link to at the end of each daily post).

Congratulations to these winners:


I’d like to personally congratulate the following three people who really wrote some compelling and thought provoking posts consistently all week.

    Dharmesh Barot
    Elizabeth Coughlan
    Kirk Sylvester

You’ve each won a digital version of the The Suitcase Entrepreneur book to read alongside this 30 Day Challenge where the core messages have come from!

How wonderful is that? Thank you, Natalie!


The 30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 7

My husband, David  runs wherever we are in the world. Here, he is running
 beside the Marmara Sea in Istanbul, Turkey

Today's question in the 30 Day Blog Challenge is, "Which key tools will you turn to regularly
 to maintain your mindset and how will you use them effectively?"

Clarity of mind and focus are essential for a location independent entrepreneur. How will you keep your vision alive? How can you stay on target in order to achieve your goals? The right mindset is a vital part of the entrepreneur's armoury. Very few people have the inner strength to achieve their dream lifestyle without assistance. Many of us need tools to help us maintain our path. But what is helpful to one person, might not suit another. Fortunately, the Internet is awash with every kind of tool that can help. If you want to meditate; keep a journal; do yoga; follow an exercise programme; whatever you need, it is there.

My husband runs, wherever we are in the world. He finds it clears his mind and allows him to focus on any problems, or tasks, he needs to complete. For my part, as a photographer I walk a lot, although I really could do with losing some weight and becoming fitter. That would help me to sleep better, and feel a lot healthier within myself, so that I can focus more on what I need to accomplish. To this end, I have signed up to Vic Magary's Fat Loss For Free program, as a tool to help me. I was inspired by a podcast he made with Natalie Sisson, of The Suitcase Entrepreneur, where Natalie tells Vic how she manages to keep fit while travelling.

A frequent tool I use when writing is the Focus@Will music channel. Living on a very busy boulevard in Istanbul, as I do, I can easily be distracted or annoyed by street noises, especially in summer when the windows are open. To enable me to focus and be more productive, I plug in my earphones and type away, while listening to music that has been scientifically proven to aid concentration. You can read about the science behind it on their blog. The site can be accessed through Lifehacker.

I really look forward to hearing from other bloggers just what it is that keeps them on the path to success. Even an old dog can learn new tricks!

30 day challenge


My 30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 6

Of course, I could make a total mess of this, but I am confident that Natalie will put me right!

Today's challenge is to decide, "What are my three priorities for the next 30 days 
that will move me closer towards living life on my own terms?"

That's easy! I actually have more than three, as I intend to have a professional website that I run as a business.

1 Sign up to a web hosting service
2 Choose my domain name
3 Sign up to Wordpress.org
4 Choose the design for my site
5 Design a favicon
6 Design my home page.

I have been wanting to do this for ages, but until I signed up for Natalie's 30 Day Blog Challenge, I didn't have the courage. At last, I can see my way, and I am sure Natalie's challenge will help me through it. I have also bought her book, which is revealing even more ideas that will give structure to my business.

So, here goes! Wish me luck those positive people out there, and if you don't think it is possible for me to succeed, don't tell me, because I don't want to know. ( Any negative comments will be deleted anyway!)


My 30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 5

I would like to awake to a view, rather like this one I saw
from my bedroom window this morning.

Today's task on the 30 Day Blog Challenge, was to imagine one's perfect day, while running a location independent business. The question asked, "What’s does your perfect day look like?" So here is my perfect day!

I wake up to a beautiful view from my bedroom window (rather like the one I have today). My husband brings me tea in bed, and we sit looking out at the glorious vista. He goes for his morning run along the beach, while I look through my to do list for the day. I arise, shower, dress, and get ready for the day ahead.

I start up my laptop and scan the emails to see if there is anything really important for me to deal with (I'll get back to the others later). I choose the photos for today's blog, and write my blog post from the notes I made the night before. By now, David, my husband, has returned from his run, showered and dressed, and has organised the breakfast.  We eat together on the verandah, and we marvel at how lucky we are to be living this life.

Breakfast cleared away, I settle down to my next task of the day, answering all the baby boomers and retirees who have commented on my blog. That done, I set up my tripod and camera, so I can video another inspiring message for the blog, and for my YouTube page. There's just time to read through, and make adjustments to, the motivational speech I'm giving for International Living in Costa Rica next week, before it's time to eat. Fortunately the test match David is watching on TV has stopped for lunch

We decide to go to the restaurant on the beach to eat. So we spend a couple of hours enjoying the camaraderie there, before returning home. David decides to read his book on the verandah. I take some photos of him relaxing, for my stock portfolio, before settling down to checking how my affiliate sales are doing. Great news, we can afford to fly to South Africa business class in October, without denting the finances too much.

David decides it's tea time, and he brings me a cup of tea. I take it to the verandah, so we can spend some time together and discuss our impending trip to South Africa. After tea I have to do some photo editing, so I can upload my 5 photos a day to various stock sites. After which I take a look at the video I shot this morning. I could edit it, but I decide to send it to my man in the Philippines instead. Some things are better outsourced.

It's time to go and move! I've been doing too much sitting; although I do sit on an exercise ball when at the computer, as it makes me sit up straight, and doesn't dig into the back of my thighs like a chair does. David and I go for a sunset walk along the beach. Again we look at the amazing scenery and can't believe the magic of our lives. On the way back, we stop off at the beach bar for a drink, before going home for a light dinner, to compensate for the rather heavy lunch.

After I deal with the rest of my emails, we spend a relaxing evening before going to bed. Once in bed I note down some ideas for the next day's blog, while David completes his Killer Sudoku, and slays a Times Crossword (with a little help from me). Lights out! The end to a perfect day!

30 day challenge


My 30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 4

Maybe I will relocate to Thailand, after all, I really can go anywhere!

My blog post today on the 30 Day Blog Challenge answers the question, 
"What is your definition of location independence?"

I can define "location independence" as the life I am already living.  I am truly location independent, and I can tell you that it is not easy. I smile at all the young blogging 'nomads' out there, claiming they are location independent, because I know they are not. In the end, most of them will go running back to their safe, secure home, which they haven't really left as they are just away travelling. They have a constant address, a place to which they can always return.

The main problem with location independence is that, once you are earning an income, where do you pay your tax? You can be sure that someone will want it! If you sign up with PayPal, they want to make you open a new account when you change countries (and they cannot be linked). It's hard to buy online if your bank account is in a different country from where you happen to be (they can track your whereabouts). My biggest nightmare is trying to buy software. For example, Adobe will allow me to download trial versions, but they refuse to sell me the product if I am in a different country from my bank account. Amazon is the same. At the moment, I am in Turkey, and  Amazon will not send software there, although they will send other goods. These are just a few of the problems I have encountered with location independence, and believe me, there are many others!

It can be really difficult not having a permanent address. For most of my working life, I taught in international schools, changing location after each contract. Now I have retired, I am fortunate that my husband is still working, for the moment, and we are living in a company apartment in Istanbul. But that is only a temporary address. Years of travelling the world with our children resulted in having one living in Italy, one in South Africa, and one in Australia, none of whom are permanently based yet.

We haven't quite decided where we will go when my husband finally retires. His retirement plan is to travel the world, following test cricket. Mine is to go to live in Thailand, as it would be equidistant for travelling to my daughters' homes. It's a dilemma! I would happily go from one test cricket venue to the next (although not to watch cricket), as long as I could generate an income while travelling. So, what is the definition of location independence? In business terms, it's being able to work from anywhere in the world, and still generate an income. BUT, true and permanent location independence is very difficult if you really are nomadic.

Perhaps Natalie has answers to my problems, I do hope so!

30 day challenge


My 30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 3

The question we must answer in today's 30 Day Blog Challenge is:
"What’s your definition of freedom in business and adventure in life?"

One of the more unusual things I did this year, was to photograph
camel wrestling in Bodrum, Turkey, with photographer Arjen Zwart.

This year I have been to the Upper Hunter Valley in Australia, to spend time with family; to Bodrum, Turkey, to photograph camel wrestling; to Crete on a tour of archeological sites; to Southern Bulgaria, looking for evidences of Ottoman history; to Lake Maggiore in Italy (twice) to visit family; to Manchester, England for a wedding; and taken numerous photography treks throughout Istanbul; - and I still have more places to go before the year ends. So my definition of freedom in business, is to be able to go to wherever, whenever I want, and still manage to make an income sufficient enough to support my lifestyle. To do this I will have to set up my business in such a way that it can be run from anywhere, otherwise it wouldn't be viable!

As to the adventure aspect, my life is one long adventure, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Hopefully my lifestyle will inspire other retirees to get up off the couch, and explore the world, while they still have the time and energy to enjoy it.

30 day challenge


My 30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 2

The question we have to answer today on the 30 Day Blog Challenge is:

"If you woke up tomorrow and were free to do anything you wanted with your life, what would you do and who would you be?"

As I sit here looking out at the sun setting over Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, I couldn't want a better life than than the one I have. I love my nomadic lifestyle, so I would want that to continue. I am fortunate in that I wake up every morning a happy person, and I would like to share that happiness with others. My goal is to earn enough residual income, through writing and photography, to enjoy a comfortable life-style that will enable me to keep travelling to the end.

I am no longer young, but, in a way, that gives me an advantage. I could be an educator. I would like to help other retirees find enjoyment in life, and show them how they can live wherever they choose, while earning the means to do so. Retirement shouldn't be the end, but a new beginning in life, with the freedom and resources to enjoy it.

What do you think about my idea? Do you think it is possible, or just a pipe dream? Let me know in the comments space below. I would be interested in your observations.

30 day challenge

My 30 Day Blog Challenge, Day 1

Many people ask me about the curious name of my blog; why Geriatric Gapper? When I called myself that, I didn't realise that a 'gap year' is not a universal term. In the UK, students often take a 'gap year' between school and university. It is a sort of coming of age, where they might go travelling, engage in some sort of work experience, or volunteer to work for a charity. My gap year came about after a lifetime of working as a teacher in international schools in many countries, the last one in Turkey. To celebrate our retirement, my husband and I embarked on  a journey to visit friends and relatives living in far flung places. For us, this was a sort of gap year before we decided how, and where, to spend our retirement. We were obviously no longer young, so the Geriatric Gappers we became. (Although my husband balked at the term 'geriatric!)

I began my blog in July 2007, as a way of letting my three daughters know where we were and what we were doing. We travelled From Istanbul to England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand, spending a few months in each place. It was when we hit Thailand, and helped some friends who were running a teacher recruitment fair, that my husband was offered a job back in Istanbul! So his retirement was deferred, and I got to enjoy the freedom of that wonderful city!

By now, we had one daughter in England (now moved to Italy), one in South Africa, and one in Australia. So I kept up the blog for them, and anyone else who might be interested. Having daughters on 3 continents means I get to travel a lot, as I visit them all every year whenever possible. My blog was especially important for them as, through my photos, they got to see how their sisters were living.
So now comes the big question, "Why have I joined the 30 Day Blog Challenge" set up by Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur? I joined because after 6 years of blogging, I have just 23 followers on my blog. I know this started as a personal blog, specifically for my children, but I feel it has become so much more, and I do intend to start a more professional blog very soon. My purpose in these 30 days will be to learn as much as possible, and start my new blog with a bang! This blog, however, will not go out with a whimper, as it is an important record of our family life, so I will continue this one too. See you tomorrow!


A Wedding in Manchester, England

Catherine and Michael, the happy couple.

We recently made a flying trip to Manchester, England, for a family wedding. It was great fun catching up with some of the family, and we all had a wonderful time. The nuptial mass was held at St Cuthbert's Church, Withington, followed by a reception at Nunsmere Hall, a beautiful old Edwardian Mansion in Cheshire.

The bridesmaids entered first, led by Christina, the Matron of Honour...

...followed by Catherine with Bernard her proud father.


The mass begins in St Cuthbert's

Presenting Dr and Mrs Michael Edwards, the gorgeous couple!

The happy groomsmen gave them a resounding send-off...

...as they toasted each other in champagne...

...and then drove away in this amazing car!

Reg, Clare, Lauren and David, ready to party!

Kevin shows how to open a bottle of champagne, using a sword,
with one deft flick of the wrist.

"We are family"; Lauren, Shayna, Clare and Sarah

Sarah and Zane toast the bride and groom.

Patricia and Tim; we are so looking forward to their wedding in November!

Steven, Lauren and Casey. They travelled all the way from Laos
to celebrate Catherine's wedding.

The next generation! Jessica, Kyran, Casey and Finley

Margy and Bernard, very happy parents!

Henry and Katherine, Mikey's parents.

The cutting of the cake...

...and the happy couple get to dance together, at last!

All in all, this was a wonderful day, full of happiness and laughter, and one we shall never forget! Congratulations Cath and Mikey, you make a wonderful couple. May you always be as happy as you were on this day!

Press Centre

Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!