Downshifting your life? Here are some options

Polygamous cult or tiny home?

nick-dabbles-with-polygomy-photo-piers-canadas
Downshifting your life? Polygomy may not be the best option. Photo Piers Canadas

From urban to off-grid.  Six options for you, when downshifting your life.

I wonder how many ladies join a polygamous cult to escape the corporate drudgery? This may be a very niche downshifting option; too many wives in the kitchen and all that. Besides, compounds for a family of thirty might not be consistent with your urban living ideals. There are fewer options for men; polygamous cults don’t recruit many men it seems, but here is a roundup of downshifting choices for boys and girls:

#minimalist

Although the downshifting vision may be more synonymous with an off-grid cottage in the boondocks, urban living should not be discounted as an option. If you have already taken the 100-things-challenge and reduced your worldly possessions to the bare minimum, then a smaller place in the city will easily accommodate your needs.

Cleaning must be a breeze with so few things to dust. Just you and your smartphone and enough socks. Awh, the smartphone, that wonderfully multi-tasking gadget, how soon till there is an espresso making app? Must have been tough to get under the 100 item mark pre-smartphone days with a separate torch, calculator, video camera and radio. Granted the selfie stick means one less pair of undies for the 100-item-minimalists. But, rather don’t annoy the hardcore minimalist with questions on how many pairs of underwear they have. Instead, ask them what fun they have with the dusting time they save? Or whether the money saved on trinkets is going into a holiday fund for Phuket.

#offgrid

Your cabin in the woods may be inconveniently far from Heathrow for that trip to Phuket. Nonetheless, there is the joy of space for a vegetable garden and chickens to roam. My favourite thing about my parents’ farm was the night sounds. No traffic noise or raucous parties next door; instead listening to an owl hooting from the Blue gum tree or the sound of a jackal by the dam. Not, Carlos mind you, South Africa is quite far from the Mexican border.

Would Carlos staying in a tunnel qualify as downshifting, though? I guess not, unless he is spending significantly less time in the cartel. He may qualify if he swopped hours in the business for a simpler life of experiences rather than things. His wife is pretty hot after all, who needs stuff when you have a wife like that. Uh-huh?

#yogi

On the topic of flexibility; Wikipedia defines Yogi or Yogini (female) as those dedicated to yoga or meditation amongst other things. I’m not sure if being a Yogi has been talked of as a downshifting option before. But, in my opinion, all the elements are there.

Firstly, your Yoga dorm room in Mysore comes with a very low cost of living. Secondly, if your yoga school has a curriculum that runs for many months, then you qualify for a long-term visa, making this a lifestyle option rather than just a travel option. Lastly, yoga school comes with inner peace in spades that anxious city dwellers long for in downshifting. Plus, you get to say on your Facebook profile that you are a Yogini, schweet!

#tinyhome

All that meditation may cut inconveniently into your TV-series binge watching time. Besides, the thought of homesteading muck and mud ruining that perfect designer sofa may make you cringe. In which case you’ll find your designer kin amongst the tiny house movement. Your kin know stylish surrounding are more achievable on a small scale and downshifting needn’t mean a home full of thrift shop finds. (Like to pop some tags and only have 20 dollars in your pocket? Designer tiny home living may not be for you.) Be the cabin porn envy of Instagram but remember to still aim to be downshifting debt-free.

Less good for the budget is that monster truck you need to tow your tiny home around. Not great for your carbon footprint either. Urban minimalists with their public transit commute certainly have the tiny house folk beat on carbon footprint. Their apartments in the sky don’t have the peaceful surrounds of a home on wheels, though. And they can’t hook up their home to the truck when Tommy gets his electric guitar for Xmas next door.

#cult

If you think neighbours are good and a stranger is but a friend etc, then intentional communities may be for you. I should have mentioned before, establishing a cult and getting your followers to set themselves free of their worldly belongings and cash into your PayPal account is a very viable passive income option. Sadly, few of us have the magnetic charm it takes to be the leader of a cult. Instead, joining an established co-op or community could be a downshifting choice for you.

As an economics graduate my preference is for intentional communities that are not after my cash. Guess I will have to forego the free love to be had in a cult and opt for co-housing instead. The cohousing movement originated with the happy Danes. Then cohousing communities were also to be found in countries like The Netherlands, United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Co-housing is great if you are an English speaker who is not inclined to start speaking in the Spanish or Turkish of a cheaper country.

#Cohousing

What is it like to stay in co-housing? These intentional communities value sharing and caring. Neighbourhoods are typically based on environmental principles that value open space and gardens. Neighbours collaborate to organize child and elderly care. All this sharing is good for emotional wellbeing and your pocket too.

Seems then there is a downshifting option for everyone. If you aren’t happy with the corporate grind, there is a grind of a different kind happening at a cult near you. If all that exertion is just too much, try peaceful meditation and yoga in Mysore. If the yoga school dorm room hasn’t seen updating since 1980’s, choose a home that’s tiny but stylish. Would you rather have the kids at more of a distance than the tiny home loft? Then leave them in the capable hands of your cohousing child care. Spare a thought for Carlos though; you can downshift at will, but he has tunnel work to wait for, before shifting at all.

@nomadicyou Would you choose co-housing or a tiny home when downshifting your life? Is downshifting at home or abroad best?

The easiest WordPress blog Social Media Plan

Don’t have a hot sex video to drive traffic to your blog? Or much time or money?

Then this WordPress blog social media plan is for you.

Worpress blog Social Media Plan Trailer Screenshot Tippi Hedren
Trailer Screenshot Tippi Hedren in A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)

If you are testing the blogging waters before leaving your desk job, then time is at a premium. You’ll need to find enough hours in a day to master WordPress and write blog posts too. By the time it comes to marketing your blog on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll be too pooped.

But alas, as witty as the writing may be, very few people will view your posts unless you make the time to market it on social media. The question then is; How little social media can you get away with?

The good news is that I have just helped an editing freelancer at www.catandkeyboard.com with this exact dilemma. Here are my Top 8 tips on creating the most social media impact for your WordPress blog with the littlest time:

#1 Publicize with Jetpack

Publicize makes it easy to share your site’s posts on several social media networks automatically when you publish a new post. At the very least select Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. What a time saver when each blog posts automatically updates on multiple social media networks.

#2 Speak a thousand words with images

You’ll be able to find images that you can use for free, even commercially, under the Advanced Settings Tab in Google Images. Be sure to select something emotive that will excite your readers. Save time by using less text and more imagery.

#3 Sharing buttons and controversial content

Download the AddThis, ShareThis or Simple Share button plugins for wordpress and show the buttons everywhere you can. You can get away with less blog posts if your readers are eager to share your existing posts on Reddit, Pinterest and Facebook. Have a strong opinion and flirt with controversy if you can, to get easy social media exposure.

#4 Add connections and friends

With Jetpack publicize you will already have blog updates publishing to LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. What a great reminder for your friends and connections to go view your blog. Be sure to spend some of your time inviting friends and adding connections.

#5 Finding followers with images

Jetpack publicize won’t publish to Pinterest. But don’t ignore this useful platform. Think of fun and relevant boards to create for your blog and pin your blog images into useful groupings. You’ll be able to pin your Twitter images too. But, don’t look to spammy on Pinterest. Re-pin some related content too from other pinners.

#6 If it doesn’t move hashtag it

Building a Twitter following is hard and your message may get lost between all the thousands of tweets. Be sure to use hashtags smartly to make your tweets searchable. The hashtags you use should be relevant to the followers you are seeking to grow. Try to use three or four at most so that each tweet is still readable.

#7 Share, Re-pin and Re-tweet

I created a wonderful original twitter post of a woman kissing a seal and including some lyrics by Seal. I ended up losing followers for my time and effort. Better lyrics next time please Mr Seal… Strangely, you can spend a fraction of the time with a good re-pin on Pinterest or Re-tweet on Twitter that will gain you a following.

#8 Follow and you may be followed in return

It doesn’t take much time to follow someone on Twitter or Pinterest and you may be followed in return. Try to add someone who matches the demographic that you are targeting with your blog. You are more likely to be rewarded with a like for your tweet or pin.

@NomadicYou Have you devised your WordPress blog social media plan? What has taken little time but had huge impact?

Travel to these countries with cheap currencies

Where should I go next? Argentina, Mexico and Turkey are all countries with cheap currencies that are great to travel to.

Countries with Cheap Currencies, Mexico. Photo by I threw a guitar at him (Flickr)
Countries with Cheap Currencies, Mexico. Photo by I threw a guitar at him (Flickr)

It was bound to happen, a digital nomad blogger with an economics background can’t resist posting about countries with cheap currencies to travel to. But with so many travel options, maybe this list will help you narrow down your search.

Travel advisory Venezuela

Topping the list is the Venezuelan Bolivar, which has plummeted by 56% against the US dollar since the start of the year. But you may want to skip this country for now. The latest U.S. Department of State Travel Warning (as of July, 2016) warns that “Country-wide shortages of food, water, medicine, electricity, and other basic goods have led to violence and looting.” Maybe a good destination then for a crash diet?

Mexican Peso vs Trump

Perhaps it is best then to consider those countries without travel advisories. And in the case of Mexico there is no violent political unrest to blame for their currency collapse. Rather, the depreciation has been because of investor fears about trade under the Trump presidency. Ideal conditions then for a visit to the beaches of Playa Del Carmen or a city break in Mexico City. You could buy many a Trump piñata with the weak Peso.

Buenos Aires, Istanbul and Antalya have all featured before as one of Nomadic You’s best budget destinations. Now could be just the time to try one of these 3 cities.  Here you go then, the Top 25 Worst performing currencies so far in 2016:

Worst Performing Currencies 2016 $1= 1/01/2016 $1= 6/12/2016 % Move
1 VenezuelanBolivar 6.35 9.95 -56.70%
2 Argentine Peso 12.93 15.85 -22.65%
3 Mexican Peso 17.20 20.42 -18.69%
4 Turkish Lira 2.92 3.44 -18.07%
5 British Pound 0.68 0.79 -15.93%
6 Swedish Krona 8.46 9.13 -7.96%
7 Iranian Rial 30303.03 32123.38 -6.01%
8 Chinese Yuan 6.51 6.88 -5.58%
9 Nepalese Rupee 103.10 108.67 -5.41%
10 Polish Zloty 3.95 4.16 -5.39%
11 Philippine Peso 47.05 49.55 -5.30%
12 Trinidadian Dollar 6.42 6.73 -4.79%
13 Libyan Dinar 1.37 1.42 -4.38%
14 Malaysian Ringgit 4.30 4.45 -3.38%
15 Sri Lankan Rupee 144.62 148.82 -2.90%
16 Indian Rupee 66.24 67.68 -2.18%
17 Bulgarian Lev 1.80 1.82 -1.23%
18 Czech Koruna 24.89 25.19 -1.18%
19 Latvian Lat 0.65 0.65 -1.14%
20 Euro 0.92 0.93 -1.14%
21 Lithuanian Litas 3.18 3.22 -1.14%
22 Danish Krone 6.87 6.93 -0.82%
23 Hungarian Forint 289.88 292.03 -0.74%
24 Swiss Franc 1.00 1.01 -0.73%
25 RomanianNewLeu 4.17 4.19 -0.56%

@NomadicYou Which of the countries with cheap currencies would you love to travel to? Venezuela, Turkey, Argentina or Mexico?

Exploring by Transit: Top 10 Athens sights

What are the Top 10 Athens sights when exploring Athens by transit? Ancient Acropolis, quaint Plaka, stylish Glyfada and more

Top 10 Athens sights by transit www.nomadicyou.com
Top 10 Athens sights by transit www.nomadicyou.com

No wonder, Athens was voted as the third best European city to visit in 2015 by European Best Destination. Indeed, Athens has been a destination for travellers since antiquity. And since the staging of the 2004 Olympic Games, the city’s infrastructure and social amenities have improved. Making Athens a convenient city to explore by transit.

Yes, the Greek economy has been in the doldrums. But, this is unlikely to spoil your trip. Get ready for your Athens city-break with this list of Top 10 things to do when exploring by transit;

1.       Nightlife Psirri

For spectacular sunsets and a stunning view of the Acropolis, try the rooftop terrace at A for Athens Cocktail Bar. A for Athens is next to Monestraki Metro and they are open from breakfast to late night. Fancy getting your dance on? Then head to 7 Times Live Music and Dance Club and enjoy the friendly crowd and great music. A bit east of Psirri and not too far from Omonoia, you can find The Gin Joint. A neighborhood bar and laid back hole in the wall that wants to serve you a good drink. They claim to have “enough gin labels to fill an ark.”  But they serve gin in glasses too.

2.       Explore Acropolis

Standing side-by-side to the Parthenon is likely to be the highlight of your trip to Athens. The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky hill above the city and contains several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic importance. The site’s most important buildings include the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. All built in the fifth century BC. The Acropolis museum, near the Acropoli metro, was opened in 2009 to highlight artifacts from Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece.

3.       Selfie Plaka

My Greek friend from high school, Christos, told me that Plaka is the place to go in Athens. He was right; Plaka is one of the most scenic districts in the city. Tourists are drawn to this quaint suburb just below the Acropolis to browse the small shops, have a beer in the tavernas and enjoy the street performances. What did come as a marvelous surprise was all the colourful graffiti. Be sure to comb your hair to take some super selfies in the streets of Plaka. Then have some local beer and souvlaki at one of the tavernas.

4.       Shopping Ermou Street

Just west of Syntagma square is Athens’ best known shopping street; Ermou. Have a look at the changing of the guard at the Greek parliament then head westwards along the pedestrian zone for some designer shops. Expect to find most international brands along Ermou: Zara, H&M, Nike, Adidas, Hondos Centre, Marks & Spencer and more. Other than the big brands, you will also discover antique shops, patisseries, restaurants and cafés. There are few better places to sit at a pavement café and watch the fashionable folks of Athens go by. One of the oldest churches in Athens, the Byzantine Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea can be found in a small square on the eastern half of Ermou.

5.       Dining Glyfada

Glyfada can be described as the ‘Athens Riviera’ and features luxurious seafront residences, beachfront property and has its own modern marina. This trendy suburb is known in Greece for its upmarket cafés, variety of restaurants, boutiques and beachfront summer clubs. The Glyfada beaches may not be the best for swimming (head further south for that) but the on-shore entertainment is second to none. Try some Mediterranean and Greek cuisines at the more affordable Tsi Tsi, Zahoulis or O Proedros restaurants. Then head for cocktails at pricier  Balux Cafe House Project, a beach club restaurant, to see the sunset over the ocean.

6.       LGBT Gazi

The Gay village in Athens is near Kerameikos Metro in Gazi. Café del Sol is open from breakfast and has a late-night bar. Try some frozen coffee on the terrace on a hot summer’s day. Once night falls, head to Sodade 2 or S-cape clubs. Sodade 2 club has been running for 17 years; the main stage plays mainstream dance and is open every day. Lively S-cape has go-go dancers, drag shows, DJ’s, special events and theme nights. Clubs in Athens are busiest after midnight, so be sure to get an afternoon nap. Also in Gazi, is men-only Alexander Sauna in one of the tallest buildings in the area with a roof-top terrace.

7.       Relaxing Voula Beach

Take the T5 Green Tram line from Syntagma to the end of the line at Asklippio Voulas and you will find Voula beach. Here you will discover some little sandy coves where you can have an enjoyable swim. The beaches here are more peaceful than Glyfada thanks to a tree buffer between you and the main road. This makes Voula one of the best places in Athens to spend a day unwinding. Another 3.7 kms (2.3 mi) south of Asklippio Voulas station you will find the seaside town of Vouliagmeni which has blue flag beaches. Astir Beach is a paid resort (expect to pay around 18€ per adult), but has crystal clear waters, beds and umbrellas for relaxing.

8.       Exercise Lykavittos Hill

Lykavittos is a limestone hill 300 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant. The hill can be ascended by the Lykavittos Funicular, which climbs the hill from a lower terminus at the top of Ploutarchou street. (This street starts at the Byzantine Museum). I found the walk from Syntagma to the lower funicular terminus to be a good workout. But, if hill running is your thing, Lykavittos has several twisting wooded trails with views of the Acropolis and the sea and islands beyond. Running in the day is safer as the area is not well lit at night.

9.       Budget Hotels Omonoia

Continue reading Exploring by Transit: Top 10 Athens sights

Best suburbs to buy Cape Town property

International investors love the Atlantic seaboard and city bowl. But which other suburbs do the savvy buyers head to for Cape Town property?

cape-town-property-blouberg-photo-bedandbreakfast-eu
Cape Town Property Blouberg Photo from bedandbreakfast.eu

On the face of it Cape Town property may seem very pricey. International buyers have driven up property prices in neighbourhoods like Sea Point and Camps Bay. But, don’t dismiss Cape Town as an unviable downshifting property buying destination just yet. There are still some great suburbs left that aren’t on the radar of foreign property buyers.

For example, Blouberg and Somerset West  offer great value if you need a bit more space. If you are feeling minimalist and willing to buy a studio, Camps Bay and the Cape Town City Bowl are still worth a look.

Afterall, in this property obsessed blogger’s opinion, Cape Town offers a lifestyle comparable to San Francisco or Sydney at much lower prices. Get in while the going is still good! Here is are my tips on the five suburbs to visit when house hunting in Cape Town, with a rough guide of property prices in each neighbourhood;

#1 Cape Town City Bowl

Highlights: Great nightlife, fantastic restaurants and luxury shopping at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

Properties available: Studio apartments from $55,000, 2-bedroom apartments from $135,000

#2 Camps Bay for luxury living

Highlights: Blue flag beaches at Camps Bay and Clifton. Luxury living with Africa’s wealthiest. And how about a spa treatment at the Twelve Apostles?

Property: Studio apartment from $135,000, 2-bedroom apartments from $275,000

#3 Constantia for gardeners

Highlights: Kirstenbosch botanical garden, historic Groot Constantia wine farm and Africa’s top university; The University of Cape Town

Properties: 3-bedroom houses from $229,000. 2-bedroom apartments in nearby Claremont from $82,000

#4 Blouberg for beach-lovers

Highlights: The best view in South Africa? Affordable properties. Buzzing nightlife at Marine Circle

Properties: 2-bedroom apartments from $67,000, 3-bedroom homes from $134,000

#5 Somerset West for golfers

Highlights: Vergelegen Wine Estate, Helderberg Mountains and Erinvale Golf Club

Properties: 2 bedroom apartments from $38,000, 3 Bedroom Houses in Erinvale Golf Estate from $274,000

@NomadicYou Would you #downsize to a studio in trendy Cape Town #citybowl or a larger #apartment in Somerset West?

 

Continue reading Best suburbs to buy Cape Town property

The cheapest cities to buy property for downshifters

Time for a vacation property or downshifting home? The cheapest cities to buy property that are affordable to live in too. Antalya, Jo’burg, Phuket & more.

cheapest-cities-to-buy-property-johannesburg-golf-estate-www-steeple-co-za
Your view for $60,000, Jackal Creek Golf Estate Johannesburg, Photo www.steeple.co.za

I must confess, I’m obsessed with watching House Hunters International and surfing property websites. Maybe I played Monopoly too much as a child. And, having Cape Town and Johannesburg properties that have been successful investments, probably fuels my obsession further.

In Cape Town I have vacation properties that I rent out to corporates and holiday visitors. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with a lady who runs a cleaning service and who does meet and greats for my holiday visitors too. Don’t be afraid to jump into the vacation property market! If I didn’t buy when I did, I would be paying around 50% more for the same apartments.

Should I rent or buy my downshifting property?

In yesterday’s post, we saw that India is very cheap to rent in. Strangely, property there isn’t cheap to buy. South Africa is the opposite though. With bank lending rates being quite high in SA, property prices are suppressed. Rentals in Cape Town and Jo’burg are not cheap though.

Hours of watching House Hunters has taught me one thing for sure: buying property in South Africa is a steal. For $60,000 you could be the lucky owner of a 2-bedroom apartment in Jackal Creek golf estate in Jo’burg or an apartment close to the winelands in Somerset West, Cape Town.

25 best cities for buying property

Turkey tops the list with the most affordable coastal property. A property outside the city center in Antalya will only set you back around $412.29. Bali also makes the top 10. But, property ownership there is a bit murky; expats who reside (legally) in Indonesia can only own landed houses in the country for a period up to 80 years. No doubt marrying a Thai, makes ownership there much easier!

Besides, property websites my other website obsession is www.numbeo.com Until they develop a house price index, try this list of the cheapest cities to buy property based on Numbeo stats;

City Rank Price per sqr mtr City Center Price per sq mtr Outside Center
1 Antalya $811.38 $412.29
2 PlayaDelCarmen $888.39 $697.73
3 Johannesburg $933.65 $661.34
4 Colombo $1 361.06 $822.24
5 Bangalore $1 569.04 $709.86
6 Mexico City $1 473.91 $856.22
7 Phuket $1 518.03 $952.86
8 Chiang Mai $1 558.90 $945.85
9 Bali $1 400.78 $1 237.03
10 Cape Town $1 821.70 $926.68
11 Budapest $1 712.88 $1 050.90
12 Athens $1 434.19 $1 609.92
13 Johor Baru $2 168.90 $923.79
14 Bogota $1 695.79 $1 401.16
15 Istanbul $2 208.51 $975.57
16 SaintPetersburg $2 117.09 $1 233.81
17 Lima $2 119.78 $1 246.75
18 Santiago $1 925.79 $1 555.78
19 Delhi $2 599.63 $1 119.77
20 Hanoi $2 816.32 $976.33
21 Warsaw $2 525.17 $1 658.39
22 Buenos Aires $2 762.36 $1 956.35
23 Lisbon $3 347.24 $1 801.57
24 Prague $3 446.41 $2 031.44
25 Bangkok $3 944.54 $1 818.69

@NomadicYou #Turkey, #SouthAfrica and #Mexico all have cheap #property. Which would you choose?

The cheapest cities to rent for downshifters

Want to downshift to foreign shores for a better lifestyle? Numbeo has some awesome stats on the cheapest cities to rent. Antalya, Bangalore, Athens and 22 more cities to live in.

Cheapest cities to rent bangalore-amol-gaitonde
Bangalore apartment building,photo by amol.gaitonde

If you are not as big a stats geek as me, you may not have heard of www.numbeo.com Numbeo has all the info you need on the cost and quality of living across the globe. Thousands of users submit data on their cities and all this info gets compiled for your reading enjoyment.

Pity then, they don’t have an index on house prices yet. But until they do, I’ve taken the liberty of listing the cheapest global cities to rent in. Oh, I prefer urban living and cheap travel. These 25 cities below meet both requirements.

Cheap Asia Apartments

No surprise to find Bangalore as the cheapest city for monthly rental on a 1 bedroom apartment. After all, it has been featured before on Nomadic You as the budget destination with the lowest cost of living. But, Antalya in Turkey is a bit of a surprise at number two with city center rentals averaging $198.82. Sunny beaches and an airport hub serviced by many low-cost carriers only add to Antalya’s appeal.

If you fancy living in one of Europe’s cultural city centers, then Athens is a good choice too. A 1 bedroom city center apartment will only set you back around $283.75 per month. Keep an eye out for Nomadic You’s tips on exploring Athens by transit coming soon.

25 Best cities for Renters

City Rank Rent 1 Bedroom City Center Rent 1 Bedroom Outside Center
1 Bangalore $205.07 $124.22
2 Antalya $198.92 $138.90
3 Bali $221.18 $143.76
4 Delhi $243.43 $142.98
5 Colombo $285.69 $154.05
6 Chiang Mai $307.00 $177.59
7 Johor Bahru $347.02 $193.10
8 Athens $283.75 $296.26
9 PlayaDelCarmen $400.25 $184.17
10 Phuket $381.84 $256.90
11 Bogota $384.52 $307.37
12 Budapest $413.06 $283.76
13 Mexico City $418.89 $286.82
14 Hanoi $428.28 $300.92
15 Istanbul $477.90 $255.14
16 Buenos Aires $439.03 $344.49
17 Bangkok $559.84 $238.81
18 Johannesburg $455.98 $346.33
19 Santiago $437.36 $390.41
20 SaintPetersburg $497.25 $335.81
21 Warsaw $516.54 $397.72
22 Lima $599.02 $356.89
23 Prague $570.34 $407.06
24 Cape Town $607.88 $395.35
25 Lisbon $624.11 $413.23

@NomadicYou Renting abroad can be cheaper than your home country. What will you spend the savings on?

Try some simple living and downshifting life

Remote work and the sharing economy make downshifting life easier than ever. Where are the best places to live for simple living?

Time for the cobra pose with downshifting life www.nomadicyou.com
Time for the cobra pose with downshifting life www.nomadicyou.com

“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.” –Mad Magazine

True, the average size of US homes has been increasing and an elephant would feel right at home. Plus, the Jones’ would have trouble keeping up with you; bragging rights for days. But at what price the double volume foyer and quirky bragging rights? For downshifters, there is more sense to be found in staying somewhere smaller, easier and economical to maintain. Downsizing is not just about the size of your home. Rather it is about leaving consumerism behind; having fewer bills to pay and spending less time in the office.

#sharingeconomy

I love reading inspiring books. One of my all-time favourites being Alex Steffen’s book, Worldchanging: A User’s guide for the 21st Century, based on sustainability topics from his discontinued Webby nominated blog. If you were to press me on my what my life mantra is, I would paraphrase Steffen; “Wealth through experiences, not stuff”.

To illustrate how much sense the sharing economy makes; Steffen asks you to consider that portable drilling machine in your closet that you use once a year at most. Far better, he argues, for the planet and your budget, if neighbours were to make their drill available to share. For the planet; fewer manufactured items means less pressure on our natural resources.

ZipCar, the North American and European car-sharing company, already has over a million users. They claim that each car in their fleet takes 15 personally-owned cars off the road. That is a big deal for the planet: It should lead to more pedestrian friendly cities, with fewer ugly parking lots and it is good for users’ pockets too. Plus, there is more: this car-free million is likely to walk more, be healthier and happier than car owners.

#wellness

Quitting that high-pressure job and sleep-depriving commute for a simpler life, will likely be better for your health, provided you don’t replace work stress with financial stress from your life-changing move. The same multiple income stream principles as covered in “How to make it as Digital Nomad and earning enough money on the road”, also apply to downshifters, of course. But, unlike digital nomads, the emphasis for downshifters is more on working less and creating free time to enjoy life, rather than finding remote working sources of income to replace your current corporate salary.

An extreme version of downshifting-wellness can be found in the yoga schools of Mysore. This city near Bangalore, is known to be the yoga capital of India. You could get a long-term “Yoga Visa” for the duration of your schooling and spend some blissful years meditating and stretching.

#expat

For those over 55, your best stretching days may be behind you (Not you. You nimble chandelier-swinging cougar you). A more practical option will be to get a retirement visa. Relocating to a more affordable country could mean no compromise on your quality of live at all. Maintaining a similar home compared to your native city, dining at foodie-worthy restaurants and the odd spa treatment or two.

If you are younger than 55 and your bank balance is as high as your anxiety levels, then why not consider a retired person permit backed up with proof of your financial independence? This South African knows one thing for sure: A downshifting life in Cape Town with perfect beaches and picturesque wine farms is crazy to turn down if your bank balance allows. If you meet the income threshold, currently ZAR37,000 or $2650 per month, a retirement visa can be yours without any age restrictions.

#simpleliving

Emerging market currency collapses can make luxury expat living a painless downshifting option. But, in the absence of a collapse in the Rand or if you merely prefer staying in a quieter corner of your home country, then simple living could be the option for you.

Digital nomads benefit from the convenience of big city living; fast internet, an efficient metro, a well-served airport and co-working spaces. But, for downshifters, being a bit further off the beaten track works well. Functionality over touristy. A cottage by the sea. A cabin in the woods. A dorm room in yoga city.

You could still write that steamy romance from your cottage (Don’t forget the shirtless stud on the cover. More important than the plot). Being an author means no fast internet required and flexible working hours to enjoy the beach when the wind subsides.

The perk of having that cheaper downshifting budget is more free time, especially if you have some steady residual income flowing in.  Time to read the classics. Time to binge-watch Suits. Siesta time. Chandelier swinging time… The media has conditioned society to value the new, the trendy, the exclusive and expensive. Instead, downshifters value time.

#budgeting

Not the most fun you can have with your clothes on, but putting aside some time for budgeting will help make that downshifting lifestyle a sustainable one. It’s up to you whether you go off-grid and radically shrink those expenses, or only cut some luxuries here and there.

Before taking the downshifting leap; going debt-free is worth a shot. Those bond-free cabin homeowners know all about being debt-free and seem happy enough despite their crash-courses in minimalism. If you have a hoarding husband, then minimalism may be a battle too far. Start out simple. Cut the cards, sell some things in the attic and consider turning that hobby into an income earner.

It’s all about trade-offs in the end. More time to play can be achieved by downsizing your household budget. Remote work may mean less hours at your desk if you move somewhere cheap in the world. Your budget and health can improve by going car-free. But ultimately, you don’t need the elephant-enveloping home: Alex Steffen is right, it’s all about experiences rather than stuff.

@nomadicyou Is downshifting the best path to work-life balance? Where are the best places to move for simple living? #downsizing

Time for a rhyme: Starting a blog

What are the ups and downs of starting a blog? It’s not easy without cleavage or cute cats. Joburg Rudolph rhymes about the highs and lows of his first month as a blogger.

ginger-trump-cat-photo-by-manuel-flickr
SEO Gold for Starting a Blog. A Trump Cat. Photo by Manuel Flickr

My first November blogging has been schweet

I’m glad I escaped corporate without cold feet

Been fun writing about nomads, maps and stats

But, I’d have more followers with cleavage or cute cats

No more anxiety from the corporate grind

Now ascending Alexa rank is all on my mind

Was worried editor Loukie would say I can’t write

Relief then to get good comments from reader Tite

Do you want to be a digital nomad too?

Then do a Google search for Nomadic You

I’m not on page one but down in the ditch

That Google search algorithm is a bitch

Facebook Robert says my jokes are lame

I’m still new, so trying to keep things tame

No fear from Twitter Alex who swears Trump

Hoping this bad hair cat will give my blog a bump

@NomadicYou How does one incorporate more cats and cleavage into a blog about digital nomads and downshifters?

Athens by Metro: The best budget Omonoia hotels

Athens has affordable hotels, sunny weather and a great metro system for exploring city sights. Plan your trip with these 10 best budget Omonoia hotels.

Best Budget Omonoia Hotels, near Acropolis in Athens, Photo by Christophe Meneboeuf
Acropolis in Athens, Photo by Christophe Meneboeuf

Want to explore Athens by metro but you can’t find a cheap hotel near Syntagma square? Then Nomadic You has just the solution for you; Omonoia metro station is a convenient transport hub with passenger traffic equal to that of the Syntagma metro station.

Hotels near Omonoia square are affordable and it is a convenient base for travelers and digital nomads. For example, from Omonoia you can take the M2 metro line to Akropoli station to explore the Parthenon. Got a ferry to catch to the Isles? No problem, just take the M1 line to Piraues.

Cheap Athens Metro hotels

It is easy then to save on money on a rental car and taxi fares when you are so close to the Athens metro. What should you budget to pay for the best budget Omonoia hotels? Expect to pay around $48.23 per night for a respectable three-star  hotel with breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

Price per room per night March 2017  
Achillion Hotel 38.00 € $40.28 £32.30
Hotel Solomou 40.00 € $42.40 £34.00
Apollo Hotel 40.00 € $42.40 £34.00
Minoa Athens Hotel 43.00 € $45.58 £36.55
Exarchion Hotel 45.00 € $47.70 £38.25
Best Western My Athens 46.00 € $48.76 £39.10
Best Western Hotel Museum 50.00 € $53.00 £42.50
Athens Odeon Hotel 50.00 € $53.00 £42.50
Best Western Hotel Pythagorion 51.00 € $54.06 £43.35
Attalos Hotel 52.00 € $55.12 £44.20
Three Star Hotel Average 45.50 € $48.23 £38.68

Wikipedia Athens Weather

Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, 34.9 kms (21.7 mi) east of Syntagma Square is the 30th busiest airport in Europe with 18,086,894 passengers per year. The hottest month is August with an average high of 33.7°C (92.7°F). The coldest month is January with an average low of 6.8°C (44.2°F). The rainiest month is December with 69.1 mm (2.72 inches).

@NomadicYou Seaside #Glyfada or cultural #Acropolis? Which is your #Athens vibe?