As seen on: http://www.news.com.au
NEW ZEALAND locals Janak and Nalisha Patel had always dreamt of travelling the world together.
Finally, they decided to make a move that changed their lives forever. They left their jobs and their home in New Zealand and set off an adventure that has turned into something much, much more: a lifestyle.
They don’t just travel around, they live in cities in all corners of the globe for between two to six weeks, then pack up and move again. To date they’ve lived in 15 countries and 35 cities.
We talk to Nalisha about how they have made their dream a reality.
What inspired you to make a change and travel?
I came across a book called The 4 Hour Work Week by a guy named Tim Ferris which changed the way we both thought about working – that is, working until we were 65, retiring and then living life. The book talks about being part of a group called the ‘New Rich’ where you use the internet to free up your time, create an online business and travel the world and live life now, not waiting until you are 65.
This changed our way of thinking and really spoke to us. By using technology and the internet, all the wellness programs I was offering to clients in person could actually be digitised into an online program, which we could now sell throughout the world.
Why did you feel you needed the change?
In late 2010 we were starting to feel really restless. Since we got together at age 17 (myself) and 20 (Janak), we had always had big dreams for ourselves as a couple. Like most people we wanted to travel the world, eat at great places, live in a beautiful home and feel financially secure.
I started a health and fitness business offering personal training services to help woman lose weight in 2004 and my husband was working as a full-time engineer and feeling quite frustrated in his job after being in the industry for 10 years.
We got married in 2005, and a few months beforehand my husband quit his job so he could get into business for himself, like I had done.
How did you make the change?
My husband wanted a new challenge so I convinced him to quit his job so we could build the business together. We initially ran two separate businesses for the first two years of our marriage. He tried his hand at a couple of internet-based websites, while I was growing my personal training business. It made sense for him to eventually come on board my business and for us to grow it together as it really took off and I needed help with it.
After I discovered the book, I was sold. I let all our staff go, let the lease run out on our office space and started working from home again. We turned the programs we had created for teaching clients how to lose weight into a digitised format.
We found that using technology we could get clients the same level of results without having a physical personal trainer … which was a game changer for us. We could now offer our weight loss/fitness programs all over the world via the internet.
In 2010 we left home to live in the US for three months, which gave us a taste of living overseas and still running our business. It set the wheels in motion for our upcoming world trip.
Eighteen months after returning home from our three-month stint in the US we packed all our belongings into storage, rented out our house and left for the US again, this time on a six month visa (and a one-way ticket) and just two laptops to run our business! We’d had the taste of working and living abroad. It was time to leave again. We decided to take the plunge with an open ticket and see where it took us …
Where do you live and for how long?
In every city we usually rent an apartment and stay for between two to six weeks so we can really live like the locals and experience the culture before moving on to our next destination. We always decide on the fly and never plan in advance. One month we might be in Rome and a few weeks later we might be hanging out in a Berlin cafe or exploring the streets of Istanbul!
How do you balance working on the road with seeing a new place?
When we land in a new place, we usually take a week off to be a ‘tourist’ and take in all the sites. On and off during our stay we work and we sightsee. We have a nice balance between work and play and definitely don’t miss out on anything!
If anything, life feels like one big holiday as there is always an exciting place to visit, or even a new country coming up in a few weeks. We don’t work nine to five, Monday to Friday as such. We work based on results and quality of work rather than aiming for set hours or work days. A Monday afternoon might find us eating gelato and taking in the sites of Naples and a Friday morning might find us working away on our laptops taking care of business. Our days are interchangeable at this stage and it works for us.
No matter what, we don’t work on Saturday or Sunday so some weeks we only ‘work’ a few days a week but we work intensely and productively. It’s too easy to work five days a week and only be productive half that time.
Why do you stay between two to six weeks per place?
We play it by ear. The weather and the seasons play a massive role in where we go and how long we stay. We love to ‘chase the sun’ so to speak! Two weeks gives us time to explore a new destination and in some places we stay longer so we can catch our breath, catch up on business and relax in the new country.
How do you choose where you will go next?
It has been a mixture of planned and spontaneous places. Some countries or places have surprised us, so if we really enjoyed a country or city, we go back. We’ve been to Miami three times now and we also spent over nine months in various parts of Italy on and off as we loved it so much!
When we were living in the UK we were really stumped as to where to go next and our apartment lease was running out in three days. So on that weekend we decided to fly to Belgium, booked an apartment over the internet and three days later we landed in Brussels for a new six-week adventure! It pays not to have too much of a plan as things change and it opens the door to new experiences you may not even have thought about.
Has your work helped you meet local people, or because it’s online it’s not really a way into local life?
In every destination we get to meet the owner of the apartment we are living in. We usually get to know them quite well and sometimes we will even go to dinner with them. We’ve made some great friends along the way. In two-and-a-half years we’ve lived in over 35 different apartments!
In many destinations we live away from the tourist areas and this gives us the opportunity to really live like the locals. For example in Italy we spent over three months in coastal locations where absolutely no-one spoke a word of English.
Do you think you’ll live like this forever?
We really don’t think we would be able to settle down in one place now. Our dream used to be to buy a big house, pay it off and live in it for years. Now we want to keep living around the world and seeing new things. To live in one house for life is now our idea of a stagnant life. It’s not for us anymore. This trip has blown our mind wide open and in many ways has made us crave new experiences.
Do you have any hints for others wanting to take the plunge but are too scared to do so?
So often in life you can get trapped by the mundane day to day routine of it all. Every day can just become a ‘photocopy’ of the previous day. Pretty soon you can stop being grateful and before you know it life can pass you by. Over the last two years we’ve learned to appreciate life so much more as we have to leave every destination in just a few short weeks and every new destination brings a new adventure. Having a time limit on each place really ramps up our appreciation for what we are experiencing.