Latest Posts

For my birthday I would like you to save money

Instead of receiving gifts and cards I would like you to use my referral link to sign up to Transferwise

so that at any time in the near or distant future you will save a generous amount of fees compared to using traditional banks to send money within the US or between countries from wherever in the world you are. Using Transferwise saves a lot compared to using Paypal. You can use it to send money or open a borderless bank account and receive payment to it.

It’s as simple as it sounds, or even more simple. As a birthday gift to me but also to you I would like you to sign up to Transferwise with my link https://bit.ly/2BYvvYv, especially if you get paid in USD but live in another country and are currently losing money on exchanging your USD into your own currency.

I recently came across a post of a Digital Nomad Facebook group member asking how a person based in South America can get paid in USD. The group members offered a lot of different answers but the simplest and most money saving one of them all was Transferwise. You can open a USD currency account with Transferwise even if you are not based in America. It’s worth exploring.

  • You can register with your home address.
  • For example if you are based in the EU, then this is your primary location and you first open your Transferwise borderless account with your EU address.
  • Then once this is all set up you can add a UK and US account, able to receive and hold £ and $.
  • Each account will have its own account numbers that are fully functioning and you can receive payment into your Transferwise account just like as if it was a traditional bank.
  • Please let me know in the comments if you are having troubles setting this up and I’ll try to help you out..

I recommend that no matter what you do in life: Regularly collect feedback. Why? (read on)

I don’t know about you, or actually I do know a little bit about you: You are a human who occasionally forgets how good you are at something. What do you do when that feeling of doubt sneaks up on you? What if it’s worse and you battle a few of the hungry ghost mid-post pandemic anxieties, maybe even depression? How do you ground yourself? Please tell me because I have days where I could use ALL the tips and tricks.

Here is one of my best tips:

Regularly collect feedback from humans around you. In my case I sometimes question my value to others, so I collect feedback from my career development clients and business ESL students. They are a mixed bunch from around the world and have wildly different needs.

I can’t recommend collecting feedback & reviews highly enough. It is an absolute MUST not just for your emotional grounding but actually also for your professional present and future life. Reviews let others know that you are valued. Feedback lets you know what you can aim to improve. Caution: Feedback pointing at something that isn’t perfect doesn’t mean that one skillset that you are weak in makes you worthless, you know that right?!

You can ask friends to write you reviews & / or feedback. And then it’s time to get serious: Ask your colleagues, ask your manager, even the company CEO. Are you self employed, a freelancer, an entrepreneur, a solo-preneur? Then ask your clients and customers. I promise this is something you won’t regret because you will gain so much reassurance.

Note that review and feedback potentially serve different purposes.

Give your people some guidance: You can say: I lay awake at night worrying and I need a reminder of what I bring to this company, to your life, to your experience etc…

Don’t let shame and embarrassment stop you from living your best life.

Today I spoke with one of my clients about shame and embarrassment about having lost skill in a specific area that is needed to support the work he is doing. He was embarrassed when his colleague helped him and swiftly concluded that perhaps he isn’t knowledgable and capable enough and should leave his profession. NO-no-no-no-no. Do not allow shame to stop you when you are half way to the finishing line. It’s not the skills gap that ruins careers it’s allowing shame to have a louder voice than the trust that a skills gap can be filled and that everything else we know and are capable of is valuable.

Collect reviews to stop laying awake at night questioning your worth and value in the world.

Today I looked through some of the reviews that I got this year. It looks like I may have been useful. Maybe time to stop laying awake at night worrying that I didn’t deliver enough value?
Some feedback from my students (unedited):

“I can’t recommend Birgit highly enough. Birgit is not only a great teacher but also she helped me a lot with polishing my CV and cover letter to be more attractive for my job applications. Moreover Birgit has a lot of business and consulting experience. Her insights and tips helped me enormously with my preparation for interviews and to increase my self-confidence in my professional life.”


“It was a great lesson. We talked a lot about social entrepreneurship and business in general. It is hard to find an English teacher who can discuss those topics in deep like her.”


“I recommend Birgit from the bottom of my heart! She helped me perfectly prepare for the interview. It was incredibly interesting to discuss my work (Digital Marketing). In addition, she had the ability to coaching and where I was afraid she led me by the hand, reinforcing my self-confidence as a professional.”


“I am so lucky person because I meet Birgit. She is my English and Business teacher. Today she consulted how can I improve both of my English and Business skill. Thanks!”


“Thank you very much. I should pay more for your time and help.”


“Every class with Birgit blew me away. She is amazing teacher and person. Thank you so much and I hope to see you soon.”


I can’t thank all these people from around the world enough. They trust me with their time and hand over the steering wheel into their future, for a brief time in their life but it’s quite a lot of trust I am being given.

Leave a comment please, I want to hear from you.

Please tell me in comments if you followed my advice and asked for reviews / feedback and tell me how did it feel thinking about asking and how did it feel receiving it?

Use my link to sign up to Wise & save on international money transfers (compared to Paypal or your traditional bank)

One way to support my blog, the work & time that it takes to write, is to use my Link to sign up to Wise.

Wise offers hands down THE best international currency conversion when you send money to yourself (or to friends, family, businesses) between countries. Wise also has a borderless bank account with wallets in multiple currencies. This allows you to get paid and/or safely store your money in multiple currencies.

When you use my link to sign up and use Wise for your money transfers abroad (you can do this without a bank account with them) I will receive a bonus to my own Wise account. I ONLY recommend Wise because the company has saved me well over $1000 in the last few years. (I periodically send money between the UK and USA and occasionally receive payments for Art work or services from abroad into my Transferwise account.)

Here is my WISE sign-up link.

This is called an affiliate link, because I get a reward for telling you about Wise. In case you have never before heard about Wise you can ask me any questions that you might have.

(Wise used to be called Transferwise before they re-branded with a new name. I wish they hadn’t because I don’t like change but that says more about me than Wise.)


Have you paid for Business Coaching? How much should I pay?

I have paid for money mindset & business coaching and I am also currently supporting 9 clients with their career development needs. As a coaching recipient I would say that you’ll get out proportional to what you put in.

At the start of 2021 I had 5 coaching sessions with a fabulous woman called Oriana Fowler (Coach to creative business owners & photographer herself.) She helped me through a tough patch and put me on my feet again. I don’t know her current prices and wouldn’t put them here even if I did. Why is that you may ask? Because prices change, and they should change, depending on the client and the specific change and growth that the coach is helping bring to the client. The fee can be a reflection of the value the work presents to the client. Who sets the value? Initially the coach and by a client to decides to enter the relationship at the quoted fee.

Q: “Can you not make this a bit easier for me? I have never had any coaching, what is a range I should expect?”

A: Where are you? What is your business / career that you are getting help with? What is your income now and what your target income goal? Or if not a monetary outcome then what is your coaching goal? What is the potential that you want to fulfil and reach and what is this worth to you? What will it cost you to move slowly or stay in place without support?

Coaching will (may) have a different price depending on the country that you and your coach are in. I imagine that it would be unusual to pay $300 for a coaching session in the Czech Republic or Poland, while in the USA a single session could cost this much (and more, or of course you could find a fantastic coach for $150 per session in the USA, if you get lucky.)

I apologise if I am not exactly helping clarify what YOUR coach is worth to YOU. It depends on so many variable. But in any case don’t spend more than you can afford to lose. I would say the same about physical trainers and therapists. A large part of the value that you are paying for actually depends on your willingness to put in the time and effort. Change won’t come from passive participation (of course you already know this.)

As for my own career development coaching sessions that I am hosting: 
My fee is proportional to my clients’ current and target income. I currently work with individuals from 3 continents and am testing an inclusive pricing strategy based loosely on income potential by country. 

My pricing policy is still a project in development and I am trying out hourly and package pricing models based on various metrics i.g. my client’s own hourly / monthly salary, cost of living, their target salaries when they are on track to get employed remotely by an employer in a high salary country. Let me know if you would like updates on this and if you would like to buy me a coffee or lunch bagel for my writing time then I’ll be grateful. It’s welcome but not expected.

Sorry for not (yet) throwing out numbers but without knowing the industry & country a client is operating they don’t seem to make so much sense. 

paypal.me/BirgitInAmerica 
Stripe
Venmo: @Birgit-Deubner

Another way to support my work & time is to use my Link to sign up to Wise.

If you have never heard about Wise or Transferwise then you can read a little bit about it here on my blog. And I am happy to answer questions about them if you want to ask me before signing up.

• post about Wise on my blog

Short Hong Kong Ambient Sound Walk – walking alone at night

My first ever Ambient Sound Walk in Hong Kong. As soon as the borders open I will return and film a revised sound walk for myself and anyone of you who also loves to see places from your desk. It is time to dust off this wonderful, humid memory and video file.

This was my shortest city visit that I have ever done but it stuck in my memory like no other (a little like the humidity that day stuck to my skin). I caught the Hong Kong Bug and dream of returning to this place that is so unlike anywhere I have ever been before.

I wish my Jetlag hadn’t been so strong and my stay so short, I would have loved to take so many more photos and videos of my 24 hour layover on my way from London to Bangkok.

If you would like to buy me a Hong Kong Waffle and coffee then I would love that! But letting a video run all the way to the end, leaving a comment and subscribing are also fabulous.

• paypal.me/BirgitInAmerica

https://buy.stripe.com/4gw4ix4Zq26FfL2aEI. (You can change the quantity of coffees and shout me 2, because double the coffee = double the happiness.)

Should I edit this video and upgrade it somehow? What would you want to see or know? Have you been to Hong Kong? Did you make a MUCH better video? Please let me know in the comments below. –

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Since 2006 I have lived on 3 continents. It all began with a 4 month trip to Cambodia and India. Skip ahead several years and eventually I fell in love in Italy, had a long-distance relationship with an American that ended up with me being washed ashore the Pacific coast of California. Please subscribe to my channel and hit the little bell icon.

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I use a Nikon D750 – But I’m no longer a huge fan of Nikon solely because of my customer service experience with them when I bought this camera brand new and had problems with it. To get any kind of service I had to put a man on the phone who knew no photography terminology. I’m not one to usually pay too much attention to sexism but on this occasion it was impossible to ignore.

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I started writing about travel, housesitting, petsitting and health (including having surgery and recovering in America) on http://www.over7seas.com

My 3 favourite Asia Travel Youtube Channels

Paddy Doyle in Thailand

Paddy Doyle in Thailand A friendly, wholesome, family friendly Youtuber, currently exploring all 77 provinces of Thailand on his little scooter / motorbike. Great viewing for anyone who has always wondered: “Why aren’t we seeing more about Thailand outside of the well known tourist hotspots?” Paddy is doing a great service to broadening all of our horizons and the next time we visit we should all take a leaf out of his book and get off the comfortable beaten path because it’s a big country with so much more to offer than the same same places.

From his Channel about page: “About Paddy – I LOVE to entertain, educate, and inspire people to get out there and have adventures, so let’s explore the world, eat new and fantastic foods, and let’s just spread some positive vibes as we do so!”

ABOVE is one of his recent videos that I missed to watch and I only noticed because I went to look for a good video for you to view to get a first impression.

And how could I almost forget? Paddy shares beautiful drone footage of many of the places that he visits. If you are a Thailand geek then the drone footage is a must see. (I’ll link it HERE & BELOW.)

(I recommend that you play YOUR OWN music if Paddy’s choice doesn’t do it for you. I played this super cute and relaxing Korean playlist at low volume, while watching Paddy’s drone footage. It was the perfect combination for me.)

If you want to follow along Paddy’s 77 province journey then you can jump right in OR go all the way back to the first video of the Series #1. Link HERE .

Retired Working for You

Retired Working for You Here is another positive, feel good and mostly family friendly Youtube Channel by a Canadian called Chris. Chris’s channel has exploded thanks to his energetic, positive personality and frequent acts of generosity. He shares his good fortunes with the people of Thailand.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Minna Oh & Sweet and Tasty TV

Sweet and Tasty TV is the brainchild of Minna Oh, a Korean American creator and owner of at least 3 Youtube channels. Her videos show her positive and slightly quirky personality – perhaps better described as imaginative. She seems to have captured and maintained a little sense of wonder at the small things in life. You’ll know what I mean once you watch 2-3 of her videos. Sweet and Tasty TV is all about Korean travel and Korean food, including several instruction videos for making your own Korean food.

Manna Oh is frequently accompanied by Mommy Oh, her adorable and all food appreciating mother.

A very family friendly channel and very respectful of people’s privacy: Minna Oh blocks people’s faces with little almonds to respect their privacy, unless they have given consent to being filmed. (Obviously here and there people stray into the scene and not 100% of strangers receive an almond for a face mask but I appreciate Minna’s thoughtfulness and respect for others.

Do you have Channel Suggestions for me for positive and inspiring Youtube Creators who travel (and possibly also focus on a single location)?

And if you love Thailand and need a huge list of Youtubers based out of Thailand in 2020-2021 then I have you covered. I researched a list of 40+ Youtubers in Thailand, link HERE, with a handful of women, POC and local Thai creators. I LOVE your suggestions for channels that I have missed, please share them with me. I am always on the lookout for new or new to me youtubers. If you know of any Thai Youtubers then I would be doubly grateful for your tips.

(P.s. I am working on an updated list for 2021-2022.)

Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you are loved.

Love isn’t always perfect, nor easy but remind yourself anyway: “I am loved”

So I just made this to remind myself and perhaps you, too: “My mother loves me.” Yesterday I just had this sudden urge to call my mother and tell her that she is loved. It’s like the universe nudged me. A phone call later and long story short: This phrase popped into my mind and I felt like sharing it with whoever see this. Because you should know it, you should be reminded of it. Because you deserve to remember: Your mother loves you, too.

(And in case its it’s not your biological mother than the earth, Gaia, or the divine mother. Feel loved.)

HERE is the link to the Fridge Magnet (available in 3 sizes).

Here is the link for the Tote Bag for your grocery shopping.

The prices aren’t dollar store prices so I completely understand if you can’t get one of these reminders of your mother’s love for you; but in case you ever run out of a gift idea in the future, the store also has mugs, postcards, t-shirts and aprons and notebooks and the postage cost will work out better when you get a batch of for example cards at once. I get a small percentage from the sale that I make there (to date they amount to only a handful of sales) the remainder goes towards the operating and printing costs that RedBubble has. RedBubble is the name of company I am using for this print on demand hobby adventure. If I make 2 sales I can go for a very nice cup of espresso somewhere. If I make 4-5 sales then I can buy my own bag of favourite Vietnamese coffee and ultimately make many cups = equalling: many happy mornings.


I plan on playing around with this idea a little more and I have a few other phrases in mind that someone out there, maybe I or you, shouldn’t forget. Maybe this is at last the gift to give to someone who has everything? Maybe you can just send them a card you made yourself. You could buy paint and a blank canvas bad and handwrite your own declaration of love.

But it would tickle me and surprise me if one day I should find another few dollar in the print shop. You are always welcome to surprise me.

With love from me to you, on another very late San Francisco night. Making very small projects still takes a surprising amount of time from start to upload, to fine tuning and then finally to sharing here on this little, often dormant, website of mine.

How do you build good credit as a recent immigrant in the USA? (German edition)

Question: I have received my green card. Do you have any advice for “building good credit” in the American sense? I have no US bank account, no debt, but also no clue about the best way to start 🙂 Thank you!


BoA Konto aufmachen. Dann Credit card beantragen (habe das in Person gemacht), deposit zahlen (bekommst DU ein Jahr später zurück). Annual fee zahlen. Im 2. Jahr anrufen und dann heben die diese Gebühre auf, dann ist die Kreditkarte kostenlos. Brav pünktlich jeden Monat mindestens den Mindestbetrag zahlen damit es keinen negativen credit rating gibt. Nutze Deinen Kredit aber nie mehr als 30% von dem was Dir zur Verfügung steht. (Kredit: $1000, dann nutze nicht mehr als $300.)

Ziel: 2-3 Kreditkarten haben, sie alle nur minimal nutzen und immer brav pünktlich abzahlen. nach dem ersten Jahr mal deinen credit rating nachschlagen. Wenn er gut ist dann für die zweite Kreditkarte beantragen, mit sign-up-bonus. 

Where can we travel to in 2021?

Yesterday I had a medium anxiety attack feeling caged in by the current health situation that we are facing around the world or rather I felt my freedom of movement restricted by the COST of getting the mandatory health tests that are required to travel. In the UK those costs are astronomical and I can’t help myself but have to say: the cost seems unethical to me. Isn’t someone making a juicy profit? I don’t believe that infection tests really cost £100-£150 each, by the time one takes all the mandatory tests upon arrival and then again upon return the costs can easily rise beyond £400. I suspect that the real cost of producing, administering and evaluating these tests is far below this price.

Well. I grumble. But I found something that is making me feel less stressed. I am not sure that it solves my stress response towards the cost of testing but it helps knowing which countries are more accessible to me when I decide to take a break.

The link below takes you to a fantastic resource where you can check which country you can travel to and with which level of restrictions. It’s free to use and made me personally feel more liberated.

THIS IS THE LINK TO THE TRAVEL RESOURCE

Can I ask you for your experience of your current home country? What does it feel like? Optimistic, hopeful, vibrant, alive, positive & filled with opportunities? That’s the news that I am looking for.

Why I decided to teach English for $7 per hour

Clue: it wasn’t for the money.

I have always wanted to get an English teaching certificate and dip my toe further into the field of ESL. As a regular if infrequent German language tutor since the mid- 90’s and an occasional English language instructor during a spell of time when we lived in Padova in Italy I always wondered if I was missing out by not having taken my TEFL certificate. I always question if completing a Celta course wouldn’t improve my opportunities somehow.

Well, a certificate, no certificate, can make anyone a perfect person. No matter what theories and practices you learn a good portion of success will be based on personality. But as I mentioned a while ago: I eventually signed up to a TEFL course when I realised that I had spending more hours looking at courses, over a period of 15 years, than it would have taken to complete one. I may be exaggerating but you get the idea: Don’t think about it for too long because you might as well do it and find out what you need to know along the way, there are no perfect decisions.

But none of this explains what possessed me to sell my services online for $7. In my physical (and pre-pandemic) life I was paid a minimum of $35 and as much as $60 per German language lessons. Why would I back pedal to get paid less than at my first ever job when I was 15 years old?

Now that I am typing it out this really is crazy.

But it had to do with a) confidence building and b) I wanted to test out an idea for an ESL lesson that is a business and career development lesson. To form my idea and my target audience more clearly I could either sit at my desk alone and think about it and write up a business plan OR I could try it out on people in real life, who at the low fee of the $10 that they paid to the platform had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

And so I started.

I also was hoping to fight a pandemic induced bout of depression that was hard to shift and laid itself like a solid roadblock between myself and everything else, ever other possible action. I wasn’t as successful with this plan as I had hoped but it was good enough. It got me through the past 4 months, while I learned to deliver value to my students. Sometimes I failed and many of my students were not the type of future client that I am looking for. Over time I gently removed them from my weekly schedule and of 38 students in the first month I have reduced my numbers to about 10, more or less active ones. 6 of whom are inspiring me to now finally write my course curriculum so that soon I can serve people back in my real, physical, hopefully post-pandemic life.

Sometimes it’s worth testing an idea, even if on the face of it you are risking the labour and time that you put in. I thought of the past months as a kind of internship. The pay was so low that in San Francisco it isn’t any money at all. What I made over almost 200 lessons pays for one week of a reasonable job in the San Francisco Bay Area.

But sometimes making no steps forward and even sliding back is better than not paddling at all.

This wasn’t the ideal approach and I know I am wasting my life and potential somewhat, but if you ask my students they don’t think so: They are grateful and appreciative and many have reported how helpful the hours with me have been to them.

Think of it as a paid coffee meeting with a stranger who will appreciate your time.

This post really needs to be edited !

Please subscribe to my blog and let me know if you would like me to tell you about my English language teaching project. And why I would work for less than 1/2 the minimum hourly wage for unskilled labour in San Francisco.

Part time Dog sitter in the San Francisco since 2014

Just an extremely short note from me today. I just realised that I haven’t written anything since returning to San Francisco a month ago. I’ll share my first impressions of 2021 in San Francisco and of our new apartment soon but for now just a little promotional post. :

We got 50% of our longterm petsitting clients through Rover. You can communicate with your sitters ahead of time, check references and arrange a meet-and-greet. I think the greater risk is when people hire dog walkers like they order pizza. Price is also an additional point that may determine the quality of service. I tagged Rover because as a sitter I have had predominately positive experiences. For home & pet owners I recommend that you are discerning and ideally not in too much of a rush to hire so that you can meet sitters / walkers in person and consider your options. Have a list of questions ready to ask and a good list of instructions for your pet’s needs. http://sit.rover.com/p2H3j < this is a referral link.

I wouldn’t recommend them if being a part-time Rover sitter hadn’t been a sincerely positive experience for us.

If you aren’t in a city with access to Rover then you could try TrustedHouseSitters as an alternative. You won’t get paid but I still consider it an option when travelling abroad where I don’t have the same referral network as I have in California and some owners who are away from home simply don’t have the funds to additionally pay for a local sitter. It can be a fair compromise, just remember that once you agree to sit you should be as sincere and conscientious in your approach as if you were paid a full day rate of $50-$90 or a full weekly rate of $250-$…. (whatever your maximum weekly rate may be when you house/petsit closer to home.)

As a home owner you might like the idea of free house-petsitting services but please consider leaving a tip, home and pet guardianship can feel like a hobby to you but it’s quite a responsibility to the sitter. At least the sitter should treat it as such to ensure that everything is taken care of as you would like.

Referral links in this blog post:
ROVER & TRUSTEDHOUSESITTERS As a home- & pet owner you will save money when you use my links to sign up to either of these two platforms. (Or in the case of Rover you can make money if you become a sitter.)

I will receive a small referral bonus if you use my links, at no additional cost to you (you will actually save money). To receive the benefit you need to sign up and use the service within a specific time frame. This changes from platform to platform but is typically within a 10-30 day time frame.

I started teaching English online

It’s not exactly a career move but I have always wanted to get a TEFL qualification and dip my toes in tutoring / teaching English online.

It’s NOT a particularly rational bucket list item as the pay is not even nearly a living wage; unless of course you really specialise and throw your WHOLE heart and a lot of time into it. I on the other hand am only dedicating a corner of a heart chamber for now.

In my first week being registered on italki I already have 14 lesson bookings!

I might maybe add German to my offerings at some point but for now I am just irrationally spending my time getting paid some peanuts to meet people around the world and cheerlead their English language learning efforts. Something tells me that I am a nerd.


Luckily I love nerds.


For the slow pokes in the back: I am a longterm fan girl of this teaching platform, I am also taking language lessons not just offering them there. https://www.italki.com/i/ref/C6c6ee?hl=en

If you are potentially interested in applying to teach or in booking lessons yourself then with my link you will save some money on your first booking.

(And if you use my link to sign up as a teacher then I would LOVE that, it would give me a referral bonus.)