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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..

Why I decided to teach English for $7 per hour

Clue: it wasn’t for the money.

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.)

I have tried these English teaching platforms. – as a tutor and as a student

Text in progress. / Sharing my current draft. Read it here first before I publish it on Medium.

I passed my TEFL certificate with flying colours (I accidentally got a 97% pass rate) and now it is time to find a teaching platform to offer English & perhaps German language lessons on. Which of the many options should I choose. My first obstacle is that I don’t hold a passport from a primary-language-English-country. (Excuse the awkward way I just phrased that.)

Here I’ll share my experiences applying as a tutor to teach English online with several companies. (Italki, Preply, Verbling, LivXP, Wyzant, Craigslist)

My first love is Italki.

I have taken over 60 language lessons with a total of 8-9 different language tutors, some professional, some categorised as ‘community’ teachers. Having had only positive experiences on the Italki platform this is naturally the first place that I applied to become an English teacher on.

Italki application process: Check if the language that you would like to teach is open for new applications. English is often not open. I have waited a total of about 2.5 month before I was finally able to apply. I am currently waiting for my application to be reviewed. The platform is EASY to navigate and clear. My single small complaint would be that I didn’t notice a section to upload my certificate but I found in FAQ that once the application is submitted you can not add your certificate. Ahem.. Glitch. I am not sure if this is my glitch or Italki’s glitch. But I’ll deal with it. It may mean that I need to reapply at a later stage, which could mean waiting another 1-2-3 months before I get to onboard to Italki. (But I am an Italki fan girl so I will just keep trying until I am in.)

Tip: use any waiting time to pre-write all the application categories and make your introduction video. The delay may be disappointing but it is an opportunity to fine tune your application text and review your video a few times, and perhaps re-film it to make sure your application is as strong as it can be. There is so much competition!

(Spoiler: My video is SO bad, I am cringing so much every time I even think of it.)

A downside of Italki, what’s not so good on italki: It attracts a high number of students who only take one single single class with tutors.

My suggestion for language learners: Book at least 3 classes with a teacher to try them out. After just one lesson you really can’t tell if you will get on well with the person you chose. One of my teachers was a bit cold in the first lesson and it took me time to warm up to her. Now I am a loyal student and have booked at least 12 classes with her to date. Getting into tune with a teacher / tutor

Verbling

The second platform I applied to is Verbling. The application process is smooth, clear and straightforward. Unfortunately I don’t think I heard back from them. I think this could be because I chanced a portion of my application: Their English teaching applications were also closed so I swapped some words around and applied to tutor German language instead. But obviously my video is geared towards tutoring English. Well. Perhaps I should not be surprised that they are ignoring me.

Time to go back to the drawing board and prepare a more focused application for Verbling. I hear that their payout structure is fair and clear and one of my language tutors prefers to teach on Verbling as she says the platform attracts more students who take multiple classes than Italki does.

Preply

I have quite a bit to say about Preply. I applied on the same day as I placed my application with Verbling and Preply were quite responsive and made a good impression during the application process. I made some mistakes in my application: Having uploaded my video to my personal Youtube page, which I am also using to build a portfolio of videos for my Art and creative producer career. Preply requested that I upload my introduction video to a separate youtube page that doesn’t link to a professional account nor offers a way to contact me outside of the Preply platform. This is absolutely reasonable. So I re-uploaded my video to a fresh Google account.

By the way: Sorry Google, you have to deal with SO many burner accounts for platforms like Preply, which require their applicants to open these otherwise dormant accounts. I am just thinking about the amount of additional digital data spaghetti that is created as a result. And all of this needs powering.. I digress.

Then I must have accidentally mentioned Italki in this introduction video and Preply asked me to remove the reference to Italki. Blast. I slipped up. I was all set to check if I can edit OUT the Italki reference in iMovie, when suddenly a few days later an email from Preply confirmed that they have approved me onto the platform after all.

This caused some excitement and I immediately launched to completing my teacher profile. While I was filling it in I received multiple messages and class requests. Things are looking good. Until I realised that a lesson price had been pre-set at a price point that I didn’t agree with. It took me a while to find my way to this page. One of my prospective students had already booked 6 lessons with me at this price.

The more I looked into the platform the less I liked the system by which they operate. I don’t get a say in the pricing of multi-lesson-packages. Students can book 10 lessons at a set discount price, and I can’t opt out of this. To this date I am not sure how payment on 10 packs of lessons work. Do I get paid after each lesson or only after students complete all 10? That’s something I could figure out. It’s not entirely a deal breaker but I do prefer to have the option to choose what packages I offer.

Italki let’s teachers set lesson package offers, both number of lessons and pricing of package discounts. I prefer this.

Preply’s payment structure, it’s not exactly secret but I didn’t realise when I signed up that Preply does NOT pay teachers for ANY first lessons with EACH new student. Remember how in Italki many students only take one lesson? The teachers I have worked with report that the majority of their classes are with students who only book a single lesson. This is alarming. Preply wouldn’t pay for ANY first lessons. But it also expects its teachers to teach a FULL hour for first lessons AND instructs teachers on how to up-sell lesson packages.

How to get paid on Preply? I can’t actually tell you. After cycling through their interface for a good while I didn’t see a place to add my payment details. This is something I would love to be able to find as quickly as the ‘add your profile picture’ button.

My next concern is that Preply takes 33% of teacher’s lesson fees. I am not sure if they charge students a booking fee in addition to this. This 33% eventually drops to 25% but not until after the teachers have given a lot of lessons. I am not sure how they justify this but it you read the low ranging Trustpilot reviews you’ll see how these two policies combined create a lot of disgruntled students and teachers alike. Students are upset because teachers finish lessons 5-10 minutes early (to make it in time to the next underpaid lesson on which they need to over-deliver to retain students.) Teachers are upset because their first lessons aren’t paid. Then there are some reports of teachers who did ok on the platform and finally reached the 25% percent (getting paid 75%) rate and at this exact point Preply mysteriously decides that their profile doesn’t meet their standards and suspends their account without paying out their remaining $500 pay.

All this sounds alarming but also unsurprising. I have heard similar experiences about other teaching platforms (one that only accepts native English speaker passport holders.) A person was with a platform for 2 years, did great and from one day to the next their account got flagged, coinciding with when they had reached a milestone that was financially beneficial to them. I have heard these reports multiple times from multiple platforms and keep them in mind as a word of caution:

Tip:

Build an income octopus, don’t rely on just one single income source. Build at least 2 strong profiles on 2 separate English Language teaching platforms in case one of them pulls the carpet beneath your feet with policy changes, an unintended operating glitch, or other practice that puts you at a disadvantage or out of business on that platform.

Preply continued:

I sat through 2 hours of various Preply on boarding videos, they call them courses, that speak about how to conduct your first lesson with students, the importance of up-selling, how to improve student retention. It all basically went the way that all gig-economy goes: Deliver 3x the value of the price paid. It sometimes feels a little obnoxious to be told how to be so perfect while knowing that the only way to get students is to charge 30% of a living wage and while simultaneously knowing that out of 30 first lesson bookings I will receive exactly $0 from Preply. Another concern I have with Preply is that I don’t know if they have a minimum threshold for paying out nor their payment schedules. Do they pay instantly, weekly, monthly?

I suggest you read 15-20 low 1-2 star review on trust pilot about Preply AND read their replies. You’ll realise that they use the exact same 2-3 replies for all complaints and this level of lack of personalisation in replying on a platform like Trustpilot speaks volumes to me.

I wanted to love Preply. I sincerely did. I re-scheduled the booked lessons to gain some time to consider what to do and it is best to withdraw entirely from the platform as otherwise the students who booked a lesson package would be locked in and really struggle to get a refund and frankly I am not working for free. Whose idea is it to not pay tutors and expect them to make a glorious, over-delivering first impression?

Preply scores: 0/5 for me

Wyzant

I have had a presence on Wyzant for a while, I once found an in-person student through it who offered $60 per lesson. Technically, as with all sites, tutors have an obligation to accept payments through Wyzant and NOT conduct payments outside of the platform. But frankly: 20% to me is still just too high a commission to pay. I know that platforms have overheads, the engineers and teams need to be paid. But 20% on ALL these gig economy platforms is just too much. That aside let’s talk more about Wyzant.

The interface is reasonable but I get a LOT of requests from students who want a lesson at a specific time but don’t even answer my question: “Which time zone are you in?”. Wyzant’s interface isn’t brilliant for clarifying schedules and time zones. It would be great if they could work a little bit on this to make them truly competitive.

In May I wasted at least a whole hour on messaging back and forth with a student who can not read simple questions nor answer them. I received repeated messages about wanting lessons without clarification what exactly he needed (grammar isn’t my strongpoint, I have to make sure I don’t waste my prospective student’s time if detailed knowledge of grammar is their key reason for booking lessons.) His lack of clarity caused us both a lot of frustration and in the end I had spent an hour unpaid trying to just schedule a first call with him.

I blame the usability of the platform interface more than the student. A really good platform makes it really easy to schedule. Check how smooth the experience is on Verbling or Italki. (I am not enrolled as a teacher on Verbling yet but have spent time exploring the platform and it looks very promising.) Neither of these two platforms require extensive back and forth messaging with prospective students.

On Wyzant I have had about 7 enquiries and 1 booked student this month. The lesson with the student is tomorrow and I’ll have to report back how payment worked. This is the first time that I am accepting payment through the Wyzant platform. It will be interesting to see how it works.

What’s good about Wyzant: The original process of signing up was smooth and I can easily change my profile. They do now have several options to provide evidence of qualification, which I also appreciate.

An outlier platform:

LiveXP

A friend told me about LivXP yesterday and I signed up straight away. I am a bit of a geek and like to get the insider perspective on new company profiles. Everything went quite smoothly until right at the end! The ONLY way to complete and set live your profile is by downloading an App. Now I don’t know about you but when I have never heard of a company before and can not find the privacy statement on their app then I really don’t want to have their app. Preply did a similar thing but with my being at least familiar with the name Preply I took the risk a little more readily. But with LivXP this was a deal breaker.

You can’t complete your profile without downloading the app. It’s impossible. The claim is that having the app on your phone will help you be on time for your lessons and to respond faster to incoming requests. I don’t know about you but 1) I reply as soon as I can anyway (I get notified through email notifications and don’t need an app, 2) I choose to have a life and resent being hounded every moment of it for one off lesson requests. I am not familiar with how LivXP conducts their lesson bookings but if it is anything like Wyzant it could lead to having to reply to prospective students rather than accepting lesson bookings. I don’t want to be on call for people who haven’t yet paid me. You may call this an attitude issue but bear in mind: unless you get paid above average all this extra time is coming out of your pocket. I am happy to schedule daily admin time but don’t hound me on every digital device known to man.

Well. Now what? I am considering getting a burner phone to download all these sketchy apps to. I say sketchy because how can small companies afford a strong developer team who keep high standards of data security? This really matters as our entire lives are hooked to our phones and data breaches can cost incredible amounts of time and money to recover from.

Have you ever been in a position of having to change 100 passwords? I have have. It’s unpleasant and extremely stressful and will take you a working day.

LivXP score 1/5, I would assign more points if the mandatory use of the app is removed. I quite liked the interface up to that point. But I can’t continue until I get a burner phone*.

*I hear you ask (nobody asks but maybe you would?) What is a burner phone? It’s a phone that isn’t hooked up to any personal data whatsoever, now which I install a ‘burner’ Apple ID purely so that I can comply with the mandatory app use. If the app is unsafe and syphons off personal data it will then not gain any useful data on me as the phone simply won’t contain anything of interest beside the LivXP and possible a handful of other deemed unsafe apps. I count Tiktok as an app I wouldn’t install on my main phone finally getting set up with a burner phone and burner Apple ID account would allow me to take part in the TikTok craze, too. (But is that a good thing? It depends what for. For business visibility building and marketing it could be. That’s another post I should write).

Tip:

Value your data security. And don’t underestimate how relentlessly invasive gig economy can be on your life without paying you enough to make up for it. It’s your job to protect your time and don’t let fear lead you to bending over backwards to every request. Your mental and physical health matter. Make sure that YOU create the working environment that YOU can thrive in. When you give in to chasing after every penny and join the race to the bottom then you will get exactly that: pennies and exhaustion. Nobody else will protect your time, this is your job.

Bonus tip:

Use the time to protect to learn additional skills that increase your value so that you don’t become trapped in the whims of gig-economy demands.

Craigslist

Craigslist in San Francisco. This is one of my favourites! I am not sure how you all do it but I seem to not be able to place free adverts for German / English Lessons anymore. I used to be able to in the past. But even on the paid adverts (they are about $5) I often get at least 1 paying student response at the rate that I set. That is worth it for me. These students are typically repeat students and the $5 marketing cost for my lesson is worth it.

You may have to deal with a few too many sex requests. I find that upsetting but am able to navigate this. I include LESS photos of me then I don’t get as many of these inappropriate messages. Unfortunately I then also have a lower chance of getting students.

My Conclusion:

My favourite platforms to find language students are Italki and Craigslist.

Use of language disclaimer: Teacher, instructor, tutor. I am a little sloppy in my use of language and am using teacher & tutor almost interchangeably despite knowing they may mean different things to you. I am partially doing this to catch more of the Google algorithms attention. More on this later if you are interested. In the meantime I welcome your criticism on my lack of differentiation between the terms.

Tips for setting up your tutor profile.

Don’t let perfectionism stop you from getting started. You should be able to edit your profiles (tutor headshot, descriptions texts, introduction video) on all platforms. Get started. Then start taking a sincere look at your presentation.

What can you improve today? What can you plan to work on this weekend? I think my copy (this is the text) is pretty good at this point. My next concern is that I don’t have up to date photos of myself as I have made a leap in ageing and have been feeling very un-photogenic. I am constantly tired and it is hard to find a good time to take new portrait / headshot photos of myself for my public profiles. If this is you, too: brace yourself and maybe go on craigslist and find a couple of photographers. I say a couple on purpose.

I am a firm believer in booking multiple sessions when it comes to language learning as well as to booking creative work. Different photographers may have different styles of working and of editing your images in post. (‘post’ means postproduction, this can be in an Adobe software like Lightroom/photoshop or can be on an alternative software.) It is totally ok to ask your photographer to remove some glaring spots on your face or if you know your skin is tired a photographer may be able to soften the appearance a little. If you did want a full on retouching job it WILL cost more.

When I deliver portrait photos I don’t do any heavy editing but to reduce the appearance of blemishes takes time. So be respectful when asking for support in ‘appearance.’ But also don’t be scared to ask. You should also clarify that you don’t want to look 20 years younger (some photographers go HEAVY on the retouching in post) because after all you need these photos to make a realistic impression with your gig economy clients / aka students.

ESL / English teaching Platform Application / Advertising Checklist:

  1. Your text. Look at the platforms you want to apply to, copy their text categories (about me, my teaching style, my experience, my education, what is included, etc)
  2. Your profile photo. Does it have the right size? Does it meet the platform guidelines? Is it acceptable to get started with? You can upgrade it later, but look for something to get started with today.
  3. Your introduction video. Make some bulletpoints for what is most essential to cover. Look at other tutor’s introduction videos and make some bulletpoint notes. You can take the categories of your bulletpoints from the platform text categories. (about me, experience, who is this for, teaching style, interests, etc) Keep it short. I recommend filming several times to get comfortable. I also recommend that you create a 1 minute video AND a 2-3 minute one. This will mean that you really condensed the most important aspect of your introduction into the 1 minute video and this will be good for everywhere. But in your 2-3 minute video you can expand a little and shine with your personality.
  4. Make a list of every platform you apply to. And keep some notes. You can’t juggle too many platforms, it will turn into a messy spaghetti salad. Choose 2 to stick with. And I would say focus your main attention on ONE and open lessons on the second one for just 1 day a week to keep the scheduling headache at a minimum. Your goal is to just have the second platform as a backup and build a slow but consistent trickle on it, so that should you run into issues on your primary teaching English platform you won’t have to start from scratch, wasting time placing your application and waiting for approval. You’ll already have 2-3-4-5 students on your secondary platform to at least help you keep some essential living costs covered.
  5. Link your calendars to avoid a scheduling headache! This really is a separate post. I’ll need to write it for you. My life improved since I have merged calendars and multiple email accounts into one collection account each…

Did I cover everything? Do you have any questions? Do you know of additional platforms that people who don’t have an English speaker passport can teach English on? (Ideally while also getting paid..) Let me know your questions and experiences in the comments. Expressions of appreciation are also welcome.

(I will upload an edited version of this post to Medium.com this weekend. If you would like to support me there then please let me know and I’ll share a link with you)

Would you like me to write more about my experience as a language student?

Travelling from the UK to the USA in May 2021, during travel restrictions / partial lockdown

How I traveled out of the UK and moved back to America while many travel restrictions are in place. I put the checklist at the top and then wrote about my experience.

Planning my journey from the UK to USA felt really stressful. The travel guidelines sounded firm and daunting and I didn’t want to become one of the people who are made an example of and who had to pay steep fines for travelling during these Covid travel restriction times. 

The checklist that I used, IN SHORT:

  1. Prepare Travel Permission documents (you need to have a permissible reason to travel from the UK) and print them out. (Job offer for me. Other people will have other permissible reasons. Check the UK government website here.)
  2. PCR test – called a centre near me and confirmed that they offer fit-to-fly certificate. Turnaround time is 4 hours.
  3. Confirm Flight
  4. Book Train ticket
  5. Book hotel
  6. Check everything over. Did you forget an essential step?
  7. Print ALL confirmations & put all confirmations onto your phone. Have everything double.
  8. Be prepared to throw a lot of money at climbing over the hurdles caused by the pandemic and travel restrictions.

I think this is pretty much all you need. It took me a while to work through these relatively straightforward steps. I think it’s the anxiety of making a mistake and the potential for it costing more time and money. This short list should be THE ONLY LIST that you really need to plan your trip. Let me know if you think I missed something essential.


There is a disconnect between the draconian language used by the UK government and the daily reality. For example if you board a local train in Merseyside, chances are that plenty of people won’t be wearing a mask, while stern authoritarian sounding messages are played on the loudspeakers telling people that they must wear their masks. These messages however seem to have the opposite effect and make people rebel, I am not surprised. They provoked the same urge in me, and that despite my being one of the few people who wore two masks to most indoor places to be extra safe. I have had Covid, I don’t want to get it again. It was pretty bad. That’s as much as I’ll say about that but it’s the reason I am so cautious and respectful to others, too. But back to travel: I had to get back to California and I felt genuinely intimidated by the UK government travel restrictions and how they are worded. 

The first issue of this trip was the high cost of even getting to the airport check-in. I didn’t dare pre-book anything until the last minute and only after each step of the process was successfully completed. In my case it went like this:

  1. Print out the mandatory UK government permission to travel declaration form. 

At first it seemed that one MUST fill it out online but I really don’t like adding more and more data to my files with anyone online and I found at the bottom of one of the website pages, in tiny small print the option of printing out the form from a pdf file. So I did that. 

Next determine permissible reason to travel. In my case it was to sign a tenancy agreement in California. I got an email confirming that I would sign a tenancy agreement and also received a barely legible tenancy agreement jpg scan copy in the same email. (I am just telling you what I got, your reasons might be different.) My additional reason was work for which I personally have to be in California, but I didn’t have any evidence for this. I do however have a Greencard, which gives my case some authority. 

Book a PCR test, AFTER finishing packing my suitcase. Once the Covid test comes back I want to be able to immediately book my train / travel ticket without further delay. You will have to check what specific test is required in your destination. A PCR test will unlock most places, some accept a very fresh Covid Antigen test, but to be honest the peace of mind knowing that a negative PCR test will allow me to travel to most places makes it worth it. I wouldn’t take chances on taking a cheaper Antigen test for the sake of saving £50. Get whichever test is the most widely accepted.

Check the government website for the country you are travelling to. Make sure the information is as recent as possible. This part was a stressful experience for me. I tried checking if an Antigen test would be enough (it wouldn’t have been) and realised I was stressing myself out in order to save money. And in the end it had to be a PCR test anyway.

Go to the test, be swabbed, endure, go home, finish getting ready and wait 24 hours for the PCR test result.

I was lucky and got my results the following day morning, 6 hours earlier than expected, which allowed me to immediately book a train ticket for late afternoon to travel from Liverpool, in the North of the UK (explaining this for readers from other countries) to London Euston. I used thetrainline.com to book my ticket and was so surprised that the search Liverpool to Heathrow airport showed up as ‘sold out’, a heart-stopping moment (“sold out !!??” Eek!)

This ultimately allowed me to be on the plane before even 48 hours had passed from test to plane departure. It feels so tricky to time things just right, given that with the PCR test and results you have 72 hours total from the hour you take the test, not from when you receive the results!

Looking for a train ticket from the North of England to London Heathrow

But return tickets to London Euston showed as available and priced at £100, gosh! However a single ticket, which is all I needed, was only £38, a no-brainer, I got a single ticket. Downloaded the ticket to my phone & grabbed my external phone battery / charging pack to make sure that I won’t end up with a drained battery in a critical moment!
Final dash around the house to get ready. How is there always so much left to do in the final moments!? 

Print the negative PCR result! I received mine as an email with an attachment. I printed the attachment. And downloaded the PCR result to my phone (I realised later I downloaded the wrong file but printed the correct one. Thank goodness!)

With minutes to spare before I had to take an Uber to make it in time to the train station I finally booked my hotel at Heathrow airport. I used booking.com because I have booked through them in the past and had a good experience and their website is intuitive and easy to use. I chose the Ibis hotel near Heathrow terminal 5 because it looked spacious and I don’t want to take any risks during Covid with crammed spaces. I left it so late to book the hotel in part because I kept expecting something to go wrong along the way and just didn’t want to lose any money. (With Booking.com that actually wouldn’t be a problem, I noticed that they offer the option of pay nothing until you check in. I should have done that. But my nerves got the better of me, so I left it until the absolutely last minute.) I got my room for under £40, which is really amazing. I was so surprised. Downloaded the booking confirmation to my phone. 

Backtrack! Why am I staying in an airport hotel instead of going straight to the airport? Because due to Covid the number of flights out of the country are restricted and I found it really difficult to find a route that I could travel that would take me from the north of the UK to flight check-in on the same day. In fact it seemed impossible. And an overnight stay at the hotel made for a less frantic experience than the potential of ‘slumming it’ staying awake at the airport overnight. Is that even allowed during the pandemic? I just didn’t have the energy for taking risks.

Took an Uber to Liverpool Lime Street and the Avanti train to London Euston. I used the 2.5 hours journey to scan paper notes with my iPhone Notes app, to reduce the weight of what I am carrying around with me. If you don’t know me very well yet: I am a, pen and paper, note taking nerd, with an attachment issue to her notes.

I felt very productive and my nerdy note scanning activity made the 2.5 hour journey in the quiet coach fly by pretty fast. I swiftly and unspectacularly arrived in a much quieter Euston Train Station than I am used to from when I used to live in London. 

Euston Train Station, May 15th, 2021

Time for decisions: should I take the London Underground to Heathrow Airport and a taxi from there to the Ibis Hotel? Or should I just take an Uber all the way from central London to my destination? I would NEVER throw so much money at taxis or Uber under normal circumstances but this didn’t feel like the time to mess around, with all my valuables on me, travelling alongside any number of people for the purpose of saving probably £20 overall. In normal times, if I so much as look at a person who has the flu I can almost guarantee I will catch it, too. I think flying on a full plane across the cross country from my port of entry into the USA to San Francisco was already a risk I knew I wouldn’t get around, I didn’t feel like potentially adding London variants of Covid to the mix.. I know I may sound too cautious to some and outright tempting fate to others. But trust me that I have my reasons for being much more or much less cautious than you would be. 

I took an Uber from London Euston to my Ibis Hotel near Heathrow Airport. What a good decision. It meant not needing to be concerned about my luggage the entire way and being able to sit back and relax. I had a great chat with my Uber driver and felt like parting with a friend by the time it was time to say goodbye. Life finally felt like it was coming back into synch with itself. 

I anticipated a lot of questions at the hotel as they are legally only allowed to host guests for a short list of reasons. I knew I may have to explain my reasons for travel and was all ready and prepared. Bearing my green card seemed to be the magic ticket and when I explained that I fly standby the checkin receptionist gave me my room keys and didn’t insist on seeing more evidence from me. That was more relaxed than I thought it would be. But it’s always the way: when you are thoroughly prepared, all goes smoother than expected. I am glad I was prepared, I had nothing to fear. Technically, if you can not show evidence of your valid reason for travel and your valid reason for needing to stay at the hotel they aren’t allowed to host you and may cancel your booking if they suspect you are travelling for vacation instead of a permitted reason. (Don’t even get me started on how draconian this all feels. I am a little scared about the future and how much of this could stay sticking to our future freedom of movement. But that’s a conversation we can have another time.)

Bed in my Ibis Hotel room, May 15th to May 16th 2021

My room was lovely! But Ibis, if you were to read this I would say: why isn’t there a usb plug to charge mobile phones? And why isn’t there at least one small bottle of complimentary drinking water? These were the two things I quibbled about. But the bedding was white and the bed perfectly comfortable and cozy. The window opened to allow in fresh air and the shower was great, the bathroom super nice and clean. Slippers would be great, I would bring slippers if I was to stay at the Ibis hotel again because it’s not nice walking around the room with shoes but it equally isn’t nice walking on the carpet with socks or bare feet when probably most people walk around with shoes. Hygiene, it seems we all differ.

My British & American friends: How can you keep your street shoes on indoors?

Then I re-packed my bags. I had one too many and didn’t have time in Liverpool to repack everything but knew it would fit if I took my time in the hotel room.

5am, time to leave to get another Uber to the airport. I spent SO much on Uber rides this week! More than I usually spend on taxis in any entire year! 

Check-in. Passport, Greencard, printed Permission to leave the UK government mandated form (filled in), evidence ready to show if asked, and Printed negative Covid PCR test results. Count my bags. Stand straight, look presentable and safe to fly. 

You notice I didn’t mention a whole lot about my flight ticket. I fly standby and during Covid times the international planes are so empty that I knew I wouldn’t have an issue getting a seat, but the nicer I present myself, the greater my chance of getting a VERY nice seat on the plane. Spoiler alert: I got the best seat in the house! More on that later if you fancy.

Fantastic. I was asked for my Covid test and my green card twice and once for my reason for travel: I just said that I am signing a tenancy agreement. The lady asking me questions was as tired as I and after accidentally asking me one question three times (I know this wasn’t intentional, I also know sometimes it is, but this was purely extreme exhaustion at play, I felt for her) she just sent me on my way to the check-in counter. Oh and my government form: they didn’t ask, three people glanced at it when I showed it but neither wanted anything more to do with it. I suspected as much. But again, don’t dream of not being prepared, it could cost you your entire trip if you take chances at this time. 

Security in Heathrow Airport during Covid, and extremely low traffic was surprisingly bottlenecked and inefficient, but much friendlier and significantly more human than most of my security experiences at Manchester Airport.

As in all places where I have to take my shoes off: I always wonder “How often does the floor get washed?” I may notice a theme here: How about the hygiene? And the same question but even louder for those security conveyor belt trays! They look SO dirty. I shudder at the best of times but if we truly are taking the pandemic serious, why are these trays not disinfected? Yuk. 

And just like that I was on my way. A little hike around the terminal, finding my gate once it was finally announced… Oh, you may be interested in this: Many shops and places for food are open in Heathrow terminal 5. You’ll be able to buy Duty Free, some clothes, luxury bags and jewellery as well as electronics, books, magazines, snacks and coffee. Some stores were closed but it looked a far cry from the scenes even back in December. Life seems t be seeping back into the airports. 

Waiting at the gate to be assigned a seat it turned out I got upgraded to FIRST CLASS. Honestly, when does that happen? Incredible. First Class all the way from London Heathrow to Dallas Texas.  

I was served Cannelloni stuffed with mozzarella and a side of greens, a sponge cake willed with something creamy and fruity delightful and a couple of additional things, with real cutlery and my choice of beverage; it probably disappoints you that all I wanted was sparkling water with orange juice.

Food in first class on American Airlines, May 2021

I went to sleep as soon as I could, on my fully reclining seat over which the stewardess draped a sort of mattress cover, and under 2 layers of blanket and duvet, I also got a pillow and a small decorative cushion to nuzzle into for extra comfort.

My first class plane seat.

If only I wasn’t woken by my brain playing a catchy tune over and over. Really! A tune I heard on an instagram story kept playing in my ear over and over until it woke me up. This is the kind of stupid thing that happens when you are over tired. An unnecessary type of purgatory experience. 

But it was still delightful to spend the vast majority of the flight in the horizontal, enjoying my 3 windows that I had all to myself. 

Arrived in Dallas. Now that’s a whole other scene! The airport was teaming with life and people. Some stores were still closed or had entirely disappeared but I was surprised how many people traveled!

Poor weather had caused a lot of departure backlog, delaying many flights by 2 or more hours. The place had a nervous energy but it seemed for the most part more people were concerned about their flight connection status than their health. I knew ahead of time that this would be the time of being exposed to the most people that I have seen since February 2020. I can’t complain, I knew it was coming. But I was taken aback when the airline had fully booked every last seat on the plane I boarded. All you can do in this case is to hope for the best, or don’t fly. I am now crossing my fingers that I haven’t caught anything on this cross-country flight.

San Francisco Airport, runway

Arrived in San Francisco, more frantic energy, but this time because everyone was waiting for their suitcases at the luggage carousel on which the suitcases appeared as if placed there by a very weak, small unmotivated slow person, who took tea breaks between batches of suitcases. A whole packed plane received their suitcases 4-5-6 at a time, then a long wait for a few more.

San Francisco Airport – Domestic Arrivals

My suitcases didn’t arrive until the next flight but they got here and that’s really all that counts. I am not cross. The workers at Dallas Airport had a lot on their hands dealing with a lot of flight conundrums caused by bad weather delays. And here I am. Back in California. Where I belong, for now.


TRAVEL SAFELY – be considerate of others whose immune systems you can’t know about. Don’t impose your perception of your own invincibility on people in communities with restricted or lack of healthcare access. If we all take care of the weakest link then we can all be safe.

It would be beneficial to be fully vaccinated before leaving home. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to access the vaccine that I needed, of which I could get the second shot in the USA. So I was left unvaccinated and crossed my fingers that my journey would be safe.


Airport review tidbits:

Dallas Airport: why are the toilet cubicles so tiny that to enter I run risk of having to tub up against a not very sanitary toilet seat, sprinkled with someone else’s pee? Why would in Texas, the place known for supersizing things, the toilets cubicles be the tiniest that I have ever seen on land? What a wildly impractical design choice. And the sinks: how did they manage to create such a badly planned sink area? Social distancing was impossible in this set-up. Blocking off sinks to stop people from being close to one another actually had the opposite effect: people stayed inside the small area longer to wait for their turn, creating a crowded situation, some instead just left without washing their hands. Dallas…!

San Francisco Airport: The toilets cubicles had better sizes but were incredibly gross. The design element as lovely but I could not bring myself to pee on top of layers of other people’s toilet paper and pee inside potentially already blocked toilets. What’s going on? I decided to hold my pee rather than deal with these sanitary conditions. It’s quite shocking to see the area that should be one of the cleanest be so neglected. Please pay your staff more or hire more staff or both. This isn’t ok.

Both airports: Why aren’t there more hand sanitiser dispensers clearly displayed for people to use to be safe? IF you take the pandemic serious that’s what I think you should do. Airlines: The upgraded seats should come with top quality free face masks (that stay on when one speaks). The economy class could receive a quality banded but stylish surgical / paper mask. Missed opportunity to really keep people safe.

On a long distance journey it’s easy to forget that one’s spare masks are in the bag in the overhead compartment and getting up digging around in there isn’t always practical. If there was a sincere interest in everyone’s safety: provide some quality masks and why wouldn’t there be a hand sanitiser dispenser by the toilets (in the airport AND in the plane)? Handing out snacks in plastic bags is probably a lot less efficient at providing security than cleaner bathroom facilities and the provision of sanitisers.

The economy class airplane toilet cubicle that took the prize for the single smallest I have seen in my life, even smaller than Dallas’s miniature toilets. How does an overweight person fit in there? As an accepted norm size person I barely was able to go to toilet without grazing the toilet with my clothes. Sanitary? Not at all.

Resources from my first week of learning Korean – how I cope with life stress

Please let me know if you would like me to keep adding to this list so that you can refer to it, and benefit from it too. (I accidentally slipped into telling you the long journey of why I am taking Korean lessons. You can just skip to the bottom for the learning resources list.)

Before I get too tangled in the tangents of this chat, that we are having here, let me share my current list of Korean Learning Resources (please nudge me to update this as I gather more.):

  • I found all 5 of my teachers on italki (Want to know why I have 5 teachers? I have a strategy..) With my link you get $10 off an italki lesson after completing your first one : https://www.italki.com < I made it into a shorter link but it is safe to click onto.
  • Talk to me in Korean is a monthly subscription website but they offer some FREE Korean Elementary Learning resources. https://talktomeinkorean.com/curriculum/
  • Learn the Korean Alphabet on Youtube. Made really easy to follow. (If it is too slow for you I’ll add another resource.)
  • There will be more resources. I plan on sharing a link to my Google Doc where I save all the learning pdf files.

Just briefly, in case you are wondering “Why are you learning Korean now? How random.” Well. It’s not as random as you might think. One of my best friends during my postgraduate studies was an artist from Seoul, South Korea. I wish I had made an effort to take beginner Korean lessons in 2008 when we met. He and his wife are some of the nicest people but language barriers and our full study schedules meant that I felt affinity with my friend and his wife but to be honest know near to nothing about them outside our shared career interests in the arts.

I feel that I am missing so much by thinking a task is too great to accomplish. This is how I feel about maths, too. And after coaching a client to rewrite her resume and hearing about her struggles with maths I was reminded of my own. Unlike her I never felt that it was I who can’t do maths, but rather I always felt that my failing had more to do with my teachers and the fact that often math lessons were the first in the school day when I just wasn’t awake enough to pay attention.

Fast forward: To cut a long story short I took a 4 hour online class with a team from Stanford on the learning platform: EDx and it was eye opening. I learned about the plasticity of the brain, how quickly it can change to adapt to new situations and how maths and learning creates growth, the more the skills are acquired with an element of struggle the more growth takes place in the brain. But this post wasn’t meant to be about maths.

This little maths thinking experience lead to my leaping to the computer and booking 17 Korean lessons in the space of 1 week, with 5 different teachers. Am I mad? No.

I have been struggling lately with serious overwhelm and symptoms of burnout. I have watched myself slide into habits that indicate a depressive episode and I felt unable to stop the slide. Enter maths. Just those 4 hours alone lit my enthusiasm, opened my mind to a few avenues I felt are probably closed to me and gave me momentum.

So I booked my Korean lessons. As many in as short a time frame as I can fit in. In part inspired by a Youtube language learner who challenged himself with 12 hours straight of language lessons in a language that is new to him. Wild. Exhausting. I wasn’t going to go that far.

I recently have done a lot of thinking and work on mindset work. I listened to one Youtube assess that mindset work is silly and ineffective and that if it was so effective then there would only be one single book out there that everyone would buy. There would be no need for additional books or the entire mindset guru industry. Well. But he is forgetting a few things. One is that not everyone has the same mindset struggle. Our sources vary. And therefor the solutions and paths we each take to change in the direction that we seek also needs to be as varied as we are. What works for a friend my be of no benefit to me.

For me personally learning and knowledge acquisition are my nerdy pleasures. But I have observed in myself and others that my learning and knowledge gathering is often not leading to a goal or a creation but rather it’s an end in itself. We each can decide how we feel about spending 100 hours learning about an aspect of anything without implementing anything that we learned. Implementing could be writing a blog post about it, or taking a test, using the new knowledge in any way that it takes a physical form or becomes trackable. Without this there is danger of just forgetting it all again, or it going nowhere but into the value of our untapped potential.

But Birgit, Korean? You’ve never even been there, have never shown any interest aside from your old friendship that you didn’t maintain.

Well, what do you think when you think: Maths, Korean script, approaching 45 strangers to ask them to pose in front of a camera for you? Do ANY of these options install you with calm confidence? They don’t me. I have lived my life with the frequent refrain of “This is not for me. This will be too hard. Now I am too old.” Well. I am also famously stubborn. And if I am not famously stubborn yet then let’s make it public: I am stubborn when it comes to some elements of my emotional self protection. But I ALSO want to be stubborn for my experience of joy in my life.

And is life as joyful as it could be when we keep thinking “That is not for me, I am not made to be good at that.”?

When we learn something new our brain does some amazing things. To accommodate our new skill it changes shape within just 6 weeks. Synapsis form and connect parts of the brain that were left dormant before. I want that for myself.

Like many I have grown up with a fixed mindset, and even when I broke through stereotypes and social norms, parts of me lean towards this fixed mindset. What my life in America is opening my mind up to is the possibility of growth in ways I couldn’t imagine when I placed my life in the old world of Europe. (I love Europe, it’s my spiritual and cellular home. I’ll be back.)

Right now I am on a mission to:

  • Stop my brain from slipping deeper into burnout, by counterproductively adding another task to the list of things to accomplish. A task that serves NONE of my other pressing deadlines.
  • To help my brain believe that growth is possible. That I can learn something as alien to me as Korean.
  • To shed the stereotypes about inherent ability as well as the constricting idea that at 45 it is too late for everything. (By the way here in my website www.over7seas.com I am also writing about financial future building with a starting point set in 2021. Again, an act of stubbornness. “You are too old, you should have started in your 20s. It’s now too late for you.” Let me prove everyone very wrong. I’m ready for this challenge. Keep an eye open for my posts on this project.)
  • To build a bridge between myself and the unknown paths that only become apparent when we explore something we know nothing about.

And I am finding that learning a completely new to me language that is 100% outside of my field of experience or comfort zone is helping me with my mission. For me it was like flipping a switch from feeling utterly miserable 3 days ago to learning about a different way to think about Maths from the Stanford online course and now to having booked 17 Korean lessons into a week in which I should be doing so many other things but I know that the state I was in I wouldn’t have done any of them. The actions I took in the last 3 days have completely flipped how I experience myself. And right now I have energy and am interested in everything, this is the diametrical opposite to my state the last 4 weeks.

I think this is the kind of self medication we can all get behind. Right?

3 Business Skills Resources – improve your career

In this post I share 3 FREE but powerful resources to take friction out of your interactions with clients and increase your success potential. Don’t dismiss this if you are an employee, you can learn, too!

I think I am going to save you a lot (!) of time by sharing with you what took me years to find. It’s not that it takes THAT long to find something on the internet but what takes so much time is knowing what to look for and then finding the cream of the crop information / resources / people to listen to / read.

To keep it short:

Read: The Pumpkin Plan, by Mike Michalowicz (I am listening to this as an audio book that I borrowed for free from the library. Check with your library if they have a free ebook and audio book library for you to access. Don’t spend money you don’t have to. UNLESS you want to make sure that the author receives royalties for the work it took to write (and narrate) the (audio) book. If you do want to buy the book/audio book then you can feed the machine that is Amazon here*:

Listen / watch to “Hourly Billing Is Nuts”: This is an amazing conversation with Jonathan Stark on Chris Do’s Youtube channel. Here is the link to “Hourly Billing Is Nuts”. There is NO hard-nosed sales pitch in this video. I promise. Watch the video on Youtube, nobody is trying to spam you with buy this or that. It IS pure value and my mind was a little bit blown by how useful this was and I want you to benefit from this, too. Talk to me if you can’t quite imagine how it is useful for you to know what this man is sharing in this video. I can tell you now: it will save you years and increase your income JUST from the additional confidence you can get from watching this video, taking a few notes and imagining yourself into these conversations. How do you imagine this can aid your conversations with anyone you work for? You don’t have to have a 4-5-6 figure job to pitch to a client. You can just be on a more humble plane and benefit a LOT from listening to this type of content. I promise! It only costs some time, but it will benefit you so much.

Read: DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online, by Russell Brunson. Before you look up the book or follow my link I do need to tell you that Russell Brunson markets HARD, and is controversial because of it, and the book itself is set up to eventually sell you his product. Learn from this, however you don’t need to spend your money. You can apply some of his techniques to build your confidence without spending money. You can reconsider this when you have defined and developed a valuable product or service that worthy of marketing / selling. Then by all means..

If you give Russell Brunson your email address he will send you his marketing materials until long after you have reincarnated into the next life. In the past I would have felt that this is evidence that he is a kind of spam-con artist. I have changed my mind about this. I borrowed the e-book from the library. Opened it and was sure I would find a wall of hard sales spammy content. I was wrong. I am actually only a few pages in and I am glued to the pages. Russell Brunson writes well and shares simple but extremely helpful business advice. His book has well over 2000 reviews on Goodreads. That is hard to get! Very hard. He is doing something right, learn from that and set aside your potential dislike of anything you preconceive about him. I won’t waste your time trying to paraphrase or summarise the book. Just read it because it will benefit you and I want that for you. I am not asking you to become a hard-nosed hardcore marketer. To take a beneficial lesson from Russell, you don’t need to become Russell.

You should ingest all three resources at your earliest convenience and then I recommend REPEATING this. Watch the video 3 times (I am serious) and re-read passages in the books that resonate. make notes. Picture how what they say could benefit you. Use your imagination. The more you do the more you will realise how helpful this can be to you. You are learning business legs. And you are learning that it is ok to have business legs. ***(see below)

Your homework:

For the love of your financial future: take these three action steps that you can access 100% for free and they will benefit exponentially: Read the two books (or access them as audiobooks) and watch the video with Chris Do and Jonathan Stark.

Note I am NOT asking you to make financial commitments to things you don’t understand. Just read and listen. Then let me know (please do) in the comments below what you learned that was positive and improved your confidence.

Create a better life. Improve what is already good. It can be easy. But it seems we need discipline.

* = this marks affiliate links. At no additional cost to you I MAY receive a bonus from you making a purchase using my link. In reality Amazon has never paid me a penny. I still include the link for your convenience because sometimes it’s just easier to take action with a link.

Value your own time & value the time of others.

**About my encounter with the work of Russell Brunson: I was in Chiang Mai Thailand in 2019 and an acquaintance of mine kept telling me how great Russell Brunsons book and business is. (He is the creator of the Clickfunnels program – more on that later if you like.) And I kept thinking “Why is this guy trying to hard sell me this Clickfunnel thing and wow, this Russell Brunson must be a serious con-artist getting rich off people like my acquaintance and me. Wow, this is just some kind of MLM marketing scheme. Wow, I better be careful to not get sucked in. Well… All I say is: JUST open his book. It is going to be a game changer in your thinking about how to attract clients to your business and improve your income potential.

I have definitely changed my mind about Russell Brunson, up to this point I have of course only started reading his book, please don’t hold me accountable for anything you sign up to. I haven’t tried his Clickfunnels program yet, note I said yet. I am now considering it on the strength of the book. But I first need to do some homework on preparing my personal offer to the world. There can’t be any point in signing up for a paid business program of any kind when we are unclear about what we are offering to the world. Link to the Goodreads reviews: the low star ones HAVE a point, but don’t let them deter you rom learning. Spend your time reading the book not the critiques. You can learn without becoming scrupulous.

*** Referencing a distrust that I know some of my friends have about business. Ask yourself where you got this distrust. Is it yours or did society around you teach it to you? Who instilled distrust about business world in you? Someone who understands it or someone on an hourly wage / running a small business? Do you equate hard-working with good and thriving with exploitative and spammy? That’s exactly what I mean. That is not our own distrust but it’s been placed in us by others. Let me be brutally direct: The crabs in the bucket around you are pulling you back in as you are trying to escape to a better world for yourself.

I am done being a crab in a bucket. Lets leave the bucket. & It can be done Ethically.

You need to improve your resume. Don’t be left behind.

There is no quick solution but we need a plan of action.

Here is my suggestion for your first action. You can do this 100% on your own – but I also offer my support.:

  1. Have a look at your resume / CV. When is the last time that you revised it? You may have learned better way of resenting yourself since then.
  2. Don’t have a resume online? It is time, you are about to be left behind with the dinosaurs if you haven’t placed your resume / CV on LinkedIn or Sing.
  3. Leave your link to your LinkedIn (or Sing) profile below in comments and I will give free constructive feedback on the first 10.

Improve your income and the quality of opportunities by 10% or more!

Why is this important? Maybe you are self employed / employed / unemployed and you can’t see why this matters. You just have to believe me. It does. People who you are hoping to get hired by, in any capacity, will look for you on LinkedIn or Xing to gain a first impression.

In fact, maybe this is next level but I look up clients before we work with them. I do this to get an insight into what type of workplace culture they are used to and to gather how their work experience could influence our working relationship with them.

I don’t even like selling higher ticket items to people whom I can’t find online as real people. But I am going off on a tangent here. Most important for you to know is that it does matter where you can be found online. It also helps you to define and refine your personal career related outlook.

My secret: My own Linkedin profile is not completely representative of what I am capable of. I, too, am finding it difficult to pin down just one single aspect of what I want to focus on. This isn’t optimal. But when anyone does look me up they can see that I exist and that I am still in the acceptable realm of professional. My LinkedIn profile is not going to hinder me from developing my career. As soon as I have more clarity on my direction I will convey this on my public profiles. And so should you.

I hear you: “I don’t need Linkedin, it’s not for me.” My friend, I have to give you tough love: Unless you own a money tree I disagree with you. Please tell me your reasons for feeling that you won’t benefit from a LinkedIn or Xing profile (tell me in comments below or in my Contact form.).

(Even you: Retired people, unemployed people, lost in life people, so wealthy or established in your job that you feel you are secure people. You can all benefit financially from an improved LinkedIn profile / resume / CV.)

Friends, remember:

Send me your resume link on LinkedIn and I will give the first 10 of you some feedback. To take this subject to the next level I may include a part of my response in a follow up post about the importance of resumes and LinkedIn (you can opt out, and I won’t include anything personal! Your privacy is guaranteed.)

Do you need help writing your resume from scratch? You can hire me for any part fo your career journey. Your baby steps, your ‘I broke my career legs and need help getting back up steps’, your levelling up of your career journey. I’m here for it. There is a sliding pay scale because the service is personalised and “how long is a piece of string?” You may just need a one of brainstorming and streamlining session or you may need to work on your presentation from the ground up.


I also offer more dedicated support:

Use the contact form on my website for your personal information If you are confident in sharing your LinkedIn link then you may do it in the comments, otherwise send it to me in the CONTACT form.

Career and Resume review sessions: full price $175 / first session $75 (limited availability available only until June 30th 2021)

Pay a 30% booking deposit and the remainder upon completion of the session. If you are not happy then you don’t pay the remainder.

Two payment options

(I suggest that you first send me a message in the Contact form before booking.):

Venmo :  @Birgit-Deubner or Paypal : paypal.me/BirgitInAmerica

(Currencies I use regularly and accept on Paypal: USD, UK pound sterling, Euro. If you would like to pay in a different currency then accept payments via Transferwise / WISE. You can use my link to create an account and you just need to send me a message on the contact form and I will provide you with my Transferwise/Wise payment details.)

13 Youtubers who stayed at ASQ Alternative State Quarantine Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand 2021

Are you currently in quarantine and want to watch others who are sharing your confinement situation? I spent a couple of hours looking up some lesser known Youtubers for you. Are you documenting your experience? Let me know and maybe I can add you to the lineup.

What do you think? IS it worth it to stay in quarantine for 2 weeks (or any lengths of time?) Personally I would say it’s a resounding YES from me. If at the end of the quarantine I get to be in Thailand for 3 months then all that is stopping me right now are personal commitments, but not the quarantine.

Sean Chen, positive outlook. “..born and raised in bangkok, thailand, and is currently a student at the university of british columbia. im always interested in meeting new people, exploring different places and challenging myself to create something that will make a lasting impact.”

Nicole Chen, 10.3k subscribers. Quietly spoken. “Nicole Chen is Asia’s most successful female DJ, many have praised her on her achievements within her three years she has been a DJ.”

YS onward, 101 subscribers. English Teaching Assistant under the Fulbright Organization. Stayed at CHOR CHER – THE GREEN RESIDENCE and liked his food. Give his videos a view and remember to pay your respects for the time he put into filming and editing by giving him a thumbs up and maybe a friendly comment. (He could use a few more followers, too.)

4B, “DJ and producer Bobby McKeon known as ‘4B‘; has already spent half his life relentlessly pursuing his sound and vision.”

Calmly spoken, currently has 9 days of Quarantine Vlogs uploaded.

Stephanie Walker, currently has 2 videos on her channel. Give her some support. There aren’t enough women sharing their Thailand experience.

Calmly spoken, articulate. Newbie.


simply happy, a whimsical take on journey to Thailand and Quarantine video, currently has 2 ASQ related videos uploaded.

Jason’s Journey, 211 subscribers, calmly spoken, nice guy from Australia. Explains the daily hotel routine, sharing meal schedules and hotel’s house rules. I like him. So I am giving you 2 of his 4 ASQ videos.

hotel: Maple Hotel


2gethersomewhere, 449 subscribers. A middle-ish aged couple, go give them a follow, they seem nice. They said that their hotel also offers vegetarian and vegan food. In their description they are offering links to downloadable PDF sheets giving various social media business tips for newbies.

“In this video, “Our Thailand ASQ Quarantine Experience”, we share our quarantine experiences and give a full review of the Siam Mandarina Hotel and share our survival tips. We hope you’ll become regular viewers of our channel and will subscribe to it!”

“Our desire is to help purpose-driven content creators and entrepreneurs build their influence online so they can quit the 9 to 5, if they choose (like we did), and spend more of their time exploring the beautiful world we live in.”


Another Day On Earth, 1.17k subscribers. Interesting guy. “My name is Jonathan Paul. Some know me as an international contemporary artist, but really I’m just one of everyone – simply enjoying yet another day on earth. My goal is to share with you fun and informative videos about my journey + to inspire your journey to take risks and push live your life to its fullest.”

Jay Agaskar, 122 subscribers. Nice guy with a theory. “Wondering where you will be placed with State Quarantine during the COVID pandemic in Thailand? In this video, I have a theory that may help ease your mind. + A tour of my quarantine room!”

His tip: Bring your own HDMI cable.


Europe Traveler, 601 subscribers. Video with music overlay and subtitles explaining the ASQ Hotel experience. We don’t get to meet the person. I suggest you put on your own music to view this.

“Stayed in the Siam Mandarina Hotel, which is right next to the Bangkok Airport. The stuff of the hotel was absolutely amazing, the food was really good and the view from the window to airport runway and to sunset helped time pass more easy..”

Chasing Jaunts, 1.97k subscribers. Nice couple. The audio is a little low at times compared to the music but they seem nice enough to forgive them for this. They have 2 dedicated ASQ videos. Seem worth a follow. Go check them out, don’t forget to pay your respects in likes and thumbs up.

Alina Mcleod, 99.5k subscribers. I don’t think she is staying in Thailand longterm.

Have you got square eyes yet? I do from compiling this list. You can send me a coffee or fruit basket if you feel generous and able. No pressure because I accept appreciation in karma points. And you don’t have to do anything at all for those.:

Venmo :  @Birgit-Deubner

Paypal : paypal.me/BirgitInAmerica

Patreon (I don’t have perks yet. I think the perk is the last 5 hours I compiled this list for you.) : https://www.patreon.com/over7seas

Do you have a suggestion for another ASQ Hotel Youtube video, Blog post or maybe a podcast? Please share it with me in the comments. (They are set to needing to be approved to keep the spambots at bay.)

40 + Youtubers making Youtube videos in & about Thailand – 2021 list

This is a list in progress. (Do you know of someone I have missed? Let me know.)

Let’s get started, past and present Youtube content creators sharing videos and vlogs about and from Thailand. (I will add a link to Bloggers and Travel writers based out of Thailand later. I need to start that list first.)

Present (dominated by white male expats with varied interests. Many family friendly channels among this first batch. I don’t think any of the below are overtly sexpats. ):

  1. 40k subscribers, Minority Nomad, 16.1k subscribers, Erick Prince, inspiring, “I’m Erick! I’m a writer, photographer, philanthropist, and world traveler on a quest to become the first African American to visit every country in the world.”
  2. Retired Working For You, 114k subscribers. Family friendly. In his own words: “My name is Chris, and this channel has 2 goals: 1. Offer fun + informative videos from Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. 2. Create a growing community of people who inspire one another to live life to the fullest.” <>
  3. Idea Studio , 5.7k subscribers: An American designer and entrepreneur living in Bangkok, Thailand.
  4. Bangkok Strange, 349 subscribers, “The beautiful, strange world of Bangkok, Thailand”
  5. Julian K Glasser, 5,3k subscribers: Real Estate Agent, and Entrepreneur! 3+ years of real estate experience in America now a Real Estate Agent in Bangkok,
  6. Mickey Stotch, 90.7k, “Travel, Food and Adventure videos made by a hungry Russian eating machine, exploring amazing destinations of Southeast Asia.”
  7. Ceejay Same Same But Different, 1,7k subscribers, Traveling this beautiful planet, it’s important to see what’s out there. If you’re willing to travel you will become a well-rounded person.
  8. notime2bsad, 62.8k subscribers, really friendly. “Quit the American dream of buying crap we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like, with money we don’t have. Simple just living life. Please feel free to follow us on our journey around Asia and beyond. Life is very Unpredictable, and so are we…”
  9. Rides 4 Kickz, 40k subscribers. I had a quick look at one of his videos after someone recommended him to me on Reddit: “Retired expat, based in Pattaya but family friendly (mostly) with travel, lifestyle tips, and motorbikes. Very good production values.”
  10. Jersey Farang in Thailand, 4k subscribers
  11. Jim Andrews, 7.2k subscribers, sexpat?, Hua Hin & Bangkok
  12. Sunny Schollenbruch, 21.9k, “A regular guy who loves to produce, direct, act and edit my own movies.”
  13. Our Life Thai, 24.7k subscribers, Australian living in Thailand with his Thai wife. Family friendly.
  14. Warren Gerdes TV, 7.5k subscribers, seems family friendly. Retired Aussie expat living in Thailand with his Thai ladyboy fiancée. “My fiancée is a post-op ladyboy and we have been together since 2009. I finally moved to Thailand in September 2016 because the 8 years of travelling to see her was taking its toll.” <>
  15. Kru Dylan, 15.8k subscribers, Family friendly. English Teacher in Thailand, speaks English & Thai with subtitles in his videos. “Making videos about lifestyle and food in Chiang Mai, Thailand. ทำวิดีโอเกี่ยวกับไลฟ์สไตล์และอาหารในเชียงใหม่ประเทศไทย”
  16. The Naked Guru in Thailand, 13.6 subscribers, Family friendly. “We have a small farm in the Thai countryside where we live a very basic life, growing our own food & taking care of the land. You will see how we travel Asia as a family, how we live on the farm, & what it is like to have a Thai partner & son as a westerner.”
  17. 20 Seconds in Thailand, 55.5k subscribers,
  18. CB Media, 294k subscribers, “Traveling to insane places in Southeast Asia playing with racecars and going on adventures.”
  19. David Bond, 501k subscribers
  20. Mark Wiens, 7.44 million subscribers. Very Family Friendly, always positive. “Food is the reason you should travel, and on my channel you’ll watch videos about delicious street food and travel tips! Video Posting Schedule: Sundays & Wednesdays at 8 pm Bangkok time (GMT+7), and some occasional extras. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next video!”
  21. Joel Bruner, 64k subscribers, wholesome and very family friendly, always uplifting. Key topics are food and being a good human, plus cycling. Healthy relationships with people. “Welcome to this channel, a place where I hope to create and cultivate motivation through stories in video form. I travel a lot, and I always have, but what I’m always looking out for are the little things that make up the daily lives of people in (whichever place I’m lucky that day to visit!). On this channel, the videos you will watch will include experiences out in nature, occasionally a mission to find a new and tasty food, but really what it will showcase is my greatest love of all – PEOPLE.”
  22. Brett Dev, 36.4k subscribers, Freelance web developer living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. “.. a mix of informative guides and information about how you can build businesses that thrive online, along with personal videos and vlogs about my life in Chiang Mai.”
  23. Global Travel Mate, 18.4k subscribers. “Showing Bangkok through my lens. My name is Jeroen, I am from the Netherlands and have been living in Bangkok for over 10 years now. I run a Real Estate company called Sukhumvit Homes.”
  24. KayyyWild, “Quit my job, and headed out to South-East Asia to get a new view of the world. Currently with just a GoPro to hand, and a will to film everything and anything interesting, my life is yours to enjoy!”
  25. MinawaTube, Ahmed Minawa. “For the past couple of years I have been traveling around Asia. I talk about business and travel experiences I had living in Asia”
  26. Jungle Life, 390 subscribers. “Living in the real jungle, after 8 years in the concrete jungle, Bangkok. In this channel there will be videos about the movie business and how we live now.”
  27. Another Day On Earth, 1.17k subscribers, “Hi. My name is Jonathan Paul. Some know me as an international contemporary artist, but really I’m just one of everyone – simply enjoying yet another day on earth. My goal is to share with you fun and informative videos about my journey + to inspire your journey to take risks and push live your life to its fullest.”

Short term Thai residency

Asian Youtube Creator

  1. Talk Asia , from Korea
  2. Forrest Lee, 13k subscribers, “Former American military making up for lost time by traveling around the world and sharing with you my adventures”
  3. Win Kiling, Filipino English teacher living in Thailand. Newbie Vlogger.

Value added content / based in Thailand

  1. Mike Explores, 220 subscribers, “Hi my name is Michael Biedassek, nicknamed Mike. I share the stories of the Thailand’s communities, heritage and people in order to support important ideas, projects and small businesses. I don’t want to show you yet another top-10 roof top bar for you to get a better understanding of the realities, because much of what we love about Thailand cannot be taken for granted anymore. I hope my content will help you to experience Thailand on a deeper level, have a more informed visit and to create a positive impact while traveling.”
  2. Nick Nimmin, 767 k subscribers. Family friendly. “Nick Nimmin shares YouTube tips, video tips, YouTube video ideas and more to help you grow your YouTube channel by getting more subscribers and views. If you’re a Youtuber, business owner or hobbyist who is interested in making videos for YouTube make sure to subscribe for helpful training videos.”

Women Youtubers in Thailand – help me find more!

  1. See you around,
  2. Tah Jetiyamon, 18.3k subscribers, “I left my job in finance to travel and make films” – HIGH quality editing.

Family Youtubers in Thailand:

  1. News from the Shoes, 7.54k subscribers. “We are Carey, Josua, Hailey and Max Shoemaker, a swiss-american family of four currently living in Thailand.”
  2. Lilly’s Expat Life, 5.69k subscribers. “Lilly Hubbard lives in Koh Samui, Thailand since 2013. She shares her expat life with her Thai husband Wat in Thailand. Thai food, culture and family life in Thailand.”
tuktuk driving in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand – ‘Old Bangkok’

Frequent Thai Travel

  1. Andy Wright Travel, 1.93k subscribers, Disability Travel Advocate. “I am Andy Wright and I was born with Cerebral Palsy. This was made worse by failed lumbar spine surgery in 2014. I have never let it or anyone limit the things I do, including walking and working. I have been lucky enough to travel the world to some places you could only dream about. I am a teacher of martial arts holding a 7th Dan grade and Qigong, which I used to rehabilitate myself after failed back surgery. My channel is all about inspiring you to explore this world of ours even if you have limitations. If you want fly-on-the-wall vlogs on Thai Family Life, tips hints, advice and guidance OR you’re looking for access information and advice about Thailand, this is the place to be!”
  2. Reeshard Travel, 6.38 k subscribers. “American living in San Francisco. I have visited Thailand 26 times.”
  3. Ken Abroad, 49.4 k subscribers, “I am Ken Abroad, a full-time traveler traveling southeast Asia. During the next months I will be living in Bangkok, Thailand and bring you around this vibrant city of Bangkok and the beautiful country of Thailand. If you are interesting in traveling Thailand or living in Bangkok 2021, this content might be something for you.”

Past (have left Thailand now)

  1. 8 Miles from Home (Slow travel, family friendly. They moved to Portugal and are now in the Philippines)
  2. Chocolate Man in Thailand, 7,44k subscribers, he seems to have archived his channel but keep an eye, you never know, he might be back.
  3. Live Travel Asia, 40.7 k subscribers

Thai Channels

  1. Shine bright like Tida, 3.2k subscribers, an Authentic sauce about Thai women and Thai culture.
  2. สาวอุดรกับสามีฝรั่ง Udon Lady With Farang, 125k subscribers, Thai family lifestyle Vlog in Udonthani Esan Thailand
  3. Miss Jira Thailand, 10.5k subscribers, Property in Thailand , House , condo , investment , Daily life , travelling. Professional & Fun!
  4. Eyes of a Thai, 4.3k subscribers, “Nid happy Lady from Mukdahan, Isaac. Living the simple life with my family, Making videos of Rural Thailand life.”
  5. FahFah, 294k subscribers, “Took a different path and determined to be a content creator.”
  6. NosickHandup ใครไม่ป่วยยกมือขึ้น, 281 k subscribers, male Youtuber,

RIP

  • Kev-in-Thailand, 31.3k subscribers. “I am living in Pattaya Thailand and filming what its like living here, Showing the life and places around Pattaya, Everything that is available here as an expat and as a tourist, I am hoping this channel is fun and informational to its viewers.”

Help me add more Youtube creators to this list. Who have I missed?

This list took almost 5 solid hours to compile: Did you find it useful?

You can Support me with Fruit, coffee, noodle soup or a whole meal so that I’ll have the energy to start on the Thailand Travel writers list for you!

Sponsored by nobody.

If you ever need to send money abroad and want to save a lot of money while doing so then use THIS link and you get your first transfer for free. No strings attached. Transferwise has saved me hundreds of dollars in fees over the last 5 years of making occasional cross border transfers. (They are also rebranding and are transitioning to their new name: Wise. So I think their branding is going to take a few months before everything will be rebranded with the new name. When I used my first free transfer I kind of wasted it on transferring $10 to test the waters. You could do that if it is the first time that you are considering using anything other than your bank account or Paypal. p.s. Transferwise is MUCH better than PayPal for sending money. MUCH!)

You can read an older post I wrote about my experience with Transferwise HERE.

BONUS:

Awkwards_Travel on Twitch. A young couple, age group mid-20s? Or is it just a single person? I can’t quite work it out. A couple who previously sailed a boat around but now are/is in Thailand? Twitch is completely new to me and I am not sure how to navigate it yet. Give me a couple of days and I’ll be back! New horizons. Thank you to the reddit user who recommend this ‘channel?’. — sorry about the confusion. I am not sure what to make of this. I can’t really find any written information at all.

A course for women over 40 ?

As I was writing the last post I realised that the information that I have to share with you is really needs a semi-structured approach. I spent 2 hours typing my last post and if I am not careful and disciplined I will mix too many elements into individual posts and cause more harm than good. Harm because overloading with too many pieces of information and too little editing will make taking action steps and following through too difficult. I might try keep posts shorter.

As I was writing down notes on paper with a big black marker, like the child I am, I came to the conclusion that the best way to take you all on this journey with me will be for me to create a structure that I need to map out before we even leave the harbour.

I will take some time tomorrow to write down 100 bulletpoints and create a few mind maps to see if I can nail down all the moving parts that we need to get comfortable with if we want to re-create our financial future. Moving our circumstantial and influenced by our own failings destiny of poverty onto the path of security will take more than my spontaneously bursting suggestions into these blog posts.

Let’s see if I can tidy this up. Can you just imagine how long it will take to write 100 blog posts and maybe create talking head videos to go with them? I think I will need your support as much as you need me to help you get unstuck and navigated into a sunnier direction.

For now I will sign off, it is late at night and we all know: it’s not easy to be productive when we don’t sleep enough.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions what you would like me to include in my project: Working title: Save myself and throw the life raft to the next person after me so they can succeed, too. Or something like that.

What I am learning about building wealth starting at 45 years old

Before anyone thinks that I have anything to sell or a magic potion: I have neither.

Think of this project as a conversation between you and I. Or maybe rather an interactive seminar. Are you threatened with old age poverty like I am? Let’s change this!

This is the approximate starting point: I am 45 and I hold equal amounts of cash in savings as I have debts. Don’t leave just yet. Wherever I turn it seems hopeless. Too late. I may as well dig my grave and give up now.

But I am stubborn and I have always believed that when EVERYONE says that it can’t be done then it does NOT mean it can’t be done it just means they didn’t think yet of how it can be done.

If you would like to join me on this journey as I find out for myself and for you how ew shall NOT end in old age poverty then please make yourself noticed: a like, a comment and even better subscribe to my posts. I think this project will require a better way for us to stay in touch with each other.

So first of all I am going to set up a Patreon or a Buy me a Coffee, so that you can support my work if you would like to (people have asked me in the past how to pay / support my work.) Someone I listed to recently said that money is a way to show appreciation. I agree. We are all far too afraid of speaking about money.

So this is your first homework: talk about money, look at your bank statements, line them up, find your passwords for internet banking and let’s get the mess tidied up first. We need a clear overview to proceed forward.

  1. Checking our finances and knowing exactly what we have or owe
  2. Checking interest rates we pay on debt we hold.
  3. breathe

The next task that we need to pick up again is my forgotten project where I meant to help you earn money from home using eBay and various other options.

I have several friends who to this day don’t have Paypal, the good new is that I believe eBay is transitioning away from paying through PayPal, they plan to pay earnings directly into our bank accounts. – If you have ever juggled your money and relied on having a Paypal account in addition to an overdrawn bank account then I hope this change won’t affect you badly. I am concerned.

But irrespective of eBay changing its payment structure: I would like you to open a PayPal account and a Transferwise account (they actually just rebranded and changed their name to Wise). I have saved a LOT of money thanks to Transferwise/Wise. How? International money transfers: the fees I saved now run into the hundreds of dollars. The other way I have saved money is that I can get paid in multiple currencies and leave the money in my borderless bank account that I have with the same company. Why am I leaving the money in there in it’s original currency instead of exchanging it? BECAUSE I sometimes make payments for services or products in let’s say Euro. If I first change the Euro I got paid into my currency and 2 months later pay for something else in Euro but have to first pay money exchange fees to make the payment, then I will have lost a small of money after receiving the Euro and converting them into dollar, and then again when I convert dollar to Euro. It is smarter to leave the money in my account as Euro. I can wait for when the dollar is strong against the Euro, and exchange my money in bulk then. Saving me potentially 10-20% on doing it immediately upon receiving the payment. Anyhow. You need practice in using digital borderless accounts and you need one to receive payments in the most advantageous to you way possible (meaning, with the least amount of fees paid)

This is your homework:

4. Open a Wise account. Use my link to sign up and you get some brownie points and I am just missing one single person to sign up and use their account and I will receive a brownie point from Wise, too. Sharing is caring.

And here is my link: https://transferwise.com/invite/u/birgitd7

NEXT: I need to develop some writing discipline. You need to be able to access the information without wading through a wall of text. Your engagement and support helps me work on that.

Would you prefer if I made this into a video?