I have been traveling and working online since August 2016. During my travels, I always get lots of questions about my business and how to travel with it. “What do you do?” “How can you afford to travel so long” “How can I work online and travel too?” I get these questions both from other travelers as well as friends and family back home. This got me thinking about how I can share my experience traveling and the lifestyle that so many others have taken an interest in.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a location independent business and work online from anywhere in the world? This allows you to travel and experience new cultures, see amazing sights, try new foods, and partake in experiences you never imagined would be possible. After all of the interest about this lifestyle, I decided to start a monthly blog series in which I interview other digital nomads and entrepreneurs who are successful at traveling long-term and working online.
This month I’m interviewing CarouLLou and Mitchel of Caroullou.com. I first met them in Chiang Mai, Thailand back in December. Hearing their story and seeing their overall passion for life is very inspiring. They are Entrepreneurs from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They have been traveling for 23 years and have been to 88 countries and counting. In 1994, they started traveling full time but kept everything on a trial basis because they weren’t sure what to expect. They kept all of their belongings back home until they made the choice to “jump into the unknown.” A year and a half later, they decided to get rid of everything.
Initially, they wanted to leave Canada and get away from the cold in order to move to warmer climates. As they were beginning to travel, the appeal became the desire to discover the various countries and different cultures of the world. They started as international business consultants with a phone and fax machine as their primary means of communication. They started as Analog Nomads, but in 1998, they started their first Internet businesses. Ever since they have become Digital Nomads, enjoying life while traveling the world.
What do you think about the Digital Nomad community?
It’s like a dream come true! I was imagining this 20 years ago. Back then, I put together a few groups of solo entrepreneurs in many different cities. I found them by publishing ads in printed magazines. We were a rare species, but now it has become a phenomenon! Recently, we finally made it to Chiang Mai, the major hub of Digital Nomads, with the purpose of socializing with them, and the experience of being all together in one place was exhilarating!
What inspired you to travel in the first place?
When we met and fell in love in 1993, we were already both well traveled. During our first conversation, we were dreaming of starting a business that would allow us to travel the world. Then during a conversation on a street corner that lasted 3 hours, we talked about our dream of leaving Canada for good. We suddenly said: “Hey Let’s just do it! ” So we did! The journey keeps on going and we are now on our way to our 89th country. We have been having this lifestyle for so long now, we cannot think of any other way of living.
What was your biggest fear before you started traveling and how did you overcome it?
Before we left, the insecurity was not being able to make it and having to come back! Also, what was a little challenging, was the judgment of others questioning our motives (back at the time, this was rather a weird choice, it was not as trendy as it is today!).
What are you currently doing to provide an income in order to continue funding your travels?
It has evolved over the years, but it has always been location Independent. We had a consultation business for many years and have set up many international businesses. Nowadays it’s investing and trading, but we also still have some businesses online (e-commerce, affiliate marketing). Although our main focus is living our “artist life” and sharing (blog), we are always open for new ideas and projects. True entrepreneurs never retire!
How do you plan where you travel to and how long you’ll stay?
We carry our inflatable globe and build an itinerary in a certain direction and alternate between cities we love and new discoveries. We usually live between 1 to 3 months in each country, respecting the visa timings. We’re normally in Europe or North Asia in Spring and in Fall. Then between December and March, we are in South America, Africa, Asia or Oceania. We usually visit family in Montreal during July and/or August.
What type of accommodation do you typically look for?
Nowadays, we usually book in advance (with cancellation option). For periods of 1 to 3 months, we stay in either serviced apartments or Airbnb. When for 1 week or less, we stay at the hotel.
You have a unique situation where you have been traveling together for 23 years, How do you make it work and what’s your secret?
It takes a lot of love, closeness, respect, an open mind, a willingness to make it work and capacity of letting go. What’s most challenging is to find the middle point, that balance, where you are still pursuing your heart’s desire and still being your complete self while respecting what the other’s vision is. We still profoundly admire each other and we’re each other’s greatest fan.
Most digital entrepreneurs have difficulty in finding balance. How do you manage work-life and relationship balance while traveling?
For us, it’s all intermingled. There is no separation between business, travel, and relationships. Whatever businesses we ever started was always inspired by either one of our needs, interests, or passions.
What’s a typical day in the life like for you?
We wake up whenever we wake up, no alarm clocks! Then we have breakfast, talk, read the news, monitor our businesses, plan our travel and often make a post on social media. We do not commit to anyone or anything before 1 PM. Then, every day, we go out for lunch. Then we walk (or bicycle) exploring while following our passion for photography and live streaming. Early Evenings, we’re back home, relaxing and doing some more monitoring and maybe making another post. At night, we alternate between going out for dinner and staying in watching a movie. Our philosophy is work a little every day and have lots of fun doing something special outside every day.
Do you have a home base?
No, we are completely baseless for many years. Even when we go back to Montreal, we rent an Airbnb.
How often do you visit friends and family?
We visit our family in Montreal once a year during our favorite season, summer! We also have friends all over the world, and we’ll often travel to them and/or make a detour to pass by and say hello.
What is the most rewarding thing about working remotely?
Freedom! I’ve been location independent since 1990. Even before I left Montreal, I was always aiming for living my life my way! What came with the traveling is constant discovery and lots of fun. When we are in between countries, at the airport, we love that feeling of having no keys to anywhere!
What is the best memory that you have in your 23 years of traveling together?
We have so many! Enough to fill a whole book! It’s part of our philosophy of life to have many colorful events and lots of things happening so it cannot be only one thing.
What was the worst situation that has happened while traveling and how did you handle it?
We have had many challenging situations during our travels. Some worse than others. Overall, the challenges of life are there for everyone no matter if they travel or not. It’s how each individual deals with them that makes the difference. We tend to take responsibility in finding solutions rather than playing the role of powerless victim.
What advice do you have for people who want to travel and want to partake in this lifestyle?
Switch your mindset even before leaving. Begin dealing with everyone and everything by phone and the internet to become remote in your own city. Then don’t search too much, just do it. Today, there are lots of traveling communities you can join so that you have your support and social network traveling with you! Some will travel 12 cities over a year period (We find those projects amazing).
- You can find CarouLLou and Mitchel at caroullou.com.
- You can follow their live streaming broadcast in 360 at periscope.tv/caroullou
- Facebook: CarouLLou.Nomad
- Instagram: CarouLLou
- Twitter: CarouLLou
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