AMA: Quit Your Job, Sell Your House and Travel the World For the Rest of Your Life

Mike Elgan
Feb 26, 2018

Or, just travel a little more without being a "tourist" -- learn how to become a "temporary local" anywhere. 

Why? For the food and drink, of course! 

I'll tell you how, (but only if you ask). : ) 

I've just written a book called "GASTRONOMAD: The Art of Living Everywhere and Eating Everything.

I'll tell you what the "digital nomads" never do -- what it's really like to live nomadically. 

Ask me anything!

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Conversation (83)

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What are your top three "Why can't I ..." niggles with regards to using digital tools and services on the go as a nomad?

Mar 2, 4:10AM EST0
What was one of the worst food you ever tried?
Feb 28, 9:21AM EST0

I've had some absolutely horrible meals in Cuba. Outside the carefully managed "tourist bubble" in Cuba, the food is mostly awful. 

Last edited @ Mar 2, 3:35AM EST.
Mar 2, 3:27AM EST0
How long do you normally spend your time in a new city?
Feb 28, 3:05AM EST0

We shoot for three months per location, but oftentimes it's only a month at a time. 

Mar 2, 3:27AM EST0
When will you be writing another book?
Feb 28, 1:07AM EST0

I'll publish the next book by the end of the year, if all goes according to plan. : ) 

Mar 2, 3:26AM EST0
Have you ever met with famous chefs like Guy Fierri?
Feb 27, 8:38PM EST0

I haven't met Guy Fierri, but I've met actual great chefts all over the world. 

Mar 2, 3:26AM EST0
What's a "Digital Nomad"?
Feb 27, 7:35PM EST0

"Digital Nomad" is a phrase from the 90s when laptops and WiFi were new. Coined by Hitachi executive Tsugio Makimoto, the idea was that because of mobile devices and WiFi, people in the future would be able to live anywhere, rather than be rooted in one place. 

Mar 2, 3:25AM EST0
Are your expenses paid for by a company or do you pay for everything?
Feb 27, 5:58PM EST0

I pay for everything. I have an entire chapter in my book about the economics of living nomadically. It's much easier financially to live nomadically than residentially. So it's not a big deal that I pay for everything. 

Mar 2, 3:23AM EST0

How many times was this book rejected before being published into this masterpiece?

Feb 27, 4:53PM EST0

Zero. I own the publishing company. : ) 

Mar 2, 3:22AM EST0
In what ways have your travels changed you as a person?
Feb 26, 5:00PM EST0

They've completely changed me in almost every way. In general, I'm far less materialistic, impatient, judgemental and fearful than I used to be. 

Feb 27, 7:39AM EST0
What is a dream of yours that you have yet to achieve?
Feb 26, 4:26PM EST0

I'd love to live for six months or a year traveling through India. That would be a kind of epic journey that I expect would be very different from anything I've ever done. 

Feb 27, 7:38AM EST0
How much longer are you planning to go on with this lifestyle?
Feb 26, 1:20PM EST0

For as long as I can get away with it. Hopefully at least another 20 years. 

Feb 27, 7:37AM EST0
Are you planning on writing another book?
Feb 26, 12:09PM EST0

Yes, definitely. I'll be writing about technology and other topics, and I'll also come out with updated and revised versions of GASTRONOMAD in future years. At least that's the plan. 

Feb 27, 7:37AM EST0
How do you make sure to retain all the good memories? Is it hard to keep track of all your experiences, and do you ever misremember/forget some of them?
Feb 26, 10:32AM EST0

It is hard to keep up and keep track. The single best tool for memory I think is Google Photos. I just take pictures on my phone constantly, it gets automatically uploaded to Google Photos, then I can later either browse or search. I always find memories in there that I had forgotten. 

Feb 26, 2:04PM EST0

Two part QQIn your travels have you seen a significant dip in excitement around travel to the U.S.?

How has recent changes in U.S. foreign policy (immigration for example), affected how YOU travel.

Feb 26, 8:36AM EST0

I haven't detected the dip personally, but I've read about the slump (and its cause, which rhymes with "slump.")

Changes in US foreign policy haven't changed how we travel at all. : ) 

Feb 26, 8:52AM EST1

Those of us FTE's with kids and bills live vicariously through your adventures. Or only hope is to align a vacation here and there with one of your travel experiences but that's pretty tough to do. Short of the luxury of a sabbatical, what are some tips for justifying becoming a gastronomad? Is it just not meant to be?

Feb 26, 8:34AM EST1

Hey, Noble! I think I know you well enough to say that it IS meant to be. : ) 

You're actually the perfect candidate for this lifestyle, becuase you're super savvy with technology and also a creative thinker. 

I would focus on how you can live abroad for, say, a month. The elements of this could be: 

1. If you have a two-week vacation, glue another two weeks of remote work to that where you're in the same place for a full month, but working for two of those. Some people think their boss wouldn't allow this, but you can't know until you ask. Next time you change jobs, ask about flex work and occaisional remote work and get a comittment before you join. Because if you can work from home, you can work from Rome. 

2. Since you're abroad for a full month, you can get up to an 80% discount on the AirBnB. Research and negotiate to get this. 

3. Put your own house on AirBnB -- or, if you can swing it, do a house exchange with no money exchanged. 

4. Also use the sharing economy to take extended trips (2-4 days) that aren't so far away. Live on a ranch or tree house in California. Do a surgical strike on Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. Etc. 

5. The lifestyle and mindset I'm talking about is really just avoiding tourism. What's a tourist? A tourist is a consumer of products and services from the tourism industry. I advocate travel without this consumption. 

Feb 26, 8:47AM EST1
What are some tourist-friendly cities or countries that have temporary jobs available for tourists/foreigners?
Feb 26, 4:29AM EST0

That depends on what you do. The Greek Islands always need temporary workers to handle the summer influx. 

You might also consider embracing Workaway, where you live with a family and pay your room and board by working. 

Feb 26, 7:29AM EST0
If one doesn't have a house to sell, what are some good ways to raise money for travel?
Feb 26, 4:04AM EST0

The most important thing is finding reliable work you can do abroad. Then, you can raise money by moving to a very cheap place for awhile. In other words, nomadic travel IS how you can raise money. 

Feb 26, 7:27AM EST0

Do you have any allegiance to particular airlines or do you focus on best deal at the time?

Feb 26, 12:44AM EST0

The best deal, although I'm in the million-mile club on American Airlines. We're loving Google Flights for finding cheap fares these days. 

Feb 26, 7:26AM EST0

Of the places you havent yet been to, which are likely targets for running a Gastronomad Experience at?

Last edited @ Feb 26, 12:42AM EST.
Feb 26, 12:41AM EST0

Hey, Tony! (For those wondering what Tony is referring to, we do Gastronomad Experiences in various cities where we spend about a week doing amazing foodie stuff the whole time.) To answer your question, our current list of locations for Gastronomad Experiences which we haven't been to yet are: Buenos Aires, Santiago, Melbourne and Bogota. Places unscheduled which we have been to include: Paris, London, Tbilisi and Kyoto. Looking forward to seeing you in Provence!

Feb 26, 7:25AM EST0

How much, if at all, do you adhere to the the Spartan Diet and how do you balance that with eating so much great food around the world?

Feb 25, 2:05PM EST0

That’s a tough one. In some places, it’s doable. In Europe, generally, we can eat pretty healthy food (plus a lot of bread...). In others, it’s close to impossible. My own practice these days is that I seek out amazing food experiences. If it’s amazing, I eat it because it’s amazing. But when amazing food isn’t on offer, I immediately go Spartan Diet, including fasting. For example, if you follow me on social media, you might conclude that I drink way too much. However, I post pictures of everything I drink (only when it’s amazing, as with our current romp through the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape). Between encounters with spectacular beverages, I’ll go days and weeks without drinking anything at all other than water and coffee.

Long story short, I go back and forth between “the Gastronomad diet” and The Spartan Diet.   

Feb 26, 7:07AM EST0
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