So… what’s it really like to be a location independent travel blogger, online course creator, and freelancer? What do I DO all day, especially now during COVID? What’s an average day look like working from home in Tbilisi?
These are questions I get all the time, so I figured… why not share an average day in the life?
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A few years ago I wrote about a day in the life of a China expat and shared a typical day working as a college counselor in Beijing. I also did a little fun dream exercise way back in 2016 where I fantasized about what my life would be like when I worked for myself. Embarrassing, but some of it isn’t too far off!
So for those of you who are curious, here is what an average day is like for me, working as a travel blogger and freelancer in Tbilisi, Georgia!
9:00 – 9:30 AM – Awake to a Fluffy Cat Sitting On Me
Here in the Republic of Georgia, we’re all pretty much night people, so I don’t actually get out of bed until around 9:45 am. Plus Chris runs online D&D games until 1 am most nights which means I definitely can’t go to be early, and even on the nights he doesn’t have D&D, my neighbor will play loud music and clean her entire apartment while rearranging her furniture until about that time anyway.
Good thing I’m a night owl!
I usually awake sometime before my alarm to my big fluffy rescue cat Yasmina sitting on me. If that doesn’t wake me up, she may poke me in the face with a fat paw while purring loudly. She’s learned that meowing at me to get up and feed her just gets her in trouble, so now she acts really cute so I can’t be mad. Hey, whatever works.
9:45 AM – Morning Chores
Once I get up, I brush my teeth as I’m serenaded by the meows of my big cat and little crazy kitten (who is NOT allowed in our bedroom while we sleep because he can’t be trusted).
I’ve been trying to train them to now scream-meow at me while I make their breakfast, but it’s a work in progress. Before I feed them, I give Yasmina a little squirt of stool softener medicine in the side of her mouth to help her with all her digestion issues.
I keep an eye on the two of them while I sweep the living room and kitchen to clean up from last night’s dinner prep and the cat litter that inevitably gets EVERYWHERE thanks to our kitten Mordie. Yasmina needs to eat special food for her medical issues, and often will try and bully the kitten out of his when she finishes hers. Thankfully I’m there to police any food theft.
10 AM – Yoga with Adrienne
Adrienne does a new 30 days of yoga series every January, so I’ve slowly been cycling through them. I’m currently working my way through her Dedicate series from two years ago.
I like doing her 30-day series’ because she designs them to be done every day and the videos build off of one another (with rest days that focus more on stretching and meditation mixed in). I get much more out of it this way than if I just did random videos from her account.
As I’m doing yoga, chances are the kitten will play with my hair and jump on me, or will terrorize Yasmina and knock over the water bowl, or jump into the sink because… why let Richelle enjoy her morning, am I right?
After yoga, I wash my face, spritz my curly hair with a spray bottle to calm the frizz, and get dressed for the day in a breezy dress, because, for some reason, it’s inexplicably warm today!
10:45 AM – Bread on the Balcony
Today isn’t too rushed, so I decide to make a nice breakfast for Chris and I to start the week off right. I grab my Georgian mountain cheese, slicing a few pieces off onto a small saucer. Then I cut up a grapefruit for the two of us to share. Finally, I pour some fresh homemade sunflower oil from the shop down the road into a saucer and sprinkle adjika spices into the oil.
Once I’ve finished, I grab a 1 lari coin (30 cents USD) and run down the block to my local shoti bakery. I peer through the window to see a woman rolling dough, as I place the coin in her little window tray. The woman grabs a fresh shoti from her rack near the window, wrapping a small piece of paper around it for me to carry home. This one must’ve just come out of the oven since it’s burning my hands!
Once I get back, I make two cups of coffee with my handy Aeropress and set up breakfast on the balcony so Chris and I can enjoy the sun and the amazing view.
The two of us rip off pieces of shoti bread, placing the mountain cheese inside, and dipping it into the adjika sunflower oil mixture. It’s SO GOOD. Seriously, if you come to Georgia you need to eat this.
Also, eating breakfast on my balcony makes me feel so fancy and European!
11:15 AM – Admin and Email Time!
Monday is the day I do all the tasks I really don’t want to do. I’m really not a detail-oriented admin-loving person (Enneagram 7 over here!), so I like to get them out of the way first thing. Rip it off like a band-aid!
Thankfully I have an amazing assistant Hilary who responds to a lot of emails for me and sorts the ones I need to see into folder categories for me to go through. She then texts me at the end of the day letting me know what to expect the following morning! Seriously, this girl has changed my life.
Today I need to go through and respond to blog post comments, double-check that the payment for one of my course students went through, and insert a link from a brand into one of my old posts, which to be honest, is pretty rare since COVID hit.
I also post a quick reminder in the Teach Abroad Squad Facebook Group so no one forgets to submit their questions for the weekly Tuesday Live Q&A! I then schedule another post to go out Wednesday, reminding everyone of the Live Zoom Office Hours on Sunday.
12:30 – Social Media Freelancing Time
Once I finish my admin, I need to schedule my social media posts for the week for Merilyn, my business coach who I now work for! I help run both her Facebook Page and free Facebook Group, so every Monday I block out an hour to schedule posts for the rest of the week.
I share her latest podcast episodes, post engagement questions encouraging people to share photos of their workspace, or tell me one thing they’re going to work on in their business, and more!
While I’m at it, I hop on Canva, my go-to graphic design tool. Every week I take a quote from her podcast, a video she’s done, or her website and create a fun graphic. I then take that quote and make it a weekly challenge for the free Facebook group. I have a graphic for the weekly challenge too!
This week Merilyn is launching a (super awesome) course about using your personality type in your business. She designed her own personality typing system for entrepreneurs called the WowArchetypes (you can take the quiz here, I’m a PassionMaker!). The new program is all about using your WowArchetype to find more flow in your business.
Because she told me last week in our meeting she was about to launch this, I decided the quote of the week would be a quote I took from her sales page. Of course, I promote the sales page for her course in the text above the graphic photo!
Then for the weekly challenge, I ask everyone in her free Facebook group to figure out which WowArchetype they are and incorporate one piece of advice for their type into their business and let me know what they did in a comment!
Finally, after I’m done creating and scheduling, I spend a solid 30 minutes responding to Facebook comments, commenting on Merilyn posts as myself (Richelle), and creating engagement and interaction in the group. Sometimes I go on, post as Richelle, and then respond as Merilyn and create a little conversation with myself like a weirdo. The more you know…
2 PM – Lunch and Errands
For lunch, I heat up some leftover homemade chicken fajitas from dinner. I heat everything up in the microwave and make a nice little burrito for myself with chicken, peppers, onion, and salsa.
As I eat, I pull up Youtube and catch up on what’s happening with US politics. Today it’s just more about Trump being a COVID super-spreader, doing public speaking without a mask even though he tested positive… you know, the usual.
After I finish lunch I need to make a quick errand to the print shop to print my ballot for the election! I already filled out my ballot online over the weekend, so I just need to print it out, sign it, scan it, and email the ballot back. Thankfully Washington state is really awesome and they let you email your ballot if you live overseas! I also have a scanner app on my phone that works really well, so I don’t need to pay to scan anything.
If you’re curious who I’m voting for, it’s Biden… but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while that probably does not surprise you.
3 PM – College Admissions Interview
As another part-time job, I’ve been interviewing Chinese students for their college admissions applications. I do these interviews over Zhumu, a Chinese version of Zoom, and we send the recording to the universities the student is applying to.
Over the summer I might have back-to-back interviews all day (especially on Saturdays!), but since it’s the National Week holiday in China, I only have one today.
Before the interview, I spruce up a bit and put on my favorite lipstick and my glasses (so I look put together without wearing makeup!). I then take out my little interview notebook and my headphones with an attached microphone that I use for interviews. (Which finally work now that I bought an adaptor!)
Before the interview starts, I hop on my interviewer portal and look at the interview questions so I’m prepared. Five minutes before the interview is set to begin I hop on the call!
The first part of the interview involves checking the student’s ID, making sure they turn off their phone, checking their paperwork and the room, and explaining the interview process to them. We then move to the interview portion, which lasts around 12-13 minutes. After doing these back-to-back all summer, I’ve gotten pretty good at them! I usually make some small notes during the interview to remember things they’ve said to ask about later or to mark down if there were any audio or visual issues.
After the interview portion, we move onto the 30- minute writing section. Once I explain to them how the writing portion works, I start my 30-minute timer and turn off my video and audio and watch them to make sure they’re not cheating. While I do this, I organize and submit the interview files to my company, and time stamp the interview questions in the video!
After the written part is done, I have the student take pictures of their writing sample, and send them to me over WeChat, which I then submit to the company.
4 PM – Write a Blog Post
If you haven’t already heard, I have a goal of writing one blog post per week every week for three months. I usually reserve Tuesday as my blog post writing day, and then try to edit and publish my post sometime before the next Tuesday.
Well, last week I went on a trip for my one-year wedding anniversary with Chris, and then we went house hunting for a new apartment over the weekend, so I haven’t had any time to write a blog post and it’s already almost Tuesday. Ahhhh!!!
So for the next few hours, I’ll sit down and crank out a blog post with the goal of finishing it before dinner. Thankfully, now that I’m writing blog posts I actually WANT to write, it’s much easier for me to write quickly. That said, my posts are always super long so… not that quickly.
I usually break up my blog posts into two days: one day to sit down and write the entire post, and on the second day I’ll come back with fresh eyes, edit and proofread, and then add links, images, alt text, Pinterest images, featured images, tags, categories, a meta description, and more. Writing blog posts is SO MUCH more than just writing.
But since it’s already Monday, I need to do it all in one day to meet my artificial self-imposed Tuesday deadline. I get it almost all done, with a promise to come back tomorrow morning to add the photos.
7 PM – Home Cooked Dinner
Around 7 pm I’ll start cooking dinner for the two of us. Tonight we’re having pasta with a Georgian-style salad. I found this healthy eggplant and tomato pasta sauce recipe that I’ll use for dinner along with some meatballs Chris ordered from our meat delivery guy.
I’ll pop the meatballs in the oven as I run to our local fruit and vegetable store down the block, throwing on my pink cloth mask just in case. I’ll pick up some eggplant, fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and a few bananas while I’m at it. My total bill comes to around $2 USD!
I’ll whip up the eggplant and tomato pasta sauce and while that’s cooking I’ll start chopping up the ingredients for my interpretation of a Georgian tomato and cucumber salad. I’m too lazy to make my own walnut paste, so instead, I just crush up a few walnuts and sprinkle them on top, along with a tiny bit of Georgian mountain cheese, a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper, and some white wine vinegar. Yum!
We’ll eat dinner around 8 pm (which is pretty standard in Georgia), and I may even pour myself a small glass of Georgian Saperavi wine, which is a local red made in a qveveri.
Then Chris and I will settle in to watch one of our shows. We’re currently watching Evil on Netflix (which I’m obsessed with).
10 PM – Dungeons and Dragons
I’ll make myself a cup of English breakfast tea before my evening of playing Dungeons and Dragons online (because I’m a giant nerd). Every Monday I play a game with Chris and a few other friends using Zoom and an online game platform called Roll20. Tonight we’ll be trying to dismantle a cult posing as a pious temple… without getting ourselves arrested or dying. Wish me luck.
1 AM – Time For Sleep!
We finally wrap up the game around 12:30 am, so I then head to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth, finally collapsing into bed just before 1 am. I’ve been trying to avoid spending too much time on my phone before sleep, so I’ll pull out one of my Enneagram books to read for about 20 minutes before I’m too exhausted to keep my eyes open.
Let’s Hear From You!
So… was this schedule anything like you thought it would be? Do parts of my day surprise you?
Also, if you work for yourself online, I’d love to hear what your schedule is like. What kinds of things do you do to make money during COVID?
Finally, if you’re wanting to become location independent yourself but don’t know where to start, please let me know in a comment! I want to design more resources for you in the future, so let me know what you’re interested in learning more about, and what your roadblocks are!