The Freedom Life: August 2018

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After five years of living in China, and two years of This Beijing Life, things have changed. I left my job as a college counselor in China, and now I’m living a life on my terms. I’m my own boss, I travel when I want, and live where I want. I’m FINALLY living my dream of location independence.

I hope you’ll all follow me along on my new journey: The Freedom Life.

Do you want to become a location independent digital nomad? Here's what life on the road is really like! This month I'm in Hoi An Vietnam. #travel #locationindependent #digitalnomad #travelblog #travelblogger #hoian #vietnam

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What I Was Up to This Month

Wow! Can you believe I’ve been location independent for a year??? It does not feel like it’s been that long.

One year ago I was sitting in my Beijing office, transitioning from full time to part-time counseling. Now I’m working from a coworking space in Hoi An, Vietnam!

This month I spent a lot of time working and enjoying Hoi An! I had beach days, afternoons at the pool. I joined a coworking space, and I’m fostering a kitten!!

Where I Went in August

  • Hoi An, Vietnam
  • Danang, Vietnam
The freedom life

Say hello to Moguay!

Highlights

Overall, this month was great! Here’s what I’ve been up to in Hoi An:

We’re Fostering a Kitten!

At the beginning of the month, a friend was looking for someone to foster his injured kitten while he traveled for over a month. Since I LOVE cats, I jumped at the opportunity. What we didn’t realize was how much of a mess this little baby would be (more on that later).

When Moguay arrived, she was TINY, malnourished, and had a gimp leg that she would drag behind her. She was a street kitten who had been hit by a motorbike and has absolutely no feeling below the knee on one of her legs. Our friend’s neighbor found her, and the two of them had been nursing her back to health for not even two weeks when we took her.

injured cat Vietnam

Here’s what she looked like when we got her…

Our Kitten’s Amazing Progress

In the beginning, Moguay was almost like a newborn, despite being 3-months old. She attempted to suckle our stomachs and would cry when we weren’t holding her. While she could stomach dry food, we had to switch her to rice porridge for two weeks due to insane diarrhea (more on that later…) she was having from her worm medication. I was constantly worried about her, and how fragile she was.

Fast forward one month, and we have a normal (gimpy) happy kitten! This girl has doubled in size, destroys all of her toys, and runs around the house like a mad woman, holding her injured leg up in the air as she gallops from here to there.

Our biggest issue right now is trying to get her to stop playing with/biting EVERYTHING. Seriously, this girl is vicious. She has so much strength and energy now, and I’m so happy for her. Soon the vet will be removing her broken leg, and she’ll be normal happy tripod kitty!

I honestly love this cat so much I don’t know how I’m ever going to give her back!

The Hub Hoi An

Working hard from the Hub Hoi An! (Photo by the Hub Hoi An)

I Was Featured on My Business Idol’s Podcast!

Without going into too much detail, I’ve been making major strides on a digital product I’ve been creating that’s coming out at the end of October!! While the product is finished, I’m now working on the tech stuff and promotions. Hence, why I’ve been so crazy-busy.

Not only have I made some major achievements, I was also asked to come on my business idol’s podcast for a free mastermind session on my new product! It was super exciting, and you can listen to the whole thing here!

I got some amazing advice and clarity, which has inspired me to really make sure this product is done ASAP!

Here’s a quick sneak peek at what I’ve been working on! 

An bang beach

It wasn’t all work this month!

A Fun Day at a Vietnamese Amusement Park

Who knew Vietnam had good amusement parks? Last month a small group of us went to the VinPearl Amusement park near Hoi An. Not only was the park EMPTY, it also had some amazing waterslides and roller coasters!!

While there were a few things I’d change about the park (seriously, they have some work to do on their layout and rules), I had a great time! We also eventually found some rides the 3-year-olds were allowed to go on (no wonder their entrance was free…) and took turns babysitting so we could all go on the fun rides and waterslides.

I can’t wait to go back with exactly FOUR adults (there are 3 slides where you NEED to have 4 people) plus 1 babysitter.

Superfit Hoi An

Having a healthy sandwich and juice before the gym!

Making Strides on My Fitness Goals!

While I’ve been “trying to lose weight” for about 2 years now, I’ve finally actually made some major changes this last month! I hired an online nutritionist and got a gym membership. My nutritionist has actually taught me what is healthy (and what isn’t) along with portion control. She’s also taken away my fear of carbs, and opened my eyes to the danger of liberally pouring oil into all my pots and pans…

The plan I’m on is very gradual and has me losing about 1 lb a week. Overall, it’s been 6 weeks and I’ve lost 6 lbs. While it doesn’t sound like a lot, I know the changes I’m making will be long-term.

I’m learning so much about how to chose my meals, how to have a daily balanced diet, and how to keep track of what I’m eating, no matter what country I’m in. Keeping track of ingredients and portions is SO much easier than calorie counting (which I hate), and it’s great that I don’t have to completely give up an entire category of food too!

If anyone is interested, I’m working with OnPoint Nutrition. You don’t have to be from the US to work with them, and they have plenty of clients who live all over the world (like me!).

Teach Abroad China

Are you moving to China?

Loving My New Facebook Group

In case you didn’t get the message, I created a new Facebook Group for teachers in China! This group is for anyone who wants to teach in China, is currently teaching in China, or USED to teach in China and misses the community.

If you’re at all interested in working in the education industry in China, I highly suggest joining! The community has really grown and has become such a helpful, positive place. I’m so glad I created this Facebook group, and I’m really excited about its future!

Are you interested in teaching abroad in China? Join the Facebook Group

Tra Que

Our street in Hoi An!

Turning Hoi An into a Home

In my second month, I’ve really started to feel like Hoi An is my home. I know how the city works and where everything is. I have my local restaurants, cafes, and bars. I joined a coworking space. I cook a decent bit of my meals. I’ve even invested in an oven and a blender!

Chris and I have already decided that we want to come back to Hoi An next spring for about 5 months, and we know exactly what neighborhood we want to live in.

I really don’t want to leave here in November!

Vietnamese pho

Here’s a nice bowl of pho instead

Challenges

Not everything this month was perfect. Here’s what didn’t go so well…

Diarrhea EVERYWHERE

Like I mentioned before, Moguay was in rough shape when we got her. The worm diarrhea medication did a number on her intestinal tract, leaving her with horrible diarrhea for a solid 2 weeks. The worst part was that she hadn’t quite learned how long it would take her to get to the litter box, which meant she was constantly pooping everywhere. I’ve never cleaned up so much poop in my life.

Chris and I eventually decided that we’d have to re-litter train her, so we turned our laundry room into a kitten room. The laundry room was her favorite room at the time because it has a nice big window and a skylight. We moved everything in there and kept her there 24-7. Throughout the day we would go sit in there with her, but we never let her out. The goal is to convince your kitten that this is “her room” and she better take care of it.

She pooped on the floor of her room ONCE and had to sleep next to the smell all night until we woke up. She never pooped on the floor again after that.

Fostering cat Vietnam

She’s doing much better now!

The Constant Meowing

However, having her in the laundry room was horrible for our sanity. Anytime she heard us in the kitchen or bathroom, she’d start meowing and wouldn’t stop until her voice was beyond horse. I knew she just wanted to be out and about with us, but it was MADDENING.

Not only that, but I felt like a horrible person! My poor little baby just wanted to be with me!! But even when I’d take her out of the room and hold her (we just had to keep an eye on her), she wouldn’t stop. She’d just stare at my face and scream-meow at me. We thought it would never end! I felt like a mother with a newborn! What do you want from meeee???!

But after a week of having her in the laundry 24-7, along with feeding her rice porridge to settle her stomach, she got better! Moguay stopped having diarrhea AND she stopped the meowing. Now she only meows if she wants us to open a door for her, or if she’s hungry and her food dish is empty. It’s AMAZING.

Hoi An house

The entryway to our cute Hoi An house!

The Ants are Getting WORSE

Last month I complained about the ants, but this month they’re worse. I honestly can’t get rid of them! These teeny tiny ants are all over our kitchen and workspace. I’m constantly spraying them, smashing them, and trying to hide food from them, and it’s infuriating!

God forbid, one morsel of dry cat food falls on the floor – it’s completely swarmed within minutes. If I spray one crack in the house, they find another one. Yesterday I found about 50 crawling around one of our cupboards where we keep our dishes. Why?? There’s nothing in there!

The worst part is that these suckers BITE and it hurts. I feel like I’m back in Tanzania again with my psychological fake bite pains. Both Chris and I feel like there are constantly invisible ants biting us. Sometimes they’re there, other times they’re not. I just really hope they go away soon…

Hub Hoi An

Thank god for the Glass House at the Hub! (photo by the Hub Hoi An)

Way Too Many Things On My Plate

While I love being in Hoi An, I have been SUPER STRESSED these last few weeks. I have a major launch coming at the end of October, and I need to get a ton of things done before then. I’m constantly behind, drowning in work, and seriously drowning in emails. Thankfully I just hired someone to help me deal with my email catastrophe (shout out to Hilary!)

Not only that, but I have to do a quick visa run next week. Then we have friends coming to visit for a few days. Literally, the day our friends leave, my parents arrive in Vietnam and Chris and I will be traveling with them for 2 weeks. After my parents leave, I launch my product two weeks later. Then, two weeks after that, I need to fly to Australia for the holidays.

OMG I’M GOING TO HAVE A PANIC ATTACK JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

If you’ve emailed me about something in the last two weeks, I apologize for not getting back to you/ being extremely slow to get back to you. Just bear with me until November and then I’ll get back to being a normal human blogger.

chicken rice Hoi An

Thank god for cheap Hoi An food!

Monthly Finances

Here’s My Monthly Income Breakdown

  • Advertising – $0
  • Blogging Partnerships – $0
  • Freelancing – $500
  • Affiliate Sales – $285.51
  • Teaching Referrals – $
  • Consulting – $0

Total Revenue – $785.51

Total Profit (Minus Blog Expenses) – $174

Well… this month wasn’t amazing in terms of revenue. However, I do have a ton of money coming in next month (isn’t that how it always is) for a big freelancing project and a few brand partnerships.

This month I also spent a ton of money getting all the tech stuff set up for my new launch. It’s my sincere hope that by the end of October I don’t have to worry quite so much about my monthly income anymore… Keep your fingers crossed for me.

An bang beach

Hello, An Bang beach!

What I Wrote in July

This month, I only wrote three posts on my own blog, but I’ve been super busy creating some other awesome resources for you guys!

Best Instagram Shots

This month I barely posted to Instagram (whoops), but here were my most popular posts!

This is a photo I shared from Hoi An! I promise I’ll get some good Hoi An photos of my own in a few weeks when I’m showing some friends around town.

Travel Product I Can’t Live Without

This month I want to feature my long-time favorite: Packing Cubes! These things are LIFESAVERS. Seriously, I don’t know how I survived without them. I love having everything organized: underwear in one, shirts in another, dresses in a third… it saves me so much time getting everything ready. Packing cubes also ensure my clothes don’t become a giant dirty jumble in my backpack or suitcase (especially in a backpack).

Personally, I use the Eagle Creek 3-pack and compression packing cubes, but you can find tons of different styles on Amazon!

Vietnam water buffalo

I took this photo from my laundry room. Meet Frederick!

Best Reads of August

Here are my favorite blog posts from August!

Swimming with Humpback Whales in Tonga – Be My Travel Muse

Chris and I will be having our honeymoon in the Pacific and Tonga is on our list. I honestly can not WAIT to do this! (although I will have to wait over a year since we’re not getting married till October 2019…)

Confession: I Hated Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party – Global Gallivanting

To be honest, the Full Moon party never really sounded like my cup of tea anyway…

Koh Wai: Thailand’s Best Kept Secret – Neverending Footsteps

Man, I wish I had more time for a visa run! Maybe next year? I really need to get off Thailand’s beaten path and explore all of these islands.

Liked To Death: Is Instagram Social Media Ruining Travel – Expert Vagabond

As much as I love my social media, I’m getting a bit sick of it. Personally, I’d rather live my life in Hoi An working on my business rather than running around trying to capture the perfect petty photo of myself in the already SUPER packed Old Town. But that’s just me.

Banh Mi

Eating my way through Hanoi two years ago!

What’s Next For September?

Next month I’ll be heading to Bangkok for a few days on a visa run! I’ll also be hosting a few friends around Hoi An, doing awesome touristy things that I still haven’t done yet because I’ve been too busy working and being an expat…

I’ll also be leaving in late September to travel around Vietnam with my parents! We’ll be heading to Ho Chi Minh City first, and then onto Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue and back to Hoi An!

Do you have any questions about expat life in Vietnam? Anything specific you’d like to see on the blog? Let me know in a comment below!!

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About Richelle

Expat, traveler, and spicy food lover, I've spent the last few years living in China and traveling around Asia. In my spare time I enjoy salsa dancing, exploring night markets and stuffing my face with street food.

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