Digital Nomad-icy: A crash course in forced frugality

After spending most of my working life on generous corporate salaries, I’ve had to make several financial adjustments to become my current digital nomadic self. And here is the best bit, it doesn’t really hurt. Not that much anyway.

That old adage the more you earn the more you spend, seems to ring true. And this was particularly true of my urban Melbourne lifestyle, it seemed a vicious cycle, my reliance on my ever increasing salary was feeding itself. The more I made, the more I needed. I always found myself paying more to get less. 

I was clean eating, clean cleaning, clean living. Making good health decisions, paying for my private health insurance as well regular preventative care – which always cost more than my insurance paid. And, the dreaded Melbourne childcare costs – which were almost equatable to my own daily salary. 

It was an every growing mountain of costs and when peanut butter – the good, organic, natural stuff – cost me almost $10 a jar I knew it was a cycle that had to end.

But, here now I find myself – still without a salary – it seems my great Italian dream and my desire to find paid, remote employment are still yet to become a reality. But without all of my exorbitant Melbourne-based-life costs I can survive – and enjoy peanut butter. If I can find it!

It works, it really works. Having reasonable financial savings of course is the secret – and then it seems suddenly you find yourself as part of a movement. The FIRE movement: Financially Independent, Retired Early.

There are elements of the movement that ring true for me, and others that seem to be completely foreign.

We seemed to have skipped the frugality during our early life and embraced it now. Were people live through their working careers saving every penny, we lived our twenties young and carefree. 

But being frugal here on the Italian Riviera is far more glamorous and easy than it would ever be in Melbourne. The good life – or even La Dolce Vita – comes at a much more reasonable price here. 

So maybe we only take holidays when budget airlines offer ridiculously low fares, outside of peak-season. But hey in the last two months I’ve been to Portugal and Prague, with a snow trip coming up tomorrow – all while holding my purse strings tight.

For me the FIRE movement is less about being cheap and more about choosing how you spend your money, it seems some situations force spending in ways that exacerbate the problem. 

Ramblings: Children, the secret to expat life

I think back on the last two years, I congratulate myself on being a ‘successful expat‘ here in Italy. I’m here, I’m still here and I’m staying here. I don’t want to leave.

Then I stop to consider why the biggest threat to expat life, particularly in a smaller town, hasn’t yet struck me. I’m talking about loneliness. Sometimes expat life can get lonely, and the thing calling you home – your friends and family – that’s hard to replicate abroad. That sense of home, belonging and comfort.

So why aren’t I searching for that now. Two years later…

Continue reading “Ramblings: Children, the secret to expat life”

Ramblings: There’s no work/life balance, it’s just life

Once you’ve found your ‘La dolce vita’ – and no, it may not just be in Italy for everyone.

It’s now been almost two years of living in the remarkable little corner of the world that we stumbled on – by accident of course. It’s changed me, changed my path, changed my drivers and changed my rhythm.

Now when I travel, I dream of coming home – here to Santa Margherita. It’s a surreal place, Ligurian mountains nestled in the bay of Tigullio. You’ve got the Med on one side and a massive national park on the other. We’re a stone’s throw from the lustre of Portofino and the Instagramable Cinque Terre – although to be honest the whole Ligurian coast is Instagramable.

But it’s not these qualities that have resonated with my soul, it is the way of life. The Italian cultural embrace that we have found in this little niche paradise. Yes locals may tell you it’s a small town, with a small town mindset. But I am either oblivious to this, or as an outsider am unaffected.

I thought I was a city-girl, loved to be lost in the crowd. Anonymous.

Ramblings: Is a new series, where I will share my random musings from living my remarkable digital nomadic lifestyle on the Italian Riviera.

Continue reading “Ramblings: There’s no work/life balance, it’s just life”

Descending into the heart of Camogli: A photo walk

Arriving in Camogli by train you encounter her at first as a somewhat non-descript Italian town. But as you descend into her streets, down to her heart, her quaint charm rises up to meet you. Continue reading “Descending into the heart of Camogli: A photo walk”