Preparing for Expat Life: Frugality & Patience

Preparing for expat life

Preparing for expat life

The importance of stagnancy and stillness are that they teach you to enjoy the process before the adventure. The journey is the everyday life you lead, not just the vacation at the end. I am not a patient person, rather a go-getter. So much so, I usually pile too much on my plate and wonder why I am so overwhelmed. Mostly my fault. My off days would consist of to-do lists and running errands just so I would feel accomplished. I had to be the Queen of Multi-tasking. Resting and being still was a waste of time and productivity. How do we balance preparing for expat life with current day jobs? How can we grow more frugal and patient during the journey?

As more important projects came into focus, I needed to adapt. My go-getter approach was causing major burnout in ALL areas of my life. I was not enjoying the things that I use to because everything felt regimental and as part of my ever-growing to-do list. My anxiety levels peaked to levels I did not know I was capable of. Grocery store panic attacks became the horrible norm. What was I going to do?

Being stagnant in your daily life can be a bummer. Especially if you like being on-the-go. Friend time becomes cheap dates, shopping is minimized to thrift deals, and your inner foodie learns to cook for herself. These skills come in handy when on the road, so that’s a plus.

I had to learn how to be still and how to rest. I started 2015 by finding books of interests. These were mostly travel memoirs that I used as an escape whenever needed. I spent more time outside, something I was taking for granted. I even learned to meditate and deep breath. I surrounded myself with supportive people who kept me encouraged on the tough days. The benefits I have reaped are three-fold: less medications, less panic attacks, and more productivity-who would have thought?

In my “still” months, I have fallen in love with travel blogging. I seriously don’t know what I ever did without it! Ya’ll allow me to tell my story and following along on my journeys. I know what direction I want to continue in my travel, however, I am still listening for my overall purpose to be revealed to me. For once, I am heading down a path I have chosen from my heart. A path chosen because I want to explore this world for myself.

Saving for a trip can be mind-numbing. Now, we are saving to move abroad into expat life. Upon beginning this economizing, we had 20 months before takeoff. We are at 16 months at the time of this writing. That is less than 1 ½ years away but it feels so far to go. This is not just a vacation, we realize, but a lifestyle change. A complete venue change.

Need more inspiration? Here you go!

1. The Crossroads: An inner struggle of change

2. The fears of moving abroad

We managed to pay off $18,500 in debt to be able to travel. We continued with many of the before-mentioned tactics like going without cable and keeping our flip phones. However, to reach our next goal, we must hustle. I have tapped into the freelance corner of the internet through Upwork and found the site to be user friendly. I use my nutrition expertise most often but have pitched to several travel writing and editing jobs. Michael works in retail part time and the holiday season will provide us with more hours.

It is grueling to wait 20 months for an adventure of a lifetime but it brings with it many blessings. Michael will finally have his degree in exercise science and we will have had longer to save up. The more money that is stockpiled, makes the first months of any trip less stressful. This allows us to pay upfront for a motor home and settle into our nomadic life.

I am learning patience and resilience. We are finding small joys in preparing for expat life. We are gaining strength in our marriage and are seeing what we can accomplish when we work towards the same goal!

Are you an expat or nomad? Like, Follow, Comment, and Share!

Be well and Travel often!


preparing for expat life

**This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own**

About Author

Maegan and Michael are Adventurous Southerners who share their world journey and approach to living the travel lifestyle. You can expect humor and lighthearted banter blended with REAL travel stories and tips. Maegan is a registered dietitian, while Michael has an excerise science background, but both are outdoor lovers, and revel in the beauty of cultures unlike their own. Now, Maegan and Michael are working towards expat life through remote work. Join the adventure. Do you love to travel? Does your full time job or career prevent you from living the life you dream of? This is the duo to follow. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.


  1. […] Luckily, I have always loved to read and have not mistaken that gift. I can bring a book with me anywhere I wander. I love renting books from the library, to save money, but mostly because of that old book smell! I’m Maegan and I am weird. Despite being a book whore, I am NOT an inside homebody (as some might wrongly assume). Do you want to drive me mad? Leave me inside, on the couch, and in front of the TV for more than 3hours-I will break! While I love quiet/solo time, I’d rather spend these moments by a splashing body of water or strolling along a shaded, tree-lined path as the sun glimmers through the leaves. Working in a hospital is a mental game of upmost stature. I am “trapped” (not actually) for 8+ hrs a day indoors with fake lights and fake plants. I generally divide my breaks into short bursts of outdoor ponderings to break of the monotony that is corporate life. (Good thing we are working towards expat life in Europe).  […]

  2. […] We have nearly 1 year before we move to Europe. (OMGOSH!) While this fills met with much excitement, I am scared shitless! Never have I embarked on such a grand adventure before. I want to be brave and carefree-just free-spiriting my way around the globe. However, I am not that girl. I am cautious and calculating. I love a good plan or to-do list. I don’t do things on a whim or at least not in my “normal” life. When I am on the road, I become my truest self. I am still careful but am willing to do things last minute. Like the time we joined a Medieval-inspired wedding anniversary in Cortona or sang karaoke with Londoners while in Avignon. These moments are what make me want to travel  more. These happenings renew my wanderlust instantaneously. […]

  3. Emily says:

    I’ve always been intrigued by expat life. I think I’d like it for a short time. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Barbara says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience! Where are you planning to move?

    1. Maegan says:

      We are starting out in Germany to purchase an RV. From there we will travel throughout Europe and the U.K. To begin! So exciting!

  5. Javon says:

    Having at least one real hard back book when traveling is important to me. I tend to do too much of my travel on screens with directions and posting anyway. But the great thing about a real book is that you can always exchange with a new travel buddy or at a cool hostel. Great post!

  6. Candiss says:

    The hard work now will be worth it when the time comes to start your new adventure! 🙂 Thanks for sharing

  7. Daniele says:

    Sounds like you’re doing everything right!

    I love cooking fancy food.. and a bottle of wine at home is much cheaper than drinking out… friend dates become walks or hikes, or hanging at home…

    1. Maegan says:

      Yes! I love cheap date nights and cooking at home is always better with wine and company!
      Maegan recently posted…Enjoy New Orleans like a local!My Profile

  8. Maggie says:

    Congrats on being debt free! I’d love to slowly travel and not have to go back after a week or so!

    1. Maegan says:

      Absolutely! While we normally like fast-paced itineraries, we are welcoming the change of pace to come!
      Maegan recently posted…Enjoy New Orleans like a local!My Profile

  9. Stephanie says:

    Wow it sounds like you have really worked hard for all of your accomplishments! Congrats on that debt repayment, that is huge! I know what that is like and it isn’t easy; keep plugging away and your new life will all be worth it 🙂

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank you! That is what we are striving for! We believe you have to make life what you want it to be!
      Maegan recently posted…Enjoy New Orleans like a local!My Profile

  10. Evie says:

    Wow this is so interesting, I am the same. I am never still and always have so much going on. We have been traveling for 14 months now – the tie will fly by. All the best!

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank you for that! We’re counting down the days!

  11. Clare says:

    I left to travel 4 years ago and I am now such a different person. I used to be so organised and now I am the opposite, maybe a little too laid back. I can’t imagine going back to the life I had before or how I managed to live it. Hope you manage to keep saving and am sure you will be on the road before you know it, so exciting 🙂
    Clare recently posted…Zion National Park, Utah, USA – What to do in 2 daysMy Profile

  12. Alexis says:

    This seriously rings so true for me right now! But I am down to 7 weeks before I leave. Exciting but stressful!

  13. Alice says:

    I feel you!! I’ve been thrown into expat life in a matter of weeks and there has been ups and downs in term of preparation… But now my husband and I are living it and it’s really good! Good luck with all your preparation, it’s gonna be great!
    Alice recently posted…Tre giorni in New OrleansMy Profile

  14. Penny says:

    I have so many of my friends who are expats. They have traveled from place to place and luckily they love the nomadic lifestyle. I think one of the biggest yearnings that an expat faces is the yearning for something known. However small and insignificant that maybe. If it is a part of their routine it makes the shift so much more easier.
    Penny recently posted…CELEBRATING KINGS DAY IN BANGALOREMy Profile

    1. Maegan says:

      I’m sure this will come our way. Thankfully, I will be traveling with my husband and 2 dogs and have never been one to get homesick! *fingers crossed*

  15. Kareemah says:

    Very informative post! Yeah I understand the agonizing pain of waiting, saving etc before the big trip. This was what I did for my 2 year move to Spain. But every penny was worth it! Congratulations of paying that amount of debt. I am in the process of paying mine. Wish me luck :p

    1. Maegan says:

      Right?! It feels like it will NEVER get here but then again, you realize that you have less time to save, everyday! GOODLUCK to you!

  16. Ellen says:

    Frugality and patience are definitely lifestyle changes I also made an expat. Your persistence and perseverance at paying off that debt to reach your goal also are great attributes. (And you are right- a year and a half goes fast!!) Plus– just think- with your nutrition expertise and his exercise know-how, you guys should be able to stay healthy as nomads- and health is so important. You will be changed people – for the better!

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank you! I love the encouragement and yes we hope to stay healthy while traveling!

  17. Katie says:

    We are becoming expats this year and so nervous but excited! This has helped but things in perspective! thank you!

    1. Maegan says:

      Glad we aren’t the only ones! It is terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time!

  18. My husband and I are about to go on a longer summer trip and have had to cut back on a lot of spending. Then, when we get back we are spending the next two to three years saving money and paying off debt for a 2 year RTW trip. Your post is so encouraging! Keep staying strong, it will be so worth it!

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank you we are trying! Good job on cutting back as well! It is def hard but SO WORTH IT

  19. Kristen says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. As someone who doesn’t travel full time, it’s inspiring to hear what it’s like to prepare for such a drastic lifestyle change!

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank you, it will be a new change for sure! I am someone who is leaving a corporate career to travel full time, Yikes!

  20. kellyn says:

    Thanks for sharing this inspirational story with us. We are looking to relocate abroad as well and have begun downgrading everything. Cutting cable and selling our things on EBay has been a great start. Thanks for reminding me that Rome wasn’t built in day. As much as I wanted to leave next year, we are not financially ready. This means pushing our move back an extra year, which is fine, if it means paying down debt and leaving with enough money to be comfortable. Especially since we’re taking the kids along. Look forward to more of your journey.

    1. Maegan says:

      I am so excited for you as and glad to see others in my boat! Good luck and I’d love to follow your journey as well!

  21. Chirasree says:

    To-do-list in this age keeps on increasing! I wonder why?
    Perhaps we want to achieve and accomplish everything very quickly. Stimulations are omnipresent and it is becoming hard to remain patient. I often feel the escape is nature without cell phones and camera. Even if I go out without my phone, I just can’t leave behind my camera. Your post is so relevant. I wish you all the best for your upcoming trip.

    1. Maegan says:

      You hit the nail on the head! I feel overstimulated all the time. I am desperate for nature and to “zen out”. I also cannot leave behind my camera haha

  22. Chandrika says:

    I grew up as an expat’s child so I can kind of relate to a lot of emotions you are going through. It’s never easy, but it’s definitely worth all the sweat and tears 🙂
    Chandrika recently posted…The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace Udaipur – Where Opulence Meets Timeless BeautyMy Profile

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank you, I appreciate the encouragement!

  23. […] We have nearly 1 year before we move to Europe. (OMGOSH!) While this fills me with much excitement, I am scared shitless! Never have I embarked on such a grand adventure before. I want to be brave and carefree->just free-spiriting my way around the globe. However, I am not that girl. I am cautious and calculating. I love a good plan or to-do list. I don’t do things on a whim or at least not in my “normal” life. When I am on the road, I become my truest self. I am still careful but am willing to do things last-minute. Like the time we joined a Medieval-inspired wedding anniversary in Cortona or sang karaoke with Londoners while in Avignon. These moments are what make me want to travel  more. These happenings renew my wanderlust instantaneously. So how do we handle moving abroad to Europe? […]

  24. […] 1. Preparing for Expat Life: Frugality & Patience […]

  25. […] 2. Preparing for Expat Life: Frugality & Patience […]

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