Business

Location Independent Professionals

We are not professional bloggers- as I am sure you’ve guessed. We have day jobs and a family and sometimes those other commitments interfere with our travel blogging.  Honestly though, we could not be where we are in the world without the types of jobs we have created for ourselves.  We are actually working on two new business ventures that will allow us to escape the work day and make a more independent income.  More to come on that.

The group that we most associate ourselves with is the growing number of LIP's across the world (Location Independent Professionals / Location Independent Parents).  Although we love Uruguay, who knows if we'll stay here. Our jobs can allow us to go wherever our hearts desire.

While we realize this is a little late in coming for our travel blog, here is a little more about us:

Brad’s love is travel, and after 14 years in the industry, he launched Pangaea Travel. Pangaea specializes in planning complex itineraries and round the world trips, as well as student, teacher and group programs (and it turns out there is a great market for booking fellow expats, their friends and family!) Brad is also known as the "Airfare Guru" on Brilliant Trips - which is a very prestigious association with a well known travel site. As you might have known with all of our previous posts on Technology, Brad is a tech geek and he works via high speed internet, VoIP phone and a love for the latest tech solutions.

Brad’s newest addition to the Pangaea family is Pangaea Insure: an online travel insurance comparison site where you can search the major travel insurance providers and come up with the best quote for you- all in seconds.

I am an Interior Designer who has focused my work on kitchen and bath design. I've been working independently for the past 6 years. Moving abroad has provided some fun long distance projects that prove nothing is impossible with the right technology!

My love of kitchen and bath design is brought to life in my newest project, laNeva Artisan Tile. After focusing for years on interesting tile designs and having installers tell me 'You can’t do that!’, I created a tile line the way it should be offered: Accessible to both designers and the public, made to order, handmade, lead-free, custom design/layout assistance, tons of combinations and our signature Rift Series blends of two colors on one tile.

Our service jobs: Pangaea Travel and Lisa La Nasa Design are technology based and time based. While we can do them from anywhere, and already are considered LIP's (Location Independent Professionals/Parents) we have to put in the hours to make an income.  Pangaea Insure and laNeva Tile will allow us to be more independent, spend more time with our family and travel this beautiful world as we can maintain incomes with a little less time at our 9-5 day jobs.  We are so excited for the future!  Bring it on, 2010!

Miami-Box for Shipments from the USA

I needed to view and approve samples for work, but they were 6000 miles away in Minnesota.  I weighed my options: FedEx and UPS were quoting in the $160-200 USD range to get a 2 kilo box to uruguay.  I thought that was insane and was determined to find a better way. Mail would be cheap, but there is a hell of an ordeal to claim your package at the Correo Central and pay aduana (taxes) if necessary- plus stories of packages never arriving and I couldn't take that chance.  I decided on Miami-Box. Miami-Box is a parcel forwarding service between Miami, FL and Uruguay.  Set up a free account on their website and you get a unique address to send packages to in Miami.  This is a great solution for items purchased online or gifts from family and friends. Once a package arrives for you in Miami, you are notified via email and you have a few options depending on the purchase price of the package: if under $100 USD, you can opt to pick up your package at the airport and handle the aduana (taxes) yourself (with Miami-Box supplying the paperwork for you), or you can opt for full service delivery, with your credit card on file being billed for the aduana and delivery fees.  I decided on the latter and it was so convenient.  Not necessarily inexpensive, but convenient.

My little 2 kilo package cost me $99.60 on a $30 retail value.  A little painful, but still cheap in comparison to what UPS or FedEx were quoting.  The fees were broken down as follows (all in USD):

Airline freight from Miami (based on weight) $27.00

Aduana Taxes (based on retail value of $30 + freight of $27.00)  $36.00

Delivery (optional) $15.00

Handling  $15.00

Administrative fees  $6.60

___________________________

Grand total of $99.60 USD

The package arrived within 5 days, in one piece and hand delivered to my door.  I will try priority mail next time for comparisons sake.  The correspondence with Miami-Box throughout the process, as well as the delivery were all extremely professional.  I would certainly recommend their service.

*As noted on the Miami-Box site, books and magazines are not taxed to bring into Uruguay.  I will definitely use Miami-Box in the future for that purpose. They are also offering 60 magazines without the normal subscription cost for a limited time.  Please see their site for details.

Expat Travel Technology: OMG! My Hard Drive Crashed! Now what?!

Well, if you don't want to answer this question- Get Mozy!  It's a small application that will back up unlimited data from your computer to an off site server in the USA.  You schedule a backup time and it  does it's thing. You don't have to think about it ...unless you want to. I've been using this service since Mozy launched

Expat Travel Technology: VoIP Phone Solutions

Lisa and I both need an inexpensive and simple way to speak with family and clients in North America and around the world.  The fantastic thing about this is that we didn't have to change anything to do it.  We have been using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for several years.  It's a phone system that uses the internet to carry conversation rather than regular phone lines.  There are countless

Expat Travel Technology: How do I get my mail?

As we know there are many challenges to moving abroad. One of those is what to do with your postal mail. Should you have it forwarded to your new home in your far flung land? Maybe your 90-year-old mother will take care of it for you. Maybe that shifty-eyed cousin? For the most part, thanks to technology, you can eliminate most of your postal mail

Expat Travel Technology: An Introduction

Get Your own Toll Free Number

There are many challenges in moving abroad.  One is technology.  What do I bring? How will it work?  Will it work at all?  Do they sell that in Timbuktu? If yes, do I have to give up my first born to get it?  The answer to that last one is...maybe.  Technology abroad--for the most part--is expensive.  

expat-technology-helpTech--as it's always been--is a blessing and a curse.  There are an incredible number of options, but at least we have options.  I give Lisa's mom a hard time for coming over on "the boat" in the '50s from the Netherlands.  They actually flew with several stops, including one in Greenland. Either way, it was no picnic.  So even if my computer crashes or my VOIP goes down...I did not have to come over on "the boat".  Again, options. We can communicate locally and internationally even if that means I have to walk down to the nearest restaurant or McDonalds with WiFi (wireless internet) if my Internet crashes.  WiFi is even available in the parks here in UY and some buses  I'll have to try that albeit discreetly --if that's possible-- as I don't want my computer to be relieved from my possession.  You can even sit down at the McCafe and have a "meeting" across the table via webcam.  So you can continue those Starbucks-style meetings if you like.

One challenge involves staying in contact with your "home" country.  For some this may not be an issue if they are severing ties to the homeland.  In our case, we need to work with clients in the United States to allow us to maintain our expat lifestlye and keep up with family.  Thankfully it has never been easier to maintain this connection as an expat.   Even three or four years ago this transition was far harder than it is today.

There are many issues to consider: receiving postal /snail mail, personal and business phone, computer hardware, backing up your computer, power supplies, what technology to bring, watching your favorite TV shows from home, hiring developers or independant contractors. Fortunately there is a tool, a download, a website, or a physically piece of equipment that can address all of these issues. Even if you're a baby boomer retiring abroad and technology is not your best friend, there are still many tools that are worth the small investment.  I will provide information on several of the travel technology tools that I use everyday in Montevideo... many of these we were using well before the move because they're just great services. The technology we use untethers us from a physical location and thereby is perfect for a traveler on the go or an expat...well...that's flat out gone. 

I'm sensitive to you Mac folks...I have not yet joined your ranks, but most of these tools play nice with Mac...probably better.  

I will also talk about some of the challenges of limiting the interuption to my business while navigating the set up process in a foreign country.  There have been pleasant surprises and of course headaches.  I will share it all here.  I may not be able to wait until Monday...there's so much good stuff!!!

Stay Tuned: New Technology Feature

In the coming weeks, we will be featuring a new six part weekly technology series by Brad to be released on Mondays. This coming Monday will be the intro feature with the description of the topics to follow.  We're also working on an extensive list of baby items that we brought with us- along with a few items that we wish we had.  This will be released in the coming days.