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Work at home--on the beach

 

This page is a collection of articles that I have written on the subject of earning a living while enjoying the expat lifestyle on a Greek island.  There are limited opportunities to make a living by working in the restaurant industry or with a commercial cleaning business while also living this type of lifestyle on the island and these articles should help get you on the right track.  It includes information about internet or online jobs.

I subscribe to a newsletter called Sovereign Man by Simon Black.  He writes from personal experience about the benefits of “internationalizing”.  That is expanding your personal, business and financial interests beyond your home country.  I find his reports from the field quite interesting and informative.

Recently he made the point that you don’t have to be wealthy or even have a job to start the process of enjoying life abroad.  He wrote:

               I know a lot of people who got their start this way-- they moved overseas for a small job, made their own connections on the ground, and eventually found lucrative opportunities where they could add value.”
               The truth is, most people who have money don't start out with money. We have to earn it. Making money is a skill. You can learn to make money in the same way you can learn a foreign language or to play a guitar.  As I've said, it's all about creating value.”

The paragraphs below are a few random ideas to kick start your own creative juices.  The international opportunities are truly limitless; you only have to find or create the one that suits you.


 

 

Let Friends and Clients Buy Your Lifestyle

Greek island yachtsForbes Magazine highlighted a new way to finance the holiday/vacation life style:  Buy a yacht using Time Shares.  Their article details how one person did it but the idea can be applied to anything, including a private villa on Paros with you as the paid caretaker.

What do you want out of life?  Do it better on Paros.

 

Currency Trading at Home on the Beach

Buying and selling Buying and selling currency is an unavoidable aspect of world travel, except within the Euro zone, of course.  It is essential that anyone living in a foreign country learn something of the ups and downs of currency exchange, known as forex.  Therefore it could be a good idea to carry that knowledge a step further and earn income in the forex market.

Even following the news is part of good investing.  Usually forex news isn’t labelled as such. Any economic news at all can affect the market; a sharp-eyed trader is on the lookout constantly for news that might impact his trading. In other words, a good trader will have to be an expert on world affairs, monitoring political, social and other developments in other countries. All of this, combined with the more specific forex news dealing with the details of exchange rates and so forth, gives you the information you need to be successful at currency trading.

The world of forex trading can be intimidating to someone who’s new to it. While it has similarities to the stock market, there are many differences, too. And what’s even more confusing, some terminology means one thing in the forex world and something else in the stock market. So even veteran stock traders have to learn new vocabulary when they move into the foreign exchange!

Luckily, many companies offer forex seminars to help newcomers understand the complex but lucrative world they’re jumping into. Some seminars are held free of charge (in the hopes you’ll sign on with that broker) and last an hour. Others are more intensive, last longer, and require a registration fee.

One of the latest innovations in seminars is to hold them exclusively online. This is much cheaper for the company offering the seminar and allows people from all over the world to participate. Since usually anyone can ask a question, you don’t have to worry about being lost in the crowd.

Of course, as in any internet business, there are scammers mixed in with the legitimate companies.  So do your “home work” before spending your cash.

This business is ideal for operating from your shaded veranda or a sun chair at the beach.  See you there.

Do you like the Greek islands? Do you like Greek food? Do you like art?

I have discovered a lovely package of all three: The Greek Taverna Recipe Book by Gill Tomlinson.

Gill and I corresponded a few years ago when she was investigating ways to live and work in Greece. I have used some of her delightful watercolours of Greek boats on my web site and blog. She made her Greek dream come alive and now lives in the Peloponnesus working for a travel company.

More than that she made her passion for Greek food and cooking come alive with her art. She has published an attractive and useful recipe book that will enhance any kitchen. In fact it will probably take pride of place on your coffee table.

You can see more of the book by clicking the Amazon link or by visiting Gill's web site.

“If you love Greece, you will love this book!”

 

Theoretical Physics on the Beach

    Garrett Lisi, who spends much of the year surfboarding in Hawaii and snowboarding at Lake Tahoe, California has been much in the press lately.  New Scientist magazine for instance would have you believe a beach bum has come up with a hot new candidate for The Theory of Everything. They play down that he has a PhD in Physics and several published articles on "quantum field theory within a geometric framework"--the new theory that has the scientific community buzzing.

    He does list his "Other Interests" as: Surfing, Snowboarding, Rock Climbing, Hang Gliding, Windsurfing, and Go.

    The point being, of course, is that if you are creative enough or smart enough, you can have it all--a successful career and the lifestyle of your choice.  The rest of us may have to work a little harder or search a little longer.  The articles on this page are meant as a catalyst for your own ideas.  Let me know what you come up with.

 

Oil & Gas Prices vs. Work at Home

             My first thought when asked about oil and gas prices that are currently going through the ceiling was, Ho hum, so what?  That is because I live on a small island and drive an older, manual shift motor-scooter.  A 5 euro tank full lasts me more than a week; yet it was a 3 Euro tank full when I first came here a few years ago.

            I saw a news headline that said California was over $3 per gallon the same day I read an Italian blog that said fuel there was $6 per gallon.  So I did a few calculations converting litres to gallons and euro to dollars and came up with just over $4 per gallon here on Paros, Greece.  So the world oil economy is not uniform yet.  I wonder what gasoline is in Russia where they produce crude oil faster than they can transport it?

            Yes, even on our island paradise we have to look at the big picture.  When we first moved here many friends and relatives visited and we could come and go through out Europe for relative small amounts.  Sometimes airfare between Athens and London was as low as 50 euro (then $60).  Now we have fewer visitors and tourism is down mainly due to the higher cost of airfares, which of course are high because of fuel costs—not to mention security costs due to instability in oil-producing regions.

            So my long term answer is to spend more time in virtual travel on my computer and less time burning up the highways and air lanes.  Of course I have the advantage of modern batteries, wi-fi and VOIP to continue my work-at-home on the beach.  In fact the main town of Paros, Parikia, already has free wi-fi through out the town and the plan is to expand the service to the whole island.  Read more on our blog.

Also save money on transport whenever you travel.  Argus has agents world wide and a lowest price guarantee.


Work is a beach

The standard business incentive is to reward high performers with expense paid travel to some exotic or prestigious location.  For normal performers it is to allow a vacation so they can pay their own way to the destination of choice.

Now, however, I am seeing more and more articles and references about companies enabling their workers, both employees and “out sourced” personnel (contractors), to work at home.  Even the US federal government is promoting it through their Office of Personnel Management.  This article extends that idea of home to include the beach, your boat or any other desirable or “life style” location.

I live and work in a pleasant villa over looking a sandy beach near a quiet village on the Greek isle of Paros.  My wife and I have a relaxed and fun lifestyle but we are not making much money.  We do hear of others who are making fortunes with website marketing. 

Guess I am just not buying enough “How To” books and programs from the professionals who are now teaching instead of doing.  They are all working hard to make you rich, of course.  I am sure some have actually done very well with original ideas.  I think it takes the perfect combination of personality, program, and timing.  Oh yes, a little work never goes amiss. 

There is one program that I highly recommend.  They have an extensive track record of proven success.  Everything that you need to make money on the internet bundled into one interrelated package:  Site Sell's Site Build It!    They have a Work from Home Business page that is quite a good evaluation of the whole concept.

Of course steady progress in modern electronics is making the idea of working from home more viable each day.  Broadband access is now available nearly everywhere and expanding rapidly in capabilities.  You can do whatever you want anywhere you want--as long as it involves computers.  As I mentioned above, our whole island is going wireless.

Another factor in relocation to the beach is low cost air flights.  They allow the work-at-home while living abroad person to maintain connections to office politics as well as visit family.  Oil prices, however, seem to have reversed the trend of ever lower air fares. 

So you really do have a choice between frenetic commutes and a year around tan.  But is it worth the price? 

 

Speaking of beaches, I recently discovered this web site by someone who really loves his beach, Destin-Resort, Florida.  Check it out for your alternative life style.

In order to travel to the USA you may need a visa.  This can be obtained over the internet:  visum usa-ESTA

Attention medical professionals: Of course your services are in demand everywhere but it is not easy to overcome the licensing and cultural differences abroad.  Yet a little creativity can overcome the obstacles to an ideal lifestyle.  Read my blog account: Vacation at the Dentist Office.

Attention ballroom dancers:  Read how this couple dance away their summers on Paros.


Wedding Planner 

Romance and business are an unusual combination.  I am looking to amalgamate the international success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding with the ideals of another Hollywood winner, the Wedding Planner, while working at home on the beach. 

The incomparable Greek island of Santorini has long been the site of magical weddings.  There the high caldera rises straight up from the crystal clear Aegean to a height that makes the cruise ships look like toy boats on a pond.  Add the Cycladic blue and white architecture, the moustachioed violin players and a donkey or two to produce a ceremony that will outshine anything in the glossy celebrity magazines—without paying for event management security. 

The beauty and dramatic location, however, have a dark side—it is called church and state.  There can be no Las Vegas style impulse here; the bureaucratic manoeuvres take weeks to complete.  There is a long list of documents that must not only be obtained from your home town, they must be translated into Greek by an officially certified translator.  Just one example is the Non-impediment Certificate issued by a Vital Statistics Officer.  Can you see yourself explaining that to your local county clerk. 

Aha, that is where entrepreneurial ship comes into play.  The Santorini wedding planners have put together a complete package from blank forms through food, drink and hotels up to and including sweeping the rice up after the procession.  Of course the same thing can be done by a Greek speaking friend but a true professional will save you more money than you pay him or her in fees. 

Other islands have much to offer as well; each has a distinctive character that will give each wedding a unique feeling.  Paros is known as the all around island with something for everyone.  You could get married on a windsurf board in the water or one of the 1,000 plus chapels nestled into nearly every nook and cranny of the coastline.  Available is a simple civil ceremony or the traditional celebration that goes on for 3 days of eating, drinking and dancing.  This includes a dressing of the wedding bed to insure a fertile marriage. 

This article, however, is meant to be less about the joys of wedlock and more about forming a business partnership.  From our art workshops we have plentiful experience in providing full service hospitality for groups.  What we need is a fluent Greek speaker who also knows how to cajole church and state bureaucrats into doing their job of granting marriage licenses.  On our small island that usually means you have to be related to the officials because most people here are cousins it seems.  Of course I am obligated to follow that comment with the statement that Greece is a modern European Union country that provides equality for all under the law and that even the Orthodox church is making progress.  The point being that you don’t have to be a criminal defence lawyer or use job scheduling software. 

So if you either want an idyllic Greek isle wedding or have the ability to make it happen for others, contact us.  Consolidate student loans or refinance home loans whatever it takes to support yourself for a season in the sun; maybe together we can earn a living in a Paros paradise. 

For those of you in the U.K. try Independent Travel Agents - An independent travel agent based in Dorset specialising in wedding related services.

Sea Urchin Roe

    Now this is stretching a bit, I know, but if fortunes were made with caviar, why not sea urchin roe?  When I first arrived on Paros it was not uncommon to see piles of sea urchin shells left by fishermen who had harvested the delicate innards.  The last few years, however, the eatable variety has been scarce but has now made a comeback.

    Here is a recipe from an Oregon State economic project:  With the row from a dozen sea urchin use salt, pepper, lime juice, butter or olive oil. Saute' while stirring gently at very low heat.  Cool and serve with crackers or toast.

O.K.  If you have read this far you are the open-minded or creative type.  So I have some more ideas that are too good to give away.  If you are truly interested in trading high income for the island lifestyle, email me for more partnership ideas.

 

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