Travel Hack Alert: How Laura Lavgo finds FREE accommodation as a nomad

Travel Hack Alert: How Laura Lavgo finds FREE accommodation as a nomad

In this revealing episode, join us as we delve into the ingenious lifestyle of Laura Lavgo, a seasoned digital nomad who has mastered the art of living rent-free around the globe. Discover how Laura's secret to unlocking doors to stunning homes in some of the world’s most coveted destinations—without spending a dime on accommodation.

From charming Asian villas to cozy beachfront cottages, Laura shares her personal experiences, savvy tips, and the surprising challenges she faces on her quest for free stays. Tune in to learn how you, too, can leverage one of her strategies to dramatically cut travel costs.

Transcript (beta)

Curtis Duggan (00:03.601)
Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Remotely Serious.

If you're tuning in, this might be the first time you're seeing it this way. For many of you, it will be the first time for you seeing it this way. And I do mean seeing it because in 2023, what we're calling season one, the nice block of episodes that we had in 2023, although we did sometimes record on video, it was mostly distributed as an audio podcast. So this one with my guest who I will introduce in just one moment is officially our first intentional video podcast.

where we're gonna be doing a lot more video in 2024. So I won't dwell on that, but remember, you know, you've heard it before, you can like and subscribe. We're gonna be doing more video. You're gonna be seeing more of us and you're gonna be seeing more of me, your host, Curtis Duggan. And I'm here with...

Laura Lavgo, who is a digital nomad and has some interesting twists and interesting ideas on being a digital nomad. Laura, welcome to the podcast. I'm excited to talk to you about some interesting concepts after we got connected in the last few weeks.

Laura Lavgo (01:13.23)
Thank you so much for inviting me to this first videocast. I'm super excited. I feel that what you're sharing already with Remotely Serious is super important for the community. So it's such a pleasure being here.

Curtis Duggan (01:25.904)
And Laura, if I can ask the dreaded typical Nomad question, where are you calling in from? Where are you right now?

Laura Lavgo (01:34.798)
Currently I am in Mexico City. It's not gonna last that long. I'm leaving April, but yeah, here we are from this part of the world right now.

Curtis Duggan (01:44.401)
Yeah, I remember, um, Mexico city. Uh, I am trying to remember the first time I heard about it as a nomad destination. It's somewhere I've never been. Um, one of the last conversations that we've had on this podcast, one of the conversations we had about Mexico city, maybe the only one, maybe we've mentioned it more than once, but it was a community manager at a coworking space space called Yayam, which I know in the Lisbon area in Kashkais.

But the second, the other location is in Mexico city. And I've just been hearing more and more about Mexico city. Um, it's interesting because often the big cities are not the nomad destinations. You don't hear about New York, London, Paris as nomad destinations. You hear about smaller towns on the beach and places, you know, little surf towns in Costa Rica and Portugal and Croatia. Um, what's it like being a digital nomad in Mexico city? And some of our listeners might are.

have noticed but you have a wonderful Hispanic or Spanish accent if I can use the right term Latina accent there's so many words I don't know if I'm using the right one but you're not an Anglo what's it like living in Mexico City and what's it like being a nomad you know bilingual and sort of living in in Mexico as a digital nomad but not as someone who's coming from somewhere else and doesn't speak Spanish you speak Spanish.

Laura Lavgo (03:04.91)
Yeah, well, actually it's funny because I think I know that girl her name is Regina or Renata I feel because I noticed Yeah You record they went with her Well, actually i'm from here mexico city and I live here most of my life But is we are now coming here as a digital moment, you know because here this used to be like my parents house and everything and now coming as a nomad you get to experience it from way different angles and as you mentioned

Curtis Duggan (03:13.104)
Renata, yeah. Ren, yeah.

Laura Lavgo (03:34.864)
Usually the main cities are not super popular, but I would say that some of them actually are like Bangkok It's really famous also for digital nomads in Kuala Lumpur, you know, so it's kind of like how it's more about the diversity that the city has to offer So I feel here we have tons of diversity and yeah, actually I feel that the experience

Curtis Duggan (03:43.664)
That is true. That is true. Yeah.

Laura Lavgo (03:58.798)
By me speaking Spanish, it's actually deeper here and in any country in Latin America or where they speak Spanish. But it's also true that even with English, you can really go inside the community and get to know, like at least Mexicans, they love listening to someone that is speaking like three pesos of Spanish, you know? So I would say that yeah, my experience is deeper. And also because I'm already from here, but either way, Mexico City has a lot to offer for nomads as well.

Curtis Duggan (04:26.16)
When did you first start being a digital nomad?

Laura Lavgo (04:30.606)
I think I don't have one specific moment when I said I'm gonna do it because I started traveling before with Congress. What I wanted to do is travel around the world, so I managed the way to get sponsorship to attend different fellowships around the world. So for that, it was like, okay, I'm gonna go, and then in that same way, I started traveling a bit around and then coming back.

But when I really took the decision and really went for longer, it was three years ago, a bit more, almost four, when I said like, okay, I have a remote job. This is my time to just start traveling around. And it was just coming back one month every now and then, you know, like for the home food, the mom home food. And yeah, again, going out, just.

having that kind of stuff, but I feel that my story also it's a back and forth because I started being a nomad and actually I took like one full step back of settling down and settling down as I never did before and then that brought me back again into being a nomad but with a different focus that is actually what I'm that I'm right now focusing on.

Curtis Duggan (05:33.553)
Yeah. Your LinkedIn says slow mad as one of your biographical nouns, project manager, generalist, slow mad. And I think people are proud to be slow mads. Now. Are you, are you proud of the slow mad label or moniker?

Laura Lavgo (05:49.358)
Yeah, I think that it's something that actually is really connected with me. That's why even passing that to the professional side, it was a bit complicated, you know, because it's literally my lifestyle. But I've realized that.

It's a trend that is going to come help a lot of doing a lot of things, especially for the people that still want to travel. They want to do it in a more slow and deeper way. And also for those that want to start doing it, you know, like I felt that with the pandemic, a lot of people started working remotely and they were out there, but as.

everything that happens, the more diversity you have, the more people you have, from there you start having subgroups. And there's a lot of people that they say like, you know, I'm not like, I'm digital nomad, but that doesn't mean that I'm gonna be partying till 3 a .m. or that I'm not committed or that I'm just going to be like, you know, drinking margaritas. It's good that people want to do it, but I think that there's also that sweet spot of people focusing on projects, people.

kind of doing it in a more stable way and still traveling. So I feel that that's why I put it like probably there, my LinkedIn, like it can happen as well like that.

Curtis Duggan (06:50.865)
Mm -hmm.

Yeah, I'm just, uh...

I noticed that you had a podcast producer, actually a side note just for our listeners. This is our first video podcast. Normally when I do the audio podcast, I'll have certain guest notes. I'll bring up their biography. I've done some research, got some questions to ask, and I'm realizing now like, hey, I'm on video. My eyes can't wander while I look at a note or people will notice. So I'm just getting over that self -consciousness. But on that note, I was just looking, you know, not at you, but over at my note, I was looking at that you're, I think it's ongoing, but it says podcast producer.

Um, and you, you actually were doing this in Riverside. This podcast brought to you by Riverside, not a sponsor yet, but, uh, I used StreamYard before. Um, so I'm curious about your background in, in podcast producing or if it's ongoing and, uh, you know, what podcasts you listen to. Cause you were quick to volunteer to jump on this podcast, even though we don't know each other that well. So, uh, it seems like you're comfortable on a podcast. And I was just curious about that.

Laura Lavgo (07:32.886)

Laura Lavgo (07:49.942)
Well, I actually started the podcast because I'm that kind of person that I'm doing something doing the dishes and I love like learning at the same time and I feel that there's so many stories out there that with the podcast we get to have them just in the one tap away and While I was traveling around the world I started to meet a lot of women around the world that they had same story so many similar stuff with me and

from another side, you know? So breaking those stigmas and at the time passing those stories, just broadcasting them. I feel that podcasting is such an amazing way to do it. And I said, like, okay, you know what? Let me just start learning how to record, how to put a podcast. And then I started gathering stories of other women that for me were inspiring. And then my same people, they were like, no way that girl from the other side of the world is thinking exactly. So...

it bring us together with the same part of storytelling. So I actually post it because I have so many projects going on, but I'm gonna actually go back to it to start doing it. But yeah, as a podcast producer, I also helped my husband to start his that now is more successful than mine. So I feel that podcast is just really, it hits a personal note for me. And I love listening to the ones that are most about.

self -improvement and stories. There is also another friend that she's also doing podcasts. She invited me to hers. So I feel that it's just a way to fully be honest without maybe making it an audiobook and same time not reading. So it's a good way to feel close, you know, like if you're drinking that coffee with that person and then the host is just like making the conversation happen. So you feel always close to whoever is.

passing the knowledge or the experiences through a podcast.

Curtis Duggan (09:34.51)
Well, it sounds like we got at least one or two or more shows that we can put in the show notes to reference if you've got ongoing shows and podcasts, we'll make sure to put those in the show notes. Now I feel like...

I'll probably have to edit this a bit or maybe we're gonna make this next part the cold open because I feel like I've done a bad job as a host because there's actually like a really huge hook into introducing you and we've been talking for several minutes and we haven't gotten to it yet. So that's nice. We've had some small talk, but I feel like when I first got connected with you, there was a massive hook into what you're up to and it kind of goes some correct me if I'm wrong, but it kind of goes something like this. It's like.

By the way, you know, if you were on TikTok, it's like, I'm a digital nomad and I travel around the world and I don't pay a single dollar for accommodation. Like, how does she do it? Why? What do you mean you don't pay? And that was one of the first questions I asked you because you had this hook of.

going places as a digital nomad and getting free accommodation that's equal or higher quality than an Airbnb. And the answer you gave me did blow my mind. So I'm curious where you're at. I know you might be working on some info products on that front, but did you wanna follow on that hook and introduce the concept of how you travel around as a digital nomad and what? Don't pay for accommodation? How does that work?

Laura Lavgo (10:57.198)
Yeah, I think that the main thing before saying it is like we need to be really open -minded, you know, because when I tell people they're like, no, you know, like you're lying to me. But it's true that these models, they work and they're outside and...

Curtis Duggan (11:06.925)
Yeah. That's why it's a good hook. That's why it's a good hook is because people are like, you get this can't be true.

Laura Lavgo (11:14.446)
say like I will not pay accommodation from here from now till August like I already have everything booked and I'm gonna be around the world and as you mentioned sometimes even better than Airbnb's so I am a pet sitter and what happens is I take care of houses and pets for free in exchange of accommodation people while they're traveling around the world they said like hey I'm gonna go get married can you take care of them and then they open the the doors of their house and their animals because it's always better for them to have

the animal in the same environment, in the same place, not in a cage, in a hotel that they don't know how they're gonna treat them and they're gonna be stressed or something and then that's where I come. That's where I say okay no problem tell me how's their routine, what you do, how you do it, what time they get fed and then from there I get free accommodation around the world. A lot of people the moment I say like I don't pay for accommodation they're like oh you're an influencer. I'm still working on my brand but I can get to do this for free because I understood the system of what they're

looking for the pet owners and what skills do I need to be doing that and as you mentioned like I'm working on my ebook that is gonna come soon because I really believe that any person could be doing this of course it requires some skills that are important but it's something that is growing more and more around the world and I feel that our generation we're not gonna have a lot of kids we're gonna have pets and we're gonna treat them as kids so it's a it's a really good way and system.

Curtis Duggan (12:39.531)
I do think that's already happening and nations are dealing with demographic decline, but we do certainly have a lot of pets to make up for it. So you told, I mean, you told me about this pet setting concept and now you're telling it to me again on this podcast, which will go public and you're making an info product and ebook and possibly some content about how you're doing it. So I can conclude.

Laura Lavgo (13:01.442)
Of course.

Curtis Duggan (13:05.227)
You're not afraid that if the word gets out, you'll have lots of competition or the quality will degrade. What, uh, this could be something that's like your lifestyle secret that just lets you live an interesting and, uh, cost saving life by being a pet setter. When did you choose to kind of, I don't know, go public with it or start talking about it more publicly? I imagine you did it for a while and it was like, this is cool, but this is my little secret.

Laura Lavgo (13:33.966)
I think there's room for everyone. Like there's even sometimes that they come with me and they're like, hey, can you please and I'm like, sorry, I'm fully booked already, you know? So I feel that it's going to keep increasing. So the more actually we talk about a lot of people that will be like, wait, can I do that? You know? So the more I talk, whether that person is going to become a pet sitter or it's going to become a pet owner that joins the system. So I feel that I'm not jealous about that kind of stuff because it's going to even like be growing. But when I...

to actually promote is and that's why actually the ebook is for because if I'm being one I want that this profession or this lifestyle is not

passing bad experiences because I've heard like in many forums like, oh this happened to me and because of that I'm never going to hire again a bed -seater, you know? So the more we do it informed in a really good way in a professional part that I don't charge and they even sometimes say like, why you do it so professional? You know, so it's about how we get to do it in a careful way so this stays long -term. So I will actually promote it more in the way of like, yeah, let's jump into this because more people will be informed that this works and there's people that you

can rely on but let's do it also in a professional and informed and skilled way.

Curtis Duggan (14:52.04)
And can you walk me through that? I don't know. Maybe they're not typical, but if there was a typical, uh, engagement, I don't know, they even know the right word, typical contract, whatever you call it for a pet sitting. Um, do you meet the people in person or is it something, is it more like an Airbnb where you show up and they've left the notes, they've left the food in the dish and, uh, all the instructions, you know, they've emailed you certain important information. How often do you meet the owners? How much.

How comfortable do they need to get with you before they say yes to trusting you with their precious dog or precious cat or precious other pet?

Laura Lavgo (15:32.11)
I think that it's really variable because some of them they say like I prefer someone that is already in the country that I can meet you we usually do most of the time they hand over like one day we arrive one day before they leave but before that let's go all the way back so we put our proposal our skills how we can contribute and then we did in both in platforms that you already sign up for and you put that and in that way you're kind of like insured but we also did through Facebook even like the second one we got it was through Facebook and we were like

you should really want to trust us because I do it with my husband right so we were like we just put a post on Facebook and people really trust you like that blindly because you transmit with that energy so we have a video call that person explains us they take time to take the decision like yeah you're the perfect match or no and then after that it comes a welcome guide sometimes they already have a welcome guide and if not what we have built so far is a form of all the stuff actually we're gonna be also putting that stuff out for pet parents because sometimes they say like it's too easy

Curtis Duggan (16:05.096)
Mm -hmm.

Laura Lavgo (16:31.456)
you just give them food you know and suddenly it's like no wait but also if this happens you would do like that the pet shouldn't go there you need to be careful about these if something happens this is a vet contact you know so we already know which information is crucial that sometimes pet parents they might be like why should I pass you so

We exchange that welcome guide, we read it, we check most of the definition, we also ask for information like just in case, how they react, what we should do. We try to adapt the most we can and then if it's possible, we meet in person before they take the decision once we are ready in that place. If we're not, sometimes they just are like, no problem, just arrive one day before and there is even occasions in which they give us the keys or they left the keys with the entrance guard and then we take it from there and then when we're gonna leave, we just leave them there. We didn't even meet.

the pet parents in person. So it's really variable. I think the common thing is the trust and how professional you get to be. But there's people in Japan that they already told us to stay two months and we haven't met in person at all.

Curtis Duggan (17:35.592)
Has anyone ever paid you or is it always a barter or in kind accommodation for pet sitting?

Laura Lavgo (17:42.894)
You can also do it with faith, but it depends on which country you're doing it, which platform you're using. There are certain platforms that they say you cannot have any money exchange. But what I say is they didn't pay us with money. But for example, one time that we do one pet sitting for three puppies, one of them have a surgery like one week before we arrived. So we literally had a puppy 13 years old, super old, not wanting to eat, not wanting to drink water. I felt that we're going to lose her. And even the vet said,

like the owner knows this so she knows that maybe when she comes back one month later the puppy is not going to be here and then we literally save the puppy.

Curtis Duggan (18:20.744)
That's not funny, but that's that's actually surprising that they obviously put that much trust in you. I'm not surprised, of course, you seem like an impeccable, trustable person. That's quite that's more dramatic than I thought a pet owner would be in terms of being willing to kind of.

Trust you with that situation. So this is opening my mind to what is possible. Maybe like the same way that people didn't believe that you could do Airbnb is fit 20 years ago or 15 years ago. And then it's like, no, actually people are willing to stay in strangers houses. And I'm learning people are willing to trust their pets with a pet sitter, even in certain situations like that.

Laura Lavgo (18:59.822)
Yeah, for example, now that you're talking about Airbnb, for people who were mind -blowing that idea, and now another way of also doing this is home exchange. That they do home exchange even in Facebook groups, you know? And you would say, like, what do you mean that I will do?

People are doing it. I don't do it because I don't have a house, right? I'm still a no -wife. But those kind of systems that is like, that cannot be true. But yeah, after this thing, she actually didn't want to sleep the puppy, but because of the time, she was already booked the flights and everything. She was having kind of like, not a congress, but she was being sponsored to record and she was a master diver. And she's like, you know what guys, I don't know how to pay you. What I can do is I have a master diver's school. Let me pay the certification for you.

So if she would have paid us per night, it would have been way less than the money that she saved us just by inviting us, like by sponsoring our certification for open water drivers. So that's the kind of stuff that I also say that is not always money. It could be a lot of exchange. This bar bar barter. You can see here that English is not my first language, but that it could happen like that beyond money. There's also people that they say like, use my, use my car, use my one.

Curtis Duggan (19:48.84)

Curtis Duggan (19:58.984)

Laura Lavgo (20:09.998)
We need to cancel that one, but there was one in Coahin that she said like I have a pickup and I have a motorbike like you can use it and we were like I Think I don't want to use it. But thank you, you know, so it goes beyond only like that exchange, but it's true that there are certain platforms that people can subscribe and they get paid so It's possible both

Curtis Duggan (20:17.704)

Curtis Duggan (20:31.88)
Yeah, and one, I have one question I feel like I have to ask. You mentioned one dog who had had surgery right before you took over. Have you ever been in a situation, you know, like, God forbid, nothing bad would ever happen, like really bad would ever happen, although I guess it could. But have you ever been in a situation where you needed to exercise something above and beyond just daily care, like a pet?

throwing up or exhibiting some kind of having a cold where you needed to go to the vet to do something or have you been sort of, you know, quote unquote lucky so far? Have you ever been in a situation where your responsibility escalates as it sometimes does when you're taking care of an animal?

Laura Lavgo (21:15.918)
This is the moment that I bring my, I hope that they're watching the video because this is the moment in which, you know, like when they open the paper and goes all the way. I think it has been counted times that the bed seat is super easy.

Curtis Duggan (21:22.886)

Laura Lavgo (21:29.014)
Always involves responsibility and that's why also I want to talk about it not in a romantic way because a lot of people they say like oh I stay for free No, you need to be care. You need to be caring after one human being that can get sick that can have a stress that anything can happen That one was one that we needed to take care of her every day removing their shirt because if not, she was leaking She was like draining steel from the surgery and then one of those puppies as well. He was having anxiety when he was When there was thunderstorm no way I

I needed to do research to see how I could calm him down. I even found and I created a playlist for like specific music that I made research that the puppies get calmed down. And I realized that it was working because the other puppy, when I played that music, he used to come and stay there. You know, he really enjoyed it as well. So there was another one that also had wounds and we got it from another pet sitter. So we didn't got, we had the handover from the other pet sitter and the other pet sitter didn't take care of him at all for one week. So when we received him, he already,

had like open wounds and everything so we needed to take him to the bed we needed to administer medication we needed to do the psps in the wounds so it has been countless times there was also another one that he was reactive so the dog never he came from a shelter so there was another there were two one was super happy super chill used to come with us and then the other one was that reactive that at night he used to come and smash the door of a room

someone broke in the house and it was just a dog getting super reactive super aggressive so that kind of thing is also how you and that's why I say that it's also needed the skills because you need to know how to react how to Make the best situation for both of them and we actually had to tell the owner in that moment Like you know what it's not about us. We can stay here. No problem But the thing is that dog is having more stress than us, you know So it's the good time of you coming back because you never train him. You're never accustomed

him to anything so he was having a bad time so I think it's a lot of things about how to react. I also was I was a foster home during the pandemic for a lot of puppies so what happened is from there I learned how to administer medication, how to react you know so those skills at a certain point we might think like oh where should I start sometimes it's like just if you're now your home

Laura Lavgo (23:49.422)
to start doing bed -sitting around the world, I would say you can, if you have the possibility, start being a foster home and then later you give them into adoption. But that process of seeing how they get better, that at least for me, that was super well for skills and to know how to react because it's true that, I mean, it's like a human being, you never know how they can get sick or anything. So there has been...

There have been times in which I say like, oh, but it's about continuing and having perfect communication with the owner as well.

Curtis Duggan (24:21.888)
Yeah, this is where you're really getting into kind of, it's not the gotcha, but it is the flip side of the headline. The saucy headline is travel around the world and stay for free, have free accommodation as a digital nomad. How is this possible? And what you're getting at is that it's not just by saying, yeah, yeah, you've got a animal, but really embracing and being very good at the role of Petsitter and taking it seriously, taking it professionally is probably the right word.

and doing all the things that need to be done and going above and beyond and that's what's probably gonna allow someone to travel around the world and have free accommodation whereas someone who doesn't take it seriously they might not find themselves with a good reputation you know after the few few times if they're not a good pet sitter.

Laura Lavgo (25:12.078)
Yeah, I think it's for free but also involves responsibility. You know, like just maybe ask people that they might be doing a deal with a hotel. It didn't come for free. They also did like this work of building their personal brand. This is more open, I feel, for any person that they want to do it as long as they're willing to take the responsibility and having the right skills as well. So it's easier way, like it's more accessible, but same time still involves a lot of things. So it's kind of like what you get to choose. There's also the skill swapping the system.

Curtis Duggan (25:16.413)

Laura Lavgo (25:41.984)
you can do it like by offering five hours of your time for certain things, right? And then you get free accommodation, free, I don't know, breakfast, but those have also their non -negotiables or other stuff that you will be losing or sacrificing. So it's a bit of showing the real side instead of just saying like, oh, I travel around the world and for free, right? It has so many things also involved.

Curtis Duggan (26:06.847)
So where have you been in the last year or so and which country or city is your favorite that you've pet -sit in and also just lived your life in recently?

Laura Lavgo (26:17.934)
That's always the hard question. Which one is your favorite? Specifically because right now I'm in Mexico, so if I don't say Mexico, that's going to be problematic. But...

Laura Lavgo (26:30.734)
say that well the last year I was in Turkey, Albania, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Mexico back and I loved Thailand honestly we're gonna go back there it's super nice Turkey I also love Turkey as well and Mexico so I would say that that's my top three and yeah Japan is also good but I didn't stay for that long.

Curtis Duggan (27:00.67)
and in Thailand and in Turkey, is it the beach or where were you staying in those two countries that made it the best?

Laura Lavgo (27:13.966)
Sorry, I didn't hear you in that moment. We're gonna have to cut this part.

Curtis Duggan (27:20.222)
Okay, no problem. We'll cut this. I'll just do it again. So where was it in, was it the beach? Where was it in Thailand and in Turkey that you stayed? There's the classic places like Antalya, Kopanyan, Kosamwe that we've heard about for 10 or 15 years, but where did you stay in those countries that made you love it or put it up top for your best places?

Laura Lavgo (27:46.51)
I used to live actually in Antalya but that was more as a settler when I met my partner but mainly I was in Istanbul this year and Thailand, Kotao, it's amazing I think it's the island that is super underrated compared with Cozamuayco, Pangan and Chiang Mai, also Chiang Mai, well it really blew my mind

They don't have beach but the area is amazing. Actually for digital moments it's so good. I know that a lot of people that they're already there they will tell me like, no don't say it because a lot of people are going there but it's truly magical there as well. And Mexico will. Mexico City.

Curtis Duggan (28:23.07)
I think some nomads and travelers have the stereotypical impression, which may be true, but I want to confirm it with you, that in Thailand, you know, for a few baht, a few dollars, you can order street food every day that's fresh and healthy and live very cheaply without sacrificing and eating a lot of fast food or something that you can get fresh healthy food. Is that true? Is that how you live your life in Thailand or do you find yourself buying groceries and cooking in Thailand too?

Laura Lavgo (28:52.366)
Actually, it's even more expensive to buy groceries and cook instead of just eating and not even street food, you know, like in this kind of like places where the same woman that cooks for her family, she cooks for you. So it's not a main restaurant, but also it's not like street street. No way. I loved Tom Yam. I swear like we ate like four times per week. Tom Yam, it was super good. It's super healthy. It has ginger. It's like...

Curtis Duggan (29:15.358)
Yeah. What is Tom Yep? For people that don't know.

Laura Lavgo (29:20.17)
So the most famous one is Khao Soi, but basically it's like soup that is mixed with noodles and they can have shrimp or chicken It also has ginger, lemongrass, it has coconut milk, it has tomato, no wait, I swear it's like a soup of many things, super nutritious and with ramen

No way, like I felt that I was in paradise. It's really good. And the good thing about Thai people is they eat a lot of vegetables and a lot of water in the same food. So yeah, sometimes I used to have dinner for 25 Mexican pesos. So I agree.

Curtis Duggan (30:03.774)
Oh, that sounds good. I don't know the current exchange rate, but that sounds good. And Chiang Mai, is that is it high elevation? I'm just trying to I've never been and so I'm just trying to is it up up higher?

Laura Lavgo (30:14.062)
Yeah, it's also close to Burma, Myanmar. It's almost...

Curtis Duggan (30:20.702)
I see. So you might get some of that feeling of the Burmese mountain landscapes as opposed to the tropical beach of the Koh Islands.

Laura Lavgo (30:31.182)
Yeah, actually I feel Thailand since it's so big you get to experience way different cultures that one is more like the the Lana culture so it's really close to that area compared with that if you go Phuket or if you go the island so I feel that still has a lot of the local culture immersed in the same way of living the everyday.

Curtis Duggan (30:54.206)
And what's Antalya like?

Laura Lavgo (30:57.262)
It's basically the Cancun in Turkey. It has a beach.

Curtis Duggan (30:59.996)
Yeah, is it? Yeah. That's not what I was expecting. I didn't ask the question expecting that answer. I was picturing something that was more like a quiet... I know I've been to Greek Island and I know it's close by but it's Turkish culture. So I was picturing more something else but I wasn't picturing Cancun. So does that mean that there's a lot of partying? In what way is it like Cancun?

Laura Lavgo (31:24.942)
like Cancun specifically when we went out almost one year ago it was because of the war with Russia there were so many people flying in so now it's literally like a little Russia a lot of Russians they already loved that place for vacation but now they flew there so even you know like in the mall when you have like level one women level two kids first it was Turkish and then Turkish and English and now Turkish English and Russian

in the malls so you can from that understand how much the people there are mainly Russian now so it's more touristic than actually like the real culture of Turkey I've been to other places my husband actually is Turkish so Bursa for example still has a lot of stuff that is Turkish culture the Ottoman Empire the history and Antalya I feel that is not that much anymore but it's really nice it has good beach

Curtis Duggan (32:21.054)
Yeah, well that's good intelligence that it's a bit more of an expat community and there's other places in Turkey. Is there anywhere else in Turkey you'd recommend as the the top underrated or still local Turkish nomad destination?

Laura Lavgo (32:36.686)
I think for example Turkey is not that nomad yet because they haven't adapted and that's also the stuff that I talk when I say about slow -moeting Nomads are expecting already co -working hubs, you know like fast internet, really cheap hostels and everything so there's many cultures that they haven't done that yet so they are not called already like the digital nomad city but you can go and you be a nomad there

but of course that will challenge you to be more inside the culture, inside the real community that they're already there. So that's why I feel that they don't feel that, but I would say that Bursa, it's amazing. Izmir as well, it's really nice. It's modern, same time it's like Turkey still. There's a Banja as well and Fethiye. And I don't know, like.

where you go to Cappadocia, that place is it's touristic but also has a lot of culture there so I would definitely recommend it.

Curtis Duggan (33:32.154)
And if someone says, I love big cities, I love Bangkok, I love New York, I love Kuala Lumpur, and they get ready and they say, I am going to do a three month or a six month slow mad stint in Istanbul, the big city, good idea or bad idea? What should they be ready for? What should they expect if they've decided they're going to stay in the big city?

Laura Lavgo (33:59.79)
I think as always the big cities are going to have a lot of movement and they're even good for people that they want to do it long term because it won't be like the shock you know like this is so strange or so different or so deep in this culture that is taking me time and effort to adapt so I would say that six months three months in a big city is perfect but of course you also need to know that it's going to be a bit more pricey it's going to be a bit more crowded mainly but

Istanbul for a slow -marine would be perfect I would just maybe recommend that not about the time or the place that you choose but also the energy that you come to There's many people that they know that I travel for so long and they're like I also want to travel to escape from these to find myself and I don't say that traveling doesn't do that, but it's also true that

you come, you're taking your luggage, whatever you didn't work with or didn't work on about your life and also what you did. So when people use traveling as a way of escaping, that's why traveling gets like that feeling of...

Escape is not enough to what I was expecting. Yeah, because you already came with expectations You already came with this thing of I want everything super comfortable Knowing that you're gonna go to a place that you are not from there that you have never heard of that people have different cultures so I think I would say more the open -minded feature the respectful and also wanting to go a bit beyond just the superficial part or the Comfortable one so you can really have a rich experience and those six months or those three months

that you experience there, they will really have a completely different taste than just, oh, I'm changing location, but I'm having always the same experience everywhere.

Curtis Duggan (35:44.794)
What are you working on right now or what are your goals for 2024? I know we mentioned that you're producing and helping with some podcasts, but what are you working on right now in terms of income and do you consider yourself an entrepreneur, a freelancer, employee? How does that work for you?

Laura Lavgo (36:03.15)
Well, so far I was still an employee. This is my last week actually working as a employee for a company. I was kind of like one, I don't, like insider if we say it like that. I was freelance, but I was like full -time, part -time.

Curtis Duggan (36:08.92)

Laura Lavgo (36:19.278)
let's say with one company, like providing the services, not on project, but always there. Right. And I said like, thank you. I got an investor for actually both my personal brand and my new project called slow money. So let's say that now I'm starting in two days, I'm going to be a full -time entrepreneur because that's exactly what I want. So I've been traveling around the world and I found that slow money is the way I live by and also the perfect sweet spot between moving around and same time doing response.

Curtis Duggan (36:20.45)

Laura Lavgo (36:49.232)
So I'm gonna be focusing on putting both like from courses ebooks like pet sitting and other ways to do it the tools at a base for people to find it, you know that I know and I've I've literally leave them or use them for so many years But sharing that with other people to help them jump into this lifestyle in a more conscious way because I also feel that this connotation that sometimes digital nomads have that is like they come here and they do a lot of damage and they gentrify

the place, specifically Mexico City. There's areas in which a local cannot go and rent a place because they are super expensive. You know, so that kind of movement is going to happen, but the more we do it in a conscious way, I want that, and I believe that at certain point we can be saying people that are traveling are bringing better things that we would be on our own. You know, so I want to promote this movement.

Curtis Duggan (37:41.69)
Yeah, I love everything you're saying, but I did want to rewind. I want to get back to slow matting, but I did want to rewind. Did you say that you got an investor in your personal brand? Is that what you said? Your personal brand and slow matting? Or did you say you want to invest in your personal brand?

Laura Lavgo (37:54.124)

Laura Lavgo (38:04.59)
Sorry, that code again.

Curtis Duggan (38:07.492)
It's okay, I'll do it again. So this is great. I love everything you're saying. And I wanna talk more about slow matting, but what did you say about your personal brand? Did you say you're going to invest in your personal brand or did you say you got an investor for your personal brand?

Laura Lavgo (38:09.452)

Laura Lavgo (38:23.342)
I got an investor. So what I was doing while I was working for other people, I was building my personal brand by sharing stuff on LinkedIn. And I actually happened to become first a community top voice and now I'm LinkedIn blue badge top voice. I've been like, people invited me to congresses, to podcasts, to speaking at events. So people said like, you know what, I see where you're going. Literally they told me like, I prefer.

Curtis Duggan (38:28.154)

Curtis Duggan (38:31.736)

Laura Lavgo (38:52.394)
Investing on you right now that later when you become super expensive and I cannot afford it, you know So it's kind of like people are willing and that's also what the creator economy is gonna bring that people instead of investing only on oh This thing brings me 15 % is more like I'm gonna invest in that person because I know where they're growing so I believe that this thing of Building your personal brand

it's super important because at least in this case that I'm gonna start something, they're not only coming because of the idea of slow -mo -ding, but same time because who's gonna be behind that, which is going to be me. So that's why sometimes I also help people like put yourself out there, that is something that we would be missing because you never know who's watching.

Curtis Duggan (39:43.258)
So if someone...

If someone invests in you, does that mean every time you monetize your YouTube channel or you sell an affiliate link to a pet sitting software platform or whatever you do, does that mean you got to send them 1 % every week? What is the actual, I know this is like a digital nomad and remote work show, but it's also kind of like a small business show and we like to get into some of these details. So if you can share like even in general, how does that work for someone to invest in you? Because I think this is,

I agree. This is going to be part of the creator economy if it isn't already. And I'm just curious. I'm sure lots of people would be interested in in how that works.

Laura Lavgo (40:25.742)
I think it's gonna, for example, depends on how much you close the deal around. Like if it's going to be super long term, depends on how money also they give you. Even incubators, they do it like that. You know, like I'm gonna invest time and I'm gonna help you, but then from there, I'm gonna get this piece of the cake. If in this case, as I mentioned it, is more about like how I'm gonna be growing, then of course it could be, okay, from this part till this part, your investment is gonna come back completely to you or we're gonna do this deal and I will be sharing with you whatever percentage.

percentage I do from that moment onwards. So it's kind of like how we get to close those deals. It could be many ways, you know? It could be, okay, you give me this money and after 12 months, kind of like if it's a credit from the bank.

I will give it back to you, right? Or it could be, okay, you know what this that you're giving me right now is going to be 1 % of whatever I built in five years. If it turns out to be 1 ,000 ,007 figures, they're going to get back, you know? So it's kind of like about how much you're willing to give based on the strategy you have, how much you want to grow. And if at certain point you say like, okay, this going to be back from you, but only for this part. If I start creating other stuff, that thing is for me, you know? So,

it's kind of finding the great deal that works for both sides.

Curtis Duggan (41:47.066)
And I know, so you were talking about this before I rewound us back to talk about investing in a personal brand and your personal brand.

the slow matting business. You've mentioned an ebook to me, I think if I've got that right. So if I'm and I'm sorry if we were already getting into this, but the slow matting concept, the second thing that you mentioned, what is that and where can we look for it? I don't know when we'll be releasing this. We're recording it at the end of March. But if there's something that's out there, maybe by April when it actually this will probably come out pretty quickly. So it might not still might not be out yet. But when when are you releasing more information about slow matting? And what is that?

enterprise going to be.

Laura Lavgo (42:25.87)
So I think everything is going to happen as an MVP. And this is kind of like...

to say a recommendation that I would give to another person that also wants to do this thing that is like lunch whatever you have right now. So as you said maybe it's going to be there maybe it's not going to be there yet but what you will find definitely is content about this kind of stuff. I already have one LinkedIn page from there is going to come one newsletter. I have already certain databases that people can access to and it's always that consultancy that I can give to people because what I believe is each path each rhythm is completely different so I do this consultancy with people.

Curtis Duggan (42:51.194)
Mm -hmm.

Laura Lavgo (43:03.542)
that is like, okay, let's jump in the call, tell me what you're doing, what are your negotiables, what are your non -negotiables, and then I can start telling you which tools that I know can be working for you, and then from there, you can start doing. I'm also helping people to find cheap tickets, and I actually...

teach them how to do it themselves. So it's literally like learning tools instead of just me doing the work for them. So, slowmating is going to be slowmath .ind because it actually comes as the birth of, I say like mastering globetrotting, like moving around the world while contributing locally. So it's just that sweet spot. And I even say that it would be perfect for people that they're already sellers, that they want to start traveling around the world.

beyond only vacations two times per month, per year, and also for digital moments that are already out there. And they say, you know what, this speed, this saying goodbye every week, this unattachment, two things, we want community, we want that closeness.

that also works for them. So it's kind of like from both sides this is the middle point that can help both people. So yeah you can find it in Instagram, YouTube, a website, linkedin as slowmath .ing.

Curtis Duggan (44:19.93)
And just if I heard this right, were you, are you saying that your ideal client or a client that's within the wheelhouse is both someone who hasn't traveled that much, but might want to start slow matting. Let's just say it's someone who lives in the suburbs of Toronto. They've barely left their house except to go to Disney world and Florida and maybe Mexico a few times. And all of a sudden a family wakes up and says, you know, the winter's here in Toronto.

We don't like them and things are expensive and we'd like to actually go to Thailand for six months. There's that person. And then of course there's a digital nomad who's switching places every week and says, this is too crazy. The lifestyle is too crazy. I gotta slow down. I gotta get off the roller coaster. Are you helping both of those stereotypical clients?

Laura Lavgo (45:10.862)
This is the kind of stuff that I say that I believe in this project because it worked for me as you mentioned usually I thought I felt that you described my husband and you described me when I met him I was traveling around the world changing cities every two weeks because I wanted to eat the world and he was that kind of person that he arrived to until you have to say I'm gonna live here. My house is going to be here My kids are gonna go to this school and I'm gonna work here, you know So he was super ready to settle down and then we met it was an explosion. It was like we want to complete

different things but we want to make this work so how we find that middle point that works for us and literally if I turn him into as a settler to a slow -map and he really likes it I know that this would work for them and also for me a lot of the pains that I have as a digital nomad because let's not romanticize it there's so many things you know that you cannot even unpack you always feel like this I was staying in hotels with other night people and three of them snore at night so kind of this this

thing works because I was that digital nomad and she was that settler so we've met here in this point that makes us feel that connection make friends have community explore places you know instead of just moving every two weeks now I say like I didn't explore many things from many places that I just had my stamp I visited them but sometimes it was like I arrived one place I don't even want to go out like I need vacations of the vacations or of the lifestyle that I have so yeah I feel that this new proposal

it's going to come as a new proposal for people that they don't want this, they don't want this, but they want something in between.

Curtis Duggan (46:48.762)
Are there any new places in 2024 or 2025 that you want to go to for the first time?

Laura Lavgo (46:55.384)
Well, we're gonna go Phuket. We've never been there. We're gonna go Osaka. We've never been there. We're gonna go Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia. So I think those are going to be the maids.

Curtis Duggan (47:05.626)
So you're not a slow mad yet. I mean, you still have some of the digital nomad in you. It's not like, I mean, actually maybe I should ask this. You're in Mexico City. Do you foresee for your life as a slow mad that you will be in multiple places? Like is it six months Mexico City, six months somewhere else or six months Southeast Asia somewhere else? Like what do you see in the future in the next couple of years as a slow mad? How many bases?

Laura Lavgo (47:30.578)
Yeah, I think that the key spaces so for example what you were saying about this thing I feel that you could be a slow -mat and still not spending six months because that's the first question that people tell me like how long should I stay in one place to be considered slow -mat and there is no rules yet nothing is great in stone but I feel that the slow -mat lifestyle goes only beyond how long you stay in one place but also how you leave the experience there so I already have like three months in two months in Phuket and three months in Japan and then I'll still have like more time, you know, like for the rest of the year that I want to spend at least one month in each place. It depends of course on visa. It depends on the things that you want to do. And I feel that this thing, I don't know, I will be lying if I tell you right now, if I'm going to stop. So let's not say this to my husband, but if we want to have kids at certain point, of course we need to kind of like say for a bit in one place. Like we need to settle down, but I also see, and I've, we have friends that they travel with their babies, you know, like that's,

still happens there. So sometimes maybe it might not stop there. So we will have one here.

Curtis Duggan (48:32.218)
Yeah, I've seen certain influencers or people that are share their lives on social media that are digital nomads. Uh, the traveling different places and the baby is two, four, six, eight months old and they didn't just pause for two years. They kept going, which I guess is his own challenge. So, uh, it's possible. I mean, I don't, I don't, I feel like that is probably the.

One of the biggest barriers, like people are like, yeah, it's fine. Be a digital nomad, but what if you have a relationship? Oh, we keep going. Okay. Yes. But what if you have a kid? Okay. That's where most people would stop and say, then yes, we're not nomads. We stop. Uh, but there are some people that are still, still doing it. I don't know. It's, that seems like the biggest challenge. I don't know. And also, you know, I'm not sure how you handle this, but the other one that comes up.

Laura Lavgo (49:14.222)

Curtis Duggan (49:20.826)
in the similar vein is like, what about healthcare? For people that are not familiar with the lifestyle, they're used to maybe having their eyeglass prescription or, you know, chronic condition or their ear checkup or, you know, whatever it is that they do. And most people are, you know, very, whether they're Americans in America and they're really worried about their private insurance or even they're just...

in other countries like Europe or Mexico, Canada, the UK, and they know that they have public health care or a mix of public and private health care. But it's like, well, I can only get health care in my own country. Has that ever bothered you or how do you handle health care and even health care now as a couple?

Laura Lavgo (50:03.662)
So, for example, while I was working, I had my healthcare in Mexico, like for main things. So, of course, if anything happened, we needed to come back all the way to Mexico. But it's true that also they're already, like since this has been a trend, really famous, there are places and places, there are tools that they cover you, wherever you are.

like that international insurance works and then in that way you can have always like one doctor away that you can go and you can check it, you know? It's of course true that there are certain stuff that you already have your doctor. So what happens also is when we come back home or to our base, we do exams, we always take like this preventive because that's also the thing that I say like for jumping into this lifestyle, you get to do a lot of things before jumping into it. So we always have like the annual...

check up for blood tests. Now that we came, we literally had it. You know, we don't feel bad and everything. We always supplement each other. We're all the time like having the right vaccines to wherever we go. For example, in Mexico, you don't need the yellow fever, but we take it. Why? Because in case we are in another place that we're not accustomed to. So I feel it's kind of like the mix of both. Find it the right tool. There are several ones. The ones that I know is Safety Wing. It's the most famous one. It's actually the one that I use, not sponsored. And...

In that way, whatever you are, like as a nomadic person, you get covered. If it's of course beyond certain stuff, that's something else, I haven't lived it, I would be lying if I say how it works. But it's true that everything involves risk, so the more you prevent them, the better it's going to become. So taking care of your health before anything happens, it could be also a good way to have making sure that whatever you are, nothing happens.

Curtis Duggan (51:48.698)
Well, Laura, I'm really excited about the venture that you're launching and with slow matting and everything that's going to come from slow matting. And I guess I don't know how many people you've told, but it sounds like we also have this big news that you shared earlier in the podcast that you're moving on from being an employee. So it's an exciting time. And I'm, I'm excited that you were able to come on the podcast and talk about.

um, pet sitting and slow matting and your future plans, um, during a week where it sounds like there's a lot of excitement going on in your life.

Laura Lavgo (52:19.372)
Thank you so much. I feel like it's a part of how you in the same movement, you find stability because many people, they like routine and there's also ways of having routine but moving. So I feel that I encourage every person to try whatever works for them in the rhythm that they want. So thank you so much for having me here to share it with you and with all your listeners.

Curtis Duggan (52:43.384)
Laura, it was a pleasure and thanks everyone for another episode of Remotely Serious. And once again, this is very likely the first official video episode that we're doing. So as you know, that you can do in the world of YouTube and other places, you can like and subscribe as we move into the world of video. And thanks again, Laura. This was another episode of Remotely Serious. We're back, it's 2024. Thanks everyone. Have a good one. Stay safe out there.

Curtis Duggan (53:11.322)
And here I'm gonna find the off button on Riverside, which I, oh there it is.