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Category: Laptop Lifestyle

Today’s Office…

It’s a hard life when this is your office for the day…

The cruise ship, Ocean Majesty was in the harbour for a visit…

…and it’s a good thing they are not superstitious about name changes, as she has been called:

  • 1966–1985: Juan March
  • 1985–1986: Sol Christina
  • 1986–1988: Kypros Star
  • 1988–1994: Ocean Majesty
  • 1994–1995: Olympic
  • 1995: Homeric
  • 1995 onwards: Ocean Majesty

These ramps were built for the D-Day embarkation…

A city councillor in full regalia on hand to welcome the international cruise ship visitors…

…and breakfast was delicious!

…one of the crew…

The Ocean Majesty’s tender ferrying passengers to land and back to the ship…

…always something to do when one owns a boat…

OK, back to work for this Princess Pixie…  🙂

~ Bella

My Office on The River Thames

There are worse places to sit and work for the day than on the dock of an historic hotel, beside the River Thames…

Fluffy river companion…  (I do miss having a fluffy companion – one of the drawbacks of this amazing lifestyle…)

Sitting here, working away – the river provided a constant source of vibrancy and variation…

I love that this fluffy has his own life preserver…

Now, all of a sudden, it is like I am back in America with river paddle-wheelers…

This one is a baby in comparison, but still very lovely…

It started to sprinkle, so I after working outside for several hours, I decided to relocate inside and have a late lunch… and what is priceless – literally – is that there are three groups of elderly people here (in their 80s and 90s) with what appears to be the next generation younger (in their 60s and 70s) – and listening to their various conversations about what they did when they were young…  I feel SO blessed to be witness to such living history…

…and for some reason, the police boat decided to do several pirouettes in front of the hotel…?

About to enjoy lunch…

What a glorious day…

~ Bella




Luxurious Nomad Luxury Skin Care for Pennies!

I had a most delightful conversation yesterday with a lovely waitress at one of my ‘local watering holes’ where I eat, drink and work.

She is a beautiful young woman of twenty-five – and when we were joking about her being a quarter of a century, she was astonished when I told her I was in the second half of my century!

What ensued was a discussion on my skin care products and regime, and when I told her it involves basically two items – that are natural and affordable – she wanted to know more…  and she is not the only one.  I have had that almost identical conversation with at least a dozen people over the past six months or so…

So, here is my luxury skin care ‘secret’!

Bearing in mind that I travel all over the world, so I want to make sure I have the minimal amount of ‘stuff’ to cart around, given that I already have eight suitcases that my luggage concierge picks up and drops off when I move from one amazing location to the next.

Luxury Skin Care Cleanser

luxury skin care castile soapWhat surprises most women with whom I discuss this is that I use the same product for cleansing both face and body!

Kirk’s Soap has been produced without interruption for nearly 175 years – and being the Victorian-era-loving girl that I am, that adds to its appeal.

“Castile” originally referred to the highly-prized vegetable based soap produced in Castile, Spain. For centuries this soap was considered “the soap of royalty” because of its luxurious lather and gentleness to the skin.

luxury skin care face-scrubber-pad

I simply use a face scrubber pad (like the one in this image) and the soap for my face and upper body – and since I have mobility/flexibility challenges, I have a long-handled bath body brush that I use to exfoliate my legs – all with the castile soap!

You can find it on Amazon here:  http://amzn.to/2kwVfNC

Luxury Skin Care Moisturizer

luxury skin care argan-oilWhat is equally surprising for people, is that I also use the one product to moisturize both face and body AND the ends of my hair AND to do a deep treatment on my hair every few weeks!

You can read more about Argan Oil here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argan_oil – it is quite fascinating!

You might think an ‘oil’ would be greasy, but this one is silky-smooth…

I love it! – and a little goes a long way.

Again, all natural ingredients, and this one is certified organic.

You can find it on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2khiWIx

So, before you think you have to spend a fortune to get quality luxury skin care products that work, check out these two fabulous staples in my Luxurious Nomad life.

~ Bella

Skyroam Mobile Hotspot: Global WiFi // Unlimited Data // Connect 5 Devices // Pay-as-you-go // SIM-Free Coverage in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia

Stay connected EVERYWHERE with this portable WIFI hotspot

portable wifi hotspot unlimited dataSkyRoam – Portable WIFI hotspot with unlimited data just about anywhere in the world…

I am officially in love with this gizmo!

Imagine getting off the plane, train or automobile in some foreign land and being able to connect immediately to friends, family, the internet in general…

That is all possible and more with this wonderful little gadget.

…and it is the size of a mobile phone and only $8 USD per day for UNLIMITED DATA!  OK, so it is only 3G speed, but that’s fast enough to post photos to Facebook, make Skype calls and more.

Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

Seriously, for me this thing has been a saving grace!  For instance, while in Australia I was renewing a license and forgot to take one vital piece of paperwork with me.  Since I was only in the country for 3 weeks, I did not get a local SIM card HOWEVER, thanks to this portable wifi hotspot, I was able to get wifi, turn to my trusty iPad and pull up a digital copy of the missing paperwork that sufficed perfectly.  Had I not had the Skyroam, it would have entailed another day to go back to my condo, get the paperwork and return the following day to the licensing centre.

The only drawback is that it is heavy on battery usage, but with a small portable battery you will not have any issues.

Yes, you can use cellular roaming, but when comparing the cost of that to the cost of only $8 for unlimited data for a full 24 hour period for this portable wifi hotspot, I know which I prefer!

Here is the blurb from the website:

Skyroam’s personal WiFi hotspot provides fast, secure, cost-effective mobile internet around the world – all without a SIM! Keep your favorite gadgets connected wherever you travel without the burden of subscriptions, SIM changing, equipment rentals, counting MB data or unlocking phones.

Countries where you get unlimited wifi hotspot data coverage:

Asia: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

America: Argentina, Aruba, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saipan, Turks & Caicos Islands, Uruguay, Venezuela, United States

Europe: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican

South Pacific: Australia, Christmas Island, New Zealand, Fiji

Africa: Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa

Middle East: Israel, Qatar, Turkey


  • Skyroam’s offers up to 3G/4G data connection (HSPA+ technology) when available.
  • Each 24-hr daypass begins when you click Start > OK on the hotspot screen. Buy daypasses when needed at account portal.
  • If account is inactive for 12 months and balance remains, two daypasses expire. If no balance remains, nothing changes.
  • Service is optimized for average use, speeds may slow with very high usage. Most users experience fastest speeds. High data activities like video-streaming are not recommended.

Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

wifi booster extender travel

Wifi Booster – How to extend wifi range when travelling

What is a Wifi Booster?

wifi boosterYou’ve been there…  That place – be it hotel, house, office or hotspot – where the wifi signal is so weak that your connection goes on and off with frustrating regularity, or perhaps it stays connected but takes seemingly forever to download those important files…

With all the elements that can interfere with a wifi signal – walls, other devices, metal appliances and more – it is quite common to find yourself in this situation.

So, what can you do about it?

This is where a wifi booster (also referred to as a wifi range extender) comes in.

Wifi boosters increase the existing wifi strength by receiving the wireless signals and repeating them with powerful amplifiers and antennas, extending your coverage by up to twice the range.

…and they are super-easy to install and use, and inexpensive!

After a lot of trial and error, research, testing and searching…

This is the wifi booster/extender I use and love:

wifi booster extenderBearExtender PC v3 USB WiFi Booster and Range Extender for Microsoft Windows


Here is the description as it appears on Amazon:

“BearExtender PC is a long range, high power 802.11n USB WiFi Antenna using special BearExtender technology that offers up to 4X the range of standard range WiFi products. BearExtender technology has received rave reviews from PC Magazine, Engadget, The Telegraph..

Maximum range
BearExtender technology combines a proprietary high sensitivity receiver with a powerful 1200 mW transmitter for long range Wi-Fi at an affordable price. This is 2- 4 times the power of built-in Wi-Fi cards built-in to most laptops. The 5 dBi external antenna cuts through interference and can be upgraded easily for even longer range.
BearExtender PC must be connected to a USB port on your computer and it boosts reception to just that computer. It is a great option to boost your computer’s Wi-Fi range when traveling, such as at an airport or a hotel. It can also be used in your home if your computer is in an area where it gets low bars.

Designed for Microsoft Windows
BearExtender was originally designed to help students at the University of California, Berkeley, connect to the campus wide Wi-Fi network called AirBears, hence the name BearExtender.

BearExtender PC is not a repeater, so it cannot boost Wi-Fi range to other devices like tablets or TVs at the same time. It boosts the range just for your PC, wherever you take your PC. Compatible with Wi-Fi networks only. Not compatible with 3G/4G. Not compatible with iOS, Android or Windows RT tablet operating system. Not a standalone repeater.
BearExtender PC works with laptop and desktop computers running Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Windows 10 software is not included on CD but can be downloaded at BearExtender.com/win10.”

When you live a laptop-lifestyle as do I, being able to have a wifi signal – and especially a strong one – is an essential part of life!

By Leigh St John aka the Luxurious Nomad

digital nomad toolkit

Digital Nomad Toolkit – Gadgets, Gizmos, Apps…

…I’m still writing this post! – but you can read what I have so far…

Every Luxurious Nomad has a whole slew of gadgets, gizmos, apps and platforms that allow her/him to live the life of a location-free digital nomad, and for the purpose of this article, I’ll call them my ‘digital nomad toolkit’.

What type of laptop do you use?  Is that an iPad?  What apps do you use to keep track of everything?  What sites do you use to book your travel?  Do you host your own website?

These are the types of questions I get every time I discuss my luxurious nomad lifestyle.

I’ve been putting off writing this post for some time because there are so many components that support my lifestyle that I’ve been using for years – to the point where I wasn’t even sure where to begin to list them all for you.

So, what you will find below is my list – but bear in mind that as I use another gadget or gizmo that I hadn’t added to the list, I will be updating this page – so check back regularly!  🙂

Here are my essential tools that make up my digital nomad toolkit:



laptop ASUS ZenBook UX305CA


I invested months researching and then deciding to which laptop I would switch.  My beloved old Sony VAIO was the third in my long line of VAIOs and had given me years of loyal and (mostly) trouble-free service, but it was now on life-support so time to send it to the laptop retirement home.

My main requirements are:

  • lightweight
  • long battery life
  • Minimum 512Gb (I wanted 1Tb but chose to sacrifice that for the rest of my requirements and just keep even more files only in the cloud)
  • slim
  • full-size keyboard (and I did want a backlit keyboard, however it’s my own fault – I omitted to confirm that feature before I ordered it)
  • 13″-14″

Also, I do quite a bit of video and audio editing, and always seem to have 793 tabs all open at the same time 🙂 so it needed to have plenty of ‘grunt’.

After testing and researching many, many, many options (including the prospect of changing over to a Mac), I decided upon this lovely little Asus (and my beautiful little laptop is the white option).

I’ve had her (yes, it’s a her) for a couple of months now and I love it! – and she’s so slim, she fits easily into my handbag!

digital nomad toolkit ipad-mini-4

iPad Mini

I’ve had the full-size iPad for several years, and was going to get another when I updated, however the AT&T store didn’t have any 128Gb in stock, so I opted for the mini – and while I still find the small screen a challenge every now and again, overall I love my little iPad.

…and I need to mention here the amazing case / backlit bluetooth keyboard I have for my iPad mini.

digital nomad toolkit zagg-ipad-mini-case

ZAGG PROfolio+ Ultrathin Case with Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard

I originally had the solid ZAGG case but because of the angle and where it conencted to the iPad, I found it difficult to use any of the features at the bottom of the screen – so, when I came across this one, that is also a lot lighter, I was in heaven!

Click here to check it out on Amazon.


Skyroam Mobile Hotspot: Global WiFi // Unlimited Data // Connect 5 Devices // Pay-as-you-go // SIM-Free Coverage in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, AustraliaSkyRoam – Portable WIFI hotspot with unlimited data just about anywhere in the world…

I am officially in love with this gizmo!

Imagine getting off the plane, train or automobile in some foreign land and being able to connect immediately to friends, family, the internet in general…

That is all possible and more with this wonderful little gadget.

…and it is only $8 USD per day for UNLIMITED DATA!  OK, so it is only 3G speed, but that’s fast enough to post photos to Facebook, make Skype calls and more.

You can read my full post on it here:  http://luxuriousnomad.com/stay-connected-everywhere-portable-wifi-hotspot/

stay tuned, still lots more gadgets and gizmos to come…

how-much-data will I use overseas

How do I calculate how much data I will use when I travel?

Data transfer on pc tabletInternational Roaming Charges, Prepaid Packages…  How do I know which one to get and how much it will cost me?

Don’t worry – this used to stump me, too… and I’m a geek, and it still stumped me!

Here’s a relatively simple way to calculate how much data you will need on your trip.

For the amount of time you are going to be away, jot down in a notebook how much time you currently spend doing the following:

  • Steaming music
  • Streaming videos
  • Surfing the web
  • Posting to social media
  • Downloading games, apps or songs
  • Talking on the phone
  • …and how many emails you receive and send.

Now at least you have a benchmark for what you are using NOW.

OK, let’s see how that translates into Mb (megabytes) and Gb (gigabytes).  Please note, the following are broad generalizations but will at least give you a guide so you can have some idea of how much data you might use on your trip.

Data transfer

Emails:  For emails that do not have attachments, it takes around 500 emails to make 1Mb (but bear in mind, that includes all those nasty spam emails that you never see!  You may have 3 spam emails going to your junk folder for every 1 you actually read).

Emails with attachments depend on the size of the attachment, but generally speaking it takes 2 or 3 emails with attachments to reach 1Mb.

Social Media:  2-3 social media posts equal 1Mb.

Video:  Standard video is around 250Mb/hr while HD is close to 1Gb (1024Mb).

Music:  Streaming music is 30Mb/hr.

Downloads:  Every app, song, game you download average out at around 4Mb each.

Web Surfing:  Approximately 15Mb/hr.

Talking:  This, along with video, is a real data guzzler!  Around 360Mb/hr.

Now, it’s time to do your calculations.

Take the respective numbers from your notebook, multiply them by how much data they use and then do the same for the next item.  When you are finished, tally up the number of Mb.

In some cases your carrier will quote you prices in Mb, others will quote you in Gb.

1MB = 1,024KB
1GB = 1,024MB

Some people are surprised at just how much data they use in an average month!

At least this way you know where that data is going, and you can make smart choices about where to use your (more expensive) data when you are overseas.

By Leigh St John, aka the Luxurious Nomad

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boingo Wifi Button On Mobile Showing Hotspot Or Internet Connection

What is Boingo Free Wifi?


OK, to begin with, Boingo is not free, however with being so inexpensive and convenient, it often feels like it is!

For a relatively small monthly fee (or pay as you go), Boingo claim to provide wifi hotspots in over one million places right across the globe.

The process is simple:

  • Download the app to any Mac, Windows 10, Android or iOS device (mobile, tablet and laptop)
  • Sign up for the package that best suits your needs
  • Voila!

Not only can you search for hotspots in any location, the app will automatically connect you when you arrive.

Once connected, you can do anything you would normally with your regular wifi service.

There are a multitude of pros for this service – price, convenience, availability…

The only real con (and it’s not much of one) is that some areas do not have as many hotspots as you might like.  However, in saying that – in ANY of the major centers in the world, you will be literally walking from one hotspot to the next to the next…

Some reviews have mentioned a problem with cancelling the monthly package when you no longer need it – I’ve never had that problem.

I suggest before heading off, you research your particular location by using their location finder.

Another benefit of using Boingo over free public hotspots is that Boingo uses a secure encrypted connection so your data is safer.

Do your homework before signing up for any service, but Boingo has worked well for me when I’m abroad (and that’s a lot!) and saved me a ton on international roaming charges!

If you need more information, click over to this article on staying connected when you travel.

By Leigh St John, aka the Luxurious Nomad

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stay connected when travelling

How to stay connected when you Travel?

Travel wifi?  Free hotspots?  Skyroam?  Boingo?

Wifi Free On Smartphone Showing WiFi Broadcasting Area And Signal ReceiverNot sure how to stay connected when you travel?

Travelling is fun and enjoyable – and part of that fun is when you capture memories and scenic views and upload them to social networking sites.  Sharing with your tribe is one of the best parts!

In terms of business travel – and especially when living the ‘laptop lifestyle‘ – you still need to keep in touch.

Staying Connected while you Travel

Planes, Trains and, well, let’s just stick with planes and trains for the moment…

Most major international airports offer free wifi (although it tends to run at a snail’s pace – but something is often better than nothing) – and even the ones that don’t, all have some form of wifi available, usually at a fee per hour.

Another work-around is that many provide computer stations that are free to use, so if you don’t need something that is saved locally on your laptop, you might be better served using one of their terminals.

Once in the air, many major airlines offer a pay-as-you-go wifi connection during flight.

Trains are similar – many major stations have free wifi and some of the more major journeys offer free or paid wifi onboard.

wifi in rental carWifi in my rental car?

Yes, you read that correctly.  Many car rental companies now offer (at a price) the option of either having wifi in your vehicle or renting a portable wifi until that you can take with you.


Hotspots are places that provide free internet connection.  These hotspots can be physical locations such as a Starbucks (public), or through someone’s existing internet connection (private).  Let’s take them one at a time…

Public Hotspots

You will find free public wifi hotspots at places such as Starbuck (currently neck and neck with McDonalds for the fastest wifi speeds), McDonalds, Tim Horton’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Panera.  In addition, a lot of hotels have free wifi in their lobby – and you might also be surprised at how many cool restaurants, bars and what I refer to as ‘watering holes’ have free wifi.

free wifi irish pubFor instance, at this glorious Irish Pub…  Free wifi!

An easy way to check is to do a search of available networks…  Often they will have the name of the establishment listed and you simply click and connect.

Alternatively, just ask the staff – they are usually more than happy to help – and in some instances the wifi will be free and all you need is the password that they are then all to happy to give you!

Private Hotspots

wifi when travellingA private hotspot is where you configure your device, for instance your phone, to allow your laptop to connect and share your data.  While this is a great idea, if you are on an ‘unlimited data’ plan, many carriers do not allow you to turn your phone into a hotspot.  In those instances, it’s worth getting a dongle.

What’s a dongle?

If you’re travelling in your home country, it’s a good idea to have an internet dongle from your existing data carrier.  This is a gizmo that plugs into the USB port on your laptop and gives you a private wifi connection.

Skyroam Mobile Hotspot: Global WiFi // Unlimited Data // Connect 5 Devices // Pay-as-you-go // SIM-Free Coverage in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, AustraliaSkyroam

Or, my favorite solution = Skyroam!

I have written a separate post on it here, but in short, Skyroam is a global wifi mobile hotspot that gives you unlimited data, you can connect up to five devices, it is pay-as-you-go, and it gives you SIM-card free coverage in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia.

International Roaming

International roaming is using your existing phone carrier’s data while away from your native country.  While certainly useful, international roaming can be ghastly expensive.

Other tips…

Here are some other helpful tips on how to stay connected while travelling:

1. Check the service provider of your mobile phone – CDMA vs GSM?  Rather than me explaining the differences and why they matter, here is the lowdown from the experts:  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407896,00.asp

2. Is your phone unlocked? – If you want to use a local SIM card overseas, make sure that your phone is not tied with any mobile carrier, this might create major problems in connecting with other people while you are on a trip. Get your phone unlocked, or purchased an international roaming packages, they might be expensive but it is worth it.

3. How much data do you intend to use? – Try calculating texts, calls and data you might consume during your trip. This will be a big help in budgeting your money.

4. Use some applications for calling or texting rather than using SMS and voice-calls – There are so many applications that will provide free instant messages (IM) and calls and other applications that are pay-per-use. Facebook, Skype, and Twitter are just some of the free applications where you can place free IMs and calls.

5. Seek free Wi-Fi networks – As listed above, there are many options for obtaining free wifi, however always consider the fact that there are other people using the same free Wi-Fi you are using.

6. Get your own Wi-Fi hotspot – Getting your own Wi-Fi hotspot is very convenient, although the fact that purchasing your own portable Wi-Fi hotspot may be a bit expensive, it is more convenient.


What on earth is a boingo, I hear you ask?  It’s a lifesaver!  🙂

I go into more detail in this article on Boingo, but the short version is that Boingo is a monthly subscription service that provides wifi hotspots all over the world.

Is my information secure?

is my data secure when travellingAny time you use a public network, there is always a risk – however I’ve never had an issue and as long as you take precautions (like not logging into your bank account when you are on the public network at a fast-food restaurant) the likelihood of an issue in my experience is minimal.

It’s all about being aware, mindful and sensible.

If I can answer any of your specific questions, please let me know!

By Leigh (Bella) St John, aka the Luxurious Nomad

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