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Why I left the USA after 10 years

I had always wanted to live in America…

Growing up in a small seaside town in working-class Australia, I always knew that one day I would move to the USA.  I didn’t know how, but I always knew one day…

Well, in 2006-7, one day happened and I then lived an amazing ten years there, spending significant time in 42 states – and loved it!

However, for the past couple of years, I had become increasingly disheartened with many cultural changes I was seeing taking place in my adopted country, and so, in 2016, I decided not to renew my residency visa and to leave my beloved country.

I lot of people ask me for specifics and given that I am more of a Pollyanna who likes to adhere to the Thumper (in Bambi) version of life (“if ya can’t say sumpin nice, don’t say nuffin at all”), I came across this clip from HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’ that largely sums it up.

I still passionately love America, but now my path is to make somewhere else ‘home’.

Where is that somewhere else?  For the time being, it is wherever I lay my hat throughout England and Europe ~ the glorious life of a Luxurious Nomad…

Share My Elves – Virtual Assistants

 

Imagine having

Virtual Assistants

so you can work like this!

I live a life most people only dream about – but I couldn’t do it without my Elves!

If you know me, you know that for years now, I have had a fabulous Team of Elves spread all over the globe who work for me as ‘virtual assistants’.  I truly couldn’t imagine my life (and lifestyle!) without them.

From research, to book marketing, to social media and ever so much more, I rely on my Elves to not only get things done, but also to enable me to life this Luxurious Nomad life that I love.

Recently, I have had several clients ask if they could ‘rent an Elf’ from me to take care of some of the tasks that they either don’t want to do or don’t have time to do…

Soooooooo, I’ve decided to share my Elves with you!

Services Provided

Here is a list of the types of services provided:

  • Book Marketing (submitting your book to literally hundreds of sites, competitions, forums; posting your author profiles, requesting reviewers and much more)
  • Data Mining (research for contact details, websites and businesses)
  • Data Entry
  • Online Research
  • Simple Video Creation (using animoto and windows movie maker with provided files)
  • Basic Photo Editing (Photoshop, Gimp2)
  • Basic WordPress (posting, uploading images and videos, installing plug ins)
  • Social Media Maintenance (posting provided posts/tweets, scheduling using Hootsuite, creating posts using Canva for Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram)
  • Marketplace Listing (such as Ebay, Amazon, Shopify…)
  • Classified Ad Posting (Craigslist, Backpage, and other free classified sites)
  • MLS
  • Directory Listing (for websites and businesses)
  • Forum Posting 
  • PowerPoint Presentation (from provided information)
  • Word Processing (Pdf to MSWord, typing, transcription)
  • File Organization (for google drive)
  • Other tasks – willing to be trained where required

 

 

Pricing

When I was considering renting out my Elves, I looked at the models of a lot of other businesses that provide virtual assistant services and one of the things that I didn’t like was that many of them have prices ‘starting at’ and going up to who knows what.

So, I decided right at the beginning that we offer a flat fee-per-hour, and to keep it affordable for everyone, that the price is only $12.50/hr USD, even if they are doing higher-level work.

We also make budgeting time and resources easier by offering three different subscription levels.

  • 20hrs/mo (approximately 1 hour per weekday)
  • 50hrs/mo (a little more than 2 hours per weekday)
  • 80hrs/mo (approximately 4 hours per weekday)

For instance, if you want to have the Elves do book marketing for you, 1-2 hours per day would be perfect, depending upon how much you want done and how quickly you want the work completed.

Select the best option for you!

20hrs virtual assistant

  • 20 hours per month
  • $250 per month
  • All prices in US dollars

select-20

50hrs virtual assistant

  • 50 hours per month
  • $625 per month
  • All prices in US dollars

select-50

80hrs virtual assistant

  • 80 hours per month
  • $1,000 per month
  • All prices in US dollars

select-80

How do the Subscriptions work?

To begin, simply decide which subscription best meets your needs and click that option.

paypal virtual assistantWe use the secure payment facilities of PayPal.

You will receive an email from us usually immediately, however it can take up to 30 minutes, that confirms your details and gives you the direct email of your Chief Elf who will be your one point of contact for all your virtual assistant needs.


Question virtual assistantHow do I know how many hours I am using?

Your Chief Elf keeps track of your hours and advises you by email on a daily basis (M-F).


Question virtual assistantWhat if I go over my allotted hours?

We know that sometimes you are busier than others so we have a 10% allowance built into your subscription – that way, if you need to go over slightly this month, it’s not a problem.


Question virtual assistantWhat if I don’t use my allotted hours?

Unfortunately, just like a gym membership, it doesn’t work unless you use it – and for us to make this as affordable and seamless as possible, we do not have a facility for carrying over hours.


Question virtual assistantWhat if I find I need more hours?

Simply log into your PayPal account, cancel your subscription and select the one that now best meets your needs.

…or, if you are not sure how to do that, send an email to me personally and I will cancel it for you on this end.  My email address is found within your initial welcome email.


Question virtual assistantWhat day of the month am I billed?

Your subscription automatically bills you on the same day each month as the day you signed up.  For instance, if you signed up on the 9th of the month, you would be billed on the 9th of next month.


Question virtual assistantWhat if I need to cancel my subscription?

We would be disappointed to see you go, but it’s simply a matter of logging into your PayPal account and cancelling the subscription – or if you are not sure how to do that, just email me direct and I will log in and cancel it for you from our side.


Question virtual assistantDo you have a privacy policy and disclaimer notice?

Yes – we maintain strict privacy and confidentiality of all your information and the Privacy Policy can be found here.


Question virtual assistantAre the Elves available 24/7?

No, there are services that provide 24/7 access but I believe in my Elves having a fabulous lifestyle as well, so while they are very responsive, if you need immediate and/or on-call access to a virtual assistant, this is not the place for you.


Question virtual assistantHow do I communicate with my Elf?

All communication is via email and your Chief Elf is your one point of contact to make things smooth, seamless and enjoyable!

Questions?

If you have additional questions, please touch base via my website www.LeighStJohn.com.  On the bottom right hand side of the screen, you will see a “Leave a Message” box where you can leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can.

 – or if my Personal Assistant, Elf Tiffany, happens to be online, you will see a box like this and you can ask her questions live via chat:

live-chat

Every Luxurious Nomad needs an Elf!

Get started today by choosing the best option for you:

CLICK HERE for the 20 hour per month option

CLICK HERE for the 50 hour per month option

CLICK HERE for the 80 hour per month option

The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.

Audrey Hepburn

travel security

Travel Security for less than $10.00

Travel security and peace of mind is something close to the heart of many a traveller, but how do you achieve it – in this case, specifically for your luggage – without spending a fortune?

When travelling solo (since you don’t have a partner or companion to be a lookout if you need to go into a store, for instance), this is a constant challenge, yet it is possible to at least give your luggage an extra level of security.

So, how do you get travel security for less than $10?

P1000520

While it won’t stop the determined thief (nothing will), this chain and combination lock is an excellent way to temporarily secure your luggage.

For instance, when travelling on many trains throughout Europe, your baggage is placed in a compartment at the end of your carriage.  Simply chaining them together (and possibly even to the railing on the compartment) is an excellent way of providing that extra little bit of piece of mind.

When travelling by yourself, one challenge that invariably arrives is what to do with your luggage when you use the rest-room?  While I’ve never had a problem with anyone tampering with nor stealing my luggage, on my future trips I must admit that I will feel slightly more at ease knowing they are at least secured together.

travel security

I found this chain in the ‘chains’ isle at Lowes (although you should be able to find it, or something similar, at any hardware store) and it was around $3.95.  It’s quite light-weight and when combined with a simple combination lock (that you can buy at hardware stores, many large pharmacies, department stores, even some supermarkets), gives at least an additional layer of security to your luggage.

One word of caution, in American airports, it is an offence to leave your luggage unattended.

Do you have other travel security tips?  Let me know so we can share them with the Tribe!

By Leigh St John, aka Luxurious Nomad

 

travel bucket list

Creating Your Travel Bucket List

travel bucket listDo you have a travel bucket list?

Creating your travel bucket list should be fun. It is what should inspire you to lead a more exciting and fulfilling life. But, sometimes, it can be difficult and overwhelming creating one. You have so much to see and experience in the world and only just little time to do it that you might be wondering what places of interest you should incorporate into your travel bucket list.

So, how do you begin creating your travel list?

The first thing you need to do is to get some basic tools ready. Whether it’s on physical paper or online (my favourite tool for this is Evernote), you need a place not only to write down your ideas when you get them, but also to add web clippings and other information as you come across things. Also, as you accomplish each item on your list, you will cross it off.

Accomplishing each of them can be incredibly satisfying – at least it certainly has been for me!  Here’s my bucket-list, complete with both items achieved and those still to achieve.

Now, grab your pen or open your program, and start brainstorming all the exciting and wonderful places you would like to visit in not too distant future.

Your bucket list should be very personal. You might include all the travel destinations you have always dreamed of. Think back to the periods you were younger and places you dreamed of visiting when you grew up. If you had wanted to travel to many parts of the world, why not list them down now?

As people age, they often tend to dismiss their childhood dreams as unattainable and unrealistic. However, these childhood dreams can be a great resource for your travel list ideas, and depending on your present lifestyle or taste, you can turn these dreams into achievable goals. You will discover that creating your list from your fantasies can be fun.

If you have heard about some fantastic cities like Paris, Sao Paulo, London, Dubai; and some countries such as Guatemala, Italy, South Africa and other beautiful travel destinations, you might include them on your list.

Also, think about your interests or hobbies. Which of those travel destinations can provide you with your hobbies or interest? Then, proceed to list them in your travel list.

When you look at my bucket list, you will also see activities such as swim with dolphins, go horse-riding in the snow, or be a volunteer at “il Club di Guilietta” (ref ‘Letters to Juliet’)…

As you progress through life, ensure that your travel bucket list notebook or app is always within your reach. As time goes on, your notebook/app will remind you of fantastic places you want to visit.

Sometimes we just need a little reminder of our dreams in order to take the first step toward them…

…and let me know what amazing items are on your list.  You may inspire me to add to mine!

skytop lodge

Step back in time… Skytop Lodge, Pennsylvania USA

skytop lodge
This photo thanks to Skytop Lodge

On the way to this lovely gem known as Skytop Lodge, one travels through a state park aptly named, “Promised Land”.

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Part luxury lodge, part adventure playground and part pure heaven, Skytop’s history dates back to 1925 where John Stubbs, Frederic Smith, Earl Mayne and Sam Packer envisioned a grand resort on the peak of a high plateau in the Poconos.

skytop lodge

Built from stones and woods found on the property, the main building was completed in only three years.

skytop lodge

In 1930 a dam was completed and the lake was enlarged to its present size.

skytop lodge

Later, cottages were built and the 2,000-acre Goose Pond area was acquired to create a 5,500 Pocono Mountains playground with hiking, skiing, swimming, and new adventures, surrounded by places of quiet beauty and restful charm.

skytop lodge

skytop lodge

After driving through the grounds, I pulled up to the main entrance where a delightful valet, Mr Robert, greeted me.

skytop lodge

As I stepped through the main door, it felt literally as though I was stepping through a time-portal doorway.

skytop lodge

Before curling up with a glass of red wine (of course!), I meandered through the halls of this beautiful building…

skytop lodge

skytop lodge

skytop lodge

A member of Historic Hotels of America, Skytop Lodge is a wonderful location to stay, play, relax and unwind – or do as I did and simply while away an afternoon over a glass or two of wine, soaking in the ambiance of the Tap Room…  Bliss!

For more information, here is their website: http://www.skytop.com/ ~ and tell them I said, ‘hello!’

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Have you stayed at Skytop Lodge?  Let me know so we can share your experiences with the Tribe!

By Leigh St John, aka Luxurious Nomad