It’s that point of 12 months! A time once we sit again and mirror on the previous one year. I’ve been writing these “Wanting Again” posts since 2012 and I’m unhappy to say that for varied causes (a few of which you’ll examine right here), I missed writing about 2022.
Most of 2022 was wonderful and we had some very memorable moments – like celebrating our fifteenth anniversary collectively in Cyprus, an epic press journey to the Bahamas, dwelling and touring round Slovakia for nearly 3 months, and spending Christmas in Canada with our households.
Nonetheless, the top of 2022 and into the primary few months of 2023 have been very rocky occasions and we discovered ourselves flailing. Fortunately, the tumultuous begin didn’t final, and we transitioned our 12 months from questionable to superior.
Annually has a sense or theme, and for us, the phrase that involves thoughts for 2023 is transition and transformation: of who we’re, what we do, and the life we lead.
On this put up, I’ll begin with the craziness. Despite the fact that it was so messy at first, this was a implausible 12 months total, and I’m excited to share our wins and failures with you on this put up.
Flailing into 2023
For a lot of 2022, we have been engaged on the paperwork wanted to acquire residency in Bulgaria (extra about dwelling in Bulgaria beneath).
It’s a really lengthy story, however after months and months of gathering the (many) paperwork required to use for residency, our lawyer referred to as.
It was Friday night and we have been sitting on our sofa in the home we rented in Bulgaria. He was calling to tell us that we had 5 days to go to the Bulgarian consulate in Canada and apply for the long-stay visa, in any other case one in every of our paperwork would expire.
We knew we needed to go to Canada finally, however we must always’ve nonetheless had months earlier than we wanted to use. How might this be taking place?!
Since the whole lot took so lengthy to do (appointments, gathering paperwork, notarizing/apostelling, and many others.), the validity of one of many preliminary paperwork we had procured from our house nation of Canada was about to run out.
If that doc expired, we wouldn’t be capable to apply for the long-stay visa, and finally, residency in Bulgaria. All of our onerous work would have been for nothing.
Our lawyer referred to as us on November thirteenth and by November fifteenth we have been on a aircraft from Bulgaria to Canada – essentially the most direct and solely cheap flight possibility for a complete week. If one thing went unsuitable or we missed our connecting flight in Poland, we wouldn’t make it on time. There was plenty of stress on that flight!
Fortunately, we made it and on the morning of November seventeenth, we went to the Bulgarian consulate in Toronto with all of our paperwork to use for our long-stay D-Visa.
We utilized on the final day it could have been doable. The Bulgarian consular basic confirmed that to us with a humorous smile as we handed him our paperwork.
Now all we needed to do was wait and hope we’d be authorized. The consulate mentioned it could take round 5 weeks for the visa to be authorized (or denied).
Spending the Holidays in Canada
Since we have been already in Canada (thoughts you, on the opposite facet of the nation from our households), we determined to spend Christmas and New 12 months’s with our dad and mom, siblings, and kinfolk. Quite than ready round in Toronto for five weeks for the paperwork to return again, this appeared like a way more satisfying thought.
It was the primary time we’d spent Christmas at house since 2013.
It was chilly, snowy, and oh-so festive! We went ice skating and tubing on the ski hill. We danced and mingled at three Christmas events. Nick went searching together with his brother, we went for snowy hikes and bowling with household, and we laughed, ate, and drank an excessive amount of.
We rang within the new 12 months with my household and celebrated Nick’s grandma’s eightieth birthday per week later with family members. It was a fantastic go to again house and a very good solution to begin 2023.
At first of January, we heard again from the Bulgarian embassy and our visas have been prepared for pick-up in Toronto. We acquired our long-stay visa for Bulgaria! This was step one to acquiring residency, with extra to comply with as soon as we returned to Bulgaria.
Despite the fact that we have been so relieved the celebs aligned and the whole lot was authorized, we had one thing behind our minds…
The Rocky Begin to the 12 months
That is tough to jot down, and we haven’t shared this publicly but. However, on the finish of 2022 and into March of 2023, we have been contemplating promoting Goats On The Street (I do know, I can’t consider it both).
We had been feeling off and in a artistic stoop (which began in the course of the pandemic), and with all the new developments round AI, we have been feeling deflated and as if we in all probability wouldn’t have a enterprise for for much longer.
We have been being very “doom and gloom” and (because it seems) overreacting about the entire thing. On the time, nevertheless, we thought we must always exit our enterprise and transfer on whereas we might.
We deliberate to promote simply the web site itself, with out our social media accounts and Nick’s running a blog programs. I wished to maintain the reference to our readers which might’ve been doable to take action by way of social media, and Nick wished to proceed instructing his college students. Two features of our weblog that we each adore.
We had no thought what we might do for a job and revenue going ahead, however for no matter motive, on the time it felt like the suitable factor to do.
Goats On The Street had been our life for 10 years. This was an extremely onerous choice to make and I used to be actually crying once we pressed the “submit” button on the promoting platform.
Had been we making the suitable choice?
We listed our web site at a excessive value and we acquired plenty of curiosity. We ended up doing 5 critical calls with enterprise capitalist corporations who have been involved in buying our website and including it to their portfolio.
Of these 5 calls, we acquired 3 official presents. Financially, they have been glorious, life-changing presents. However, the phrases of the agreements didn’t sit proper with us and we declined all of them.
Throughout all the provide calls, we needed to record the wonderful features of Goats On The Street to those patrons, together with viewers engagement, revenue, analytics, model power, and potential for the web site. What finally occurred throughout these calls was that we offered our website again to ourselves.
This entire course of reminded us of why we love Goats On The Street and it gave us an enormous push to maintain shifting ahead and ignited a spark inside us. We had a lot readability on what we wished to do going ahead with our enterprise.
We determined that we have been going to maintain our web site and we doubled down on it, investing our time, vitality, and love, implementing all of the finest search engine optimization practices we have now realized over time – and inside 6 months, we doubled our site visitors. Woohoo!
As quickly as we determined to not promote and eliminated our beloved web site from the itemizing platform, it was like an enormous weight was lifted. We might breathe once more.
We’re Residents of Bulgaria and Have a Base
I’m thrilled to say that in February 2023, all of our paperwork cleared and we acquired our ID playing cards. We’re formally residents of Bulgaria. We’ve transitioned from full-time digital nomads to having a house base the place we’ll journey from incessantly 😀
Your complete course of was tedious, nerve-racking, prolonged, tough, and full of infinite quantities of paperwork, however ultimately, we succeeded and are so joyful that our persistence paid off.
On this article, we listed one in every of our main targets, which was to have a base the place we might stay, and do small journeys from there. A spot the place we might unpack and make our personal. Someplace to have roots so we weren’t continuously shifting from place to put. Right here’s what I wrote in that article:
“Ideally, that vacation spot would have forests, mountains, seashores, and rivers. A spot with a lot of facilities, a neighborhood of like-minded individuals, and exquisite lodging for lease (oh, and Nick says he wants there to be fly fishing).
Our excellent place would have a wide range of eating places, implausible wine, and quite a few enjoyable issues to see and do. I’d prefer it to be inexpensive, snug, and have a superb vibe. It additionally must be well-connected to different components of the world. “
Our new house in Bulgaria checks all of these bins, aside from the neighborhood half. We haven’t actually discovered that but, however to be honest, we haven’t been making an attempt. We’ve had so a lot of our superior nomadic mates come to go to and stick with us that we haven’t felt the necessity.
A giant factor that was carrying on us over the previous few years was realizing that we couldn’t keep wherever for greater than 3 months. Significantly throughout 2020/2021 when many borders have been closed and there have been many guidelines and restrictions on entry necessities.
Vacationer visas are sometimes legitimate for 3 months, or 6 months in some instances. And your complete Schengen Zone is a 3-month keep. So there was at all times this sense that we “have to go away quickly”, and we have been at all times discussing “the place ought to we go subsequent?”.
Now, we have now someplace we are able to keep for so long as we would like! Finishing this main life purpose has remodeled our lives and our total psychological well being and well-being.
The 12 months Transforms
By this level within the article, a lot has occurred and we’re solely in March of this 12 months. It’s unbelievable simply how a lot went on in the course of the first few months of 2023. Fortunately, it was (principally) all downhill from there.
The excellent news was we had already rented our home earlier than getting residency, so once we returned to Bulgaria from Canada, we didn’t have to seek for someplace to stay. Now that we knew we have been legally allowed to remain within the nation, we settled in and made the home extra our personal.
We made enhancements to the yard: purchased an inflatable sizzling tub, a BBQ, a hearth pit, and a hammock, and we even planted a small backyard. Inside the house, we embellished some extra and added some private touches.
We nearly adopted a canine, rescued 3 kittens from sure dying (and adopted them out), and purchased a brand new car as effectively – tons has occurred!
Exploring our New Dwelling
We first got here to Bulgaria again in 2016, so we had seen a number of the nation, however there was (is) much more to discover.
We headed north to the historic metropolis of Veliko Tarnovo, taking in a number of the monumental communist-era monuments alongside the way in which.
Subsequent, we went southwest to the mountain city (and in style digital nomad metropolis in Europe), Bansko. We’d been right here earlier than, however this time, we have been assembly up with entrepreneurial mates outdated and new.
It was such an exquisite go to with this group of like-minded individuals, and after many chats with them, it solidified to me that we made the suitable choice in protecting Goats On The Street. We additionally had another running a blog mates come to go to us and had a good time displaying them round – this was a really friend-focused 12 months as effectively.
Lastly, we went northwest for just a few days of fly fishing. Aside from these three longer journeys across the nation, we did many journeys about an hour from our house – hikes, fishing spots, wineries, and little cities.
Travels Overseas to Seven Nations
For us, the purpose of getting a base isn’t in order that we stay there year-round. The purpose is that we are able to go on journeys and know that we have now someplace that we’re wanting ahead to returning to. This 12 months, we managed to journey to 7 totally different nations.
First up was a 5-week journey to Grenada, our house away from house. As at all times, we had an unbelievable time catching up with our shut mates, island hopping across the Grenadines, visiting Carriacou, and plenty of liming. My birthday was spent on a personal sundown sail, whereas the very proficient artiste and buddy, Akheem, serenaded us. It was wonderful.
This could be our first time visiting any of the Scandinavian nations! Our shut mates, Tom and Anna, got here to stick with us in Bulgaria for per week and after that, the 4 of us flew to Copenhagen, Denmark.
The journey was full of consuming, exploring, laughing, ingesting…and witnessing the 2 of them getting married.
We fell in love with Copenhagen. The quite a few parks, colourful buildings on the water, and pleasant individuals have been a number of the highlights. We additionally met up with a Danish buddy of ours, Kristine, whereas we have been within the metropolis who confirmed us round.
After Copenhagen, we parted methods with our mates and took the practice to the town of Malmö in Sweden. This pupil metropolis was plenty of enjoyable. Whereas we have been solely there for two days, we discovered the town very satisfying. It was picturesque, walkable, and had some nice eating places and wine bars.
From there, we continued to the capital of Sweden, Stockholm. Right here we joined a strolling tour, and explored the outdated city and some different areas – Östermalm, Södermalm and Norrmalm. We spent 3 days and solely scratched the floor of this gorgeous metropolis.
Whereas not a brand new nation for us, this 12 months we returned to Greece to go to a brand new island within the nation, Paros. We have been there for Tom and Anna’s second marriage ceremony! Along with 33 of their closest household and mates, we celebrated their union.
Paros is a beautiful island and our 8 days there have been spent hanging out with new mates, marriage ceremony festivities, and exploring the island by automobile. Nick and I had 3 days to ourselves earlier than anybody arrived.
We based mostly ourselves in Naousa and zipped across the island testing totally different coves and seashores, quaint villages, bars and eating places, and coastal walks. This journey to Greece for our buddy’s marriage ceremony was a particular spotlight of the 12 months.
Nick’s dad was within the hospital, so with out hesitation, we booked a last-minute, 3-week journey to Puerto Vallarta on the finish of September.
Inside 3 hours, we had deliberate, packed, and booked flights, lodging, journey insurance coverage, and a taxi to the airport. We have been on our manner: Sofia -> Frankfurt -> Mexico Metropolis -> Puerto Vallarta.
Fortunately, the whole lot is ok now and he’s recovering. However, it was an extremely nerve-racking time.
To spherical out our worldwide travels this 12 months, we headed on a street journey north to Romania for Nick’s birthday. Not solely have been we celebrating Nick’s special occasion, but it surely was on today precisely 15 years in the past that we stop our jobs, offered our possessions, and headed off on our lifetime of journey.
Romania was a brand new nation for us, and we loved our 5-day journey to Bucharest and a few surrounding areas. We ate at fabulous eating places (each conventional, and upscale), did a day journey to the Delau Mare wine area, soaked within the spectacular Therme Baths, and walked everywhere in the metropolis. It was a fantastic journey.
Aside from now having a house base, the opposite main transition for us this 12 months has been how we take a look at our enterprise and what we would like for it.
When it comes to site visitors to our web site, it wasn’t the place it ought to have been – the place it deserved to be after 10+ years of onerous work. The truth that we have been simply “protecting it afloat”, merely wasn’t acceptable to us.
As soon as we knew in our hearts and minds that we have been protecting Goats On The Street, we went for it! We employed a big workforce of knowledgeable writers on varied matters, two digital assistants, an editor, and a supervisor and we each spent much more time giving the weblog the adore it deserves.
We made build up our model and website a precedence and between the time that we deliberate to promote, and now, we have been in a position to double our guests to the location.
However, that’s only one small a part of what we did. We each wished (need) to be extra artistic and have much more of a neighborhood connection.
Nick has been working onerous on updating and creating new content material for his Running a blog Kickstarter Course and his Superior search engine optimization Made Easy course as effectively. He’s additionally been making an attempt to construct up our YouTube channel once more.
I’ve been managing our superior workforce behind the scenes, but additionally sharing much more on social media and brainstorming our subsequent enterprise for the brand new 12 months.
We’re placing a give attention to our neighborhood (that’s you!), and are engaged on a program to assist digital nomads and aspiring digital nomads discover methods to make cash on-line, spend much less whereas build up their companies, and stay and journey overseas.
We’re very enthusiastic about this…keep tuned! And, if it’s a program that you simply assume you’d be involved in, ship us an e-mail and tell us what you’d wish to study concerning the location-independent way of life.
Targets and Ideas for 2024
Heading into the brand new 12 months, there are just a few most important targets and issues that we need to accomplish.
Investing in Ourselves
By this I imply, investing in methods to enhance ourselves – mentally, bodily, and business-wise. We’ve taken the primary steps even earlier than the brand new 12 months has arrived, and we’re at present concerned in a training course to learn the way we are able to create the perfect provide for our college students, and be the perfect coaches and mentors doable.
I’ve additionally signed us up for Bulgarian language classes (want us luck!), and there are just a few attention-grabbing conferences that we’re planning on attending within the 12 months. We need to proceed to develop and evolve, and never be afraid to spend cash on issues that can assist us try this.
Touring to New Nations
This previous 12 months, we solely visited three new nations and the others have been repeats. This 12 months, whereas we do have a few repeat favorites deliberate, the purpose is to go to some new locations to see attention-grabbing cultures and sights, and to have some memorable experiences.
Well being & Wellness
Since I didn’t do the 2022 roundup put up, you didn’t examine us dropping plenty of weight – Nick dropped 40 kilos, and I misplaced 20 kilos. We bought impressed by the 4-hour physique by Tim Ferris and after dropping the burden, we began to work out with weights and HIIT applications.
I’m proud to say we’ve maintained our weight for greater than a 12 months now and can proceed specializing in our bodily well being as we head into 2024.
Shopping for a Property
This can be a little bit of a lofty purpose, however not out of attain. The primary factor is that we’re undecided precisely the place to buy the property and whether or not it’ll be an funding property or our major residence.
Because of Our Tribe
As at all times, however much more so this 12 months, we need to thanks for being part of our tribe. In case you don’t know, a bunch of goats is usually referred to as a tribe 🐐 – how excellent is that?! (They’re additionally referred to as a “herd” however that’s not almost as cool)
As we’ve transitioned our lives from full-time digital nomads to having a house base, we’re feeling much less careworn and extra impressed and able to creating impactful content material for you. This 12 months you possibly can anticipate a lot of thrilling issues from us!
Our enterprise goes to be branching off in several instructions to be extra of a neighborhood – we need to work extra intently with the individuals who learn this weblog and comply with us on social media and who’ve goals of a affluent, digitally nomadic future.
Wishing you a cheerful and wholesome 12 months forward.
Dariece & Nick (the “Goats”)