Episode #
082

Sell it All, Move to a New Country, Find Work-Life Balance with Ali Pruitt | TNN82

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Episode Summary

The transition from a full-time job to a digital nomad or location-independent work can be extremely exciting. But as with any lifestyle change, you’ll need to plan and make some adjustments to avoid unnecessary stress and overwhelm. You’ll need to be flexible about where and how you work. Not having unrealistic expectations can save you some frustration. You have a perfect opportunity to reduce your overall expenses by analyzing the cost of living in different countries and moving to a place with lower costs.

Ali Pruitt of Fully Remote with Ali joins Andrew Jernigan and Allen Koski in this week’s episode of The New Nomad. They talked about the importance of work-life balance in the digital nomad lifestyle and the challenges one may encounter in living the life that is coveted by many. They also discussed health, natural medicine, and its benefits. You are most likely choosing to be a digital nomad because you love many aspects of this lifestyle, including freedom and flexibility. So, don’t let the challenges overwhelm you.

From the episode

What You'll Learn

  • The freedom that digital nomads enjoy
  • Medicine for the body and for the soul
  • The digital nomad lifestyle is all about balance

Timestamps

[5:25] The freedom that digital nomads enjoy

[12:01] Medicine for the body and for the soul

[16:26] The secrets of destressing

[20:55] Traveling creates an open mind

[23:09] The digital nomad lifestyle is all about balance

[31:56] Simplify life

Show Transcript

Allen

Welcome, and thank you for joining us on The New Nomad Podcast, the podcast that gives you the confidence to travel and work remotely, digital nomad, etc. We have Ali Pruitt today with us, work-life balance coach, somebody who's got a really interesting story, somebody that did something that I think many of us wish we could do, which is sell everything, and then go see the world and adventure about. Andrew, we're I'm at that age now that we haven't quite sold everything, but we're giving quite a bit away, and we're starting to thin down and realizing that maybe would have been better to buy fewer better things that have a lot of stuff. And certainly makes it easier to travel when you don't have so much left behind. How about yourself? Because I know you've traveled and moved recently. How about that experience? 

Andrew

Yeah, I've given and sold everything away multiple times from different places and many ends, and I've shipped containers as we've moved also thinking, wow, I won't do that again. But raising a family doing this cross-border lifestyle is has brought those questions in of is that really worth buying? Stuff really needs to be held loosely. And I think we're talking to somebody today who adheres to that and has gone through this process, and really helps other people, whether it's companies or individuals as they look at embracing the remote lifestyle. It's gonna be good to hear what Ali has to share with us today. Thanks, everyone for joining in. 

Allen

So Ali, let's bring you into the conversation. I kind of gave him a big lead in there, as we checked in you've made a really big transition. So could you share with our audience, your story of that transition from I believe Florida to New Zealand on to other places, and maybe the pieces to led you to that, deciding to move like that?

Ali

Yeah, it definitely wasn't one of those. Oh, I've learned what a digital nomad is and that's what I want to be. It was more of intense, extreme burnout for two years straight at a job and getting to the point of realizing that this is not sustainable. This is not working for me. And yeah, just wanting something different in my life wanting a change, realizing also that like six years had gone by my life and nothing really had changed. But I also knew that nothing was going to change unless I did that. So I decided that I wanted to maybe have a midlife crisis early, I don't know. But I wanted to change everything about my life. And I didn't know exactly where I wanted to go. So I'm from Florida, as you mentioned, and I don't like cold weather. So it pretty much just left South California and Texas as options. Not really a South Florida kind of girl. So I'm like, Okay, well, where am I going to move and I didn't really want to do the whole, like, I don't like job hunting at all. And so I'm like, okay, if I'm gonna find a job, and I'm gonna move somewhere, what if I don't like the place? Or what if they don't like the job? And, you know, so what makes the most sense for me to be able to pick where I want to live, and have a job that goes with me, okay, get a remote job. So I sought out for that. And in the process of looking for a remote job. I was like, Okay, well, I need to start designing my life, right this way, so that when I get it, I can go. So I decided to sell my house. And pretty much I did. I sold off as much as I could. And then I gave away to charity a lot. And I kept a few boxes of things that I couldn't part with. And yeah, I just went through just purging my life. And a lot of it was also it kind of going back to the burnout, and what I was experiencing life and wanting something different. And when you want to make those types of changes, you have to let go of what was to embrace what can be. And so it was a very emotional time. 

I remember at one point, even sitting at the stairs, the base of the stairs in the living room. And I had already given away a bunch of stuff. I had a few boxes, and I started just crying like I mean, some of these items, he stopped the stuff I'd had since like, I became an adult and moved out on my own. And I'm like I said, I'm crying. I'm like, Oh my gosh, what am I doing? Do I really want to do this? And it's really important to have a support system. And luckily I had a couple really close friends that I was messaging that kind of know what I'm doing. And they just reiterated back to me why I'm doing this, what I want for myself and it really gave me the confidence that moment to kind of continue to press through. And so I did that I sold my house and did all of that. And I still didn't have a remote job though. So at this point, I'm like, Okay, I need to like just rent a room somewhere. So I did that got the remote job. And I'm like, Okay, well, where do I want to move? I'll go try Dallas. And in the midst of like, making the plans to go to Dallas and actually experiencing remote work. I was like, wow, I have a lot of freedom. This is great. I can go anywhere. Oh, I've always wanted to go to New Zealand. That's like a dream for like, a couple months. So I booked a flight to New Zealand and booked Fiji along with it as well. And I did three months. And that's the trip where I realized this lifestyle. I'm loving like this, this I want more of this. And it's also when I realized what I learned what a digital nomad was, because I didn't know before what that was. I was like, okay, cool. I'll be a digital nomad. That's what I'll be.

Allen

That's awesome. Well, it makes me really think of, you know, George Carlin, the great comic, had a big thing about stuff did a whole comedic routine, that when you got too much stuff, it kind of owns you in about locks, and out slows you down. And what I love about so many people in this lifestyle, it's not about stuff, it's about experiences. So you've made that experience move to New Zealand where did you and Fiji How did you end up where you are today? And some of the things that you learn once you're like, Man, I have just moved so far away. I got this remote job, it must have been daunting.

Ali

Yeah, so what got me from New Zealand to here? Yeah, I guess realizing that I really wanted this lifestyle, starting to learn more about the lifestyle. And it was just a random friend, had a random friend in Bali at the same time as I was learning about this lifestyle. And he was like, Yeah, sure, come on over, I'll show you around. And so I went to Bali is you know, so many digital nomads do. And I had a great time, I enjoyed it. But I was also client-facing. And the clients that I had, when I was in New Zealand, had pretty much closed all of them down. And I was starting to get US clients. So then I was working in the middle of the night. And that didn't last very long, I would do that, like three days on, I would just sleep a whole day away. And I'm like that I don't want to live like this. And I also this is this job has given me this lifestyle. So you know, I'll just go somewhere else. And actually went back to the States for a bit and met a guy and stayed there for a while and left because that didn't work out. But it's great because this flexibility allows for that right? So I went down to Colombia. As soon as the breakup happened, I was like I want out of the US get me out of here. So like searching, where can I go in Central and South America and Medellín kept popping up over and over and over. And so I went and yeah, had such a great time. I did a couple of months there, left, went back to the states for some doctor's appointments, referring back to the burnout that I had prior. And then I was like, You know what, I just really liked it, then I'm gonna go back. So I went back to Medellín is a beautiful place. I love the weather there. And there is actually that was the first place that I went, where I really started getting connected with other digital nomads. In Bali, I kind of stayed to myself really a little bit connected with one friend and maybe a couple of locals. But this was being in Colombia and not knowing the language because my Spanish was terrible, then it's still not bad. I still not good, still bad. It really forced me to, you know, I wasn't really able to connect with the locals as well. So it forced me to find people that were similar to me. And so that's where I connected to the digital nomad people there, that crew and a Selena was a great place where a lot of them were. And I met a few people who just raved about what Oaxaca city. Well, Oaxaca city and the coast of Oaxaca. And I looked it up, and I just absolutely fell in love with what I saw. And so I went to Oaxaca next, Oaxaca city, I did the Día de los Muertos and went down to the coast to Porto Escondido and dealt with really shitty internet. And went back to what Oaxaca. Yeah, and then within the pandemic hit, so I decided it made the most sense for me to stay in Mexico. It was just something that I felt in my gut, right, it was just going to be the best for me. So I stayed in Oaxaca city throughout the pandemic. And yeah, it was I think in so many ways I had a major surgery, that kind of semi-emergency major surgery that happened there. That because I had lost my job and lost my health insurance and literally like right after is when this happened, I didn't even have time to like get myself sorted. I could actually afford the health care. So yeah, it was, it was a really great experience being in Oaxaca during the pandemic for me, and I loved my time. And along the way, Mexico kind of really just grew on me a lot. I tried to get away, I went to Peru for a couple months. And it was only two months and came back to Mexico. So I've gone from digital nomad to slowmad. And as of last week, I've actually signed a lease here in Ajijic, Mexico, which is just outside of Guadalajara, and I'm setting up shop, I've got a home base. So I'm pretty excited about that.

Andrew

That that's such a wonderful environment for natural medicine. I think it's not really a hotspot for the digital nomad currently, but for the expat that's seeking to get well outside the high cost of their western medicines realm, I believe. That's a passionate area of mine. I've worked in it for years and including that in our benefits has been something that's driving us with including homeopathy and other natural or complementary forms of care is Have you noticed that that area has had a draw for expats, for that reason?

Ali

Yeah, absolutely. And it's one of the reasons that draw me here drew me here to Ajijic as well. You know, it's when I thought at first, we're just going to be this like retired expat community. But since the pandemic and remote work becoming so popular, a lot of younger people are now moving here. And so there is a really great community. But there's so many natural healing modalities and fresh foods and just health practitioners. And for me, it's really important and partly why I wanted this place. I wanted Ajijic to be home base for me other than that the temperature is perfect all year. And it's on the biggest lake in Mexico. And it's an hour away from Guadalajara and 25 minutes from the International Airport like right, tick, tick tick. It's just that because of that burnout that I had. And I also had taken some antibiotics. And then I went to a foreign country went to Bali, my system was wrecked, and was like, hey, parasites, pathogens come on in. And I got some pretty nasty stuff while there that I didn't realize for a couple years and went to many different doctors and they couldn't figure it out. I was losing weight, my body was constantly in stress mode, it was really bad. And over the last year of being in Mexico, working with doctors here, I've actually been able to figure out what's wrong, address the issue and now I'm in a recovery stage and getting to work with all of these natural healers and homeopaths and things like that has just really helped tremendously. And so yeah, there's definitely a draw to this area for that reason.

Allen

It's also the food. I shared a story in an earlier podcast that I met a person in Ukraine who had Crohn's disease in the United States. And when they went to Ukraine, where the food this is pre-war, where the food is all-natural, and not had an attack for years, and I've talked to other expatriates, other travelers, other digital nomads, and it's like, you know, when you get away from the processed food into some of these natural environments, that makes a big difference too. And it also makes a big difference on the mental aspects of things to good food, beautiful lifestyle, and you're a big coach on work-life balance. So I would love to have your thoughts on the mind-body connection, and work-life balance.

Ali

Yeah, gosh, there's so much there that to unpack because along the way of becoming a digital nomad and, and all of this, it's also been very much a healing journey for me, and not just physical, but, you know, really getting outside of the bubble of you know, living somewhere and same thing day in and day out, right, getting out and being challenged and becoming more self-aware and recognizing you know, certain patterns that I have in my life and how they're not serving me. And, really diving into those and also coming into contact with people who have different types of healing modalities that they use to help people. You know, I've gone to Ayahuasca, I've used mushrooms with a therapist on a virtual session. That was just, you know, amazing. I made, you know, in two hours with her with mushrooms, the progress that I would have made in like a year of talk therapy. And so using all of these different resources that I have, has really helped me to become even more aware of the connection between mind and body, and also learn a little bit about Chinese medicine, and where the emotions are stored. And last year and Oaxaca, having an experience where I actually healed my liver, like, going from the doctor saying your liver is not good to having this experience of releasing anger and resentment to going to the doctor two weeks later to saying, I don't know what you did, but your liver looks great. Right? So Right. Yeah, so it's definitely so

Andrew

We're much more. We're so much more spiritual than we are physical I believe totally. And there's even of the unknown and the unexperienced by others that puts up so many barriers. I'm glad to hear you, you reflect on this because it's one of those things that maybe people need to broaden their their perspectives a bit to realize, okay, there's some experiences that you may not have walked through before. But this is good. Thank you.

Ali

Yes, sure thing I'm glad to be able to share I think this is actually the first time I've shared that story on a podcast. So that's a new, new one for you. Yeah, so even along just the emotional healing journey, the spiritual healing journey, and the physical of going to multiple different doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me. And being told constantly, your cortisol is so high, your body is just stressed, right? And not being able to know why like it, I had to have work-life balance, I had to eliminate the stress. So I also learned techniques, tools to use mindset, like whatever I needed, addressing boundary issues, I definitely had boundaries, boundary issues, that was boundary issues, need for external validation and people pleasing, were the main reasons why I experienced burnout in the first place. So looking at addressing all of those and, and, and practically, you know, coming up with what are my boundaries? How do I communicate them? And how do I follow through on them, right. And so it's just been an amazing journey, I look back at my life and who I was before, who I am now. And I just thank myself for giving myself the opportunity, that time reaching out for help support coaching from others, you know, and I really, really do try to just thank myself so much for doing so much for myself. And that in itself is, is great.

Allen

It's interesting because Andrew and I in this podcast has spent a lot of time with people on mental health issues, the search for community, the search for self, you know, the greater understanding, I love that you talked about the cortisol level. I mean, I look around here in the United States, and I think the cortisol level is so high. That's why you have road rage, and many of the other different issues you see. And then I go to a foreign land, and you talked about Colombia, I went to Cartagena. And like, this is so relaxed. I mean, there's still cars, there's still traffic jams, but people kind of seem relaxed with it, and people walk around and then they don't, it doesn't feel like it's rushed. And I love when we talked about being a slowmad, spending some time you know, having a cup of coffee, looking around and saying this is just a beautiful place. And I love your kind of feeling on exploring things. You touch quickly upon mushrooms, etc. I'm seeing in the United States, a lot of folks are now starting to realize people with PTSD. There's a lot of folks that PTSD that's unrecognized. And there's alternative approaches, maybe, you know, as you've you studied around, and you're working with people work-life balance, some of the thoughts that you're seeing that might not be as traditional, but now people are starting to accept because I'm sure you're on the cutting edge of that.

Ali

Yeah, absolutely. And of course, you sometimes wonder, like, you know, is this becoming more, you know, are people becoming more aware of this? Or is this just my algorithms showing me this stuff? Right. And that's my world in my reality. But I think so I think, you know, even like I mentioned, that therapist that I was working with, I've actually never met her in person. All of our sessions were virtual, as I was traveling around, she was based in Texas. And I approached her, you know, about this, like, Hey, this is what I would like to do. Are you on board with this? And she wanted to check some things, but it really, in that just conversation with her, it was great to hear how it was something that was already on her radar, because it is moving forward, there is progress in that area for using these types of, you know, healing modalities in therapy. So it's not just talk therapy, like I said, I mean, it's like, a year's worth of progress in two hours, right? And she was just blown away. And so it's actually like, you know, initiated that, that journey for her as well. And it is amazing as you dive in and really research a lot of people think oh, No mushrooms, like, that's going to be addictive or, you know, that's, that's a drug or whatever. It's all your intention and how you use it. Right? And that's, that's you, if you're wanting healing, you set the intention for healing, you can set your environment up for healing, you set yourself up for success in that. And, you know, I've definitely noticed that with these types of natural remedies, like Ayahuasca and, and mushrooms, that there is something like they give you what you need at that moment. And sometimes you go into it thinking you need one thing, and it gives you something else, and then you walk out of the experience going, Oh, that makes so much sense.

Allen

Yep. Well, I'm just even thinking about in the last two or three years, most many of the people I know, including myself, have CBD, you know, in, you know, a couple of drops under the tongue before asleep, and you sleep better. And you're and you know, but it's how quickly how things change, because 10 years ago, you might have been arrested, even though there's no psychotropic effects, you might have actually been arrested in some states for having CBD. And now it's legal. I'm using US perspective in all 50 states. But I think people are starting to ask themselves, why do we demonize some things before we explore them. And it sounds like you've explored with an open mind and I'd love your conversation on work-life balance. And your a lot of this is just having an open mind and giving stuff a try with somebody who knows what to do. And that's what the thing about having a coach like yourself.

Ali

Right? Yeah. And I can say, you know, that the Ali, before, you know, remote work in digital nomad, much more closed-minded, you know, very rigid. And I've become much more open-minded as I've had this experience for the last five plus years now. And it's Yeah, it really has just helped me to live a life that I can design the way I want. And I want to help other people to do the same thing. I want other people to experience the joy that you can have, right? And it's, it doesn't happen overnight. It's not like, Okay, I have a remote job. And now I'm all happy, right? It's a big change in the way you structure your days, where you manage your days, and then even freedom and flexibility, like, how many of us go into the office? Do we ever actually have freedom and flexibility, right? So you have to learn how to embrace those, how to manage those how to do it well and, and balance it all. Like, I know so many people, myself included, when I first transitioned to remote work, I still took those habits and those patterns, the boundaries issues, they didn't just disappear because I got a remote job, you know that the remote job allowed me to see that, hey, I'm still going down the same path to burnout again, what's up with this. And so it gave me the opportunity. And because I didn't have the commute, and I didn't have to like get up and make myself all dolled up in the morning and I saved a lot of time. I actually had time and freedom to really dive into these things. And so I think, you know, there are people that have transitioned to remote, they're still they still have those behaviors, they're still overworked, they're still stressed, they're not really getting to enjoy it. They're not unplugging without the guilt. And it's like, okay, why did I go remote, right? Like, I'm still dealing with burnout. But it doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be the norm, you know, you can separate work and life. I know that there's like work-life balance versus work-life integration, I think it's both I don't think it's one or the other, you can integrate a new baby into the family and not feel balanced. So I think, you know, it goes both ways. So I love helping people. Now through this, I have created a bit of a framework of some really great techniques, resources, that also because people start to doubt when I'm diving in with them teaching these different ways to work remotely. They hit roadblocks, of course, right. And so that's where their coaching really comes into play. And the things that come up a lot of times are the boundaries need for external validation, the people pleasing, which stems from childhood emotional neglect. And so then I start to give them resources. I'm not a therapist, but I start to give them resources to help them dive into to that and really grow their knowledge and start to see like, oh, wow, okay, this is why I am this way as an adult. It doesn't have to be this way and I can do the work. A lot of it is just been conditioned, we've been conditioned, and we can recondition ourselves.

Allen

Are there tools like meditation, yoga, taking a beautiful hike in the woods. You know, if somebody's listening to this podcast today and they feel stressed. And of course we're going to share this in the show notes so people can get in touch with Ali, but right now listening to this podcast, hopefully those of you who are listening, maybe we're in a beautiful walk le over the short term. If somebody says, Hey, I'm really stressed today, what do you suggest?

Ali

Oh, great question. Because I have clients, I have a client group. And I can often see, you know, when something's going on, I'm like, Okay, you're stressed. Let's walk through this, right? And it's, it's not about creating a checklist. So yes, yoga, meditation, going for a walk the hike, the trailhead is just steps away from my front door. I love it. But it's about finding what works for you. Right? And, and kind of creating a self-care toolbox, right? A de-stressor toolbox, and what are the things that I can put into that toolbox? And it's not like, okay, everyday Check, check, check, I'm gonna do meditation, I'm gonna do this walk, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that, right? It's about checking in with yourself. Let allowing yourself to feel what you're feeling. And then what is and then ask yourself, what is it do I that I need in this moment? To be able to help myself? You know, is it? Do I need a walk? Is it Do I need meditation? Is it Do I need to go color in a colouring book or whatever it is, right? And give yourself that. So self-awareness is a huge piece to this to being able to really structure your days and own your days so that you're living the way you want.

Andrew

This is one of those times where I love to hear you've traveled the world, you've lived in different places, it seems like you've taken on more of a swim ad lifestyle, kind of long-term base. Is there a place, a person or experience that you feel like is overlooked that our listeners would like to hear about today? 

Ali

Well, let's see. I think what I have to actually one, click on both, Ajijic is where I live, I think it's an overlooked place, people tend to go to Guadalajara, and that's great if you want the city, but I'm really enjoying the nature and everything Ajijic. It is very small town on a big lake. So the infrastructure is, you know, is that but there is also when I was in Colombia, I had the most amazing, long vacation weekend, on the coast of Colombia. I don't remember the name off the top of my head, but it was whale season. So the whales were out. We did the most amazing hikes. And we explored and we went on a whale tour. And we got to hear they put the, I don't know, some sort of microphone in the water. And we could hear them singing. And it was just such a beautiful experience. We took this like little puddle, puddle jumper plane to get there because it was so secluded. And it was like a movie, when you see like those explorers getting out of the two-person plane in a little, you know, trail of a runway or whatever it felt just like that. And it was just the most amazing experience. And so I want to encourage people, when you're living this lifestyle, it's great if you want to go somewhere and you really want to experience like I went to Medellín. But sometimes take vacation time, and actually go somewhere. It can be in that country, just another area in that country go for a long weekend, go for a week, a week, getaway can vary, it can feel like you're always on vacation with this lifestyle without actually taking vacation. So I would encourage people to do that.

Allen

I think that's great. I mean, it brings to mind when I was in Costa Rica, we were a couple of relatively large towns. And we had some friends who said, Hey, there's a great secret surfing spot. Why don't you take a ride with us now, it was a long and bumpy ride. But the payoff was tremendous. And you're like, oh my god, it's like a private beach beautiful wave. It's wonderful. And you just feel actually feel kind of spiritual in the whole thing also that this is a big world and we just found a little piece of it. So Ali, thank you for that thought as people want to learn more from you. And by you, could you please share some of the different places that people could get in touch with you and circle back to you for some of your work-life balance coaching?

Ali

Sure, my website is AliPruitt.com. Make it very easy there for you to find me. LinkedIn, I'm really active on LinkedIn Ali Pruitt on LinkedIn as well. I am on Instagram. I am letting go of fully remote with Ali on the Instagram and just embracing everything on my own page. So life of Ali 81 on Instagram. So simplifying my life.

Allen

I have one kind of weird little question is, you are a sonic car hop. So does that mean you're a great role rollerblader? or a very good I mean to be I go to Sonic quite frequently when I drive. And I'm always amazed at how well these people balance so you must be a really good roller skater or surfer or something because you must have very good balance. What do you think?

Ali

Um You did some digging. I’m really good at balancing a tray, and I can balance multiple orders on that tray. I did get on roller, the roller skates one time. And I was on for five minutes. And I was so terrible. My boss said get off of them and do not get on them again. So I didn't. So we did though our our Sonic did get to go to like the Sonic games, because we were like the top 10 in the country. And I was what they call the fountain girl. I mean, all the drinks and the ice creams and all that stuff because I rocked at that. 

Allen

Awesome know that this is good. Because every time I will remember this conversation when I'm driving by having one of the actually the best places in the United States get a hotdog. It's the other items. But like I said, I always tip those folks that come out in those carrying on stuff on those roller skates because I'm like, Man, that's almost entertaining in itself on that. So I tip my hat to you on that. So Andrew with that, why don't you take it away to the more serious portion of what we learned today beyond being that Ali was a sonic car hop.

Ali

How did you find that?

Andrew

Yeah, and you know, for those listening from other places in the world, like I know you are you're thinking what is Sonic just Google Sonic Drive In, and you'll get all you and or you know, you'll get all that info. But you know, one of the things as I think about this conversation today is simplify life. That's kind of the nugget that I'm walking away with is find ways to simplify life I heard her say that and that's what rang the bell for me.

Allen

Perfect, perfect. Well, we had a great conversation today. To our listeners, the way people find this podcast tends to be word of mouth, please pass it along. We thank Ali for joining us today. Please get in touch with her. And once again, thank you for joining us on The New Nomad podcast. Cheers.

Sell it All, Move to a New Country, Find Work-Life Balance with Ali Pruitt | TNN82

About the Guest

Ali Pruitt

Ali Pruitt is a seasoned digital nomad, she has over 10 years of process and workflow improvement experience and she’s the woman behind Fully Remote with Ali. She’s been featured in We Work Remotely, the Association of Virtual Assistants, and The Creative Startup Academy. Ali is passionate about helping others transition into remote work, so they can fully embrace the remote lifestyle in the way that works best for them.