Nov. 29, 2022

Building Online Income Streams From Real Estate, Stock Photography, and Travel Blogging

Building Online Income Streams From Real Estate, Stock Photography, and Travel Blogging

Digital nomad couple, The Wandering Hartz, share their experience becoming location independent for the first time and moving from Nashville, Tennessee to Bansko, Bulgaria.

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
Audible podcast player badge
Amazon Music podcast player badge
iHeartRadio podcast player badge
Stitcher podcast player badge
Castbox podcast player badge
Castro podcast player badge
TuneIn podcast player badge
Deezer podcast player badge
Overcast podcast player badge
Pandora podcast player badge
PocketCasts podcast player badge
Podcast Addict podcast player badge
Podchaser podcast player badge
RadioPublic podcast player badge
Soundcloud podcast player badge
Spreaker podcast player badge
YouTube Channel podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

Digital nomad couple, The Wandering Hartz, share their experience becoming location independent for the first time and moving from Nashville, Tennessee to Bansko, Bulgaria.

Prior to selling everything to begin working remotely, Michelle worked in commercial real estate and Joel worked in film production. With a newfound freedom after Michelle was laid off, they hit the road to explore the world.

Tune in to learn how they became digital nomads, tips for making a low stress transition to location independence, and how they’re generating online income streams from stock photography, travel blogging, and more.


Episode 183 Special Offers: 



  • The benefits of living and working remotely in Bansko, Bulgaria as a digital nomad.
  • How to generate online income streams from Stock Photography and Videography, Travel Blogging, and Real Estate.
  • The power of time and patience in growing your income.
  • Tips for selling all your belongings.
  • How their first trip as digital nomads went awry.
  • Navigating medical issues and health insurance as digital nomads in the US.
  • The benefits of practicing slow travel.
  • Finding a work/life balance while traveling full-time.



  • What kind of remote work are you doing?
  • How do you find freelance jobs?
  • Do you make more money selling stock photos or stock videos?
  • What stock photos and clips sell the best?
  • How much do stock video clips sell for?
  • What is the hardest part of being a digital nomad?
  • How many foreigners are currently living in Bansko, Bulgaria?
  • What gear do you travel with as a photographer/videographer?
  • And more!



Resources for Digital Nomads:

Related Podcasts:

Related Videos:

Connect with The Wandering Hartz:


Connect with Kristin: 




Support the Badass Digital Nomads Podcast:





Kristin    00:00:00    Are you looking for a new job in the New Year? One that will let you work from home or work from anywhere? Try Flex Jobs. Flex Jobs is the biggest site in the world for hand screened, remote, freelance, and part-time jobs. A membership to Flex Jobs makes your remote job search faster and easier. Flex Jobs has remote, hybrid and flexible job listings in over 50 different categories ranging from entry level to executive. So whether you want to stay in your current career but just transition into a remote position or find something completely new, Flex Jobs can help. Try Flex jobs today and save up to 30% using our link in the show notes with Code Save 30. That's code save three zero using our link in the show notes.


Introduction: Welcome to Badass Digital Nomads, where we're pushing the boundaries of remote work and travel, all while staying grounded with a little bit of old school philosophy, self-development, and business advice from our guests.  


Kristin Wilson, Host    00:01:17    Hey there, Kristin, from Traveling with Kristin here and welcome to episode 183 of Badass Digital Nomads. I have some very special guests for you today, Joel and Michelle Hartz of the travel blog and YouTube channel Wandering Hearts. And Joel and Michelle were some of my very first YouTube subscribers and first listeners of the podcast. They've also been longtime Patreon patrons of Traveling with Kristin. And so I was so happy to ask them on the podcast today to share their story about how they became location independent. Today you're going to hear how they were able to transition from their traditional jobs in Nashville, Tennessee and today are happily living in Bulgaria with lots of other travel plans on the horizon. We dive deep into exactly how they earn an online income, all of their different revenue streams and how they have built them over the past one to two years.  


Kristin    00:02:26    We also talk about some of the struggles that they've been through becoming digital nomads during the pandemic and also traveling with physical and mental health challenges. And they also share their first impressions of living in Bansko Bulgaria and being internationally location independent for the first time. Thank you also to Melano who left a five star review for the podcast this week. They say, Inspiring. Thank you so much for the continuous tips, ideas, and realistic conversations. I'm in the process of starting my Nomad career and listen to the podcast regularly while driving my truck on my way to finance my freedom. Thanks for listening Melano and also a special welcome to my newest patrons Tracy, Don, Jim, Steven, and Rob. If you would like to join my inner circle, you can become one of my Patreon patrons for just $5 per month at, you'll get to join private monthly Zoom Hangouts with me and up to 50 other patrons. You'll get to preview my YouTube videos in advance and in your first year of being a patron, you'll get a free 20 minute phone call from me just to get to know you better. Joel is also a very experienced photographer and filmmaker, so make sure to check out their YouTube channel Wandering Hearts and enjoy today's conversation.


Podcast Interview:


Kristin: Welcome Joel and Michelle to Badass Digital Nomads. It's so great to have you guys here today. Where are you talking to us from?  


Michelle:    00:04:14    So we are in Bansko, Bulgaria.  


Kristin    00:04:17    How great. And you've been there for the Bansko Nomad Fest, correct?  


Michelle:    00:04:22    Yeah, we came for that. Mm-hmm  


Kristin    00:04:24    <affirmative>. And how long are you staying there?  


Michelle:    00:04:27    We are here until September 5th.  


Joel:    00:04:29    Yeah. So in total, yeah, almost just under three months. Mm-hmm <affirmative>.  


Kristin    00:04:33    Okay. And how has your experience been living in Bulgaria? Oh wow. I know you had mentioned to me before that you had first discovered it through my YouTube channel, correct.  


Joel:    00:04:43    <laugh>, yeah, yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah, back in 2018 I think is the first video I saw. I been actually incredible. So it's been a really good place for us to come and it's so beautiful. There's so much things to do and such a wonderful community here too.  


Michelle:    00:05:00    Yeah, it's definitely exceeded our expectations for kind of a hub for us to be here and meet people and work and just be out in nature. So we're loving it.  


Kristin    00:05:12    Amazing. And you weren't always living in Bulgaria, working remotely, living this lifestyle. Can you take us back to what you were doing before you became Digital Nomads and how you had this idea to begin with?  


Michelle:    00:05:27    Yeah, so I guess I'll go first. <laugh>. So I was in commercial real estate in Nashville, Tennessee for about 12 years. I was doing marketing, basically marketing director for commercial real estate companies in Nashville. And yeah, just kind of a nine to five job. And I moved over to a new company in 2018. They brought me on as the the marketing director. About a year and a half into that position of the company was sold and I was let go of my position <laugh>. So that was kind of the jumping off point for us to kind of reevaluate our life and kind of where we were. We've been watching a lot of YouTube channels, especially with you Kristin, a lof kinda showing us, you know, this different lifestyle that we really didn't know existed. I think that was for 2018 we started kind of looking at that and yeah, we were watching LA tons of YouTube, Johnny FD as well. I think we saw a lot of his stuff. So yeah, I kind of just put the wheels in motion and I figured out how to start getting freelance clients in commercial real estate. So I just started working from home, um, in Nashville and it kind of led to, to us than selling everything  


Joel:    00:06:52    <laugh>. And as for me, I used to work in the film production mostly like music videos and commercials and that in Nashville area. And so I've been, well gosh the last 12 years prior to this I had been doing a lot of travel producing. I'd basically produced jobs that took a lot of travel. So we'd be gone for a week to several weeks in different parts of the United States. So I've been kind of already working remotely kind of with those jobs. And then basically, yeah, when Michelle, when her job ended, that was like a good opportunity for us. And I had been watching of course lots of these YouTube channels and decided that, you know, there's no reason we can't do this on our own. And that seemed to be like a perfect opportunity for us to just go ahead and sell everything and do it.  


Kristin    00:07:45    And are you still working in the same type of job, just remotely?  


Joel:    00:07:49    Not exactly. I've switched my priorities. So right now after the pandemic it kind of killed the bulk of my work. And so since then we basically started our website and a travel blog which was to go along with our travels and that ended up being basically the focus night now for me. So my photography and doing kind of film stuff for YouTube channel and stuff like that.  


Kristin    00:08:15    Okay. Going back to Michelle --Michelle, how did you find your freelance clients?  


Michelle:    00:08:22    I actually found them just through job boards, LinkedIn, I looked at FlexJobs, ZipRecruiter and I just sent my resume into just places all over the country that were in commercial real estate. And you know, that was before it became kind of <laugh> mainstream, but I happened to find a couple clients, one in Houston and then actually two the brokers that I was working for before they wanted to keep me on. So I worked for them as well in Nashville just but on the freelance side. So whenever they needed help, I'm on a projects, they brought me on, you know, for a couple hours a week.  


Kristin    00:09:03    Okay. So you're still doing contract work in commercial real estate. Have you had to go back to those job boards or are you mostly getting your clients now through referrals and word of mouth?  


Michelle:    00:09:15    As of right now, I've just kind of stuck with my three main clients and yeah, I haven't had to go back to the job boards yet. I might have to maybe in a couple months. But we're kind of taking a break and and focusing on our business, uh, the our YouTube channel and our website. And I have another side project that I'm working on that's print on demand. So yeah, that's kind of keeping us busy right now. <laugh>  


Kristin    00:09:40    <laugh>, well as many people know, it takes quite some time to start making an online income from blogging and YouTube. Have you guys been able to monetize this venture yet? And if not, um, what are some of the other income streams that Joel has been able to develop in the meantime?  


Joel:    00:09:59    Yeah, so we're not monetized on YouTube yet. Our blog is we make a little bit of money through some affiliates, you know, whether it be mostly travel related stuff cause that's the site it's all about. And then I also do stock photography as well. So I've kind of gotten into that these last couple years since I have like 10 years of photos that I just never got around to editing <laugh> from <laugh> from all the travels, you know, so I've yeah been going through like what they call it mining your hard drive. So I've been doing a lot of that and then adding to that of course with the last two years of traveling in the United States and then of course now starting international travel again. So I'm try not to take too many pictures so I have time to edit them all.  


Kristin    00:10:42    Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Oh yeah, I have probably 50,000 photos on my hard drive and everything, but that is a really great way to make income that I don't really hear many people talking about. And it's something I've considered doing too because I have all of these photos that nobody is looking at, you know, nobody gets to see them, I don't get to see them, they're just stuck away on hard drives. And I started posting some of them on Unsplash and they've been seen like 25 million times the pictures I posted there and they're just up there for free. So some of the pictures have been downloaded like hundreds of thousands of times and even companies have bought them for their ad campaigns, like MailChimp and stuff like that. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I was thinking like wow, if these are just the pictures that I posted for free, like imagine what the value is of all of these photos.  


Kristin    00:11:36    Not all of them cuz they're not all good obviously <laugh>, but all these photos that I have on the hard drives and for me it was really a wake up call of how things that you create that you don't necessarily think have a lot of value do and like other people can really benefit from them and enjoy them. And I still get people mentioning me on Twitter like thanks Kristin for making this photo free and I have drone pictures up there now it's not very sustainable to just post your photos for free <laugh>. So I don't have that many up there but it was a cool experiment. I started doing it cuz I was using a lot of free photos from Unsplash in my medium articles mm-hmm <affirmative> and I was like, I should really give back to the community and post some of my own and I'm not even a trained photographer so that's interesting, that thing that people can look into to get their work seen. And you can also put that you're available for hire and I'm still getting a couple hundred dollars per month in passive income from companies that are using my photos. And which sites are you selling your stock photography on?  


Joel:    00:12:41    So I've got, oh gosh, like 13 different sites, Uhhuh, <affirmative>. So everything from the big ones like iStock, I saw Getty, Sears Shutter Stock, Pond 5, 123RF, Deposit Photos, Canva actually.  


Kristin    00:12:56    Oh  


Joel:    00:12:57    And oh gosh, forgetting some big ones. Oh, Adobe Sock. I just edited a video so I'm, I'm trying to remember all of the ones. But I would say that if someone's gonna get started though, I would actually focus more on video Uhhuh  


Kristin    00:13:09    <affirmative>  


Joel:    00:13:10    Because you definitely make more money on video than you do on image sales. Occasionally you'll get like a decent image sale, but a lot of those are gonna be 10 cent to a dollar per image. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So it takes quite a lot. So the bigger the portfolio you have, the more chance of having a fairly even passive it will becomes passive of course once you've done all the work and uploaded it. But like for me, like this last month I haven't uploaded anything and you know, I actually had one of my best months, you know, so. Oh wow. Yeah, so just because it's, there's enough stuff out there.  


Kristin    00:13:45    Mm-hmm <affirmative> how many clips would you say you have on there on all the sites together?  


Joel:    00:13:50    So I think on average right now I'm a little low on that. I think on average is 90 across all of the sites. Cuz not all of 'em take video and with images it's about 690 I think across all of them. But I do have some of 'em I have more than others where I like I started on I am and uh, like Shutterstock and those, I have quite a bit more close over a thousand and some of those sites have, I think the most clips I have up is 160. Okay. And that's on Pond 5.  


Kristin    00:14:20    What are the types of clips and photos that seem to sell the most? Do you find that it's like the 80/20 rule, like 80% of your income from these sites come from 20% of the photos and clips that you've uploaded?  


Joel:    00:14:33    Oh absolutely. It's absolutely the 80/20 rule, especially images wise, like every now and again you get like a fairly large image sale and it's, but then that image will sell over and over again. And then the same with clips. I've only had a handful of clips sell here cuz I just started uploading them here just a few months back. But I've already had a couple clips sell again. So it basically, it has to do with the algorithm, right? So on all other sites when something sells it starts to populate higher. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And that's partly why selling more and more is because it becomes closer to the top of the, you know, however they're, how it's being presented, you know, when you're searching for something.  


Kristin    00:15:11    Yeah. And what are these clips and photos? Are they landscape, are they portraits? What are your best sellers? 


Joel:    00:15:18    My best sellers are, well actually it's a mix of commercial and editorial images. So it's because you don't have the rights, you know for like, you know, if it's a cvc and there's much of people in it then you can still post it editorial and a lot of people use it for blog sites and things because he has an element. So I have like one of my best ones, it's a Winglet pitcher looking over oh oh I think it's Kawai and it's from a Southwest Airlines. So you can tell all the Southwest Airlines branding over on the wing but it's an editorial image and that one's sold a bunch of times and it's Army, gosh I think it's over $87 so far.  


Kristin    00:15:53    Okay, good to know.  


Joel:    00:15:55    Yeah, the bulk of my stuff is mostly travel related so it's gonna be landscapes, these kind of editorials, just scenes and yeah, that's the bulk of it. Maybe some the odd like white hair or whatever, you know that I've bird pictures, something like that.  


Kristin    00:16:12    Mm-hmm <affirmative> <laugh>. So how long have you been uploading photos to the sites and do you have a income goal that you wanna reach or are you just gonna keep uploading indefinitely?  


Joel:    00:16:24    So I've been uploading since June of 2020, so I started just recently and yeah, definitely the income goal, it's gonna take a lot of images to get up there but if I can get it to where it's bringing in, you know, just like three or $400 a month then that would be pretty nice. That would help cover some of our travel costs.  


Kristin    00:16:43    Yeah,  


Joel:    00:16:44    Most likely it's gonna probably take several thousand pictures to get to that level.  


Kristin    00:16:48    Okay, good to know.  


Joel:    00:16:49    And videos, maybe fewer videos like you can get there quicker if you have the right videos that sell.  


Kristin    00:16:55    And how long are your video clips usually?  


Joel:    00:16:58    Yeah, so most like agencies went between five and 60 seconds but I'd say the average clip is usually about 15 to 20 seconds.  


Kristin    00:17:06    And how much did he say that the video clips sell for?  


Joel:    00:17:09    Depending on the agency it can sell for like two and a half bucks. On iStock you could get quite a bit up there. But my best selling clip I think so far has been like $38 for just like a driving down the road in Puerto Rico. Kind of shot <laugh> so.  


Kristin    00:17:24    Wow, that's pretty good. Yeah, so it sounds like videos, well in general you see Instagram and all of these companies moving over to video so it sounds like videos where it's at. But definitely good tips for people to know, just having other ideas of ways that they can make an extra income and even if it does take a couple years to build up for that, it's not like you're not going to want $500 a month in your bank account two years from now <laugh>. Like you're gonna want that coming in no matter what. So it's better to start now and in a year or so, you know to have, even if you get 50 bucks a month extra, it's like that totally adds up. There's people that write on Medium that are just happy to get their annual membership fee covered <laugh> by their revenue from blog posts. So yeah and it's fun. It's fun to start with those extra income streams and you learn a lot too. Michelle, what type of print on demand are you doing?  


Michelle:    00:18:24    I am doing mostly clothing and I've just started it <laugh> so it's very new for me. I have a a graphic design background and visual communications degree. So that's kind of my first love is fashion and creating designs. So yeah, I just kind of came across the print on demand actually I think Joel told me about it. <laugh>? Yeah and I started watching a whole bunch of YouTube videos about it. Actually there's one YouTube girl that I watch a lot. She's actually here in Bansko -- Maya or, and she teaches people how to do print on demand and so I've watched a lot of that and yeah, so it's just kind of fun for me right now. I hope to start making money with it eventually. <laugh>,


Joel: you made a little bit of money with it but like actually get serious about it.


Michelle:  Yeah, I get serious about it. Yeah. Yep.  


Kristin    00:19:23    Yeah, you know there's disincentive to start doing things sometimes because you only make a little bit of money at first or you have to spend money at first, but it always pays off in the end because you just naturally get better at something the more that you do it and the longer that you do it and your fees start to go up and that's why people who've been doing something for 10 years or 20 years can charge more for it because they have more experience, they're better at it and that's part of the journey of life I think. I mean I was just looking at the spreadsheet for my DJ gigs just to keep track of them and where I played, how much I earned, if I had any expenses related to it. I mean it's also good for accounting, I have to do it anyway <laugh> cause I'm sending out invoices and things.  


Kristin    00:20:15    It's been really interesting to see how in just six to eight months I went from no gigs to playing for free to making anywhere between 100 and $500 per gig  And then another girl that I know who's been doing it for a few years, I think the last time I talked to her two years ago she was charging $13,000 plus travel expenses. To play gigs for the same amount of time. And the only difference between what you do as a beginner and what you see someone else doing 10 years later is time. That's really all it is. So it's like going from making $1 per month selling print on demand or selling your stock photos to a thousand dollars per month. The only thing in between is time and effort. That's it. It just compounds. Like it's not like maybe my DJ sets are better now hopefully than they were eight months ago and you know, they get better each year but then you also earn more and more money and then I don't have to play for free anymore <laugh> because I've earned money at good clubs and bars and things like that and so you can just command a higher price but if I had never started I would just not be doing it.  


Kristin    00:21:34    So sometimes it's a good reminder and that's why I also like to track things and look back and you almost forget what it was like before. You know, like when you think back to your lives before you left Nashville, right?  Yep. That's where you're living. So thinking back to when you first started watching my YouTube videos and listening to my podcast and you were both working traditional jobs still, can you relate to your mindset then of what were you feeling then and how does it feel now looking back at your old selves?  


Michelle:    00:22:09    For me, I would say like it would be unattainable to me. Back then it was really, really hard for me to wrap my head around how we were going to do this. Especially when I was working a nine to five job. It just never felt like it was gonna happen. We were just watching all these videos and you know, getting excited about it. But yeah, it was really hard for me to see that we could actually kind of move into the place of freelancing and then eventually selling. But when I lost my job or was let go all of a sudden, I don't know, I just kind of freed up everything and I don't think we'd be doing this if I wouldn't have been let go from my job.   


Joel:    00:22:51  No,  I don't think so. I mean cuz I was trying to convince you for <laugh>. . For like most of 2018 and  and we talked about this before because I've always had this dream of like sailing but and always like teaser with that like well you know what if we just sold everything and did that. But yeah, it wasn't until that job ended then you were a little bit easier to convince.  


Michelle:    00:23:11    Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Once that whole nine to five job was kind of gone, I don't know, it just like I said, freed up everything and everything kind of came into focus and we had a plan and <laugh> and we just did it and somehow it worked. And now it's kind of amazing to think that we're here like five years ago I can remember like sitting at my job and looking out my window and just thinking like I'll never be able to do what all these other people are doing and now we're doing it. So it's kind of amazing. <laugh>  


Kristin    00:23:42    Amazing. I love that. Well you mentioned you had a plan, so how long was it between when you lost your job and when you actually became nomadic and a little bird told me that things didn't go exactly according to plan for your first destination of Aruba. Can you talk us through that?  


Joel:    00:24:03    Yeah, so for this year I think --


Michelle:    00:24:06    it  was fast  


Joel:    00:24:07    <laugh>. It was really fast. Yeah. Because I think you had lost your job. You found out we had a vacation that we went on and to the Turks and Caicos, which is absolutely gorgeous. And --


Michelle:    00:24:17    February of 2019.  


Joel:    00:24:18    2019 mm-hmm <affirmative> And you had found out like right before we left 

And so, uh, when we got back, I think maybe the vacation helped mm-hmm. <affirmative> but seeing like a destination that, you know, maybe we could come go somewhere like this and spend more than just a few days there. But within a month we basically had made our decision. So by March we made our decision and we started going through the process of selling everything we owned, which was a lot of stuff cuz it turned out I was like a borderline hoarder. <laugh>. I had <laugh>. <laugh> did not realize it but that made me realize it. So now I've gone quite the opposite. Now we're very minimalist. Yeah. But yeah, six months I think we spent Sierra march until we listed the house in September and yeah, the whole summer everything was just nonstop just selling everything.  


Michelle:    00:25:09    It was chaos. Looking back on this, we would not recommend people to do what we did in six months. No because it was extremely stressful. It was not only do we have to sell everything that we own, literally everything that we owned, we had to get our house ready to sell. There was a few things, it was an older house, we had a few things that we needed to fix up. I mean we painted the whole house. There was multiple things. Luckily we lived in a market where a lot of people wanna be. So it was actually quite easy for us to sell our house. I think we only had like a 30 day close and, and we were done. So yeah, by the end of October we were,  


Joel:    00:25:46    Yeah, we were completely free.  


Michelle:    00:25:48    Yeah, we were completely free of everything  


Joel:    00:25:50    <laugh>. Yeah. If anybody's else is thinking about doing this, we would definitely recommend as soon as you have the notion in your head, immediately start going through your things and starting to pick a room, pick a corner and just like, what do I absolutely need if I haven't used it, you know, clothing or whatever, you haven't worn it like a year or two, then probably not gonna wear it again. So that's a good time to just start going through all that stuff. And we basically gave as much as we could away. And then we did some garage sales and stuff and then I sold a bunch on eBay and that was just a huge waste of energy and time trying to list everything. Oh  


Kristin    00:26:21    Yeah.  


Joel:    00:26:22    <laugh> for like trying to sell a cd, you know, it's worth a dollar. <laugh> <laugh>  


Kristin    00:26:27    And then shipping it.  


Joel:    00:26:28    Yeah. Then shipping it. You're like oh my gosh it took 15 minutes just to like try to get this listing up and I'm gonna make a dollar, you know, but I should make a dollar back, you know cuz you already paid for the thing. Yeah. So I quickly realized like just focus on like things that have higher value and then the rest of it just went to Goodwill and Salvation Army and all that. So the inhabit chip him, Andy, yeah. 


Kristin    00:26:51    Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah that's a big part of it. And I think that as humans we don't realize how subconsciously our stuff can hold us back and I talk about that in my book and Digital Nomads for Dummies, we have a whole section on getting rid of your stuff in my relocation courseReady to Relocate. And it's also something that I walk my clients through one-on-one when I have relocation clients and we come to that phase where, okay, it's time to do this, it's time to do that. You know, at what point do you get rid of your stuff? At what point do you list the house? At what point do you buy your plane ticket? Like all of those sorts of things in which order to do it in. So yeah, it can definitely be overwhelming, especially doing it for the first time. And so this was October of 2020? 2019?  


Joel:    00:27:37    2019, yeah.  


Kristin    00:27:38    Oh, 2019. Oh right. So this was right before the pandemic. Yeah. Yep. So what happened when you started your journeys and the pandemic started at the same time?  


Joel:    00:27:48    Yeah, so our first stop was heading back to Seattle where we kind of re-base the, the last few items that we had. So we were there for that winter in the beginning of the pandemic essentially. But right before that happened I had basically gotten a dream job offer producing a commercial for a hotel chain in Aruba of all places that was scheduled to start shooting in April 1st in 2020. And so of course as everything's starting to unfold, my director and I are going back and forth. I'm like, oh man, I don't know what's going on. Have you been seeing the news here? And it's like, I don't know if this is actually gonna go through. And so we finally got a hold of the agency and they were like, yeah, we're gonna pause everything <laugh> <laugh>. And that was supposed to be our kickoff was to do to that go to the Aruba and that was going to, I think supposed to be a week there where I was shooting. And then from there we were gonna come back to Nashville for kind of revisit friends and family. And then I was gonna pick up some work there cause they usually had some like client work that's like fall in spring. And then from there after that we were gonna head off and was it supposed to be Ireland? Is that the first one or,  


Michelle:    00:28:57    I can't remember. Um, yeah, I can't remember what it was now. If we were gonna go to Ireland. I think so and then all Yeah, all of that. Then that just fell through. Yeah. All of it went  


Joel:    00:29:07    To, so then it, when it, and then we were locked down cuz we were in Washington state so it was like five weeks like can't barely, you could delete the property just for like groceries. So yeah, once that lifted we took the opportunity to just go anywhere. And I think we started our journey slowly by heading to visit your family in Michelle's family in Wisconsin.  


Michelle:    00:29:29    Yeah, we did that. We stayed there for the summer. My parents live in Wisconsin. I've got a lot of family in Minnesota. That was a good place for us to kind of be for the summer of 2020. Just kind of of figure out what's gonna happen. And I mean we had like these grand notions, you know like, oh it's gonna be over by the summer and by like the fall we were planning on going to Europe and obviously that didn't work out. Yeah. And we also had plans, we were gonna do the Nomad Cruise, we were going to do uh,Nomad Summit. that Johnny FD puts on. Uh, or he used to put on. So yeah, we had all these grand plans that, you know, we were gonna meet all these digital nomads and have this amazing community and meet all these people and it just didn't happen. <laugh>. 


Kristin    00:30:20    So where did you go? What was your first trip out of the country?  


Joel:    00:30:23    Well technically Bulgaria, cuz we went to Puerto Rico for two months at the beginning of 2021. But that's technically United States because that was where we could easily get to, uh, without having to worry about restrictions and everything, you know, coming back. But, so yeah, this is actually, Bulgaria here is our first trip internationally and although it was once again supposed to start a lot sooner and if you wanna talk about road bumps on that last summer we did our road trip back to Tennessee. We removed our, the last of our things back to Tennessee. And on that journey we ended up having like an urgent care visit in New Mexico. It was going really well too up until that point,  


Michelle:    00:31:01    But yeah. Yeah, the road trip was amazing. So yeah, last year I ended up in the emergency room in yeah, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Didn't really know what to think. So we had to get to my parents' house in Wisconsin kind of as, as fast as possible so I could have a follow-up with a doctor and kind of figure out what was going to happen from there. Or else we would've gone to Europe in 2021. The fall of 2021.  


Joel:    00:31:27    Yeah. Supposed to be like Ireland, Portugal. Yeah. And then Germany and stuff like that for Christmas markets. But  


Michelle:    00:31:32    Yeah, so got to Wisconsin, kind of figured out what was going on with me and then we had to move our residency then back to Tennessee cuz I had to get my insurance set up cuz insurance for United States citizens is tied to your state of residency. So we had to make sure that I was set up in Tennessee so that I could get seen then by a doctor in Tennessee and kind of figure out what was going on. That whole medical issue kind of set us back like eight months.  


Joel:    00:32:01    Well, yeah, until June. Yeah, until, until just  


Michelle:    00:32:04    Recently. Until recently. Yeah.  


Kristin    00:32:06    And is everything okay now?  


Michelle:    00:32:08    Yeah. Yes, everything's fine now. I did end up having surgery, I was recovery for about eight weeks and then I basically got cleared to leave the day before I got on the plane to Bulgaria. So  ---


Joel:    00:32:21    Yeah, we were  


Kristin    00:32:23    <laugh>. Oh my gosh. So you were ready to go  


Joel:    00:32:26    <laugh>? Yes, very, very ready.  


Michelle:    00:32:28    <laugh> <laugh>.  


Kristin    00:32:31    Wow. So in total, it was over a year then, like a year and a half that you were United States domestic nomads? Yes.  


Joel:    00:32:39    Yeah. Yeah, we went all over the place. <laugh>  


Kristin    00:32:42    <laugh>. And what has been like the hardest part of the transition now that you're a few months into being international nomads?  


Joel:    00:32:51    Hmm, that's a good question. Well, probably for you like being away from friends.  


Michelle:    00:32:55    Oh yeah. Being away from friends. Yeah. My two best friends live in, still live in Nashville. We've got lots of friends in Nashville. Yeah. So yeah, I think that's been one of the biggest kind of transitions for us to be away from our friends and family as well. But other than that it's actually been a pretty good kind of transition for us to come to Bulgaria. Even though I know a lot of people are kind of like, oh my Bulgaria,  


Kristin    00:33:21    <laugh> <laugh>.  


Michelle:    00:33:22    It's actually been a good place for us to come.  


Joel:    00:33:25    Absolutely. Yeah, it's been fantastic. I'm really glad we did come here because again, vascu is known for having that huge community and other nomads. So it's been very easy for us to meet other people and other travel bloggers as well and struck up those relationships as well as just, just other nomads who just do completely different things. So it's been fun to get to know people and get a chance to have some fairly consistent social life. You know, coming out and getting some drinks and going on a hike or a, a wine tour or something like that.  


Kristin    00:33:57    Yeah, it's a great place. I think I have it as one of my best destinations for new digital nomads in one of my videos because it's such a small town and the digital nomad community is so strong there. How many foreigners would you say are living there at the moment in summer of 2022?  


Joel:    00:34:15    That's a great question.  


Michelle:    00:34:16    There's quite a few. Yeah. People here  


Kristin    00:34:19    Think probably hundreds you think?  


Michelle:    00:34:21    Oh yeah,  


Joel:    00:34:22    Easily. Oh yeah. Easily hundreds  


Michelle:    00:34:23    Easily.  


Kristin    00:34:24    Wow.  


Joel:    00:34:25    Just the complex we're in is Yeah. Yeah. Probably half of the people are from somewhere, you know. Yeah. Nomas from somewhere else.  


Michelle:    00:34:30    And there's a lot of Americans here this year.  


Joel:    00:34:33    Yes. <laugh>. There's a lot Americans we've met  


Michelle:    00:34:35    <laugh>. Yeah. A lot. Which has been interesting. We weren't expecting that.  


Kristin    00:34:39    That must be so surreal for the locals in that town because in the last five years it went from absolutely no foreigners to like more than the local population. <laugh>.  


Michelle:    00:34:51    Yeah.  


Kristin    00:34:52    That's so crazy. Yeah. <laugh>. And what about usual? So you've been wanting to go nomadic for a longer number of years and is it all it's cracked up to be? Like has it met your expectations or has it been different  


Joel:    00:35:06    So far? It's absolutely met my expectations and exceed them.  


Michelle:    00:35:09    Well, coming here.  


Joel:    00:35:10    Coming here. Yeah.  travel in the States. Well, I mean it still was great. I mean look, it's not horrible like wintering in Florida, you know, <laugh> so <laugh>, it's spent the last two winters in Florida and then Puerto Rico. So you just going where you want to go is very nice. And especially now that we're here, it's been even nicer for me at least. I've enjoyed every aspect of it. I mean, biggest thing for me was I really wanted to, you have a chance to go to other places where there's like-minded people and you know, where we can just have these experiences with other people where we can like do skill shares and help each other out and improve whatever you're doing, whether it's blogging or your photography skills or whatever. And do that. And then also have the opportunity to just explore the different, the regions and the culture and just to live like locals to really get a feel for the places that you're at.  


Joel:    00:36:02    Which is why we like to travel slower. We like to try to be somewhere for at least a couple months if we can, so that we feel like we can, I don't know, just come away from it that way. Plus that helps us with our, our articles because we try to write from that standpoint, you know, like if we try to provide advice or guides for the places that we visit, we try to do it from a more of a locals perspective, like for tips and things like that. Instead of just like, you know, you run in and and you don't know what you're supposed to do and just like, I don't know, I'm not saying this very well, <laugh>.  


Kristin    00:36:32    Yeah. So just giving tips from somebody who's lived there, even though you're not from there is somebody who has a better point of reference compared to a travel blogger that's just passing through for the week or the day and they're like, oh, here's what I did today. Right. Which can also be valuable, but it's just different.  


Joel:    00:36:51    Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think there's, there's articles like, you know what to do f you know, 24 hours in Prague or whatever and then there's articles where you can talk about like all of the things that you can do. You know, whether you're gonna be there for a month or whether you're gonna be there for a week. You have a much larger Yeah. Idea of, of the stuff to do and what stuff to skip. Maybe stuff that's just more like maybe way too tourist free and not, you know, maybe the longer you get to stay and the more you get to find those off the beaten path things and those more local experiences and I think that's what we're trying to find.  


Michelle:    00:37:23    Yeah. Or just even getting to know the culture Bulgaria is, you know, there's some culture differences that could throw somebody off if you just, you know, come here for a few days and then you leave.  


Joel:    00:37:34    <laugh> The nodding. Yeah,  


Michelle:    00:37:36    The nodding <laugh>. Yeah.  


Kristin    00:37:37    Oh  


Michelle:    00:37:38    Right. I guess. And no, you  


Kristin    00:37:39    Nod no and shake your head. Yes.  


Michelle:    00:37:42    Yeah.  


Kristin    00:37:42    I forgot about that. <laugh>. Yeah.  


Michelle:    00:37:44    Yeah.  


Michelle:    00:37:45    There's even, you know, that kind of stuff that once you kind of get into your, into the groove, people see you out and about every day you see them and, or at least in Moscow, there are a lot of people sit out, you know, on the street and at night and you know, you kind of see 'em and wave and they see you and they start saying hi back and it's kind of fun you to see that and just kind of experience, you know, how people live in different towns and cities and countries. It's been great.  


Kristin    00:38:14    Have you guys been shopping at the market there?  


Michelle:    00:38:17    We did, yeah, we went actually last Sunday  


Joel:    00:38:20    And we finally got out there. Yeah, we've been so like inundated with work. That's the trick. The balance, there's that whole like the life balance of working and then actually going out and having experiences. Especially since we're still catching up on a lot of stuff, like a year and a half behind <laugh> on a lot of our travels. So trying to get that stuff caught up is nice.  


Kristin    00:38:41    Welcome to my world, <laugh>.  


Joel:    00:38:42    Yes.  


Kristin    00:38:43    I'm like four years behind  


Michelle:    00:38:45    <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. That's been, uh, I'm  


Kristin    00:38:48    Gonna start publishing videos from like 2018. People will be like, wow. Yeah, when was this?  


Michelle:    00:38:54    I think that's one of our biggest struggles though, is just trying to find that balance working because we are freelance and we do work for ourselves. So you, you can get stuck like in front of your computer working all day and you, you look outside and you see the mountains, you're like, oh man, I really need to get out. But you're like, ah, I gotta finish this project. Or you know, Joel has to finish editing and we haven't quite figured that one out yet.  


Joel:    00:39:20    <laugh>. Yeah, ti was one of those days, so I'm just staring at the mountains all day and editing videos., so  


Kristin    00:39:26    <laugh> watching the sunrise, watching the sunset and you're like, it looks like a beautiful day.  


Michelle:    00:39:31    That's right.  


Kristin    00:39:34    Uh, yeah, that was me yesterday. I didn't even leave the house until almost sunset I think. And I was like, oh man, it's continuous struggle. Are you guys part of one of the co-working spaces there or have you just been working from home?  


Joel:    00:39:48    So we're actually over at Forley floor co-living and they also have a, a small co-working space here as well. So we use that space and mix between that and then just like kind of working out of the apartment. Just depends on what we're feeling that day. You know, <laugh>, sometimes we want it quieter so we might stay in the apartment and then other days we want to be a little more social so.


Kristin    00:40:08   Yeah, I do that too. Even here in Miami, like some days I go to the co-working space. Some days I rent my own office. Some days I go to the library, like I like to mix it up a little bit.


Kristin here, hope you're enjoying today's episode. If you're a fan of the podcast and you'd like to support, you can join 50 other superstar listeners over on my Patreon page for just $5 per month or a voluntary donation of your choice at That's p a t r e O with Kristin. Joel editing photos and videos. Are you traveling with another monitor?  


Joel:    00:40:56    That's a great question. I don't travel with another monitor, so I've got a Zen book which has like two monitors on it.  


Kristin    00:41:02    Oh.  


Joel:    00:41:03    So that's what I edit with. And although I have to be honest, I don't really use the second monitor as much, but it's very good for like, you know, timelines and stuff like that looking at, you know, open folders and things. That's how I work with it. I can if I want to hook my iPad up to it, but the lag time is like really slow. So I don't generally do that anymore. But for instance, if I need to need a second monitor for something, that's a really good time when I go to a coworker cuz I can usually find a monitor.  


Kristin    00:41:33    Yeah. I've always been able, not always, but I've usually been able to do that too. But I think when I hit the road again this time I'm going to bring one with me. I'm gonna have so much stuff. <laugh>, I'm not a digital nomad minimalist. Especially with all the camera gear and everything, so. Oh yeah. Uh, props to you Joel for being a minimalist digital nomad who's also a filmmaker. That's very challenging. 


Joel:    00:41:57    Yeah. Most of what I carry is my camera gear. <laugh>. Yeah, so <laugh>, the other thing too is that sometimes if you were staying in a more modern place, then there's access to like an HDTv and I can use that as a monitor.  


Kristin    00:42:12    Yeah.  


Joel:    00:42:13    I don't color correct off of it. It's at least like a, we call like a program monitor so you can at least see something and get like a feel for it.  


Kristin    00:42:19    Yeah, that's So you're connecting with like an HDMI? Yes. Cable. Yeah. Yeah. And also one of my clients told me that he uses Chromecast to stream basically to a TV in a hotel room or something. I mean I have done that at home but I never thought about it for when I was traveling. So I'm gonna add that to the packing list actually.  


Joel:    00:42:43    Yeah, I mean I think you can even do it if it's a smart tv you can actually do it from your like smart Yeah. It's your phone. Yeah, phone and my laptop I can do  


Kristin    00:42:52    It just wirelessly.  


Joel:    00:42:53    But you have to find a A place that's got a smart TV though for that. Right. Which in Europe I think is gonna be a little harder to find, especially in Bulgaria it's definitely really hard to find. We have a old CRTtv, you know, from like 1991 or something like that in the room here. So <laugh>, it just sits over there. I just like lay clothes on it, you know, <laugh>,  


Kristin    00:43:15    I was actually thinking of subletting my apartment when I go travel. I haven't decided yet and I was like, I'll have to put in the description no tv cuz I don't even have a TV here. I have an extra monitor. So I guess people can connect to that. But I think people are so used to having TVs in rentals that that would be tough. They could buy their own I guess. Or Or I could buy one for them.  


Joel:    00:43:39    I mean all you need is a monitor though, right? <laugh> because everyone, you stream everything. Yeah, that's all we do is yeah, Netflix and Amazon Prime and all of that stuff.  


Kristin    00:43:48    Yeah. I have a nice HP monitor so that should be fine. I have a random question before I forget.I was in Bulgaria in the spring and summer and I remember that summertime everything was in bloom. There were like apples on the trees or maybe that was in the winter, the apples? No, I think it was summer too. There were cherries. There were berries everywhere. And there would be actually cher trees in coworking bansko garden. That would just be like cherries dropping on the ground. And being from Florida, I've never seen that before. It's like, I guess our orange trees, our tangerine trees. Have you guys seen a lot of that or at the markets like the blueberries, the raspberries. 


Joel:    00:44:27  Oh  Absolutely everywhere. Yeah,  


Michelle:    00:44:28    We were just talking about that yesterday. I can't believe how many fruit trees there are here and they're all in bloom.  


Kristin    00:44:35    Yeah,  


Michelle:    00:44:36    I was really surprised and it's amazing.  


Joel:    00:44:38    And the grape vines. Oh the grapes. Yeah. Like it's so beautiful. Like walking the streets, we keep talking about, I'm gonna do like a street walk, a photography street walk video or something, but there's just like all these beautiful vines, this really old growth vines that just like come up and then they're just trained to go across all these, everyone's trellises and it's just so beautiful. And every property has some kind of a fruit tree or a garden or beautiful flowers. I mean just really lovely just walking through the streets here. Mm-hmm <laugh> and also stepping on cherries, the fall on the ground <laugh>. Yes. Fine.  


Kristin    00:45:11    Oh I'm so jealous. Yeah. It makes me wonder what the world was like before it was so developed and maybe the whole planet was like a garden of Eden <laugh>, which it was just like trees with fruit and food growing everywhere. Yeah. Which seems so foreign to us, but there must still be places on earth that are like that. Bulgaria is one of them. 


Michelle:    00:45:33  Oh I guess so. Absolutely. Yeah.  


Joel:    00:45:35    Yeah. It's so beautiful.  


Michelle:    00:45:37    Yeah.  


Kristin    00:45:38    One of the hidden bonuses of being a digital nomad. Yeah. So where are you guys thinking of going next?  


Joel:    00:45:45    Okay, so that's actually, we just came up with a whole new plan while we got here where we, we gonna go originally, I can't remember.  


Michelle:    00:45:52    I think we were looking at going to Ireland.  


Joel:    00:45:53    Oh that's right. We're gonna go to Ireland cuz we were gonna watch GN thing. and then we were gonna pop back in cuz the original plan was to spend the fall in like Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic and doing some of the Christmas markets. But we've adjusted this because at Nome Fest we actually met some other fellow travel bloggers and they were like, man you gotta go to Traverse 22, which is in I guess Bruno Czech Republic. So we're gonna go to a travel conference and that's gonna be our next destination. Yeah.  


Michelle:    00:46:24    Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's the Czech Republic.  


Kristin    00:46:25    Oh, when is that?  


Joel:    00:46:27    September 13th through the 19th I think.  


Kristin    00:46:30    Oh, I was going to leave here around September 15th, but I think I'm gonna be house sitting for my parents that week that they're in Europe. Oh,  


Michelle:    00:46:39    Nice. <laugh>. Yeah.  


Kristin    00:46:41    One of the other benefits of being remote is you get to visit your family but you also get to be the one who house sits for them when they go out of town. Yeah. You're like, oh, Kristin can do it. She, I don't have any excuse <laugh>. They know I can do <laugh>. Yep. If I'm in the same country, Uhhuh or the same continent, they're like Can you come over? But yeah, that Traverse sounds cool. I think you'll meet a lot of other digital nomads and of course travel bloggers there. And that's a great way to meet people. And it's also a good reminder of how you can have a plan but then it can be very fluid and the people that you meet along the way can send your plan in a new direction. And then when you look back years later you're like, wow, I'm doing all of these things because that one person told me to go here. And then these other, you met these other people, people and these other opportunities came. And so do you think that you'll make a visit back to the US anytime soon?  


Michelle:    00:47:36    Possibly in January or February of 2023. We're not quite sure yet. Uh, our plan is to stay in Europe until basically the beginning of January. I would like to be in the south of France for my birthday. That's <laugh>. One of my requirements is to in December. In December. Yeah.  


Kristin    00:47:58    Relatable  


Michelle:    00:47:59    <laugh>. The end of my birthday is the end of December, so I'd like to be there my birthday And then we're not sure we're possibly thinking about going to Thailand in January. We're just gonna kind of see how we feel. I don't know, I might feel like I need to go back and see my family and friends before we head off to Thailand, but yeah. So things are kind of up in the air  


Joel:    00:48:21    <laugh>. Yeah, I mean I think, like you said before, the great thing about the fluidity of it, I mean I remember my first trip to Europe, which was with my sister. We did a backpacking trip and I won't say how many years ago it was, but it was a long time ago. <laugh>. And that was the thing is we had our plan, but some of the most amazing places that we went were just, people were like, oh hey, like have you been to Innsbrook? We just came from there. It's amazing. And we were like, I don't know anything about Innsbrook. Let's go hop on the train and find out. And turned out to be one of my favorite places. And when Michelle and I got married, it's one of the places we went back for a honeymoon, we went back to Austria and, cause I wanted to show her some of these places that I discovered, you know, on this backpacking trip with my sister like all those years ago. So you always have to like keep things open and I think that's what we're doing here. We have like a loose plan and of course maybe this is the producer in me, which is weird cause Right. You know, producing, you always have like everything is, you have a script and everything has to be exactly laid out. But I like to have that. But the freedom of it is you can change everything cuz it's, this is our story we're telling so we can rearrange it however we like.  


Kristin    00:49:32    Yeah. And there's no right answers.  


Michelle:    00:49:34    Mm-hmm. Absolutely.  


Joel:    00:49:35    Exactly. I think if you like force yourself into something too much, like to a specific plan, you end up missing out on a lot of other opportunities. And you know, to your comment earlier, like, like when we look back at looking back at where we were before, I just see all these missed opportunities before we start traveling and now we're in a position that we can actually capitalize on those opportunities instead of feel like we missed out on 'em.  


Kristin    00:50:00    Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Having that, the traditional way of working where you only get a couple weeks off per year to go places you wanna go, to go on vacation to pursue your passions, it's like, okay, you get two weeks per year that you can use for getting sick or going on vacation or taking time off or going to a conference or something that you're interested in. And it's like now you have the whole year of always to do whatever you want and go wherever you want. And it's just a great way to live. <laugh>, I love it. Even being here and and choosing to stay in one place for one year or two years or five years because you wanna have some certain experience in one place. That's part of it too. You know, it doesn't mean you have to move every month or every three months and having different phases of your life where sometimes you're more nomadic and sometimes you're more settled.  


Kristin    00:50:55    So that's the beauty of it. Like somebody just told me that they were hanging out with Chris, the freelancer, and I was like, oh, I thought he was in Australia. And they said, no, he's traveling again. So it's like these people who were nomads and then they were staying in one place for a few years and then they went nomadic again. I think that's the new normal and a very welcome one. Well thank you guys so much for listening to the show, for being my Patreon patrons and for coming on the podcast Now everything comes full circle  


Michelle:    00:51:24    <laugh>. I know. Yeah. It's kind of, wow. Yeah, it's really cool actually. A little bit surreal. I know <laugh>. I know.  


Kristin    00:51:31    That is so surreal. Yeah. Whoa. You started listening to my podcast or watching YouTube videos of me and Bulgaria in 2018 and now you're on Bulgaria and I am in the us Yeah.  


Michelle:    00:51:44    <laugh>. What's going on? I know it is. It's kind of crazy. Yeah.  


Kristin    00:51:49    You gotta get back out here  


Michelle:    00:51:50    <laugh>. Yeah. Oh  


Kristin    00:51:52    Yeah. I'm planning it in the next month. I'm gonna be gone.  


Michelle:    00:51:54    Yeah. <laugh>, we did wanna say thank you though, Kristin, because you really did help us kind of figure kind of this whole digital nomad thing out with your videos and I mean, it was just like such an inspiration to watch you and your videos and what you were doing. So yeah, it's been so helpful. Like yeah, it's been great.  


Kristin    00:52:13    Thank you so much. I'm gonna cry <laugh>. Well, where can people follow you guys on YouTube and on your blog so they can learn more about your story, get those travel guides and follow the journey?  


Michelle:    00:52:27    We are on YouTube at Wandering Hearts. H A R T Z. <laugh>. Yeah. Don't forget to z. Yeah, <laugh>. And our Instagram is the Wandering Hearts. Our website. Yeah, <laugh> our website. Yeah, our website is We're everywhere on social media, so that's worry. You can find us. We'll be there.  


Kristin    00:52:50    And in the Facebook group and the Badass Digital Nomads Facebook group. Yep.  


Michelle:    00:52:54    Yeah, that's it. Yeah, the Facebook group is awesome as  


Kristin    00:52:56    Well. We're hanging out in there. Okay, great. Well, I'll link to where people can follow you. And then also if listeners don't know, for each episode on at the bottom of the page, there's always a guest profile. So if you wanna get quick access, we have the links and the show notes. But also on the website you can find everybody's social media there too. So little secret and amazing. We'll tell everyone in Bansko that I said hello and sometimes people still send me, I have a picture on the wallet co-working Bansko cuz they have everyone's photos up there. And so sometimes people send me photos like, Hey Kristin, Kristin from 2018 is here. <laugh>.  


Michelle:    00:53:39    <laugh>. Oh funny. <laugh>.  


Kristin    00:53:43    So yeah, tell me when I said hi and hope to cross paths with you guys maybe at Traverse or if not the South of France. Sounds good to me.  


Michelle:    00:53:51    Let's do it. Yeah, come <laugh>, come and see us. We'd love to meet up with you. It would be so fun.  


Kristin    00:53:56    We'll do a video.  


Michelle:    00:53:58    Yeah, definitely. We've got plenty of camera gear for that. <laugh>. Yeah, to me too.  


Kristin    00:54:03    All right guys, well have a great night. Remember to unplug a little bit from work and don't stress out. Everything will work out and talk to you again soon.  


Michelle:    00:54:13    All right. Thank you so much, Kristin. Yeah, thank you, Kristin. Bye-bye.  


Kristin    00:54:19    Thanks for tuning in today. I hope you enjoyed listening to Michelle and Joel's story. And remember, you can join us over on for just $5 per month and join my inner circle community with access to monthly private zoom hangouts and also previews and sneak peaks of my YouTube videos. That's at Also linked in the show notes and see you again next week. 


Michelle & Joel HartzProfile Photo

Michelle & Joel Hartz

Travel Bloggers

We're Joel & Michelle aka The Wandering Hartz. We’re digital nomad travel bloggers currently traveling the world seeking new experiences, adventures, and satisfying our curiosity and wanderlust.

Travel has been a shared love ours since before we even met. Both of us have some of our fondest memories from family vacations in our youth. Michelle even moved to Ireland for a summer in her early 20’s and Joel had driven across the U.S. and visited 16 states prior to enlisting in the Air Force. When we both met Michelle was actually a travel agent!

Fast forward 11 years of saving and frugality so we could travel to places like Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, Czech Republic, and Hawaii. Then came 2019.

2019 saw a lot of changes, personally and professionally for us both.

Michelle unexpectedly lost her marketing job in commercial real estate and found herself quickly transitioning into self-employment.

Joel’s work as a film and video producer meant that his “office” was his laptop and his smart phone. His focus had shifted to him producing more film projects with a travel component, taking him to different parts of the United States and beyond.

With both of us now working from home, we quickly had the realization that this was going to be our new normal. It became quite evident we didn’t need to stay locked into one location any longer.

After a lot of discussions, questions, research, and evaluating our financial situation from every angle, we made the decision to sell our house, nearly everything we own and set out living a more minimalist nomadic lifestyle.

So how do we travel now? We prefer slow travel which allows us the opportunity to get acquainted with the local culture, meet new friends and explore the area. This also helps us provide authentic and useful travel tips and advice to our audience both on and our YouTube channel. We love to travel and to share our experiences and hopefully even inspire others to think a little bit differently about how to live and travel deeper.

Since we started our journey we have had a ton of roadblocks due to the pandemic but we keep pushing through and are finally exploring beyond our home county again!