Hi everyone, my name is Mike Swigunski and I am a bestselling author of Global Career: How to Work Anywhere and Travel Forever.
The book provides a blueprint for how to work abroad, travel long-term and find legitimate remote/international jobs. Global Career was inspired by my journey of working, studying, and traveling around the world for the last 10+ years which has taken me to over 75+ countries. I have physically worked multiple international jobs in the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, etc. and now I work 100% remotely from anywhere with decent WiFi.
Global Career and my story have been featured in multiple publications like Forbes and Entrepreneur.com and my primary goal is to help people that are interested in working/traveling for a sustainable period of time while advancing their career.
I would love to answer any questions for the next 24 hours regarding anything travel-related, living/working overseas, remote work, entrepreneurship, photography or anything else. Feel free to ask me anything!
Edit #1: Thanks so much for all the awesome questions, I'll be here on/off for the next 24 hours so keep them coming! Also, I had a few people ask about remote jobs and I built a Remote Jobs website for mostly non-technical jobs: https://globalcareer.io/remote-jobs/
Lastly, big thanks for the Silver award, you kind stranger!! :-)
Edit #2: Wow, thanks so much for the Gold, you guys rock and keep the questions coming!!! I also forgot to mention that my book is on sale for September 9th (9-9) for the next 24 hours for $0.99 Cents: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KQNJFQQ
Edit #3 I am still online and happy to keep answering any questions and promise to try and answer every legitimate question I receive.
How many languages do you know?
Right now Spanish is the 2nd language I speak the best, but English goes really far when you travel. I do know a bit of Korean, Czech and Italian. Even just knowing the 10-15 most common expressions/phrases can go a really long way, but one of the most important things is to polish up your "body language" since it's international. A smile, laugh and good demeanor can help you through almost any situation! :)
What is the easiest way for someone to get started with finding remote work?
There are a ton of great ways to get started with remote work, we actually have a great source of Non-Technical Remote jobs at: https://globalcareer.io and post new jobs every day.
Getting started might seem difficult, but I recommend a few things that can really help.
1. Assessing your skills and seeing if you can provide value with freelancing. Writing or teaching are two great way to build a remote freelance portfolio and UpWork is a great platform to get started.
2. I highly suggest taking free courses like Hubspot for Marketing, Google Analytics/Ads, Facebook Ads, etc. There are a ton of good free online courses in almost any industry and a lot of great resources on YouTube
3. Once you have some skills and know what path you would like to pursue, look at current job postings in the industry you want to work in and start working towards building up those skillsets and applying for jobs even if they seem a tad out of your reach. Most employers will be looking at soft skills in addition to your experience, drive, motivation, etc.
In the Forbes article you mentioned your biggest challenges are SEO, driving traffic, and creating brand awareness. At that time your email list was around 40K. How exactly did you get to that number in the first place and what is your strategy going forward?
Thanks for checking out the article! We have primarily grown the list with viral giveaways. This is done by strategically partnering with brands in the travel niche that meet a similar demographic to ours. We have given away a lot of free trips to Bali, South Africa, etc and this has worked really well for pushing us forward to where we are at now.
Moving forward, the plan is to continue providing valuable/education content surrounding remote/international work, sourcing press on relatable topics and trying to provide core services for our audience to make working remote as easy as possible.
What was the hardest/most annoying part of your travels?
I think sometimes the most difficult or frustrating parts with travel can often be the simplest things. For example, trying to print documents, do laundry, get a sim card working...these things that might be very simple in your home country, but come with an added layer in foreign countries. Maybe you don't have the local documents to get a sim card or the particular country doesn't offer many options for doing laundry.
Overall though, travel teaches you to kind of just go with the flow in any situation and try not to get annoyed even when things don't go to plan.
What is your favorite country to work remote in? Why?
I would say these 3 are my favorite places to work remotely around the world, in no specific order:
First of all, your mother is a saint for donating her body to science. My grandmother did this after she passed from lung cancer, and my mother , who is currently battling type 4 cancer as well, is considering doing the same. It is, in my opinion, the ultimate gift to mankind; to provide a new generations of doctors, pathologists and scientists the ability to understand such a horrible disease. ♥️
Second of all, and I feel tacky asking this, but I just got to know ... what’s the average salary for jobs like this? I’m middle aged, so I won’t be embarking on this nomadic endeavor, but I cant help but feel that this lifestyle is best for a young person with no debt, no urgent need for retirement savings and no worries of medical insurance. ( If they are in a country where it is not provided. )
Many thanks for any clarification!
Thanks so much for the sweet comment. Yes - my Mom was a saint for sure and it is something that can hopefully help in the long term fight against cancer. I am very sorry to hear that your mother has lung cancer and I wish her the best!
Don't worry at all, I know this is a very important thing to consider when living overseas. I do want to state that a lot of people get hung up on salary, but it's more important to factor in "Savings Potential" since a lot of times the cost of living is way more affordable overseas and sometimes people can retire at a much younger age due to this.
General ball-park salaries vary a lot depending on your skills, industry, experience etc, but the majority of jobs we post on Global Career are in the range of $50k-$80k a year and a lot of them include awesome benefits like medical, dental, vision 4-5 weeks vacation, etc.
How long do you think you'll continue this lifestyle? It sounds wonderful, by the way.
That's a great question and I don't really see any time of slowing down in the near future. The more I travel the longer my list of places to visit gets and I learn about so many cool experiences and places I really want to see. For me, I prefer to slow travel and spend a few months in a "hub" and do weekend trips from that location, I think this is a much more sustainable way to work/travel and plan on continuing to do this for as long as possible!
What keywords do you search in google to find the best work location of a city?
Great question, a lot of times I normally join the local city Facebook group which is normally like "Expats + City Name" or "Digital Nomads + City Name" or I'll just head over to google and search for something like "Co-Working + City Name"
One of the great things about co-working locations, is they normally offer a free trial day, so you can check out the venue and get a feel for the vibe and community before committing to any type of long term plan.
Another good resource for finding this type of info for cities: https://nomadlist.com/
I just wanted to know if you ever visited Brazil and what was your favorite part about it?
Yes - I did get a chance to visit Rio, Brazil for Carnival festival. The highlight for me was the Beatles festival that had songs set to Brazilian samba! Overall, the atmosphere and landscape in Rio were really beautiful and we had a great hike to the Two Brothers Mountain Lookout. Also, was a huge fan of the overall atmosphere and loved eating Acai every day!
How do you get around social security numbers and local taxes?
This is a complex answer and really depends on what country you are going to be working in. For example, when I worked in New Zealand and Australia, I used their local online system to file taxes. It's all pretty straight-forward since you have a tax ID (similar to a social security #) and it's linked to your bank account.
Working remotely has a few really great tax incentives, primarily the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion provided by the IRS allows you to not have to pay income taxes (up to $105k) if you spend more than 330 days outside of the USA. There are a few other stipulations though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_earned_income_exclusion
*Note: I am not a financial advisor and the advice here given is not financial or tax advice.
Interesting questions and answers so far! If you were to sum up the lessons you have learned from your travels into a couple of sentences or so, what would you say? Is this possible? Also, how long do you like to stay in one country usually?
Thanks for the great question!
Have you developed a feeling of homesickness? Like when you’re traveling from one place to another is there a place that you miss?
Yeah - there are definitely moments where I miss family/friends, but luckily technology like video chatting and texting makes it extremely easy to stay connected. Overall though, I try to spend 3-4 weeks with family and friends either in the USA or at some destination overseas. I am a very active/social person, so creating a community wherever I am living is extremely important for me and I have made some really amazing friends while living overseas. It's realtively easy, since most other expats are in the same situation and have a lot of the same interests/passions.
I am actually in a long-term relationship for over 2.5 years. My girlfriend is from Colombia and I have helped her find remote work so we can live/work from anywhere! We have a lot of the same passions/desire for travel, so it's a great relationship. As far as family goals, I think it's not going to happen in the near future since neither of us are in a hurry to start a family.
Hi! I've been looking into this kind of lifestyle recently and hadn't heard of your book, but it seems like exactly the type of resource I've been looking for so thank you!
From my (admittedly limited) research so far it seems like the biggest obstacle to the work/travel lifestyle is obtaining work visas for the country/countries you aim to work/live in. Is this as much of an issue as it seems, or is there something I'm missing that makes it simpler than it seems on the surface?
Yes - the visa situation can be a bit of a hurdle and a lot depends on what country you are from?
If you decide to work locally, then it’s for sure the biggest obstacle and that’s why I built this page for American Working Holiday Visas: https://globalcareerbook.com/whv
There are still a lot of other countries that are elegible to use similar visas (UK, Canada Australia, New Zealand, etc)
If you decide to find a remote job, things get a bit easier since you are technically work anywhere as tourist and have a job in your home country.
almost all places (especially developed/advanced/to) places need a work visa, what do you, or what do most ppl, do about this?
It really depends whether you are working "remotely" or trying to find a local job.
If you are working remotely, then you are technically a tourist and they aren't concerned about you potentially taking jobs from locals. In this case, the easiest path is to get a tourist visa and there are a ton of options to extend this if you find a place you really enjoy.
If you are looking to work locally, then yes you will need a Work Visa, I go in-depth in my book about all of the countries that allow this and even built this page to outline the opportunities for Americans to work easily in other countries: https://globalcareerbook.com/whv/
Let me know if you would like me to elaborate, since the options vary greatly depending on your home country! :)
Hey there, some of the big drivers of traffic to my site are my email list of 45,000 active subscribers and this in addition to SEO is what most partners want in a giveaway. It's not 100% free either, I guarantee that the contest will get X amount of subscribers from my link + approx. $200-300 to add into the contents. Let me know if that's clears things up, it's normally a group of 4-5 companies who all pitch in different amounts of prize money and promo guarantees!
the logistics of various places/nations seems/appears to be the hardest pain/challenge overall
by this, i mean the electric outlet, the banks etc.
im specifically am talking about developed nations (and not underdeveloped ones)
have ya found any common solutions to any of this or do we need to set all the logistical type stuff up again and again? are there any common thing that does need to be set up again and again or this is not really an issue?
I travel with one carry-on backpack, which makes things very easy and I only have a few devices that need charging. Simplifying or minimizing your "objects" can make life a lot easier and especially when you travel!
Also, I would say one of the more annoying things was getting sim cards/internet in every new country, so Google Fi is a great solution for that since it works in 170+ countries
People always say traveling broadens your horizons and it changes you as a person.
Do you believe this? And if so, how have you changed specifically from traveling?
I 100% agree with this statement about "broadening your horizons" and I would say it's not necessarily "changed me" but really solidified a lot of my thoughts and outlook on life. For example, I have always been an active/outgoing/social person, but things like solo-traveling, hitch-hiking, couch-surfing have even pushed me beyond some areas where I was a bit out of my comfort zone and I think that's an extremely important thing in travel, to expand on things you love and try to grow in areas and directions that you want, even if they are unfamiliar.
what's your most favourite and least favourite place you've been to, and why? what exactly did you do there?
I would say my least favorite place is Andorra, everything was closed when we went and there honestly wasn't much going on while we were there. Overall it's still a beautiful country, but I think it was bad timing on our part.
My favorite place is Prague since it's one of the most beautiful cities I've been too, is a really great value, centrally located to visit a lot of other cool cities (Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Etc), the history and architecture is fascinating, food is great and people are awesome!
what's the most memorable thing you've done in any of the places you've been to? and why?
I would say building a memorial for my mother on the John Lennon wall in Prague, my mother passed away from breast cancer and donated her body to scientific research, so she never had a memorial or anything. That's why I designed and constructed this memorial for her in Prague: https://swigmeetsworld.com/off-the-beaten-path-in-prague/
It's a very special place and will always be one of the most memorable things I've done.
I spent a semester in London while attending college. I tried to see all of the "cool" non tourist attractions. What is your favorite London Underground station?
I love London and really enjoyed being able to to explore all around the UK over a few months. I would say my favorite station is St. Pancras International, since the architecture is stunning!
How often do you get called Mike Wazowski?!?
OMG, so glad you asked this! When Monster's inc came out, I was like really expecting this and it's only happened a couple of times and awkwardly in a work interview. Most people call me "Swig" due to the length/complexity of my last name, so it doesn't happen as much as possible! 😂
do you rank places to live/work, or do you focus on specific places?
how do/did you go about choosing the places to go?
I definitely have personal preferences on places I really enjoy working/living from and they normally have a few factors like: weather, cost of living, community, value, time-zone, etc.
One of the great things about working remotely is you meet a lot of other people doing the same thing, the community is extremely helpful and it's always a great way to learn about new cities that are great places to work remotely and my list keeps growing! Also, Nomad List does a great job for comparing cities: https://nomadlist.com/
I posted this earlier, which is a great shortlist:
seems like you have no youtubes interviews etc yet, so i have no prior knowledge of you or this, so
do you mainly list jobs, or do you mainly talk about how to find jobs? (that somehow advance a person's career). i havent read the amaz reviews yet and dont know if someone already answered this
Yeah - no worries at all, everything is still fairly fresh since Global Career is less than a year old. One of the best pieces of coverage is from Forbes, but I do plan on creating more content and videos on YouTube since I really think this is a great way to educate people about the opportunities of working remotely and help people find jobs.
Overall it is a combination of listing jobs and discussing how people can easily work remotely and international jobs. My book also discusses opportunities for studying and international internships!
Wow kind and very handsome, are you always like this?
Kindness is free and one of the most important things in life!
Great, so you're probably aware of the laws you're breaking if you work without a permit in those countries. In any case, I've been living abroad a year and a half and am now homeless because of permit hiccups and racist Eastern Europeans. How do you plan to help me?
Every time I have worked abroad, I have followed the correct laws/regulations and done everything by the book. For example, I was on a working holiday visa in Australia/New Zealand and have used visa lawyers in the past to do things 100% legally. I suggest consulting with a local lawyer to help with any issues you are experiencing and hope you can rectify it.
do you have a list, spreadsheet, youtube, etc of your best fav experiences from live/work elsewhere?
I don't have any master list of all of this, but I did a pretty extensive interview here highlighting a lot of travel questions: https://www.johnnyjet.com/travel-style-mike-swigunski/
But overall, some of my favorite experiences come from working internationally and really connecting with friends from all over the world!
Have you ever felt unsafe while traveling? Are there certain places that you tend to stay away from? I’ve only been out of the USA once and I had an amazing experience, but I’ve heard stories of the dangers of traveling to certain places.
I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri which have a few very unsafe areas, but you learn to avoid a lot of those high-risk areas and scenarios which reduce your risks a lot. Here in Medellin, Colombia there are a lot of high-risk areas, but I tend to avoid them. Common sense goes a long way when traveling and just doing a bit of research can help. Overall, though I normally feel very safe when traveling!
what did you mainly do in the other nations?
just knowing the 10-15 most common expressions/phrases can go a really long way,
one thing it seems like you didnt want to do was learn other langs to be able to speak with the locals in their langs (but learning langs is very costly expensive overall)
Yeah - we are a bit lucky knowing English and it honestly gets you really far in almost every country. If another person is going to speak a second language, it's a good chance that will be English.
what is the best thing you'd say about the top things about why someone/anyone should NOT live/work elsewhere? that this isn't for them?
I know travel/living overseas is not everyone's goal and not everyone wants that in their life, which is totally great, but if someone is interested I would suggest at least spending a few months overseas to see if they enjoy it. I highly suggest walking before you run!
You claim to be some master travel expert but referred to Czechia by it's incorrect name. Why should we trust you?
The "Czech Republic" is still the official name, but they adopted an official short name "Czechia." I was just in Prague for a few months and asked my local friends/colleagues about the name change, the majority of people don't love the new name "Czechia" and prefer the Czech Republic.
these media articles seems to be about hiring ppl for remote work? is that basically the kind of jobs you're about?
How many books need to be sold to qualify yourself as a "best selling author"?
It really varies depending on the category and it is updated every hour, usually when I’ve gotten the best seller badge on Amazon, it’s been when I’ve sold 100+ books in a few hours.
So I work in sales, can I be a travelling sales guy?
Absolutely, there are a ton of remote jobs that require sales skills. Here is a good example: https://globalcareer.io/job/sales-development-representative-sdr/
I have to ask, have you ever been to Portugal?
Yes I spent some time in Porto and absolutely loved the people, beaches, wine/food, etc. I really want to spend more time in Portugal! Are you from there?
Do you know where your towel is?
I am not sure what this means, could you elaborate, please? lol
Isn’t the secret to this type of lifestyle, writing a book about this type of lifestyle to maintain the lifestyle? I don’t mean this negatively. It just seems everyone who has a secret way to live. Also has a book.
I wouldn't say there are really any "secrets" to travel, it boils down to making travel one of your top priorities and nothing else can get in the way after you truly make it that important in your life.
The primary reason I created the book was to help give people access to what has worked well for me and position it in a way that can be applicable to anyone. No secret formula, just proof of concepts with a lot of resources and a blueprint to work/travel long-term! A book is just one of the best formats to distribute this to a widespread audience.
I've done 4 giveaways in 2019 and plan to do at least one more. They are very effective, if you have the right brand partners, giveaway prizes and business that fits your growth strategy.
i have no knowledge of anything of your background, what initially inspired the live/work in other places? (i actually have been prepping to do the same thing, but i was thinking 4 years max maybe but no idea)
aside from what initially inspired this, what mainly inspired you live/work elsewhere?
I originally got the travel bug after taking a trip to Italy with my family around the age of 19 and decided to Study Abroad the next year in Italy. After this, I was hooked and knew I wanted to do this long-term, so I applied for a Study Abroad Student Manager program through the University of Missouri and was selected to run the study abroad program for Prague over the course of two years while I was still studying. This gave me a lot of experience teaching, marketing, managing students and planning travel! As I was about to graduate from university, my mother passed away about two weeks before I was supposed to leave for the final summer session. It was devastating, but it really put things in perspective for me and I decided to pursue my dreams/passion instead of taking a normal route.
The great thing about travel is it introduces you to other like-minded people who are also working/traveling, which is a great factor for inspiration!
Have you had any weird encounters while traveling?
I think I am the type of person that enjoys weird/awkward encounters and they are just kind of normalized, but I have tons of funny stories. Somethings that come to mind are "the world is really small" type of stories, where I've met people randomly and it turns out we have mutual friends or even running into people unexpectedly that I knew from High School randomly in Paris. I think some of the weirdest encounters is when I've met people unexpectedly in Europe and then randomly again Australia, both times unplanned!