Caroline Makepeace: Turning Couples Travel into a Travel Blogging Career
Caroline Makepeace is co-founder of YTravelblog.com alongside her husband, Craig and their two daughters. Over 10 years they have built on the world's largest travel blogs by helping people travel more and create better memories. They've been traveling for 22 years and have lived in 5 countries and traveled to over 50.
Transcripts are automatically generated and may not be an 100% accurate transcription.
Nicole (Host): Welcome to the moving roadmap podcast powered by Avvinue. My name is Nicole, and I'll be your host for the show. In this episode, we're excited to introduce our guests, Caroline Makepeace, who is a cofounder of why travel blog.com alongside her husband, Craig and their two daughters. Over 10 years, they've built on the world's largest travel blogs by helping people travel more and create better memories.
They've been traveling for 22 years and have lived in five countries and traveled to over 50 countries. Welcome to the show, Caroline.
Caroline Makepeace: Thanks so much for having me
Nicole (Host): Amazing intro love what your family does altogether.
Caroline Makepeace: Yeah. It's pretty unique.
Nicole (Host): I love it. So tell us, okay. You've traveled. You've moved a lot.
Where are you originally from?
Caroline Makepeace: I'm originally from Australia. About an hour North of Sydney. And so, Australians tend to have quite a drive in desire to travel. And I think it comes from us feeling so separate from the rest of the world. So we went to get on out there and, and explore, what there is to offer and, and discover what's out there because we are so far away from, the rest of the world.
We tend to travel for longer periods and include living in other countries.
Nicole (Host): Love it, and completely makes sense. Australia, even planning to travel to Australia. It's like, alright, are you ready for that? Okay. Ready for that trip? So I'm really cool. Okay. So you're from Australia and. You've lived in five different countries.
So when was the first time you moved abroad and where?
Caroline Makepeace: Yes, I moved abroad when I was 21, three days after I graduated from university. So my brother had moved to London when I was 18. And yeah, I was just hearing so many of he's amazing stories of living in London and traveling throughout Europe. And then I knew that.
I want him to have similar experiences. So fortunately, because of my teaching degree and being Australian, I could get a work holiday for the UK and a working holiday visa for the UK. And so soon as I got that degree, I left and I traveled through India, Asia for a few months back packed with some girlfriends.
and then yeah, moved to London and I stayed there for, yeah, for nearly three years now I was teaching there and I also worked in the hospitality industry for extra cash.
Nicole (Host): Love it. This working holiday visa is amazing. Not every country has this, so envious of that, for sure, because it definitely opens up the opportunity to travel.
And I think at that time it's so important, right? Like you were 21 years old after university, so nice to be able to go and see the world, backpacking and then, you know, settling in, in another country. So.
Caroline Makepeace: Yeah, I was hooked. I, as soon as, as soon as I left, I knew this was, you know, I felt I wanted, I loved living in another country.
And so obviously I've, I've made it my sort of life path since then.
Nicole (Host): So after London, where did you head to next?
Caroline Makepeace: After London, I moved over to Dublin, just for a short scene. I was there for about three or four months working, just at a bar in Dublin and then I returned to Australia and that's when I met my husband, Craig, who was also very keen to travel.
And, so then when we got married two years later, again, three days after our wedding. We left to go overseas and ended up being on a five-year honeymoon. So together we lived in Bangkok and Dublin and did a bit of traveling in Africa and Europe and Southeast Asia. And then, moved over or came back and lived in Western Australia and then moved over to the U S.
Nicole (Host): Oh, my gosh. I love it. Five-year honeymoon sounds really good.
Caroline Makepeace: Oh, amazing. I mean, we worked along the way still. We were gone for five years and you know, the beauty of living in another country is it. It feels like, even though you may be working, it feels like you're having a vacation almost because you're living in a new place and every day is exciting and simple things like going to the grocery store is kind of like an adventure.
And we traveled a lot as we were living in the countries as well.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. And you know, it's like you, depending on where you move abroad to. You have so many neighboring countries and cities to explore very different from like, you know, being in Australia. Right. Like being in Dublin. Okay. Now you have like Europe and the US I mean, it's huge. Yeah, you have open doors which are easier traveling then. What you probably could in Australia.
Caroline Makepeace: Yeah, that's right. It's so, so much easier. And you know, if you, if you just travel on short vacations from Australia, I mean, it's crazy. It takes you almost a day to get anywhere. So to be able to do that long term travel makes better sense and financially as well, what we would do, we would live in countries that were.
Typically I'm expensive to travel through like the UK and the US. And so we'd earn the local currency and could explore it in a cheaper way as a local. And then once we saved enough money, we would go to the cheaper countries for extended travel. So we'd go to Africa. We were there for like six months in Southeast Asia for nearly a year.
So, that was just a really clever strategy to be able to travel for longer and deeper.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. So it sounds like the work you were doing was remote. So is this all through the blog?
Caroline Makepeace: No. So I, well, I would, I was teaching, living in other countries, teaching or a turtle. It was over 10 years all together.
And then in 2010, my husband and I started the travel blog because we are working holiday visas. We're running out. I, I no longer wanted to teach and, but we wanted to continue to travel. We wanted to still live where we, what we desired and continue to travel. So we started searching for other options and came across travel, blogging, and decided why not give it a go?
and 10 years later, here we are. So now we do have the freedom to, no, not have to rely on a job and can live and work from anywhere, but we're currently living in Raleigh. North Carolina. we love living here. And so we've just recently got a green card and we'll, we'll sit over here now.
Nicole (Host): That's amazing. Yeah, my goodness. Yes. That's amazing. and you know, just even being able to move and then having the travel blog, it takes a lot of time and dedication and a lot of learning different things, for launching your travel blog. So already 10 years, you probably have a lot of really great content.
Caroline Makepeace: Yeah. I think that was something that really helped us be successful with the travel book quite. quickly was that we did start it with already 10 years of travel experience and that experience involved long term travel living in other countries, solo travel couples travel. So we could launch with so much content already and already have that expertise and author authority status.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. That's amazing. so how long would you say it took you to feel ready to move? Let's say for your last move.
Caroline Makepeace: well, the, the last one, what w for us, I guess it's quite unique because I have been doing this since I was 21, and I made that decision when I was 21. I didn't have any responsibilities or any obstacles to hold me back.
It was pretty easy to decide, well, this is what I want. And then I could go and do it. And so. Once, once you kind of train yourself to do that and you see that as possible, then it's much easier to replicate each time. So I, I, since I've 21, I've, I've proven to myself and I believe that it's not as difficult as what your mind might tell you in it.
Most of the time, it's simply a matter of just committing to the decision and then things seem to unfold. So this last move, my husband and I moved back here in 2017. And. We had been planning for that to happen for many years, we knew that it was absolutely what we wanted to do. It was just a matter of, for us to get the right visas, to be able to legally come back.
So, I think pretty much what we have done for 22 years is really simplifying, minimizing our life so that when we decide, okay, we want to go and move here. We can turn it around in a matter of weeks saving, but typically just a few months.
Nicole (Host): I love how you just said that, you know, like planning, minimizing, your things and really just getting things in place, but even the fact how you said training yourself and realizing after that first move, that it's not as difficult. And I think a lot of people have a really hard time making that first.
Jump that leap of faith in that first move. Of course, for others that don't have like the working holiday visa option, it's like, okay, this is a really big decision. Should I do it? but once you commit to the decision and after you do it, you start noticing a lot of expats people moving abroad, do it more than once.
Cause they see like, you know what? I can do this again. Why not?
Caroline Makepeace: So I love how you said that. Yeah. Yeah. It's very empowering because you're kind of thrown into this. Would you just pretty much have to rely on yourself and when you do that, you're like, wow, gosh, I didn't realize I could do that. And I didn't realize how easy it was going to be.
And then it's just a matter of rinse. Repeat really.
Nicole (Host): Yes. It seems like your moves have gone really smoothly, but like, what were some of the challenges, in coordinating any of your moves? Was there a specific time, but you think that really was challenging for you?
Caroline Makepeace: Yeah, I think, when we were, finalizing my work opportunity.
When we came to the U S for the first time in 2004, I found the opportunity when I was teaching in Dublin. So I first applied, I was recruited by a company in the U S who recruits foreign teachers to expose the children in classrooms to other cultures. And so I applied. For it in Dublin. And I had my first phone interview in Dublin, but then my husband and I, we left Dublin to go and travel in Africa.
And so I'm having to, and then I ended up having an in person interview in Cape town, South Africa, and then we went back to Sydney. I had another interview there, but. During our time in Africa. Now, mind you, this was 2003, 2004. So the internet was the slowest you could ever imagine. I had to chase down work references, statements of work, police checks from all the other places I had taught in, which was multiple places in London, Dublin.
Sydney Bangkok. And that was really very nice, very challenging. And I thought this was never going to happen because to chase all that information down from Africa was challenging. So one thing I would say I recommend, I do anyone thinking through this, no matter what job you do, no matter where it is always just get a statement of reference.
and that's just outlying, kind of the time period you worked for the job that you had, et cetera, and then a work reference as well.
Nicole (Host): Really great tips. And I actually heard similar advice, but more related to like all of your finances and all of these paperwork, when moving abroad. And so that's really great because it can be really challenging, chasing down this information later.
Caroline Makepeace: So people switch out from their jobs all the time. So trying to find a contact from where you worked, whether it was five years ago. It's yeah. Very challenging.
Nicole (Host): Even companies close. So there could be a company you could have worked for closed down, and now you're trying to chase down paperwork.
Oh, my goodness. Yeah, that was like a nightmare. So definitely get a paper trail of everything you need because of somewhere down the line, you may need it for, for work. Great tip. What were some things you didn't expect to happen during your move?
Caroline Makepeace: You know, we didn't really have anything that kind of surprised or shocked us, I guess.
Beause we tried to keep things as simple as possible with each move. We didn't never really had a lot of belongings or anything. So we were just kind of moving into an area with our own, sort of backpack. So, yeah, I don't, I don't think, I guess the biggest surprising thing was that it was kind of so easy really that things would just line up pretty simply for us and how easy and quickly you could just figure things out.
Nicole (Host): Yeah. It probably has a lot to do with the mindset that you had just since you were 21. Yeah. It makes such a big difference. but you know what, a lot of times, that's not what you expect, what you expect it to be difficult. And in some cases it's easy. So I like hearing that, that side. So now looking back and you've moved, lived in different countries.
What advice would you give to someone who's considering moving abroad? Because I know we have a lot of listeners that are trying to make that first leap into expert life. So what advice would you give to them?
Caroline Makepeace: Firstly, I would look to. Whereas people who've already done it because, you know, as we've spoken about when we have in our mind that it's so difficult and I can't do it, et cetera, but my, one of my mantras in life is if someone else.
Can do it. It's proof that I can do it. And so all I have to do then is go and find out what they did and how they did it and replicate that. So I think that will, if you do that, that will give you a lot of confidence. there's a lot of information online now. Like when I was doing it, there was obviously nothing.
I don't even think the internet was there. So we had to sort of just, we're pretty much figuring out on our own. So you can easily find information online for the steps you need to take and what you need to look out for and how you need to prepare. One thing I do advise is for me, what made it kind of, I guess, easier to make the leap was that I organized work before I moved over to the country.
This was, when I moved to Dublin, I just showed up and went door knocking and found work that way. but. I moved to London with my teaching degree, I had done my research. I had figured out that they would hire Australian teachers and get paid decently and you could just do substitute teaching.
So I'd already had it. Interviews before I left, same with the USA. I had joined this company. So that gives you a lot of security. And also with that, you may get extra perks or benefits. So the company that recruited me in the US they paid for our flight over. They gave us a relocation loan, so that made it a lot easier and they helped us figure out.
Caroline Makepeace: very handy, if you can find benefits in a job that way before you move the same with Thailand. When we taught in English, in Bangkok, they provided accommodation. Now it was space, but it was fine. It was perfect. So just looking for those little perks, is really a great way to do it.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. If you can add that negotiation in from the beginning better, it will be so much easier. having some kind of corporate relocation package or any of those benefits, definitely try to get those.
Caroline Makepeace: Yeah. And they may, and they may also have a community like the US teaching job. They were obviously recruiting teachers from around the world.
So we all came over here at the same time. We had an orientation week, so we. Arrived here and instantly met a group of people who were on a similar path to us. So that helped us settle in a lot faster as well. so I mean, you can do that if you're working with a company and they have a community, you can have access to that.
But if not, you can join many groups online. meetup groups. I know there are lots of Australian Australians living in America groups on Facebook. And so, you could find something similar for your own, for your own country and whatever place you're intending to move to.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. Some of the best people I've already met.
Living abroad has been from different events that I saw on Facebook, Facebook groups and things like that. So it's such a great way to, to start building your own community when you're moving abroad.
Caroline Makepeace: Yes, absolutely. And don't forget to define that community of local people too, because you're living in another country for the experience of being immersed in another culture.
So it's great to have those similar connections with people who may be from the same culture as you, but it's even better. If you get out and form friendships with those from within the culture you're living in.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. I once heard too, is like, it's a fine balance between a community with expats and then locals, and just trying to like navigate your way in and find yourself within those communities and trying to see, you know, what best, you know, could a kid help you in building out your, your own community while abroad.
So it's, It's a journey in itself. Yes. Now I love hearing your story and just seeing you've moved around, different countries, your family, all in some way, like traveling together and you share that on your blog, which is amazing because those who are listening are going to be able to follow your journey.
Some tips that you have, places that you visited. But now I like to wrap things up. With a tricky question. Oh, all the places that you've been where's the best city you visited?
Caroline Makepeace: Cape town, South Africa.
Nicole (Host): Oh, this is two times today. I've heard someone say, Cape town.
Caroline Makepeace: I mean, just beautiful, like so beautiful.
And just you have access to everything. They need the wine regions, the beaches, the animals. It's a spectacular place to visit.
Nicole (Host): Love it. Thanks for sharing that. So, it was so easy for you. I like to trick people up, but I guess you just knew.
Caroline Makepeace: I just know we've saved. People ask me my favorite country.
That's a little harder, but my favorite city? Yeah, definitely kicked him. Hello.
Nicole (Host): So how can our listeners find you on social?
Caroline Makepeace: Sure. You can find us on @YTravelBlog. That's the letter YTravelBlog and that's where I’m on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook. Pinterest Twitter. All of them.
Nicole (Host): Love it. Well, we'll definitely be following along your journey and thank you for sharing your story with us, Caroline.
Of course, this is not the whole story. We just touch a little, a little tiny piece of it. So thank you so much for sharing with us, and we're excited to have you on the show.
Caroline Makepeace: Thanks so much for having me. It's always fun to talk about it.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. Thank you so much, Caroline.
Caroline Makepeace: Bye.