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I move. A lot. Help make my admin easier.
June 2, 2014 11:30 PM   Subscribe

We move quite often - every 2 years or so. I have done it all my life, but usually within the same country.Over the past 5 years that has included 3 different countries, and it looks like for the next 6 years or so we are probably going to live in another 2 or 3 countries. Looking for tips on making our admin and daily living a bit easier.

We are Australians, but 'based out of' the UK. We will hopefully get UK citizenship in the next few years.We currently live in Germany, and next year are most likely moving to another EU country or Turkey (or maybe staying in Germany. Or maybe moving back to the UK. You get the gist.)
Due to husband's work, we can always have a UK address that delivers to wherever we are. Housing, gas and electric, all that kind of stuff is okay. But are there some things that could make life easier:

- We have a UK bank account (which we have to keep) and currently a German account, which doesn't have debit/credit card because that costs more (we have a piece of plastic we can use at the ATM but not a number for things like paying online). Since we are going to be moving around, is there a good 'pan-EU/pan-global' banking solution?
- Internet and mobile phones: the bane of my existence is setting up new internet, with contracts I then have to break because I leave the country after less that the minimum number of years and it can't be transferred. Any suggestions? I usually have pre-paid mobiles to get around this, but keep having to change numbers (I have a global roaming SIM for when I travel to places like Australia, but it is not all that cheap. But it is international. Is that the way to go?)
- I have a UK paypal account and a German paypal account. It would, quite frankly, be easier to have a US account. Is there a quasi legal way of doing this?
- As above - a few other things would be much easier if I could just have a US address with a debit/credit card attached. I don't have US friends :( so is there any other quasi-legal way of doing this?
- International media - I currently use smartydns so I can get BBC iplayer and hulu.com. I would consider VPN, but believe I would have to keep changing it to accept feeds from different countries/regions. Is that correct, or should I look in to VPN?
- I homeschool my son. In places like the UK there are great homeschool/home education networks so we can socialise with other people in the same situation. Not so much in other places - while we are allowed to do it, it is generally not legal to homeschoool in Germany for example, so no groups to meet with. Any suggestions?
- I know there is a real 'digital nomads' community out there, which is a bit different than our situation, but probably has some great tips we could use. However, so many of the blogs/websites I encounter are either a) scammy (wanting to sell me an ebook or program) b) wishful thinking or c) more about how awesome they are than helpful hints. Do you have any sites to recommend?

Willing to take on all and any suggestions for internationally nomadic living!
posted by Megami to Work & Money (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
At the very least it looks like you could keep one mobile for all of Europe without roaming charges thanks to upcoming European legislation. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26866966. I travel a lot in Europe and am very much looking forward to this.
posted by tractorfeed at 2:00 AM on June 3


Tunnelbear.com is a VPN plus client (Mac, Win, Linux, iOS, Android) which is stone easy to use: one switch for on/off; one switch for the country to tunnel through (includes UK, US, AU, CA, JN, NL and many more). 500 MB/month free no contract, low fees for more, unlimited available. It's a nifty ad for the VPN service, and well-liked among cord-cutters. I paid for one month to watch Olympics on BBC -- perfect.
posted by Jesse the K at 2:33 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


For international banking, look into AMFIE, if either you or your husband have a job that qualifies you for membership.
posted by penguinicity at 2:46 AM on June 3


I usually have pre-paid mobiles to get around this, but keep having to change numbers

You could have a skype number (Or similar) that you use as your permanent contact number and just forward it to your new phone each time. We have a 'home' phone that calls both our mobiles simultaneously and (obviously) separate numbers for our own cellphone. Funnelling the calls through Skype is a relatively cheap method and just give regular callers the direct number in addition. That way people will always be able to reach you (and official services get the skype/VOIP number) to ensure the stress out of changing numbers is gone.
posted by Brockles at 5:35 AM on June 3


For banking, check ABN AMRO. You'll have a debit card and a credit card and online banking with them.
posted by travelwithcats at 7:44 AM on June 3


- I homeschool my son. In places like the UK there are great homeschool/home education networks so we can socialise with other people in the same situation. Not so much in other places - while we are allowed to do it, it is generally not legal to homeschoool in Germany for example, so no groups to meet with. Any suggestions?

There are online groups for homeschoolers. Some of those have been good for me in the past. What is "good" varies over time and I am not in a position to recommend one right now. You can also be the force that joins and makes it a good support thing for yourself. Plus, from what I have seen, some homeschooling parents become the organizing force for meetups and the like locally. (I tried doing that and the local meetups thing did not really work out for me but the online groups thing went quite well for a number of years.)


- I know there is a real 'digital nomads' community out there, which is a bit different than our situation, but probably has some great tips we could use. However, so many of the blogs/websites I encounter are either a) scammy (wanting to sell me an ebook or program) b) wishful thinking or c) more about how awesome they are than helpful hints. Do you have any sites to recommend?

You could spend a bit of time on Hacker News. Here is one item that showed up on Hacker News: The Five Year Itch. I don't really follow his blog and I don't think he talks all that much about moving around. He talks about coding and other things that are of little interest to me but he is a legitimate business man and the blog generally does not carry advertising and isn't try to sell anything. (He has had advertising on it in the past as an experiment and he also had an incident where some plug-in he was using began inserting ads which caused him to remove the plug in. So, as far as I know, there is no intent to make any money directly off his blog, fwiw.)

But my main point is that sometimes these topics show up on Hacker News and they are not all "digital nomads." I have moved around a fair bit myself, but it was mostly as an American military wife which comes with a huge support infrastructure pre-installed, so I mostly was not needing to create my own support. After years of living that way, my life is fairly portable at this point, at least within the continental U.S.
posted by Michele in California at 10:56 AM on June 3


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