Hey guys! I hope you’re enjoying this transition into fall. It’s really strange experiencing my first autumn in Costa Rica. It’s as if my head has not yet fully comprehended that it is not going to get cold. I keep having millisecond thoughts of “Oh I can’t wait for pumpkin beers and sweaters” and then I realize haha noooo. I live in constant warm weather. It’s not like I’m complaining. I love it, but it’s still strange to adjust to. Anyway, good stuff (but a bit short) for you today. I’ll explain why it’s short in a minute. 🙂
Fab Food: For anyone that personally knows me, you know I’m a feeder. I don’t know how I ended up that way because my parents aren’t like this, but I feel the need to feed people. It’s not unusual for people to come over for a night of drinking and find a full buffet prepared. It’s just kinda my thing.
Anyway, living abroad and traveling a lot often means living on a tight budget. I’ve been asked recently how I manage to cook such great food on a tight budget.
If you are a bit of a feeder too, here are some tips for you to save money while entertaining often.
-I buy all my fruits, vegetables, eggs, herbs at the farmer’s market every Saturday. I highly suggest you do the same. Find out where your nearest farmers market is and make an effort to go every week. Not only will you save a lot of money, you’ll get quality products and support local farmers. Here in Costa Rica I can spend on average $12 a week for watermelon, eggs, tomatoes, peppers, pineapple, lettuce, cilantro, mint, limes, eggplant, spinach, onions and cucumbers. We also always make an effort to buy one fruit we’ve never seen before as a fun experience.
-Try to eat simpler. I’ve been cooking a lot of Mexican lately, which is super cheap (and people are always impressed by it). I just throw whatever meat I have in a frying pan with onions and peppers and some seasoning. With that as your base you can do anything! For parties I usually make quesidillas. I mix my frying pan mix with some light cream cheese, jalapenos and cheddar. I spread this mixture on half a tortilla, fold it over, and put it in a clean un-oiled pan and cook it till both sides are lightly brown and crispy (watch it though, they can burn fast). Make some guac and salsa on the side with some tortilla chips and you’re good to go. You can also do a burrito bar. Just put everything out in separate bowls and let everyone fill their own burritos.
It’s so cheap and potentially somewhat healthy to feed a ton of people this way and I guarantee they’ll be impressed.
Big Changes: I’m doing some serious changes on The Wanderlanders which I’d like to outline a bit for you all. My goal has always been to make this a place for all of you. I want it to be a place where you can get advice from other people who have been through expat life, share struggles and triumphs, inspire each other, and basically just live your dream life abroad. Lately, I’ve been struggling how to effectively make that happen. So after some serious research and planning, I’ve devised a plan.
-I (just yesterday) installed a forum on the site. You can find it under the tab “Chat” on the toolbar. I’m still working out some kinks in the system (trust me coding and html is not my specialty) but soon it will be up and running smoothly. There will be a separate chat for every country as well as a general chat to talk about general expat life. This will be such a good place for you to connect with others. I thought about just having the chat on Facebook so it is easily accessible to all of you, but with Facebook I don’t have the option of dividing the chat into different categories.
-I installed a place for people to post job listings. Check it out under “Work” in the header. I want an easy place for you all to search for excellent jobs. At the moment it is free to post jobs, but I may have to charge at some point to keep spammers out. I will be contacting a bunch of companies in the next weeks to give them the option of posting their jobs.
-I am in the process of contacting A TON of expat bloggers to be included on the site. I’ve spent a ridiculous time this past week going through tons of blogs that are written by amazing bloggers throughout the world. My goal is to find blogs that are about a expat life in a specific country, frequently updated, will really help you, set-up well, and written by super cool people you’ll love. The blogs I’ve selected are the best of the best. I will start contacting these bloggers early next week to include them in an expat blog directory I’m putting together. This directory is going to be awesome and will be such a great resource for you all. I’m also going to try to get as many of these bloggers as possible to take part in Expat Interviews (because I and you all have seemed to really enjoy these interviews). If you know of any blogs I should consider, please let me know.
-Further down the line (as you can see I’m a bit overwhelmed this week) every country will have a separate page. On these pages you will be able to find info specific to whichever country you are interested in moving to. This info will include the separate chat for that specific country, recent articles about life in that country, expat interviews, visa info, and resources (health insurance, moving companies, lawyers, rental companies etc).
As you can see I have big plans, but it is a bit much for one person to take on. I guess I’m a tad over ambitious. Anyway, this is why I haven’t been posting much recently.
And on that note, if any of you are interested in contributing articles please comment or email me firstname.lastname@example.org I love contributions and I have found it to be great publicity for you as well. I’m working on a system where you can submit articles straight to the site for my approval which will include nice little author bios on The Wanderlanders, but as with everything at the moment, it’s a work in progress. 🙂
Anyway, I just wanted to keep you all up to date and ask you for your feedback. Please tell me what you would like to see on this site. After all, this is your place, I’m just creating it. I appreciate all the comments you can contribute on this point.
Have a great weekend everyone! I’m off to work on this Chat today and then planning on spending the weekend outside with some sangria. Tough life man. 🙂