Dr. Liz Shuler's journey as a traveling therapist began when her husband received a job offer overseas, leading them to live in countries like Jordan and China before settling in Belgium for his studies. Liz's path in mental health counseling, international school counseling, and eventually opening her own practice in Belgium illustrates the flexibility and adaptability required in her field. Her experience showcases the importance of navigating legal and regulatory landscapes in different countries, highlighting how laws vary significantly from one place to another and the necessity for therapists to adapt to these differences while maintaining their practice.

In Belgium, Liz encountered a complex bureaucratic system that challenged her professional credentials and required her to navigate through extensive paperwork to continue her practice legally. Her determination led her to find a loophole that allowed her to practice as a psychotherapist due to her experience before 2016. Liz's story is not just about the challenges of international practice but also about the opportunities it presents, such as her involvement in psychedelic integration coaching and her use of platforms like Insight Timer to reach a broader audience. This tale is a testament to the innovative approaches therapists can take to adapt their practices to new environments while exploring unique specializations.

Episode Key Points:

About Dr. Elizabeth Shuler: 

Dr. Elizabeth Shuler have been at the bottom. She knows what it is like to feel worthless and hopeless. She also know that, like her, you have everything you need inside you to find hope and crawl out of the darkness. It just takes a little help. 

Since 2015, Dr. Liz have lived abroad, starting in Jordan, moving to China, and finally ending up in Belgium. As an international school counselor by day, she worked with international students, parents, and professionals dealing with transition, culture shock, and burnout on top of all of the other life stressors that come along. As a coach and therapist by night, Dr. Liz saw many international professionals who didn't feel like enough, thought they were too sensitive, or who wanted to find personal and professional fulfillment. Now, she is a psychotherapist, coach, and yoga therapist living and working in Belgium.

Dr. Liz completed a Master's of Science in Mental Health Counseling in 2014, Yoga Teacher certification & Reiki Master certification in 2015, and PsyD & Yoga Therapy certification in 2023.

Connect with Dr. Liz:

Counseling Website: www.innerevolutioncounseling.com

Coaching Website: www.innerevolutioncoach.com

Free Meditations: https://insig.ht/tpV4SbMvaGb

Blog: https://innerevolution.substack.com/

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

The Traveling Therapist Membership:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/travelingtherapistmembership

Revolutionize Your Private Practice with AI Course:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/ai

Signup to learn more about life as Traveling Therapist:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/l2v7c3

The Traveling Therapist Facebook Group: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlineandtraveling/

Bill Like A Boss Insurance Billing Community:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/blab

Subscribe to the Podcast:

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TRANSCRIPT:

@0:02 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

this meeting is being recorded this is my note-taker recording this isn't the episode recording just so you know all right no problem yeah I like to just say hi and just talk to you little bit before we get started but thanks for being here yeah no problem thanks for inviting me yeah I need to move this video around a little bit okay do it right it's it's been a crazy month for me but it's good so where are you I was reading your notes real quick before this it says you're out of the country but I wasn't sure where you are actually currently I'm in Belgium oh my gosh that's awesome yeah we just moved well we've been here like nine months we moved in June of 2023 oh wow okay yeah so are you you just move around to places or is there reason like you go to these different places is it yeah we

first moved to Jordan for my partner's job.

@1:04 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay, I started working as an international school counselor. And then we moved to China for my job.

@1:11 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay, oh my gosh.

@1:13 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, and then we moved to Belgium because he wanted to go back to school. And so it's like we switch off.

@1:18 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

That's so cool, though. Yeah, how interesting. Yeah, is he American or is he from somewhere else?

@1:25 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, we're both from Wyoming actually.

@1:27 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, wow.

@1:27 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay.

@1:28 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

I love that story. Um, okay, so it's just super casual. Like I never really have a game plan. just like to kind of chit chat really just whatever comes up.

Is there anything you don't want to talk about or is it all pretty open?

@1:44 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay, no, I'm an open book.

@1:46 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay, and I saw that you've got stuff on insight timer.

@1:49 - Dr. Liz Shuler

That's so I can record them and they're free, but I also get a little bit for

@2:00 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

each play. so it's, you know, a give and take, which I think is great. That's really cool. Yeah, I've got, um, I have hypnosis sessions on Etsy and I used to have hypnosis apps on the, in the app stores.

Um, but they recently got taken down because the, the code was so old and I couldn't find anybody to update it.

It's a long story, but anyway, yeah. But so it's just neat to see somebody else doing that. thought that was really cool.

like, well, what's that insight timer? That's awesome. That's like a really cool platform. Um, okay. So is there anything you want to talk about or promote or anything like that while we're, or you just want to share your story?

@2:37 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, no, I just, I, on the Facebook group, I know a lot of people were interested in how I was able to legally practice here in Belgium and it's kind of a convoluted story.

@2:47 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

yeah, that'd be great to talk about. That'd be really cool. Okay. All right. Well, um, I'll hit record, but everything is just editable.

We can totally pause or anything. Let me take out and just tell me. and all that good stuff. Okay, but it's just super laid back.

All right, let's see, and I'm in this weird like Airbnb. I've got kind of microphone just sitting here, so if I knock anything over there with me.

All right, so let's see, let me hit record. I'm just gonna do a little intro, and then I always say, how'd you go from being a traditional therapist to traveling therapist, then we're just gonna kick it off from there.

Okay, all right, let me make sure I hit record. Hi, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast.

I have a really cool guest here today. I'm really excited to share her story. know it's gonna help a lot of people get inspired and, you know, move to different places and learn how to navigate that, so I'd now I'm gonna say your name wrong too.

I should ask you before you. Dr. Schuller is here with us. Is that right? So Liz, thanks for being here.

I love you. of you would love if you'd open up and just tell us like how did you go from being a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist?

@4:06 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Right. So I got my master's degree in mental health counseling in 2014 and about year after that I want to say yeah because it was a late 2015 my husband got a job offer overseas.

Wow yeah and it was kind of a weird it's a weird thing we moved to Jordan which is in the Middle East and he's a brewer so he was brewing beer in the Middle East yeah it was kind of crazy thing oh my gosh that was the job to go brew beer in the Middle East oh that's amazing yeah and so it was something we couldn't pass up and it was kind of a quick thing so from the time he accepted the job offer two months later we were in Jordan and gosh yeah yeah so I was still actually accruing my hours for full licensure and I needed to find something

that wasn't private practice because that's what I was doing back in Wyoming. I was doing private practice to accrue my hours and I found an international counseling community.

So there's in a lot of international hubs, they have like peer consultation groups and things that kind of pop up and it's really awesome and they helped me find a job opening at towards your hours.

Yep, it sure did.

@5:32 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh my gosh. Wow.

@5:34 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, everything worked out amazingly. I also in that group found a supervisor who was from Wyoming.

@5:41 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh my gosh.

@5:43 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, so a lot of coincidences.

@5:46 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yes, that is amazing.

@5:49 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Right, so then we were there for about four and a half years and decided we wanted to go a little bit further east.

So we decided we were going to move to China. don't Um, I, we moved for my job there and then, of course, COVID happened.

@6:05 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah.

@6:06 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Oh my goodness. We moved in August of 2019. we were basically in China for the whole lockdown, for the whole border closing, the border opened up about six months before we left, actually.

@6:20 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh my goodness. And when was that?

@6:22 - Dr. Liz Shuler

long were you on lockdown with that? Yeah. So not until December 2022, did the border reopen?

@6:27 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh my goodness. Yeah. Was that scary? mean, just being in another country, or was it just kind of like whatever, we're just dealing with it.

@6:35 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay. Yeah. I think it was the hardest part was not being able to come home and like see family, because if you left the country, you couldn't come back in.

was, it was very, very difficult. Yeah. But otherwise it was fine. I mean, there were some crazy things that went on, but nothing super crazy.

@6:54 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh my gosh. I feel like I could just talk to you about that for a whole hour.

@6:58 - Dr. Liz Shuler

But gosh.

@7:00 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

I don't know why, it just makes me feel so anxious thinking about being locked down in China. Like you said, being able to come back and see your family or come back to China if you left.

guess. you got a job there and your stuff is there, like everything. Yeah. So, so you go ahead. I was just going say, so you transferred to China because of the job of the international school.

Is that how you got to China?

@7:22 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay. Yep. Yeah. So we wanted to do something a little bit different, move out of Jordan and we, I got a job in China.

We were looking in sort of East Asia. Okay. And during this whole time, I kind of had a small private practice on the side where I was seeing expats because it's really difficult in especially the Middle East and the Far East to find English speaking therapists for expats.

So I was doing a little bit of that on the side and also doing a little bit of coaching for like professionals who are expats and things.

And we ended up moving to Belgium in June of 2023 for my partner to go back to school. And here I am.

I've opened my own practice. I'm doing coaching because I'm doing psychedelic integration coaching here.

@8:16 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

And then I'm also doing therapy. That is so cool. So many questions.

@8:22 - Dr. Liz Shuler

All right.

@8:23 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

I'm ready. That's just amazing. Okay. So all right. So in China, you were just still doing your practice. So were there any regulations in China that said you weren't allowed to practice there back in Wyoming and your home state?

Was there anything like that that you had to navigate?

@8:40 - Dr. Liz Shuler

I know people ask about China all the time. Right. So it's there are a lot of mental health laws in China, but they don't really pertain to expats.

So China is very much not set up for foreigners for foreigners for tourism for foreigners who are working there, it's all about local Chinese people, which is great, because it also means that if you set up a private practice back in the States, so basically you're paying taxes in the States and you're only seeing expats, so you're not seeing local citizens, you're basically free to practice whatever.

@9:21 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay, okay, so that wasn't a problem at all then.

@9:24 - Dr. Liz Shuler

And the same is true in Jordan, a lot of the Middle Eastern countries, they don't really want to regulate foreigners, so an American, helping an American with therapy, they're not going to get involved with that, right?

@9:42 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, wow, that's really interesting. Yeah, okay, so it's generally pretty okay, because really we get that question all the time.

@9:49 - Dr. Liz Shuler

It's like how do I even find out if it's okay, and that's a hard part too, lot of times, just trying to figure it out, right, okay, I believe because I was a school counselor.

I had a lot of access to all of the mental health laws on things like that, so I was able to do a whole bunch of research, talk to people in, you know, legally in the local community, and figure those things out.

Again, it's kind of a gray area because, yeah, there aren't laws for foreigners, really. All of the mental health laws in places like Jordan and China are about locals, people who live there, people who went to school there.

If you're a foreigner, you are mostly beholden to the rules of wherever you're from.

@10:31 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Gotcha, right, right, yeah, good distinction. So with the international school, I guess you're working in China, you're being paid to work in China.

How do you manage taxes with that, because we get that question a lot too, like if I'm working for a company in another country, like how do I deal with that part?

@10:50 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Right. So in most international schools, they will pay your local taxes for you, and you have to file, continue to file.

all U.S. taxes if you're an American citizen, just because it doesn't matter as long as you're an American citizen, you're filing taxes back in the states.

@11:07 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. Yeah, that's good to know. Yeah, because I didn't know. Do you have to pay over there, too?

@11:11 - Dr. Liz Shuler

If you're like, it's actually working there and helping the people there. Yeah. Yeah, that's really, yeah. You do pay local taxes, but again, a lot of the schools basically reimburse you for that.

@11:21 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay, interesting. Okay, so then, and you were also into coaching too. So I'm just curious, like, how did you get into the expat coaching?

Were you just sitting in Jordan? You were like, oh my gosh, I'm out to lunch with these expats that I could tell they need help.

how did you figure that part out?

@11:36 - Dr. Liz Shuler

No, I actually, I had a client back when I was in Wyoming, who I was doing professional coaching with, because they didn't need therapy.

And I'm also a yoga teacher. So we were also doing, he was coming to my yoga classes and we were doing those sorts of things.

And so it just kind of grew from there. It's also interesting, because that's kind of, where I got into the psychedelic integration stuff.

a lot of my clients were coming to me saying, know, I've done, you know, psychedelics for recreation or at festivals or whatever.

Now I want to try and do it to kind of for personal development or professional growth or things like that.

And so that's kind of where that started.

@12:19 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, that is so interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, so you moved to Belgium because the husband wants to go to school there, right?

Okay. so how's that going now that you're in Belgium? Same idea that you're paying just paying taxes back in the United States.

You're seeing clients back in the United States. Expats? No, she's like, nope.

@12:40 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So what's biggest difference?

@12:42 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. Tell us everything.

@12:45 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah. So the EU is a very interesting thing because you are allowed to work you know, if you're a European citizen, you're allowed to work in different countries.

But each country, like in the US, each country has its own mental health laws that you have. have to abide by.

@13:02 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

So, okay, for example, if you're a Belgian citizen and you are a licensed psychologist here and you move to Germany, you have to get a license in Germany.

Well, even if it's just practicing the people back in the States or, okay, oh, yes.

@13:18 - Dr. Liz Shuler

it's also opposite from the States in that it's you need to be licensed where you live. Ah, that's really So I can work with clients all over Europe and they don't care as long as I am in Belgium.

@13:35 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Wow, yeah, that is so interesting. Okay, so what did you have to do to get, I guess, is it called license?

Does it, I guess, is it what they call it, in Belgium?

@13:45 - Dr. Liz Shuler

It's, um, so my case is a little bit different and it's going to probably be different for a lot of people who got their masters in like social worker counseling in the US because most of Europe will not

say that you have a bachelor of master's degree unless you have done a master's thesis that has original research and statistical analysis.

@14:10 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh my God, something I definitely did not do in my master's program.

@14:17 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So it has to be either a correlational research project or it has to be like a quasi-experimental or an experimental research thesis.

@14:25 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

my goodness. Okay. you didn't do that. So how did you navigate that?

@14:31 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So I started because I didn't know that when we first started this whole move and everything. So in June of 2022, we knew that we were going to be moving in 2020.

So I like, okay, going to start the process. So I was looking into, Belgium is also a little bit weird because there are three regional governments.

And so depending on where you're going to live, those are the people that you have to look for degree equivalency for.

So, applied for degree equivalency and Flanders, and it took them until June of 2023 to get back to me.

@15:09 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Whoa!

@15:10 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Really?

@15:11 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yes.

@15:12 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yes, it is.

@15:13 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh my gosh.

@15:14 - Dr. Liz Shuler

bureaucracy here takes so long and it is so crazy. So, you really have to plan ahead, and it's easier to do actually if you're already in the country because they get really figured about residency.

And basically, when they got back to me, they were like, you don't have a master's degree in Belgium.

@15:35 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

You're like, yes, I do.

@15:39 - Dr. Liz Shuler

And with all nothing in like the requirements that anything about a thesis, right, it asked for your thesis, but it didn't say that you had to have one for equivalency.

So just so that everybody knows, you're going to have to have them.

@15:53 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Wow. That's so interesting.

@15:55 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Oh my gosh.

@15:56 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah.

@15:57 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So what did I go through? Yeah. got rejected. And they basically told me I only have a bachelor's and I was like, that is I have I went back and got my doctorate.

@16:07 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

So like, no, that's not how dare you.

@16:12 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So I just focused for a while on, you know, starting my coaching business and getting that through.

@16:17 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. That's what I going to ask because it was what did you say December 2022 when you got to Belgium and then like you had to wait till June.

Yeah, we got here in June. So it was a little I think got here. Okay. So you had already submitted before you even came to Belgium.

Okay. Well, that was smart.

@16:34 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah.

@16:35 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. That worked out.

@16:37 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah.

@16:38 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Sorry. I interrupted you. So you said that you were just like focusing on building the coaching business instead.

@16:43 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay. And to do that as a foreigner, you have to apply for what's called a professional card to be self-employed.

Okay. Right. I focused on that got that all figured out by October.

@16:58 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

So it took me from June to October. just to be able to start working. Mm-hmm.

@17:03 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Oh my gosh. Yup, as a self-employed person. Now, if you come and you're employed somewhere, that's different. If you're employed somewhere, you can then work on a side business without any of that on your work visa, but that's not how we came.

@17:17 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

So visa is there. right. And most of us, right, are pretty much self-employed.

@17:22 - Dr. Liz Shuler

think most people that listen and, know, working through a private practice or something like that, yeah. Right. Right. And a lot of the therapy jobs here are contract work.

So you're going to have to get your professional card here. So I worked on that and I started building that up a little bit and was like just furiously researching, right, through this whole time because there has to be some sort of lethal.

And when you come to Belgium, a lot of people will tell you, everybody is really, really strict about following the law, but they're also really good about finding ways around the law.

it's kind of like a national pastime here.

@18:03 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay.

@18:04 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So I was just doing a whole bunch of research and I came across a law that said basically if you had been practicing as a psychotherapist before 2016, you could continue to practice even though you're not Oh really?

Yeah.

@18:23 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Well, that's helpful.

@18:25 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah. And so just to be sure, I ended up emailing like the federal health service and they got me in touch with the federal counsel for mental health care professionals and it was kind of a back and forth for a while.

I sent them my degrees. You know, I sent them proof that I was practicing before 2016 and it wasn't until, oh gosh, the end of February, actually, when they got back to me and said, yeah, practice as a psychotherapist, you can't call yourself a psychologist, which is what everybody here is.

@19:00 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

everybody's a clinical psychologist.

@19:01 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Wow. But you can call yourself a psychotherapist.

@19:06 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. Oh my goodness.

@19:09 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah.

@19:11 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

So what was the process for the, would you call it the personal card?

@19:15 - Dr. Liz Shuler

professional card.

@19:16 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

The professional card, yeah.

@19:18 - Dr. Liz Shuler

what was that process like? Yeah, that's involved as well. So it, you have to have a business plan, you have to have a financial projection for five years and they send you a template.

But they send you a template that's in Excel and in either Dutch or Yeah. Yep. And it's very, very, like I had to have an account and do it for me.

Okay.

@20:00 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

beyond what I know about financial stuff. And then you have to write like a cover letter. You have to have references.

@20:10 - Dr. Liz Shuler

It was just a whole packet of things that you have to put together.

@20:15 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Goodness.

@20:16 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, wow. Were you ever just like, forget this? I was like, yes, your husband really wanted to go to school there, so you kind of had to.

Right. Well, there are a lot of people who just say, screw this, I'm not doing this.

@20:31 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

then basically end up opening a business back like wherever they're from in the US, right?

@20:38 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Opening a business there and then doing all their business through that. Our goal is to have citizenship here eventually.

So I didn't go that way. I see. I gotcha. Yeah, I was going to ask, is this like temporary?

Because it's a lot to go through. It's temporary. Yeah.

@20:54 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

So there is, there is a way that you can, and Belgium is actually pretty okay with this, that you can have a business for a business entity and be here not, you know, you're not working in Belgium.

@21:12 - Dr. Liz Shuler

You're technically working from the States or whatever it is.

@21:15 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

That's where you guys say. Okay, so if you, if you had a private practice, like an LLC or something and then registered it as a foreign entity, I guess, is that how that works?

@21:09 - Dr. Liz Shuler

then basically they be registered in the U.S. and you would just not say anything to anybody.

@21:16 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay.

@21:18 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah. And as long as you're, know, on a temporary residence permit, so for example, my husband's a student, I'm not technically allowed to work unless I get a professional car.

@21:31 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, yeah.

@21:32 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So if we were going to leave after his degree, nobody would care really.

@21:39 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah, right. If it was just, if you were just there temporarily doing your private practice back home and then when he finishes up, y'all are out of there, they're like, whatever, okay.

So interesting. But, but y'all decided to stay there. Is that like, you just love it there or is whatever he's doing in school, like, like I'm just curious about like wanting to stay because

You know, as a digital nomad now for like two years, I can't even imagine settling down anywhere. You know, it's kind of weird things like, well, I ever settled down again, but I just love stories like this.

It's like, did you find this country and you're like in love with it?

@22:13 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Or is there another reason? So first of all, my husband has family here. So that's one reason that we would like to have citizenship here, but our plan is to get citizenship in an EU country so that then we can move around with the EU.

Instead of having to worry about that, um, shin again thing, right? Where you have to, for those listening, it's 90 days in 180 days out of the EU, basically, right?

@22:41 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Because we're trying to plan 90 days in Europe, you know, like, how can we see everything in 90 days and then get back out for, and you have to literally be out for 180 days.

@22:51 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah. So if we have citizenship here, we have freedom of movement and we can work wherever we want to in the EU.

And we can stay, you know, we could go to Italy and stay for five years if we wanted to, or, you know, move around.

So it just gives us a lot more freedom in the European economic zone.

@23:11 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. Now, is citizenship easier because your husband has family there already? like I hear about these, like, ancestral. Citizen ships, I guess, I can't even think of their dual citizenship because, like, heritage-wise, you've got family from there.

Is that, I'm just curious, like, does that help or no?

@23:32 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Not in Belgium. In some European countries, that's true. So for, like, Italy, I'm pretty sure that's true. In Germany, I'm, they might have repealed that, but it used to be true.

Okay. But Belgium, the thing about Belgium is it's hard to get here.

@23:47 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay.

@23:48 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay. Stay here.

@23:50 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Gotcha. Yeah.

@23:52 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So the citizenship requirements are basically that you've stayed here legally five years. Okay. and, you know, taken from social services or whatever, you've been able to support yourself.

And you have an A2 level of either Dutch or French, which is a very low bar.

@24:11 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

That's like elementary level. Yeah. Okay. Oh, good.

@24:16 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah.

@24:16 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

makes it little easier. Interesting. Okay. So did you have to learn French? I guess as a French, you're more proficient in or as a Dutch.

@24:25 - Dr. Liz Shuler

yeah, I've never taken French.

@24:26 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

We're in Flanders.

@24:28 - Dr. Liz Shuler

We're in the Dutch part. okay. Actually right now preparing for the A2 test for Dutch. Oh my goodness. How's that going?

If you're an English speaker, it's actually not very hard. Oh, wow. Yeah. There are going to be some like sounds that are a little bit difficult to make with your throat and things like that.

But living in Jordan, we learned a little bit of Arabic. so some of the sounds are similar. So a little bit easier.

@24:57 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, that's so cool.

@24:59 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah. Oh my goodness.

@25:00 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah. But they're

@25:00 - Dr. Liz Shuler

a lot of words that are very, very similar and that like are there. Yeah, if you read something in Dutch, you can pick out one of every 10 words probably.

@25:07 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, so you could probably just figure out what it's saying anyway. I'm gonna have to try to try that later just to see how it goes.

Yeah, that's really cool. So, okay, so right now, your husband's in school, so does he have to worry about like citizenship or any of that stuff, right?

@25:26 - Dr. Liz Shuler

He doesn't need to worry about that yet until y'all decide to live there, but I guess you're both working towards that anyway, the citizenship piece or is it like you get citizenship and then he's just kind of grandfathered in anyway, because you guys are married.

Look at how that work? No, we'll both have to apply for citizenship separately.

@25:41 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay, no. Okay, yeah. Oh my gosh, wow. So just as far as your business goes right now, so how do you have that structure?

what are you doing? Like private practicing coaching? Are you still connected to the international school stuff at all? Just curious how that

@26:00 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, so I have some connections in international schools, but a lot of the time they're looking for more local resources.

If, you know, a family member or somebody can't find something in the local area, that's when some of my contacts might contact me for that.

But what I'm doing for therapy here is mostly EAP work.

@26:23 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. Or some local in the States.

@26:25 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Oh, for local EAP. Yeah.

@26:28 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, interesting. So how did you get connected to that?

@26:31 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Again, it's just a lot of research. So looking at LinkedIn profiles and doing, you know, a lot of Google searches about employees, this is programs in Belgium or in Europe.

And then just sending out a resume and a cover letter and seeing if anybody wants to hire me.

@26:51 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

That's amazing. Yeah. Okay. So EAP in Belgium, is it kind of like the same as in the United States?

like a benefit of a health care plan or of a company?

@27:02 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay. Yeah, so it's a company in Europe. It's mostly companies who buy the employee assistance program for their employees.

Yep. Okay. It's the same. It's sort of the same thing. You have, you know, eight to 12 sessions or whatever your employer has bought for you, and then you go through your counselor there.

@27:21 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. How does that pay?

@27:23 - Dr. Liz Shuler

I don't know if you want to get to that. Does it pay? Okay.

@27:25 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

No, it's fine. EAPs in the US are like not that great a lot of times. mean, several of them are, but some of them pay really terribly.

So I'm just curious like yeah.

@27:34 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So when you come to Europe, expectations for Americans need to be very, very lowered.

@27:41 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Okay. Yeah.

@27:43 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So in the US, income is really high, but wealth inequality is really high, right? In Europe, wealth inequality is creeping up, but not nearly as bad as in the US, and medical prices, prices, you know, salad.

Or is it recorded?

@28:16 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, wow. Yeah. goodness. Yeah. That's enough to like live on and feel comfortable.

@28:24 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yep.

@28:25 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Over in Belgium. OK.

@28:27 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Interesting. It's OK. So when you look at prices for therapy, it's usually between 60 and 80 euro an hour.

@28:37 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

OK. Interesting. Like about half what most therapists report getting. Yes. 140, I guess, what I hear. 150 is kind of the standard rating here, unless you're like in San Francisco or something.

@28:51 - Dr. Liz Shuler

know.

@28:52 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Right.

@28:52 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah. Right.

@28:53 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh, my goodness. Yeah. OK. So it's interesting. Yeah. Just what? why you prefer to go that route instead of just maybe just like really fostering a big private practice back in the US and just seeing clients remotely.

Is there like a reason you decide that way instead of just doing like the traditional like a lot of you know people I talk to in this podcast all just most have their just private practices and they've managed time zones and that's where they think I'm just curious for you.

Yeah, part of it is because a lot of my coaching clients are going to come from the US.

@29:26 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Okay. Just because of the nature of what I do. Part of it is because I do have to have for my professional card there are renewal requirements and one of those requirements is that I have some Flemish clients.

@29:42 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh interesting. Okay. Yeah.

@29:46 - Dr. Liz Shuler

And part of it is because I'm only licensed in Wyoming back in the States and there are very few people in Wyoming.

@29:53 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense but you're You know going about in a really wise way.

think I mean you make it at work, you know based on what you're trying to do So the psychedelic piece I had a whole episode on that I just kind of so interesting because I don't know a lot about it But are you able to do any psychedelic stuff in Belgium?

Are they? Yeah, that type therapy. Yeah, my whole business plan is based around psychedelic coaching. Oh Interesting, okay, I am not providing the psychedelics.

Yes Okay, so the the person I interviewed before she said back in the u.s Like she has a doctor basically that can prescribe and she Facilitates the doctor administers and she facilitates like the therapeutic part of it.

Is that how that works for you?

@30:46 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, and But because of the legalities and the things, you know around it It's just easier if I'm doing from Belgium and in the u.s And in the EU to do coaching instead of therapy.

So I'm not I'm not taking on anybody who has like a diagnosis or anything like that. I'm mostly doing it for personal professional development and for wellness.

if you feel okay, you still have some stuff, you want to get better, we can do that. Because psychedelic assisted therapy here is still not a thing.

It's not something that is in the professionals like Geist. But in the Netherlands, right next door, you can get truffles, psilocybin truffles.

You can get marijuana, you know, there are a lot of things that you can do. are retreats that happen over there.

So it's kind of like seeping into Belgium a little bit.

@31:42 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah.

@31:43 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah.

@31:44 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

interesting. So did you have to find a doctor in Belgium to help with this or is it a different process?

@31:51 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So because of the way it works in the Netherlands, you basically just order something and have it mailed to you.

@31:57 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Oh my gosh, really? so there's no medical oversight. That's interesting.

@32:03 - Dr. Liz Shuler

So a lot of what I do is my doctoral thesis was on psychedelic assisted therapy and so I like to do a lot of preparation around what substance are you using?

What are going to be the side effects of that? How can we do this safely, right, and making sure that people are not getting in over their heads or doing something unsafe because there's not going to be an oversight for them.

@32:28 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah.

@32:29 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Oh my gosh.

@32:30 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Wow. And you're remote, too, right? it's like, so in my mind, this is how it goes. have no idea.

But they get this mail order thing. Y'all have done some pre-work and then they're like, hey, I'm going to take the mushrooms at one today and we're like, okay, should kick in around two and I'm going to log in and do this with you remotely.

Is that how it works or do?

@32:53 - Dr. Liz Shuler

can't do that. Because if I do that, so if I provide or if I'm there when they are partaking than I am involved in criminal activity.

@33:03 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

No, no, interesting, okay, like I have no clue how it works. That is interesting.

@33:09 - Dr. Liz Shuler

There are people who do that, like it's a very underground thing, but just because you know, I'm foreign here, I'm not a citizen, I'm not a card, I have to be really careful about how I do it.

@33:22 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah, oh yeah, I bet, my gosh. So they'll take the psychedelics and then like you'll have a session the next day or something to process what they, I guess they journal or somehow record their thoughts or something.

Okay.

@33:37 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah. And there are a lot of apps now that, you know, are trip apps that if you're having anxiety or something that comes up, they have prompts and things that can help you with that, which is really nice.

It's not, you know, it's not as good as having somebody who knows what's going on sitting with you, but it's better than nothing.

Most of the people that I work with, I make sure. that they at least have somebody who they feel safe with that's there.

@34:03 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah, right?

@34:04 - Dr. Liz Shuler

I don't want them doing it all way.

@34:06 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah.

@34:08 - Dr. Liz Shuler

But other than that, yeah, it's preparation and then integration afterwards. And I mean, some people that I work with, like I said, have been doing psychedelics for years at like way use of recreationally.

And now that it's more in this I guys about how it can be helpful, they're like, Oh, maybe I should do it that way instead.

And so they have a lot of experience with it. They don't need all that preparation. They know what it's going to be like.

@34:32 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

And we just do mostly the integration stuff. That is so cool.

@34:37 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, I really enjoy it.

@34:39 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

It's really neat. I don't know. freaks me out a little bit, but only because I probably did some psychedelics in high school or whatever, you know, and I just, I hated it.

So it's so weird, but I know it's so helpful for a lot of people. People love it, you know, and they really transform just through like even one time with it, right?

It's really I

@35:00 - Dr. Liz Shuler

opening for people. Right.

@35:01 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

So interesting. I'd love to read your thesis sometime just to see what you found out.

@35:07 - Dr. Liz Shuler

You're used to that as your doctoral thesis. Yeah, I actually have an upon research gate so I can send you the link if you want.

@35:13 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah. we could even put it in the notes and people want to check it out because I'm just so curious about it.

@35:20 - Dr. Liz Shuler

It's really interesting. Right. Yeah. Yeah. And my whole thesis was on how to do what I'm talking about psychedelic assisted therapy online safely and effectively.

@35:29 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

So. Oh, yeah. That's amazing. Yeah, because it's like, how do you do it remotely? But I hear what you're saying.

You don't do it with them, at least in this situation. know people do it. you said, it's which is interesting too.

It's like, should it be underground? Like maybe it's safer not for it not to be. But anyway, that's a whole other discussion probably.

Wow. And then, I know we're right out of time. But another cool thing I loved in your bio because I'm this entrepreneurial type too.

I saw that you had another little side. I thought so. Would you tell us about that for a second?

@36:03 - Dr. Liz Shuler

You talk about Insight Timer?

@36:04 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah, yeah.

@36:05 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, so that's, I found that, oh gosh, like my second year in Jordan, because I was looking for, you know, meditations for the kids to work with and things like that.

And I just really fell in love with it. You I was using it myself for, you know, years and years.

And then I realized that they allow you to be a teacher. So you can do meditations, you can do courses, you can do talks, and you can do, they have a premium version, which you can add stuff to, but most of their stuff is free.

And as a teacher, depending on the number of plays that you have, you still get paid for those free tracks.

It's not a lot, like it's not gonna be your whole living, but it's enough to be able to give back to people and also make sure that you are getting a little bit back for yourself.

@36:54 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

That's so cool. I never even thought about like looking on there to like apply to like put my stuff.

stuff on there. Before we hit record, I was sharing with Liz that, you know, back in 2008, I created one of the first apps in the app stores for hypnosis, mp3 downloads.

It was like, I think it was the second or third in the app store. Now there's a million, of course, like column app and insight timer and all this stuff.

But yeah, I never thought about that, looking into a platform like that where you could just put your recordings and help other people with them.

@37:24 - Dr. Liz Shuler

Yeah, it's really neat. Yeah, it's great. And it's nice to be able to have for clients. don't have to give them like a whole library.

I can just send them a link and be like, this is my stuff. But if you want to use somebody else's stuff, like there's a whole library here for you too.

@37:42 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

I love that. That's so cool. Yeah. Thanks for sharing about that too. Well, thank you so much. If people wanted to reach out to you, get help around like navigate Jordan, China, Where would they find you?

@37:56 - Dr. Liz Shuler

How would they reach out to you? Yeah, you can send me an email. It's e-shula- at innerevolutioncounseling.com or innerevolutioncoach.com, I've got both.

I'm also on Instagram and LinkedIn, so Inner Evolution coach at both, and I, you know, anybody who needs help, I'm there.

I'm also on the Facebook group for the Traveling Therapist, so reach out to me there too.

@38:20 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah, and we'll put all your links in the show notes so you guys can reach out to our review if you need to or you want to.

Thank you so much.

@38:26 - Dr. Liz Shuler

I really appreciate you taking the time. Yeah, it was great. Thank you for talking with me.

@38:30 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

You're welcome. The recording has stopped. you. That was awesome. Yeah, it was so helpful. I think a lot of people are going to get a lot out of that.

It's really interesting how you've just kind of made it work regardless of where you were. So thanks for sharing that.

Yeah. I'm kind of a research nerd, so yeah, I just dive in until I find what I need, you know.

I love it. Yeah, no, it's so good. Just figure it out. All those regulations and stuff, because that's the hardest part for most people.

It's like, how do I figure this stuff out? I'm actually like trying to perfect a course right now, like a step by step.

This is exactly how you find out regardless of country.

@39:11 - Dr. Liz Shuler

And it's just hard to do, you know, I'm just trying to figure that part out. But yeah, and like I said, being a school counselor, I literally did that on the clock while I was paid to do it, right?

So it was easier for me, I think.

@39:26 - Kym Tolson (hypnotransformations@gmail.com)

Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah. Well, thank you so much. And this episode probably come out and let me think one, two, probably like three or four weeks.

I can't remember how many episodes we have before years, but probably three or four weeks. And usually it comes out and then the next week, IVA will email you with like some links and some like a reel and all this stuff if you want to share it on Instagram.

And then we'll we'll also like send you a collaborators link on Instagram. I got to go follow you. I'm not sure if I'm already following you and then you could just.

except the collaborators linking it'll just share your ears too if you want to share it on yours the episode and you know and we'll just send that to you and if there's anything later you decide you want edited or anything just let me know and I'll tell the editor guy we'll get it straight and all that good stuff I think we're good okay well thanks a lot that was super helpful yeah good I'm glad yeah thanks and reach out anytime and thanks for being a member of the traveling therapist and do in this episode of course thank you for having me I had it it was a great conversation yeah thanks a lot well talk to you later okay have fun okay thank

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast, Kym Tolson interviews Juan Maillo, a marriage and family therapist who has ventured from practicing in the Bay Area, California, to embracing a new life in Italy. Juan shares his journey, detailing the transition from working for companies in the U.S. to moving abroad with his wife and navigating the complexities of setting up a new life in Italy. 

This discussion delves into the hurdles of acquiring residency, the challenges of working remotely as a therapist, and the intricacies of adapting to a new cultural and regulatory environment. Additionally, Juan touches upon his role as a professor at an American university in Italy, teaching psychopathology to university students, which offers a unique blend of his expertise in therapy with the educational needs of American students abroad.

Juan's narrative unfolds the emotional and logistical aspects of moving to a different country, including the decision-making process involving his family's future, the struggle to maintain a stable income, and the pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment in a foreign land. Despite the excitement of living in Italy, Juan candidly discusses the feelings of uncertainty, the challenges of cultural adaptation, and the considerations of potentially returning to the U.S. The conversation also highlights the importance of language proficiency and the impact of differing societal norms on daily life and work, underscoring the complexities of transitioning from a therapist practicing in the U.S. to navigating the professional landscape in Italy.

Key Points:

Juan’s Bio:

Juan Maillo is a Marriage and Family Therapist with over 15 years of experience. Originally from Spain, he received his Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has worked in various counseling centers across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Juan's passion for psychology began early in life, as he naturally gravitated towards helping others. Growing up he often felt craved a sense of belonging and validation that didn't get from his people. Through self-discovery and therapy, he learned to become a caring presence for himself which he now brings to his work as a psychotherapist.

He specializes on working with anxiety, depression, and relationship issues with individuals. His main approach is Internal Family Systems which combines mindfulness and self-compassion in an easy-to-follow style. He also draws from his extensive training in CBT.

Juan Maillo Psychotherapy

www.easyteletherapy.com

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

The Traveling Therapist Membership:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/travelingtherapistmembership

Revolutionize Your Private Practice with AI Course:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/ai

Signup to learn more about life as Traveling Therapist:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/l2v7c3

The Traveling Therapist Facebook Group: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlineandtraveling/

Bill Like A Boss Insurance Billing Community:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/blab

Subscribe to the Podcast:

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TRANSCRIPT:

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist podcast really excited today we have a very cool guest that's got quite a story. I'm so excited to dive in, because we have one, and I'm gonna bust up his last name. I just told him I'd mess it up, Matt, may you it's close enough, good. He's traveling therapist. And he's just got a really cool story. And I want to learn from him. And hopefully you guys will two of you want to do something similar to what he's doing. So one I'd love if you would introduce yourself. And also just share a little bit about how you went from being a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist.

So I'm a marriage and family therapist based in I graduated in 2013, in San Francisco. And for the longest time, I was practicing in the Bay Area, typically working for other for some company or another, not doing private therapy, mostly because I didn't want the hassle of running a business. And it's like, I want to focus on being a therapist and not having to focus on running a business. It seems. I've been thinking about for a while about moving to Italy, and I was I was in love with it. I lived for a year when I was in my 20s I think I was 2324 I lived in Florence with a student exchange. I've always wanted to come back. So I left her two or three years of thinking about it. And with the help of my wife, we took the leap. Wow,

that's so awesome. I love Italy, too. Oh my gosh, like, I've been a few places over there. And I just would love to go back. I just spent like a year just going all around Italy. I love it so much. So even before being in San Francisco, you were originally from Spain. Is that correct? And then you moved to the US. Okay, wow. So how long? When did you move from Spain to the US? And then I guess you started your your education, your career and then stay for a while. Right? So

I moved to the US roughly when I was 25 and met my wife who is American. I met her in Barcelona. And even though I'm from Granada, down south. Oh, wow. We met there. And a couple of years later, we decided to go to the US I was I have done a degree in pedagogy we call it or Education Sciences in in Spain, the equivalent of a BA and a master's. Not much of in the way of job prospects there. I was a server I worked at Burger King and McDonald's in Spain. Well, yeah, I figure you know, it's a five minute work as a server, I may as well do it abroad. It's more fun. So pick that up and and move to the US. And there you go. My MFT after a few years. That's

amazing. Yeah. So how does that I'm just curious. How does that work? Like visa? Perfect. Did you guys get married in Spain? And then like, did you come back into the US as like a, like a married citizen? I just don't have the visa works that way, or just what that process is like?

Yeah, there are different ways of getting your visa through marriage. What I did, and the time in particular turned out to be the best way without knowing which is Oh, wow, I first came to the US on vacation for like a month after a year of being together. We got married in the US. Okay, I came back to Spain and figure out the paperwork for my wife to be illegal because that was part of it. She was working as an illegal in in Spain for Oh, I see. Yeah. Yeah. So we we fix our situation. And then when we decided to that we're going to come to the US. I started in from Spain, making the you know, the arrangements to get not necessarily we get a visa, right? It's you Americans, a three month visa and but to be able to live what I started to request is the green card, right? permanent visa in the US through marriage. Okay, by starting those things from Spain, it made it a lot faster. So it was a bit of work. I had to go to Madrid, the capital to go to the consulate and whatnot or the embassy. But once I did everything, you know the sameness interview where they ask you the things to see if you make a mistake, it's not that big a deal. Then everything was said and I came to the US and within a week with a stamp a special stamp in my visa and then in a week or two they sent me the the green card and that was it.

Oh, well. That's pretty easy. Yeah.

Yeah, all things.

So So do you I guess. I guess we'll get into Italy too. But do you still have dual citizenship? I guess what the US in Spain is Is that how that works? Okay.

So for a while that was only a green card holder, and only a couple of years ago is when I got my citizenship in the US. Okay, gotcha. Yeah, I can't remember. I think it's because my, my son, me, when my son was born, I got their citizenship and national, or when I started thinking about moving, I wanted to keep the foothold in the US anyways. And Spain fortunately allows for dual citizenship. Okay, so I'm able to maintain both and coming back to Europe, Europe via the European Union I can have with my Spanish citizenship, I can live everywhere. With some staff units with some bureaucratic annoyances that have been incredible are here, by

the way, maybe we should talk about that, too. Just so people know what to expect. Yeah. Okay, so So, all of that. So you got settled and everything, and then you guys decide we're going to move to Italy. Now we want to move over there. So what is that process? Like? What does that look like?

Gosh, that was one of the most difficult things we've done, to be honest, oh, it's my wife and our five year old and me. We have a house in Santa Rosa, California that we we bought and still there. And I was hoping that we could rent it for you know, furnished, but it's not common in the US. So I tried for months. And that wasn't happening. So finally, we had to empty the house to sell everything. That was a huge, huge part of it. If it wasn't for my wife, I don't think I could have done it. Just that.

It's a big undertaking sort through. Yes, yeah. Oh, my gosh, I can relate to that. Gosh, we still have a storage unit that's full of stuff. Despite multiple attempts to get rid of stuff, you know, it's tough, right?

It is alive, but you accumulate and we didn't want to do this storage, it felt like it was a waste of money. No knowing if we were gonna come back or when it's like, let's just get rid of everything and hope for the best for the best and take it from there. So we essentially got an Airbnb for a month. Okay. I started looking into apartments here in brugia. And I got so lucky I got really a good break because it turned out that a friend that I had made an American friend before I even moved to the US when I met her in Grenada 20 years ago, almost. She turned out the hand lifting Palooza and had a couple of friends still here. And she had the grace to introduce me through Facebook to this friend this one guy Jacobo, he's some some call him send Jacobo because he is so nice and so helpful. He also lived abroad. He helped me get apart and get an apartment, he came before I came, he came to visit the one that I wanted to check out and it turned out that apartment is where I'm going I'm actually staying right now. You know, show me around and eventually even gave me a job as a professor in an American University where he works. So things kind of worked out in some great ways.

Oh my gosh. That is amazing. Wow. Okay, yeah. Oh, yeah, it that's something people don't even think about. It's like you got to move to another country. But maybe it's sight unseen from the apartment you're going to live in or anything, you know, you just have to kind of do a leap of faith in a lot of cases and pick a place. So So back it up to your house and the US did, did you. You guys emptied it out? Did you end up renting it out? Or are you still do you still own it? Okay. Yeah, we're,

we were lucky that that sort of like sorted out and takes care of itself right now.

Yeah. Okay. Oh, my gosh, that's so interesting. Okay, so so then you get the apartment and everything. You've got the house settled in California? And what do you have to do as far as visa to go to move to Italy? Like, how does that work? What's the process? So

for me, it was just a matter of coming into Italy and getting the residency established, which was a pain in and of itself. I can explain more and for my wife has been a little bit more difficult and still is as well as for my for my son, he's in a limbo right now. They're both in a bit of a limbo. So in Italy, things are kind of complicated. Especially I think, if you're not an Italian citizen, per se, it's I know that a lot of Americans are getting their Italian citizenship through family and whatnot. Maybe that's a little bit easier. But to to, to get kind of recognized here and be able to, I guess to I can technically live here, but there are some things that I couldn't access like the healthcare, or, you know, other Yeah, bring my wife with me there give her sort of like access to a visa as what she would convey consider the spouse of a European citizen. That's the kind of visa she can get. So for that, I needed the residency. And for me to get the residency, I needed to get private insurance to show because I don't have a work contract here. So either neither is needed at work contract or private insurance. And a number of other things is not the internet here, as in having a website that gives you clear information, it's not as good as the US. And the bureaucracy in general is not as good. You have to call a lot of places talk to people go to a place that you told that is not there, make an appointment some way that you couldn't know beforehand. So it took some do some headaches, so I got it, and I got my residency and even my Italian identity card now. But for my wife, we've been here since August, so like seven months, she has an appointment for gosh, I think it's next month or so the first appointment to with immigration to review her application, we don't even know and they say that it takes a year in this city on these for that to be processed once you have that appointment.

Oh my goodness. Wow. Okay. But if she I mean, I guess she's able to stay until it's processed, right? It's not like something where you've only got six months, and you have to leave or, you know, just curious like,

right, right. So it's, technically she's illegal right now, because her visa as an American tourist expired after three months. And as such, for instance, during Christmas, I went to Spain. And my wife had to stay behind because we didn't know if she could go out of the country. And then at the airport, they would stop her and say your visa has expired. You cannot come back until you wait another three months or whatever. She's probably within Europe, she wouldn't technically be able, we don't know. We just didn't know what would have happened.

It's that shanigan thing, right? So it's like you could be 90 days in but then I think you have to be 180 hours or something like that. Right. Okay. Something like that. Yeah. Wow. Oh, my gosh. So she's just gonna hang out and not leave the country until this appointment in the process. Yeah. Oh, my God. Exactly.

Exactly. We don't know exactly what would have happened. Because now that I thought of it after the fact my son is in the same situation, because even though he has dual citizenship, technically, he doesn't have a Spanish passport yet. And that's in a whole nother limbo right now, too. So we will try to figure out if he can get how he can get the passport. If he has citizenship. He just needs to get a passport through the consulate or closest consulate and it's giving us a harder headache.

Now, oh my gosh, there's so many moving parts. Yes. So many. And we don't even I guess we don't even know like what happens in Italy. They figure out you've been there past the 90 days or something. I've never even heard what happens. I know we were just in the Dominican Republic. And they do have a It's a 30 day visa, but they just they allow you to overstay. They don't care. If you overstay, you just have to pay like a fine for every day over and that you stay. So when we get to the airport, they just like a big red X comes up on the screen and they make you go talk to somebody and then they basically calculate how many days you've been there. They just charge you and it's like, not expensive. It's like, I don't know. My boyfriend would kill me if I say that. Because he says I never had the details. Right. But it was like 20 pesos a day or something. So it was like $70 Each, I think something essentially for I think we stayed over like 30 days or something. So I always wonder how it works in other countries, like, you know, what happens if you overstay your visa? Yeah, I don't even know.

Yeah, no, I don't know. My my sense has always been that you technically can get flagged and then you may have a hard time to, in this case coming to the to Italy or the EU altogether, right? I don't know what could happen exactly. But it's strange because things are not always clear cut. Again, I think there's a difference in the US things are a little bit clearer, for better for worse. When we came in. We obviously came through the line of European citizens in the border. And I don't remember them doing anything to our passport, right? Typically the stamp when you enter, there's no stamps in our passports. And I'm not sure why we've looked them later to make copies that we needed to in fact show visa for the immigration And I was like, well, we don't have a visa the visa comes with a passport. There's not even a stamp. What what do you want me to tell you? And my son had no trouble going out of Italy and coming back. But I don't know if it's because he was a child and they just didn't care about his visa status. So I'm not sure simply bureaucratic ineptitude. Because that can happen here, too. It's for better and for worse, you know, I've been told things that are one way and then the or the other way.

Wow. So yeah. Sometimes I hear you. Yeah. I mean, it just makes me think of the traveling therapist, Facebook group, like I even tried to recently implement a policy like, like, let's just not say you could do something without like proof. Because every day in the group, somebody's like, you know, yeah, you're allowed to do that, or no, you're not allowed to do that. There's no evidence, you know, it's just hearsay. It's just constant hearsay. Yeah. And it's like, it's like, we need to be a little more specific about this. Because, you know, like you said, you hear one thing, you hear something else, and you find out like, none of it's true. It's something else completely. So it's quite the, quite the journey trying to get this information for each country, for sure.

It is, but I'll say, I've learned that you have to be comfortable. And I'm not. I'm the kind of person who likes to know what's up. Yeah, you have to learn to be comfortable with walking that line of not being sure if you're always in the clear, I mean, to have a plan and to have a sort of like contingency plan and idea of the risks. It's good. But sometimes you like there are so many things, right? Like the whole thing with the with the license. And when they tell you what you can and cannot do and what they not, don't tell you. So it's there's so much so much as that can mean anxiety. And I want to say that one of the biggest pushes forward, I got it from your podcast, one in the way of inspiration and two with an MFT, California licensed, who I heard have moved to Spain, actually. So it seemed like a similar enough situation. And he got in touch with her to ask her a few things that I could not figure out. I just couldn't how the insurance when it covers you. It doesn't cover you the color of the license board, which answer me in some cryptic ways. And she really clarified a couple of points that were really helpful for me. Oh,

I just got goosebumps. That's amazing that you were able to get information that way, and that it helped you on your journey. I just love hearing that. Really. Wow. So So you brought up licensing? That's something we definitely talk about on this on this podcast.

Thankfully you do.

So are you so you're an MFT licensed to California? Are you Are you still seeing your clients back in California right now? Or are you also mentioned being a professor in Italy? So I was just curious, like, what has that transition been like for you? And how are you managing all that stuff?

Yeah, so what I've kept things separate, I'm doing therapy with clients, with my clients in California. Okay, and I'm not seeing any clients right now here. Okay, because it's not super clear. In some ways. The idea is that here you have the figure of a psychologist and the figure of a psychologist, psychotherapist, you need to do on top of the psychology degree or something else some kind of a year to to become to be called a psychotherapist, I learned that recently. There is no there's the figure of counsel or marriage and family therapist that none of that exists, except for counselor has become an umbrella term for people that do it's common in Europe, people that have different degrees, but then take out do a two or three years Master's in Gestalt therapy or some therapy, some specific form of therapy, and it's similar to LMFT. But there's no recognition at least here. I know, in Spain, there isn't. And in Italy, there isn't. As a professional, there's no licensing board, there's no regulation. So you can be a counselor through one of these institutions that are not regulated, so it doesn't matter a whole lot. Oh, okay. So in that sense, I cannot be a psychotherapist, technically, or at least not an Italian secret psychotherapy holder. That's how they call it. Oh, yeah. And, and it's not in any ways it doesn't pay very well to work as a therapist here. It is not only the locals, because then you pay local prices. And the life is a lot cheaper here for every for every regard, you know.

Yeah, I've heard I've definitely heard that because people have asked me before, like, how can I see clients and it'll leave me there. And I'm like, I don't know. I've tried to research it myself. I just have never been able to find like clear documentation about, you know how that works. And if you can, like you said, there doesn't seem to really be an equivalent. Yeah, it's so interesting. And then of course, like Visa stuff, you know, it's like, can you work in the country? Can you earn money? Like what does that mean as far as taxes go? And? Yeah, but I guess you're working there as a professor right. So how does that work? I'm just, I don't even know, like to have a job there. Is it because you have the dual EU citizenship that you're able to just work there pretty easily? Or how does that work? Well,

that just to separate the two into jobs, the the tax status, for instance, if you stay in each country has more or less a rule more than a number of days in the country, then you automatically establish a fiscal residency and need to pay taxes. And I think that's, that's like four, I don't remember for six months out of the year, even if you break it in chunks, you stay more than a number of days, a number of months, and then you have to pay. And I will probably have to be I'm already talking to a special accountant that for expats, to deal with American side. And the Italian, there's unknown double taxation agreements, so I don't have to pay double taxes. But I have to file taxes in both countries and say, Hey, I'm paying this much here already. So don't charge me again. And God knows only on a specialist can tell you exactly how to do that. Right. So that yeah, that's that piece. I'm working here, whether depending, I think irrespective of your visa status, you can continue working in as in your US business, right? Yeah. And figure out their taxes depending on the day and the length of time. And then as a professor, yeah, the there's turns out within three minutes work of my house, there is an American University, which is where my friend works. And they need professors that speak English fluently and not like Italians that know English, and apparently a big advantage I had was both that I can speak English and teach and have an MFT. And also the apparently the fact that I have on European passport makes it a lot easier for them to hire me, as well.

Wow. Oh, that's so interesting. Yeah. So what are you what are you teaching? Is it like therapy based? Or is it something totally different?

No, you got right now I'm teaching just one class and if I stay next semester, I may teach something else. I'm teaching psychopathology. Oh, okay. Yeah, university students, I guess people are doing their, their undergrad. Yeah. Will there be a?

Wow, that's so interesting. Wow. Yeah. Americans

that come here for like a semester. And, you know, there's a lot of universities, this one has the reputation for being a little more serious and not as much a party zine. And they are pretty rigorous. They, they are pretty rigorous. They asked me to, to enforce having I think it was 40 or 50. Minimum pages of readings a week. Wow. Which is, I would say is pretty high.

Yeah. Oh, my goodness. I don't want to go to that university. No, just kidding. Wow. Okay, that is just really interesting. Um, so. So what about your wife? Is she able to work at all? Or is she not able to work? I'm just curious. Oh, you're like, oh, Lord, that's a whole nother okay, because

she's technically she's illegal here and, uh, hanging until her situation is, you know, arrange them fixed. She cannot technically she cannot work, although working in Italy, to some extent is very common to work under the table to the they call it that underground economy, then the percentage of the economy that they make that out to be is really big. I don't remember exactly. But it's sort of kind of uncanny. So she's not working. Now. She's teaching English. She was teaching English to a few people here and there. So just getting paid. Privately, you know?

So interesting. Yeah. So she, so she doesn't have like a remote job back in the US or anything like that. Because a lot of people ask me that all the time. It's like, okay, I know, I can work. But what about my spouse? What do they get to do? There's no way for them to make money, you know, when they're in another country. So. Right. Yeah. So interesting. Gosh, but it sounds like you guys are making it work, despite all these challenges. Yeah.

For the most part, yeah. That you know, we're right now we're at the point of considering are we going to come back next year. We have to do you know, get our kids to school and whatnot. Are we going to stay? She wanted to change careers. That was a part of the push to she. She was a teacher in the US for well, 13 years, I think. And now she's learning to become a coach. Just then you think yeah, and having some time to study but we're not sure if she's having a hard time actually adjusting to life here. Mostly feeling a little disconnected lonely, she said learning Italian and she I would say shorter level is medium. Yeah, about medium middle of the road. And that makes it harder and also as an American is not as easy for her as it's been for me.

That's so interesting, isn't it? Yeah. Well, so y'all are sort of contemplating? Should we just go back to the US or try to stick it out here and make it work?

Exactly. Yeah, we're definitely right now at a crossroads and a quick change. And within a month or two, we'll be making a decision.

Yeah. Gosh, it's such a journey. I hope you'll come back maybe and tell us what happens. And how it goes for you guys. Because I mean, this was the reality of it. It's like, gosh, you have these big dreams, like, Wouldn't it be fun to live in Italy? You know, but then it's like, all this other stuff. Just makes it really hard sometimes?

Absolutely. They are. So it feels bad to win with, in my mind, at least when I think about it. Like, I feel like I'm going to be a fail store, you know, of not going back to the US because things didn't work out. And I'll say it's determined to have part of the problem has been making enough money, because I started private practice when I came here. And I lost some of the networking when it came here. So it's been hard to develop the practice. And the job here, you know, helps, but it's only one class. That's part of the making the decision making process, is that not having a good, healthy income to sustain has in the long run.

Yeah, yeah. I hear that over and over again. Just private practice in general, and I don't know, are you a private pay clinician, or do you take insurance in the US?

Private pay? Private Bank? Yeah, sure.

Yeah, and that's a whole other issue, you know, the insurance companies are cracking down on where the clinician can be located. And private pay is harder for a lot of people, you know, so I just keep hearing this stuff come up over and over again. Yeah, it's not easy. And I hear what you're saying about feeling like a failure of us. You know, we were in the Dominican Republic, and we could not wait to come back to the US. After four months, it was like, Okay, that was fun. But we we miss the US. Like, it's easier, in a lot of ways. You know, like, you know, we have our cars and grocery stores, and, you know, any shop you want, you just go buy stuff that you need, you know, just you know, everybody wants to leave the US. But we were really like, gosh, we're glad to be back at away. Like, we just want to stay put in the US for a while. So I hear what you're saying. Like, it kind of feels a little bit like, well, you're at the traveling therapists you're supposed to, you know, just love being in all these countries. But it just by the end of our little stint over there. We were like, Okay, we need a little. Yeah, we just need like, the norm, what we're used to, how did they get?

But yeah, it's hard to justify another country? I don't know. Do you speak Spanish when you work? With you?

Very little. Yeah, I mean, you know, I, I was learning, I guess they say, Ooh, poketo Just a little teeny bit, you know, so I can I could communicate, basically, but nothing fluent, you know? Yeah. Right.

Because that that is kind of one of the first or the most obvious barriers, right? When you go somewhere else, it definitely makes a big difference. And I would say outside of the US, it's also more important to speak the local language, because things are not as well organized. Maybe maybe in Germany is not the same but or in England, but every every other country in southern Europe. And then sure, Latin America is like you need to speak enough to be able to, to understand things and then to become part of the fabric of the country. That's that's a whole nother level. And, yes, that's the only way that you can really move permanently. You have to become part of it in some way.

I say. Absolutely. And we have to adapt to the culture even. Even in the Caribbean. It's like, you know, time doesn't exist the same way. It's like, there's there's that, you know, Island time. And then like, like America tab or what are my time, you know, it's like, I have an appointment at this time. That's when the appointments supposed to start, but even stuff like that, it doesn't happen that way. You know, we'd I did a whole podcast episode, but it was somebody else that lives in the Caribbean. It's like kind of It's wild. And like you said, you have to adapt to it. You have to become part of that culture and the way things run and and like you said earlier, just try to feel comfortable with instead of like, kind of be a little uptight about it, because that is a little bit like that, like, you know, I say we're starting at this time. That's the time we start, you know, but it's not like that in a lot of countries. Yeah, it's just not Yeah, so. Ah, so many, so many things to learn and I just I appreciate you coming down to talking about it. It's just super interesting. And, you know, I'd be curious to hear if you guys go back, you know, and you know, it just too many too many barriers, because it does sound like a lot of really tough barriers. And then also sounds like your, your child is going to be starting school, I guess. And you'd have to figure out how to make that work. If you stay over in Italy.

John, I'm happy to go into more into the way that we're trying to make the decision. Okay, I'd love to hear Yeah, my son, in fact, did the kindergarten here last year. And we already signed him up for school to start Elementary. And that's kind of figured out at least we have it we have this bar and my wife was blind for him to go to school there in the US to also to make sure they have a spot here, right, you kind of have to do these things. You can't wait when you have a kid, you know, have that backup. And that part is fixed. But the difficulty is between the money, her feeling lonely. Those are the two biggest, I would say moving pieces that make it hard. For me, as you can imagine, my identity is is not not regular identity in the sense. I didn't grow up in between two countries, I was solid in Spain until I was in my 20s. But most of my adult life, I've spent it in the US. My mind functions in both ways. I have a foot here and a foot there. And now I'm in Italy, which feels comfortable enough to Spain, I constantly comparing it to the US. Then it annoys me all the inefficiencies that are here. It's incredible how inefficient it is. And sometimes it's like, you don't want to make money, it makes you things like this store. Why don't they have a website where they have at least clearly the products and the prices or whatever, they close a lunch when people would come most. And it's like, the value over making money. The idea I think is underneath it all people value having a good life. Right. And I'm grappling a lot with that. What is more important to me, because that was part of why why was nostalgic about coming to Italy came back to Europe is in the US. In California, I would say even more in the Bay Area. There's this mentality array of work, work, work, there's work, and you can make money, but everything is expensive. And there's this kind of hamster wheel that that everyone is encouraged to go to get into a very comfortable hamster wheel sometimes. But yeah. Right. So these are the things that have been going through my mind and trying to make a decision right now I would say prefer to stay for another year, because it's being really hard to kind of get settled. And it would be helpful to kind of be able to relax and enjoy. But before making a decision, that would be my preference. But my wife is having a harder time. And another thing that I've come to realize we've had our differences in our relationships, married for 18 years. And it's been really nice to reconnect and rediscover that, you know, the most important thing for me comes down to is be with her and be stay well together. Right? It's like, you know, I prefer this. But if you really can't make it here, let's go back. It's fine. Yeah. And it's nice to have a certain clarity about that. And I don't regret in any way, even if it doesn't work right to have made this this beep

Yeah, I love that. That that is. That's definitely part of the journey is being with a partner and you know, having different dials in different ways you think about things and what feels comfortable to one might not feel comfortable to the other and trying to negotiate that constantly. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I know. I think we could have a whole nother episode on that. Like, how do we manage all that? Yeah, no, I know. It's tough. But it you know, it sounds like you guys are solid and you're making it work. And you're gonna just do what's right for the family eventually, you know, and and you took you took the leap to see how it went to, which I think is cool, you know, regardless of where you show up, or end up back to Yeah, it's really cool. Yes,

that kind of thing that when you're 50 or 60, you look back and you don't regret having done that. You might regret not having done it. Right.

Exactly. It'll be like remember that time we lived in Italy. Wasn't that cool? Yeah. Oh, I love that. Well, thank you so much for being a guest and how would people reach out to you they wanted to talk to you or or, you know, work with you in some capacity.

Yeah, I think the easiest way would be through my websites, because I have everything there may my phone number, my email, and I guess that's it. Right now I'm not much in social media. So my website, it's easy. Like the word easy. teletherapy.com.

Website. Yeah. Easy. teletherapy. I like that. Thank you. Very cool. Well, thank you so much. And we, like I said, love to have you back another time, once you guys decide where you're going to be or how it's going to work out, you know, especially these logistics around, you know, the visa is and trying to figure out taxes, and just all of that be super helpful. I know that there's probably people listening are feeling the same way or might have the dual EU citizenship and you know, a spouse it isn't and how do you manage all that? Just really interesting. Yeah, it's

complicated. Yeah. You're welcome to come back. We're just about to do the to get get ready with the taxes. So by in six months, whether you stay or we leave, we'll know a lot more about that part of it of the deal, too.

Yeah, that'd be super interesting. That'd be really helpful, I think to listeners for sure. Well, thank you for your time today.

Thank you Kami, was a real pleasure.

Thank you.

Listen to the Previous Episode

Adam Rosen's journey from a fresh college graduate to a seasoned entrepreneur and digital nomad reveals the multifaceted world of startups, business scalability, and the art of selling. His firsthand experiences, from adhering to a grueling work schedule in Boston to embracing the freedoms of a digital nomad lifestyle, underscore the evolving landscape of entrepreneurship. 

Adam shares invaluable insights on building businesses with a sale in mind, the power of cold email outreach for lead generation, and practical advice for living affordably while roaming the globe. His approach to negotiating Airbnb stays, overcoming remote work challenges, and leveraging technology to streamline business operations offers a glimpse into the life of an entrepreneur unbound by location, constantly learning, adapting, and growing.

Adam Rosen, a world-traveling entrepreneur, sold his first tech startup in 2019. He now leads eocworks.com, helping startups get sales through cold email, and thenomadcloud.com, supporting entrepreneurs who want to explore the world. 

Airbnb Discount Creator GPT Adam created. Check it out here. https://chat.openai.com/g/g-O36SMmQ8Q-travel-rental-negotiator

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TRANSCRIPT:

Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist podcast. I don't have a therapist, but I have a really cool guest. I'm excited to introduce you guys to him and hear his story. His name's Adam Rosen. He's got a super cool story. He's started startups, he's sold startups. He's a digital nomad. He's got tips and tricks for all this digital nomads out there. And I also like the entrepreneurship. You know, we talk about that a lot on this podcast, a lot of us therapists, we have our private practices, but we want multiple income streams, because we don't want to just do that one to one client kind of thing. So it's exciting to have a digital nomad and entrepreneur, a person that does startups, come on and talk to us about this whole thing and how we can mesh it together. So Adam, I'd love if you would introduce yourself, tell people a little bit about you. And then let's chit chat. Yeah, sounds

great. Well, first, Kim, thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here. You're welcome. Yeah, glad

to have you.

So from from my side, just a quick background, I never held a real job. You can call it real job, quote, unquote. Coming out after college, I started my first company about three weeks before I graduated, I did a one year MBA at my college, which is just outside of Boston. That's when I started my first company. I had that company for about five years, and I lived the total opposite of a digital nomad life, like the way I always learned that entrepreneurship was you have to be in one spot. You have to be at the office all day, every day. And that was the approach I took. And I'm very grateful that I did. But it was the complete opposite. We were based in Boston, and wow, for a large stretch of it. And I don't say this to brag about it. I don't think it's necessarily the best thing. But it was 6am till seven 8pm. Monday through Saturday, on Sundays, I would give myself a little bit of a break, I go in at 9am be there till 6pm. So that was like the lifestyle that I lived. We did sell the company back in 2019. Now one thing I always want to make clear, because I feel like the startup world is way over glamorized. Yeah, while we did have an exit, it was not the exit that any entrepreneur hopes and dreams of when they go into the world of entrepreneurship. But it was an exit nonetheless. And that's when I first moved out to Hawaii. Then I bounced around, I had a couple of real estate developments. And then I started my current business email outreach company, which is a lead generation agency back in 2021. And we've been doing that for about two and a half years. And my co founder and I in that business were the same co founders, my previous tech startup. And we've been running this as a as a digital business. Since November of 2021. I've been traveling the world, you know living out of my suitcase going from place to place.

Oh, it's so fun. I love it. So, you know, I'm curious, like when you say the startup is not like as glamorized as it was? So are you saying like, maybe you sold it. And it wasn't like this huge pay day that most people dream of? Because I wonder about that myself? I've got 15 income streams? Like how do you know when it's time to sell? Do you wait to be able to have that big payday? Or do you like to just do startups and then just pass it on to somebody else and then do another startup because I I'm kind of like that I love the idea. I love getting it off the ground. I love setting it up. But then like the running it forever, doesn't really appeal to me as much. I'm just curious about that part of it, like the process that how do you decide to sell and why did you sell and all of that? Yeah,

it's a great question. It's, it's an interesting way of of looking at a business because the way you look at it, Kim is, I think, a great way to look at it of, hey, I don't want to do this forever, I want to build it to sell it. That's one of the key things I learned from mentors, when I had my previous startup was, hey, build to sell from the start. And that was one of the errors we didn't do a good enough job on. Because when I first started and I was a bright eyed, bushy tailed entrepreneur, I was 22 years old. It was hey, IPO or bust billionaire boss, that was the mindset I had going into it versus like, hey, let's get a single and then, you know, keep keep stacking singles as a baseball reference. Now, the way I look at is, I always build to sell and I encourage every entrepreneur to build to sell. Because if you do that, effectively, you're going to have a few options. One option is you can sell the company. The second option, though, is hey, if someone is willing to buy your asset from you, that means you most likely built something of value. And if you build something of value, then you'll have the opportunity to continue scaling that thing of value. So I think it's important to have that mindset of build to sell and then let the life play out how it's supposed to. But the way I look at it is to take it as far as you believe you can as far as you're adding value and then maybe it makes sense to hand it off to somebody else to take it to the next level.

Yeah, I love that. Yeah, cuz I you know, definitely get I get passionate about the ANA multi passionate entrepreneur, you tell it like you are too you know, I get really passionate about something super excited about it and that it's like, Okay, I've ever it now you know, I built it, it's helpful, it's useful, but you know, ready to do something else. So I kind of I you know, I had that personality a little bit so I like what you're saying like, like, start it with the idea that you're just gonna get rid of it eventually. and make money off and be successful, of course, is going to help people. But then, like you said, just handed over to somebody else that's maybe really passionate about like that long term handling of a company kind of thing. Yeah. It's

so rare. I mean, there's so few companies we see where the founder is still running the company. Oh, that's so rare. And you know, like, one of the few examples probably today is is Facebook or meta with Mark Zuckerberg, he's still running. And he was obviously one of the founders. But it's very rare that you see the founder continue to run and continue running the company, as the business evolves into 789 10 figure range, because the skills of being a founder and starting something are different than scaling. The way I look at building businesses always about learning is there's a ton that I learned from that first startup, even though financially, you know, I wasn't retired on a beach in Hawaii, 27 years old. But the learning I got was so valuable. And same with my current business. And, you know, we just bought a newsletter business, which is now helping me scale into other opportunities that we're seeing as a digital nomad business, the Nomad club.com. For anyone who's maybe subscribed or wants it, subscribe, subscribe to that, but I see a lot of stuff as you learn from it. And then you see where it goes, maybe it means you keep scaling, it maybe means you sell it off. But either way, that'll be a win. If you get to that, that'd be a good problem to have.

That's so cool. So let Can we talk a little bit about that, because when we did our pre interview, you mentioned like this business that you're in, and that it's like cold email lead generation, which I found super interesting, because you know, as a multi passionate entrepreneur, like starting new things, you have to start a whole new business, you have to build a new business, you have to, you know, traditionally you're supposed to do that like, like no trust factor, you're supposed to build an audience. So they're warmed up to you and that whole thing, but when you said cold email, lead generation that like actually perked my ears a lot, because I think that's the dream for recipients is like, how could I? How could I structure a cold email that's going to get me leads, like immediately, so I can maybe skip some of that nurturing the audience part that comes with the entrepreneurship thing. And even for therapists listening, you know, there's, there's networking involved, there's marketing, there's like warming up that audience, you can get more client referrals. So I just curious if maybe you could just tell us a little bit about that, like some tips or tricks around that. And also, you know, how people can reach out to you they want help with that

part of it. Yeah, absolutely. Well, number one, we all love warm leads, like, Look, if my calendar was full of referrals every single day and warm leads every single day, I would rather that than cold. Of course, those are warmer leads, they have a higher likelihood to buy. However, for the majority of us, we're not getting that, unless you're Apple, or Amazon or Goldman Sachs, these massive brands, we have to be proactive, we have to find ways to find more customers. And there's a there's a million different ways to get new customers and to get more meetings. But the avenue that's always been most effective for me from my previous business. It's how we landed some of the biggest customers in the World Bank of America, Amazon, Apple, Goldman Sachs, MasterCard, Under Armour, you name it, we got them all from cold outreach, we didn't know them, we didn't get a connection, we just cold email them. With my current business. All over, we've had over 60 customers at this point for our full service agency, and over 30 of them, I think it's 3435, at this point have come from just doing cold email outreach to get the message new customers. So I just look about my business alone, we would be a fraction of where we are today, if we didn't do the cold outreach. And there's nothing really unique about my business of why we should be able to convert any more than any other business. So for anybody listening to this, if you just think about cold outreach, because it does have sometimes an ugly connotation to it, like people can see it as spam or as ugly. And I understand that I get that. But there's a right way to do and there's a wrong way to do it. But if you just simply look at it as cold email as a way to connect Person A to person B, yeah, you just look at that as a tool to connect to somebody else, it can be a great way to create more connections to create more business. And the nice thing about cold email versus let's say doing Instagram ads, is you can get hyper targeted. So the more you know about who your ideal customer is, who your ideal partner is, you can just get an email list with those exact folks, right copy that's targeted towards them. And of course, hopefully set up a meeting through

that. Nice. That's amazing. So that way your company does like, hey, we'll give you a lead list. And we're also going to give you like this awesome, awesome copywriting to help you like really nurture that experience, that first email that really brings them in. Is that kind of what you guys do to help people get to that point that are trying to send cold emails? Oh, okay. Yeah,

we have. We have two main ways we work with our partners. One way is basically they just give us the keys we get them on meeting so we just do everything from creating the domains, the emails, getting the email lists, writing the copy, sending the emails managing the inbox Have a look into meetings on our customers calendars, all they need to do is show up to the meeting. That's the primary way we've worked with our customers from the start. But over the last six or seven months, we've created more of a DIY option, as the cold email world has changed dramatically. They're just it's so much more complex today and 2024, than it was 678 months ago. So we created a DIY option where we have a mastermind where we train people on how to leverage cold email to get them more sales meetings, as well as AI, we were talking about AI earlier how to leverage AI cold email to grow their business. So we have a DIY, of course, that's less money. And then we have a full service where they just have to show up to the meeting. We do everything else.

Wow, that's so cool. Yeah, we were talking before I hit record, because most of my listeners know I'm obsessed with AI. But we were talking about that too. So and you had mentioned building GPT is is that for this business, or is the GPT for that the other the traveling stuff and brokering deals and that sort of thing. So I want to get into that too.

We do a lot around AI and it kind of started with we would we write email copy for all of our customers, and it was my co founder that would always do that. And it would take a lot of time, you know, taking up reading a thoughtful email can take a lot of time. So we created a a cold email generated this was probably 18 months ago before you know chatting, oh, really well known. And of course with chat up, we started to get more into AI and learning about it. So we built out a GPT that will rewrite our email copy better than we ever could in our style that converts best for our customers. So we've created these things called GP Ts, and one of the GP T's that we created though is for travel. And we share with through our digital nomad newsletter our community, which is now over 15,000 folks, people that are digital nomads are interested in being a digital nomad, because we've saved a kid you not 10s of 1000s of dollars on Airbnb, because when I travel, especially my co founder will stay at a lot of different Airbnb ease and won't do long term rentals, you know, a month, two months, sometimes three months in his day. And we have a copy that we'll send to the Airbnb hosts to negotiate deals. And a lot of times we'll save you on the low end 10% on rent, sometimes 30 or more percent on on rent. And we share through this GBT a wave where people can just plug in some information and you'll get the exact style that we use to save us a bunch of money on our Airbnb. So we stay in.

That is awesome. And you said you're going to share that right. Now I'll put in the I'll put in the show notes. Okay, yeah, that's so cool. So tips about that. Let's talk just a little bit about that. Because you do have this brand with the cold email. But you've also got this Nomad brand. So let's Can we talk about the Nomad brand and like what it is and how people can subscribe to it. But also, I want your tips and tricks around this Airbnb thing, because I live in Airbnb is I would love to save money. So I'd love to hear your suggestions for that.

Absolutely. So as my co founder and I for the last, you know, better part really almost three years now. We've been traveling full time as we run this business. And one of the things that I hear a lot about, I'm sure you do to Kim, live in the lifestyle that you live is I'm sure a lot of people in your network reach out to you. And they're like, how do you do that? How do you build a business and travel the world? Because it's kind of like how do you have your cake and eat it too? So many people reach out to us just saying how do you do this? What tips do you have either to start my own business or to work for somebody else to do it remotely? So we've wanted to build some type of travel brand to help people that want to travel the world, but also grow professionally. Because for me, if I just traveled? That wouldn't be interesting to me. I mean, it'd be sure you can see beautiful works the world, but I need that professional growth as well. So I need both. And I know a lot of people can like you and I that have that same type of desire. So we've been hungry to find how can we help people add value in this way. And we stumbled across this newsletter called the nomadic cloud.com. So a few months back, and we really liked the copy, or we really liked the content that they would share. We liked their structure, we liked their brand. So we just reached out to the owner of it. And then we ended up buying the newsletter with my co founder as well as my sister who also works with me on my lead gen company. So we bought that that newsletter, we grew up from 5000 subscribers to now over 15,000 subscribers in just a few months. And we're just we're excited about where the brand can continue to go, you know, over the coming months in coming years.

I can't wait to subscribe. That's awesome. Sounds like it's right up my alley. So I'm definitely gonna get subscribed to that. Cool. So you just were interested in it. You just reached out to the owner and said, Hey, and he might have been just like, we were talking before, like, ready? Like, yeah, I've read it here. You kind of take it and do what you want to with it. I'm happy to give it up. Yeah, that's really cool.

Exactly. That's even something too for anyone. I've always been building a business from scratch. But what's nice though, as you continue to evolve and your entrepreneurial journey is you start to see hey, maybe there's ways I can save myself a bunch of time but also money and buy something that's already built up a little bit and then you can in then you could end Put your systems, your processes, your skill set to help accelerate the growth because everybody knows who's anyone who started a business. No, it was like the first six to 12 months are incredibly difficult, time consuming, you're doing a lot of that work. That's not always the most exciting where, where if you can chop off some of that, and just input your systems, it can save you a lot of time, but also a lot of money. So if you ever see a brand new like, hey, this interesting brand, I like what they're doing here. Reach out to the owner, you never know if they're if they're going to be willing to sell it.

Yeah, that's a great tip. Yeah, it's something I never think about. So I'm really glad to hear you say that. So let's talk about the Airbnbs. How do you get them cheaper? Tell us tell us your tricks. I know you got a tool to help us do that. Well, we'll share with everybody but how do you? How do you do it? Yeah,

so it's really simple. You know, you just find your BMDS. And yep, often understand the market a little bit, of course. But as long as you you want to message the host directly. Now, the challenge is, if it's run by, like a developer or property manager, sometimes it's longer difficult there, they tend to be a lot more challenging to get deals from. But when you do find the owners, that's where you can negotiate some some really good deals on it. So I don't encourage anyone to necessarily go off Airbnb, but sometimes if they do want to take it off Airbnb, you know, that's your decision, there's a little bit of risk, of course to that because it's off the platform. But that's one way to save some money. But the approach that we would always take is we would just message the host and just say, hey, introducing myself here. My name is Adam, I'm a traveling entrepreneur, I love your plays, it's a little bit out of my budget, would you be open to X amount, instead, I'll, I'm a great guest, please see my reviews, I will give you a five star review. I'll be respectful guests. I'll help out if you need anything, please let me know if this is possible. And this is helpful. Like I don't know how many reviews I have at this point. But they're very good reviews. So that of course helps. So anyone who has plate reviews, of course you want to leverage that that's that's value that you have,

like, check out my profile, you could see a great gas like novel thing. Okay, exactly.

And I'm willing to stay for a month or for two months, are you able to give me a deal? And then they might throw it a number? And then you could just negotiate with that. But it is incredibly incredibly, incredibly rare that we don't have these gets something taken

off. That's awesome. Yeah, we've tried that before. And I've heard that that's a good point. Like if you can go off the app, or even sometimes people have websites for their properties. Like if you see something on Airbnb that you really like, I've kinda like researched, you know, just googled around and you can sometimes find the website and get it much cheaper that way too. Yeah.

Yeah, exactly. But never just by you know, sometimes Yeah, if a place is like super high in demand, like when we spent five weeks in Positano Italy, and the Amalfi coast this past summer, and it was during the high period was, you know, August, in the beginning of September, that's the busiest time to go there. So it was a lot harder to get a discount, but we still save some money by just reaching out to the host. And he's a great guy, we'd become friends. And next year, we might stay in the same place. And you know, do it off the app, and I'm sure he'll give even a better deal. But always reach out to the host. Because what they want is they want most of the time. They just don't want a headache. They want a good guest. They want longer stays. And if you just ask most of the time, they're gonna say yes to you.

Yeah. I love that. Yeah. Have you ever been in a situation where you got you booked a month, and then you were like, I gotta get out of here. This is terrible. Because that happened to us. We used to we used to book months at a time, right? And then like, twice, we got in these terrible situations and we had to like contact Airbnb to get us out of it. But just have you had that happen, because that that's like, basically scared us away from doing these longer stays because you never know what you're gonna get in these places sometimes. So I don't know if you if you've had to deal with that or how you deal with that. Oh, yeah.

Fortunately, it hasn't happened often, but it has happened twice. One time it was in the south of France. We were going to Cannes and it was my business partner, myself and my sister. We were traveling together at the time. So it's important we had three bedrooms. At least it was at least two good full baths. I think we might have even said three bed three bath it was the first time I'm listing just full online. It said it was three bedroom three bath and ended up being one bathroom was just a toilet. One bathroom was just a shower. The other bathroom was just the sink. So it was just a full on line. They said three full bathrooms there was other stuff that was it was totally inaccurate. Luckily we ended up getting out of it. And luckily we ended up getting our money back. However it was way more difficult of a process than I could have ever imagined. I thought it was going to be the most simple cut and dry case because wasn't that we just didn't like the place it was at they just full on lied about the whole so that was probably the biggest nightmare I've had with an Airbnb just because he was so uncertain for about two weeks if we were going to get more money back for oh my gosh, right luckily we found a much better place. We did get our money back from it. So Airbnb did come through. And then one other bad experience recently and London and I basically just had to be paid the host off to just let us leave early, which was also not not a good situation because we felt like it was a dishonest post, the biggest thing we look at now, when I travel least what's important to me? Is location more than anything. Yeah. So always check out the location. Because especially when you're going to areas you really don't know all that well. So if you're in a great location, you'll always have a pretty good idea what the what the apartment looks like, Sure, the photos might be better than it actually is. In real life. The location for us is always number one that's become our biggest non negotiable.

Nice, yeah, slowly over time. We're like developing, like you said, non negotiables. It's like, if we're in a condo or apartment, we're always on the top floor now. Because every time we get like a second floor, third floor or something, there's somebody above you inevitably there's always like crazy noise or something, you know, so we're starting to slowly build that list too. For sure. Yeah, yeah,

exactly. There, you start to learn these things of, hey, this probably is a place that's going to have super cheap everything or cheap Wi Fi. That's another really big thing, especially for anyone who has a digital nomad, Wi Fi so important. That's another thing that I'll always ask is how fast is your Wi Fi? Because I've been in situations to where the Wi Fi is not good. And you have a mirror. Right? You have to find other solutions that point because that's the worst. I'm, I've been in place for two months, where the Wi Fi for the whole two months, which is a pain in

the oh my god, I get so stressed. I've had it's just it stresses me out so much when I've got like meetings stacked and you know, and then you get to a place and they're like, could we always ask to and half the time they say, Well, I can't get your speed tests. I'm not. I'm not in the unit or something like that. So of course I'm like, okay, they're saying it's bad. They can't get the speed test. But inevitably, sometimes you get there and it's terrible. And to me that is like so freakin stressful. Because we're running businesses, right? We have to have meetings all the time. You know, like, like, good connected zoom meetings. Yeah, that's the worst. So do you have any fixes around that or like tips or tricks around like if you get a place in the internet's terrible. Any ideas or suggestions for anybody listening? Yeah, I was

in Montenegro for two months this past summer, and the place was great. Bought, the Wi Fi just was not good. And there was nothing that they could do to fix it. So I bought one of those was like external Wi Fi modems that you could put plug into your computer. And that definitely helps a little bit. But you know, truthfully, for about two months, the Wi Fi was shaky, and I do a lot of zoom calls, I'll do podcasts. Like, it's definitely made those two months a lot more challenging. Because the nice thing about being in person, or one of the many nice things about being in person is that there's no break in connection, just a free flowing conversation. It's really difficult to build a connection through a resume, when there are spaces between everything. Or the Wi Fi is choppy, and you're talking all over each other. So Wi Fi, it's so so so important for anybody running a digital business, especially if there's a lot of conversations like this for the Wi Fi to be as good as possible.

Yeah, absolutely. Have you tried those e sounds? I keep seeing these e sim cards? I don't know if you've used them or not with that. No, you haven't tried them yet? Yeah, I'm curious about that. Next time we go out of the country. I think I'm gonna give that a try. Because it seems like it could be a good solution for different locations. But yeah, this that's our biggest pain point really is is the internet. It's like God, please be good with you. They'll say, oh, it's one person was like, it's 10. Up and five down. I'm like, that's not gonna work. Yeah. Yeah, great internet set up and find out. It's like, no, that's not great. Yeah, the

workspace setup is so important, because that's one of the key things I hear about a lot is I was actually talking to one of my buddies, and he was saying yesterday that the two biggest challenge he would have about living in digital life is trying to get a new workspace. And that is a big challenge is like that's a key thing. For me. It's why I like being in a spot for at least a month at a time, is I want to make sure I have my workspace have my ring light set up, have a comfortable places to work out and have good Wi Fi have a good backdrop. That's such an important thing for anyone traveling because, again, this what we're doing here is such a big part of so many of our jobs, especially if you're a therapist. I mean, I don't know how you imagine having choppy Wi Fi as a therapist, imagine having a bad backdrop or bad lighting, it was severely damages your ability to do the best job possible. It

really does. Yeah, we talk about that a lot like in the traveling therapists Facebook group, it's so hard with our clients and I mean, most of my clients at this point know I travel and that the Wi Fi might not be reliable. So they're pretty understanding about it, but I only see a few clients now, but a lot of the listeners have full case loads you know, they're trying to go to like Montenegro. If you get there and you're there for two months. What are you gonna do you got to find somewhere, but it also has to be HIPAA compliant environment like we can't just sit in coffee shops and have therapy sessions, you know, so it's Like, so complicated sometimes. But yeah, that's why it's asking like tips or tricks, because everybody always wants to do that.

That's so important. It's so important. Yeah.

And I mean, really, if you get in a place, I feel like just like the bathroom thing, if they tell you, there's good Wi Fi, and there's not I mean, that's a deal breaker to me. Sometimes it's like, I just, I need my money back, this isn't gonna work. You know, yeah,

that is a challenge, where I've always had great experiences for the most part therapy, but I was very surprised at that experience, that it wasn't easy to get my money back. And even this last experience, like it was, it was a big pain, to even get out of it, period, even with paying them more than I should have paid them to get out of that last place. Because the Wi Fi wasn't good. It a lot of stuff that they described it as wasn't actually the case. So just that's why it's so important to do pick a place on Airbnb, try to really do your due diligence, because getting out of it is going to be a bigger headache.

And like you said before, I mean, sometimes you can go off the app and negotiate and get rates dropped or whatever. But also, I'm glad you mentioned that, because it puts you at risk too, because they will say their terms of service, if you go off the app, you know, in the gates, any kind of like dispute that you would want to do with with somebody. So those are things to keep in mind. Because we It seems like there are owner sometimes that want to really force you to go off the app, like sometimes they have like these rental company like agreements off the app, and they're forcing you to go off a lot of times. So that's kind of a red flag that we've discovered, you know, because if you have a dispute, there's no evidence of it. You know, if you're not like in the chat on Airbnb, so it's it's tough, the stuffs tough to negotiate. You just don't want to get in a bad situation and not be able to get out of it. Really. Yeah.

And that's why a lot of it is if there's a lot of red flags, I'm sure you've seen a lot of Kim and I've seen a lot too on Airbnb, where it's there's a lot of red flags where you want to just put up your your spidey senses to say, is this real? Or is there something going on? One of those red flags be if right away? They're like, let's take this off the end? Yes. Why do you want to take it off? Yet? There's no reviews, why are there no reviews? What if the pictures look a certain way? What why did why did these are sorry, if there's not a lot of pictures? Why are there not a lot of photos. So there's a lot of these different red flags that you can start to pick up on? That might give you a little bit of an uneasy feeling. But a lot of times very rarely, when I negotiate well, I take it off the app. Usually it's all paid through the app. So again, just the key though, is just ask people want good tenants, they want five star reviews. So just ask.

So what's your recommended percentage? Often did you have like a rule? Like, okay, I'm gonna ask for 10% off every time or 20 or 30%? Or are you like, sort of taking into account? You know, it's high season there? There's a lot of availability in the area? Like, are you kind of looking at that before you make an offer around a percentage off?

Yeah, really depends. But usually, like 20% 20% is a good rule of thumb, and maybe you ask for 30%, they ask for 10% and settle on 20%. But even in the GPT, that I'll share you there's a whole back and forth negotiation that the GPT will do for you. Oh, I love that. So like, if you put in the different information like, Hey, here's the location, here's features I like about the home, here's my name, you know, here's what I'm asking for. And then you send that to the host. And then the host replies and says, Hey, sorry, the most I could do is 10% off, or whatever the number is, if you put that into GPT, then are profitable then say, here's how you should respond. I love that. Coach, it is like a negotiation, using a lot of the same negotiation skills that we've learned from, you know, a different or different businesses, a lot of real estate developments. Were in negotiation in real estate, you know, for anyone who's been involved in real estate knows how important that is. So yeah, the the GPT that we built, which is completely free, it'll take you through the whole negotiation if you want it to. That

is so awesome. Yeah, I can't wait to check it out. And for that, to be listening to my other podcast, run your private practice with AI, I just did a whole episode on building TPTs because I built like four or five of them for therapists already. And and they're awesome. I mean, they're super helpful, but they're also good lead generators. I don't know if y'all are using it for that at all. But you know, to to prompt them to get on newsletters, the people that are using the GPS and this is where the entrepreneurs out there, there's tons of ways to even monetize these really helpful GPT so you know, just FYI it's really

under Brazilian code. Yeah GPT especially when you know you're know someone you trust someone for you can it's the GP tees are so important, because if you just go into using chat GBT and for anyone listening to this, please do not use 3.5 Please pay the 20 bucks a month for GPT four it is such a huge difference. But even with GPT for like if you put into GPT for Hey, write me a cold email for x like I'm this company. I'm trying to reach out to these types of people. The email is going to spit out it's going to be all Yeah, however we create one of the GPT is we created is a cold email generator. And if you use that the difference in the quality is going to be so different. And the reason why is B Because GBT is just all about whatever whoever's giving it the input is what the output is going to be. So when you trust kin, you're gonna get Kim style and Kim's expertise in that GBT. But if you don't use Kim's GPT, and you just use chat GBT, on its own, the output you're going to get is going to be scattered thoughts from all over the web, which might be good, or it actually might be very low quality. So that's why GPT is, you know, from people like you, Kim are so important to us. Yeah, yeah.

You can feed it with all of your expertise, and have it basically be a mini clone of all your knowledge about a certain topic, which I love. Yeah, so cool. So I'm gonna have to have you on the other podcast to talk more about TPTs. That sounds good. That's awesome. Yeah. Well, thanks so much, Adam has been super helpful. I can't wait to sign up for your newsletter and share your TPT with everybody and start using your formula for Airbnb. It's because a bit of booking another one next week. So I'm definitely going to try that out and report back to the audience how it works. But thanks a lot. I really appreciate it.

No, thank you. Kim has a lot of fun being here. And yeah, thank you to everyone who's listening and get in touch if I if I can ever be helpful in any way. And

just real quick, How does everybody get a hold of you again, if you want to drop some links and stuff and we'll put it in the show notes. Do you? Yeah,

so my email is Adam at EOC works.com. If you're interested in digital nomad newsletters, the Nomad cloud.com And then the social media site, I'm most active on Instagram. It's just at Adam. I

Rosen. I'm gonna go follow you right after this. Thanks so much. Sounds good. Thanks, Kevin.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of the Traveling Therapist Podcast, Anna Linde, a seasoned international traveler and a sexologist, delves into the complexities of dating across borders and her profound insights into human sexuality. With a master's degree in sexology from Sweden and certifications as a sex coach and somatic sex educator, Anna's expertise offers a rich exploration of intimacy and relationships. She emphasizes the significance of understanding one's body and the embodiment of emotions like shame, fear, and guilt, which are pivotal in navigating sexual and intimate challenges. Anna's approach to therapy transcends traditional conversations, advocating for a holistic understanding of clients' experiences by connecting their emotional states to physical sensations in their bodies.

Anna's narrative extends beyond her professional endeavors, providing personal anecdotes and practical advice for those navigating the intricacies of international dating and relationships. Highlighting the importance of clarity and communication, she shares her own experience of finding a partner through a dating app designed for nomads, stressing the need to be upfront about one's desires and the lifestyle one wishes to lead. Anna also touches on cultural differences in dating norms and expectations, offering a perspective that challenges listeners to reflect on their own beliefs and desires. Her discussion underscores the dynamic and evolving nature of relationships, encouraging a continuous dialogue about needs, wants, and boundaries, whether in the context of traveling therapists or those living a nomadic lifestyle in pursuit of love and connection.

Key Points:

ABOUT ANNA LINDE:

Swedish-Brazilian sexologist and Dance Movement therapist that loves to break free and outsmart the comfort zone. Traveled through Europe last year (mostly Portugal, Spain and Germany) with her sons, 13 & 10 y and their adopted dog Julia (from Spain). This year, Thailand and Asia, all together on another amazing journey.

Celebrating her finished thesis in sexology where she wrote about International Adoptees Sexual and Reproductive Health and she’s looking forward to new challenges.

Connect with Anna Linde:

Website: https://www.healingxchg.com/post/meet-anna-linde

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TRANSCRIPT:

Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of the Traveling Therapist Podcast. I'm honored today to have our guest back for a second time, Anna Linde. She's fantastic. Last time she was on, we were just talking about all the things, you know, being that she's an international traveler. She has quite the story and there's another episode if you want to go listen and learn more about her. 

In addition to all that, she's a sexologist and also has had quite the experience with trying to date internationally as she's traveling the world. So we thought it'd be really fun to come back and talk about her expertise as a sexologist, but also this experience of this international dating and how you've navigated it and how you made it work and how it hasn't worked.

And, you know, try to help our listeners learn,  learn from you. So welcome. And I'd love it if you could introduce yourself and let everybody know a little bit about you.  But thank you. You're welcome. And I'm happy to be back. Thank you. Um,  yeah, and a short presentation is that I am, uh, a sexologist like you said.

Um, I have a master's in sexology that I took from Sweden.  Uh, I'm a certified sex coach, and I am a sexological bodyworker or somatic sex educator in training. That's amazing.  Yes, it is. I want to hear about all of that.  Yeah, because it's interesting because I thought I wanted to study in the university to be able to do research and, you know, unfold the writing process and all of this.

But since sexology is so much about the body and it's so much about. You know, the blockages we have in our bodies or how other people think of us, then they meet us or who I'm attracted to or not and why and all of these other things. And then the certification as a sex coach, but also somatic sexology made a lot of sense. 

What, what, so could you give us a little breakdown of what that looks like? So is it like, you know, I hear about clients that have maybe. Pelvic floor issues or, you know, something like that that gets in the way of them being able to have sex or, or be intimate with their partners. So what I'm just curious, like, the somatic part of it.

What does that look like when you're working with somebody? Um, it could be because if we, if we work in an ordinary therapy session or coaching session, then the idea is to go from the pain point to something else. So we need to unfold what is the problem in which situations is this problem occurring?

How many years did you have this challenge and what is the goal? Uh, and then we break it down. In smaller challenges or homeworks or exercises or whatever it could be that our model is, is, is giving us or is providing us. Yeah. Um, but if I'm not aware of the body in this process. The embodiment of shame, of fear, of guilt,  um,  it could be grief that is stored in the body. 

Then we're not really helping our clients out to be able to reach their goal or the emotional state they want to be in. Because there are other things in the body blocking even though we talk, maybe as you know, we understand and they say that they understand what they should do and they have been doing it and still we don't get the results that we wish for or that the client wishes for. 

And so to bring in an embodiment  is to always for me or from this perspective is to always make sure that the client is connected with her or his own body in the process.  And so if we are talking about shame, for example, a situation where  the result wasn't was. This client wished for, or wanted, or hoped for, or longed for, or whatever we want to say.

Then it could be a lot of shame around how somebody was acting, or the client itself was acting. Or shame of not being able to make it work. And if it's  a sexual challenge, or if it's intimacy, or if it's a, you know, relationship or whatever it is.  Um, and when we're not processed that shame, when we don't know how to transform it, how to move on, that shame will stay and block us and maybe create even more fear of entering those situations again. 

Um, and if I  Give an advice and I come with a suggestion that,  uh, you know, try this or say this or, or whatever it is, then nothing will be helpful unless we understand if it is shame or grief or, or fear and where it is stuck in the body.  Wow. That's amazing. So when you incorporated that into your training, that sounds like it was just a game changer.

Like it really took everything to the next level. Wow. Yeah. Because then I can actually be in the process in a different way.  So the somatic sexology is so much about being in a somatic mirror. So what you feel in your body, I will feel it as well. And then we can share it, but we are also together. in whatever challenge or pain we are talking about. 

So it's another level of feeling seen and heard. And it's another level for me to understand what we're actually doing.  Yeah. Wow. That's amazing.  Yeah. And then you said, for example, if you have pelvic floor pain, it could be, um, a problem with your erection. It could be a problem with pain around penetrational sex.

It could be so many different things  that are also very connected with shame and fear and usually grief. Because we do need to grieve the thing that we lost to be able to move on.  Um, and if we cannot create a safe space for people to actually feel how they are feeling in their bodies, then we will have trouble  figuring out what the next step should be. 

Right.  Wow. Fascinating. So do you, um, is this all remote? Because I know you're all over the place in different countries. You're in Thailand right now.  Yeah, I do. I should go to Canada for the next step in somatic sex educator training. And we'll see if I can actually make that work practically. I'm Trying to figure it out right now, um, but yeah, and then it's the same because we enter a room where we are supposed to talk about sex or intimacy and specific challenges with people that we maybe don't really know that well at that point. 

And then we have the same experience that it's a little uncomfortable. We, you know, you always feel a little nervous and then It's the same process with the perspective of embodiment that my body actually needs to feel safe enough to be in this room or in this conversation or in this exercise.  So in the training we get the opportunity to practice as we are clients as well in this form. 

Yeah. It's really experiential. I remember when I did the EM, my EMDR training, it was like, Oh my gosh, I'm actually in,  I'm having to meet a clinician for the first time. I'm having to share my stuff and then process it right in front of the clinician. So that was super valuable to be able to do it in person like that, to really understand the experience of the client, but also experience it for myself, how it shifted things for me.

Yes. Yeah. And then the vulnerability in these situations always gets very special. Because if I feel vulnerable, then I can connect with, you know, the other vulnerability in the room.  And then we actually are connected. And then we can start feeling grateful for that safe space or that conversation or that sharing.

Um, so it's an amazing journey. It's amazing studying. It's amazing people. Sexology, sex coaches, somatic sex educators, all of them. It is amazing. So do you have to be, do you have to have training as a therapist before you take this extra training? Somatic sex, sex therapy certification or, or whatever it's called.

Um, do you have to have. Like a, like a master's level training or something. I know you're not from the US. So I'm just curious about the level of training you need to have. Yeah, good. That's a good question. And I don't think I needed to have it like a finished master degree, but they do. They are very.

Um, you know, interested in you're actually the right person to do this because it's a lot of difference from saying I'm interested in sex. It's funny. I like it. Yeah. Or being a person who can actually work with it without being, you know, thrown off what people are telling you or feel the fear in discussing a  tricky topic or maybe only going to your own biases or stereotypes and then you're suddenly judging people  from what they are saying and that's like, that's a no go,  no go zone. 

That's not a very safe environment for a client.  Yeah. Not at all.  Yeah.  Yeah. So I think maybe that's the, the biggest difference for us as sexologists or, you know, or ordinary therapists or coaches, because we have been doing so much reflecting, so much talking, so much reading about the norms, um, which is also a bit connecting to dating internationally because then everybody that is trying to.

To date or create something when we come from different cultures are coming in with very different norms around sexuality, relationships, intimacy, you know, what is femininity or what is, what does it mean to be a man in a relationship? Or, you know, it's a million things that we said,  especially for someone like you that sees clients in different countries.

And you really have to be in tune with that culturally. That's so interesting. So, let's shift into this a little bit since we're kind of touching on it.  Um, let's talk about it. So, are there certain cultures or, or, uh, you know, places you've been or people you've worked with where you've really seen a huge difference in, in the way that people think about their own sexuality.

And I, you know, let's just have a conversation around that. I think that's super interesting, you've seen a lot of different things.  Yes. And what's more interesting is that everybody has the tendency to think that their own perception is normal.  Yes. I bet. Mm hmm. Which makes sense. It makes a lot of sense.

Right. And this is where usually couples have a problem figuring out how can we move on or how can we figure this out? Because on one side, one of them is saying, but this is normal for me. I'm not doing that, or that's not for me, or why do you want this, or whatever it could be. And the other person is sitting with the same feelings that, that's, you know, I'm not going there.

This is what I want, or this is how it should be, or I'm not interested in that, or never, or all of these things. Um, and usually what also makes it a little tricky is that we usually Or in general, people are not talking so much about sex and intimacy with their parents, for example.  Which their normal things came from, from the upbringing. 

So we don't usually go backwards and ask our parents like, but, you know, is this normal sexually? Or, because it's a conversation where we usually don't want to talk with our parents about it, uh, which is also connected with is it normal to talk about sex in your family or not?  Yes. Right. And, yeah, so it's an easy spin off in those things of what works or what does not work.

Absolutely. Um, and what we feel is normal is usually making us feel safe. Or feel at home.  Right. Comfortable. Yeah. Safe. Yeah. Even though it's maybe not exactly what I actually want, if I, you know, really try to think about it, but it's, you know, it's how we do it. So, we will go there. Um, so if somebody is suggesting something totally new or, or being in a partnership, not only with one partner, but with.

to others, or maybe that we're three, or we're having an open relationship, then that is a real deal breaker for some people. And for others, it's. That's how we do it. You have two wives. Yeah. You can have three. Why is this? Why is this? Yeah. Oh, that's so interesting. Yeah. Have you worked with that culture? I mean, I know there are places that have multiple wives.

Have you worked with that in your practice? That's really interesting. I did. It's really interesting because sometimes religion plays a part as well. Right. And if religion is a part, then it's usually, you know, this book or this reading or this person that says that it's normal. And this is what it is. It is normal.

This is okay. Um,  but then If you're trying to date somebody that is from a different religion or different culture or different, you know, ideas of what normal is, then that person probably will get really offended of not being the only one or the, you know, not being chosen, not being the one, not being, uh, you know, what all kind of emotions that can, that can be suddenly woken up.

And, and then we're also in the area of jealousy because jealousy is.  Suddenly a thing then, and how do you navigate jealousy with somebody who thinks that  I should be able to have two or three partners? That's not a thing. It's, it's my right.  And then if we turn it, but then if your partner would like to have two or three partners.

Would you feel okay with that? And then, yeah, so it can be really interesting conversations around just what is normal.  So interesting. Yeah, I've had a couple that are polyamorous.  Clients over the years, you know, or I don't know that they had multiple partners and a main partner and then side partners.

And that was definitely a learning experience for me to, uh, try to figure out how to navigate that. And jealousy was a thing that kept coming up, like, how do we, you know, how do we mitigate the jealousy? We want to live this lifestyle. So that was definitely it.  A thing for sure. And that was new for me. So I definitely learned from that client. 

Yeah. And it's, it's an eye opener. Every conversation is an eye opener because I always get a reminder of what I think is normal. Yes. So true. Like, okay, all judgment aside, I'm not these people, if this is what they want to do, good for them, but let's figure out how to.  Make your life the best life you can live with this.

And  also like, what do I actually want? You know, that process of like, do I actually know what I want?  And what I'm longing for, or is my brain also stuck in ideas of what I should date, should do, should, and like, how do you figure that out?  Like, how do you know?  Yeah. How do you know? Maybe you could tell us. 

I will try. Okay. Because I usually ask these questions in the sessions. And share from my perspective as well, that I think when something is yes for me, then I feel it everywhere in my body. If it's, you know, food or music or, or sex or whatever it is, it's like, Oh,  yes, like,  I want that. That's it.

Yes. Like I want more.  Um, and if we can feel that. around the person or around the situation or around the fantasy, then that's worth taking more time to figure out what it actually is that I want.  And that's what's making me, you know, happy or shimmering or glittering or playful or whatever it is. Um, but we also need to know how many norms we actually have around ourselves that are hurting people and that is hurting our possibilities to have the relationship qualities that we want. 

Yeah. Finding that, that balance.  Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. And the same principle goes with being a traveling therapist, you know, it's like, if you've got this glare, if it's like, God, I want to go to Thailand, I want to live in Thailand. You know, it's like, you've got to pay attention to that. So to tell people all the time that they like to do coaching with me, it's like, what is, what is your dream life?

Like, let's focus on that and how we're going to make that happen. Because we know you can, you can do this job from anywhere, really, for the most part. And it's amazing. So you can have the best of both worlds, you know, yeah.  And then we can, if we, if we take that example, then what is stopping you? Or the client or the person from not taking those steps, probably because it's complicated.

Of course, it's always complicated, but probably because it's also really hard to be outside a comfort zone to that extent, that total move or, you know, changing countries all the time or whatever you want to call it.  And it's not everybody who can  continue to feel comfortable even when it's outside your comfort zone. 

Yeah. Oh, that's a whole nother skill set, isn't it?  Yeah. It is. And it's the same with sex and dating internationally. Because if I don't even know how to interact with somebody in a respectful way, then I might just not even, you know, I don't even dare to go there. Right. Right. Absolutely. So that's a perfect segue into, let's talk about you,  how have you  navigated this?

Like what, what advice can you give somebody that's a world traveler? I know last time we talked to you, we're in a relationship, but you've definitely had some, you know, ups and downs with relationships and dating and trying to navigate traveling the world and taking your kids with you and all of that.

So I'm just curious. Any advice or tips or tricks or anything you could share about your journey? Yes, because I met my partner on a dating app for people who want to travel.  And, it's called Nomad, Nomad Soulmates.  And so it's an app designed for people who want to travel or digital nomads, but that also would like to date.

Um, and  then. Um, you can actually meet people and you can make a list, you know, this country I want to go to, or this here I've been here, or da, da, da, da, da. So it is,  it's like a game changer for people who are traveling in that sense. And, I think I should give advice, you know, inside the app, outside the app, to be very clear with what you actually need and what you actually want. 

Yeah. We always compromise in everything, you know, we always compromise every day with big things and small things. But when it comes to building the dream life  and getting what you're longing for, you need to be able to express it to actually make that path to go there.  Right. Yeah. And, and what a cool way to start in a relationship, knowing you're both nomadic anyway, you know, and having that, cause I've talked to people before, it's like, I just want to go and my partner does not want to go.

And it's just a really hard thing. So being able to start with something like an app or people both have the same desires or even pick the same countries. Like that's amazing. What a, what a great idea.  It is a great idea. She's in Bali right now. Uh, I talked with her the other day, the, uh, the starter of this app, uh, because she's doing a retreat in Bali, uh, in August, I think.

Um, which is also a great idea, of course, to actually reach out to her. I need to bring her on the podcast. That would be really good. Yes. Yeah, I will. Yeah. I will hook you up with her. That'd be awesome. Thanks. Sure.  Um, but I also think that.  If we meet somebody that is clear as well, because I just said that you should be clear and express what you actually want and longing for and what you need. 

We need to be able to listen and respect that other people also know. What they need and what they want. Yeah. Um,  and usually, or, you know, in some settings, dating is like a game we are trying and we blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But in my age and my age is like, I'm too old for bullshit age. It can happen anywhere, anyone, but I'm 37 also.

That's a good age.  It's a really good age when you get there. Um, I usually also think that it's not everything that I need to take personally.  I don't need to take it personal when a person I'm figuring out if we want to date or not is, you know, telling me with the clear words or expressing like, no, I want this, I wouldn't, I want to be able to travel like this.

I want to be there for seven months and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,  because that's an opportunity for me to continue to be clear. In how I need to express myself as well. Yes,  absolutely. Yeah, because it doesn't need to be a game, you know, we don't need to play these rules. I'm really bad at them anyway, but it's also,  yeah, I don't, you know, I don't get it.

And also every culture and every society have different rules, different games.  So interesting. Oh my gosh. You could probably write a book about that. Yeah. And then it's like, how do I even play a game when I don't even understand the rules?  You know, it's not working.  Yeah. It doesn't work. What's, I know this is like putting you on the spot, but can you think of a country that has a really weird dating dynamic that you had, you were like, what the heck is going on here?

I don't know.  I, I, well, you know, I grew up in Sweden, which means that the Swedish people are not so much, um,  They're pretty calm. People call them cold, usually, like from the outside, because they're not so social. They're not maybe, um, you know, walking up to people they don't know to chit chat if they're not really drunk and like, it's more of a distance in, in their way to communicate then than in others. 

But if we would compare it to countries where there are a lot of Muslims, then there is no woman who is going to approach you out to ask you out.  Yes. That's not how it works. It's not gonna work like that. No. And if you are. And if you grew up in that type of society where there are very fixed positions between women and men, then that means that there are very different possibilities for you as a man and a woman on how you're actually going to date or find each other.

Um, and then that's a totally different context or, or, you know, field on how you meet someone. And is it possible to meet someone or do you actually need to meet, you know, between the families or with recommendations or, you know, then it's a totally different story. Um, and it's also totally different between the Muslim countries.

So, it's not one setting that is totally different between the different countries that you're in.  Wow. That's so interesting.  Yeah. Or like in, uh, in India, for example, I'm not sure if it's the whole India, but, but I have a friend that has been together with his girlfriend now for three years, I think.  And they are waiting to have sex until they are married.

Um, and maybe that's not what they wished for because they are, I don't know, 34 and 36 or, or something like this. Um, but since this is the culture and this is what is expected of them, then this is how they're going to do. That's what they're going to do. So if you would date a person that has this background, where you're supposed to wait with sex until you are married, no matter which country, religion, or culture,  and you would meet somebody that is the opposite, that thinks that, you know, sex is for me, I'm supposed to try it, I'm supposed to have fun, now that's a really hard, you know, way for persons to get compatible, compatible in this area. 

Because that's very far from each other. And there are ideas then around what is normal, what is okay. And if this is even a partner then that I can choose, maybe it's a no. Like it's a clear no for many people probably. Right. Absolutely.  Yeah. That's so interesting. Yeah. And then I think about Americans and they're, you know, not supposed to have sex till marriage, Christian Americans, but, you know, teenagers are not following that rule, but I know what these other countries it's like super serious and you have to, you have to abide by that cultural standard.

Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.  So there's a lot of differences in and when we don't know because we're not, you know, we don't understand all of these things when we're traveling unless we actually sit down and try to figure it out. Right. But There is also very different expectations on what is, you know, how do we define a man and how do we define a woman and what kind of qualities should a man have or a woman because she is supposed to be the mother of my child or, you know, there's a lot of ideas that also might be a little tricky to understand.

Uh, when we're not really in that setting.  Yeah. When they're from another country and they, yeah, they definitely somebody that might like to believe in a traditionalist, like a woman's role doesn't work, you know, that sort of thing. And, you know, meeting  and not really understanding that it's culturally ingrained in this person to think that way.

Yeah. And it might be hard if the woman's like super fierce and independent and like, no way, you know. Yeah. That's a tough, tough match. Yeah. And usually,  or my idea from the beginning, or, you know, earlier, I was like, okay, but they probably just don't date. And then it's, you know, not a problem.  But we are also usually attracted to something we cannot have. 

Or that is dangerous or wrong, or, you know, out of the question, then that's attention and interesting as well, at some point. That's what I was just thinking. It's like, of course, you'd be attracted to that person  who's the exact opposite of what you're looking for in your life. Yeah. I mean, don't we all do that in ways? 

Yeah,  like in a lot of ways. Yeah. So then, and then it's not impossible that it could be a total mismatch for two people, even though there is an attraction or there is an interest. And you just, you know, when you're talking, you're just like,  What? I don't understand. It's like, I don't understand this person at all.

And it's like, no, maybe you don't step in, you step in and you explain the cultural differences and the sexual differences and you try to help them negotiate because they probably are super attracted to each other. Probably love. Yeah. Right. Yeah. It could also be how we are solving conflicts.  I know.

Right. It is. Right. Because that's also a thing. Um, like in South America, for example, or in Argentina, maybe, uh, Brazil also, uh, didn't travel so much to the other countries, but there  it's, it's, you know, you raise your voice. You talk, you tell,  you, you know, you discuss, you, yeah, because that means that I'm careful for you and I'm showing you and I'm telling you, but  if you would do that in Sweden, then people would just, you know, leave the room and go and hide because we don't raise our voice like that.

Super aggressive. Right. Right. Yeah.  And that's also a difference that could be, you know, connecting with the culture or country, but also which generation are we in? You know, what is normal when I grew up or when my partner grew up or this person grew up and how did this change depending on the influence that we have in those years.

So it's, it's cultural in one way, but it's also time wise, like generational. And it's also, you know, who am I as a person? What kind of energy do I have or who, who am I? And all of these things.  Yeah. Oh my gosh. It's so interesting.  So what tips would you have for somebody that's maybe nomadic?

Traveling around and wanting to meet a partner, like, do you have any  tips or tricks that they could follow to help them, you know, meet a good partner and, and still like to navigate this nomadic thing with them, with a potential partner or a new partner?  Well, one question that I think is crucial to figure out is,  you know, why do you travel?

Like, do you travel to find your happy place?  Or do you travel because you love the, you know, the adrenaline, the new things, da, da, da, da, da, da, and all of the experiences or are you looking for your dream partner? Or like what, what, why are you traveling? Because if I'm traveling because I want to find my happy place, then I'm traveling with one mission and I want to settle down somewhere.

Yes. Yes. Yes. And then maybe I should date somebody in that place.  Because that person would probably want to stay there then. Yeah. Probably. Maybe.  Maybe. Right. Yeah.  But if I'm traveling because I want to continue to travel and find many happy places or bring my partner to all these amazing journeys,  then maybe I need to actually say that this is what I would like.

Because if I meet somebody that was just. Looking for their dream partner and then wanting to settle down and I love this person but I want to continue to travel  then maybe we actually need to talk about that. Like should we settle down or not and what does settling down mean  when I'm this crazy traveler.

Yeah. Right. Yeah. No settling.  Yeah. Absolutely. That's a conversation I think you should maybe figure out in the beginning when you're meeting somebody. Because I think that's a conversation  that we need to keep alive all the time, depending on what we're doing or where we are. And even for ourselves, like asking that self, that of ourselves, so we truly know who we are before we enter into a relationship, so we can have.

The right boundaries are like you said, you know, meet somebody and understand it might not be a perfect fit and it's okay. And let's just move on, but being able to be authentic to what it is you want. And also knowing that it might change, like, yeah, I'm cool with it now, but I don't know, 10 years from now, I might be tired and want to just settle down somewhere.

Yeah. And whatever that means. Mm hmm. Yeah. And it's important to remember that we are changing all the time. With all of our experiences, we are changing. We are developing. We, it's, you know, that's what it is.  But then we should always keep our conversations alive about all the things that matter. Because it's not, it's not a checklist, like she said she wanted kids and a house, but no dog, you know, you said this five years ago, it's like, yeah, but now I want a dog.

Yeah. Yeah. It's like,  Nope. You said, Nope. Sorry.  Needs to be flexible, right? Yeah. Especially with this lifestyle, just super flexible. And like you said, negotiating all the time and,  you know, just being true and honest and, uh, with your partner and yourself about what's working, what's not working. Yeah. Yeah.

And when we. When we can put these, um, you know, when we're clear from the beginning, like, this is what I'm longing for. This is what I need. And like, these are places I want to go to. Or like, no, I cannot, you know, I can, I don't want to live in that country. It's not for me. Like, I'm happy that you like it, but I'm not going to live there.

Then I have to choose something else. Um, it also kind of pinpoints  Then what is the relationship?  Because if we're, if we're dating very traditionally and we meet somebody and we're supposed to buy a dog and a car and, uh, you know, kids and a house and blah, blah, blah, blah, then that is a kind of a frame that our relationship is bouncing inside.

And that frame could hold us in these positions for. You know, a pretty long time if we want,  but if we don't have that, then we need to be able to stay connected anyway, and to choose each other all the time.  Yes. Yeah.  Amazing. Such good advice. Really? Yeah. And now it sounded really complicated, but I think it is.

Relationships are complicated.  Yeah. It's complicated. Yeah. And when you throw this nomadic stuff into it, it just.  Escalates and new cultures and countries and, you know, all of that, and I think we touched on this last time, which is even traveling with a partner, different traveling styles. And, you know, are you a good pack?

Are you a bad pack? Are you organized? Disorganized? Like, all of that stuff is  exemplified, I guess, or I don't know the right word, but it's just like.  Even more important that stuff because it's stressful travel can be stressful. So you have to really  have that stuff down, you know, and understand that about yourself.

But we still like today's moving day for us. It's still stressful. There's always like,  I'm ready to go. What are you doing? Why do you have an appointment today? You know, all of this stuff. So it's a constant, you know. Struggle for real. Yeah. But we made it work, luckily. Yeah. Yeah. And it's dynamic. It's like we're two but we're still one. 

Exactly. And I'm here and you're there, but we are supposed to. And now it's, you know, it's a polarity play in that as well. It is like, you can do your things in your way. I will do things my way. Mm-Hmm. , I can help you out, but I don't wanna be, you know, I don't wanna deal with that.  Yeah. Luggage that I cannot, you know, I cannot figure it out.

So it's a balanced thing and it's, you can look at all of these situations as examples on what can I learn from this?  Exactly. Like, what can I learn about myself?  Or what can I learn about what I need  or what can I do better? Can I, can I get more organized? Maybe I should, you know, like that kind of thing.

Yeah. Or like, why am I stressed?  You know, what is the idea? Am I stressed because somebody might think I'm a bad person? Mm hmm. Yes. Or, you know, what is the stress really about?  And  then again, we can think about it. Like what is actually going on in this situation and why am I so, you know, overwhelmed by it today? 

I like it. Yeah. What is it? You know? Yeah. And then when we can express that to our partner like, you know, I'm, I'm really stressed because it's moving day and I hate being late because I really hate when people need to wait for me because I feel unprofessional, I feel stupid and I'm afraid that they don't think I value their time. 

I don't like that.  Yes. Yeah. And then when you can connect on that level, everybody understands each other so much better. It's like, Oh, I get it. You can come at it from an empathetic place instead of a,  you always do this or yeah, that kind of thing. Yeah. That's not helping. We ended up there. It's not helping.

Everybody does, but it's not helping. And that's a good example because in Sweden, one of the things is like you are on time.  Like, you don't waste anybody's time. That's like, you don't do it. Uh, which is why I can get stressed sometimes because I'm like, no, we should be there. We need to be there early. And then when I express it like this  and my partner or my kids are like,  but this is Thailand.

Yeah. Yeah.  Everybody's 20 minutes late. It doesn't work. Yeah. Like, it doesn't work like that. Or in Spain, everybody's like. Yeah. That's not a thing. Yeah. And then I'm like, Oh, right. That's my idea. That's what I think is normal. Doesn't mean anybody else here needs to, you know, okay. Right. Then I can sit with that.

I like it.  Yeah. Right. Okay. I gotta, I gotta realign ships a little bit. Yeah.  Yeah. And realize that it was me. It was my stress. It wasn't theirs. It was mine. Nobody cares. And I made it a big thing. And then, okay. Right. Then I can leave it. Absolutely. Drop the stress around.  I love that. Yes. Thank you. So I'm sure people listening are going to be like, Oh my gosh, I want to talk to her.

I want to work with her. So how do people get connected with you if they want to learn, learn from you?  It's easy. I think, well, I have an Instagram. That is easy to catch and I'm not so good at updating it, but it's on my list to actually be good at it. So, you know, I will be good at it  any second.

I'll be good at it. Otherwise, you can find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.  And just under your name, Anna Linde. Yeah. Okay. There should be. Thank you so much. Thanks for coming back a second time. I really appreciate it. Yeah. Thank you.  You're welcome. 

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast, we explore the transformative work of Maria Szandrach, a visionary entrepreneur and CEO of Mentalyc, who masterfully combines AI technology with mental health care. Maria's path from engaging in entrepreneurial activities as a child to orchestrating a worldwide, entirely remote team epitomizes the essence of innovation and the nomadic spirit in reshaping professional fields. 

Mentalyc, her pioneering venture, utilizes AI to simplify the therapy note-taking process, providing therapists with an advanced tool to improve their services. With a diverse team located across different continents, Mentalyc stands as a testament to the power of diversity and flexibility, illustrating that physical distances do not hinder meaningful collaboration.

Maria's story goes beyond just technological progress; it highlights the remarkable capacity of AI to customize and enhance mental health care. By catering to the specific requirements of therapists and their clients, Mentalyc aims to render therapy sessions more productive and concentrated. The firm's dedication to security, demonstrated through its adherence to HIPAA compliance, and its commitment to developing a product that adapts to the changing needs of its users, emphasize the critical role of trust and innovation in the realm of healthcare technology. Maria Szandrach's foresight for Mentalyc serves as an inspiration for both budding entrepreneurs and therapists, showing that through passion, inventiveness, and a readiness to venture into new domains, one can significantly influence the world.

Serial entrepreneur, social impact leader, and CEO of Mentalyc, Maria Szandrach is a force to be reckoned with in the mental health tech space. Driven by a personal experience with therapy and a mission to make mental healthcare more accessible and effective, Maria has spearheaded the development of groundbreaking AI-powered solutions that are revolutionizing the industry.

Mentalyc, Maria's current brainchild, is a testament to her unwavering commitment to innovation and positive impact. This AI-powered platform automates note-taking for therapists, streamlines administrative tasks, and personalizes treatment plans, all while building a unique dataset to enhance psychotherapy. With thousands of happy clients under it’s belt,

Mentalyc is rapidly transforming the way therapy is delivered and experienced.

Beyond her entrepreneurial pursuits, she actively engages in thought leadership, sharing her insights at conferences and mentoring young entrepreneurs, all while advocating for ethical and responsible technology development in mental health.

Maria Szandrach is not just a successful entrepreneur; she is a visionary leader who is shaping the future of mental healthcare with compassion, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of progress.

Mentalyc is offering 10% off to all Traveling Therapist Listeners enter code KYM10 when you click through. 

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TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist podcast. I'm really excited today. We don't have a traveling therapist with us, but we have a traveling  Entrepreneur CEO co founder of her own company. Maria Zandrak. I think I said it right Shandrak.  I told her I was probably going to mess up her name, but I'm not even going to reveal what company or anything else.

I just would love for you to tell your story. I'm super excited to have you on here. Your journey really inspires me that you're. Female, you're a nomad. You had this vision, you created this amazing company, and I just want to talk about the whole process. So I'd love if you would introduce yourself and let everybody know who you are and what you do. 

I am very happy to be on this podcast. I was so excited to talk to another digital nomad. So I'm Maria, I'm at the CEO of Mentalyc. Mentalyc is a tool for therapists that takes notes using AI. And I was born in Poland, but I lived in a lot of different countries. I studied in the UK,  I lived in Germany, but in the US.

And in between those places, basically like for a month or so in a lot of other locations, currently I'm in Chile. The last couple of months I was in Mexico before that in San Francisco, that's where the company's the, where the headquarter is the company is fully remote. So all our colleagues are located across all continents. 

Some of them also move around. Some are more stationary.  But it's very interesting recently in a in a call of the marketing team and the sales team we discovered that part of the team lives in a place that is very snowy around Boston. The other part in nature  in snow. 

That's amazing. It's like, how do you even coordinate like time zones with so many people in so many different places? That's amazing. Yeah. It's like a never closing company. We try to organize teams around locations that have some overlap. So for example, the development team. It's spread across Europe and Africa while the product team is in South America to be closer to the therapist to be able to talk to them.

The sales is in the US content writers are in the US because they understand better the basically how therapists in the US operate, right? So they can write more relevant content. But. Yes it's interesting  really is gosh. It sounds like you have a really big team too. That's amazing.

Yeah.  20 people at this point and growing fast. Metallic is two and a half. Years old, yeah, it's a 2 and a half years old. Yeah. I want to talk all about it. How you thought to create this and, the process to go through because before we hit record, I was. Telling Maria, like a lot of this audience is entrepreneurial and already thinking outside of the box.

A lot of us living as nomads or partial traveling therapist. We already have that entrepreneurial spirit, I think, so it's just super interesting to me. And I know the audience too, to just to hear about your vision and how you brought it to life. I just think it's amazing. And then you're helping therapists on top of it make their lives easier.

So that's pretty cool.  And it's AI. Everybody knows I love AI. I'm like obsessed with AI. So this is just right up my alley.  I was always very interested in entrepreneurship. Like already as a child, I had some childhood businesses like breeding hamsters, trading all the violins. Yeah.  So when I was 18, I co founded my first kind of like a real proper business, right?

It was like insurtech startup. So a company selling online, mostly in Poland. And while doing this, I found out that even though I'm so passionate about entrepreneurship, it actually matters to me what problem I'm solving and insurance wasn't the most exciting thing for me. Yeah. Later, like I, I went to this like London business school.

I worked at McKinsey as a consultant and then I ended up in Berlin as the head of growth in in a different startup. And then around COVID, I did a bit more of this like soul searching as we're all isolated at homes. So I figured actually mental health is the topic that is very close to my heart because I went to therapy as a teenager for an eating disorder.

There, I had to switch therapists five times.  Oh my gosh. Practicing different modalities. I also went to two psychiatrists, so I went across pretty much all that is out there. And I recovered. So I don't have any symptoms since 10 years now, but this journey was very interesting, very stressful for the whole family. 

And I had to repeat my story from the beginning when I was switching those therapists. So I was a little bit frustrated that this case doesn't travel with me.  And every person has to map out my journey really from scratch. And also what often happens was that the therapist would forget maybe some nuances.

And I was like, I've already talked about a bit of this therapist or the other therapist. Oh, yes. It's who did I tell that to? I can't even remember. It's been so many now. Oh, that's the hardest part of therapy, especially if you're not connecting or it just doesn't feel like a good fit or it's not helping or something.

A lot of people just stay with a therapist or not even connected to for fear of having to do that go and. Have to retell your story or it's almost retraumatizing in a way to have to just tell all the details, relive it a little bit with a therapist, a new therapist. Yeah.

Yeah, exactly. So interesting. And all those so first I went to a CBT therapist that was not actually specialized knitting disorders in any way, right? So she didn't have much experience with this and that was not going anywhere. And actually from the client perspective, it's very difficult to assess what's going on, right?

Because we have to trust and follow the process. So it was definitely confusing, not just for me, but for the family, especially my parents were very worried. Yeah, but so this whole time was really stressful in that way. And then when I was wondering what were the problems that they encountered in my life that are not really solved and we're actually a very important, that's how I ended up in the mental health space.

So there was a bunch of different things I tried. I worked on a different product at some point. That was like an app, like a psychoeducation, some little like interventions for the clients.  Then I met my current co founder at some point and he has this machine learning. So basically like AI background, and all our ideation started going into this direction of like, how can we use AI and to have the process. So we're looking at, is there something we can automate on the client side? On the therapist side, we talked to hundreds of therapists, they all complained on notes.  Exactly. It's our biggest pain point. 

I think it's probably that and taking insurance are the two biggest ones, I think.  The no shows are a big one. Yeah, that's true. That's true.  But that's how it started and how I ended up building Mentalyc. So It was an intersection of having this like super power of my co founder, which is understanding AI and being able to build with it.

And actually discussions with therapists and my personal like passion and drive for the topic. Uh, the big idea behind Metallic is to first help therapists writing notes, but then also be able to leverage this data to actually find out what is working best for whom. So to we want to invert the Evidence based practice and towards like practice based evidence to actually understand what works right and help therapists like provide more of this type of interventions  to the whole process more like streamline for both therapists and the clients. 

That's amazing. So within the program, you have, would you call it an algorithm or something that helps. Calculate that based on the data that the clinician is inputting from seeing client, like maybe the same client over time, and then it's able to analyze and  are you saying give recommendations or develop treatment goals based on progress, that sort of thing?

Is that how it works? Yeah. So currently it writes notes like all types of notes  across, like from intake to discharge, right? So treatment plans are a part of it. So exactly, we can analyze every session individually to write the node, but we can also analyze like the underlying patterns.

So some things that we're working on are, for example, supervision and to have some like extra feedback for supervisee to improve and for supervisor to be able to quicker. Interact with the transcript or what was happening in the session  and the executive treatment plans can be suggested based on the intake notes,  right?

And we can create also some summaries for, let's say, referral basically the whole case being analyzed  or just suggestions and how to, what to try in the next session. So there's definitely like a lot that, that can be done. And some of those things we already do. Some of those we're working on internally.

So we write all the notes, but all this analytics, extra analytics are still being built out.  That's so cool. I think that's the neatest thing about AI really is that predictive analysis where it can, even predict real potential relapses or, last time you didn't get enough sleep.

You weren't eating as well, blah, blah, blah. It looks like. This is a risky territory. Maybe we need to reanalyze and make sure you're doing the right routine to keep your depression in check, that kind of thing. It just amazes me the things that we can do, with AI and it sounds really.

It's awesome that you guys are in development already trying to do this predictive analysis piece and make it like, super helpful and useful for therapists, things we might not even think of as therapists, in session the, I might come up with and say. Try this treatment plan this objective.

It looks like that would be helpful for what's going on with this client and just to get ideas like that is so valuable for a clinician. Yeah.  Yeah, we definitely believe that there needs to be some sort of like a hybrid right between actually the therapist and AI. So I cannot replace the therapist, but, therapist doesn't have this much like computing power as the AI can have, right? No one has not just therapists, like no human has  computing powers as the model. So if we can use it to show some patterns, it could unlock the those like blind spots in the therapist perception.

So together they, they can achieve the best results.  Yeah, and I was gonna just tell the audience I've actually they have a free trial and I've actually logged in and played with it some and it's  Pretty awesome. Yeah, I haven't played with every single part of it, but I just really am enjoying using metallic.

And I love that it's HIPAA compliant to me. That's like the big thing that, most of us need to be careful about and really be looking out for, especially if we're going to be recording sessions and that sort of thing. Can you talk a little bit about that? Like how you got the HIPAA compliant piece in place and just to.

Maybe ease any listeners minds because that's a big thing right now that I'm seeing coming up a lot with the stuff is I don't want to put any information into a computer or somewhere where a robot somewhere is. Recording this information, and they could use it against us later or share my clients information.

Could you maybe share a little bit about that process?  And security isn't always has been very important to us. So before we released any version of the product to therapists, it was already like HIPAA compliant. So it really took us like over a month of like really just building security.

So not any features. training AI, just really building the layers of security. So mental is very safe to use it as HIPAA compliant. And we also had extensive discussions with like lawyers that specialize in the clinical domain with ethics committees, especially in California. And also a lot of like experts that coach on note taking and so on.

So we really.  Invested a lot of time in this and we also don't share our data with any like third parties. So all this training that we were discussing is only to improve our tool to make notes more accurate to like, give better suggestions. So we don't like, sell this data anywhere or like all the plans, including the free trial are fully compliant and data is always very safe. 

I love it. Yeah, I look forward to playing with it some more to see all the features and especially the new updates that you guys come out with. Yeah,  really very cool. Very exciting. And the world of AI is changing so fast. All of this  metallic is going to be. I feel like it's got just so much room to grow and expand and help in so many ways.

It's really exciting that you're on top of it and you're researching and. Going to be making improvements over and over again to just make it like the perfect product for therapists. So it's really cool.  We definitely will be developing more and more like with AI, right? So we sometimes get requests for, let's say scheduling feature or payments. 

Those we actually refuse, unfortunately for some, and because there are a lot of tools out there that can do this and we are really like the whole team is built around just researching, right? So like psychologists, machine learning, data scientists,  like software developers to.  To basically understand how we can use this AI to its like maximum potential to, to help with the clinical basically problems or affairs.

And what is also like an interesting challenge is that there is not that much research out there because it's so new. So it's not like we can take a paper and just copy the approach, right? Like we really have to, it's not just a company, it's like a research lab.  Yeah. It's super innovative.

It's like on the cutting edge. So yeah, we just don't even know. With a lot of this stuff and, I'm curious about our licensing boards and when they're going to start coming out with, guidelines for how we can and cannot use AI. I'm super curious about that. I haven't seen anything yet, but, I'm sure that's coming.

We're helping with those processes. At least like when it comes to discussions with the ethics committees, for example because they reach out to us as how things work, so they can update their policies. So I definitely believe it's very important to, to like for this process to unfold in the right way, because as you say, there are a lot of tools out there that are not exactly HIPAA compliant, or they say they are not, if you look into the detail. 

So it's very important to read the like the terms of use or terms of service. They are called sometimes, right? Like really read all the details and understand if it is actually compliant, because sometimes you can find on the website or like on some social media banner that HIPAA compliant, right? 

But then if you look closely, it says that you cannot put any PHI into this tool, right? Which already is, okay, is it actually HIPAA compliant? Why would this be? You should be able to with no, no concern at all. Exactly. And then you find out there is no B anywhere. And so there's definitely a lot of kind of confusion as this market is very new and a lot of new companies are popping up.

Yeah.  So I would basically advise therapists to be careful not disqualify at all but really read the details, check if there is a BAA if there is any warning that you cannot put PHI.  Yeah. No,  that's really helpful. Yeah. I, yeah, you just, Think if it says HIPAA compliant that it is, but it may not be right.

That's such a good clue. They say no PHI. Yeah,  that's I would do say with those licensing boards and analytics committee, right there. They actually need to catch up and have this guidelines or maybe like somehow certify those companies or so. And but currently, this is not in place. So that's why this extra caution is definitely.

Needed and we are like doing our best to help them to notice that settings and be able to get better.  That's amazing. Yeah.  So mentalic is available in the United States in Canada, right? Is that what you told me? Those are the 2 markets. Are there other? Countries as well.  We also have some Australian therapists.

Oh, Australian. Okay. But the US is definitely like the main markets and as Canadians and Australians are always like knocking to the door and saying, can I also use it? Then  our policies reviewed their regulations and they cannot.  Yeah. I was just wondering about the process of that too. Is it, I'm assuming there's a HIPAA  like similarity and these other countries, Canada and Australia.

Yes, it may be different guidelines. There is PIPA in Canada and a couple of articles, so we have reviewed those and they are not very different. That's why we we search markets as well, because it was not that much effort to adjust. For example, Europe is much, much more annoying. Yeah. There are different languages, right?

Different regulations, a lot of countries. At some point we will get there, but it's. It's too much distraction from actually improving the quality of the notes just in English and like American standards, right? Because what is also important is that like America is a little bit, like the U.

S. is a little bit specific when it comes to insurance requirements. So this gives the notes a little bit of a different flavor. And we even can see it with Australia that sometimes they, they would say that they don't need this medical necessity to be so like blown out of  proportion in the news. 

That's funny. I bet everybody listening to this is oh my gosh, I wish we were in Australia.  That medical necessity is such a pain sometimes to have to just make sure you're meeting medical necessity for the insurance companies. Yeah.  So that's also one big part of what we try to help with to make notes like written and formatted in a certain way that insurance does it come after the clinician  trying to help.

That's really important to hear and I think people would love to know that too. You know that like we're protecting you, we're keeping medical necessity in mind and the AI is already programmed to do that. So it's trying to Keep you on track without as well, not just we're writing a good note for you.

We're also like, taking into account that you might be an insurance based provider. And you really need these buzzwords or these evidence based, very specific things that you're doing that are measurable in your work with your clients. Yeah, that definitely is built to, to serve therapists and help them and empower them.

Anything we do is just to to exactly protect them from insurance, be able to see more right to have more free time.  Not have to relieve the sessions in at the end of the day in the evening or try to write them like three months later but to be always like in control and on top of The game because at the end I'm definitely very grateful to the therapist who helped me.

And I just wish that they had better tools. And I also know this other industries where I worked that there are tools and other professionals use them. The way I was used in other like professions since a while. So yeah, make sure that no one is overlooking therapists.  Yes. Really?

Because I was at like two years ago, I think I went to a doctor and they were, recording the session in there, just talking in a microphone and it was just like going into the sky, but there was no like informed consent. They didn't even talk about that. But I remember seeing that and thinking that's, is this okay?

I don't know how I feel about it. And that's pretty awesome because it's dictating their notes right now. While they're just like, in the moment, instead of having to go back, because I think that's the hardest thing for therapists too, is after the session, it's already emotional and takes a toll on the therapist as well.

And then you have to go back and relive the session and you have to write the note and you have to remember all the details. To have it just there for you already is, like you said, I hate to say the word game changer, but it just. Takes a lot of the trouble out of writing the note, it just makes it so much easier and it's just amazing.

I just love AI. So exciting  for a while longer because they like historically had like human scribes right that would either follow them in the hospital. And, or then they, there was this whole wave of tools where they would exactly record, or even recently I've heard that they would like dial into some number.

and dictate and just like code. And then someone would sit somewhere in India or so and write it down. So this like this process was like evolving, like step after step. And psychotherapy was not a part of it because first of all, it's a bit like kind of creepy to have someone sit in the therapy room  and watch and take notes, so it's a, I never got adopted. It doesn't fit. Let me see of the setting. And also it's way more complex for AI to write notes for psychotherapists because it's more abstract, right? We can also write,  we don't only write notes for like individual adult therapy, but also for kids. So play therapy, right?

at their trauma informed like family therapy. So they're Sometimes a lot of different people in the room or the conversation is about like finding your favorite Pokemon if it's play therapy, right? So for the AI to make sense out of this and write like a clinical note for insurance it's not not a trivial task. 

So all those tools that they were writing notes for physicians would not be really able to handle it well because they are looking for keywords, right? So like the name of the medication or.  The dosage of it and the, I don't know, you have a pain in the throat or in the elbow, it's like way simpler to.

Yeah, it's like easy to describe like, Oh, broken arm.  Like complex childhood trauma, yeah, that's right. That combined  with like from the financial and like business opportunity perspective and therapy market is smaller than physician market in the U. S. right? And therapists charge like less per kind of minutes of their time than most of physicians.

So from like the investor perspective and just business opportunity, building like medical scribes is. It's just more promising, right? Because bigger market, they can pay more. It's easier to build. So definitely the therapists were a little bit like left, I would say,  to themselves.

But I see they're smart and capable and build their own chat GPTs too. 

Exactly.  Anything to get by, but it's so much safer to do it this way through, a HIPAA compliant program. It really is. It's just, it takes the worry out of it completely, which I think is amazing. And to have somebody really innovative that actually cares about the therapist experience and empowering them and giving them more time.

That's my whole thing with AI. It's we get burned out really fast because of all the other stuff, the administrative stuff. And a lot of us run small businesses, which are private practices, and it's just, it can get exhausting, so any shortcuts to make that easier is amazing for therapists.

We just don't need our. Our mental health team out there burned out, so anything that can help make the process easier is amazing to me, especially with the use of AI. Yeah, more and more people need therapists, right? That was also even a problem. It's 1010 years ago, plus for me that I would have to wait like really for weeks or even months to get my spot in the therapy office.

So yeah, And it's very clear that there is not enough therapists out there and their skills are very needed and very scarce. So why would we have them like be scribes? Why put that added burden on to a therapist? Yeah. Oh my gosh, that's so true. It takes a lot of time to write the note, and it's also a very different skill at the end of the day, right?

Someone can heal, doesn't necessarily mean that they can be able to formulate it that well. And even though it's expected, and it's great if someone can, but it's, it is definitely enough to be able to review the note and check if it's clinically true.  And rather than like trying to make a perfect sentence in English. 

Exactly. Yeah. I could think of a million times just sitting there gosh, how do I say this?  How do I say this without saying too much or not enough for medical necessity? It is a real struggle and it's emotional. It takes a lot of like emotional stress to always be worried about that, yeah.

I love hearing about this company. Like I said, I'm using the free trial. I think it's fantastic so far. I just want to shift for a second because we touched on the beginning, but for the traveling therapist, the really awesome thing about you besides developing this amazing company is that you are a digital nomad also, right?

You just live wherever you want to live. So can we just talk about that for a second? Like how long have you been doing that and  how do you manage like running this amazing company from all these other places? It sounds like you move like I do Airbnbs and you just go to the next place when you're ready, that sort of thing.

Yeah, could you just tell us a little about that? Yeah, of course. Mentalyc as such actually is very it's like a test. How do I put it? Recently we were discussing the diversity and inclusion in teams and this being important and we just discussed that Mentalyc is basically built so diverse from the beginning so all over the place and having all the genders and races and religions and cultures in it that it just makes it easier to also for me to have such a lifestyle, right?

Yeah. And I'm, as I mentioned, born in Poland, my co founder is originally Bulgarian, but we met in Germany in an accelerator  and then when we were talking to therapists in, in both Europe and the US, we found out that Europe is more complicated because of all these different languages and regulations.

So it makes sense to start doing this in the US. So we incorporated a company over there. And then we actually went to an accelerator in UC Berkeley. So that already started this whole dynamic of moving back and forth, right? So then we started actually hiring internationally. And  at some point when I was in the States, I was thinking like, actually.

And people are so used to talking online rather than meeting in person. And also there's so much space in this country. So it's even hard to meet people sometimes. So, then I started thinking like, Oh, how about I actually just stay in the same time zone, but go to a warmer country. 

Yeah.  So exactly. Yeah. You're like us, we chase the, we chase 70 degree weather.  We try to just like, wherever that is, that's where we try to go. Yeah.  So in Intellic, it's actually really easy to, to do it that way. We're now discussing actually having some sort of like a company reunion in somewhere in Africa.

Oh my gosh, because we have a bunch of employees over there and we would actually want to maybe have those reunions like every year in a different location. But as we have, there are a bunch of people and it's apparently harder to get out of Africa than to go there. So  it seems like that would be the location we would pick.

But that's that. And also, before Mandelic was incorporated, I worked in all sorts of businesses, also around the place in different countries. And right after my studies, I worked at the strategy management consulting firm, right? There the way of working is to basically every three, four months, you'll work for a different client, usually in a different country.

So I was working there for a year and a half and I very quickly, basically like unsubscribed to renting a flat because it just didn't make sense to have one. So I was like full on living in hotels around this like client locations. That was, the maybe this like first experience that made me realize that it's actually not hard, right?

I can just move around with one leg. Yeah,  exactly. 

Enjoyable. Like by now I do it already since a while it's hard to say for how long exactly right because it's like a bit on and off. This thing.  job I had in 2018, 19, that way, and I was doing it like full on. And then I worked for a year in a startup in Berlin that actually had an office in San Diego.

So I was like mostly going between those two places and sometimes on like longer holidays. And after that, I was already in. In my own startup. So I had again, full flexibility. So I was working on Zanzibar for a while in Thailand. And, oh my gosh, that's so cool.  You've been everywhere.  That's amazing.

You need a lot of learnings also to, to optimize like how long you want to stay in one place, right? Or what is important, like the, I guess the fresh water, as little food poisoning as possible. Yeah,  that's always a goal.  Yeah, there are some traps in this in this journey, but  you do it like there were some moments when I was also like giving up a bit on this, and then I have enough, like I had a food poisoning now for two weeks. I couldn't get anything done. Oh yeah. But there is always a way to, to iterate and improve, right? So now I just check more thoroughly where I stay. I have more criteria  that are really important  to  stick to. And.

Yeah, exactly. As if with everything, if you put in enough time and iteration, it's, it starts working out. That's right. Yeah. It's like a  trial and error. Yeah. We've learned so much. We have a long list now of what has to be in an Airbnb. We even want to consider booking it, just from all the lessons we've learned, this didn't work out.

This didn't work out. So yeah, I hear you. It's, it really is a work in progress, like trying to perfect it. And there are. Downtimes like food poisoning for two weeks. That's terrible, and I think that would make anybody question like, Oh my God, is this the lifestyle for me? But it's, it's for me, it's like addictive in a way.

Like I can't wait to go to the next place and check it out, I don't know. I don't know what it will take to stop me, but I love it right now.  Yeah, and it's really like I didn't have no food poisoning since a while, like none in Chile, none in Mexico. And so the last I had was in Zanzibar. But yeah, that was already like two, three years ago.

So  So it is definitely like possible to eliminate those, but it's really different than actually living in a well developed country. So  you need to make a couple of mistakes, drink a tap water once, I don't know, and then eat something from like a street food vendor. And then you basically learn. 

Yeah. It's okay, we'll see that again.  Oh, my gosh. Yeah. I feel like I could talk to you for hours just about your adventures and everywhere you've been. It's just so interesting. Yeah. All the places. Wow. It's amazing. And to be working in each of those places, maybe for a company or even for your own company.

And then, being able to decide, oh, we're just going to have our company party in Africa. That sounds cool. Let's do that.  Seems like that'd be a good central place for all the employees to come. That's really neat.  It feels actually it's hard for me to believe that most of our employees I've never actually met in person, right?

Because we have so many interactions, we share photos, we share some moments someone gets married or so, right? Different cultures, so different outfits, different celebrations.  And it really feels we know each other well, so I'm definitely looking forward to actually seeing them in person in one of the continents. 

Yeah. Oh, that's amazing. That's going to be so cool.  I know. I feel that way too. I definitely have just like internet friends, internet, my three of my VAs live in the Philippines, and I feel like I know them really well. It'd be so fun to hang out with them one time, you know, Definitely changing the way the companies work because around COVID, when I was working in this other startup it was initially very like strange kind of for us to adapt because we're used to actually meeting in offices.

It was definitely strange and now it just feels like that's how figs are. Yeah, I know. It's not funny. It's just seems like it's always been this way.  Yeah, I would say that was a Actually, there's like option to go somewhere, right? To go and actually meet people. There's definitely like some value to it. 

And what can you do? You can't have it all. So there are always some compromises. That's right. Absolutely. And it sounds like you're living your best life and I'm just. Thank you for sharing that part of your journey too. I think it's so cool. And it fits right in with this podcast.

People are going to be really inspired by you that you can make it work. You can have a vision and something you're passionate about, and then turn it into this amazing company, and put it out there to the world and help other people, but still live this, dream of wanting to travel and see different places.

It's just super inspirational. Yeah. So I really appreciate you sharing with us.  And so where do people find mentality? How do you get to mentality? How do you, what, can you explain that just the website and everything like that? How to spell it in case people can't tell us what we're talking about. 

The website is just like Mentalyc. com and Mentalyc is spelled as like mental, right? YC, basically. Nice. I like it. Yeah. Mentalyc's. And I think you guys are giving us a 10 percent off coupon for the listeners, which is super cool. So they can get the free trial, but then they can put the coupon code into later if they want to sign up.

Yes, of course. We're also very open to, like, all sorts of interactions and discussions, so if anyone feels like they have an idea how to improve our product or they don't like something about it, we are always very happy to talk. So don't be shy. Reach out. I love that. That's amazing. Yeah, you guys reach out if you have suggestions.

Because I feel like this is definitely a product that can, it, like we said, is going to continue to evolve and offer more and more features. So it's going to be super helpful, especially with the predictive analysis and the treatment plans and the progress routes and how they all tie in together. So I'm just looking forward to seeing everything you guys do in the future. 

Same for us.  Thank you. Thanks so much for taking the time today.  Likewise. It was great.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast, we had the pleasure of hearing from Cynthia Welsh, a therapist whose journey from traditional practice to globetrotting professional embodies the spirit of adaptation and innovation in the modern world of therapy. Cynthia's story illuminates the transformative power of technology, specifically the advent of Zoom during the pandemic, which opened up a realm of possibilities for therapists to work remotely, thus marrying their passion for travel with their professional commitments. Her narrative is a testament to the evolving landscape of therapy, where geographical boundaries are becoming increasingly irrelevant, allowing for a more flexible and enriched lifestyle without compromising the quality of care provided to clients.

Cynthia also shares insights into her personal motivations, drawing from a rich family history that spans continents, and her father's unfulfilled dreams of travel. This deeply personal element adds a layer of authenticity and passion to her professional endeavors. Her approach is not just about offering therapy from any corner of the world but also about creating a fulfilling life that honors her heritage and personal values. Through initiatives like hosting retreats for overworked women and offering specialized CEU training courses, Cynthia is broadening her impact, helping others find balance and rejuvenation, and equipping fellow professionals with the tools to navigate the demands of their vocation more effectively.

Key points from the episode include:

Cynthia started life as a child of immigrants who, due to financial constraints, weren't able to travel as much as they would have liked.  After losing her father at a young age (he was 56, she was 23) She decidedI she needed to start seeing the world and not wait for later! Her mother started to travel to all of the places she and Cynthia’s father wanted to see. She decided she would honor him, and now them, in the same way. By living life, seeing the world, and sharing it with her family. In her adulthood she has visited over 20 countries on 3 continents. During the pandemic, with the availability of telehealth therapy, she started to figure out how to make travel and work blend together. She left her agency job where she had been a Director for over a decade and started her private practice. She traveled and worked from all over the US and abroad when traveling became possible again. In the last year, She has focused on beginning to run domestic and international retreats for "The Overworked Woman" and turning burnout to living life. She is an excellent travel planner and considers all contingencies. She is in the process of planning trainings in family therapy and mindfulness to incorporate another part of herself as a clinician and as a traveler. Finally, and with great excitement, she is  working on getting her Spanish citizenship through ancestry!  She is planning to move to Spain for part of the year once her children are out of college in just a few years. Then, the expat life is the full retirement plan for the future. 

Alma Counseling: www.almacounseling.net

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

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TRANSCRIPT:

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the Travelling therapist podcast really excited today to have Cynthia Welsh here with us, she has a super cool story of what got her started with traveling and also how she's using her skills as a therapist to continue to travel the world and offer things to other people. It's just super exciting. And Cynthia, I always start out the episode with asking how did you go from becoming a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist? Yeah, so

I realized I started traveling, maybe like, really consistently, probably about 15 years ago. And in that time, I always had to tick off and really have to say, the pandemic and the beginning of zoom, right. And then we could go anywhere, said, Oh, I could, I really could do this anyway, I don't have to sit in the room, I can do this wherever I go. And then just meeting different people in my travels has shown me Wow, there's other ways I can, you know, Build My Income, spread kind of like my my skills in different ways, so that I can have the life I want to lead and still do the work I love to do. So that's kind of how it just like it really naturally kind of formulated to where where I'm at bay. And where I am today is going to be very different in like six more months. So I'm super excited about it. Oh, yeah,

we're going to talk all about that. I can so relate to that. Because, you know, 2018 is when I went online, but before that it was, you know, literally, I was taking eight weeks of vacation a year. So I go on vacation, and then I come back and just cram all my clients and then take another vacation. It just, I mean, it was kind of exhausting, because you come back. And it's like, you don't even feel like you took a vacation. Because you're just so like having to see so many clients, you know, to incorporate it into my day, like see a couple and then go explore a town or whatever is perfect. It's just the perfect combination. For me anyway.

And boot back has been where I felt built in the last like, couple of years. Go ahead, what

were you gonna say? I was gonna say the last couple of

years. So for 15 years, I worked for a big corporation started as mosaic. And we joined to be Sheppard Pratt, and so I ran clinics. Oh, wow, that's supervised at one time, three different clinics of clinicians, nurse practitioners, doctors, like the whole thing. And it was exhausting. And it was really hard to take vacations. But that also gave me the gift of in, you know, if you can kind of do like the high mids every frame and the old therapist way that when I went away, I never really got to take off. Because there were still emergency decisions to be made. So I realized that like, oh, I can be off, step away from dinner for a second. If I had to answer a call, then come back and continue to enjoy myself. So it really started, like laying the groundwork for how can I incorporate this? And then the second part that I'm learning now, like, how can I incorporate that and be happy? And, you know, because Exactly, they are chore?

Oh, it's tough. Like I'm doing this interview today. But we have to we're actually supposed to check out of this Airbnb at 10am. And I asked them for an extension. First, they said yes. And then they sent me an automated message that said, make sure you're out by 10. So I'm like it. You know, I message back up. Like you guys said, 1130 was fine, but they haven't answered me. So I'm like, in the middle of this interview, the cleaning crew cook cook, man, I have no idea what's going to happen. So roll with it right there. But that's the life right? It's like, gosh, all right. You know, it's just it can be stressful. So yeah, yeah.

And I've wanted to build in to international travel. But I started with local. So when zoom started, I had to, you know, they allowed you to work from most places. And you could be anywhere. So we rented a house at the beach, so that my kids because they're online for and we rented a house so that we could be near the beach, and I would do my sessions. And you know, if you had a two or three hour gap

at the beach? Yeah, exactly. Back. They made

sessions. And it really I realized how it changed. Just your outlook. Like for me? Yeah. You know, if I knew that, I was like, Oh, I got refreshed and like, you know, feel back. Yeah, I can go back because I do a lot of trauma work, which can be super heavy. And I try to work short days, so I can have fun on weekends or do extended trips. Or sorry, long days, short weeks. And yes, you know, nine or 10 sessions of trauma in a day can be like, Yeah, you know, on anyone I know. I know. So that's how people onset. Yeah. And I tell people you know, I used to do EMDR back to back sessions, trauma, you know, PTSD, heavy PTSD, chronic with EMDR. And once I started really traveling more and more of like the traveling therapist type traveling, you know, it's like, I

can't I don't want to do this work anymore. It's too heavy. It's too like you were saying, you know, it's like, gosh, I just want to be able to enjoy what I'm doing and it's just too heavy. So Oh, you know, I pivoted out of that eventually. But you know, so So you have a cool story about your like origin of traveling and all of that stuff where you shared all that I'd love to just hear I like to hear the background of how people got started and have this like Wonder lust or this desire to just go and see new places. Yeah,

so my parents and my brother and sister were from Chile, in Santiago in South America. And they came over during the time of Pinochet yet, so they left Chela and came over to the United States, and I was born here. You know why they were living here. And in that time, it was funny how when I was younger, because I had aunts and uncles, and cousins, and everybody came over. And so we were very tight knit family, where we did everything together. And my best friend was my cousin. And until I went to school, I didn't realize things were different, right? Yeah, even I was just thinking about this last night, I told a client a story how, when I was learning my letters in kindergarten, you know, we spoke Spanglish at home, like mainly my Spanish, I would answer in English, because that's how I would learn and that's how they were practice. So like, even just learning, like they're like letter P, and I'd be fun. And they're like, No, honey, that's Han. Oh, yeah, it's fun bread to play kind of Allah, that thing very close with my family. And because they were immigrants, and part of that story is, you know, money was always tight. So when we traveled, it would either be a big saving Saatchi there, we and I got very lucky, I got to go to Chile several times to see extended family or just local, like any place we could drive, right? Yeah, they visit and my dad would always tell me that one day, we're gonna he's gonna be a traveler. He's gonna, you know, go and see the world with my mom. But in that time, he was working two full time jobs couldn't do it. So sadly, he died very young. He was 56. And I was 23. And yeah, you know, really wasn't it was like, you know, he had a heart attack in his sleep. And it was unexpected. So, in that time, you know, is still fairly young, but had just finished graduate school, I realized, wow, he didn't get to do all the stuff he was waiting to do. Right. So that started to tell me like, I can't wait for these things. So when I was young, and I got married, right after graduate school, my husband and I just started to do what we could afford. Always some sort of travel, and we always try to go someplace different. Yeah. And I learned in that, that it wasn't for me so much the sightseeing, which is great. But it was really getting in with like locals. And so in now, that's been 25 years ago, 25 years married this year. Wow. Every time Yeah, right. Every time we go somewhere, I take a cooking class, I'm gonna learn how to cook with him. He you know, and then I incorporate, like, when we take that into, like, the traveling therapist, part of that is I incorporate those stories into the sessions that I have now today, you know, like, Oh, when I was at this place, you know, then I found a lot of, you know, bringing yourself into the room. And while I'm telling you personal stories, and you know, breaking that boundary, but like just using your life as like, oh, yeah, I understand that. And having so many experience to draw from has been great. So when I had a health scare, and I was like, oh, no, when I was 40. Here at this my time, like my dad went young. And I was like, I got to do it. So we traveled like big trips, my family and I once or twice a year, like I am the master, if anyone has questions on how to use your points. You know, I've got every app that talks up the different things so that it can be affordable and manageable. And then also being able to work while you're away and not lose your income. If you are in a private practice, like myself, it's my my own practice, you know, I don't have vacation time and pay leave, as most of us who are in private practice, you know, we just have to manage it, you moved the sessions, do what you can, but so the big trips that we've done have really just opened me up to, I could do this, I could live someplace else. And then it changed into I want to do this, I want to go somewhere else. So on my mom's side, my grandfather is from ghetto Spain. Okay. And now they have that you can get citizenship through heritage. Yes, I've so I'm in the process now of getting my citizenship in Spain. Wow. So I can have dual citizenship. And the idea is, you know, once my my children, my daughter is graduating high school this year, and she has four years of college. And then once that finish, we want to be kind of like after a year, kind of folks. If my husband can manage it. I can. Yeah, you can be anywhere. Yeah. And now I'm just in the process of traveling Spain to see where I'm going to land. Mostly

amazing. So, so what does that process look like? So I guess you You always knew your grandfather was from there, or did you stumbled across it like on ancestry.com or something? And it's like, Oh, okay. And then, you know, like, what is the walk us through that process a little bit later here.

I always knew he was from Spain. And it was kind of if if you know, a lot of mattina people, they're very proud of where they're from. So it was always the tease that he was a fake to Atlanta because he was born in Spain. So I always knew that right? And that he would podcasting. I know, in Spanish. So it did always know that and when it started coming up that you could find this and ancestry stuff. The problem that man was he passed away, and he passed away really fast when I was like sixth grade, right? Yeah. And so he and my grandmother were older parents to my mom. So they passed away when I was quite young. So getting the documentation has really been like searching for x, I need his birth certificate to do and gosh, so yeah, pass this was I needed his birth certificate. I needed my mother's birth certificate. And then I need my birth certificate to prove the lineage right. And so I had to get a birth certificate from the United States, a birth certificate from Santiago, Chile, and a birth certificate from quatro, Spain. Wow. And where the interesting part was, if anyone is listening, and they want to find Spain, and they have to get that birth certificate, they weren't at hospitals, they were through tricks, Paris's oh my gosh, really? You know, and I thought that? Yeah, so a lot of the documentation back, I mean, he was born in like, 1918 1918. So, you know, it was based on like, when you were baptized, and they would go backwards. So that, you know, so getting his records, and in Spain, they have a number, which I think the way it was explained to me is kind of like our social security number. Okay, but it's their, like, National ID number. And so having that number, I had to go back and it's an it's been a process. So when I'm going, I'm going to Spain again this year, I'll get it. Like I'll have all the documentation and the the appointment set to get that in my hand. And then I can formally start the process. And then once you do that, you have to live there a year to get the citizenship.

Oh, wow. Okay, like, like, likelihood all of a year are like a year solid year solid. Oh, wow. Okay, different places,

like we had looked for my husband, he's his great. It turned out to be his great grandparents that his grandparents, it was one too far Irish. So we were going to do that originally. Because the Spanish one, it was just really hard to find the birth certificate. Yeah, then I went through work. And so now it's, you know, when I go and get that paperwork, I just have to decide what I'm doing that year. And I want to pair it with again, like traveling therapists. If your moms and dads or my daughter wants to do a semester abroad when she goes to school when she's in college, and she wants to be seen so not a you know, when she does her semester abroad, I'll be somewhere in the area so that we can kind of have that together and I'll do my year and have my citizenship. Yeah, nice.

So gosh, that is amazing. And then once you get your citizenship and do the year can you just come and go as you please? Or do you have to like, be there a certain amount of okay,

yep, so the coolest thing and I think you know, I need the minutia of it. I'm not as sure I figured out how to get myself in there and like the actual what happens after is is you know, TBD still but once all that happens I what was important to me as a traveling so traveller is that EU passport right? How many times have we gone to Europe and the you know, the EU folks they roll right through ever from the US and other words, I mean the line the last time I was in last year, I went to Spain, I want to say with an hour Wow going just immigration come to them sooner to get into the country. There was an older woman in front of us who just from the crowd and the heat, like was getting faint. Thankfully, we had like a bottle of water that we hadn't opened and our bag so all that kind of stuff is just kind of like you know when I have that EU passport, I can just throw it recently through That's amazing. Yeah.

Oh my gosh, well, you have to come back and tell it's well it is what you go what you pick a place. So do you have like an idea of where you might go like insane or

Okay, so the east south southeast area, so not so far south like severe? Yeah. And Grenada because we're really hot. Yeah, like above that and a little in so like Allegan Moravia, those little areas that are on the water, but a little in so like Murthy is a little like maybe 40 minutes and I think from the water so you can easily get to the beach. I'm a beach girl. I love to have the smell in the water. It's actually on my website is water in the background, a couple of reasons. And so that's where I want to that's where I'm looking to Go but I need to, you know, there's villages and there's a huge expat community in Spain. So I've joined all like anyone who's thinking about doing it for like, longer term. There's so many Facebook groups that are moving to Spain, expats in Spain, therapists in Spain. And they just share all that. And you can answer a question and thought are just so generous. Yeah, although they're answering, oh, here's a link or I know a guy and this is my lawyer. And just by asking, I've had so many lazing. Amazing things happen.

Oh, my gosh, I love that story. How exciting. Yeah. And to be there when your daughter is doing her semester abroad, like that's so unique to be able to do that.

Yeah. And the timing and the fact that she wants to be there. She wants to kind of, though, my roots are very tied to Chile. Her, you know, she wants to have like, really just be immersed in Spanish speaking culture, right? It's very different. I'm noticing as I'm talking, I'm a hand talker. That's a very, very Spanish thing. Like, you know, I'm a hand talker and I move I look around. And so she wants to really live that life. While she gets to do it, because I think she's got the bug I have, which is like, yeah, like, I'm so proud. Like, as a mom, because she wants to her graduation gift. She was like, I want to go on a trip. Just mean, you know, marriage, his dad has a brother. And she's just like, No, I want it to be you and I and going off on adventures. So like, my greatest, like, accomplishment is already reached, because she has that drive to just experience things. Oh,

my gosh, I love that so much.

So leading by example, you know, living I should say, By example, which, you know, going back to my dad who didn't get to do a lot of things, he was an incredibly generous man. Yeah, incredible, like, of his time of his love of all the things you know. And he was like, we used to say with Mr. Rogers, he was just like, chill, punk. You know, very funny. And so a lot of what I've done in my adulthood has been to honor him. Right. So my, my program, I guess my my private practice is called I'm a counseling. And so not, not the other. I'm not affiliated with all that. In this Spanish sense, and Elmas sole Spanish. Oh, I love that. Yeah. Oh, so my dad used to always tell me if you're gonna do anything, you'd say in Spanish, the delicacy called the wild mind Kakuka rasaan, which is with your heart and soul. So actually soul and heart but in American Translation with the heart and soul. And so, in a way to be able to honor him, I was like, How can I do that? And I started thinking of just the things he would say. And that's where I came up with Alma as the name rather than Cynthia Welsh counseling. No. Yeah. And that has led also to being the traveling therapist. Because honoring him with the travels and seeing the things he didn't get to see. And just experiencing them and then giving it to my children. Yeah, has just been kind of like, when you talk about like, as therapists we talk about, find your why. If we are, you know, having therapists, we talk about what we do and how we do it. But like, why do we do it? Right? So for me, it's an honor and a memory but also like to live what he taught me which was live with purpose. Live, you know, live. Yeah, working work, because you need to survive, but you live so that you can give to your company. So that's,

that's where I've always got it. Oh, my gosh, I love that so much. But amazing. origin for the name of your business, too. I

mean, that's Thank you. Fantastic.

Yeah, yeah.

When started to want to build traveling, you know, and go, I could be all over the world, right? I talk with FBO people, and they're like, you're gonna need to change your name. Because so yes, that Yeah. And I really struggled with it. I was like, You know what, I'm just gonna stay where I am. But 70 Something so? Yeah,

I'm sure I didn't even think of that. But I'm sure there's a lot of competition for almost. Yeah,

that's what comes up. And yet, people who are looking, will Google my name, and

absolutely, it's still but regardless of that, it's the meaning behind it. That's amazing. Yeah. So I can see why you stuck with it won't be

and just to travel, you know, going into like this next phase. So yes, definitely. When I do that one year, yeah, which could be in the next two to two years. I need to be able to, you know, earn money. So you had to think about how to diversify myself and my skills so that I could live abroad and live comfortably. You know, like not have to worry about the next thing. So continuing, obviously doing virtual sessions. But I'm also in the process of getting three different CPUs, like trading courses, so that I can offer them live a resume, but that path of income of recording them, and, you know, having them on demand, so whoever takes them, and you know, I've gotten some relationships with other private practices that are more group practices. And the one that I'm really training in is family therapy. You know, we don't get taught a lot about how to do family therapy, you kind of it's, you know, initiation by fire, I felt like when I get it, for sure. So the programs that I ran, I've always done family therapy. And so, but when I go to family therapy, trainings, it's like CBT, and the family and it says stuff, but nobody tells you how to do it. So yeah, what I'm building now, like, here's techniques, yes, it's CBT. Yes, you might be through DBT. You might use act, you might use iPads, all these different acronyms, the raises clinicians, well, it's your toolbox. But how do I actually sit in a room with someone and do it? Yeah, those are the trainings that I'm building and retreats to build my traveling therapist heart. I love it. Oh, that's amazing. I'm working with a friend that I met on a retreat. Okay. Another therapists retreat, and I'm going to a therapist or cheat next month. And they're really the incubator experiences. If you've ever gone to a retreat with other therapists, it's like the coolest thing in the world to be surrounded with like minded people. Yes.

And, and, you know, have it

be about that, but also about like men, like you can be real and talk about it, you're exhausted, they can be real. So I want to offer that to clinicians, but also just to women. So my passion is working with women and moms and specifically for me, in my practice neurodiverse. Moms, so my neurodiversity? Namie off also be neurodiverse. Yeah, that's specifically moms who are parenting neurodiverse children, my child is their diversity is high functioning autism, which is another thing that's made me a great traveler, but And so being able to incorporate retreats in the US so I've been, you know, it's it's so hard to go to work when you're figuring out which file you want to take people to. Yeah, exactly. We've been scouting different spots to do work with the overworked woman is kind of what we're starting with women who, for whatever reason, mom, traveler, worker, independent and forest, whatever is your your thing that has made you exhausted. How do we identify burnout? How do we work on burnout? How do we avoid burnout? Right, so and to also give that incubator with, you know, just kind of having a sense of community in that moment of how you can let down that guard that mask that we carry.

I love that so much. Yeah, I've been on a few retreats myself, and it's it's magical. The connections you make with the people that are on retreat with you. It just lasts forever. Yeah, it

really does. Yeah, yeah, we all check in and the one I went to last year, was the first clinical one. I've done a bunch of yoga ones, man, but it was the first one that was specifically to clinical and I got a you know, got the bug. Yeah, hold it and go to him. Because there's a thing. Yeah.

So do you have one coming up that we could tell people about or is it still in the building phase?

So it's in building ish phase, okay. Yeah, I've already identified one that we're giving for the ever work women. And it's going to be in Austin mirrorball. The mirrorball concert. Some people have heard about it. And, and it's the best thing a part about it is it's really a place where, you know, when I went to go, like people were walking around in robes, like, Yeah, who's just come here. If you want to go and have green juice the whole time and exercise, you can do that if you want to, like do the spot and drink wine. You can do that, like whatever is your jam, they have it all there. But in the morning, we're gonna have like the times where we can talk about burnout, and trainings and teach mindfulness. You know, I have a certification in mindfulness that I'm really passionate about, that meld into a lot of different things of my work, that I want to give people that and then the same sort of training for a clinician, so that we can train them on how to do these things, so that they can train their clients and taken into their room. So just kind of spreading it out. In them getting a chance to be

in an incubator with it like to really live it for four or five days or something like that really immerses you in that. It's like, gosh, I see the value. I need to send this on to my clients. Yeah, that's amazing. My

Travel Card of that, you know, so when we do clinicians We're gonna, we're going to try a cruise in the bathroom. So people can go to different destinations. But you know, for the clinician part, but so that where I want to be different is it's not just going to be, here's what I do on my desk, or here's how we do it. Like, I want them to experience it so that I really feel like if you got it, then ya know how to help people do it. Right, yes. When we say therapists should have therapists, you know, like, you know, if you're going to teach someone techniques, you should really have experienced them and know what it feels like on your body so that you can say, this is what it feels like, you know, my body. See how it feels on yours? Right? Oh, I

love that so much. Yeah. We're

super excited about it. Like I can't believe all of the planning. It's like really aligning?

Yeah, so far. Yes. Yeah, it will, it will, right. If you have a passion for it, you put enough energy into anything. I feel like you can manifest it. So that's amazing. So how do people work with you? It sounds like you have a wealth of knowledge. You're You're a budget traveler. You have retreats you offer and this like how to become a citizen and dual citizenship and another country you got that experience to you. So how do people work with you, they want to reach out and in learn and learn from you.

Right? So I'm also building a shittier set of consulting and coaching. So I'm in the process of getting that LLC, but the way to contact me now to get all those things would be through my website. Sorry, if you hear my dog, www dot I'm accounting A L ma counseling.net. Like, man, okay. And that is just an it's like a homemade website that I did on my own because you my first thought was never going to be boutique. I only wanted to be by referral. And so now that I'm going bigger, all the different things are coming in the change. But that's how you get me. Yeah,

I love it. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time and share your experiences with us. And for anybody listening, I'm gonna put the link link below so you can click through and talk to her if you'd like to. So

thank you cam, I love following your website. I learned so much from it and from the people who post on it. So keep doing what you're doing. Because, you know, for people like me, it just gives me inspiration. So thank you.

Thank you. Thank you so much. And it wouldn't be anything without people like you contributing. So I appreciate that too, for sure. Good luck with your checkout. Thank you

xz

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In this episode of The Traveling Therapist podcast, Kym shares her latest nomadic adventures and reflections, highlighting the flexibility and challenges of a digital nomad lifestyle. Recently returning from a four-month stay in the Dominican Republic, Kym expresses her appreciation for the comforts of the U.S., from the ease of grocery shopping with food allergies to the simple pleasure of driving her car to Target. Her journey underscores the importance of adaptability, especially when unexpected family health issues arise, demonstrating the nomadic life's capacity to swiftly shift plans in response to life's unpredictable nature.

Kym delves into the logistical aspects of nomadism, from managing storage units to downsizing possessions, emphasizing the learning curve involved in living a minimalist lifestyle while on the move. She candidly discusses her struggle with hoarding clothes and the process of decluttering, offering insights into the emotional and practical challenges of maintaining a pared-down life. This episode also touches on exciting developments in Kym's professional life, from launching a new podcast focused on AI in private practice to partnering with innovative companies like Al, aimed at enhancing therapists' work, even when abroad. Kym's journey is a testament to the joy and complexity of blending travel, therapy, and entrepreneurship, inviting listeners to explore the vast possibilities of a mobile lifestyle while navigating its inherent unpredictability.

Key Points:

Link to:

www.clinicalaiclub.com

www.clinicalaiclub.com/podcast

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/blab

Alma is on a mission to simplify access to high-quality, affordable mental health care by giving providers the tools they need to build thriving in-network private parties. When providers join Alma, they gain access to insurance support, teletherapy software, client referrals, automated billing and scheduling tools, and a vibrant community of clinicians that come together for education, training, and events. Learn more about Alma.

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

The Traveling Therapist Membership:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/travelingtherapistmembership

Revolutionize Your Private Practice with AI Course:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/ai

Signup to learn more about life as Traveling Therapist:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/l2v7c3

The Traveling Therapist Facebook Group: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlineandtraveling/

Bill Like A Boss Insurance Billing Community:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/blab

Subscribe to the Podcast:

Apple iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcast | Stitcher | Amazon | Castbox

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In this episode of the Traveling Therapist Podcast, Kym introduces Sahara Rose De Vore, the innovative founder of the Travel Coach Network. Unlike traditional travel agents, Sahara and her network specialize in travel coaching, leveraging travel as a powerful tool for personal growth, transformation, and healing. Through the Travel Coach Certification Program, which is the world's first ICF-accredited program in this niche, Sahara trains individuals to help clients set meaningful intentions for their trips, ensuring travel serves as a catalyst for achieving their goals and experiencing profound life changes. This unique approach to travel is designed not just for the planning and booking phase but to deeply understand the 'why' behind each journey, allowing for truly transformative experiences.

Sahara shares compelling case examples of how travel coaching has aided individuals in navigating life's challenges, such as coping with loss or standing at a crossroads in their careers. Her network includes coaches specializing in various niches, emphasizing the multifaceted benefits of travel in promoting mental, emotional, and physical wellness. The episode beautifully illustrates how travel can be a strategic and intentional tool for self-discovery, confidence-building, and overcoming personal struggles, with Sahara herself detailing her journey through 84 countries and how travel profoundly impacted her life and career direction.

Sahara Rose De Vore is a Wellness Travel Coach and the Founder and CEO of The Travel Coach Network, a global community of travel coaches. Sahara went from broke college student to traveling to 84 countries solo to trailblazing a new path in the travel industry. She believes that there is more to a travel career than just blogging and booking trips and that the travel planning process is more than just a transaction. This led her to creating the world's first and only ICF accredited certification program for travel coaches. Sahara is a published author, global speaker, TEDx speaker, and has been in over 200 media outlets for her travel and business expertise including Forbes, Travel Weekly, Conde Nast Traveler, and CNN Travel. Sahara was also named one of 2023’s Most Influential Women in Travel by TravelPulse and will be appearing on Season 8 of Project Pitch It.

Connect with Sahara:

Website: https://thetravelcoachnetwork.com/

Website: https://sahararosetravels.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sahararosethetravelcoach/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thetravelcoachnetwork/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sahara-rose-de-vore-4b8bb394/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaharaRoseTheTravelCoach/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theTravelCoachNetwork/

Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@sahararosethetravelcoach

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@thetravelcoachnetwork

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/thetravelcoachnetwork

Free Beginner's Guide to Travel Coaching: https://thetravelcoachnetwork.mykajabi.com/main-email-series-and-workbook

Build a thriving private practice with Alma, your private practice support system. Learn more about Alma.

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

The Traveling Therapist Membership:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/travelingtherapistmembership

Revolutionize Your Private Practice with AI Course:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/ai

Signup to learn more about life as Traveling Therapist:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/l2v7c3

The Traveling Therapist Facebook Group: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlineandtraveling/

Bill Like A Boss Insurance Billing Community:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/blab

Subscribe to the Podcast:

Apple iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcast | Stitcher | Amazon | Castbox

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In this episode of the Traveling Therapist Podcast, interviews Lenora Johnson.  Lenora, a self-proclaimed wandering soul, traces her passion for travel back to childhood dreams and a pivotal family vacation to Niagara Falls, which opened her eyes to the marvels beyond her immediate environment. Her academic and professional path took her through various states, cementing her belief in the feasibility of practicing therapy across geographical boundaries. Lenora's story is a testament to adaptability and the pursuit of work-life harmony, highlighting her strategic adjustments to time zones and client schedules to maintain a successful practice while indulging in her love for travel.

Key Points:

About Lenora:

Lenora has 20+ years of experience in health and human services working as a victim advocate, crisis intervention specialist and group facilitator. Lenora has 10+ years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) providing therapy, case management and care coordination. Lenora is also passionate about education is currently certified as a Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional, Clinical Telemental Health Provider, and Shame Informed Treatment Specialist. Lenora’s pronouns are she/her/hers. She is an African American woman and an ally for LGBTQ+. She owns and operates L.C.N. WELLNESS LLC, a private practice serving both Oregon and Washington. 

Lenora was born with a wandering spirit, and it has always felt natural to travel. As early as 2nd grade Lenora was dreaming about the places she wanted to go. Lenora hit the ground running after graduating high school. She moved from MI to FL, FL to NV, NV to FL, FL to OH, OH to MI, MI to FL and FL to OR. After starting in private practice, she takes her show on the road. Lenora will spend 2-4 weeks traveling across the USA. Lenora is a global citizen who lives locally in OR.  

She loves bringing her favorite things together, therapy and traveling. 

Connect with Lenora:

Website: https://lcnwellness.com

IG: www.LCNWELLNESS/instagram.com

Alma is on a mission to simplify access to high-quality, affordable mental health care by giving providers the tools they need to build thriving in-network private parties. Learn more about Alma.

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

The Traveling Therapist Membership:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/travelingtherapistmembership

Revolutionize Your Private Practice with AI Course:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/ai

Signup to learn more about life as Traveling Therapist:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/l2v7c3

The Traveling Therapist Facebook Group: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlineandtraveling/

Bill Like A Boss Insurance Billing Community:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/blab

Subscribe to the Podcast:

Apple iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcast | Stitcher | Amazon | Castbox

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of the Traveling Therapist Podcast, Kym interviews Keesha Parker, also known as Sandy Beaches, about her transition from a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist living in Cozumel and formally Isla Mujeres.  Keesha's journey began with a license in Arkansas, followed by Texas. She was inspired by Dr. Amber Lyda's online therapist group, leading her to explore telehealth options. Keesha moved to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, and eventually became a permanent resident after four years as a temporary resident. She discusses the challenges of adapting to life in Mexico, including dealing with bureaucracy, transportation, and cultural differences.

Keesha elaborates on the complexities of obtaining residency, buying a car, and the differences in everyday conveniences compared to the U.S. Despite the challenges, she loves the tropical weather, the affordability of domestic travel, and the beautiful beaches. Keesha also highlights the cultural acceptance and lesser-known aspects of life in Mexico, such as dealing with power outages and cultural differences in safety norms. 

Key Points:

At Alma we believe when therapists have the support they need, the system gets better for everyone. Learn more about Alma.

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

The Traveling Therapist Membership:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/travelingtherapistmembership

Revolutionize Your Private Practice with AI Course:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/ai

Signup to learn more about life as Traveling Therapist:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/l2v7c3

The Traveling Therapist Facebook Group: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/onlineandtraveling/

Bill Like A Boss Insurance Billing Community:

https://kymtolson.kartra.com/page/blab

Subscribe to the Podcast:

Apple iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcast | Stitcher | Amazon | Castbox

Listen to the Previous Episode

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