An Interview with Teaspoon of Adventure
In this episode of our interview series we’re featuring another expat pro named Riana, owner of Teaspoon of Adventure. She maintains a busy schedule of working full-time, running the blog, taking care of her dog, and exploring Prague with her partner, Colin, for the year they are living there. We find her posts to be engaging, informative, and entertaining. We highly recommend her content!
1. Which travel destination has exceeded your expectations the most?
What a tough question! I can't pick just one so I'll share a few. I visited Annecy in France in 2014 on a whim when a Switzerland trip went bad and it totally blew me away. I had zero expectations and found it to be such a cute little town with both the water and the mountains. More recently, Angkor Wat in Cambodia totally knocked my socks off. We visited this January and I went in with pretty high expectations and they were well surpassed. I was also very impressed by Salzburg. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did but I really enjoyed the old town and beautiful views!
2. We understand that you are based in Prague, travel often, and have a full-time remote job. How do you balance it all?
Phew! It sounds exhausting when you put it all together like that and, honestly, it is pretty exhausting. It's a lot to manage my remote job, my blog, travels, chores around the house, a social life, spending time with my dog and partner, etc. Usually, something has to give, and that looks different depending on the day. For example, you might find me doing extra hours of my remote work one week so I can go off and travel the next. And none of it would be possible without my partner, Colin, who is super supportive. He often picks up the slack when I find myself too busy with work, blogging and travel planning.
3. Being based in Prague for a year, do you find yourselves wanting to stay local and explore more of the city? Or do you consistently visit other locations?
Being based in Prague, we're travelling pretty often. Coming from Canada where everything is so far apart and it's not cheap to get from place to place, it's so cool to be in Europe and have such easy access to so many places. We probably dedicate more of our time and effort to exploring places outside of Prague. But we're trying to experience life in Prague too. It is really important for us to have a home base and to try and discover this city more. We created a Prague Bucket List when we first arrived and we're working to tick things off.
4. We read that you are really into the winter holidays. How do you make things festive like at home while you’re traveling?
I love Christmas! It's my favourite holiday and this is the first year I won't be spending it with family (mine in Toronto or Colin's in Vancouver). It's definitely going to be an adjustment as Christmas to me usually means tons of people and tons of food. But we're still keeping the Christmas spirit alive! Being in Europe for Christmas, we're getting to visit all of the magical Christmas Markets. It's so wonderful to see everything lit up and smelling like mulled wine.
5. In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of blogging?
Good question! The best aspects would have to be connecting with people in the blogging community (like yourselves!), learning from other people's experiences, and having the chance to share your own. I love the feeling when someone asks a question and I have the perfect blog post to help them - bonus points if they reach back out and let me know I helped! And it's also a great way to document an adventure. I love that we have this collection of our trips that we can always look back on.
Downsides would definitely be all the work that goes in behind the scenes. It's not just writing - it's editing, formatting, SEO research, taking pictures, editing pictures, creating social media graphics, marketing, promoting, networking, designing, etc. Some of those tasks are a lot of fun but others are draining and take time. And if you're trying to grow and monetize a blog, it can take a lot of time, hard work, investment and a little luck to make it happen.
6. Aside from friends and family, what do you miss from home in Canada the most?
Sushi! We have some really amazing and cheap sushi in Vancouver and I miss it so much. Colin and I have a list going of all the food we can't wait to eat when we get back to Vancouver.
7. What advice would you give to someone wanting to work remotely from another country?
Assuming you've already done the hard part of finding a remote job and finding a legal way to work abroad, my advice would be to remember that it is still a job. It's easy to think that you're on vacation every day when you are working remotely. But you have to put in the work and you won't be able to go off sight-seeing all the time. Some people in my life think Colin and I are just travelling for a year but that's not true. I'm working full-time, if not more than full-time. So even though I'm very lucky that my work is remote and my hours are flexible, it still is a job and I have to make it work around my travels.
8. Reading your blog, it looks like you started it back in 2012, making it almost 8 years old! If you have any, would you be willing to provide some traffic stats from over the years? A lot of our readers are also bloggers and they may find inspiration seeing your growth.
When I started my blog back in 2012, it was just a little online diary I was using to try and cure my wanderlust. It started with a trip to San Francisco with my mom. That summer, I blogged daily during my first solo trip to Europe, but mostly as a way to let my friends and family know that I was still alive. In the years since, I've blogged off and on about travels, work and life, sometimes going six months without a post.
It wasn't until 2018 that I began to take blogging a bit more seriously. I put a little money into hosting and owning a domain name, taught myself some SEO and social media best practices, and committed to posting 1-2x per week. So it's really only been less than two years that I have gotten more serious about blogging. And even then, I know there's so much more I could be doing to invest in, learn and grow my blog. But in the last two years, it's been awesome to see how my blog has grown and changed. I'm certainly not making a ton of money or bringing in thousands of viewers but it's not just my mom reading anymore!
9. We know you brought your dog on your European adventure too! What was the process like? Would you do it again?
The decision to bring our dog, Ellie, to Prague with us was a huge one. Originally, we weren't sure if it would work to bring her to Europe. But once we settled on Prague and realized how pet-friendly this city is, we knew we could make it work. And we knew we couldn't be away from her for so long!
It was a pretty complicated process to bring her from North America to the EU. If you want the details, or are planning to bring your dog over, you can check out my blog post on how to travel with a dog to Europe.
Absolutely no regrets on bringing Ellie and I would definitely do it again! We had no idea that she would turn out to be such an amazing traveler. She was awesome on the plane ride over and has been on lots of train trips with us all around Europe. Travelling with her, we've had the opportunity to meet more people and discover more local places.
10. Living in a foreign country and visiting others for an entire year, have you spent any time learning the local language? We’ve read that Czech can be very difficult to learn!
Sadly, I have not learned a lot of Czech. Before we moved here, I was using Duolingo daily but I have fallen off the wagon. I know a handful of words that I can use when we're out and about, but not enough to hold a conversation. It is a very tough language and I wish we were dedicating more time to learning it. We do try - we even have a list of Czech phrases on the back of the bathroom door so you can study while you're in there ;) But with only six months left in Prague, I don't think we'll be making much progress.
11. You own a house but are living abroad for a year. Us too! What’s going on with that? Are you playing the landlord game? Long term rental? Short term tenants? Do you enjoy being a landlord?
Yes, we do own a home back in Vancouver that we're currently renting out to long-term tenants. Being international landlords is difficult! It's probably one of the biggest challenges of our expat year abroad. All of a sudden, you're nine hours away when the washing machine breaks, when the strata fee doubles and any other tenant issues. In hindsight, I wish we had put a better property management plan in place or even thought about selling our home to save the headache.
12. Based on your blog, it looks like you’ve been to several continents. Do you have a favorite?
I've been to six continents (Antarctica, I'm coming for you one day!). I think my favourite would have to be Europe, but maybe I'm a little bit biased because we're living here right now!
A huge THANK YOU to Riana for agreeing to do the interview. We hope you’ll check out her content at the links below!
We were so excited Riana from Teaspoon of Adventure agreed to be part of our interview series. She’s both well-traveled and well-schooled in the ins and outs of blogging. Was it selfish of us to use the lure of a few back links for the opportunity to ask her our own questions? We think not! Besides...now we get to share more about her and her lifestyle with all of you, our readers! We hope you've learned more about what it takes to travel full time or even to relocate.
Eddie & Megan
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