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‘We’ve been to London, Rome and Lisbon’

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My wife and I love to travel. In the five years that we’ve been together, we’ve made many unforgettable memories during our trips abroad.

But in July 2021, we took a Greek Isles cruise for my wife’s 49th birthday that truly changed our lives. As we sat in our ocean view cabin, we talked about how we would spend our empty nest years. Our five children had all moved out of the house.

During a Greek Isles cruise trip, Kimanzi Constable decided to sell their belongings and travel the world as digital nomads.

Photo: Kimanzi Constable

It felt incredible to travel again after Covid-19 shutdowns eased. So we took the leap and sold our belongings to travel full-time as digital nomads.

How we moved abroad and became digital nomads

Several factors influenced our decision. First, my wife and I run a consulting firm and online education program that teaches entrepreneurs how to brand and market themselves. Our work doesn’t require us to be in one specific location.

We were also frustrated with the circumstances of being people color in the U.S. We frequently faced racism in the comments section whenever we published articles and videos online. We even had people flat out tell us that they wouldn’t do business with us because I’m African American and my wife is Puerto Rican.

Running an online business allows Kimanzi and his wife to work from anywhere, like this rooftop in Lisbon, Portugal.

Photo: Kimanzi Constable

But after watching YouTube channels like Our Rich Journey, reading blogs like Nomadic Matt and listening to podcasts like Chris The Freelancer’s Podcast, we realized that we could save money abroad. YouTube channels like Passport Heavy also showed us that there could be fewer experiences of racism in other countries.

So after the cruise trip, we sold our car and belongings, except for a few special items that we keep in a storage unit. We also sold our five-bedroom, four-bathroom, 3,100-square-foot home in Lakewood Ranch, Florida for $810,000, and our second home in Bushnell for $265,000.

We used the profits to pay down debt and invest in our retirement and emergency funds. Part of that money also helped pay for our first six months of travel, including our Airbnbs and flights.

Kimanzi and his wife’s first stop as full-time travelers was Puerto Rico, where they connected with his wife’s heritage.

Photo: Kimanzi Constable

In October 2021, we finally landed in Puerto Rico, where we were able to connect with my wife’s heritage. Since that trip, we’ve lived in places like London, Rome, Lisbon and Nice.

How we earn, save and spend money

In addition to our online business, which generates an average of $19,000 in monthly revenue, my freelance writing side hustle brings in around $1,000 per month.

When we first started traveling, we committed to not spending more than when we did in Florida. Our average monthly expenses back then were:

  • Mortgage (on two homes): $5,686
  • Maintenance and insurance fees (on two homes): $2,385
  • Utilities and phone: $621
  • Car payments and gas: $2,058 
  • Car insurance: $275
  • Health insurance: $548
  • Food (groceries and eating out): $2,500
  • Fitness memberships: $438
  • Streaming services: $65
  • Credit card debt: $525

Total: $15,101

Our goal was to live a comfortable and fun life while also saving money. Now, we’ve cut our monthly budget by more than 50%, and we give ourselves a maximum of $8,000 per month to fund our lives as digital nomads.

So far, our monthly expenses have averaged $7,886. We put every purchase we can on our credit cards to accumulate points and miles, then redeem them for free flights.

Kimanzi puts most of his purchases on credit cards to earn points for flights.

Photo: Kimanzi Constable

We spent February this year in Lisbon, Portugal. Here is a breakdown of our monthly expenses there:

  • Rent (Airbnbs): $2,683
  • Flights: $1,498
  • Transportation: $131
  • Food (groceries, eating out): $2,137
  • Streaming services: $65
  • Phone: $121
  • Car insurance (our daughter’s car): $195
  • Small storage unit in the U.S.: $95
  • Therapy: $780
  • Entertainment: $81

Total: $7,786

How we choose our digital nomad destinations

We choose our destinations based on seasonal weather, cost of living, and whether the country is on either of our bucket lists.

One of the destinations Kimanzi and his wife chose was Nice, France, where they visited earlier this year in March.

Photo: Kimanzi Constable

We stay in Airbnbs over hotels because we want places with a large kitchen, a washer and dryer, a nice view and dedicated space for us to work. Hotels just can’t offer all of that.

We spend anywhere from one to three months in each place. For some people, it can feel tiring to have such a transient lifestyle, but we love it.

We structure our schedule to balance work and fun 

Work takes up much of our time during the week. We’re on our computers and phones Monday through Friday, typically from 8 a.m. to about 4 p.m. I’m the chef in the family, so we eat at home during the weekdays.

Weekends are when we really get to have fun. We sleep in on Saturday mornings, and I wake my wife up with coffee and a homemade breakfast. Then we have a list of attractions we want to visit from YouTube videos that we’ve watched.

We explore each country we travel to, delight in the local delicacies, and walk a lot. Our favorite city so far has been Rome. The Italian food there is unbeatable.

Rome has been the couple’s favorite stop so far.

Photo: Kimanzi Constable

We like that we can walk from our Airbnb near the Vatican to the center of Rome in about 25 minutes. We could leave and be indulging in pizza or gelato in no time. The walk around the city and back to our Airbnb helps us burn off a good amount of calories.

Full-time travel is freedom for us 

We’ve been digital nomads for seven months now and we don’t regret our decision to sell everything and travel full-time. 

We’re currently in Medellin, Colombia.

Kimanzi and his wife stay in touch with their five children via FaceTime, Zoom and trips back home to the U.S.

Photo: Kimanzi Constable



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George Clooney, Gladys Knight among Kennedy Center honorees

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from left, and his wife, Evan Ryan, left, join 2022 Kennedy Center Honorees, front row from left, Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, George Clooney, Tania León, and Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter, back row from left, Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein, along with fellow 2022 Honorees Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., The Edge, and Bono for a group photo at the State Department following the Kennedy Center Honors gala dinner, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Washington.

Kevin Wolf | AP Photo

Performers such as Gladys Knight or the Irish band U2 usually would be headlining a concert for thousands but at Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors the tables will be turned as they and other artists will be the ones feted for their lifetime of artistic contributions.

Actor, director, producer and human rights activist George Clooney, groundbreaking composer and conductor Tania León, and contemporary Christian singer Amy Grant will join Knight and the entire crew of U2 in being honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The organization honors a select group of people every year for their artistic influences on American culture. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their respective spouses are slated to attend.

The 61-year-old Clooney — the actor among this year’s musically leaning group of honorees — has television credits going back into the late 1970s but became a household name with the role of Doug Ross on the television show “ER.” conductor Tania León, and

From there he starred in movies such as “Three Kings,” “Ocean’s Eleven” (and “Twelve” and “Thirteen”), “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and his most recent film, “Ticket to Paradise.” He also has extensive directing and producing credits including “Good Night, and Good Luck.” He and his wife, humanitarian rights lawyer Amal Clooney, created the Clooney Foundation for Justice, and he’s produced telethons to raise money for various causes.

“To be mentioned in the same breath with the rest of these incredible artists is an honor. This is a genuinely exciting surprise for the whole Clooney family,” said Clooney in a statement on the Center’s website.

Knight, 78, said in a statement that she was “humbled beyond words” at receiving the Kennedy honor. The Georgia-born Knight began singing gospel music at the age of 4 and went on to a career that has spanned decades.

Knight and family members started a band that would later be known as Gladys Knight & The Pips and produced their first album in 1960 when Knight was just 16. Since then she’s recorded dozens of albums with such classic hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Along the way she’s acted in television shows and movies. When Knight and the band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Mariah Carey described Knight as “a textbook you learn from.”

Sometimes the Kennedy Center honors not just individuals but groups; “Sesame Street” once got the nod.

This year it’s the band U2. The group’s strong connection to America goes back decades. They performed in Washington during their first trip to America in 1980. In a statement the band — made up of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. — said they originally came to America with big dreams “fueled in part by the commonly held belief at home that America smiles on Ireland.”

“And it turned out to be true, yet again,” read the statement. “It has been a four-decade love affair with the country and its people, its artists, and culture.”

U2 has sold 170 million albums and been honored with 22 Grammys. The band’s epic singles include “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Lead singer Bono has also become known for his philanthropic work to eradicate poverty and to raise awareness about AIDS.

Christian music performed Amy Grant said in an interview with The Associated Press that she’d never even been to the Kennedy Center Honors even though her husband, country musician Vince Gill, has performed during previous ceremonies. Grammy winner Grant is well known for crossover pop hits like “Baby, Baby,” “Every Heartbeat” and “That’s What Love is For.” She’s sold more than 30 million albums, including her 1991 record “Heart in Motion,” which introduced her to a larger pop audience.

Composer and conductor León said during an interview when the honorees were announced that she wasn’t expecting “anything spectacular” when the Kennedy Center initially reached out to her. After all, she’s worked with the Kennedy Center numerous times over the years going back to 1980, when she was commissioned to compose music for a play.

But the 79-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner said she was stunned to learn that this time the ceremony was going to be for her.

León left Cuba as a refugee in 1967 and eventually settled in New York City. She’s a founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series.



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Michigan couple teaches people how to start lucrative side hustles

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In 2020, Jamie and Sarah McCauley filmed themselves ripping, repainting and restoring thrifted furniture. They resold the items, made more than $1,000 in profit and posted the results on YouTube.

Within a week, the video received 20,000 views. The McCauleys, who live off a variety of concurrently running side hustles, sensed opportunity. They started posting more videos about their other streams of income, which include rental properties, house flipping projects and reselling return pallets from Amazon and Target.

Teaching people how to build those types of hustles has proved lucrative: In the last year, the McCauleys made $102,000 from their YouTube and other social media channels, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.

That averages out to $8,500 per month. During their best month of the year, they brought in $9,000.

The McCauleys say some of their furniture flips are as simple as staging and taking fresh photos of the product.

Jamie and Sarah McCauley

“We started to realize: This is a great way for people to make extra money if they have bills, or they just aren’t able to pay their rent, or they want to go on a nice vacation with their family,” Sarah says. “Anyone can do it.”

But of all their income streams, Jamie says their YouTube and social media presence is the most stressful to manage.

Here’s how they built it, and what goes into maintaining it.

How to build a social media career

Jamie and Sarah knew the ins and outs of social media from years of running a successful wedding photography business, which at its height made $150,000 per year, Jamie says.

But after having two children, the couple realized they didn’t want to spend weekends away from their family. So they started buying, renovating and renting out properties around west Michigan, hoping for a more passive income stream that would encourage schedule flexibility.

It worked, and the extra time allowed them to embrace a variety of side hustles. They got the idea to post their furniture and property-flipping adventures on YouTube in 2019, and immediately found it challenging.

Initially, Jamie worked 30 hours per week on the YouTube project alone, with Sarah working an additional 10 — on top of their efforts to sell two flipped houses and manage their photography business.

It took them a full year to hit 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time, making them eligible for Google AdSense, a feature that allows creators to monetize their YouTube videos with advertisements.

“We weren’t really sure where home design or flipping or photography or YouTube would lead us,” Sarah says. “But we knew if we put ourselves out there, it would open more opportunities.”

Flipping pros and cons

There are a couple of clear-cut benefits to flipping and reselling furniture and home décor online, especially during times of economic uncertainty, Sarah says.

For instance, more people are willing to hunt for deals on eBay and Facebook Marketplace when times are tough, instead of frequenting their usual retail stores.

“When a recession hits, people don’t want to pay full price for things,” she says. “Thrift stores thrive during recessions, and I think resellers do, too, because people are trying to save money in any way they can.”

Unlike real estate, the gambles of buying and reselling furniture are minimal in both price and risk, the McCauleys say. There’s less of a financial investment, and Sarah says she’s broken even on every flip.

The McCauleys say they staged and resold this $50 Facebook Marketplace dresser for $300.

Jamie and Sarah McCauley

The couple says one of their best flips was a mid-century dresser they bought for $50 on Facebook Marketplace. All they had to do was stage and take a nice photo of the dresser before reselling it for $300.

Sometimes, after buying furniture, the couple realizes the items have more flaws than they expected. Usually, this means investing more time and money into fixing up the piece, which can affect the item’s eventual sale value, they say.

In those cases, “we just get our money back instead of gaining a huge profit, but we’ve never really lost money from it,” Sarah says.

Costs and effect

Going a full year without making any money from YouTube was difficult, the McCauleys say. And simply qualifying for AdSense didn’t guarantee the big bucks.

“The slower growth and the inconsistency of it, it’s been more of a mental struggle to keep pushing and believing the process,” Jamie says. “Now, we’re in a better spot, but throughout that two-year period, it was a question of, ‘Is this what we should be doing? Is this going to work out?'”

In 2020, the couple felt a shift, they say. Their videos started going viral more regularly, and brands like Skillshare, Beyond Paint and HelloFresh reached out to them with partnership opportunities.

The sudden attention was overwhelming, and they didn’t immediately know which brands to trust. These days, the McCauleys work with an agency that vets the brands and sets up contracts for them, claiming an 18% from a number of those partnerships, they say.

Sarah says she often notices undervalued items at Goodwill, which she resells for a profit on sites like eBay.

Jamie and Sarah McCauley

Inside a renovated $155,000 old mansion in North Carolina



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