Home Office Tips – Working From Home Has Never Been Easier

Home Office Tips – Working From Home Has Never Been Easier

Home Office Tips – Working From Home Has Never Been Easier

As I have never been employed, I have personally never experienced going to the office. Home office has always been my reality – since I started my own business 11 years ago. In my case, I also have had my office in my backpack for the last five and a half years when I travel and then always rebuild it on site. But thanks to specific structures my home office is always similar – no matter where I am. That’s why I would like to share all my tips from over a decade in the home office with you now.

Structure

Giving yourself and your everyday life a certain structure is not only important for you personally, but also to use your working time more productively. The structure helps you to focus and work in a concentrated way.

 

Routines

If you were in the office until recently, you should try to keep the routine you know from there. Get up at the same time as if you had to drive to the office, make coffee, breakfast, do everything the same way you would do it on a normal working day.

If you are already working in the home office, but have not yet gotten into routines: try different things. Think about which routines make you feel most comfortable, make you most productive, or make it easier for you to balance your other tasks (maybe you have children or hobbies that need your attention at certain times) with work.

I admit that this is one of the points I find most difficult. At least when I am travelling. Different time zones, my hobbies or commitments mean that I have to change or adjust my routines all the time. But I feel the positive effects when I can stay in my routine for a while: Then I start the day with morning routine and can then relax and start working.

 

Outfit

Believe it or not, it makes a huge difference whether you sit in front of the computer in your PJs or jogging suit or whether you dress as if you were going to the office. Just give it a try! You will see that you work more efficiently if you are dressed accordingly.

 

Breaks

When I do virtually nothing else but work in the home office – as I do now in the Corona quarantine – it happens very quickly: without actually noticing it the day’s already over. At the moment I’m with my family and that’s good. Because when I’m alone, it’s suddenly midnight and I realize that after 15 hours in front of the computer when my whole body starts hurting. That can’t happen to me here. But regardless of where I am, I also know that this is actually anything but good.

It’s better to take specific breaks and thus stay mentally and physically fit.

 

Closing Time

We as remote workers don’t have closing times. But just like the breaks, the end of the day is also important! Set a time when you want to put the work aside and stick to it. At best, turn off your computer at this time and don’t turn it on again until the next day.

 

To Do List

In order to plan your day accordingly and to keep the structure you have thought about or adopted from the original office routine, it is incredibly helpful to work with to do lists. It is secondary whether you do this via an app like Trello or in the notes on your mobile phone or whether you write them down on paper.

Personally, I like to divide this into two parts: Everything that has to do with customers and includes a bigger picture, I usually have in Trello. The same way I do with long-term goals or projects and other types of lists. Short-term lists such as daily to dos I write either in my notes on my mobile phone – for example, if I’m on the road a lot that day and want to access the information from somewhere else – or on paper. I still like to take handwritten notes and write vocabulary on paper when I’m learning a language like Thai. However, I write normal notes or to do lists almost exclusively on paper when I’m staying with my father. When I am travelling, it doesn’t make sense.

I have heard and this is also how I feel about it that it has a positive influence if you have a phyical list and can cross out completed tasks. The effect on the brain is quite different when I delete an item on a list in my mobile phone when the task is done.

 

Amenities

The facilities in your home office also have a significant impact on your well-being and productivity. Here are a few things that might be worth thinking about:

 

Equipment

For me, by far the most important point of the whole list is this one. For me, my equipment is essential since this is what I usually carry with me when I’m traveling.

First and foremost, of course, is my MacBook. Last year, I invested in a big “upgrade” – now I have a new one with 2 TB of storage. This was important to me personally, because I don’t like to work with external hard drives all the time when I travel. For backups it’s ok, of course, but for my daily work processes it drives me crazy when I have to fiddle around with them.

My second most important “work tool” are my noise-canceling headphones from Bose*. I’ve had them since 2016 and wouldn’t want to miss them anymore. Wherever I am, with these headphones I can bring myself into my “bubble”, where only my work and I exist. In the home office this may be necessary to get away from neighbours, playing children in front of the door or the flatmate who is binge-watching on Netflix.

Equipment Home Office

Very practical is the laptop stand*, with which you can say goodbye to neck pain. With an extra keyboard* and mouse*, you can make sure you don’t have to look down all the time. As an alternative to the laptop stand I have, you can also buy or build a high table. The advantage of the stand is that the laptop can “breathe” on it and does not have to turn on the fan.

 

Software

For the home office, it’s also a good idea to use tools to increase productivity – at least if you work on your own laptop. I use the following:

  • SelfControl: With this tool, I can block Internet pages I have specified for a certain period of time. This way I can avoid being tempted to waste time on Facebook or YouTube during my working hours.
  • AppBlocker: With this app you can even block apps on your mobile phone. Most of the time I simply set my iPhone to Do not disturb while using SelfControl on my MacBook.
  • Trello: The application already mentioned in the to do list section not only lets me create lists of any kind, but is also a simple tool for project management. As an alternative, there is for example Asana, but I personally very much prefer Trello. I use Trello on my mobile phone as well as on my Mac. There I have it integrated into Franz, which I will describe next.
  • Franz: Franz is a tool that allows me to have all my messenger services and more in one place. It means I have fewer tabs open in my browser and all my communication channels are easy to find. Personally, I have Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype and Trello enabled, but there are many more services you can connect to. This is ideal for me and if I don’t want to be disturbed, I simply close Franz. Super practical!
  • Zoom: Zoom is something similar to Skype, except that it’s not a chat service, although there is a chat function. You can organize meetings where all participants can see each other. In the free basic version, you can have up to 100 participants. But then the call is limited to 40 minutes. With two participants the length of the call is unlimited.
  • TeamViewer: You can use it to access another computer or let someone else access your computer. This is practical in many situations.
  • Google Drive: I think the cloud service Google Drive is familiar to everyone. It’s great for sharing documents or other files. But beware: the free version is not GDPR compliant, which means it does not comply with data protection laws. For this you need the business version called G Suite, which costs 9 euros per month. As far as I know, there is no free cloud service that is GDPR compliant. Alternatively you can – if available – use an FTP server.
  • Calendly: Since I have been self-employed all my (professional) life, I am not sure if this tool is also useful for remote workers. Calendly is a tool you can use to make appointments. You can specify from when to when on which days you accept appointments and then simply send a link. Whoever has the link can then make appointments at your available time slots. This is ideal for freelancers and also works across time zones.
  • Doodle: Again, I use this very rarely because I don’t have to schedule appointments with several people very often. That’s exactly what this tool is for.

 

Furniture

Your home office furniture is also important. If you want to sit on a chair for at least eight hours, then it should be comfortable, right? A desk that you work at should be practical, don’t you think? My suggestion to you is this: Try out different things if you can. At the office, you don’t have a choice of how or where you work. At home, you do have that choice. Use this for yourself and find out in which position you are most productive and feel most comfortable.

For example, I have found out that I feel best when I can lean my head against a wall because otherwise I get neck pain and headaches. So I try to work in a half sitting, half lying position with my head leaned back. I constantly hear that it is not possible to work like this at all. But for me it works and especially when I write a lot, nothing beats this position. Whether in bed, on the couch, in the hammock or leaning against the wall sitting on a beanbag… Sitting at a table, on the other hand, I can’t work creatively and relaxed at all, I only do my daily tasks like answering emails.

But as I said: That’s me and everybody is different. So find out what is good for you and adapt your home office accordingly.

 

Internet Upgrade

Depending on what you have to do, it may be worthwhile to upgrade your Internet speed. Believe me: I can tell you from experience that there is nothing more nerve-racking than struggling with slow Internet. So take a look at the options you have and think about upgrading. You can downgrade again, if you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t work in your home office anymore after the crisis.

 

Room Arrangement

I hear all the time how important it is to separate the office area from the part of the apartment where you spend your free time or your free evening hours. If you have this opportunity, you should take it. If you have an extra room available for this, that would of course be ideal. But even if you don’t, you can declare the desk an office or even separate part of the dining table. Especially in this time of quarantine it is advantageous to have exactly defined rooms and to stick to them.

 

Plants And Light

Plants and especially light also have a great influence on your well-being and productivity. I myself cannot work well in dark places and always turn on as many lights as possible. Plants also make you feel better. They also improve the indoor climate.

 

Productivity And Focus

Who doesn’t know this: You start scrolling through your Facebook feed a bit here, go to Instagram there, read a bit in online magazines and bam… it’s in the afternoon. And your to dos for the day are far from finished. So here are my tips for more productivity and staying focused:

 

Pomodoro

Pomodoro is a time management technique designed to make you more productive. You set your alarm clock to 25 minutes. During that time, you work without distraction and with focus. When the alarm goes off, you take a five-minute break. It is advisable not to use this break for Facebook and Co. First of all, this quickly tempts you to extend the break (you just want to finish reading that post, watching that video or writing that message quickly, right?). And secondly, you should use the time to get some exercise, clear your head, get some fresh air.And that doesn’t work if you’re wasting the precious minutes on social media. After four circuits of 25 minutes (so basically after two hours) there will be a 15-minute break.

By using this technique you usually work with continuous concentration and keep body and mind fit during the work! Try it out…

 

Go With Your Flow

Depending on the area in which you work, you probably also know creative phases. For example, when I want to write something – whether it’s a blog post, a book or a client project – I need to feel it. It sounds stupid, but I can’t describe it any better. But I think every creative person knows exactly what I’m talking about. And when that happens, I can write and write and write until I’m done. If I don’t have this flow, I don’t actually need to get to work at all or better deal with other things that don’t require creativity.

Therefore my tip at this point: Follow your flow, plan your day according to it (or better re-organize it in case the flow comes spontaneously) and forgive yourself if you don’t get into the flow when you would like to or even have to finish the project. Unfortunately, you cannot force it. And if the deadline is so close that you have to force it: Be kind to yourself! It’s more likely to come if you do something good for yourself, play music that inspires you, or bring yourself back into balance through meditation or sports.

 

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is a type of fasting where you are allowed to eat for six (stretchable to eight) hours and do not eat for the remaining 16 to 18 hours of the day. Most people who do Intermittent Fasting – and so do I – “have breakfast” around 12 and eat dinner around 6 or 8 pm. The advantage of what makes this kind of diet a real productivity hack is that the body puts its energy into the stomach while digesting. So if you have breakfast after getting up and want to work afterward, your body is actually busy digesting. The consequence? You will get tired soon and won’t be able to focus anymore. Sure, you can just try to power through and counteract this with coffee, fresh air, and exercises during breaks.

OR you could try to postpone breakfast. Get ready for work and get going. It takes a bit of practice to get through till noon when you eat your first meal. But I can tell you from my own experience: You get so much more work done in the morning by intermittent fasting that the “breakfast”, which is actually lunch, tastes much better. Ideally, you can then take a nap and then work productively for several hours again.

I personally love this, even if it is difficult for me to keep it up when I am in Germany. The reason is that I have a big breakfast with my family here on weekends and I find it incredibly difficult to change my routine. I always have to train myself and slowly increase the big break between the last and then first meal the next day. This works great when I’m travelling alone abroad, but hardly at all when I’m with my family.

 

Power Nap

You’re exhausted? At home, you can do something that is probably hard to do in the office: a power nap! I usually make power naps with an app. I can set whether I want to do a real power nap of up to 20 minutes, a recovery nap of up to 45 minutes or a sleep phase of about 120 minutes. The times are not exact times because the app wakes you up in exactly the right moment: during a whole sleep cycle it wakes you up when you have gone through the whole sleep phase. With recovery nap it wakes you up before you fall into deep sleep or after 45 minutes. And with the power nap it wakes you up before you fall into deep sleep or after 20 minutes. The app uses your movements and sounds to determine which sleep phase you are in and wakes you up in exactly the right moment.

 

Motivation

Staying motivated and focused in the home office is not always easy. Especially when you are in quarantine and virtually unable to go outside. But that shouldn’t be an excuse, because there are many ways to keep it rolling:

 

Meditation

A basic prerequisite for motivation and focus, whether in the home office or elsewhere, is inner balance. You achieve this through meditation, among other things. The easiest way to start with meditation is to download an app and start using it. I started my meditation journey with the app HeadSpace many years ago and still use it from time to time.

If you don’t feel like doing a guided meditation, you can also meditate alone. Concentrating on your own breath is a frequently used tool, which was also suggested to us during my Vipassana in the Buddhist monastery in Thailand. Many people count their breaths to keep their thoughts under control. I had to trick myself, as I still had dozens of thoughts when counting in German or English – monkey mind is what they called it in the monastery. So at some point I started to count in Thai. There I still had to concentrate so much that I don’t think about anything else but my breath and the Thai numbers.

Meditation Home Office

 

Excercise

Excercising is always important and helps to clear the head. I was actually already aware of that. But it became really clear to me with Unleash the Power Within. Tony Robbins says EMOTION IS CREATED BY MOTION on the very first day. Our feelings are strongly influenced when we get our bodies going. This has to do with the release of endorphins, for example. So there are two reasons why you should do sports every day:

  1. You bring yourself into a more positive state of mind by releasing endorphins.
  2. You are empowering yourself and giving your body what it needs.

My advice is therefore that you incorporate daily exercise into your morning routine. Be it with the app SEVEN, with which you can do a circuit training, or simply by doing 20 push-ups, 20 squats and 20 sit-ups every day. No matter what you choose: morning exercise can change your state of mind for the entire day.

As a second tip, I would suggest that in moments when you notice that you are becoming  less focused, you get up for a short time and start moving. In the best case this is a walk or even a run at the fresh air. But if your schedule or the quarantine situation doesn’t allow it, you can also just do some squats next to your workplace. Dancing is also possible. Just turn the music up and do some dance moves, it will wake you up, make you more concentrated and motivate you!

Musis

Music is something very special. It has the power to change your state of mind. With sad music, you become sad, and with happy music, you become happy. Try out which music has what effect on you while working and how this affects your productivity. I like to listen to instrumental music while working. Lyrics distract me and make me sing along. When I write, I mistype more often.

So try to use music in a way that supports you at work. If music distracts you in general, use it only during the breaks to fuel you, to take your mind off things or to clear your head. Singing along loudly during the breaks is also good for you and has a liberating effect.

 

Laughing

This may seem strange at first. But targeted laughing can work wonders. Are you in a bad mood, realizing that you’re stuck? Are you sitting there straining and tensing your facial muscles from thinking so much? Nothing helps more than a good laugh. Give it a try. There is no one there who would look in a strange way or even laugh at you for that. Laugh out loud like you just heard a hilarious joke. It may feel funny at first, but you’ll soon realize that it will make you feel better.

 

Kudos

Okay, some people need a kick in the butt. But most of all, many of us need some kudos here and there. Since you usually don’t have anyone to take care of this in quarantine or in the home office in general, sometimes you have to do it yourself. Say it yourself: “Good job, mate!” And yes, I sometimes talk to myself in the second person. Or if you’ve found the solution to a big problem, it can be a “Kudos to myself!” You have nothing to be ashamed of. Who would frown at you? There’s nobody there!

 

Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is even more important for the quarantine situation than it usually is. So try to keep negative thoughts away from you with a few little exercises:

  • If you have negative thoughts, put them in an imaginary box, one at a time, close it and put it in an imaginary closet. You close that one too. Then you will think of something positive.
  • Write a gratitude journal!
  • Again, smiling and laughing helps!
  • Filter messages! Sure, it’s important to be informed. But news don’t always help to keep you in a good mood. And negative thoughts disturb your work flow and productivity tremendously.

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Bored? Not anymore! Things to Do in Quarantine

Bored? Not anymore! Things to Do in Quarantine

I must confess: I don’t have words to describe what’s happening. The world is changing right before our eyes and there is nothing we can do about it. In view of the latest developments, I have decided to put my nomadic life on hold and to go through all this together with my family. I have been back in Germany for about a week now.

Departure: unknown.

 

My Tips For The Time in Quarantine

Now, we are asked to stay home. I have to say that this is no problem at all for me personally. I am always so behind with my blog posts, books and other things I want to do that I don’t get bored quickly. And I’m working from my home office almost all the time anyway. Even if the situation were to last for two years, I’d have something to do basically all the time. But since I’m afraid that I’m the exception, here are some ideas on how to keep yourself busy during the quarantine period.

Before we get started, I would like to mention that you can and maybe should do all these things in your daily life as well. Because one thing is clear to me: this difficult time also holds opportunities. The chance to live healthier. The chance to take more care of yourself. The chance to return more to what is really important: friends and family.

Get Fit Again!

Yea, going to the gym or to the pool isn’t possible right now. But you can do a workout at home! Whether with apps, YouTube, online courses or just doing what you like… Now you can really get in shape. And there are no excuses. So grab your mobile phone, turn on the Rocky sound and get in the right mood. Your body may groan at first, but it will thank you on the long run. Because we’re not made for not using it, sitting in the office all day long and in front of the computer and at best walking to the train or the next pizza place to have some fast food. So this is the perfect moment to improve your fitness level. By the way, a friend of mine founded a Facebook group yesterday in which we do sports together every day, share our successes (and failures) and virtually kick each other in the a**. Is that amazing or what?

Go Inside!

Yesterday, I saw a cool post that said: If you can’t go outside, go inside! And I can only agree. We’ve just entered a period of upheaval. So take a moment to reflect on how your life has gone so far and how you want it to go on from now. Is this the moment to change? I don’t know. Only you can know. But in any case, I’m sure one thing will help: Inner peace! And have you ever done sports in the morning, then meditated, took a hot (or cold, depending on your preference) shower afterwards and then had a tasty and healthy breakfast? This is the perfect start in the day! Give it a try! Or do you have something better to do right now?

Finally Read in Peace!

I don’t know about you, but I have so many unread books in my shelf and on my Kindle that I don’t even know where to start. Plus, I love audio books, so the list goes on and on at Audible. I am now firmly resolved to work through these lists. Actually, since I spent a few days in the Buddhist monastery last year, I have been thinking about taking more time for it again. Be it for half an hour before going to bed, after waking up or during an offline weekend – which I actually wanted to do once a month but never managed. Maybe now is exactly the right time. No longer addicted to Instagram and to get as many likes as possible. But addicted to the next good book that stimulates you intellectually and makes you forget tweets, hashtags or wordpress.

Watch Netflix & Chill on the Couch!

Whether it’s films, documentaries or series… Now is the perfect moment for binge-watching! Wrap yourself up on the couch or in bed and let’s go. Netflix or Amazon Prime have a lot to offer for little money. But you don’t want to watch alone? Then I have great news: there is a Chrome extension called Netflix Party. It allows you to connect multiple Netflix accounts and watch with your friends at the same time. Additionally there is a chat, so you can talk about the movie. The add-on costs from €7,99 a month. Of course, it’s not quite the same as sitting next to each other and worrying about the fate of the characters or being happy about their luck together. That is obvious. But in times like these we should be grateful for this opportunity.

Make a Zoom Party!

Have you ever heard of Zoom? It’s kind of like Skype. Only better! You can simply create a link for a Zoom session and share that link. When you click on it, you join the “meeting”. But who says it can only be meetings? Exactly… No one. So get your friends together and have a Zoom Party! It could be anything from a dinner party, having coffee together or maybe a book club. When was the last time you met with friends and had a chat without time pressure? Yesterday I met with travel blogger friends for a Zoom Party and it was so nice that I have no words for it. We were almost 30 people. Normally we meet once a year at the ITB in Berlin – the biggest trade show in tourism industry in the world – but this year it was cancelled due to Corona. The best thing about the meeting was that we ALL talked to each other. Logically, no small groups can form when everyone is in the same chat. So only one person could talk at a time and everyone else listened. Now you might think that this must have ended in chaos. But no! It was just beautiful and everyone was grateful for this opportunity to exchange ideas. Try it out and be surprised!

Note: Zoom is free but only for two people or 40 minutes. If you have three people or more joining in the call is interrupted after 40 minutes. If you want to talk longer you have to upgrade to PRO, which is around 12 euros per month.

 

Learn a language!

I know an insane number of people who download Babbel , keep studying for a few lessons and then give up. Why? No time. That doesn’t make any sense. Well, maybe… But now you have the time. Now is the time to download apps, use YouTube and maybe even get a notebook or flashcards out and finally learn the language you always wanted to learn. Honestly, I could spend half an eternity just on this topic alone. I love languages, which is why I studied three of them (Italian, Spanish and Portuguese). Apart from the fact that I would like to brush up on my Portuguese and French, I have been studying Thai since the end of last year. I am having an incredible amount of fun doing that. I learn through three ‘channels’: I bought an online course (Learn Thai from a White Guy), I have an account at Mondly and I also have a teacher. I meet her once or twice a week when I am in Bangkok. Online I take lessons less often, because I find it nicer in personal contact. But I would like to try to take a Skype lesson with her once a week. My teacher also has an Instagram channel where she regularly shares impressions from Thailand including vocabulary.

Learn an Offline Skill​!

Okay, the title sucks, I admit it. But I wanted to keep it general. Because I want you to go inside yourself and think about what you would like to be able to do, but always pushed aside. Do you have an instrument that’s just getting more and more dusty? Do you want to knit your first sweater yourself? Do you want to paint or do handicrafts? There are no limits to your imagination. But yes, it’s not easy when you’re asked half your life just to focus and give your best in everything. Maybe you just do something now because you enjoy it? For no other reason… Wouldn’t that be great?

Learn an Online Skill!

Learning how to use Photoshop properly has been on my to-do list for years. NOW the moment seems to be right! I bought an online course ages ago and hopefully I will be able to go through it soon. Besides, my father wants to teach me computer programming. Sounds crazy? Maybe it is! But we sit here together, day in, day out, in quarantine. And if there’s one thing I learned from my mother’s death last year, it’s that we should use the time we have together. I’ve said it so many times: Carpe Diem. And yes, I’ve always made an effort to be productive, to seize the day when it comes to work. Another ebook (by the way, yesterday I published my 20th City Guide*!), more blog posts, more content on Instagram. But I never saw Carpe Diem as an invitation to use every day, which could be my last, for social contacts, for my family. And no matter how crazy it is and I think that programming is not really my world: I’m as happy af to spend time with my father and make him proud. Because he has always wanted me to learn programming. And as a final note: If you are considering a WordPress course to start blogging in quarantine, feel free to contact me. I give workshops and courses on this topic and am happy to help.

Cook a Delicious Meal!

On Barbaralicious you can find all kinds of information. But culinary forays are not really my thing. Yeah, I have to eat, too. But I am one of the few people who do not attach so much importance to the fact that every meal is like a culinary treat. This is reflected in the cooking. I almost never cook. If I do I make pasta as a good half-Italian. But just because I don’t like to cook doesn’t mean that you don’t either. So, use the time to get out the kitchen utensils, which may already be dusty, and prepare something delicious.

Tidy Up And Muck Out!

Coincidentally, this is exactly the right time for a thorough spring cleaning. I, too, have already started mucking out, tidying up and cleaning the apartment. Ask yourself what you really need and what is really only catching dust or keeping space in the shelf. Do you need so much clothing? What about all those books? Or the DVDs? I actually try to clean out every time I’m in Germany with my father. But now I can do it especially thoroughly.

Revise Your Bucket List!

Uh, that’s one of my favorite things on this list! Because my bucket list is also in absolute need of renovation. Yeah, we don’t know what the new normal’s gonna look like. Probably our reality will change quite a bit. And I have been wondering for days what significance travel will have in the future. Especially long-distance travel will certainly be more of a luxury good than it has been in recent years. But that will not stop us from dreaming! So dream about the places you still want to see, about the things you still want to do and experience. And a little tip: It might make sense not to just wander off into the distance. Maybe the moment has come for all of us to explore our home country better. So start reading travel blogs again and get inspired! Whether near or far… Travel in your thoughts and pack your bags when the time comes. And anticipation is the greatest joy…

Put Ideas Into Practice!

Have you ever had an idea for a project, but didn’t realize it due to lack of time? Have you always wanted to write a book? Develop an app? Paint a painting? Well, then you might be happy to hear that now is the moment: The actually awkward situation of being trapped at home is perfectly suited to finally realize such previously discarded ideas. If that’s not a reason for to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

Get in Touch With Friends And Family​!

In everyday life most of us are constantly busy. Time for friends and family? Nope. I’m the same: I don’t really talk to my best friend on the phone anymore, we meet maybe once a year when I’m in Germany. And now? Has the moment arrived to use the situation of social distancing to make social contacts really social again? To cultivate real friendships and to talk extensively with long-time friends again… Maybe you should make a list and go through it bit by bit. I am quite sure that you will put a smile on many people’s faces. And maybe even your own…

Final Thoughts About Things to Do in Quarantine

But now I am running out of ideas, too. But I can’t imagine that there isn’t something for everyone to keep themselves busy for a few weeks.

By the way, you can also combine the different ideas with each other: Convince friends to do sports with you! Arrange a time and meet online for example at Zoom and go through the fitness program together. You want to revise your Bucket List? Isn’t dreaming together with others twice as much fun? Call a friend and go through the bucket list ideas together. Or tidy up when you’re on the phone with a friend. If you haven’t heard from each other in a long time, you probably have a lot to say and it will be a long call. You can tidy up a bit at the same time.

Yes, the idea of quarantine can be frightening. But if you focus on the many things you can do instead of the ones you can’t, the weeks will surely pass quickly.

And always remember: Together we are strong! You are not alone, even if you cannot be with others physically.

Let me know in the comments which of my suggestions you like best and which you will implement!

PS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links.

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Yuccs shoes – sustainable, comfortable and beautiful

Yuccs shoes – sustainable, comfortable and beautiful

Yuccs shoes – sustainable, comfortable and beautiful

UNBEZAHLTE WERBUNG

Just this summer I had the idea to include the section for travel fashion on Barbaralicious. In October, when I received an invitation to test some shoes, it seemed like a sign that I should go in this direction. So here comes my first fashion report:

Yuccs Shoes – Origin and corporate philosophy

Yuccs‘s founder Pablo Mas had a vision: To create the most comfortable shoe in the world. Top quality and natural materials were his priority. However, the shoes were not only intended to be extremely comfortable. The environment was also a central concern for him, making it clear: First of all, the choice of material had to be clarified. The most frequently used types of leather and plastic were not suitable for his project. The material had to be innovative.

So he put a lot of passion into his idea and into the invention of a new fabric from which his dream would be made.

The team behind Yuccs’ shoes took a journey through time for this. They studied the materials used in the past and thus became aware of merino wool – in Spain it was once considered the gold among fabrics until it was replaced by synthetic materials with prices that the natural product could not compete with.

In collaboration with the AITEX Textile Technology Institute, the Yuccs team developed a new, unique fabric from the fibre of merino wool, which would be the basis of Yuccs shoes.

 

Yuccs Schoes – Merino wool as key

As the team came across merino wool, they knew that they were dealing with a very special fibre. The natural “super material” is permeable and extremely soft, adapts to the foot, has an antibacterial effect, is durable and even suppresses odours… In short, it’ s a gift from mother nature.

From merino wool, the Yuccs team together with the AITEX institute developed the Yuccs fabric after months of research and development.

The Yuccs fabric is one of a kind worldwide.

Since Pablo Mas was also concerned about sustainability and ethical conditions, he chose Alicante as the location for the entire manufacturing process: from spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing. Yucc’s fabric is guaranteed to be 100% Spanish made, sustainable and under fair working conditions.

 

Yuccs Shoes– My test

I have been wearing and testing the shoes for a little over a month now. I wore them in autumn, cool climate in Germany as well as in hot, tropical weather in Thailand.

The promise of yuccs is that merino wool keeps you warm in winter and stays airy and fresh in summer. But what actually seems to be an impossible oxymoron has been accomplished.

 

Yuccs shoes in autumn and winter

At around 10 degrees in German November, I didn’t get the feeling to be getting cold feet once. On my short trip to Budapest during the first weekend of November there was another spontaneous, unplanned test: It was pouring down on one day. I was a bit worried that the wool would be soaked up and that I would be walking around the Hungarian capital with wet feet. But the contrary was the case: my feet stayed dry and warm. The shoes also dried relatively quickly.

 

Yuccs shoes in summer

A day after my return from Budapest, I went on a longer trip again: I flew to Thailand for a three-week vacation.

I admit, at first I was a little worried that I might get sweaty feet. After these shoes had only just demonstrated to me that they were ideal in temperatures close to single digits and even in rain, I could hardly imagine that they weren’t too warm at over 30 degrees. But I was completely wrong.

Both in Bangkok and later in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son I never had the feeling that Yuccs shoes were the wrong shoes.

Even during my Vipassana at Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery I went into the jungle with these shoes and explored the caves there. No problem at all.

 

Yuccs shoes – My conclusion

The shoes not only look great (ok, that’s a matter of taste, of course!), but also keep their promise: The fabric keeps you warm at low temperatures and is airy in summer. To me it seems to be a perfect all-rounder, especially for travellers, ensuring that you are prepared for any weather condition. This way you can also change climate zones without having to take several pairs of sneakers with you.

 

PS: Ich habe das paar Schuhe von Yuccs kostenfrei zum Test zur Verfügung gestellt bekommen. Eine finanzielle Vergütung habe ich nicht erhalten. Meine Meinung wurde von dieser Kooperation nicht beeinflusst.

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How to Make Money with Cryptocurrencies

How to Make Money with Cryptocurrencies

How to Make Money with Cryptocurrencies

GUEST POST ABOUT HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH CRYPTOCURRENCIES BY JOE TREBEK

The cryptocurrency market has become much more mainstream over the last year, leading a greater number of people to explore the financial possibilities of digital coins. Although some ways of making money with cryptocurrencies aren’t as simple as they used to be, there is still a great deal of income to be generated with these novel instruments. Here are some of the top ways you can make money with cryptocurrencies.

Mining Cryptocurrencies

The longest-standing way to make money with digital currencies is through the process of mining. Mining is the means by which cryptocurrencies are created via computational processes. Many cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, have mining difficulties that require specialized mining hardware to supply the necessary processing power. Others, however, can be mined using the graphics processing unit on any reasonably good computer. If you want to make money by mining cryptocurrencies, your best bet is to hold the coins you mine and wait to sell them until prices peak. People who followed this strategy by mining Bitcoin in its early days and holding until prices reached their zenith late in 2017 made profits of tens or in some cases even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One thing that you need to understand about mining cryptocurrencies is that it isn’t a free way to make money. Even if you’re only using your computer’s GPU, there are associated electrical costs. For more advanced Bitcoin mining hardware, these costs can run up into considerable amounts of money. Fortunately, there are several different online calculators you can use to weigh the speed and electricity consumption of your hardware against the current price and difficulty level of Bitcoin to determine if you’ll be able to turn a profit from mining.

Cryptocurrency Investment

If mining is too technical for you, cryptocurrency investment may be more up your alley. Investing in cryptocurrencies involves buying coins that have already been mined and holding them until you can sell at a higher price. The volatility of the cryptocurrency market makes it possible for individual coins to fluctuate by 10 percent or more on any given day. Be aware, though, that cryptocurrency investments can be risky. The same price fluctuations that allow them to be quite profitable can also inflate losses when they occur. If you’re just starting with cryptocurrency investing, it’s a good idea to stick to major currencies like Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin. Because these coins have been around longer and have more stability than some of their newer peers, they’re a little more suitable for beginning investors.

Freelance and Get Paid in Cryptocurrency

If you don’t have enough money to buy mining hardware or invest in cryptocurrencies, there’s still a way for you to start amassing coins in your wallet. Several sites allow you to charge for freelance services, such as social media management and graphic design, in cryptocurrencies. This method makes it easy to trade your time and skills for cryptocurrencies, as opposed to putting money in up front. The one drawback to using this strategy is the fact that most freelancing sites only let you get paid in Bitcoin, with a small handful accepting Ether as well. Luckily, though, Bitcoin can easily be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies, allowing you to convert your earnings into the currency of your choice.

Start a Cryptocurrency Blog

Not all methods of making money from the cryptocurrency craze actually involve owning and trading cryptos. One of the easiest ways to make money is to start a niche website focusing on cryptocurrencies. By creating great and informative content, you can gradually build an audience of readers who will turn to your site for the latest information about cryptocurrencies. Creating new content regularly is even fairly easy on account of the fact that new developments in the cryptocurrency world are taking place all the time.

Once you have built your site and created something of a regular audience, you can then monetize your content. Advertisements and affiliate links placed on your articles can easily help you turn your website traffic into money. The more people visit your site on a given day, the more money you can earn from it. If you keep building up your audience, you may soon find yourself making an appreciable amount of income from your cryptocurrency blog.

These are just a few of the many ways to make money from the cryptocurrency revolution. As digital currencies like Bitcoin continue to become more and more widespread, the people who adopted them early on will see considerable moneymaking opportunities on account of their cryptocurrency reserves and knowledge in the area. It’s not too late to stake out your position in the world of cryptocurrencies and make money, so decide which model sounds best to you and get started today.

About the Author

Hi, My name is Joe Trebek and I am the creator of Surveys Say Survey Reviews. Outside of writing reviews of online surveys, I love drawing and painting. I also love to hang out with my family. I’m also a huge football fan! Go Pac Go!

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Changes due to GDPR on Barbaralicious

Changes due to GDPR on Barbaralicious

Changes due to GDPR on Barbaralicious

By now, almost everyone has heard of it: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on the 25th of May of 2018 and has not only caused a lot of confusion but, above all, it has caused companies and website owners to try like crazy to implement the corresponding changes.

It’s been on my mind for more than two months. I collected the information on many pages and mainly followed the steps of a blogger friend of mine from Reisen Fotografie Blog.

A completely new development has even led to me being certified as a Data Protection Officer.

But now, let me show you what I changed on Barbaralicious to comply with GDPR.

Comments

On Barbaralicious you can leave comments under blog posts. Since May 25th, this requires an additional checkbox, which must be clicked. With this checkbox, you confirm that you agree that I will save your data (name, email address and – if you enter it – your website) after submitting the comment.

For the implementation, I first used the plugin WP GDPR Compliance. After a few weeks though, I inserted it via a code snippet to get rid of the plugin.

Up to now, the IP address was also saved when sending a comment. This is no longer allowed. Therefore, two changes were necessary:

  • It is now necessary to prevent IP addresses from being stored
  • All previously stored IP addresses must be deleted

I made these changes on the FTP server or in the database via MySQL.

 

Newsletter

I’ve been wondering for a long time whether I’d like to keep the newsletter or not. The effort of changing every single post (I had manually inserted a signup form under each blog post) and that I had to ask my subscribers for a new opt-in spoke in favor of deactivation. In the end, however, the latter turned out to be wrong. After I received emails from lawyers who said that a new opt-in was not necessary if the email addresses had been collected with a double opt-in, my decision was made: The newsletter remains.

I made the following changes:

  • Adaptation of the signup text – now I point out tracking, storage and everything else that is interesting BELOW the signup form
  • I changed the whole signup process – everything now runs on one (!) signup page. I’ll probably have fewer registrations, but I’m legally on the safe side
  • I signed a Data Processing Agreement with my service provider Mailchimp

The Hoster

My hoster is from Germany and is called All-Inkl. They offer a Data Processing Agreement in their backend, which I simply had to accept – with one click. I am also Manager of Marketing & Sales at 2AIM GmbH. Unfortunately, the hoster of the GmbH is not All-Inkl, but HostEurope. It wasn’t that easy there, because you had to fill out the contract and indicate exactly what data was processed on the website. This contract had to be sent back to HostEurope by snail mail or e-mail.

Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy has to be adapted. I used the generator of the German Society for Data Protection. However, I went through the Privacy Policy afterward and adapted it. It was not generated in exactly the same way as you see it now by the generator.

Social Media Sharing

In fact, I haven’t had any social sharing buttons so far, after reading a few years ago that most plugins have privacy issues. However, I now know that there is one plugin that has been compliant all the time and continues to be so even after GDPR came into force: The plugin is called Shariff. I installed and activated it on my blog. So from now on, you will find buttons under my blog posts with which you can share my posts in social media.

Contact form

I said goodbye to all my contact forms. Yeah, it’s been used every now and then. But I wanted to be on the safe side, so I completely redesigned the contact page and removed the contact form.

If you want to keep yours, you have to consider two points:

  • You MUST run your site via https
  • This point is somewhat controversial, but: You actually need a checkbox that says that you are saving the data. Well, some say you need it, others say it’s bullshit. If you decide to go for the checkbox, the plugin, which also adds the checkbox to the command fields, should do the trick. But since that didn’t work out for me, the decision to remove the contact form was very easy for me at the end.

Gravatar

Gravatar is the service that stores your pictures, which are then displayed next to your name when you comment. You’ve probably seen it many times on blogs. This service is activated by default in WordPress. But you can turn it off with one click. Just go to Settings -> Discussion -> Avatar. If you click the checkbox there, Gravatar is active.

You cannot delete your account at Gravatar. I wrote them but, unfortunately, the only thing we can do at the moment is deactivate it on our blogs.

Emojis

It was just as easy with the Emojis. Just go to Settings -> Write and uncheck the option “Convert emoticons to graphics”.

And if you are wondering what’s so bad about emoticons: When they are displayed as graphics, they are loaded from somewhere. They are NOT installed on your server but are located on external servers. Since data is transferred when loading something from another server, this is no longer permitted.

Fortunately, this change is quickly done.

Google products

Google is an American provider and therefore fundamentally difficult to reconcile with the new data protection laws.

Fonts

Fonts are not stored in WordPress and saved on your own server, but loaded by default by Google. I wonder, to be honest, who came up with this glorious idea. Moreover, I cannot imagine that WordPress will not provide its own solution for this in the long term. At the beginning, I had solved this via the plugin Divi DSGVO (DSGVO is the German abbreviation for GDPR), which prevents loading the fonts from Google and let’s you then choose the fonts you want to store them on your server. Theoretically, this should also improve loading time. Since this didn’t happen and the plugin didn’t do anything else, I uninstalled it and applied a plugin-free solution.

YouTube videos

I’ve been dealing with YouTube videos for two weeks. The problem is that by embedding videos via YouTube, data is transferred between YouTube and the blog without the reader knowing about it. My first approach was to replace all videos with text links. That was a real challenge with over 200 videos on my blog. After three days I read that you can add “nocookie” to the embed link. The best way to do this is to go back to the sharing option in Youtube itself and tick the box “extended privacy setting”. This is then automatically added to the link. I thought I’d be on the safe side if I just replaced the links. Wrong!

Shortly afterward I read in a forum on Facebook that a friend of mine, a lawyer specializing in online law, advised using an additional opt-in. That’s a box that appears, which readers need to check to see the video so he knows that a connection to YouTube is being established. I started using the plugin Borlabs for that.

However, this plugin also bothered me, so in the end, I decided to take down all videos and replace them with simple text links. No videos, no problems…

Maps

Similar to the YouTube videos, it’s the same with maps. Because each map establishes a connection to a server since this data is never stored on the blog owner’s server. I checked my own plugin and found a Google Maps API. Annoying! I used Borlabs for this too. Because I wanted to keep the map on my homepage. I deleted all the others though.

But after I deleted the YouTube videos, I also decided on taking down that last map. Too bad, but better safe than sorry. And I also experienced slower page speed due to Borlabs.

Analytics

Analytics was also a never-ending story. That’s why I’ve been saving it for last.

First, I decided to use Borlabs with the Optin function. But after I had almost no possibility to track my visitor numbers and the box on my blog simply annoyed me (and my readers), I decided that it was time for something new: Piwik or Matomo is the solution you can install on your own server, so no data is forwarded to third parties. I am currently very satisfied with this and hope that it will remain so.

Emails

A year and a half ago, I made a big mistake. I followed a wrong advice and started sending my emails via Gmail, although they are actually from my hoster All-Inkl. It was easier to manage than Outlook, which I had used until then, said a friend. Well, actually, GDPR existed already. But nobody cared back then. Otherwise, I would never have solved it this way. Because Gmail is NOT GDPR compliant! Google’s alternative is G Suite. This business account costs 8 Euro per month and is ok from a data protection point of view. At least if you disregard the fact that Google is an American company and that it is not really perfect.

So I moved to G Suite with all my email addresses. However, I couldn’t import all addresses, so I didn’t have old emails of my main address in my mailbox. I couldn’t search for them or automatically write emails to contacts before importing. The important thing for me was that I can write and receive emails on all my addresses from G Suite.

I had to find another solution. In the end, I rolled back everything that had been done in the past one and a half years and now receive all my mailboxes via Apple’s mail client and no longer use a third-party provider.

Cloud storage

The same applies to the cloud storage. I use Google Drive and so far I simply had an account with 1 GB additional storage. This simple account is also not GDPR compliant. Therefore, I use my G Suite account for backups in the cloud or exchanging data with clients. That sounds like little effort at first, but unfortunately, there were problems here too. It took me about a working day to solve them and I finally connected all my websites to the new Drive account.

By the way: If you use third-party providers like WeTransfer to send large amounts of data, you theoretically need a Data Processing Agreement. To be honest, I have hardly ever used WeTransfer. I usually do this by uploading photos, videos or documents in my Google Drive Cloud and then sharing the folders. Then you don’t need an additional agreement!

Records of processing activities

I also kept the record of processing activities until the end. In this list, you have to mention all activities in which you store data. These include, for example, comments on the blog, emails or the newsletter. The processing list must be presented on request.

Privacy policy (and legal notice) on the login page

Now it is also mandatory to have a privacy policy on the admin login page. Since the last WordPress update, you can easily set this in your backend and it will be displayed automatically. However, for us Germans, the legal notice has to be added, too. Unfortunately, you still have to change this in the code.

HTTPS via All-Inkl

If you have a security certificate via your own hoster, you don’t have to do anything. However, I had it through CloudFlare, an American provider. This offers even more advantages than just the security certificate, but I wanted to get rid of as many third-party providers as possible and didn’t want to sign too many Data Processing Agreements. Especially when the service providers are based in the USA, which is the case for CloudFlare. I had to reset all nameservers at All-Inkl (just send an email – the support team will take care of it) and could then activate the free security certificate Let’s Encrypt. The only disadvantage: From now on my page will only be loaded from Germany. From German servers. From a data protection point of view, this is awesome. However, for my loading time it is a disaster, because CloudFlare has servers all over the world and they make sure to use the closest server. So if you access Barbaralicious from Australia, the blog was previously loaded from Australian servers, while now everything comes directly from Germany.

Photos

Another insanity, in my eyes, is that photos are no longer allowed to show people EXCEPT you have them signed a GDPR compliant model release. However, GDPR also says that this consent can be withdrawn at any time. A model release does not necessarily mean that you can use the photo forever. The reason for the regulation is that from now on you can generally withdraw your consent to the processing of your data at any time. And that includes photos.

I’m very happy now that often waited a long time to take pictures without people. Even in busy squares in Berlin, for example, you can find the place deserted at sunrise. Many bloggers laughed at me or said that this does not reflect the true mood in the place. I’m glad I didn’t care.

A few more comments:

Photos taken before May 25, 2018 do NOT need to be removed from your blog or social media channels. At least, that’s not what it looks like right now.

If you’re happy now that you’re good at using photoshop, I have to disappoint you. In theory, it is no longer even allowed to take photos with people on it. So it’s not just about publishing the material. The only alternative would be analog photos that do not store any data (e.g. geotags).

Final Thoughts

I’ve been complaining a lot since I started making changes for GDPR. Not only because something new came out almost every day  and changes made preveriously were invalid again. Or because everyone says something different and you often don’t know what is right and what is wrong. I complained a lot because I really wanted to understand the technical background. That meant that I’d been sitting around on little details for days. And that was at the expense of my “productivity”. No blog post, no new e-book has come out in the last few weeks. Hopefully, this will now change and return to normal.

But a positive side effect is that I know my blog better than ever before. I still have a lot to learn, but it’s a process and I’m still in it.

PS: Photo by Seth Schwiet on Unsplash

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Eye Laser Surgery Around the World: Travel Bloggers & Their Experiences

Eye Laser Surgery Around the World: Travel Bloggers & Their Experiences

Eye Laser Surgery Around the World: Travel Bloggers & Their Experiences

I knew that one day I would do eye laser surgery. I had never liked my glasses and, most of all, myself with glasses.

That’s why, this year, I finally made an appointment to get the surgery done. Check out my blog post about it:

Barbaralicious Goes Eye Laser Surgery!

What Did Other Travel Bloggers Experience?

Since I wanted you to have a better overview of the possibilities and experiences with other laser techniques and hospitals, I asked some other travel bloggers who did eye laser surgery around the world! Check out what they have to say:

Melanie und Thomas von Reisen-Fotografie

Patrick from German Backpacker: LASIK in Turkey!

I always knew that at some point I will get my eyes lasered. I was wearing lenses most of the time, but especially when traveling, it was very annoying and sometimes even difficult to keep them clean when I was for example camping or when I stayed in hostels. But I always felt like it would be super expensive to get it done! At some point, I did more research and realized that the exactly same surgeries which are offered in Germany for a high price are also offered in Istanbul for a small fraction of the it. Istanbul has actually some of the best eye clinics of the world, so my fear of getting such an important surgery done somewhere abroad quickly vanished after reading all the positive experiences and reviews. I got in touch with a German agency called „sehhilfe-weg.de“, who organized the surgeries in Istanbul. They even offer a complete package including flight booking, accommodation and airport pickup. But since I’m a frequent traveler and always on a budget, I only paid for the surgery (around 600€) and organized cheap flights and a bed in a hostel by myself. On the day of the surgery, I got welcomed at the clinic by a German speaking assistant and after some checks, it was time for the LASIK surgery. The feeling was certainly uncomfortable, but the whole procedure only took a few minutes and I was done! I got some big glasses for protection and was allowed to go back to my hostel, while seeing very blurry. I rested in my dark room for a few hours waiting for my sight to return, which only took until evening. I still had a weird feeling in my eyes (as if I was wearing my lenses for too long), but on the next day everything was better and I returned to the clinic for a quick after-check. I was so happy to finally see clearly again and used the few extra days I had in Istanbul for sightseeing, before returning back home. I had to use eye drops for a few weeks and sometimes felt that my eyes were very dry (especially when sitting in front of a monitor too long), but these small issues vanished soon after. I never regretted my decision to get my laser surgery done in Istanbul – great value, great result, and even in combination with traveling to an exciting city!

About Patrick and German Backpacker

Hi, I’m Patrick, a travel blogger from Germany focusing on adventure and backpacking travels around the world! I blog on German Backpacker!

Nina from Where in the world is Nina: LASEK in South Korea!

I’ve made quite a few awesome decisions in my life but I have to say, laser eye surgery might have been the best. I’ve been a four-eyed freak most of my life starting when I was about 9 years old. After years of traveling and not being super confident doing certain things (opening eyes under water, surfing, diving….etc) I was finally fed up and decided to get LASEK!
I decided on LASEK (as opposed to LASIK) because it’s the most popular surgery in South Korea. They have moved away from LASIK as the flap in the eye (eww I know) was the cause of 90% of the issues after the surgery. Also, if something traumatic were to happen (like getting a surfboard to the eye, or a kids finger) those with the flap would have more trauma than I would, because I don’t have a flap. For LASEK they just ‘shaved” down my eyes ball a bit… still gross, I know.
Why South Korea? In short—better technology, doctors, and a far cheaper than the USA!
The results? Freaking fabulous. In fact, I’m in Morocco surfing like a pro right now!
Cost: $1400 including everything and a lifetime guarantee.
Oliver von Weltreiseforum.com

About Nina and Where in the world is Nina?

Nina Ragusa blogs at Where in the World is Nina and has a life mission of living and working on all continents. She takes you around the world with her sassy yet informative writing and gives the low down on how to work abroad to travel more.

Monika und Petar von TravelWorldOnline

Jackie from Life of Doing: LASIK and PRK in California!

Who wants to deal with glasses, hard contact lenses, and multiple cleaning solutions during exercising and traveling? My husband and I registered for the Tokyo Marathon, and we decided to have laser eye surgery before our marathon in January 2015. We went to three different clinics in San Jose, California for quotes and surgery qualification. Prices varied from $3500 to $5300 USD per person for both eyes.

After many considerations, we went with Scott Hyver Professionals, located in Santa Clara, California. We felt comfortable with the Dr. Hyver’s team, customer service, and the lifetime surgery touch-up if needed. Several friends had their procedures done with Dr. Hyver and had positive results. I paid $4900 for my laser surgery, while my husband paid over $5000. Due to my thinner cornea on my left eye, I had the PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) surgery which removes the outer shape of the cornea for the correction. Dr. Hyver was the only doctor to recommend PRK to me. My right eye had the Lasik surgery, and my husband did the Lasik surgery as well.

On the day of the surgery, everything went smoothly. I was originally nervous as eyesight is something you shouldn’t mess with. The surgery team asked if I wanted to hold a stress ball which I declined. After the numbing drops and hearing the laser sounds, the surgery was done in less than 10 minutes. It was amazing to wake up to clear vision the next morning. Healing process took two weeks for my PRK left eye while my Lasik eye healed in a few days. We had dry eyes during our healing process, but that was natural. The procedure was a life-changing moment and would recommend it to anyone!

About Jackie and Life of Doing

Jackie Szeto is an avid world-traveler, wanderer, and blogger on Life Of Doing. She loves to spend time outdoors either hiking, biking, or walking around town. Otherwise, she is planning her next adventure or weekend trip. Jackie is originally from the Bay Area California, and currently lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with her husband, Justin. Follow the adventure on Instagram.  

 

Sarah from ASocialNomad: LASIK in England!

I wore glasses from the age of 4 when I had surgery to correct a squint in my left eye.  I’ve always had astigmatism and suffered through hard contacts lenses, which I believe to be a unique form of torture.   However, it wasn’t until my 29th year that I decided to have surgery.  That’s way back in the year 2000, I finally had enough money to splurge. 

I went for Lasik at a surgery in Reading, Berkshire, England, which was close to where I was living at the time.  I selected them because of the location, and they also had a good reputation for dealing with difficult issues.  I have very thin corneas, so there weren’t many surgeries willing to undertake my surgery. 

I took the plunge, spending GBP £1,000 per eye and having them both done at the same time.  I think the worst part was the week of wearing the clunky big protective glasses afterwards!  I didn’t experience any pain and was glasses and contact lens free for the first time in my life.  Well, the first time that I could see what I was doing anyway!  The only regret I ever had was that I didn’t get it done sooner!

Angelika von WIEDERUNTERWEGS

About Sarah and ASocialNomad

Sarah Carter & Nigel Dockerty write about Gen X Travel with a Y Attitude at https://asocialnomad.com.  They like to travel slow, eat and drink local.  You’ll find them in museums, on wine tours, hiking trails and exploring temples.  Or, you can catch up with them on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.


Thomas von TürkeiReiseblog

Sofie from WonderfulWanderings: ReLEx-Smile in Belgium!

I’d been wanting to get my eyes lasered for a few years already when I finally made the decision at the beginning of 2017 when yet another person I knew told me about how great it had been for them. Initially, I wanted to get LASIK, but during my research, I found a procedure that’s even newer and better in the sense that it has an even higher success and lower complication percentage than LASIK: ReLEx-Smile.

There happened to be a doctor specialized in this procedure working from a clinic – Mediclinic – just a 15-minute drive from where I live. I didn’t hesitate and made an appointment to get my eyes tested and find out whether I was eligible for the procedure. I was!

I went back to get it done a few weeks later and can honestly say it’s one of the best things I ever had done. The procedure itself took literally just a few minutes and I could already see again straight after. I did have to let my eyes rest for a few days so that they could stabilize – jumping right back behind the laptop the next day wasn’t a great idea – and I also had to use some drops to help them heal and keep them moist.

The day after the surgery I needed to go back for a check-up, and then again two weeks later, six weeks later and six months later.

At the moment, my eyes are better than 100%. I don’t know how that’s possible, but apparently, it is. My eyesight is literally better than a fighter jet pilot right now and it has changed how I travel so much.

No more taking extra lenses with me. No more taking lens fluid and lens containers. No more lugging my glasses around. No more suffering from dry eyes after a long day because I kept my lenses in for too long. If there’s one thing I regret, it’s that I didn’t have it done sooner.

About Sofie and Wonderful Wanderings

Belgium-based Sofie helps people plan worry-free trips by providing them with detailed travel itineraries based on her own travels as well as practical travel information and how-tos. And if you really don’t like to research or simply don’t have the time, she’ll create a custom itinerary for you. She’s driven by an urge to explore and a cup of green tea (or two). Check out Wonderful Wanderings.

Sonja from Migrating Miss: LASIK in Australia!

I had wanted to get laser eye surgery ever since my Mum got it when I was 16 years old. To watch her go from using contacts and glasses to nothing at all was like a miracle, and I wanted it for myself too! However, since it’s best to wait until your eyes have stopped changing and mine never really seemed to slow down, it wasn’t until I was 25 and living in Australia that I finally decided to look more into it. To be honest, what spurred me on was the thought that I might not be eligible at all, and I didn’t want to be holding out hope for something I couldn’t have! In Australia, laser eye clinics often offer a free consultation to check your eligibility and give you your options. I went backpacking in Vietnam for three weeks and after the hassle of dealing with contacts in less than ideal conditions, I decided it was time to and have a consultation. When I found out I was eligible and the great interest-free payment plans on offer, I went ahead with it! I had LASIK eye surgery with Laser Sight in Brisbane, Australia, and it cost $5000AU for a lifetime guarantee, which means I can have touch-ups or go back again should I need to. A few months after my laser eye surgery I embarked on a longer backpacking trip through South East Asia, and not having to worry about glasses or contacts while travelling in random places and doing tons of adventure activities was amazing, and has continued to be ever since!

Thomas von Pixelschmitt

About Sonja and Migrating Miss

Sonja is originally from New Zealand but is now based in Scotland, although she’s frequently travelling in Europe and further abroad. When not discovering new places, she can be found working on her blog, Migrating Miss, in a café with a coffee and cake at her side. 

Corinna Laimer von Aussteigen Bitte

Jessica from Notes of Nomads: LASIK in Japan!

A couple of years ago, I tried to get Lasik done at a well-known clinic in Tokyo. I chose this particular clinic because a friend had been there before and was happy with the results.

I researched all the procedures they had, which ranged from 154,000 to 300,000 yen (roughly US$1450 to $2840) and I decided to go with their most modern and expensive procedure – the Amaris Z-Lasik. I would also be able to get a discount of several hundred dollars thanks to a referral coupon my friend gave me.

Their one-day package is the most encouraged and cheapest option. This means that you do all your tests and have the surgery on the same day. At first, I thought this was a convenient option, but I quickly learned that it’s not the best when things don’t go as planned.

It turned out that I have thin corneas and was told that I’m not an ideal candidate for Lasik. They also said that my nose is too big for the machine (I get the first reasoning but not the second!).

I was told I’d have to go with the older Intralase option and also get a second surgery known as cross-linking. Together it would be an additional $US660.

I hadn’t heard of this second procedure before and they were really pushy about me getting it done. I only had 5 minutes to Google it in the waiting room before I had to confirm my procedure. My gut was telling me not to do it, so I didn’t.

Although it was disappointing, I’m glad that I didn’t go through with it (at least not at this clinic). It’s one thing to not be an ideal candidate and needing to look at other options, but it really felt like they were trying to sell me on a procedure that I wasn’t comfortable with just to make some extra cash.

They got irritated when I asked questions, changed their story about various things that just didn’t seem to add up, and I couldn’t meet the doctor who would be performing the surgery. When I left, they tried to coax me back by offering to “do me a deal” and recommending cheaper options that they previously said were not ideal for me. In any case, it felt far from reputable.

I’m not against looking into Lasik again elsewhere (I know lots of people who have had great experiences in many parts of the world), but I think a clinic that does the initial screening on a separate day is much better for me. I’d like to be able to have all my questions answered, feel comfortable with the procedure and meet the doctor performing it.

About Jessica and Notes of Nomads

Jessica Korteman is an Australian travel writer, currently based in Tokyo, Japan. You’ll most often find her on her blog, Notes of Nomads  delving into culture and expat life, and how to create a lifestyle full of new experiences.

Jenny from 22places: LASIK in Istanbul!

In 2015, I decided to go for an eye laser surgery at the Eye STAR LASIK Institute in Istanbul. When I tell people about it, I usually get the following reaction: “Wow, are you crazy?”. But the quality of the hospitals in Istanbul is at least as good as in Germany. The advantage: It is a lot cheaper and you can combine it with a visit to Istanbul. The price was just one of the reasons why I decided to go to Istanbul for the operation. The crucial factor was that a friend of mine had laser surgery there two years earlier after a Turkish colleague recommended the clinic. So there were two people who were very happy with the clinic. That’s why the decision was not really hard for me. In addition, the hospital had great reviews online, the contact person was super nice and I just had a good feeling. I got my surgery appointment in Istanbul just 2 months after taking the decision. By the way, that’s also a good tip for people who are not sure whether to get the surgery done or not: Just take the decision and don’t push it along. Yes or no? And when you have decided, make an appointment directly. I didn’t regret my decision – not even for a second. The experience on site was very good, the lasering and everything around was less than 15 minutes, I had no pain and see 100 percent on both eyes. We spent a whole week in the beautiful metropolis, of which the surgery took only 1.5 days. On the day after the surgery, we could already do sightseeing! I would do it again anytime and can highly recommend laser surgeries in that clinic to everyone.
Florian Blümm von Flocblog

About Jenny and 22places

Jenny and Basti are bloggers, travel photographers and founders of the successful 22places online photography course. They live and work location independent and wander around this wonderful planet with their cameras all year round! Their goal: to find the 22 most beautiful places in the world.

On their blog 22places, they share their best photo tips, teach you photography in their online photo course and give detailed travel tips on the destinations they visit.

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