Take My 1-on-1 Exclusive “Travel Long Term Round the World On Any Budget” Workshop, and We’ll Design Your Dream Adventure Together.
Workshop Available Online or at the Beautiful Casa Los Dos Gallos in Merida, Mexico
Travel Long Term Round the World On Any Budget Workshop
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the soul of its people.“
Long-Term, Round-the-World Travel Is Possible Regardless of Budget
In 2004, after fifteen years of working in the public sector and spending a total of three years traveling and living around the world (including spending a year teaching English in Russia) as a younger man, I took a leap of faith. I started a business called the Big Blue Marble. The Big Blue Marble offered three-hour seminars on long-term travel, living abroad, budget travel, and living and traveling in Mexico at adult education programs in over 50 schools in eleven US states.
In 2011, I leaped again at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel worldwide on a generous budget. I visited 69 countries and spent nearly five years on the road as a student, tourist, cruiser, and volunteer. I also spent over six years living in Montreal, Canada, and Merida, Mexico (where I currently live).
In 2019, I looked for a way to share my knowledge with the public, as I did previously with the Big Blue Marble seminars. I invested substantial time and money in developing my Fifty Plus Nomad website and now, in addition to the Long Term Travel Planning Workshop, offer classes in Spanish and English and Living and Traveling in Mexico at my home in Merida, Mexico, or online.
What’s Included in the Travel Long-Term, Round-the-World On Any Budget Workshop?
Want to learn my secrets from traveling for eight years of my life?
If so, let me teach you what it takes for you to enjoy your ultimate long-term travel adventure. I will do my best to ensure your experiences will be much more satisfying and cost-effective.
While most people who choose a nomadic life are happy with their new lifestyle, it is not easy. It is easy to make expensive and frustrating mistakes, and many abandon their dreams long before they anticipate. Or worse, they never hit the road in the first place.
Long-term travel takes more work and determination and less money than most people think. It differs from taking a short vacation for a couple of weeks. It can be lonely, frustrating, and exhausting at times. Plus, more is involved in planning a long-term trip than you assume.
Yet, despite all this, the eight years I’ve spent traveling around the world were the most enjoyable in my life. I don’t regret spending so much time and effort traveling, and I am confident you will feel the same.
While we can talk about anything you want during the workshop, here are some suggested topics:
- Developing a personalized travel personality inventory,
- How to travel on your budget.
- Saving money for travel.
- Cultural adaptation and travel burnout.
- Different places to travel around the world.
- Legal requirements for traveling abroad.
- Cultural aspects of traveling in other countries around the world.
- Working abroad or by internet.
- The advantages and disadvantages of different traveling methods include independent and group travel and tours, cruising, active vacations, volunteering, learning vacations, etc.).
- The logistics of traveling around the world such as buying airline tickets, public transportation, finding good restaurants, meeting people, communicating, shopping, sightseeing, frequent flyer, and other loyalty programs, etc.
- Some essential tips for learning another language.
- Developing a personalized itinerary based on your interests, personality, budget, and needs.
The class includes a one-hour follow-up call once a month for three months or longer when you’re on the road.
How Much Does the Travel Long Term Round the World On Any Budget Workshop Cost? When is the Workshop Offered?
The “Travel Long-Term, Round-the-World on Any Budget” workshop is 20 hours long and costs $US 25 per hour (500 pesos, $CAD 30). It is available online and in person at my home, Casa Los Dos Gallos, in Merida, Mexico. The workshop is the same cost for up to six people studying together.
You can arrange to take the workshop according to your timetable. You can take the class for 2 hours a day for ten days online or in Merida. You can also schedule a three-day intensive course (7 hours for two days, 6 hours for the third day) online or in Merida if you can’t afford to take much time out of your busy schedule.
I recommend you take the “Travel Long-Term, Round-the-World on Any Budget” workshop in person in Merida over five days, 3-4 hours a day. That way, we can use Merida as a “real-life” classroom to supplement the classes. In addition, it is much easier to adapt the style to your needs in-person than online.
If you attend our “Travel Long-Term, Round-the-World on Any Budget” workshop in person at the Casa Los Dos Gallos in Merida, you’ll also receive the following:
- Two free tourist activities including possible visits to 19th-century henequin haciendas, cenotes (underground pools), beaches, nature reserves, restaurants, markets, museums, and cultural venues.
- Free airport pickup from Merida airport.
- A free Rustic Home Cooked Yucatan Meal.
- Access to my knowledge of air travel to help you find the best way to travel to and from Merida for your dollar and schedule.
In addition, Fifty Plus Nomad also offers the following packages for participants in the Travel Long Term Round the World On Any Budget Workshop:
- Take both the “Travel Long Term Round the World on Any Budget” Workshop and our 30-hour “Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel” Workshop for $750. (A $1250 value).
- Take 50 hours of Intensive 1-on-1 Spanish online or in Merida ($20/hour) and get the “Travel Long Term Round the World on any Budget” Workshop for FREE.
- Take both the “Travel Long-Term, Round-the-World on Any Budget” and the “Living and Traveling in Mexico Workshop” for $650. (A $1000 value)
I am also available for consultations for $US 25 per hour ($CA 30: 500 Mexican Pesos). If interested, contact me directly.
Why is the “Travel Long-Term, Round-the-World on Any Budget” Workshop 20 Hours Long?
Long -Term, Round-the-World travel differs from taking a short vacation. Many people need to make significant life changes to carve out the time and money to see the world. In addition, it requires a degree of flexibility, interpersonal communication skills, and self-awareness that your daily life at home doesn’t require. Planning your long-term travel adventures over 50 also involves a lot of work, and making costly and irritating mistakes on the road is easy.
I have designed the class so you can make the most of your experiences. I could quickly expand this into a 50 or 100-hour workshop. I find it hard to cut much of the material. Any shorter time will not allow us enough time to cover the material adequately.
If you are reluctant to spend this much time, I would recommend that you ask yourself these questions:
- Why are you willing to potentially put thousands of dollars and hours into long-term, round-the-world travel but won’t invest in learning what it takes to be happy and successful in your nomadic life?
- Why don’t you want to invest a short time and money into finding out if long-term, extended travel is suitable for you in the first place?
The Fifty Plus Nomad Workshop Motto
In the living room of my house, where most of my classes are held, I had a sign made that reflects my personal motto about living and traveling abroad and learning a foreign language: Equally Logical But Different.
I first saw this motto in a classroom when I attended a 3-day orientation for Youth for Understanding summer exchange students in Japan held at Stanford University. The orientation instructors kept pointing to the sign whenever they would explain how the Japanese looked at the world differently than Americans. The motto stuck in my brain more than anything I learned in school and has shaped my worldview immensely even to this day.
My interpretation of the motto is that every culture, language, and society makes sense if you study its history, geographical situation, and economics. Traveling around the world, I discovered that most of the world’s cultures are actually more different than most people realize, but they are also well suited to the needs of their population.
Once you have enough background about a country or language, every culture seems logical and understandable. You just have to try to put yourself into the shoes of another group of people, and it is not that hard to understand their behavior.
In addition, I have learned that there are many things from different cultures that I try to integrate into my own life and that many things I treasure about a place are often undervalued by locals themselves.
I often refer to the motto in my classes. It is a philosophy that has guided me through a lifetime of discoveries about myself and the world. I hope my motto will also help my students as well to create a dream life on the road or living abroad.
Study at Casa Los Dos Gallos
Casa Los Dos Gallos (built around 1900) is a comfortable, recently renovated, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house (around 1400 square feet, 150 square meters) complete with modern appliances, tile floors, mamposteria (stone) walls, tiled floors, and antique, wooden carved doors. The house is in Merida’s trendy Parque Mejorada area within a five to fifteen-minute WALK of Centro’s major attractions, restaurants, and shops.
Everyone who enters the Casa Los Dos Gallos comments on the house’s decoration. One of the things I love about Mexico is the country’s joyful quirkiness. I hope the house captures this spirit and look forward to sharing the house with students.
I love Mexican popular art and spent the first three years after buying the house collecting various pieces of art representing the diversity of Mexican regions, artists, and artistic mediums. Some of the objet d’art are elaborate and expensive, and others are simple and inexpensive. I enjoy mixing and matching art objects in unusual and, hopefully, fun combinations.
I also contracted an extremely skilled designer. He know what I wanted without even having to discuss it with me. Often, I would leave for a couple of weeks and return home to a completely revamped bathroom or bedroom. Even though his services were not cheap, I am glad that I trusted him to deliver a product that was totally different but better than I imagined.
The Main House
Classes take place in the main house. Students have access to the kitchen and high-speed WiFi. All the areas used by students have air conditioning and fans and seldom get very hot.
Bright, ventilated areas. Classes and workshops are also held outdoors, weather permitting.
About the Instructor, Paul Heller
I have been obsessed with traveling since I was a young kid. Fortunately, I have been blessed to realize many of my childhood dreams, including having:
- Visited 85 countries
- Spent eight years in total as a traveler, tour participant, cruiser, student, and volunteer.
- Participated in High School exchange student programs in Japan, the Philippines, and Mexico.
- Completed a degree in Geography and International Studies (from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN) and spent a semester abroad at the American University in Cairo.
- Served as a volunteer English as a Foreign Language instructor in Kaliningrad, Russia.
- Developed and taught over 500 seminars throughout the US and booklets about living and traveling abroad.
- Spent eight years living abroad in Mexico, Russia, and Canada.
- Become fully conversational in Spanish and French and can converse reasonably well in Russian and Italian
Stay at Our Onsite Casita Lobita at a Discounted Rate During Your Travel Long Term Round the World on Any Budget Workshop
You can also spend the week at the Casita Lobita, which is at the back of my house, for $100 a week, 33% less than what is offered on Airbnb.
Casita Lobita is a beautifully decorated, quiet haven away from the hustle and bustle of downtown (Centro) Mérida, Mexico.
A ten-minute walk from the city’s historic Plaza Principal (Main Plaza), Casita Lobita is equipped with everything you could need for a comfortable stay, including:
- A kitchenette with a coffee maker, plates, utensils, cups, and glasses
- A new air conditioning and fans
- High-speed internet access, a new TV (with Netflix), and a telephone
- A private bathroom (with a shower).
Though guests have to enter through the main house to get to the Casita, guests also have easy access to a large, fully equipped kitchen, an enclosed patio, a terrace, a laundry area, and a garden. In addition, the areas of the house that get the most traffic are separate from the areas guests need to pass through to get to the Casita.
Paul Heller and his Yucatecan Mayan friend and house manager, Juan Carlos Cab, enjoy getting to know their guests (if desired) and helping them get the most out of their stay in Merida. Breakfasts are also available upon request.
Guests will also be greeted by and get to know the world’s sweetest and most mellow dog, Lobita, which means little wolf in English. (The Casita is named Casita Lobita in her honor).
Note: Smoking is permitted on the patio.
Casita Lobita is Perfectly Located in the La Mejorada Neighborhood
In recent years, La Mejorada has come to life. New bars and restaurants, cultural centers, museums, public offices, music schools, and university campuses have converted La Mejorada into an upcoming cultural mecca with its personality and identity. Casa Los Dos Gallos is in the heart of the La Mejorada neighborhood.
Mérida, recently designated as the twelfth best city for travelers worldwide by Travel and Leisure magazine readers, is a city of about a million people. It is also known as Mexico’s safest big city, North America’s third-largest colonial city, and a rapidly growing home for expats and wealthy Mexicans from other parts of the republic.
The Maya World
Merida is an excellent base to explore the Yucatan Peninsula’s ancient Mayan ruins. Experience the temples and pyramids, including Dzibilchaltun. Dzibilchaltun receives hundreds of visitors to see how the sunrise peeks through the temple door during the vernal equinox.
300 years of history
Merida’s colonial architecture from the 16th to 19th centuries is still well preserved. The main avenue running through the City, Paseo de Montejo, is lined with colonial buildings. The Plaza Principal features the murals of the Governor’s Palace, the cathedral, and the Casa de Montejo, Merida’s 16th-century founder.
American capital of culture
Merida arose from merging three significant cultures: Mayan, Spanish, and Lebanese, giving it a unique personality, architecture, cuisine, and people. Nouveau and Art Deco) buildings coexist in harmony.
THE YUCATAN PENINSULA AWAITS
With Mérida as your base, you can visit the peninsula’s world-class cathedrals and churches, Maya archaeological sites, museums, beaches, haciendas, and cenotes.
A coastal town in the Northeastern Yucatan peninsula retains its quiet fishing village atmosphere. Here you can take a boat to spot flamingos and enjoy a relaxing day at the beach.
The Mexican government identifies several communities throughout Mexico as “pueblos magícos” or “magical villages.” Among them are Izamal and Valladolid, which feature the region’s rich Mayan heritage and the legacy of the former Spanish colonial period.
Farther afield from Mérida, visit take two routes to discover the Yucatan’s historic haciendas. The haciendas grew a special species of agave (fourcroydes). The spines of these agave plants’ leaves produced henequen, the world’s strongest natural fiber. The fiber created ropes and cords used throughout the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Known to the Mayas as “dzonot,” cenotes are natural caverns filled with fresh-water pools. Permissive limestone bedrock allows rainwater to filter slowly through the ground, creating underground rivers and pools. Experts estimate that more than 7,000 cenotes have formed under the Yucatan Peninsula; the Mayans considered them to be sacred since, in the past, they were the only source of freshwater.
Dzibilchaltun Cenote (pictured here) is 20 miles North of Merida and is next to the Mayan ruins of the same name. People visit Dzibalchaltun from around the world to experience the Vernal Equinox in mid-March.
While Dzilbalchaltun is an above-ground cenote, most of the cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula are located in caves and are usually at least one hour from Mérida. The Cenote Hubiku pictured here is one of the most popular cenotes in the Yucatan. Hubiku is located about one and a half hours from Merida and half an hour from Valladolid.
Located in Yucatan, appointed by UNESCO as a World Heritage and considered one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. Chichen Itza covers an area of 6.5 square kilometers. The south part of Chichen Itza dates back to the VII century and shows the Maya Puuc construction style. The central area, built after the arrival of the Toltecs around the 10th century, is a fusion of the Puuc architectural styles and the Toltec culture from Mexico’s Central Highlands.
Uxmal, located 62 kilometers south of Mérida, is one of the most important Classical period Mayan archaeological sites. UNESCO named Uxmal a World-Heritage Site for its amazing Puuc-style ornamental friezes and enormous pyramids.