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Expat Flow Bonus: Prepare to launch your expat life with Seth Godin’s bingo method


This post is one of the free bonus chapters that go together with my eBook “Expat Flow”. You can get the book here.


If you wait until your project is 100% ready, you might wait forever. Ask anyone (Tim Ferriss is a good person to tell you this) – “someday” is not precise enough. But what to do when your expat adventure just needs a bit more clarity? What if you need to have some more security before you launch – what if just thinking about it is too complex?

Seth Godin is a good person to turn to for inspiration about starting things. His recent blog post made me think about my expat experiences and plans – and it helped me prepare something you could try to ask better questions about preparing to live abroad.

1. The method

Seth Godin’s blog describes it as “the bingo method” and his post explains it all, really. Instead of asking one complicated question about your project, and getting dizzy just thinking about one big answer, ask lots of smaller ones – and be ready to go when smaller answers or solutions appear. If you can think of twenty-five things your project needs before it has a chance, write them down (Seth suggests something like a bingo grid, maybe to do away with obsessing about hierarchy). And once the majority of the squares are filled in, or marked as “done” – then you’re more ready than not.

2. How does that help a future nomad?

Making a decision about going to live abroad is never easy. And there is a lot of anxiety involved – meaning that many people need solutions which are as simple as they can be.
There’s more. If you’re anxious about making such a big change, you’re possibly going to hide behind more and more excuses. You may always be able to say “but look, I’m nowhere near ready, I still need this and this and that…”
The bingo method breaks your big fears down into smaller ones – and small fears look a lot like tasks or projects, so that’s doable and positive. But it also nails down what you actually need. If you make a list of twenty-five things, that’s that – there’s little sense in adding more, since few projects are more complicated!

3. Making a smart expat bingo grid – three tips from experience

If you want to give this bingo thing a go, there are a few things you can do to boost your chances. Try to follow these simple tips and the plan to start living in another country will look much more satistying to you.

The first thing to remember is to include everyone you need. It’s almost never OK to do this all by your own – there will be other people who can help you, or other people to include in your expat planning! So speak to your friends, other expats, your collagues, family, relatives. Ask them what they would think is necessary to pull of your great escape. If it sounds like a good thing, put this down on your grid.

Secondly – try to think about all the needs. It will be normal to be more focused on one thing or another – worrying more about jobs, for example, than places to live. But make sure the grid covers more than just whatever you’re most worried about.

Finally – try to write down your bingo grid goals so that there is a back-up goal written down along with them. If you fail to meet the primary goal, maybe you can be just as happy with the secondary achievement? For example – let’s say you’re waiting for five regular freelance customers before you quit your job. But even if five big clients fail to show up, maybe a goal of a $750 monthly freelance income for six months in a row will be just as good for your confidence.

Let me know how Seth’s bingo method worked for you! The Facebook and Twitter icons are next to this post.


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