Views #1249 | Intermediate (B2)

Life on the Road

Todd talks about his time as a digital nomad, working without a permanent residence.

Julia: What about meeting people? What about like a social life or just basic human interaction? How does that work?

Todd: Usually you meet lots of people but there's a couple of things you need to do. One is I usually stay away from anything touristy or where the tourists are because people just assume you're a tourist and nobody will bother to meet you. The best place to meet people though is a gym. So in every city, I would go to, I would sign up for a gym for two weeks or one month and you always meet people there. So gyms are great, you meet people right after work. You kind of feel like you're in a normal work flow. Parks, you meet a lot of people in parks. You go to where the local people are, maybe a food court or libraries, stuff like that, so usually places where people are actually trying to do something productive, either study or exercise or whatever, you meet people.

Julia: That was going to be my next question. What about your health? How do you maintain a health when you're living that kind of...

Todd: Well, yeah, you gotta eat well and you gotta exercise. I did go to the hospital in Chiang Mai because a dog bit me. Yeah.

Julia: Oh, no. Did you have to get rabies shots?

Todd: I had to get a rabies shot and it was really cheap so in most countries healthcare is really cheap. Thailand healthcare is excellent, I mean absolutely fantastic. And you know Vietnam it's cheap. You know even in big places like Taiwan or Korea, you know, you'd be surprised like it's not that expensive. You just got to go to the hospital and they'll sew you up.

Julia: And language problems? Did you ever have any language issues?

Todd: No, usually not. I mean like I lived in Thailand for four years so I can speak Thai but like Taiwan everybody spoke really good English. I went to Korea, didn't know a word of Korean. I stayed there for six weeks working from there and everybody was so nice. A lot of gestures so I got by and actually I remember getting on the plane to go home from Korea and I realized I didn't know even how to say yes and no in Korean or one, two, three, four, five and I was in their country for five weeks, six weeks. So, yeah, the Koreans were very nice.

Julia: Good.

Todd: So have I sold you? Would you like to give it a try?

Julia: Yes, I would but I, my problem is like motivation. Like if I'm not given a schedule, if I don't have deadlines, if it's all up to me, I, you know, I'd just spend all day at the beach and go for a massage, maybe do some shopping, go to a club, or something. I can't see myself working when I feel like I'm traveling and on holiday. I don't know.

Todd: Yeah, that's the catch.

Julia: The mindset, I guess yeah.

Todd: Yeah, that's the hard part.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson



If you go to the touristy spots, people will just assume you're a tourist, and nobody will bother to meet you.

When you 'bother' to do something, you make an effort to do it. Notice the following:

  1. I don't know why you bother exercising if you are just going to eat fast food.
  2. Should I even bother asking him to come? I know he is going to say no.

normal work flow


You meet people at the gym after work, and you kind of feel like you're in the normal work flow.

The 'normal work flow' refers to the average schedule of a normal working day. Notice the following:

  1. After a few years of strange hours, it's nice to be back in normal work flow.
  2. Working at restaurants means that you aren't really part of the normal work flow.

rabies shots


I had to get a rabies shot, and it was really cheap.

'Rabies' is a type of disease that animals can pass to humans through biting. A 'rabies shot' is an injection that prevents rabies. Notice the following:

  1. Usually you have to get a rabies shot if an animal bites you.
  2. Doctors always suggest you get a rabies shot if you plan to travel overseas.

sew (you) up


You've just got to go to the hospital and they'll sew you right up.

You get 'sown up' when you have a bad cut in your skin and you have to close it with thread. Notice the following:

  1. She fell on rocks when she was biking, and she had to get a cut sewn up on her elbow.
  2. He stepped on a big piece of glass and had to get his foot sewn up.

gestures/ get by


I know a lot of gestures, so I got by.

'Gestures' are movements that you do with your hands. When you 'get by,' it means that you survive and do the things that you need to do. Notice the following:

  1. It can be very confusing when gestures aren't the same in countries that you visit.
  2. I don't know how you get by on so little sleep.

sell someone


Have I sold you? Would you like to give it a try?

Here, 'selling someone' means convincing them that something is a good idea. Notice the following:

  1. You've almost sold me on the importance of vitamins.
  2. It didn't take her long to sell them on how great the new products were.

the catch


Forcing yourself to work, that's the catch.

'The catch' refers to the part of something that is difficult when the rest of it seems to be easy or good. Notice the following:

  1. The only catch to working here is that you have to smell coffee all day.
  2. That sounds like a great deal. What's the catch?

Vocabulary Quiz

bothered • flow • rabies
sown • gestures • sold • catch
  1. It's a great job opportunity, but the is that you have to work strange hours.
  2. You might have to get that cut on your leg up.
  3. I don't know why you to clean your house before a party.
  4. You've pretty much me on the car. I just have a few more questions.
  5. They usually give shots if you are bitten by any type of animal.
  6. It will take a few weeks of training before you get into a normal work .
  7. I usually use a lot of hand when I speak.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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About the Teacher / Creator

Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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