Trying Again On 2023: A 12 months of Transitions

It’s that point of 12 months! A time after we sit again and replicate on the previous twelve months. I’ve been writing these “Trying Again” posts since 2012 and I’m unhappy to say that for numerous causes (a few of which you’ll examine right here), I missed writing about 2022.

Most of 2022 was wonderful and we had some very memorable moments – like celebrating our fifteenth anniversary collectively in Cyprus, an epic press journey to the Bahamas, dwelling and touring round Slovakia for nearly 3 months, and spending Christmas in Canada with our households.

Nevertheless, the top of 2022 and into the primary few months of 2023 had been very rocky instances and we discovered ourselves flailing. Fortunately, the tumultuous begin didn’t final, and we transitioned our 12 months from questionable to superior!

Comfortable Holidays everybody!

Annually has a sense or theme, and for us, the phrase that involves thoughts for 2023 is transition and transformation: of who we’re, what we do, and the life we lead.

On this publish, I’ll begin with the craziness. Regardless that it was so messy at first, this was a implausible 12 months general, and I’m excited to share our wins and failures with you on this publish.

If you wish to learn our earlier 12 months’s roundups, take a look at 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

Flailing into 2023

For a lot of 2022, we had been engaged on the paperwork wanted to acquire residency in Bulgaria (extra about dwelling in Bulgaria beneath).

It’s a really lengthy story, however after months and months of gathering the (many) paperwork required to use for residency, our lawyer known as.

It was Friday night and we had been sitting on our sofa in the home we rented in Bulgaria. He was calling to tell us that we had 5 days to go to the Bulgarian consulate in Canada and apply for the long-stay visa, in any other case one among our paperwork would expire.

We knew we needed to go to Canada finally, however we should always’ve nonetheless had months earlier than we wanted to use. How may this be taking place?!

Since every little thing took so lengthy to do (appointments, gathering paperwork, notarizing/apostelling, and so forth.), the validity of one of many preliminary paperwork we had procured from our residence nation of Canada was about to run out.

If that doc expired, we wouldn’t be capable to apply for the long-stay visa, and finally, residency in Bulgaria. All of our exhausting work would have been for nothing.

people waiting in line at the airport
In fact, on the sooner or later that we MUST make the flight, there have been monumental strains on the Sofia airport

Our lawyer known as us on November thirteenth and by November fifteenth we had been on a airplane from Bulgaria to Canada – probably the most direct and solely cheap flight choice for an entire week. If one thing went mistaken or we missed our connecting flight in Poland, we wouldn’t make it on time. There was plenty of strain on that flight!

Fortunately, we made it and on the morning of November seventeenth, we went to the Bulgarian consulate in Toronto with all of our paperwork to use for our long-stay D-Visa.

We utilized on the final day it could have been attainable. The Bulgarian consular normal even informed us so with a humorous smile as we handed him our paperwork.

Now all we needed to do was wait and hope we’d be accredited. The consulate stated it could take round 5 weeks for the visa to be accredited (or denied).

So jet lagged and frazzled on the Bulgarian Consulate in Toronto Canada to submit our papaers…can’t imagine we made it on time

Spending the Holidays in Canada

Since we had been already in Canada (thoughts you, on the opposite facet of the nation from our households), we determined to spend Christmas and New 12 months’s with our mother and father, siblings, and family. Fairly than ready round in Toronto for five weeks for the paperwork to come back again, this seemed like a way more pleasant concept.

We checked out the Hockey Corridor of Fame whereas in Toronto

It was the primary time we’d spent Christmas at residence since 2013.

It was chilly, snowy, and oh-so festive! We went ice skating and tubing on the ski hill. We danced and mingled at three Christmas events. Nick went searching along with his brother, we went for snowy hikes and bowling with household, and we laughed, ate, and drank an excessive amount of!

Crisp, freezing chilly, lovely morning in Canada

We rang within the new 12 months with my household and celebrated Nick’s grandma’s eightieth birthday per week later with family members. It was an important go to again residence and a very good technique to begin 2023.

At the start of January, we heard again from the Bulgarian embassy and our visas had been prepared for pick-up in Toronto. We acquired our long-stay visa for Bulgaria! This was step one to acquiring residency, with extra to observe as soon as we returned to Bulgaria.

Regardless that we had been so relieved the celebrities aligned and every little thing was accredited, we had one thing behind our minds…

We had been in Toronto for Nick’s birthday. We visited the CN Tower for the primary time

The Rocky Begin to the 12 months

That is troublesome to put in writing, and we haven’t shared this publicly but. However, on the finish of 2022 and into March of 2023, we had been contemplating promoting Goats On The Highway (I do know, I can’t imagine it both).

We had been feeling off and in a inventive stoop (which began throughout the pandemic), and with the entire new developments round AI, we had been feeling deflated and as if we most likely wouldn’t have a enterprise for for much longer.

We had been being very “doom and gloom” and (because it seems) overreacting about the entire thing. On the time, nevertheless, we thought we should always exit our enterprise and transfer on whereas we may.

We deliberate to promote simply the web site itself, with out our social media accounts and Nick’s running a blog programs. I needed to maintain our reference to our readers on social media, and Nick needed to proceed educating his college students. Two facets of our weblog that we each adore.

Freezing in Canada and attempting to make life-altering selections

We had no concept what we might do for a job and earnings going ahead, however for no matter purpose, on the time it felt like the correct factor to do.

Goats On The Highway had been our life for 10 years. This was an extremely exhausting determination to make and I used to be actually crying after we pressed the “submit” button on the promoting platform.

Had been we making the correct determination?

We listed our web site at a excessive worth and we acquired plenty of curiosity. We ended up doing 5 critical calls with enterprise capitalist corporations who had been fascinated by buying our website and including it to their portfolio.

Of these 5 calls, we acquired 3 official gives. Financially, they had been wonderful, life-changing gives. However, the phrases of the agreements didn’t sit proper with us and we declined all of them.

I discovered this outdated enterprise card on my digital camera roll 🥹

Throughout the entire supply calls, we needed to record the wonderful facets of Goats On The Highway to those patrons, together with viewers engagement, earnings, analytics, model power, and potential for the web site. What finally occurred throughout these calls was that we bought our website again to ourselves.

This complete course of reminded us of why we love Goats On The Highway and it gave us an enormous push to maintain transferring ahead and ignited a spark inside us. We had a lot readability on what we needed to do going ahead with our enterprise!

SEO Course Graphic
Not having the ability to preserve our running a blog programs and college students was a significant deal breaker in promoting

We determined that we had been going to maintain our web site and we doubled down on it, investing our time, vitality, and love, implementing all the very best web optimization practices we’ve got realized over time – and inside 6 months, we doubled our visitors. Woohoo!

As quickly as we determined to not promote and eliminated our beloved web site from the itemizing platform, it was like an enormous weight was lifted. We may breathe once more.

Goats On The Road portugal
We HAVE to be Goats On The Highway! It’s who we’re!

We’re Residents of Bulgaria and Have a Base

I’m thrilled to say that in February 2023, all of our paperwork cleared and we acquired our ID playing cards. We’re formally residents of Bulgaria. We’ve transitioned from full-time digital nomads to having a house base the place we’ll journey from incessantly 😀

The whole course of was tedious, irritating, prolonged, troublesome, and stuffed with limitless quantities of paperwork, however in the long run, we succeeded and are so completely satisfied that our persistence paid off!

What. A. Journey. We did it! Residency sorted out lastly 😀

On this article, we listed one among our main targets, which was to have a base the place we may reside, and do small journeys from there. A spot the place we may unpack and make our personal. Someplace to have roots so we weren’t consistently transferring from place to put. Right here’s what I wrote in that article:

Ideally, that vacation spot would have forests, mountains, seashores, and rivers. A spot with numerous facilities, a neighborhood of like-minded folks, and delightful lodging for hire (oh, and Nick says he wants there to be fly fishing).

Our good place would have quite a lot of eating places, implausible wine, and quite a few enjoyable issues to see and do. I’d prefer it to be reasonably priced, snug, and have a great vibe. It additionally must be well-connected to different elements of the world. “

View wanting again on the home we’re renting. We love the yard, home and examine!

Our new residence in Bulgaria checks all of these bins, apart from the neighborhood half. We haven’t actually discovered that but, however to be truthful, we haven’t been attempting. We’ve had so lots of our superior nomadic mates come to go to and stick with us that we haven’t felt the necessity.

An enormous factor that was sporting on us over the previous few years was understanding that we couldn’t keep anyplace for greater than 3 months. Notably throughout 2020/2021 when many borders had been closed and there have been many guidelines and restrictions on entry necessities.

Vacationer visas are sometimes legitimate for 3 months, or 6 months in some circumstances. And your complete Schengen Zone is a 3-month keep. So there was all the time this sense that we “have to go away quickly”, and we had been all the time discussing “the place ought to we go subsequent?”.

Now, we’ve got someplace we will keep for so long as we would like! Finishing this main life aim has remodeled our lives and our general psychological well being and well-being.

The 12 months Transforms!

By this level within the article, a lot has occurred and we’re solely in March of this 12 months. It’s unimaginable simply how a lot went on throughout the first few months of 2023. Fortunately, it was (largely) all downhill from there.

Yard vibes

Settling In

The excellent news was we had already rented our home earlier than getting residency, so after we returned to Bulgaria from Canada, we didn’t must seek for someplace to reside. Now that we knew we had been legally allowed to remain within the nation, we settled in and made the home extra our personal.

We made enhancements to the yard: purchased an inflatable scorching tub, a BBQ, a hearth pit, and a hammock, and we even planted a small backyard. Inside the house, we adorned some extra and added some private touches.

We nearly adopted a canine, rescued 3 kittens from sure demise (and adopted them out), and acquired a brand new car as nicely – heaps has occurred!

We discovered these three kittens after they had been simply a few days outdated and took care of them for five weeks

Exploring our New House

We first got here to Bulgaria again in 2016, so we had seen a number of the nation, however there was (is) much more to discover.

We headed north to the historic metropolis of Veliko Tarnovo, taking in a number of the monumental communist-era monuments alongside the way in which.

Subsequent, we went southwest to the mountain city (and common digital nomad metropolis in Europe), Bansko. We’d been right here earlier than, however this time, we had been assembly up with entrepreneurial mates outdated and new.

Speaking digital nomad and entrepreneurial life, journey plans and extra whereas soaking in these thermal baths

It was such an exquisite go to with this group of like-minded folks, and after many chats with them, it solidified to me that we made the correct determination in maintaining Goats On The Highway. We additionally had another running a blog mates come to go to us and had a good time displaying them round – this was a really friend-focused 12 months as nicely!

Lastly, we went northwest for a couple of days of fly fishing. Aside from these three longer journeys across the nation, we did many journeys about an hour from our residence – hikes, fishing spots, wineries, and little cities.

Travels Overseas to Seven International locations

For us, the purpose of getting a base isn’t in order that we reside there year-round. The purpose is that we will go on journeys and know that we’ve got someplace that we’re wanting ahead to returning to. This 12 months, we managed to journey to 7 completely different nations.


All the time a great time with these wonderful folks

First up was a 5-week journey to Grenada, our residence away from residence. As all the time, we had an unimaginable time catching up with our shut mates, island hopping across the Grenadines, visiting Carriacou, and many liming. My birthday was spent on a non-public sundown sail, whereas the very proficient artiste and pal, Akheem, serenaded us. It was wonderful.

Non-public sundown sail + live performance…finest birthday!

Our flight stopped off in England on the way in which residence, so after all, we needed to meet up with our good pal and journey buddy Jason for some shenanigans round London.

Good instances with Jason in London! We first met in Kyrgyzstan in 2013


This is able to be our first time visiting any of the Scandinavian nations! Our shut mates, Tom and Anna, got here to stick with us in Bulgaria for per week and after that, the 4 of us flew to Copenhagen, Denmark.

The journey was stuffed with consuming, exploring, laughing, ingesting…and witnessing the 2 of them getting married.

Witnessing these two get hitched in Copenhagen!

We fell in love with Copenhagen. The quite a few parks, colourful buildings on the water, and pleasant folks had been a number of the highlights. We additionally met up with a Danish pal of ours, Kristine, whereas we had been within the metropolis who confirmed us round!

After Copenhagen, we parted methods with our mates and took the prepare to the town of Malmö in Sweden. This pupil metropolis was plenty of enjoyable. Whereas we had been solely there for two days, we discovered the town very pleasant. It was picturesque, walkable, and had some nice eating places and wine bars.

stockholm sweden
Beautiful Stockholm, Sweden

From there, we continued to the capital of Sweden, Stockholm. Right here we joined a strolling tour, and explored the outdated city and some different areas – Östermalm, Södermalm and Norrmalm. We spent 3 days and solely scratched the floor of this beautiful metropolis.


Whereas not a brand new nation for us, this 12 months we returned to Greece to go to a brand new island within the nation, Paros. We had been there for Tom and Anna’s second wedding ceremony! Along with 33 of their closest household and mates, we celebrated their union.

New mates made throughout our journey to Paros

Paros is a beautiful island and our 8 days there have been spent hanging out with new mates, wedding ceremony festivities, and exploring the island by automotive. Nick and I had 3 days to ourselves earlier than anybody arrived.

We based mostly ourselves in Naousa and zipped across the island testing completely different coves and seashores, quaint villages, bars and eating places, and coastal walks. This journey to Greece for our pal’s wedding ceremony was a particular spotlight of the 12 months.

Mountaineering alongside the shoreline of Paros to seek out quiet coves for swimming


Nick’s dad was within the hospital, so with out hesitation, we booked a last-minute, 3-week journey to Puerto Vallarta on the finish of September.

Inside 3 hours, we had deliberate, packed, and booked flights, lodging, journey insurance coverage, and a taxi to the airport. We had been on our method: Sofia -> Frankfurt -> Mexico Metropolis -> Puerto Vallarta.

Fortunately, every little thing is okay now and he’s recovering. However, it was an extremely irritating time.

Take a look at the dimensions of this airplane we flew on from Frankfurt to Mexico Metropolis!


To spherical out our worldwide travels this 12 months, we headed on a highway journey north to Romania for Nick’s birthday. Not solely had been we celebrating Nick’s special occasion, however it was on today precisely 15 years in the past that we give up our jobs, bought our possessions, and headed off on our lifetime of journey.

Birthday boy in Bucharest

Romania was a brand new nation for us, and we loved our 5-day journey to Bucharest and a few surrounding areas. We ate at fabulous eating places (each conventional, and upscale), did a day journey to the Delau Mare wine area, soaked within the spectacular Therme Baths, and walked everywhere in the metropolis. It was an important journey!

Strolling tour in Bucharest. Chilly, however we had a good time

Enterprise Plans

Aside from now having a house base, the opposite main transition for us this 12 months has been how we take a look at our enterprise and what we would like for it.

By way of visitors to our web site, it wasn’t the place it ought to have been – the place it deserved to be after 10+ years of exhausting work! The truth that we had been simply “maintaining it afloat”, merely wasn’t acceptable to us.

As soon as we knew in our hearts and minds that we had been maintaining Goats On The Highway, we went for it! We employed a big group of professional writers on numerous matters, two digital assistants, an editor, and a supervisor and we each spent much more time giving the weblog the like it deserves.

blogging outside

We made increase our model and website a precedence and between the time that we deliberate to promote, and now, we had been capable of double our guests to the location.

However, that’s only one small a part of what we did. We each needed (need) to be extra inventive and have much more of a neighborhood connection.

Nick has been working exhausting on updating and creating new content material for his Running a blog Kickstarter Course and his Superior web optimization Made Easy course as nicely. He’s additionally been attempting to construct up our YouTube channel once more.

I’ve been managing our groups behind the scenes, but additionally sharing much more on social media and brainstorming our subsequent enterprise for the brand new 12 months.

We’re placing a concentrate on our neighborhood (that’s you!), and are engaged on a program to assist digital nomads and aspiring digital nomads discover methods to earn cash on-line, spend much less whereas increase their companies, and reside and journey overseas.

We’re very enthusiastic about this…keep tuned! And, if it’s a program that you just assume you’d be fascinated by, ship us an electronic mail and tell us what you’d wish to study concerning the location-independent way of life.

blogging in an office

Objectives and Ideas for 2024

Heading into the brand new 12 months, there are a couple of important targets and issues that we need to accomplish.

Investing in Ourselves

By this I imply, investing in methods to enhance ourselves – mentally, bodily, and business-wise. We’ve taken the primary steps even earlier than the brand new 12 months has arrived, and we’re presently concerned in a training course to find out how we will create the very best supply for our college students, and be the very best coaches and mentors attainable.

I’ve additionally signed us up for Bulgarian language classes (want us luck!), and there are a couple of attention-grabbing conferences that we’re planning on attending within the 12 months. We need to proceed to develop and evolve, and never be afraid to spend cash on issues that may assist us try this.

Touring to New International locations

This previous 12 months, we solely visited three new nations and the others had been repeats. This 12 months, whereas we do have a few repeat favorites deliberate, the aim is to go to some new locations to see attention-grabbing cultures and sights, and to have some memorable experiences.

copenhagen denmark
Visiting Copenhagen was unimaginable. Extra new nations this 12 months!

Well being & Wellness

Since I didn’t do the 2022 roundup publish, you didn’t examine us dropping plenty of weight – Nick dropped 40 kilos, and I misplaced 20 kilos. We received impressed by the 4-hour physique by Tim Ferris and after dropping the burden, we began to work out with weights and HIIT applications.

I’m proud to say we’ve maintained our weight for greater than a 12 months now and can proceed specializing in our bodily well being as we head into 2024.

Shopping for a Property

It is a little bit of a lofty aim, however not out of attain. The primary factor is that we’re unsure precisely the place to buy the property and whether or not it’ll be an funding property or our main residence.

Thanks for being part of our journey!

Because of Our Tribe

As all the time, however much more so this 12 months, we need to thanks for being part of our tribe. In case you don’t know, a bunch of goats is commonly known as a tribe 🐐 – how good is that?! (They’re additionally known as a “herd” however that’s not almost as cool)

As we’ve transitioned our lives from full-time digital nomads to having a house base, we’re feeling much less confused and extra impressed and able to creating impactful content material for you. This 12 months you’ll be able to count on numerous thrilling issues from us!

Our enterprise goes to be branching off in several instructions to be extra of a neighborhood – we need to work extra carefully with the individuals who learn this weblog and observe us on social media and who’ve goals of a affluent, digitally nomadic future.

For those who haven’t already, be certain that to subscribe to our electronic mail record, Instagram, YouTube, and Fb.

Wishing you a contented and wholesome 12 months forward!
Dariece & Nick (the “Goats”)

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