165: Digital Nomad Life In The Middle East, Balkans, and the Caucasus During The Pandemic – Alex Bales

Alex Bales interviewed by Mikkel Thorup on The Expat Money Show

Today’s guest on the Expat Money Show is Alex Bales, a freelance digital marketer who made the transition to digital nomad life on January 1, 2020. Well, we all know what happened next. Despite the COVID pandemic and resulting lockdowns, he has lived the greater part of two years out of a suitcase, off the beaten path and traversing the Middle East, Balkans, and the Caucasus, visiting 80+ cities and 16 countries (17 if you count the unrecognized breakaway state of Transnistria).


Here is a sneak peek of what we discussed…

  • Do you find yourself disillusioned with your home country? Maybe the USA or Canada? Alex talks about his stay in Iran and the eye-opening experience he had there.
  • Do you think you know and understand the world from your geography and history classes in high school? Ya, me too…except what we were taught way back then is not reality as Mikkel and Alex tell us.
  • Maybe you haven’t been able to travel as of yet, after Covid hit the world, everyone just stopped vacationing. Alex didn’t! Listen in as he talks as a new traveller, having little to no experience and where he went and what he saw…you will be amazed!
  • Imagine as a young adult, going to your family and telling them you’re going to Iran on vacation…can you imagine what your parents are going to say! Listen in to some words of advice!
  • Mikkel and Alex talk about the forbidden land of Saudi Arabia. What it’s like? Why would you want to go there?, what all the fascination about the country is…and why it is #1 on Mikkel’s bucket list!
  • Listen in to hear Mikkel talk about which countries are on the top of his bucket list, other than Saudi Arabia. Maybe one of them is on your list too!
  • Imagine yourself, arriving in Tbilisi, Georgia…just as the pandemic was starting in March 2020. What was life like arriving in a foreign country, where you don’t speak the language, with English not widely spoken, jumping into uncertain waters, and the fear of Covid being almost unspeakable! 
  • Have you ever wondered how safe using a mask being outside is, or inside for that matter? Alex has this horrible accident that he tells us about, not speaking the language and having to rely on Google translate…one more reason to dislike the use of masks!
  • If you’ve wondered what country had the most locked-down mandates in The Balkans and what countries were the freest, you’ll really enjoy this episode.



160: Mikkel Thorup – Expat Life Secrets Across The Globe

132: The Future Of Remote Work And Digital Nomadism – Kari DePhillips

131: Travelling To Brazil During The Pandemic – Mikkel Thorup






I’m so happy to hear about Alex and his travels over the past 2 years. He has travelled to a bunch of countries that are on the top of my travel list I want to go to. Saudi, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and more. I’m going to have to start planning for 2022!!

This was a fun episode with Alex, I know you’ll really enjoy it too!


About The Host, Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup; the host of The Expat Money Show, has 20+ years in continual travel around the world, visiting more than 100 countries including Colombia, North Korea, Zimbabwe and Iran.

His goal now is to help Expats just like you to generate additional streams of income, eliminate your tax bill, and take advantage of offshore structures so you can travel the world freely and never have to worry about money again.

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