Welcome to Point Me to First Class, the only show for employed professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners who are looking to optimize their higher-than-average expenses to travel the world. I'm your host, Devon Gimbel, and I believe that your expenses are your greatest untapped asset if you know how to leverage them. Ready to dive into the world of credit card points and miles so you can travel more, travel better, and travel often? Let's get started.
Devon: Welcome back to the podcast everybody. Today, I am thrilled to introduce you all to our very, very special guest. This is a woman I have been following and have been dying to have on the podcast for a long time now because she has such an incredible story, and I think is going to be able to teach us all so many wonderful things today.
So I am joined by Dr. Kristine Goins on the podcast today. Dr. Goins is a board certified integrative adult and pediatric psychiatrist, physician coach, and world traveler. Prior to pursuing a lifestyle of freedom and adventure by becoming a digital nomad, Dr. Goins graduated from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, completed her adult psychiatry residency at Emory University, and her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Yale.
Passionate about approaches to healing outside of conventional practice, she also completed an integrative medicine fellowship at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. Having served in several health care settings and various leadership positions within academic centers, Dr. Goins has witnessed firsthand the impact that burnout, stress, and work-life imbalance can have on physician’s lives.
Motivated by a desire to make a difference. Dr. Goins founded Nomad MD, where she empowers doctors to break the chains of traditional medicine to achieve location, freedom and create their ideal nomadic lifestyle. Kristine, I already have 93 questions I want to ask you based on that introduction and that bio, but first of all, welcome to the podcast. I'm so thrilled to have you here today.
Dr. Goins: I'm so excited to be here with you.
Devon: So I cannot wait to dig into this. Literally, I have so many questions that I want to ask you about credit card points and how you use them, how you earn them, what's different about being a digital nomad and living internationally. But first, I will try to calm myself down. Why don't we just kind of start at the beginning. I'm interested to hear more from you about, of course, what it's like to be a digital nomad. But can you tell me about how you even became especially a physician digital nomad in the first place, and was that always part of the plan?
Dr. Goins: Yeah, so I mean it started early with my desire to want to be a physician. I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I was eight. I also knew by the time I was a teenager that I wanted travel to be a big part of my life. I never grew up traveling. We didn't have the money for that. I wasn't exposed to that, except through books.
So my favorite author when I was a child was Eric Jerome Dickey. He had these wonderful characters, these black professional characters who were polyglots, and they traveled all over the world. They went to Amsterdam and all these places. I was like oh, that sounds amazing. So I was always trying to figure out well how do I intertwine these two lives that I plan to have?
As you know, when you're becoming a physician, you don't realize it in the beginning, but it becomes all-consuming. Your time, your resources, your energy is very focused in one direction for a long period of time. So I tried to study abroad during college. I was a Spanish minor. Right before I was leaving for Spain, I was accepted into an accelerated program to start medical school, and I had to quit. So I didn't get to go to Spain.
So that was the beginning of recognizing was there going to be some kind of sacrifice to different passions that I had, to different parts of my dream from medicine? I continued going, but in medical school, I tried to look for another opportunity. I took time off after that first year that we have. In the summer, we have that break. I went to Costa Rica to practice my medical Spanish and live with a family. That was beautiful. In fellowship, I took a month off. I went to Nepal to study mindfulness at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Those experiences just really helped me to see how important that travel piece was that was really missing.
During those periods, I also had a lot of burnout. Overworking and residency, working 80 hours a week at different points. It was really hard to find time for those vacations and for those moments away. Then, of course, as an attending, you think oh, everything's going to be different now. Like I've made it. Then you find that sometimes it's harder than ever. Maybe in some sense, it added weight of responsibility to your patients, to your colleagues, to the communities and the causes that you've worked 12, 13, 14, 15 years in order to serve.
So I really felt the weight of that. It took a toll on just every aspect of me physically, mentally, emotionally. I really got to this point where I would have chest pains in the middle of the day. I would have whole body spasms, and it sent me to many doctors. But I knew that the real imbalance that I was experiencing was in my lifestyle. It was were the things that I was doing every day, not that they weren't valuable, but they weren't in line with all of my values. So I needed to make a change.
During COVID, both of my grandmothers died. That, for me, was such a wakeup call. There's a quote that in order to make a dream come true, we have to wake up. That was, for me, the moment of awakening. It was telling me that time is this precious commodity that we do not get back. So I had this five year plan where I was going to figure out how I was going to make it happen and travel. I just turned it into a five month plan. I booked a one way ticket to Colombia. I left.
Devon: Yeah, that is so incredible. Again, I have so many questions want to ask you. But I'm going to back up a little bit because I feel like you've already said so many really impactful, really profound things. I know I can relate to this. I think one of the reasons I've been so excited to have you on the show is because as I've heard you tell your story on other platforms, there are so many touch points where I feel like I can relate to things that you've said. So I know so many other people are going to be relating to that as well.
I also grew up in a not very financially resourced family and always dreamed of travel. I love that you said you traveled through books because I always traveled through the encyclopedia and National Geographic Magazine. Those were my ways of exploring the world when I was still physically limited to being in my little house in my little place in southern California.
Understanding too this idea that you talked about the very early on, you understood that you were having this challenge of you said intertwining these two lives. I think for people who have always felt pulled to travel and have also had really ambitious life goals, either educationally or professionally, I think so many of us can relate to that.
You don't have to be a physician. You don't have to be in medicine. I think anybody who has had goals, especially as a young child, about what they want to do, what they want to achieve has probably experienced that pull of feeling like these two things are in conflict with one another.
I think that that is particularly true if you have been raised or socialized in North America or the states. Because I think that we have a very specific and very rigid perspective around things like, quote unquote, vacation and travel and just the way that travel is looked at and viewed, especially among young people. What it means if somebody wants to, quote unquote, take time off. Even that we have terms like this. Like you have to take time off as if you're exiting some other path of responsibility in order to go out and do something like travel.
I had a very, very similar experience that you're talking about where I knew I wanted to be a doctor from a very, very young age despite having no examples of that in my family. No one who’d ever pursued higher education. At the same time, even as young as high school and undergrad, really realizing that at least at that time, I really do sincerely hope medicine is changing. But medicine oftentimes leaves no room for anything else.
Even in that educational pursuit where you're setting up your curriculum as an undergrad, and you've got to take all the tests and everything has to be in a certain order. I realized very, very quickly in undergrad the same exact thing that you were saying. That wow, I don't think medicine leaves a lot of room for this type of travel that I want to do, which is not leave on a Friday, come back on a Monday. I want to go and live in places and experience them for what they are, not as this abbreviated, really rushed to vacation.
Even though I knew my whole life, I wanted to go to medicine. That was one of the biggest reasons I actually took time off in between undergrad and medical school. Because I had this sense that once I set foot that first year of medical school, I don't think I'm going to have the opportunity for prolonged travel until traditional retirement. I don't want to wait until I'm 65 to go out and explore these things.
Those two years were two of truly the most transformative and profoundly changing in my life. So when I hear you talk about your own experience, I think it's so important for people to be able to hear in that in some ways the permission that it if you're someone who has always felt drawn towards travel, even if you're now in your 40s and 50s, and you've not yet been able to experience it. To not ignore that pull, to not ignore that call.
I think that one of the things that is so fascinating and inspirational to me about your story is that you didn't ignore that, even after, as you said, going through all of the rigorous training, the residency, the fellowship, becoming an attending, doing all of those things. That you continue to feel this poll. Unlike what I think the vast majority of people would do, you didn't put it off.
I'm really, really curious. What was that decision making like for you where you said you created a five year plan that turned into a five month plan? I would love to hear more about what was it like for you to actually make that decision that no, I'm going to step away from this very sort of conventional and formulaic almost way of practicing medicine. What did that take for you to make that decision?
Dr. Goins: I think the most challenging aspect of it was letting go of my own self-limiting thoughts around how practicing medicine had to look. Like you mentioned, the formulaic aspect of things. There's an algorithm to almost everything that we do in medicine, including the way that we practice. When you leave training, are you going into academia, or are you going into private practice? Which one are you doing? It's almost like a fork is in the road. There's no other option that is explained to you.
So I really had to get around my own thoughts as to is this the only way to make this happen? That took me doing a lot of inner work, having a lot of silence with myself, really clarifying my values, and beginning to move with a sense of intentionality about every decision that I was making in my life. It took having a strong commitment to what the change was going to be.
It's a challenge to say to the people that you love and care about and your colleagues hey, I'm leaving the country. Sorry to tell you. I already bought a one way ticket. Be faced with the projection of their fears, their anxieties. Of course, they love and care about you, but they saw things going a different way. You have to withstand some of that.
But, for me, it was more uncomfortable to stay where I was than not just figure it out. This other life that I wanted to live, how it was going to turn out, there was uncertainty. But the thing that was certain for me was that I was never going to live it if I didn't move from where I was.
Devon: Yeah. I think that that's a really compelling thought to have to know that at that point, that decision is in front of you. What you're looking for is not available to you where you currently were. But can you tell me a little bit more about when you finally did make that decision of I'm going to do something different. I am actually going to go out and travel, and I'm going to include you know that as part of now my professional experience long term.
How long had you been in practice after fellowship at that point? What kind of practice were you in? Then I'm also really curious as someone who knows how kind of constricted and formulaic medicine is. What options did you feel like were available to you to continue practicing medicine knowing that you wanted to leave the country to do that?
Dr. Goins: Right. So I made this decision three years after training. So I had been an attending for three years. Now, one of the things that I had done right from training is I went into academia, but at the same time, I started my own PLLC. So I was always doing something on the side that was just mine. It was similar work. It was contracting, consulting in adult and child and adolescent psychiatry. That's still the same clinical kind of work that I do today.
But I think because I had always believed in, and we talked about coming from those humble backgrounds. I think that was part of that aspect of my life that was instilled to me. That you need more than one stream of income. You don't want to just be holding on to one thing. Because I was doing that when I came to this decision, I was able to let academia go. I always had a little piece to myself. I could structure it the way that I wanted to.
I always thought working five days a week. Of course, as physicians, we never really work five days a week. We're like six, seven. I always thought that was really backwards. So one of my goals when I was leaving is that I'm only working two days a week, and that's what I'm going to just do from now on. That's what feels right to me.
So things were kind of set up in a way for me ahead of time without me thinking about it. I like to look back on that sometimes. It's like sometimes you're making decisions, and you don't quite know that they're leading you directly to where you're trying to go. But you're always co-creating with the universe in that way.
Devon: So you buy your first one way ticket. Where did you buy this ticket to? How did you decide that's where you were going to go?
Dr. Goins: So I bought my tickets at Cartagena, Colombia, and I had a lot of reasons for that. One, it was still 2021. So I wanted to be close enough that if something happened, I could always come back home. Be back within like three hours in the US. I had studied Spanish in college. So I wanted to go practice my Spanish. It was really important for me to be by the water because that's where I find the most peace. Also, it was important for me to be somewhere where there were people from the African diaspora because I wanted to see myself reflected in the people. That was important for me on my first trip.
Devon: Now because this is a very credit card points travel focus podcast, I am dying to start talking about how have points factored into this whole experience. How you've used them, how you've earned them. That first ticket that you booked for yourself to Colombia, was that on points? Was that on cash? Did you know anything about credit card points prior to embarking on this nomadic lifestyle? Had the credit card points always kind of factored into your plan, or is that a newer addition? Sorry, I just asked you 19 questions, but I'm so excited to ask you everything.
Dr. Goins: So I had noticed something about credit card points, but definitely not in the same way that I do now. I had like a Bank of America card and like one points per dollar. So I did not pay for that ticket. But one of the things that I did before I left.
When I talk about changing that five year plan into a five month plan, part of that work was in gathering information, doing research, meeting with different consultants. One of the consultants that I met with was a credit card efficiency specialist. Because I knew there was something more about it. If I was going to go into a life of travel, I should know how credit card efficiency would play a role in that.
So during that process they let me know, “Okay, these would be good cards for you to maybe start with.” Those cards were the Chase Sapphire Reserve. At the time, it was Chase Business Ink and Citi Premier. Because I was going to South America, they let me know that the Amex cards don't usually translate that well in that region of the world and many other regions as well compared to MasterCard and Visa. So that was a good place to start. I had a business. So I needed some kind of business card. That's kind of how I started on the journey.
So credit card points then became more important as I went along and have allowed me now to travel. I probably take two flights a month-ish, or sometimes more. I haven't had to pay for flights in two years unless I'm taking a last minute business class or first class flight, which I do if it's more than five hours because I have to. Unless I'm doing that, then I don't pay for flights. That's one of the things that credit card efficiency has allowed.
Devon: Yeah. So in the last years that you've been traveling, have you been traveling predominantly in the Central and South American region? Or have you been traveling even more broadly than that?
Dr. Goins: I've also lived in Georgia. So I've traveled to like Armenia, Turkey, kind of in that area. So between there the US, Canada, and Mexico. So my Asia trips, were before I left. So.
Devon: So, for the travel that you've been doing where you said you basically have not paid cash for a flight in the last two years, I'm really curious about knowing that you have Chase points. Sounds like you have some Citi points. What are some of the best redemptions you've had? Or where have you found points have come in particularly handy for booking those flights that you've been taking?
Dr. Goins: I would say probably most of them have come through doing the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Between that and then I mean, I also have like a Capital One Venture X rewards card. Now I also have a Chase Ink Business Cash card. So I would say some of my favorite points to get, also because all of my rent is typically in -- If I'm not staying with someone who's local in a particular country or getting a rental property through them, then I'm staying in Airbnbs. So I really like the Chase Ink Business Cash so I can get five points for every dollar for Airbnb.
So I have my plugs, my family going out to Staples, getting my cards for me. But it makes such a huge difference when all the money that you'd be spending on rent or mortgage is actually all points.
Devon: Yeah, absolutely. I am just so curious about how difficult it is for your family to actually ship you gift cards bought using your Chase Ink Business Cash card at office supply stores. Because you and I were chatting a little bit before we started recording this call. I mentioned to you since you're in Lima, Peru right now that part of where I had lived when I was taking time off in between undergrad and med school is that I lived up in more the northern region of Peru for a couple of months in Iquitos doing infectious disease research up there.
Maybe this is because, at that time, Iquitos was far, far more remote and local than Lima is, which is a huge metropolitan city, of course. But I remember anyone trying to get anything mailed to Iquitos, it was like a wing and a prayer and maybe six months later it would show up half intact. So I am so curious how the logistics of your family sending you little bundles of Airbnb gift cards works. Is that something that's been really easy for you to coordinate with them and receive in one piece with no problem in Lima?
Dr. Goins: No, it’s been super easy because they don't have to send me anything. They just go to the store. They scratch off the back, and they send me pictures of the code, and I put it in my app. So.
Devon: Yeah, that actually makes so much sense that you don't even need to have anything physical being transported in between the two different places. It's great that you have that option as an Airbnb to be one of your primary sort of living options when you're there. That's one of the things that hearing your story, I immediately became really interested in because when I think about sort of a more, quote unquote, traditional US based lifestyle where someone may not be actually living significant amounts of their time abroad.
You're living in different countries, and you're moving between different countries. So the way that your kind of everyday lifestyle expenses look, even though I'm sure you have to eat groceries and you have those same things, but your patterns of expense may not look exactly like the pattern of expense when you were US based. So I'm really curious to hear other than the Airbnb, which is where it sounds like a lot of your housing comes from, have you noticed any major differences in your spend pattern or in the types of things that you're actually able to earn points for now that you are living internationally?
Dr. Goins: Yeah, I definitely think there's a shift. The shift typically is I am circulating much less money when it comes to restaurants, right, when it comes to groceries. If I go to a market, a typical market will be a place that has a lot of organic. I mean, the organic is not even a thing, right? It's just everything's organic. I try to support a lot of local products and producers. So then I'll need cash for that, right? I'm not going to use my card in those certain situations.
So in that aspect, there is less money being circulated. A big part of points is really having a lot of money circulating so that you can get a lot of points. That's where being a business owner is really helpful because I circulate a lot of money and investment in terms of my businesses. Because I have two of them, that means a lot of money is still happening, and all of my business is in the US. So I do get a lot of points through that aspect.
Because I'm not, I wouldn't say that I'm not frugal in some kind of way, but I just do whatever it is that I really want to do. I circulate money based off of my values. So I'm not skimping at all. So there is a shift. Of course, when you go to certain countries. Like I spent almost six months in Argentina. When you're dealing with the blue dollar, it is not beneficial to be using credit cards in that way when you're in that country. So definitely depends on your location.
I lived in an isolated part of Guatemala where they're like credit cards? What are you talking about? So you have to think about, that plays a role also when I'm thinking about where I'm going. I'm like okay well, I'm going to take some time off of my credit cards points but now I need to maybe think about where I can utilize my credit card points as well.
Also thinking about when I was thinking about my business cards, I had to think about making sure that fees and things like that. That sometimes when people are thinking about certain Chase cards or Amex cards and things like that, that maybe doesn't come to mind for them. But I'm always thinking about those aspects of the changes.
Devon: Yeah, and I think that's so important to know. Because, like you said, if you're predominantly US based, and you're looking at all these different card options, oftentimes, at least this is the way I work and a lot of the people that I work with and teach about this is we're looking at things like what's the welcome bonus on a card? What are the bonus categories that we can really take advantage of? Most of us, the vast majority of time, are not thinking about which specific cards have foreign transaction fees when you're based in the US and predominantly circulating money in the US, as you said.
So there are some really important things to take into consideration when you are specifically choosing which cards are going to be a good fit for you internationally. Certainly, whether you are living a nomadic lifestyle or living internationally like you are or even for those more traditional vacations and trips.
So you've already mentioned a couple of things like being really aware of the location that you're planning on going to, and are there certain types of cards that are just more widely accepted than others or not? Because I know a lot of people will think about oh, well I've got an Amex Gold card. It gets four times points on dining. This will be great. I'm going to go to Paris, or I'm going to go somewhere and have a lot of dining spend.
But, as you mentioned, not every single place internationally is going to accept American Express or other certain types of cards really widely. So doing a little bit of research and kind of understanding what are the types of cards that are even going to be accepted in certain areas. Then, obviously as well, being really aware of which cards do charge you foreign transaction fees. It's always a huge disappointing surprise, I hear, from people about all sorts of different problems they're encountering in the credit card world.
It is very common to hear someone who's gotten a card maybe like the Chase Freedom Unlimited that they love because it lets them earn one and a half times points on all spend. And that first time they come back from an international trip with it not having realized that that card, and certain cards, are going to be incurring foreign transaction fees when you use them internationally.
So now that you have so much experience living and traveling and working internationally and navigating all these different cards, are there any other tips or recommendations that you have for people when they are thinking about which cards are going to be a great fit for me? I want to make sure I'm able to use these internationally to earn points. Do you have any other favorite cards?
Dr. Goins: I would say to just really consider which cards, obviously, will give you the greatest amount of points for what you're thinking about spending the money on, but also think about the location. Like it's just really important to consider that and to know something about the way that money is circulated in that particular place.
Like I was speaking about Argentina earlier. I have a lot of people like, “Oh, well, I'm going there.” I'm like well, have you read about the blue dollar yet? They're like, “No, I just put everything on my card.” I'm like no, don't do that. So I think sometimes even, like you mentioned, when I've worked with credit card efficiency specialists, a lot of them are based in the US. So they're not necessarily thinking about being on the other side of it.
So looking at that and making sure you take a look at the fees, making sure that you also have an understanding of what you're going to be spending money on. Are you mostly trying to do hotels when you get there? Are you trying to be at restaurants? Are you just making like different business purchases where you really just want to like a two time points card for just regular spending? Having all of them simultaneously linked up.
So I have all my cards with me all the time I'm really conscious of when I'm pulling them out which ones I'm using for what. To the point that it just becomes like a normal everyday thing. So I think it's just kind of trying to keep it all in mind and developing a strategy that works.
Devon: Yeah, one thing that I'm really curious about, especially because it sounds like you spend the majority of your time outside of the US, is just the logistics of things like have you ever lost a credit card? Have you ever had to have a credit card replaced? How does that work when you're not based in the US? Has that ever happened to you?
Dr. Goins: I left my credit card in an Uber, and I was freaking out. I was trying to, because I was literally three hours from leaving the country. So probably 30 minutes before my flight, my Uber driver finally gets in touch with me, and he sends me a picture like I have your card. I'm like walking right into the plane. I'm like I don't know what I'm going to do. Of course, this is like my Chase Sapphire Reserve. So it was one of my favorite. I don't even know a digital nomad that doesn't have that card.
So I'm just like oh my God. What am I going to do? Now I'm not going to have three times for all my restaurants like. Then I remembered when calling them that they automatically will put the new card right on your phone. So you can just automatically have the electronic version of the card immediately available. So by the time I got off of the plane after my flight, I already had the new card. I just didn't have it physically.
For most of the places that I went as I traveled because I didn't come back to the US until probably like five or six months after that and got my card for my mom’s house. But in that meantime, most places where I was going to use that car it allowed me to use it electronically. So it really didn’t impact my trip too much.
Devon: Well, that's amazing to know because I think one of my big fears, even when I am traveling only for maybe a week or two, is if I lose this, then what's the impact on that going to be on my ability, obviously, to be able to make purchases. I always bring backup cards for sure. But it's really great to know that now, at least in this digital age, we're in a place where it sounds like certainly for Chase, that that actual replacement process isn't super, super challenging, which is always reassuring.
I think when you're traveling, you want to know that you've got some of these backup plans in place so that even when things go wrong, you're not just in a complete sort of disaster situation. I'm also curious. Have you applied for new credit cards since you have been living abroad the last two years? Is that process any different even though you're still a US citizen with a US social security number. Is the process of actually applying for and receiving new credit cards different when you are not physically still based in the US?
Dr. Goins: I think is probably a little bit more challenging just in the fact that sometimes it's harder for me to prove my address. They get really deep into this. I don't know why the credit card bureaus and everyone haven't figured out how to go about this technological age. But they really like for you to have a physical address.
My tax home is Miami. So that's where my virtual addresses. I have family there. So I'm able to have addresses there and have things brought there. But sometimes that part is a little bit tricky because they want me to have a landline approved. I'm like who has a landline? I don't even know anyone who has landline. So it's frustrating for me sometimes. I'm like Kristine, it's part of the process. Calm down.
So sometimes what I'll actually do is change my T-Mobile address around and then give them proof of that. That usually works. I also have all of my credit frozen because I think that's also like a safety measure, especially because I'm always in different countries. So I have to time everything perfectly, open up things for like an hour, and then I'm closing everything back down.
I'm really strategic about when I'm making that decision about a particular card and kind of having to go through that process. So it can be done. I think it's a little bit different, but it's not so challenging. I've been able to get every card that I wanted to get it. So.
Devon: That's really reassuring to know. I'm sure there are some people who maybe aren't anticipating becoming either digital nomads or retiring and just relocating within the next six months or a year. But I bet a lot of people who listen to this show probably have some dreams of at some point doing some extended travel or potentially living abroad. I always tell people now that when I grow up, I want to be an expat.
So I'm always curious to hear how it's working for other people with some of these logistic things about how do you still open up new credit cards and maintain some of these accounts. So it's really helpful to hear from your own experience what has been challenging, but also at the same time still doable for you. Based on the cards that you've already mentioned that you have, which I love. Cosigned. I think all of these are fantastic cards.
I'm curious. Are there other cards that you're looking at to add to your credit card portfolio, specifically because you think they're going to help you in your nomadic lifestyle be able to earn more points that you can use that will help contribute to your traveling?
Dr. Goins: I think in time ones that I've considered are like the Capital One Spark for business, American Express Business Gold is one I've also considered. But really if I have a business that I start. So I have to be really strategic about what are my purchases going to be that I'm going to have someone be able to either do for me, or I'll automatically be able to do from where I am.
So I have to be strategic about that because a lot of the American Express cards are also not cheap to continue up every year. Another one I've thought about is like Amex Blue Business Plus because that's another two times everywhere card. So those are some that I've just like considered.
Devon: Last question before we kind of wrap up because I'm still really curious to hear about your actual kind of travel experiences using points. You've mentioned some flights. What kind of flights have you taken using points? Have they been more domestic short haul flights? Or have you taken some longer haul flights? How exactly have you used your points to book those?
Dr. Goins: The longer haul light, I would say most of them have been probably my flight from Argentina to Georgia. I don't know how long, but it was long though. But that particular flight, both of those flights I made last minute actually. So I felt like they weren't the best use of using my points when you're doing a last minute business class flight. So those I actually just paid for. But both of those I went through Turkish Airlines, which is really relaxing experience, and they have amazing food.
But I haven't used, because I do a lot of last minute decision sometimes with my long hauls, I haven't used points for them. So a lot of the points that I've used are for more like six, seven hour or 10-hour flights where it's been a lot easier to find the deals. Especially I feel like if I do it ahead of time, especially if you're planning your trip like six months before, a year before, it's really easy to find some good deals. But I feel like a week before doing a business class flight for a 17 house. Maybe for someone like you, Devon, who is an experts. But for me, I'm just like I have to be there in a week. I'm tired. Let me just book the flight.
Devon: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I think in terms of thinking about the world in general and which areas are really accessible using points, I think one of the things that I have noticed personally in the way that I have just used points to book my own trips and help other people to book trips is that certain regions, in my mind, are very, quote unquote, easy to get to using points. I think, especially if you're based in the US or North America, it's very easy to get to Europe, for example, using points. Or if you're based on the West Coast, you certainly have some great options for using points to fly to Asia.
Central and South America are not, at least in my own experience, sort of at the top of what a lot of points people love to talk about in terms of either great award availability or certain sweet spots that are amazing to take advantage of. Yet it is such an amazing part of the world that I think so many people are really longing to go and visit and explore.
So you may not have an answer for this, which is totally fine. But in your experience since you've been based there for a number of years, are there certain airlines that you've had a lot of success using your points to book flights on either straight through a travel portal or by transferring your points? Or are there any just local travel recommendations you have for what airlines that we should check out if we are interested in doing some travel down in Central and South America?
Dr. Goins: I've had some success with like LATAM. I mean, honestly, I feel like a lot of the airlines in that area, like I said, I haven't been able to, I haven't had to circulate any money based off of those flights. The only flight I probably did need to circulate money on is going in and out of Bocas del Toro because to go on those little lights to the islands, I mean, they're not part of any of the typical airlines that we transfer to. So other than doing things like that.
But all of them I've been able to utilize points for all of those different places. I agree. When you look at the deals, a lot of them are coming from the US, which is why I tell people like when you leave there and you're traveling full time, it's really a different process that you have to undergo. It's a really different way that you have to strategize when you're a digital nomad or you're an expat. So it's just being conscious of those things.
But what you're giving to people by teaching them how to do this is so powerful. I say it's powerful in that we're able to create all of these really meaningful experiences with our family and our friends as we travel. One of the things that I like to do is just empower, whether you're a physician or just other professionals, is that we can do even more with this process.
That we can actually create entirely different lifestyles that allow us to not even need a vacation. Create lifestyles that we don't even need to escape from. I think it's the power of being able to use these kinds of strategies that you teach to others that really can open up a door of change for us all.
Devon: Thank you so much for saying that. I mean, I certainly have experienced that in my own life. I think being able to share stories like yours, people doing things that are not yet considered to be conventional thing is so important. Because some of us love that very traditional conventional life. If that's the thing that makes you happiest, I'm all for that. Right? I don't think there's one right way to do points. I don't think there's one right way to do life.
But being able to hear stories, especially of people who maybe are making very different choices than the ones that you thought were available to you, whether that's oh I never thought I would be able to fly business class because I don't have the financial resources where I intentionally want to allocate it to that. But understanding through stories about people using points, that's available.
Or for you, people who, again, have sort of had this more traditional viewpoint about what it looks like to have a job in the states and what it looks like to have things like travel available to you and really kind of turning that on its head. I think being able to share these stories is just so important. Because none of us, I think, really understand the full range of what's possible to us until we start seeing people who are maybe doing it very differently than we are and having a chance to say oh, is there something about that way that actually really does appeal to me and pull to me?
So, for that reason, I am so grateful that you came here today to share your story with us. I've learned so much from you and from following along your journey. I'm sure that a lot of people listening to this episode are now even more curious about what it looks like to live a nomadic professional lifestyle.
So before we wrap up for good, I have just two last questions for you. I'm not going to give them to you at the same time. I'm trying really hard not to do that. But the first question is, I'm just super curious. You mentioned that you're in Lima, Peru right now. What is next up on your list in terms of your next destination?
Dr. Goins: So my next destination is La Paz, Mexico. I'm headed to Mexico because as I'm on this journey, it continues to evolve. So the next state of my evolution as a digital nomad is in finding different home bases and having homes on different continents. So for my North American continent, I decided I want to have a home in Mexico. So I'm going to go explore and find some land.
Devon: Oh, that sounds absolutely beautiful. I hope that you post lots of pictures and stories about that. So when I follow you online, I can live vicariously through you for a little while. Then finally, the actual last question of the day. For everyone who's listened and they've loved your story, and they want to know more about you and the work you do and follow along with your digital nomad lifestyle. Where can people find you online?
Dr. Goins: They can find me at my website, The NomadMD.com, on Instagram at The Nomad MD, and Facebook at The Nomad MD.
Devon: All right, everybody, and we'll have all of that information linked up in the episodes show notes as well so you can have access to that. Kristine, thank you so much for joining me today. It's been an absolute pleasure meeting you and talking with you, and I wish you nothing but amazing success in your nomadic journey. Thank you so much for being here with me today.
Dr. Goins: Thank you for having me.
Thank you for joining me for this week's episode of Point Me to First Class. If you want more tips on turning your expenses into travel, visit pointmetofirstclass.com to learn more. See you next week.