Hi Pauline, I love the way you approach life — it’s so different than the way I think! I have already learned so much from you. Take it away!
Hi Kathleen, thanks for having me! I love your site too and how you try to make the best of life with a positive approach.
What’s your story (your elevator pitch, if you will)?
I was born in Paris, France, 32 years ago, and after business school decided the corporate world was not really my scene so I traveled for a year and then lived in Guatemala, the UK, Spain and Morocco while working a variety of jobs related to my degree, until I left the office for good 3 years ago to live life on my own terms. Since then, I have traveled a bit more and settled back in Guatemala a few months ago. I bought a little house that I am hoping to turn into a guest house some day and a 90 acre piece of land that is slowly becoming a residential development.
What made you decide to start a blog?
I had been writing for travel blogs since 2008 and like being employed, slowly started for a way to have my own little corner of the blogosphere as a personal outlet. I had been reading a ton of PF blogs for the past 6 years as well and was a bit burned out with travel, so I started Reach Financial Independence a year ago to talk about money, simple living, achieving your goals and living a life you love.
What’s your next project?
I just launched Make Money Your Way, a second blog where I study ways to diversify your income with investing, real estate, side hustles, improving your career and making money online.
My land development is also taking quite a bit of time (oh, the joys of Guatemalan bureaucracy!) so it is keeping me busy for the time being.
What part of the world do you live in? Do you think that will change?
I live in Northern Guatemala, by a beautiful lake called Petén Itzá. After spending most of the past two years traveling, I am happy to have a little corner of the world to call my own. That said, for the past 10 years I have moved country every couple of years so it may change, but for now, that is home to me.
What’s the best thing about blogging?
Like many of your interviewees have said, you meet a lot of wonderful people when you start blogging and reaching out to the community. I regret having spent years just passively reading blog without saying hi, or thanks to the blogger behind it.
I also love that it can be done anywhere, anytime so it does not prevent me from traveling or living where I please.
What’s the hardest thing about blogging?
Being consistent. I am not one for routine or discipline so writing and doing all the other things you should do to put your blog out there day after day is something I have trouble with sometimes, but thank goodness I have hired a VA to take care of most of the back office tasks.
Do you blog full time? If not, what do you do during the work day?
Blogging and freelance writing are the two activities I do most days, but it takes a couple of hours.
I wake up with the sun, around 530am, go for a run every other day, then swim in the lake to refresh, make breakfast, supervise the progress on my house works, land development or investments, blog for a while, have lunch, a siesta and another swim, take care of my animals (we have a chicken coop, turkeys, ducks and geese), try to get my garden to grow… and blog a little more. Generally I am exhausted by 830pm and sleep on my book.
That sounds lovely! Well, the early rising and the swimming part. Also the siesta.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert. Glad it doesn’t show too much behind a screen.
Coffee or tea? What do you put in it?
Neither. I never drink coffee and rarely have a cup of tea. It would be dark, no sugar. Otherwise I have a fruit smoothie with breakfast, and a beer with sunset.
What would you have as your last meal? Rules of this game: you’re not sick, and you have a super stomach which will allow you to eat more calories than normal.
Probably a seafood feast, oysters, shrimps, scallops… and some foie gras, a duck liver paté that is a French delicacy.
Oh, yum. I could get on board with that meal!
Name one thing in real life that drives you crazy.
Lately it has been Guatemalan locals who don’t seem to understand what comes out of my mouth, even though I speak Guatemala Spanish with practically no accent, when they see a foreign face they expect you to speak in some foreign language, so they don’t really listen, give you the blank stare, and have you repeat three times what you said the first time around.
Yep, that sounds really annoying!
Name one thing on the internet that drives you crazy.
My internet provider. It is a miracle I even have a connection deep in the Guatemalan jungle but they change the plans and prices all the time and have a data allowance that goes up faster than what you actually used. Their customer service is completely incompetent but there are only two providers who are equally bad.
What’s the best (or “best”) pickup line you’ve ever heard or said?
I let them come to me so the most I may have said is “hi”. A memorable one was “Oh, it was so dark tonight, did God steal the stars and put them in your eyes?”. Didn’t work too well for the guy.
Wow. I wonder if that ever worked. For anyone.
What’s the funniest prank you’ve played on someone?
One of my friends was really drunk and mentioned he couldn’t hear very well. With another friend we started to have a pretend dialog in front of him, moving our lips and the poor guy was going crazy thinking he had gone completely deaf. He was banging his ears and screaming “I can’t hear you!”, then suddenly we started shouting “CAN YOU HEAR THAT NOW!” and it made him jump from him chair.
Hee. I like that.
What are some of your favorite books? Just the ones that come to mind, they don’t have to be the very best books of all time.
I just read Atlas Shrugged and it had a tremendous impact on me. This is the best book I have read in years. It talks about how the world would be if all brilliant people were forced to be average for “the greater good”.
I also loved The Buddha in the Attic, about the life of mail order brides who came from Japan before WWII to be married to a Japanese man they had never met in the US. After struggling to settle in San Francisco and making themselves as impactless to the locals as possible, they had to move because no Japanese could live near the Pacific Coast during the war. Very moving.
I also loved Atlas Shrugged! Now I’m definitely interested in your other suggestion.
Same with movies. What are some of your favorites?
Casablanca, Schindler’s list, I’ts a Wonderful life, Amélie, Forrest Gump, Slumdog Millionaire, Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, some classic French movies from the 50s to 80s.
Who would play you in the movie version of your life?
Audrey Tautou, the girl who plays in Amélie. I really like her act, she is very talented.
Have you ever been in a fight? Did you throw the first punch?
A girl tried to punch me saying I was dating her boyfriend once, I ignored her and walked away (then dumped the guy, just in case), that is the closest thing I remember to a fight.
That’s pretty tough!
Do you have now, or have you ever had, a tattoo? If so, details, please!
Only the ones that came in bubble gum wraps, sorry!
Where’s your next vacation?
I just went to France for a month a was thinking about a US trip by the end of the year, but having traveled so much in the past couple of years, I am happy just staying here and exploring the surroundings with my guests since I live in a holiday destination.
Please share a joke.
The little crab is madly in love with a seahorse. She wants him to meet his parents, and the crab is so nervous because he walks sideways that he learns how to walk straight to make a good impression. On the D day, little crab is so proud of himself when he walks up almost straight to meet his fiancée and her parents. And daddy seahorse say “come one, that’s the love of your life? First time we meet and he shows up drunk!”
Okay, Pauline, we’re officially friends. I’ll embed one of my favorite songs of all time to show you why.