How I’m Using Shoeboxed to Travel the World
I’m sitting in an open-air café overlooking the river in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This has become my office for the month, since the option to use air conditioning at my hotbox of a hotel room costs more than the room itself.
The restaurant staff gathers around my laptop in stoic silence. Everyone holds their breath as I click the “send” button. An email rushes through the ether, journeying some 7,000 miles around the globe to land in my accountant’s inbox.
I have officially finished my taxes.
A cheer goes up from the staff, and we celebrate the happy event with pitcher (after pitcher) of Angkor beer (hey, when it’s 100+ degrees at night and the beer costs $1/pint, what else are you gonna do?)
I completed my taxes from the other side of the world without making a single phone call to my tax guy, and without a single moment of stress. How did I do it?
With Shoeboxed, that’s how.
When I left the U.S. in November of 2013, I never imagined I’d become a digital nomad, writing and working from 16 different cities (and counting) in just five months’ time.
The world has truly become my office, and as I travel, there are only three things I need to keep my business going: a sense of humor, a strong WiFi signal, and my Shoeboxed account.
Because I’m running a business abroad but still paying taxes back home, I’m able to claim just about everything – from the cost of hotels to airfare – as a business deduction.
I’d never be able to do this without the Shoeboxed app on my phone, especially because in Asia, almost every transaction is completed in cash. I get handwritten receipts most of the time, which I immediately scan and send to my Shoeboxed account.
In the past, I’ve relied on bank statements to figure out what I’ve spent and when, but that technique doesn’t work when you’re paying in Nepalese rupees!
When it came time to do my taxes, Shoeboxed was a total life saver.
At first I was a little nervous, because I’ve always relied heavily on the Magic Envelope – I love throwing everything into the envelope and not thinking about it again until I check my account and see it’s been magically updated. It’s sort of like Shoeboxed rewards you for being lazy, which I can totally get behind.
But in places like Nepal and Cambodia, the mail system isn’t exactly what you’d call reliable. If I mailed a Magic Envelope full of receipts and bank statements, they might arrive, they might not. And I’d rather not play dice when it comes to my finances, y’know?
Without Shoeboxed, I would’ve had no way to give my accountant access to all of my documents in such a fast, secure way.
I’m confident that I’ll continue to be able to grow my business from the other side of the planet using the Shoeboxed app to scan my receipts.
And even though I have to scan my receipts myself, I actually still carry a Magic Envelope in my backpack, sort like a good luck charm. So far, it seems to be working.
Rebekah Voss is a narrative travel writer and the creator of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration website for solo female travelers. She is also the author of 175 Ways to Travel Today: How to make you dream of world travel a reality right now.