Browsing "Location Independence"
Jul 27, 2013 - Location Independence    Comments Off

Why I Miss Bangkok

Why I miss Bangkok. How could you not love Wat Arun Temple of the Dawn in Bangkok by Night?

There are so many reasons why I miss Bangkok. Sure Chiang Mai is lovely. It has a great coffee culture, it is relaxed, there are plenty of options from street food and markets to shopping and scenery. But Bangkok just had an affect on me.

As you know from my last post Living in Bangkok – Time Spent in a Quiet Soi, there were so many stories from the people surrounding our little studio apartment. It was so lovely spending time in a local neighbourhood rather than a soulless hotel room. Maybe that is part of the reason I am just not settled yet in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is beautiful, cultural and chilled, yet I miss Bangkok’s vibe. It’s energy. I miss people watching in my little soi. I totally miss having a kitchen despite the more than amazing and cheap street food in Chiang Mai.

Actually, I think I just hit the nail on the head. In Bangkok I felt like I was really living there. In Chiang Mai, I feel like a tourist who is passing through. Maybe for me, cooking for myself is what makes the difference in that feeling. But the other part of it is because where we are staying in Chiang Mai is more of a hotel with long term visitors, rather than somewhere to call home.

There were days in Bangkok where I felt like the heat could drive me insane (we were there in May which is super hot). Where it was frustrating to have to go so far to do grocery shopping. Where the tourist area madness around Sukhumvit would make me want to retreat to my quiet little soi. But for the other 99% of the time, I loved every second of my time there.

Considering I am a small town kinda girl who’s home is a town of 1500 people, moving to a mega city of 8.5 million people really should have been a colossal culture shock. But it wasn’t. And I can’t wait to live in Bangkok again soon.

It is hard to figure out exactly why I miss Bangkok, but I know one thing. I can’t wait to live in Bangkok again soon.

Jul 13, 2013 - Location Independence    1 Comment

Living in Bangkok – Time Spent in a Quiet Soi

Living in Bangkok. Life in a small village soi

Drew and I have been living in Bangkok for the past 2 months and have just made the move up to Chiang Mai a few days ago. Strangely, for a couple who moved from a small town of 1500 people, to the sprawling, hot metropolis that is Bangkok, we weren’t ready to leave. City live treated us well. We spent our time there studying with Web Courses Bangkok - me in Graphic Design and Web Design, and Drew did full advanced training in web design. We had a blast and loved every moment of  our time there.

We stayed at Sanctuary House in Sathorn which is about a 10-15 minute walk from Lumphini MRT. Our apartment was a little studio with a pint sized kitchen. Since we love to cook every day and savor delicious coffee in the mornings, having a 2 burner hot plate, microwave and near full sized fridge was an absolute blessing.

Next door to Sanctuary House is a dilapidated old building – an ex-hotel that bore the name Budget Hilton in red electrical tape across the front window. Prior to being the Budget Hilton, this hotel was known as the Notorious Boston Inn for it’s role in the Vietnam War as a place for American Soldiers to find some refuge from the war, and some temporary love from the beautiful girls that snuggled up beside them for a fee. In our time at Sathorn, the building started undergoing renovation. It will be interesting to see if it emerges as a beautiful butterfly or whether it remains unchanged from it’s history as a seedy and cheap form of accommodation. Time will tell.

Our little soi had some really interesting characters.

The Environmental Champion

There was the lady who collected all of the plastic bottles and cans from the nearby restaurants. Each morning walking downstairs and onto our soi, the dead end was a mountain of recycling ready for her to sell. She makes a living, and I had a smile of delight on my face because the piles of rubbish weren’t just going to landfill.

Intensely Beautiful Dogs

Across the soi lived a European guy and his partner who had two beautiful husky dogs. They were brilliantly behaved and followed him everywhere. Obviously this guy liked animals as he also kept a couple of squirrels and parrots as well. All of his animals were well looked after. How the huskies could stand the Bangkok summer heat though, I have no idea.

Kid on a Sugar Rush

Next to the husky house, was a lady and her young son. He might have been maybe 2 or 3 years old. I don’t have kids and don’t know a lot about them, but my observations on this little fella and his mum had me a little concerned. Every afternoon/early evening he would cry for ages at a time, and every time I saw them, he was being given sugary treats. Ice cream, lollies, syrupy icy drinks the lot. I know a little about the Paleo diet and it’s effects on mood etc, and I just wanted to get this kid eating real food and ditching sugar. It was causing him and his mum distress and I couldn’t be sure that she could put two and two together.

The Honorable Tailor

I had my faith restored in tailors. Yes, you know those that are generally the equivalent of used car sales people and real estate agents. After being hijacked by a tuk tuk in Silom and taken to b.f. nowhere before we even realised it, I already had a vement dislike for tuk tuk drivers and tailors. However, my new friend Rajah who owns the tailor shop directly across from the car park entrance to the Ibis, was polite, not pushy at all, charged me a super fair price, didn’t try to up sell me and even offered for me to drop in for a spot of Chai and a chat. Guess where I will be going if I need anything adjusted or made?

Girl with an Edge

There was a loner that lurked around that really put me on edge though. A young lady who hung out on the street near the 7/11 and Rajah’s tailor shop. The first time I saw her, I just wanted to reach out and hug her. She looked like she was about to burst into tears. Then I realised that she was a heavy drug user and begged for money on the street. Each time I walked past she had this piercing gaze, a look of pure fright in her eyes. She freaked me right out and I felt complete sense of uncertainty in her presence.

Among all of these fascinating people were the regulars. The business owners, the street sellers, the merry peddlers who’s regular music resonated through the soi as they try to sell their wares, and the older westerners who sit in the same bar at the same time every day drinking the same beer. For a small quiet soi, it was truly a fascinating place to watch people acting out their lives.

I miss Bangkok, and can’t wait to go back.

Mar 25, 2013 - Location Independence    2 Comments

Cost of Living in Ao Nang Thailand

The Cost of Living in Ao Nang Thailand. Buying food at the local markets is cheaper than eating out

The Cost of Living in Ao Nang Thailand. Buying food at the local markets is cheaper than eating out

The Cost of Living in Ao Nang Thailand

Now we have settled into our groovy little digs in Ao Nammao Thailand, we are starting to get a bit of an idea about the cost of living in Ao Nang Thailand. Previous trips have seen us go nuts on a 2 week vacation. You know the type. All you can eat buffets, shopping til you drop and drinking cocktails day in day out. Now we are here as digital nomads, things are a little different.

We are paying more for our accommodation than we probably should be (1000 Baht or about $30 per night), but we have gone for easy access to the tourist areas with local transport. The last time we were in Thailand, hubby had a little motorbike accident, and so we aren’t willing to risk hiring one again. After seeing some well bandaged people last time we were in town and meeting a lady yesterday who had a mishap on our local roundabout, we remember why. This made us decide to stay closer to transport options. Others we have met pay around 10,000 Baht per month, so at the moment we are paying about 3 times that. On the plus side, we have a great size room, quiet air conditioning, a pool and excellent wifi.

Because we aren’t hiring a motorbike, we are saving between 150-200 Baht per day on short term transport. We also only head into the main beach area about once a week at a cost of 80 Baht for both of us.

Hubby is in charge of the food budget and is doing a most excellent job I might add. He is really helping us to track the cost of living in Ao Nang Thailand. We are paying for all of food every day as we don’t have any meals included. Breakfast is generally fruit which costs around 40 baht for both of us. We go to the local market twice a week to stock up on fruit. Our current difficultly is that we have mostly restaurants around us and not very many street stalls. There is a stall where we can get a small bag of cooked sweet potato and banana for around 20 baht. It is a down side to being a bit out of the way. We sometimes buy some drinks and/or snacks like nuts etc 40-50 baht per day. Dinner is somewhere between 210-270 baht depending on what we have and how hungry we are. We budget a total of 500 baht per day which at the moment we seem to be getting by on easily. That is for 2 of us and it equates to around $115 per week. When we get a bus into town, we take the 80 baht cost out of our food budget, so really our transport cost is minimal.

After eating out at the local market yesterday, our food cost for the day was only about 300 baht for both of us. Unfortunately the markets are only on twice weekly.

Next month we will be moving into Ao Nang for a few weeks. Our expenses will be about the same, but with far better options. There are a lot more street sellers in the Ao Nang area and each time we have eaten in there, it has cost a decent bit less than it has eating around Ao Nammao.

So at the moment, our cost is around $1500 per month for both of us. We are hoping to reduce that once we get out of this region and into either Bangkok or Chiang Mai. This level of spending is at least $500 more than we would like to be paying to continue our long term adventures. By May it should settle down once we accustom ourselves to Thailand prices, market foods and the best way to go about things. Reducing our costs also reduces the first financial goal in our business ventures.  Hopefully this gives you an idea of cost of living in Ao Nang Thailand for two adults.

Mar 21, 2013 - Location Independence    5 Comments

Location Independent in Thailand

Finally Location Independent in Thailand. The view from our Ao Nammao Home

Finally Location Independent in Thailand.
The view from our Ao Nammao Home
in Krabi Province

Dreamline: to become Location Independent in Thailand.

There is something to be said about taking life by the balls and finally doing something fulfilling. That one thing you have been yearning for. Like a dull ache in the back of your consciousness that often gets pushed away as you go through the motions. For the most part, life is like Groundhog Day. Same shit, different day. It will always be that way, unless you make a choice. Life is full of choices. A latte or a cappuccino. The blue dress or the green one. White wine or red (I prefer white by the way). Get up and go to work or tell the boss where to go. The list is endless. It is all a choice.

It is the point in your life when the dull ache becomes a lions roar that wakes you up in the middle of the night, that you know the decisions you make need to start changing. For years the roar bugged me. I was neither happy nor unhappy, just indifferent. And that is a crappy place to be. Pin pointing where the apathy was coming from was like finding a needle in a haystack. Bloody impossible.

There was a little hint in my life once. Something I didn’t quite catch in its fleeting moment of existence. It was as gentle as a butterfly brushing past my skin. What was it? A massive positive energy exuding from a friend one afternoon. It seems insignificant, but the feeling I felt at the time haunted me for years. We had a visit from international friends. They had just arrived at our apartment and I had parked my car after a punishing day in the high stress job I had at the time. Jasmine bounced over to me like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, massive smile on her face and with a glow that looked like rays of sunshine radiating from her. I was flat, and she was glowing.

I wanted that.

The hint wasn’t enough for me to figure out the full story. It wasn’t until I had read The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss that I knew deep down what I wanted. To live as a location independent in Thailand. To be able to travel and work from anywhere.

To have options.

Options encompasses so much. Freedom of time, the ability to work on projects that are exciting, relief from the monotony of Groundhog Day and to increase energy from loving life rather than having it drained away during endless high stress work days.

Finally achieving the Dreamline of being location independent in Thailand and living in a foreign country feels so damn good. The relocation is only part of the whole of this story though. Meeting like minded professionals that are location independent is another part to this story. Removing the isolation of this move and connecting with people who understand where we are coming from is another part of this puzzle. Through putting it out there, we made the most amazing connections just last night. We met so many people doing what we want to believe was really possible for us. And it is.

18 months has been the time frame from the pipe dream of making this move to actually doing it. We sacrificed a lot in that time. We pulled the financial reins in tighter than most people would be comfortable with. But it feels so exciting to finally be able to say we are Location Independent in Thailand. The next challenge is to make it sustainable by building an online income. Then our options will be bound only by our imagination.

My message to you is to make the choice to create your dream life. Be patient, live with the sacrifices and it will happen.

Taking the Plunge with a One Way Ticket

One Way Ticket to Asia

One Way Ticket to Asia

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but the past few weeks have been a bit of a blur. A whirlwind of visiting friends, some delightful small gatherings and final farewells with relatives. We had a massive wedding on hubby’s side of the family which was a fantastic way to catch up with everyone and tell them our crazy plans. Plus, we both overindulged with way too much food and wine thrown into the mix. If I remember rightly, I hiccuped and giggled all the way back from the wedding reception. By my side was hubby chuckling softly and shushing me to be quiet. Yeah right. I just increased the intensity of hiccups and giggles in the middle of a still night. The other hotel guests must have wondered what the silly bunch of noises were that emanated across the ground. It has been a riot of fun capped off with a weekend in Sydney with our closest friend prior to flying out on Monday 11 March – one way ticket in hand.

The only way to really describe how I have felt in these past weeks though is from Seinfeld.

(Kramer) “I’m freaking right out here Jerry!”

Surely you have had this type of lead up to a big life event. Super excited one minute, and totally flipping out the next. When a gigantic life change is about to happen, it is usually accompanied by mixed emotions.  In my mind, this is a massive change. I have temporarily given up a great life for the hope of an even greater one.

For me taking the plunge, and the time, I have been pining for over the past 18 months to finally work in my business is monumental. It means that I need to move my business from a pipe dream to a reality. There is a mountain of work and adjustment in front of me, in front of both of us, as we adjust to this new life. Going overseas but not going on holidays is quite bizarre. No activities to plan, no Pina Coladas by the ocean, no shopping ‘til you drop, no over indulgences  It doesn’t have that same vacation anticipation. In many ways that is a good thing. Whilst I always feel like a tourist in a foreign country, I still want to absorb myself into the culture and get to know the locals, not just go nuts for 7 days and come home exhausted.

My motivation is that I want the lifestyle of earning my income from my laptop. This lifestyle means different things to different people. For me it means time to spend with family and friends, and time to travel on a flexible schedule and see the world. Many times I have sat down and thought about the alternatives such as working temp jobs and saving to go on extended trips. It could work, but it doesn’t hold the same appeal in my eyes.

What would this type of lifestyle mean to you?

10 Motivations to Become a Location Independent Entrepreneur

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple at Lake Bratan

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple at Lake Bratan

  1. Potential to meet like minded people. Nothing would be more inspiring for a budding entrepreneur than to be able to meet up with another location independent entrepreneur. Someone who is already leading the lifestyle you want to live. Being able to have a conversation with someone who gets where you are coming from would be like winning the lotto.
  2. Choice of location. This one is a no brainer. If a business can be run from anywhere, than you can choose where you want to spend your business and free time. This location could be your regular home so you can be with your family, it could involve a road trip to see friends and relatives (no more rushed weekend only trips), you could relocate to a different part of your home country for a few months to see what another town or state is like, or you could move to the other side of the world.
  3. Freedom of time. Generally when we work for a company, we have no choice in the structure of our hours. So often, people can be working when they are the least productive. For example a morning person being forced to work night hours. Lack of productivity means that companies need to spend more on employee time to get the desired outcome. If you have freedom of time, work output generally increases. Think about it. If you have a busy job with constant phone, email and co-worker interruptions, you are going to get less work done than if you worked in  a quiet, interruption free environment. Freedom of time makes perfect financial sense.
  4. Working on projects that inspire you. Many location independent muse business owners have a couple of projects on the go at once. Often their main source of cash flow is a low energy input business that pays the bills, allowing them to work on more meaningful projects either for income or just for fun. Having the choice to work on projects that inspire you is a key ingredient in happiness.
  5. Balanced life. By choosing when, where and how your work is completed through being location independent, you can adjust your work/life balance to suit you better. Exercise can be broken up throughout the day, there is time to cook nutritious meals rather than grabbing fast food 3 hours after you were supposed to finish work, you can juggle your workload around important events in your life etc. The list for gaining better balance in your life is endless.
  6. Health benefits are high. If you are sick, you can be kind to your body and rest it properly rather than trying to work through the illness or pain. If your business is set up correctly, it can be easy to prepare for such times so they aren’t such a big issue when they happen. Sometimes a company can make employees feel incredibly guilty for any time off. So the peace of mind that comes from knowing you can take time out if you do get sick, often means you don’t get sick in the first place.
  7. You can work in your PJs or a suit – whatever suits your style. Not having a business wardrobe can also save you some serious coin. You can be comfortable whilst you work and therefore more productive. Making a concerted effort to get properly dressed is a good thing for your mindset. It is nice to be relaxed at the same time though.
  8. You can take breaks whenever you want. If your brain is fried and you can’t think straight, you can head out for a walk and some fresh air without feeling guilty. A more flexible work environment provides a massive increase in productivity.
  9. You can’t get fired. Unless you decide to fire yourself of course. You hold the power to your own destiny. You can decide how many streams of income you wish to create. If you want to go back to working for someone else you can if you want to. Ultimately you have the choice of how you swap your time for money.
  10. You can leverage your time and therefore money/income through using virtual assistants to help you run your business. Taking some of the workload out of your hands means you are free to do other things. This could be more meaningful work such as for charity, just having fun and enjoying your life, or even moving into other business ventures. Through leveraging comes choice. The right virtual assistant is worth his or her weight in gold and can seriously help your business. If managed the right way, your stress is reduced, you have less menial jobs to do and you can focus on the important aspects of running your business.

What are your tips for being a successful Location Independent Entrepreneur?

Jan 23, 2013 - Location Independence    No Comments

No Travel Planning Required

Thip Boutique Hotel. Pool, gardens, a quiet location, nice balcony and a desk to work at....perfect for business

Pool, gardens, a quiet location, nice balcony and a desk to work at….perfect for business

My longest jaunt overseas was a few years ago now. It was a four month trip. I planned it top to tail including hotels, transfers, a few pre-organized meet ups with friends, as well as a handful of day trips and even a cooking class or three. As many of you may well know, half of the excitement of a vacation is in the planning stages. The time that you have pre-trip to fantasize about everything you will do and see. If you have ever done this, you will know how it happens. Endless hours on the internet finding the perfect hotel and looking for exciting things to do during your holiday. You learn about local customs so you don’t make an idiot of yourself, you get an idea of what is around the area close to your accommodation. You dream of massages and cocktails and delightful dinners in exotic locations.

So when I was chatting to a good friend of mine the other day (Hi Em!), and she asked what I was going to do during my time overseas, my answer was work on my business. I went on to explain to her how strange it was to go away and not actually plan anything. Other than the flight to Thailand, a 36 hour stopover in Singapore and a month of accommodation booked in Krabi, I have no other plans. When I stopped and thought about it, it really hit home that this isn’t a holiday. I am really treating it like a business trip and a semi relocation. I must confess I was a little disappointed that our first month will not be in an apartment as I had hoped, but in a boutique hotel. The upside is that we just out of town, there is a pool and nice gardens, and it is in a small village with few tourists and other distractions. Perfect for getting some work done.

It is kind of cool and weird taking a trip with no travel planning required. It is also a new experience to buy a one way ticket. After reading a lot of travel and location independent business blogs, many others experience a wide range of emotions when they find themselves in this rather fortunate position. It means you can be flexible with your plans and take in as much or little as you want of a new culture. At the end of the day, I could be away for a week or a year – who knows? I have saved enough for 6 months including all home based expenses. But if I start making an income from my business ideas, that could change. Over the weekend I spent some time reading my business journal from late 2011 to early 2012 this was a time when my frustration was at an all time high. This was because I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to working on my business. I wanted nothing more than a 2 month shot at designing product and getting my business off the ground. This time coming up is my opportunity to say I gave it a good shot and threw everything I could at it. If I succeed or fail, it doesn’t really matter. Whilst I would prefer to be successful, at least I will never die wondering what if…

Jan 17, 2013 - Location Independence    No Comments

Location Independence is Happening

Ao Nang Beach Krabi

Ao Nang Beach Krabi. Image by www.digitalscrapbookingdestination.com

I wanted to share just how grateful I am for the opportunities that I have available to me. They are opportunities that many of us in fact share.

I was listening to a podcast with Maneesh Sethi and Sean Ogle yesterday and part of their conversation was how even 7 years ago, many of the tools available to Lifestyle Designers and Location Independent professionals were simply not available. It is easy to understand how even a half generation in front of us, and sometimes even our own generation, struggle to understand the concepts behind creating cash flow through online means. It takes a lot more strength to go against the grain of what is still considered normal than it is to sit back in a comfy 9-5 job. They also spoke of slow travel and online communities supporting each other through varying networks.

So, here is the list of what I am thankful for:

  • The internet as a tools to become an entrepreneur whether location independent or not
  • The ease and low cost of international travel relative to 10-15 years ago
  • Having the right country on my passport. I really feel for those who want to travel and see the world, but are severely restricted because of the country in which their passport was issued.
  • A loving husband who understands where I am coming from and what I want to achieve
  • A quiet office at lunch time to write this post
  • The online community of location independent entrepreneurs without whom I would feel even more left of centre than I already do

 

I am so excited to have the chance to be able to take some time out and focus on my business – and from an exotic location. Actually, it isn’t even chance to be honest. It has been a well thought out, well prepared plan that has now come to fruition. We have also saved every cent we have with steel focus for the past four months. This upcoming time for me is not just a jaunt around the globe or an indefinite wander. It is my time to focus hard on my business and have a real go at making a success of it. I am not expecting world beating income three months into the project. Whilst that would be nice, it is not realistic. But if 3-6 months from March I had achieved somewhere between a third and half my current income, then I will know that there is merit in pursuing my business further. I will also be able to tick ‘live overseas’ off my bucket list.

Another aspect of this trip I am looking forward to is spending time in a small community. Whilst I am heading to Krabi province, I am not going to be staying right in the tourist area of Ao Nang. Instead, our home will be in the small village of Ao Nammao about 5kms from Ao Nang. I am sure we will get to know the locals in the village and hopefully form some wonderful bonds. I am also trying to learn more Thai language before I go. It is so hard! Hopefully though in the couple of months between now and 11 March, I will have learned enough to be able to have some conversations, or at the least, be able to ask for what I want or need.

I think our generation is a groundbreaking one. Testing the assumptions that the previous, and many in our current generation hold close. We will fail? Probably. We will rejoice at having tried? Definitely. We will experience more than we could ever possibly have imagined? Absolutely.

 

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