Maverick Traveler

Location Independence, Geo Arbitrage, Individual Freedom

Episode #49 – Starting A New Life In Medellin, Colombia

Few days ago, I had a chance to connect with Andrew over at MedellinBuzz.com and chat about different topics. We talked about travel, living in Colombia and making money online.

I found Andrew’s experience and perspective refreshing because, just like myself, he was born and partly raised in one country, then he moved to America, and then he returned back to his homeland. I did the exact same thing: I was born in Ukraine, grew up in America and now moved permanently to Kiev, Ukraine.

So, it’s a bit different than your run of the mill backpacker who’s traveling around the world or an expat who decided to permanently move to another country.

In this hour-long interview, we covered a ton of great stuff.

In fact, there’s something here for just about anyone.

Here are some highlights:

  • What’s life really like in Medellin, Colombia (without the BS)
  • The challenges of integrating into Colombia’s society (even if you’re originally from there and speak fluent Spanish)
  • What are Colombian women really like. Do they prefer gringos or Colombians?
  • Why Andrew has no plans to return back to America.
  • Making money online: what’s working and what isn’t.
  • Andrew’s advice to younger people who want to do the same or anyone who’re starting from zero.
  • And much, much more…

Enjoy!

Digital Nomad No More

The other day, one of my good friends described his future travel plans. He had been working really hard the past year or so and haven’t taken a vacation in ages.

He is Australian and his plan was to fly to London, spend a few days there and then fly to Spain. After spending a week in Spain (traveling to different cities), he would fly to Italy and spend a week there. Then, he’d fly into Croatia where he would spend a couple of days before wrapping up his trip to Serbia and flying back home.

Ten years ago, such a trip would evoke nothing but pleasant emotions and even make me a bit envious—especially if I was stuck in some place and couldn’t travel at the moment.

But now?

His travel itinerary made me dizzy and nauseous. 

While I covered over 25 European countries in around 2-3 months back in 2011, doing that today would be the absolute last thing I’d want to do.

In fact, you’d really need to force me to leave my comfortable life in Ukraine and take a random flight somewhere only to stay there for a couple of days, pack up and go somewhere new.

My first reaction is that my productivity would take an immediate hit.

Yeah, I know the Internet is plastered with endless stories of people roaming the world and making millions of dollars a long way.

But, after roaming the world for over a decade, I still don’t know how they do it.

As far as I’m concerned, nothing destroys productivity better than constantly switching locations.

Even merely switching apartments in the same city to a different neighborhood is enough to destroy 3-5 solid days of productivity while you search around for a new coffee shop, a nearby supermarket and even simply getting the feel of a new neighborhood.

In my experience, there’s a strong correlation between productivity, making money and sitting in the same place for months at a time. It’s irrefutable.

Late last year, when I sat down and began working on my first ecommerce store as well as trying to figure out how to scale sales using the ever-elusive Facebook Ads, I literally locked myself into my room in NYC, and didn’t leave until I had something working.

About two months later, I discovered my first winning product that, in a span of several months, went on to generate enough money to buy a small apartment in a provincial Eastern European city.

That would have never been possible had I roamed around the Guatemala and Honduras in chicken buses while sleeping in $1/night hostels (as I did back in 2005).

Of course, I wasn’t trying to build a business empire at that time. In fact, I didn’t even bring my laptop with me on the trip.

That’s also why I’m always super productive in New York, and less productive in places like Kiev (my base), Chiang Mai (where I lived for several months) and Rio de Janeiro (where I lived for several years).

In New York, all I do is work. I don’t go out, I don’t drink, I don’t go to fancy restaurants, I don’t have sex, I don’t do anything but work. That and meet up with super successful entrepreneur friends who’re making five figures per month in various businesses.

When I go abroad, I naturally want to go out, meet people and just generally wander around scenic old towns and ponder the meaning of life.

While this clears my head, it does have a negative effect on my productivity and everything suffers.

For a long time, I thought that what I really wanted was to travel around the world instead of rotting in a cubicle making someone else rich.

I’ve achieved this. While it wasn’t easy, it was certainly worth it. The fact that I can live wherever I want and not where there are  lucrative software engineer jobs (ie, Silicon Valley) is more than worth it in my book.

But then I realized that what I really wanted was freedom. Freedom to live anywhere I wanted, freedom to wake up anytime I wanted, freedom to work on whatever projects excited me, freedom to channel my energy into whatever the fuck I wanted instead of whatever my boss thought was politically beneficial for him and his allies.

And it wasn’t so much for the ability to wake up today and grab a random ticket to Bucharest, Bangkok, Bahia or Bruges.

Sure, the ability to pack up your bag and move to a neighboring country or a country on the opposite side of the globe is alluring, but there’s only so many times you can do that before it loses its luster and its magic. 

I remember I was living in Romania a few years ago. One day, I got sick and tired of Bucharest’s decaying and boring communist feel, so I hopped on Sky Scanner and grabbed a ticket to Barcelona. The next day, I was having tacos and wine with a good friend in one of my Barcelona’s quaint little squares.

Or the time when I was spending the summer in St. Petersburg, Russia a few years ago. Few places on the planet are as awesome to spend the summer at St. Petersburg. The white nights, the awesome weather, the restaurants, the cafes, the people enjoying themselves.

But then September started, and a week later, temperatures dropped 15 degrees Celsius. The summer was over. It was now windy and cloudy, most likely to last until May of next year.

So, what did I do?

I went online and booked a one-way flight to Belgrade, Serbia. The very next day, I landed in sunny paradise. It was a balmy 29C degrees and cold weather wouldn’t start for the next two months.

As an added bonus, my apartment had access to a nice and sunny backyard where I enjoyed my breakfast every morning.

If there’s one thing both of these events have in common is that I was able to shake off a negative feeling (ugly communist buildings in Bucharest and crappy weather in St. Petersburg) and replace it with more inviting and beautiful surroundings—and, as a result, a much more pleasant feeling.

But like everything else, every action has a hidden cost to it. Let’s just say I wasn’t exactly the most productive during those times and didn’t crush any revenue records like the time when I stayed in New York and did nothing but experimented with Facebook Ads, day and night, for several months straight.

Roots

The biggest cost, however, with endless moving around is less obvious. When you’re always moving around, you can’t build anything meaningful and substantial in any one place.

When I lived in Rio de Janeiro, I was able to assemble a good circle of close friends and not just expats and foreigners like myself, but actual Brazilians born and bred in Rio de Janeiro.

Although Brazilians are fairly easy to get along with, you need a bit of time to form closer connections, something that’s not possible when you’re in Rio on a two-week vacation.

Here in Ukraine, I was able to form close contacts—both personal and business—simply as a side effect of staying here for several years. After you see the same person over and over again, you can’t help but build something deeper and more meaningful.

It’s like seeing a cute girl at your favorite coffee shop. If you come there long enough, unless you’re completely clueless, at some point, you will leave with her number.

This, in turn, has lead to all kinds of new and interesting projects, like helping to scale a relatively large ecommerce store using FB Ads as well as launching a marketing campaign to bring customers to a new venue.

But, more importantly, this has given me access to interesting and influential people who are working on exciting projects.

None of this would’ve even be possible if I was just mindlessly bouncing around the globe.

Stay put, make lots of money

What really crystallized my thinking was the fact that pretty much all my adult life I’ve been surrounded by ambitious go-getters who worked long and hard and barely traveled anywhere.

They all ran online businesses. They all made a ton of money (5-6 figures per month), but bouncing around the world was never at the top of their priorities.

Their main focus was always on business. Making money. Hustling. Marketing. Selling. Making deals.

And, sure, while their lifestyle allowed them to take a random trip to Cannes, Cancun or Miami Beach, that was nothing more than the icing on the cake. They worked so hard that they barely took those trips anyway.

Most of these guys are in New York, which is another reason why my productivity skyrockets when I’m there.

But a couple of them are here in Ukraine after I lured some of them here to keep me company throughout the cold winter months. 

They came, set up shop, and we regularly keep in touch.

When you have such a sweet setup, why would you trade it for some nomadic backpacking trip through Guatemala?

Nothing against Guatemala (loved my time there), but I ain’t going anywhere.

There’s a myth out there that traveling around somehow “enables” you to start a business and make a ton of money passively.

The reality, however, is all you’re really doing is changing the location of your office. If you’re in NYC, your office is in NYC. If you’re in Chiang Mai, your office is in Chiang Mai. If you’re in Moscow, your office is in Moscow. And if you’re in Bali, you guessed it: your office is in Bali.

Right now my office is in Eastern Europe. This gives me a nice base to explore neighboring destinations. The difference is that I always have a return ticket. There’s always a home to come back to. There’s a familiar environment to return to.

Most importantly, there’s the all important separation between work and play; and production and consumption. 

The latter is a popular trap that many people can’t help but fall into.

Office. I used to hate that word because it conjured images of grey-haired middle-aged men toiling on something super boring because they didn’t know any better… Like working on some beach somewhere.

But now an office seems indispensable. I need an office. I need a room in my apartment solely dedicated to strategizing and working.

I need a place where I can go and focus, a place where no one will bother me. A place that will serve as a refuge from the craziness and uncertainty of the world around me.

I’ve had various “offices” throughout my life. In addition to the NYC office that I talked about earlier, where I launched my first of several ecommerce stores, there was also a Lithuanian office where I finished my first book. The Barcelona office where I finished another book. And it will be the Ukrainian office where I will launch a brand new course later this month.

And, hopefully, this Ukrainian office will be responsible for some new amazing projects in 2019 and beyond.

Build and they will come

I remember when I started to get serious about some of my work, my mentor told me that he would be surprised if I wasn’t making good money in six months if I worked on it every day.

He was right.

I stayed in one place, worked every day, 7 days a week, and was making money long before the six months he predicted.

Over time, those wise words became a part of my life philosophy. Even if you start from nothing (we all did), if you sit down, pick one thing to work on, stick to it, build it, and you will be seeing results sooner or later.

In other words, hustling will set you free.

There’s a catch, of course: provided you have an established and predictable routine that guarantees the maximum level of productivity without an array of useless and unnecessary distractions.

One Man’s Escape From American Corporate Bullshit For A Happy And Meaningful Life in Eastern Europe

There’s nothing I enjoy more than to connect with other like-minded people. Those who were never content with the status quo, the corporate drone bullshit, the whole “work until you retire at 65” crap that our society happily shoves down our throats from the time when we’re born until, well…, it’s too late to do anything. I admire people who’ve managed to carve out their own path in life and do something meaningful.

Meet Kyle, a young former-corporate wage slave who escaped his comfortable but super boring life in California for a much more meaningful and satisfied life in Eastern Europe.

To be honest, this is easily one of my favorite podcasts that I’ve ever done. In this podcast, we covered pretty much everything: location-independence, travel, favorite countries and cities, business, dropshipping/ecommerce, building products and services and much more.

There’s definitely something for everyone.

Here are some of the things we discussed:

  • (1:24) Kyle’s background, where he’s from and where he’s now.
  • (3:30) Why Kyle moved to Czech Republic over other countries
  • (5:05) Pros and Cons of living in Eastern Europe over West
  • (6:13) The lack of “hustle mentality” in Eastern Europe; The New York City hustle mentality
  • (10:13) The challenges of working hard in during the Eastern Europe summers
  • (11:00) My friend’s weird 5-12 work schedule
  • (12:05) Kyle’s typical day routine
  • (13:33) The “truth” about the Location-Independent lifestyle
  • (14:30) Kyle’s future travel plans
  • (16:05) The challenges of traveling and working at the same time
  • (19:09) How I booked location accommodation in Bali and Thailand
  • (19:45) The cost of renting an apartment in Kiev, Ukraine
  • (21:48) Kiev vs. Odessa vs. Other Ukrainian cities
  • (24:00) Why Kyle is not interested in moving around too much
  • (25:00) The importance of building solid relationships vs. random friends here and there
  • (27:40) Comfortable salary for living in Eastern Europe
  • (28:00) $2-3/mo vs. $1M vs. $1B
  • (29:10) The importance of time – enjoying your life during your 20s, 30s, and beyond
  • (29:45) Going to Brazil at 29 vs. Going to Brazil at 55. Does it matter?
  • (30:22) Club in Rio de Janeiro where you’ll have fun whether you’re 25 years old or 55 years old.
  • (37:15) The myth of “overnight success.”
  • (40:44) The challenges of writing a book
  • (42:35) How to validate an idea
  • (44:45) The power of building a strong brand
  • (47:00) What’s better: blog or twitter?
  • (48:30) Ecommerce/Dropshipping
  • (52:25) Making free money with drop shipping (Credit card points)
  • (58:40) The biggest business epiphanies/failures
  • (1:03:00) The parallels of business / personal relationships
  • (1:04:00) How to start from nothing
  • (1:07:10) Starting a business on the side vs. Quitting your job and terrorizing yourself
  • (1:08:45) Final thoughts

For more information about Kyle and what he’s doing now, visit Kyle’s website.

Enjoy!

The Death Of The Middle Class And The Rise of The Nomadic Entrepreneur

I recently tweeted a thought that has been marinating inside my head for quite some time. As you can see, it’s an idea that received wide support, with plenty of tweets and favorites, especially by some heavy hitters who understand how the game is really played.

Over 100 hours years ago, an economist predicted that the capital-owned class will be eventually overthrown by the rebellious proletariat (the working class). His name was Karl Marx and, in his pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto, he preached the wonders of a new socio-economic political system called Communism.

These days, Karl Marx’s theories are mostly ridiculed because his predictions didn’t come true. The working class didn’t rebel against the capitalists. While Communism became the economic system of a few countries, it eventually collapsed, leaving capitalism as the only system that efficiently organizes labor and capital.

Nevertheless, Karl Marx was right in his other famous work: Capital. In it, he explained how the capitalist classes exploit the labor-providing class for its own gain.

His main argument was in something called “surplus value,” where a capitalist derives value from workers in excess of what he pays him. For example, if you’re making $50/hour working at your soulless and lifeless 9-5 job, the value your boss derives from your work is typically more than $50/hour—often many times that amount. This “surplus value” goes into his pocket without any compensation to you. If you want to understand how the middle class is being exploited, you don’t need to look much further than this.

The mystery of the middle class

In describing how labor is exploited, I mentioned a term that most of you probably glossed over without thinking twice: middle class. It’s an innocent term that gets thrown around a lot. Politicians love using it when campaigning for an important post such as the Senate or the Presidency. They love it because it carries lots of political capital; mention those two words and you’ve immediately got the attention of the sizable chunk of your electorate.

Here lies the paradox. While this term is of immense value to politicians and other public figures, that’s not the case when it comes to someone who has no aspirations of manipulating large crowds for their own Machiavellian gain—someone like you and me. That means there’s the formal definition of a middle class that’s taught to the masses and the real definition that few actually know.

The formal, economic definition of the middle class: a group of people who’re not poor and not rich. It’s someone who’s making a decent salary, usually at a comfortable 9-5 job with generous benefits.

At least that’s the economic definition, the one touted by politicians and the one you study in your high school textbook.

But real life, as I’m sure you’ve suspected if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, works quite differently. And, I’m here to tell you but you’ve been deeply mislead: this “middle class” is actually something else entirely.

Do you know what “middle class” really means? I bet that nobody told you that the middle class doesn’t really exist. It’s a house of mirrors, a mirage, a smokescreen.

Imagine for a moment that a population is divided into three groups: those who don’t work, those who work for someone else, and those who work for themselves. Out of the three groups of people, the middle class would be the second example (it’s in the middle of the other classes).

Unlike the other two classes, the middle class is the only class that’s voluntarily trading their only precious asset—time—for money, aka pieces of paper that are devaluing at a constant rate due to inflation.

It’s a class consisting of lost and confused people who do pointless and useless things like obtaining bullshit “liberal arts” degrees because they have no idea what skills are actually in demand. So, they listened to their trusty high school guidance counselor (who’s paid by the state to tell you complete bullshit) who was nice enough to tell them that they’re going to “change the world” while forking over $20,000+ of tuition each year. It’s a class that thinks it’ll “change the world” while slaving away nights and weekend at some “startup” whose main business model is quick delivery of organic food to small chihuahuas.

Not only is the middle class lost and confused, it’s more than happy to work hard and subsidize others who don’t work nearly as much. It’s one of the most ingenious schemes in the world. One way this is accomplished is via taxes. The tax code contains all kinds loopholes that greatly benefit those who’re earning lots of money at the expense of those who don’t earn as much (those who make little or no money are subsidized by the government).

Not too long ago, I read an article that talked about how Warren Buffet’s secretary actually paid more taxes than the famous billionaire himself. He was taxed less because most of his earnings were on capital instead of as a result of his labor.

Another ingenious method of robbing the middle class is via a scheme better known by its common marketing name: “the financial crisis.” For one reason or another, these “financial crises” seem to occur like clockwork every ten years or so. Coincidence? During the last big 2008 financial crisis, people had their savings completely obliterated (my own 401k retirement account and other investment accounts were contracted by half, and I lost a substantial amount of money).

Since you’re incentivized by everyone—your employer, your “financial advisor” and the IRS—to contribute to an IRA or 401k fund, the middle class usually has a sizable funds there. Thus, it becomes a good target to raze via  orchestrated “financial crises” just like the big one in 2008.

The middle class is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Always has been. Always will be. It’s the consumer guinea pigs for products and services that are produced by others. It’s a class that’s constantly being scammed and gamed in all kinds of ways.

While Karl Marx was a brilliant economist, his mistake was giving this class too much credit. After all, the middle class is very lazy. Extremely lazy. He expected them to actually stop watching their 500 channels and get out of their comfortable couches in their cookie cutter suburbia homes and actually revolt against the oligarchs (yes, even in America, there are oligarchs like George Soros) that control their lives. How crazy is that?

They didn’t revolt because they couldn’t be bothered. As long as they have their “chic” downtown studio and their 500 TV channels all financed by cheap and unsustainable credit (i.e., finance slavery) to buy a house or some car to impress some girl (if it’s a girl to buy her Louis Vuitton bag), they’re perfectly comfortable.

How to pillage the middle class and get away with murder

Many say that middle class began to decline after Ronald Reagan took office. At that time America was suffering from hyperinflation (a strange phenomenon where prices rise but without the corresponding rise in productivity). In order to battle this problem, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank (the quasi public/private monopoly that controls American currency) heavily raised interest rates that it charges to banks when it makes loans.

The result was that money became scarce, which lead to a contraction of the economy and eventual depression. Since the cost of money went up, this greatly benefited those who had capital and money to lend at the expense of those who didn’t (yup, middle class got duped again).

But there’s a another risk—a much graver one—to the middle class that has been evolving for the past several decades: globalization. Globalization presents an interesting problem for governments. For a government to survive, it must find ways to make revenue. Since a government doesn’t actually sell any products or services, it derives revenue via two ways: taxing the population or borrowing from creditors.

In an increasingly borderless world, it’s getting harder for governments to tax its citizens. In most countries a citizen is not a taxable resident if he spends less than 180 days in the country (America is the only country in the world that taxes its citizens regardless where they actually live in the world; I’m sure that more countries will shortly be following suit). As a result, governments will begin to run higher budget deficits by spending more than they take in.

Guess who’ll be used to make up for the shortfall? Those who’re the easiest to tax: the immobile middle class who doesn’t have much choice but to pay up.

The wall street — which runs the US government – is interested in squeezing the most amount out of the middle class as possible. And it’s actually the easiest thing in the world to do: convince people to pay taxes while giving favorable loopholes that only the rich can exploit to legally avoid paying taxes. Convince people to “invest” their money into funds that are entirely controlled by others.

In fact, having a sizable middle class is preferred for the elite because it keeps the masses fed and entertained while letting the government and the elite covertly raze what they’ve worked so hard for.

Regardless how you look at it—and whether you actually want to believe it—the “middle class illusion” is coming to an end. You can’t have a sustainable society where a large part of the population is defaulting on its credit—credit that’s kept artificially cheap thanks to government subsidized loans—because their jobs are rapidly being outsourced to cheaper regions of the world.

Globalization: the dagger in middle class’ heart

Globalization is making this easy for risk-takers because it’s now easy to move around the world and cherry pick your labor (i.e. hire in a low cost place like India or The Philippines), but the dynamics of this new economy is putting a squeeze on everyone else.

That means if you’re reading this and aren’t sitting in Bali, Indonesia, Koh Lanta, Thailand or San Miguel, Mexico while building your SaaS business whose goal is to generate $5,000 in monthly revenue from some coffee shop with 20 or 50mbps Internet—you’re being squeezed in more ways than you can imagine.

Because someone always needs to be squeezed. Modern economical systems are nothing more than a game of musical chairs. Of course, it won’t be the rich (they own “old” capital and are “protected” by the government). It also won’t be the poor (there’s a limit to how much people can be squeezed; see Baltimore riots).

So, who’s left? The dumb and lazy sheeple class which is better known by its other name: the middle class.

(If you ask me, I think that’s what the middle class deserves: as far as I’m concerned, you just can’t have a sustainable society when you don’t take any risk and yet still enjoy the rewards.)

The utopian society predicted by Karl Marx called Communism is exactly what it is: a utopian society bearing no resemblance whatsoever to actual reality.

That means only one thing: the capitalistic class isn’t going away anytime soon. Capitalists are here to stay. Capital is here to stay. So, if you’re not generating capital, you’re losing out. You’re losing ground because the only thing you’re able to do—labor—is being devalued at an alarming pace.

Capital is back with a vengeance and it’s stronger than ever.

The end of jobs

This is both good and bad news. The good news is that it’ll give new opportunities for people to transition to this new class and own capital for the first time in their lives; the bad news is that things will be harder for those who refuse to make this transition.

In the not-so-distant future, there will be a redistribution of capital between traditional owners of big capital and newly entrants such as entrepreneurs: you’ll either be a location independent nomad enjoying dollar arbitrage or a wage slave permanently trying to make ends meet while working harder and harder to maintain the rapidly decreasing standard of living.

Since capital is being globalized, it’s much easier to hire someone who lives in a place with a relatively low cost of living than to hire someone who wants (or demands) to be paid a high salary and also wants some kind of job security plus all kinds of benefits.

This process is called called outsourcing, and while I’m sure you’re aware how it works, what you may not be aware is that outsourcing also leads to insourcing; the import of lower quality of living as a result of outsourcing all the key manufacturing and service jobs to some distant land. One doesn’t need to look further than a city like Detroit; once the beacon of American industrious might and now a city of ruins like any of the ancient Latin American cities with Mayan or Aztec with beautiful ruins.

Contrary to popular belief, being an employee at a big company is also riskier than running your own business. Much, much riskier. Running your own business gives you more control, you’re intricately aware of all the details of the business; when you’re an employee you’re given a set salary but are shielded from the businesses’ operating details.

Perhaps years ago there was some kind of security-a “job for life” of some sorts, but with the borderless world, every job is an implicit temporary contract. The word stability exists only for those who own capital. It doesn’t exist for those who merely have money, because as you’ve already noticed such money can disappear overnight but capital is here to stay.

The New York Times recently published an article describing how being fired and losing one’s job is now considered some kind of “graduation.” As time goes on, these “graduation ceremonies” will happen more often.

So, what does this mean? While productivity has been slowly rising worldwide, the truth is that increased mobility brings advantages to some while turning into a disadvantage for others. Like money, the world belongs to hustlers. The world belongs to those who make moves. I like to think of all kinds of employment as temporary, regardless whether you’re a “temporary” contractor or a “permanent” employee.

The name of the game is capital. In order to survive in this new world, you must have capital. Capital gives you everything; without it you’re nothing. The middle class doesn’t have any. If you’re trading your time for money instead of investing this time into more productive endeavors, you don’t have any capital. None of it. Not a single drop of it.

The invisible capital

Along with the decline of the middle class, there has been parallel rise in another type of class: the nomadic entrepreneur. This is no coincidence. This is a class that owes no allegiance to any “defined” group of people.

The nomadic entrepreneur crosses religious, nationalistic and geographical boundaries. The nomadic entrepreneur follows the invisible capital. While he isn’t risk-averse, he isn’t necessarily a red-blooded risk taker, either. His job is to create and build capital, a new type of capital that has never been available before. This class is native to Globalization and, thus, is able to leverage its benefits in the most efficient way possible.

Back in 2007 when I quit my job and became a permanent nomad, it was pretty rare to meet guys who lived anywhere in the world while making money from the comfort of their laptops. Although I did meet some of those guys, they were usually associated with less savory corners of the Internet: porn and gambling (among others).

When I visited Thailand back in 2004, I spent a week in Chiang Mai, a small and pleasant city in the north of the country. At that time, it was mostly overrun by backpackers who were traveling on a shoestring budget through SE Asia, eating $1 dinners in night markets and sleeping in filthy $2/night hostels.

Nowadays, it’s very easy to find such nomadic entrepreneurs. There are everywhere. As someone who’s been a nomadic entrepreneur long before it became trendy, it boggles my mind how many people out there are making money and living on their own terms. It’s insane. It seems like everyone is doing it.

The majority don’t make a lot of money—although some of them make an absolute killing—but certainly make enough to get by on cheap in “3rd world” places such as SE Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe. Regions with a more laid-back quality of life, fantastic weather, and truly easy living. (My present two-month sojourn on the tropical island of Bali, Indonesia has been amazing).

As I’m getting ready to move to Chiang Mai, Thailand for three months in less than two weeks, I’ll be visiting a completely different city from the one I visited ten years ago: these days Chiang Mai is being boldly called by many as “The Digital Nomad Capital of The World.” While it’ll still have its share of budget backpackers roughing in dirty hostels, most of the people I’ll probably be running into guys with monthly revenues easily breaking the four figure mark, some even reaching five figures.

What changed? What changed was the democratization of societies thanks to the Internet and its brother globalization. The world is getting smaller, the borders are being erased, and more and more people are speaking the same language: English.

The beauty of this new world is that, for the first time in human history, you now have access to a completely different way of doing business. In this increasingly borderless world one can create an online presence in San Francisco and ten minutes later take payments from a guy sitting in a warung in Bali, Indonesia, a cantina in Mexico City, or a stolovaya in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. The new rich are being minted every day and it’s also a lot easier to become one than you think.

Becoming a nomadic entrepreneur

The key to joining the new rich is what capitalists and oligarchs have known since the beginning of private capitalism: creating, nursing and ultimately owning your own capital—and not trading your precious time for rapidly depreciating pieces of paper that you’ll have to surrender to starved and hungry governments anyway.

The rush is on for this new capital. Unlike the rubber barons of the 19th century or the great capitalists of the 20th century, you no longer need to be born with a golden spoon or have a roman numeral affixed to your name in order to mint your own capital. Capital is rapidly becoming a commodity.

The simplest—and most powerful way—is to take what you’re good at and expose it to the world. Since most of the things out there are now commodities (e.g., every guy and his dog has a travel blog and an FBA business), the only thing that’s real is you. And since we’re living in an attention-deficit economy, your primary job is to get noticed before doing anything else. It’s ironic that in our world of excesses, the only thing we truly lack is our attention.

Not long ago, entrepreneurship was some buzzword that you study and contemplate being like whether you should order chocolate chip or vanilla ice-cream. It was never something you decided to do automatically.

But that’s quickly changing. Instead of it being some abstract topic that you spent countless hours reading and researching while getting accomplished absolutely nothing, it will cease to be a buzzword and become you.

Many of you read what I write because you lack motivation and need a kick in the ass to get where you want to go. Well, I’m here to tell you that soon you won’t need motivation, you’ll need to do it because you won’t have any other choice in the manner.

And why not? Making money on your own terms has never been easier in recorded human history.

While you’re perfectly comfortable now with your 500 channels, your Internet porn and other distractions that are designed to keep you “in the middle,” soon the word “comfort” will disappear from your vernacular. The longer you delay, the harder the transition to a capital-rich class will be; the longer you delay, the more struggle you’ll face in the not-so-distant future. Not feeling the great squeeze yet? You will.

Right now, the decision is no longer whether it makes sense to build your own capital by tapping into the global marketplace or not. Since working online and building your brand is getting quickly commoditized, the question now is how to differentiate yourself. How can you let the world know that you exist? How do you unleash yourself on the world?

The question isn’t whether to market to a global audience, the question is what to market. The question isn’t whether you should get noticed or not; the question is how to get noticed so that someone like me who doesn’t know you personally can still buy what you’re selling. Every one of us is unique and talented in one way or another; the challenge becomes of the best way to deliver this value to others in a most efficient way possible.

Pondering these questions now instead of later is precisely how you escape the shackles and tyranny of the broken middle class and rise above the mediocre masses while working your way to becoming the person you’ve always meant to be and living the life you truly deserve.

This is important. Because in the future that comfortable job where you get paid for doing nothing will disappear, and—depending on how you act—you’ll either be working as a wage slave or become a nomadic entrepreneur with all the benefits of earning income in hard currency along with geoarbitraging yourself around the world as you see fit.

How I Broke Free Of Corporate Slavery And Discovered Freedom The Maverick Way

This is a guest post by Kyle from ThisIsTrouble.com.

Freedom.

The word thrown around so often to American men. The thing we’re supposed to have more than anything of, but in reality – we have almost none of it.

From a young age, we’re forced into a school system that shackles us to a desk and deprives us of our ability to run and use our energy. That continues all the way to adulthood, where we’re chained to a cubicle, given a package of human resource rules to follow, and told that this is the only path we have in life.

“It is what it is.”

The above is the favorite phrase that all companies and managers use to keep you around the office, reporting to work like a slave so that you can never break free. And while you’re at it, make sure you buy that expensive house, car, TV, boat, blender and the granite countertops – preferably on credit. Credit that will haunt you until you die.

I’ve decided I’ve had enough.

I’ve gone the way of the Maverick, and never plan to look back.

My Story

On paper, I’m Corporate America’s dream worker bee. And for the longest time, I was also every American woman’s dream guy.

I was fortunate enough to be gifted in several aspects of life, especially technology. I was ripping apart computers at ten years old, graduated college early, and took my first steps into the Corporate America world as a bright-eyed, barely able to drink 21 year old kid.

I was always the “nice guy” throughout high school and college. Girls always told me that I’d make the perfect husband – someday. Not surprisingly, I didn’t kiss a girl until I was 19, and was still a virgin at 21. This was despite the fact that I’d gone through a pretty big transformation:

The funny thing is that I started the corporate life at about the same time I lost my virginity. All of a sudden, two new realities were thrown in my face. All of a sudden, I became free.

Those two realizations were:

  1. Corporate America is a soul-sucking experience.
  2. Nearly everything I’d been told about women was wrong.

The above are the main two reasons I have now walked away from my job, my life in Los Angeles, and everything about the American lifestyle. They’re the reasons I have my bags packed and a one way ticket to Poland.

And to be clear – it’s not that I’m leaving a dead-end career or a bad situation. I’m clearing six figures and I’m not quite 25 years old, my game is sharp enough that my main girl in Los Angeles is a Disneyland princess, and I have a good group of male friends I can turn to for companionship and support. I’m not saying these things to brag, but I hope that it passes this message along: even though things seem great – something still feels amiss in my life.

To discover that something is my next goal.

When I’m on my deathbed, I don’t want to have the “what-ifs” that so many people take with them to the grave. I don’t want to ask myself what could have been, but rather have beautiful memories of what was. Would I rather have memories of grey walls, fluorescent lights, and American attitude, or the alternative: an office at the beach, mountains, or wherever I please, fresh air, and radiating feminine charm from beautiful women?

I’m not naive enough to think that it’s all going to be roses on my journey, but I’m also enough of a dreamer to see a vision and the possibilities.

It certainly wasn’t an easy decision to leave my family, friends, career, and the gorgeous Los Angeles weather behind. I hemmed and hawed about it for days, weeks, and months. It became a lot easier when I thought of the worst case scenario though, because:

  • I can always go back to my dreary career.
  • I have well over a year of living expenses stocked away, so I plan to build my business. But if it fails, it’s not hard to come up with $1,500 a month in freelance work (provided you put in the hours finding it).
  • Even if I fail…failure makes you stronger as a man.

I’ve come to the realization that the greatest risks in life also carry the greatest rewards.

This is why I’m becoming a Maverick Traveler.

Corporate America

Like James’ background, I come from the tech world. My career in tech began on February 18th, 2013 – and comes to it’s final conclusion on February 23, 2016. Just over three years of commutes, office junk food, office politics, and more. How James made it for nearly ten years is astounding, and he deserves a medal of honor for his service.

I suspect the likely reason he held out for so long is because resources like Maverick Traveler weren’t around for him in his early years. Men like me, who are in our early or mid twenties, are blessed beyond belief. Sites like this exist for a reason – they shed light on the problems that young men face.

There are so many things wrong with the Corporate America environment.

Many of you are probably of above-average intelligence, yet are still forced to work the typical 40 hour a week workweek. I’ve never understood this method. If someone can get the work done in half the time – they should only have to work half the time! Corporate America doesn’t pay you to get the job done, because if that was the case I’d only be working one day a week. Instead, they pay you for your time. Time is the only thing on the planet that you cannot simply buy more of. It is a finite resource, and Corporate America milks you for all you’re worth in this regard.

This is especially true in the IT world. I fully agree that young men shouldn’t become programmers, but I’ll add more to that.

No young men should aim for IT as a career.

You do not want to be an administrator – you will get calls at any time of day and night and be expected to save the day.

You do not want to be in any sort of support – even though it’s often hourly pay, the stress of dealing with shitty customers is not worth it.

The truth of the matter is that you don’t want a career that can’t scale.

You want to be paid fairly for your time. Careers in IT simply don’t do that. Corporate America as a whole doesn’t do that. Now, don’t run out and quit your job just because this blog post says so. But have a plan of escape, lay your own future down and figure out what you want. Maybe you want to be a Maverick Traveler and jump to exotic locale to exotic locale. Or maybe you want a brick and mortar bike shop.

Whatever it is, just know that as an above-average-intelligence man – eventually, you are going to get a desire to get more out of life than long commutes, cubicles, and office politics. You just have to summon the courage and take the plunge.

The Girls

On the radio the other day, I heard a special called “War of the Roses”. Essentially, it’s a game where people have the radio station call someone they are dating, or went on a date with – and the poor person on the receiving end of the call gets put on the spot and grilled about the relationship. Most often, it’s a man getting this phone call from the DJ.

The girl who asked the radio station to call in was wondering why the man didn’t call her for a second date. She told the story about how he ended the date after half an hour – he paid the bill, wished her well, and walked out. Obviously, he didn’t like something about her and chose to not waste his valuable time on her, but he was very classy about it.

This girl couldn’t handle the rejection.

She attempted to shame him by having the radio station call and interrogate him about their date. While he tried to dance around the questions and keep it peaceful, she attacked him so viciously he told the truth.

His response was as follows:

“The reason I left and never called you was because you had your phone out the entire date. You never put it away, and you sat there and read me your Instagram and Facebook comments. You’re cute, and I’m sure no one has told you this – but you have a major attitude problem, you’re vapid, and you have absolutely no social skills. I’m not interested.”

The girl nearly burst into tears on live radio. She gathered herself and began defending her conversational skills, saying that reading Instagram and Facebook comments was her way of talking about her day and making conversation.

Read that again: A girl truly thought that reading her social media comments from thirsty men, while on a date, was acceptable and stimulating conversation to the man she was on a date with.

Props to this man for having the balls to call her out.

While this example is on the extreme end of the spectrum, it does provide some insight into how most American women are these days. If you have traveled abroad and dated foreign women, you know exactly what I mean. Their feminine energy and charm is just so irresistible – the games fall to the wayside, and you find you actually genuinely enjoy spending time with these women both in and out of the bedroom. Game becomes less about manipulative asshole tactics, and more about simply being a strong and confident man with a dose of healthy masculinity.

American girls not only have the attitude, but insist on trying to run your life regardless of their relationship to you.

Do not let them shame you into marrying and committing to an American girl who wasted her prime years partying and turning men down for sport. There is no shame in walking away to another country, and dating beautiful and feminine women who make you immensely happy. Relationships should be about happiness, not competition. American women will shame you, saying that foreign girls are just submissive and want you for money – they’ll claim you need someone to “challenge you”.

It’s a lie.

A man faces enough challenge in his day to day life. While a pretty 18 year old girl has the world at her fingertips with millionaires wanting to wife her up, the 18 year old man has absolutely nothing. Life is a complete uphill fight for us from the time we are born.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. This struggle defines you as a man.

But that doesn’t mean I want my woman to challenge me. I’ve had plenty of challenges in my life already, and will continue to face them in regards to building a business, making money, and other aspects of life.

I want my woman to compliment me, not challenge. If I wanted competition, I’d go play sports with other men.

The reality of the situation is that American women phrase the “challenge” issue as a way of defending their abrasive and horrible attitude. Which is fine, they can continue to do so, and (unfortunately) plenty of men will continue to accept it.

They can continue having “conversations” about Instagram comments, I’ll take the beautiful foreign girls who support me in my life goals.

What Do You Want From Life?

Many of you reading this blog are probably quite successful yourselves – both in career, women, and life overall. At the same time, while you maybe aren’t unhappy with your current situation – something just feels a bit “off”. It’s nearly impossible to put into words; I’ve been writing my blog for three years and still struggle to describe it properly. The best advice I can give is this: listen to your gut. Your gut is almost always right. For example, when I ended up in the ghetto of Barranquilla, Colombia, and knew I needed to get out of there ASAP or I’d likely be robbed and/or killed. How I felt a gnawing feeling in my stomach everyday when I showed up at the office, disgusted at myself to put money in another man’s wallet. The disappointment when I would go on perfectly nice dates with American girls, but something just felt off.

Your gut instinct is a powerful tool. If something is telling you that something is “wrong” with your life, it’s because it’s the truth. And I’m here telling you that there is merit behind that truth. You may not be able to articulate it, but myself and countless other members of this online community can understand your pain.

You are not alone.

American society is no longer the land of opportunity it once was for young men. If you get out and see the world, you will see this. You’ll have your lightbulb moment, and from there – it’s up to you what to do with it.

That moment is a freeing feeling, and I’ve never felt more free than I do now.

This is a guest post from Kyle at ThisIsTrouble.com. Kyle is a former corporate wage slave who, through sheer struggle and determination, broke free of his corporate shackles and is about to embark on his first ever location-independent lifestyle.