Imgine being able to travel as much as you want to.
No painfully restrictive budget.
Just you – answering the question, “what do I want to do now?”
Sounds a lot like self-indulgent fantasy, right?
Could be. But it could also be a symptom of something else:
And it sounds unobtainable, right?
That’s a life reserved for the uber-rich, trust-fund babies, or other people with more luck than we have.
Only it’s NOT.
The freedom to travel as much as you want has a simple formula.
That is, it’s hard to do, but the formula itself is simple 😉
That’s why I made this video for you.
Because after almost 3 years on the road – 3 years of freedom and everything that comes with it – I want you to have this too.
Or at least, have the opportunity – to use how you will.
I think you’ll like it.
So you’ll be pleased to know that there’s only 1 key to long term travel. Here it is:
To briefly recap, the key: becoming insanely valuable to everyone you meet – has 3 parts to it:
1. Skills & talents – Any abilities which can be used to improve other people’s lives. Anything from construction to consulting.
2. Marketing – The ability to communicate what your skills are and the benefits of them
3. An audience – People who want to give you money (or other resources) in return for those skills
Notice how there’s nothing in there about the number of hours you spend in the office.
Or where you are.
Or when you work.
Because that stuff doesn’t matter.
Whether you want to travel full time, go on vacation more often, or just fill an alarming number of bathtubs with cash:
It’s all about the real economic value you can create for others and getting paid for your results.
And this in itself is a skill. Which takes time to learn.
And it takes more time to unlearn the idea that “I’m owed something for my time”
This is why why you shouldn’t quit your day job to start a business.
And why marketers who suggest such things are acting irresponsibly.
You don’t throw away your safety net (even if it’s only mediocre) until you’ve installed a new one.
That is, you start small, doing it on the side.
Until you get f#$%ing GREAT at it.
Look, I can tell you from experience, this isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight.
It’s just like losing weight or getting out of debt.
There’s no magic pill. There’s no “get rich quick”.
You have to do difficult, tiring, boring work along the way.
That’s the price you pay.
And let me tell you:
The reward is the best gift you’ll ever give yourself, your family, and the world.
The certainty of knowing there’s always going to be enough money. The freedom to live where you want and do the things that excite you. The opportunity to create massive positive impact in the lives of others doing work you love. The legacy you’ll one day leave behind.
When you become insanely valuable to other people, travel is just a tiny slice of the massive reward-pie you’ll be creating in the all-you-can-eat buffet that becomes your life.
And you can quote me on that.
So Where Do You Start?
To start, here’s an exercise I have my private 6 Figure Nomad clients do when they’re trying to figure out what business to go into. Ramit Sethi was a big source of inspiration for this exercise.
You start with the question: What are you going to give people that will improve their lives?
Here’s how to find out:
Make a list of your top 5-10 interests. Things you spend time on every day or at least every week. Don’t think about commercial value here. Horseback riding, watching football, knitting, kung-fu – whatever.
Make a list of your top 5-10 talents. If this is difficult, think about what friends, family, and colleagues ask for your advice/opinion on, and reflect on what you do in your job plus during your free time. Maybe you’re the most punctual person in the office. Maybe you cook a mean souffle. Maybe you make enchanting origami figures. Write it all down.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, go to the website UpWork.com and look through all the categories of freelance work there.
Now, it’s time to look at what you’ve got. Review your answers and brainstorm a minimum of 3-5 potential services you could offer.
For example, one of my interests is learning languages and one of my talents is copywriting. A potential service would be to help business owners in international markets improve their sales copy.
I could be even more specific and focus in on Russian business owners, as I know that language particularly well.
These ideas don’t have to be combinations from your list. For example, I play jazz guitar as a hobby. A business idea from that could be: Play gigs at weddings.
Now you need to rate the quality of these ideas. Ask yourself the following questions:
Am I interested in doing this full time? As a side gig? At all?
Is this something people would pay for?
Does this idea excite me?
Now, you should have a list of things that you can and should be improving every day.
How to do that – we’ll discuss in some new material soon.
For now, use this as your launch pad to get started. You’re on your way to becoming extremely valuable to everyone you meet.
That’s the key to permanent travel…or whatever it is you’ll do with your freedom.
And that’s the truth.
Want a hand? A couple times a year I open up 6 Figure Nomad Acdemy, where I’ll guide you to build your own business that you can run from anywhere. These exclusive trainings are not offered to the public and spots are extremely limited (under 20). You can get on the advanced notification list here.
As a huge proponent of advancing one’s live and career through intermittant-travel and living abroad, one of the biggest questions is always “where to?”
My home for this year is China, as I want to add the notoriously difficult language to my personal (and professional) resume. In my brief tenure here I’ve become convinced it’s one of the best possible destinations for creating a better life.
So today we’re going to feature a friend who knows much more about China than myself, who can give you the full rundown of pros and cons of moving to the land of the waking dragon.
But Asia is an immense continent. Many believe it’s best to go to Thailand, India or, why not, Japan?
Each of these countries have their advantages and disadvantages. Japan, for example, is very safe and orderly. You will however have to deal with a high cost of living, which is sometimes prohibitive.
India is a fascinating country, with tremendous culture. But you’ll have to get used to being the center of attention 24/7 – the Indians like to observe you up close – and you’ll have to live with conditions of extreme poverty.
Thailand… Ah, Thailand. Beaches, mango shakes and miniskirts. But unless you “escape” each summer, you’ll be subject to the monsoons and the torrential rains that come with them. Among other things you’ll be constantly hassled by tuk tuk drivers and the girls placed outside massage parlors that see in you, a white devil, the chance to make some $$$ instead of a person that lives or works in their country.
Today I would like to explore another reality, something that I know better: China
Why Living in China Is A Great Career Move
The language and opportunities that can open up for you
When you’ve never been to China you might be inclined to think that Mandarin will be a problem. All those hard to understand sounds and esoteric characters to memorize.
Yes, learning Chinese requires an initial effort greater than what’s required to learn Spanish.
But, like all languages, Mandarin is nothing more than a means of communication. And as such it can be learned. And in 2015, those who speak Chinese possess a superior weapon for the battlefield called “the world of work.”
The road that leads to a location independent lifestyle is paved with existential doubts, abandoned projects, and failures. It requires a learning curve that can last even a few years.
Knowing China, it’s culture and language makes you more attractive to all those committed entrepreneurs that are thinking about exporting their products or services in the largest market in the world or de-localizing their production in Asia.
Imagine being able to communicate effectively with both the Chinese and “westerners”, knowing the customs and cultures of both worlds. Don’t you think that would open many more doors for you too?
The art of getting situated: Teaching languages
I know you dream of changing the world with your free messenger app for smartphones.
But when you’re at the beginning stages and are still trying to see the economic fruits of your nightly efforts, a more dignified way make ends meet is to apply as a language instructor.
In China the demand for learning foreign languages is through the roof and for part-time work from about 20 hours a week, you can earn from 1,000 to 2,000 USD, which is usually enough to survive even in Beijing or Shanghai, the most expensive cities in the country.
Certainly, you could also teach a language in Thailand or Indonesia. But keep in mind that in the majority of Asian countries the demand for teachers is much more limited and, something that can’t be neglected, reflects an hourly wage of a much lower cost of living.
If you’ve been to Vietnam, you’ll realize that the infrastructure takes time to get accustomed to. The airports are ancient, the trains come and go as they please, high speed roads are just a dream and the traffic… forget about it!
In China, to the contrary, the government has invested an enormous amount of resources in the creation of a first rate infrastructure: high speed trains (the Beijing-Shanghai route takes five hours, while by air it will take you two), highways, cutting edge subway systems (the subway system of Shanghai is already the largest in the world) and modern airports.
Much of this infrastructure is still funded by the state, so moving around China is relatively cheap.
To give you an idea, a subway ticket in Beijing costs only a few cents and an air ticket from Beijing to Shanghai (2 hours flying time) costs less than fifty Euro, if it’s bought at least a few days before in the websites Elong o Ctrip, the companies who at the moment offer the best prices for domestic flights.
For example, in Shanghai you can still eat for a few Euros (a plate of ravioli in a tavern can be had for less than two Euro), a twenty minutes taxi ride costs about five Euros and you can still find a room for rent in the city center in an apartment with three bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and living room for about 300-400 USD a month.
If you then move to a “smaller” city – I’m still talking about cities larger than San Francisco – such as Kunming, Chengdu or Changsha, the cost of living is reduced by 30-40%.
I don’t know if it’s because of the Chinese nature or the unforgiving judicial system, but in China you always feel safe, even at night.
Connections with Asia
So long as you purchase at least two to three months in advance, you can find a round trip air ticket for the United States or Europe for about 700 USD.
And, leaving out the return home, flights that leave from Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou (the Chinese manufacturing industry capital that’s located just north of Hong Kong) for Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam or Thailand are very frequent and generally inexpensive.
The reason for this is likely due to the economic importance of China and the constant air traffic that it generates.
P.S. At the moment I buy almost all my international flights on Expedia because, at least on the China-Europe routes, they usually offer better rates than I manage to find on popular sites such as Vayama or Skyscanner.
To the center of the world
As I often say, if I were born twenty years earlier I probably would have wound up in the United States. One of the main reasons that I wound up in China was the desire to feel like I was at the center of the world. Today it is here that history is being written. And I want to be part of it.
Disadvantages Of Moving to China
If the first part of this article has already convinced you that China is your ideal destination, wait before you buy a one-way ticket from NYC-Beijing. In the Middle Kingdom we also have a few little problems.
As you probably already know, China is not a democratic country. It has never been. And to preserve the harmony (a word that is used and abused in these longitudes), for many years the government has enacted a policy of internet restrictions. While some websites are completely blocked (Facebook, Youtube or Twitter,just to mention a few of the more famous ones), others are accessible but load very slowly (I think of Gmail or sites that at first glance seem innocuous such as La Repubblica).
Keep in mind however that these are paid services and from one minute to the next could stop working due to a change in the control algorithm used by the Chinese.
[Andrew’s note: They’re also technically illegal. Many foreigners use them, but do so at your own risk and understanding that – while the government isn’t looking for you as a foreigner – you’re not dealing with the democratic courts of law you’re used to].
As opposed to countries like Thailand or Vietnam, that depend on tourism for their gross national product and have no interest in “keeping out” foreigners, in China things have changed.
The government’s priority is the country’s stability. This translates into a periodical tightening of visas, which is usually foreseeable. I remember for example that during the Tibetan revolts before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, there was a tremendous hold on tourist and business visas (even on renewals for those who lived in China for some time) and many were forced to leave the country.
Even with much lighter arrangements, during the convention (every ten years) to elect a new president and new Party executive committee held in the autumn of 2012, another tightening of visas was recorded.
That time there was a change in the documents to be presented for obtaining the visa. For example, for tourist visas, before it wasn’t necessary to have a round trip air ticket or hotel reservation for the entire length of stay. All you needed was a valid passport.
What I recommend is that you use an agency that, for a few bucks will help you resolve any bureaucratic problems you might encounter.
China is an extremely polluted country. There’s air pollution, mainly due to energy production that is based mainly on coal along with city traffic; ground water pollution caused by the runoff of industrial chemicals; to finish with food pollution due to the massive use of pesticides and not always transparent practices (I think for example at the silicone scandal where chicken legs were injected to increase their weight).
You’ll almost always be forced to live in a city
Living in a city is not obligatory, but let’s say that a Chinese city with less than a million inhabitants usually equates to a dormitory town where it’s hard to even find a bar. The only exceptions are towns that live on tourism such as Yangshuo, Dali or Lijiang.
I can vouch for this many times over, living in a village of 1.5 million people. At least there’s 1 movie theater here in Yueqing!]
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. If Thailand is too stale and Japan too expensive, then China might just be the perfect “next” destination for you.
Furio is an entrepreneur, speaker of many languages and founder of Sapore di Cina, a website that focuses on traveling and living in China.
When people think of traveling to eastern Africa, they usually think safari.
But there is so much more to see and do that often gets overlooked due to the spotlight on these highlights.
In a region renowned for great migrations of land animals, Lake Malawi stands out as something different for nature loving adventurers before or after their search for the big 5.
As the world’s 9th largest lake, Lake Malawi sits within the boundaries of Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. However, in Mozambique, it is called Lago Niassa and while in Tanzania, it is called Lake Nyasa. It is Africa’s second deepest and third largest lake as well as being the southernmost lake in the East African Rift System. As a popular safari destination, Lake Malawi is oftentimes referred to as the jewel in the crown of African tourist attractions.
Depending on water levels throughout the year, Lake Malawi is an average of 365 miles(587 km) long and 52 miles (84 km) wide, hence it being nicknamed the “calendar lake.” Populated or highly visited shorelines can be found in eastern Malawi, southern Tanzania, and western Mozambique. The Ruhuhu River flows into the lake on the northern end while the Shire River is the primary outlet on the southern end. On an interesting side note, the Shire River itself is a tributary of Mozambique’s huge Zambesi River.
Although the majority of the lake’s safari adventurers and tourists or visitors prefer the months of May through October when the climate is cooler and drier, Lake Malawi is truly a year-round destination. June and July witness the coolest average daily temperatures of 78.8° F (26° C) while August and September see the lowest average rainfall of 0.31 inches and 0.20 inches (8 and 5 mm) respectively.
Depending on the time of year you visit and where you are located when you are staying near the lake, water temperatures will range between 72° F (22° C) and 81° F (27° C). For all intents and purposes, it feels like a dry, tropical environment. Although the weather will sometimes get chilly up on the northern plateau, the days along the shoreline with be dry, sunny, and warm. In other words, you will have perfect beach weather during this period. Not to mention the fact that this is also the best time to see wild game at their favorite watering holes.
Why Lake Malawi?
My response would be why not? Lake Malawi plays a hugely important role in the surrounding economy due to its rich harvest of fish. As you explore the lake, you will note that numerous fishing villages dot the shoreline and the fishing traditional practices of the villagers attract a great many tourists throughout the year. You may have to take an occasional detour in order to reach the beach, but the lake is readily accessible along much of its shoreline.
Although the lake attracted a number of settlements throughout history, many long stretches of uninhabited shoreline still exist. One thing is certain, the sight of crystal clear lake waters lapping up and over the golden sands of the unoccupied shoreline reflects nature’s beauty and wonder on display for all to see when visiting Lake Malawi. Another attractant is the many water activities that the lake offers such as kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and water skiing, just to name a few.
Without a doubt, the lake area surrounding Lake Malawi National Park is the most picturesque part of this extraordinary body of water. Here you will see hundreds of different species of vibrantly colored cichlids, a popular aquarium fish. Furthermore, Lake Malawi’s natural scenery is positively scintillating with downward-tumbling trees carpeting the steep hills surrounding it, and a shoreline that is lapped by the bluest of waters and punctuated by numerous islands.
Consider a Malawi Safari
Overall, Malawi is one of the smallest countries on the African continent and is renowned for its always smiling, friendly inhabitants whose lifestyle is one that appears easy and slow. Plus, Lake Malawi has all of the essential ingredients of the perfect beach holiday including crystal clear waters, iridescent fish by the thousands, and sandy coves that offer privacy and seclusion. Plus, with its glass-like, ripple-free surface, you can understand why the water activities listed in the prior section are so popular in certain inhabited shoreline areas.
You might be asking yourself “a landlocked country that offers the ideal beach holiday or vacation?” You bet, but with some significant exceptions. For instance, if you’re looking for a beach holiday that offers crowded beaches and high-rise condominiums, a mainstream tourist destination covered in soulless resorts, Lake Malawi is not the place to be. On the other hand, if you want to see deserted islands covered in trees for you to lounge under, long stretches of shoreline void of footprints, and the fish eagles flying overhead, this is your next destination.
Planning Your Lake Malawi Adventure
Despite how small the country of Malawi is geographically, it has much more to offer area-wise than most larger countries on the continent. The ideal way for anyone to experience Lake Malawi along with the rest of the country is seeing its amazing landscapes, extraordinary bird life, and wildlife is by going on any of several safari tours that are currently available. The right agent can direct you to a customized beach and bush adventure that you will never forget.
If you want your Malawi safari adventure to be the stuff that dreams are made of, here are a few suggestions/tips that you might find helpful:
Create a “must do/must see” itinerary for your safari (animal, cultural, geographical, etc.).
Decide how long you would like to visit and explore Malawi.
Determine the “how” of your safari or the type of accommodations you would like to have.
Figure out the timing or when you plan to go on safari.
List all the areas you would like to visit.
Bear in mind that there is an abundance to experience and see when going on safari near Lake Malawi and throughout the country itself. For instance, a combination safari may offer a beach and bush adventure package. On the other hand, it might offer Lake Malawi National Park aquatic adventures or the Majete Wildlife Reserve’s Big Five Wildlife safari to see buffalos, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos. Ultimately, the decision on the type of safari is a matter of personal preference.
You can now find a wide range of good lodges along the Lake Malawi shoreline. In fact some lodges have been constructed close enough to the lakeshore yet surrounded by the natural beauty of the area. For instance, between Mangochi and Monkey Bay, you will find several pristine, white sandy beaches that are dotted with different types of accommodation. The difference is that the lakeshore lodging reflects the true African character and architectural style, not some garish, high-rise, resort condo sitting among others on an overcrowded beach.
The Best Safari Travel Advice: Preparation Is (Almost) Everything
One thing you’ve got to get right t have an ideal trip is packing. Packing light is vital, especially if you are carrying your luggage à la backpack style or taking multiple charter flights in between destinations. Most charter flights limit you to 25 to 30 lbs. (10 to 15 kg) maximum in carry-on luggage.
We’ve prepared the perfect safari packing list for you here.
Additionally and circumstances permitting, think about packing clothing, medical supplies, school supplies, etc. in order to support the local initiatives of the community you are visiting especially those that are located near concession areas, reserves, and wildlife parks. In other words, Pack for a Purpose when going to Malawi.
Malawi’s currency is the Malawian Kwacha (MK) and its most popular exchange activity occurs with the Pound Sterling (GBP/£) and the US Dollar (USD/$) while 1MK is comprised of 100 tambala (t). Bank notes are issued in 200, 100, 50, 10, and 5MK. Coins are issued in 1MK along with 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1t. However, the tambala is no considered as being worthless and only used by locals. On an interesting side note, Malawians do not expect a tip as many cafés and restaurants usually include a gratuity on your bill.
Personal Safety when visiting Malawi
For many years now, Malawi has been referred to as the “Warm Heart of Africa” due to the friendliness and hospitality that local Malawians are known for. For expatriates and foreign visitors alike, this is not a travel destination that people view as dangerous. The larger cities such as Lilongwe and primary tourism routes will see muggings and robberies occasionally. So you are always advised not to venture out alone in the evenings.
Malaria can be a problem in Malawi just as it is in other African nations while the freshwaters of Lake Malawi are prone to bilharzia. It is especially common in the waters surrounding the Cape Maclear area. Unfortunately, this is a disease whose symptoms can take months to surface. On a closing note, there is a 14% HIV prevalence in Malawi, meaning that 1 in every 7 adults has the virus. These statistics are not meant to scare you away from traveling to Malawi. They are only suggestions for maintaining your personal safety and staying healthy in the process. After all, you want to be able to enjoy the memories of your safari for years to come.