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From Hell and Back to Ultimate Freedom.

Today I am writing this from a beautiful mountain view home in a peaceful, spacious area in the countryside of Thailand. I have been pretty much full time traveling and adventuring around the world for almost a decade now and right now I am having some of the greatest years of my life. But the story of how I ended up here started a long time ago with some unbelievable tragedy and bad luck.

This is actually something that I’m very uncomfortable talking about but I feel this urge that I need to put this out there as it is an essential part of my story and how I got to where I am today. I actually started to write this article months ago but was to scared to publish it.  So here we go…

The once in a lifetime experience of that was the start of my best years.

On December 27th 2002 I set off on a one year around the world adventure. This is something that I had always wanted to do but it had taken be having two years of the most terrible repetitive bad luck to give me the push to make that jump and do it. I believe that if I had not had these years serious bad luck and tragedy, I may have never bought that ticket that led to nearly a decade of world traveling adventures living an amazing happy life.

I have always wondered, “Does life have to be really so shit before it can be really amazing ?”

Two Years of Repetitive Bad Luck.

So in the couple of years before my round the world trip I had some of the worst luck that I’ve ever had in all my life, all condensed back to back over the space of a couple of years. I had my designer furniture business collapse twice through no fault of my own, I started having regular epileptic seizures, went through a bad break up of a long term relationship, lost use of my right arm for six months after a drunken falling through a window, all connected together by a whole load of other bad stuff filling in the gaps.

Watching my Business burn to the ground

I had built this great little business from scratch since 1998, designing and producing fantastic hand made furniture, mirror frames and resin-cast ornaments and sculptures. Then one day early 2001 I woke up to a phone call that my business was on fire. I got there as quick as I could and there was nothing I could do but to watch in front of my eyes as this freak fire burnt through my workshops which were full of highly flammable chemicals and materials. I lost all the manufacturing processes, materials, stock and machinery. With no insurance, I lost everything.

So I bravely picked myself up and started again. I worked day and night to build this business to be even better than it was before. I did several high end exhibitions across the UK and was hugely successful in collecting loads of orders which would rebuild my business again. I had a great little team of guys building this stuff and we were sending out huge volumes of product out to customers across the UK by courier.

My best friend gets a dose of my bad luck.

Helping me rebuild my business during the summer of 2001, one of my very best friends who I met at art collage several years earlier was helping me complete a batch of orders for mirror frames.  Using a router table set up, basically a table with a hole in the middle with a high speed super powerful cutter sticking out which you have to push wood attached to templates through. These machines have no mercy and unfortunately he got one of his fingers tangled in the machine that ripped it to shreds, cutting it to the bone.  This guy was an up and coming artist at the time and this 2 second accident had but a real dent in his future. I felt so guilty about this for a long, long time.

Luckily I can say that he determinedly bounced back from the accident and right now, today is a highly successful artist with his paintings in many respected galleries around the world and we are still the best of friends.

My birthday –  September 11th 2001.

Yes, that terrible day of 9-11 and the twin towers attack. That was my birthday. And as everyone remembers where they were that awful day when the live pictures were shown on the news around the world. I remember sitting there watching this stuff on TV on my birthday and looking back at my recent life and thinking, “what is the state of this world ? This world is terrible, my life is terrible”.

The Courier Company Cowboys

In late 2001 I displayed my wares at one of the biggest furniture exhibitions in the UK. Hugely successful taking tons of orders that we then had to make and be delivered by my courier in time for Christmas all over the UK. Turns out that this courier company that I was using were absolute monkeys ! On me sending out over $20,000 worth of products split between 150 different orders with different delivery addresses across the UK, this courier company had somehow managed to lose or break over 70% of the consignments.

The whole job suddenly became a customer support nightmare. I was having to deal with non-stop complaints from customers who had not received or had to send back their broken items. We had to make all that 70% again and use a different courier and I worked my way through every order to get it right. Miraculously I managed to get every order rectified and delivered in time for Christmas.

Then comes the bill for the courier, they will refund at cost price value of the items lost and broken (in theory), but the catch is “that no insurance claim will be considered until full receipt for carriage has been received.” Long story short, early 2002 I had to go to court with them, and by the time we got to court the courier company had almost gone out of business (they we’re real cowboys). I stupidly defended myself (because my cheap useless lawyer never turned up to court) and the courier company brought out liars/lawyers like the mafia. Total mess, nobody won, we both came away with nothing.

The Doctor’s Verdict.

Most probably stress related I also started getting sudden loss of consciousness and going into epileptic seizures. I started drinking quite heavily and started to lose the plot a little bit. Followed then by loosing my girlfriend of 5 years, which screwed me up even further.

Then the next blow was when on a visit to the doctor he pretty much said that I could no longer continue my business with my epilepsy continually getting worse. I was working around some extremely vicious woodworking machines that seriously do not mix with my occasional no warning sudden loss of consciousness. Simply put, if I was to continue this hand made designer furniture business and was one day walking around the workshop and had an epileptic fit and fell into one of these machines it would have turned out very messy, guaranteed.

Drunkenness and the Glass Window

So I was in a real mess, and the best idea I could come up with was to hit the bottle even harder. Now people who know me well, know that when I go into party mode like this I am pretty wild. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t fun, I had a great few months blow out, I had some fantastic nights out, all night parties, and waking up in some of the most weird places. I could probably write a whole book just about those few months and the mischief I got myself into (even though I can honestly only remember less than half of it because I was so wasted).

So after a few months of partying my bad luck hadn’t been around for a while and I was to drunk to even care or notice. Until, one drunken night ,coming home with a friend for late night extra drinks I fell thru a glass window and serious lacerated my forearm and wrist, blood squirting everywhere (so I was told, as I was so drunk I can barley remember). Next day after, feeling very light headed I was visiting my mum and was showing her the result of my little accident, how I can’t move or feel my fingers. Much to my disagreement she managed to convince me that I had to go to hospital immediately and get it checked out. Turns out it was very serious, I’d managed to slice the tendons in my arm losing the use of my thumb and two fingers on my right hand. It needed operating on and will take six months recovery minimum.

Head Screwed

So now I’m an artist (right-handed) who gets drunk a lot and have lost total use of my right hand for minimum six months. The thoughts going though my head that I will never be able to draw or sculpt anything again.

So what did I do ? Go and get drunk some more and throw a few soft drugs into the mix. And with the stress of not dealing with the problems of my business that I was having to now refuse orders and close my business that was leading me to have more epileptic seizures.

Dealing with Epilepsy

Epileptic Fits, seizures what ever you want to call them, they really do suck. I can tell you from my experience that it is the most horrible feeling waking up after one of these fits. First you feel so disorientated, not knowing where you are, who you are, totally confused. Then someone (who was lucky/unlucky enough to have been around me when it happened), sometimes a friend, sometimes a stranger, tells me that I have just had a seizure and I instantly feel the most extreme sadness. Like I am am useless and not in control. I usually then need a day or two of sleep to get my energy back.

Having epilepsy sucks and (with my arm in a sling still repairing from the going through the window incident), no girlfriend, no business, I got more drunk and I guess I wanted to feel sorry for myself.

If anyone reading this was around me at this time I need also to apologize because looking back I must admit that I actually became a real asshole also. I was becoming so screwed up.

The feeling sorry for myself about having epilepsy stopped immediately when I started to research everything about epilepsy. What I discovered was that no matter how bad I thought my epilepsy was, it was nothing compared to some people who suffered from really bad epilepsy.

I was only having these seizures a couple of times a week at the very most and monthly when it calmed down. I discovered that there is a lot people who suffer from serious epilepsy having multiple seizures every hour every day. They have to wear protective head wear 24-7 and have to have someone around them at all times. This woke me up big time. It made me stop feeling sorry for myself and realize that I was actually really lucky to have this epilepsy in it’s mildest form. I believe that this moment of clarity about my condition was the first ingredient of the catalyst that lead me to the amazing (free of epilepsy) life that I am living today.

I’m not sure exactly when but sometime in the next few weeks while thinking deeply about everything I had the second ingredient that led me to where I am today. That was the moment where I thought about the idea of the reality of this round the world trip that I had always dreamed about. I researched as much as I could and was thinking but what about my epilepsy ? But what about my business, what about my friends and family ? What about the international the threat of terror attacks ?

The actual exact moment when I decided to do it started with a, (please excuse my French) “Fuck It !”. (as nearly all of my most exciting experiences ever have started with me uttering those same two words)

Thoughts of Death

Well, I had no business, no lady, my life was in a mess and I not only needed but I dam well deserved a break. But epilepsy and traveling around the world alone was probably dangerous.

I figured that my epilepsy was no way as bad as some people who have suffer from this condition and if I was going to die from some freak accident from having a seizure, falling down and fatally banging my head on something, I would like it to (and I believed that my friends and family would be a whole lot more proud of me) be from falling off a mountain in Nepal or somewhere awesome like that but, defiantly not whilst sitting at home watching daytime TV because I’m unable to work because of my epilepsy.

The Magic Ticket Purchase

My whole frame of mind had changed almost overnight. So in late 2002 I bought the round the world ticket and had a few months to sell all my stuff and work and save and get prepared for my journey of a lifetime.

In these months leading up to setting off on my round the world adventure I was feeling like no one could stop me and the adrenalin mixed with fear of the journey ahead of me, I was totally back on form, focused and feeling great.

So that magic ingredient that was the catalyst for what turned out to be a decade of amazing adventures and experiences was I believe the day I actually purchased that ticket. From the day I got the ticket I had so much motivation that it was no problem for me to sort myself out and everything just fell into place naturally from there. Getting prepared to go, going, doing it, was the easy part, for me it was the committing to actually just buying the ticket. My drinking calmed down and in turn my epilepsy pretty much nearly stopped. Sometimes I think back to that day and wonder if I had not bought that ticket at that time my life, it may have turned out totally different. Who Knows ?

So what is the moral of this story ? To be honest, I really don’t know.

But I have often said since then my quote that I either made up or picked up from some where.

“Life IS a roller coaster. It’s all about enjoying the highs and grit your teeth through the lows.”

If your life is good right now, enjoy and take a moment to appreciate it.

If your life is shit right now, grit your teeth and plow through it because there IS great stuff to come.

:)

posted by admin in Adventure,Business,Travelling and have View Comments

Your Job is Doomed !

CubicleThe Dark Digital Future of the Cubicle Warrior

Sounds a bit scary eh ?

So let’s say you work in an office, call center or whatever, you love it and would be happy to work there for the rest of your life. Not my cup of tea but, (without being too in your face) I want to tell any cubicle warriors, don’t get comfortable in that comfy little office cubicle because if my calculations work out to be correct, your job may not always be there for you, and it maybe disappearing sooner than you think.

Let me explain a few of the factors in the direction I believe everything is going.

Photo Credit : yuan2003

Outsourcing

Last month I was doing a bit of recruitment, looking for another Philippines full time home based virtual assistant. Part of my process for whittling down the applicants, (so I only have to interview the best) is that successful applicants have to take a special half-hour exam that I have created and tweaked over time. Some of the questions in the exam are for me to get an idea of their personality like, ‘4 pictures that you could see your self putting up in your own house’ or ‘4 quotes that inspire you’. But there are some questions in my exam that are testing their research skills. And it’s the answers to these questions, added with a few other ingredients that leads me to concluding that, the traditional ‘job’ is doomed.

The answers to some of these questions just blew me away with the depth they have gone into. When given the task of finding information about a particular subject and condensing it into a short presentation, the detail and professionalism is just amazing.

These are mostly Filipinos in their mid-twenty’s and they are seriously on point with the virtual assistant thing. (although some of them are not so good) Armed with a just a PC and working from home these guys will one day be taking your job.

Once the all the big corporate companies get fully on board with outsourcing and they iron out the bumps, your job is gone.

And as a double combo downer, check this out….

It Has to Change.

Take a real futurist look at the situation. Right now today it does not make any sense why companies have to pay to run these massive buildings to home hundreds of thousands of workers who have travel to work burning up the ozone. This expensive energy wasting way of working simply can’t continue forever. And as technology develops we are coming to a point where there is no reason why any traditional office worker should have to actually ‘go’ to work anymore.

Your job is safe for now because I reckon that some time in the next 10 years working remotely will become widely embraced. It’s happening right now.

I say, bring it on.

It won’t be long before you can have a full time job where instead of ‘going to work’ you login to work via your iphone and the possibilities are endless.

Just to throw another absract angle at you check this out, The Futures of Military Cubicle Warrior – Marionettes of Digitalized Warfare

Then once the cubical warrior thing blends with remote work comes the whole new era of books and blogs about ‘Remote working Hell – How to escape the ‘Digital Cubical’.

What’s your thoughts on where you think this ‘internet merging with work‘ thing is going ?

posted by admin in Business,Futurology,remote working and have View Comments

Time for a Challenge. Wanna Join Me ?

For the month of October I am taking on a challenge for 30 days with the simple intention on making my life extra awesome.  This is something I do quite regularly, sometimes 10 days, sometimes 7 days, and 30days about twice a year. Usually every few months I set myself a goal, mission or challenge, but this is the first time ever I am publically sharing my crazy little plan.

So the idea is that I am going to use this period for the whole of next month to focus and get alot of stuff done whilst also improving my lifestyle.

So what’s the challenge ?

Well actually a bunch of challenges that all sort of interconnect. I plan to break one bad habit and develop a new habit whilst also putting a crazy amount of focus into my online business.

Breaking a habit

I am addicted to coke (the black fizzy liquid). I used drinking Coca-cola as a way to cut down the amount of beer I was drinking a few years ago. It worked, but the problem is now that I drink far to much coke and could pretty much say I’m hooked on it. Of course it is not the most healthy drink in the world to be drinking all day, but I love it. I have a neat little trick up my sleeve on how I am going to tackle this one that may be quite entertaining. More coming soon on that.

Developing a new habit.

Any habit can be achieved (or broken) by doing it for 21 consecutive days. So my habit that I would like to grow is simply writing. Sounds pretty basic but, for me writing is really not time efficient. It is almost impossible to build online businesses without writing, and although I have content writers who I employ to write stuff for my affiliate businesses I would love to write more on this blog and eventually one day I may even write a book. I get really jealous reading some blogs where they say they can write several blog posts in an hour whilst I struggle to write a half-decent article for hours. It’s not that I’m stupid, I can obviously write, but speed and quality is what I want to improve. I am going to tackle this by writing 3 short articles a day for 30 days. And I am also going to commit to posting an article every day on this blog for the whole of next month.

Business Booster.

I will kill one of my existing businesses that ain’t performing. I will build a new business from scratch or fully develop an existing one. I will also be doing alot of work on this blog which not really a business in itself but more of a fun place that is sort of becoming my online home. I am also considering sharing my Business Booster Mission right here on this blog. BUT only if you are interested, so let me know if this is something you’d like to see.

And just to make it more challenging, I am also going on a 30day detox. Zero intoxicants, no caffeine, no alcohol, loads of raw fruit and vegetables, a little exercise and hour less sleep per night.

Care to join me ?

Challenged yourself recently ? Have you got something you’d like to challenge yourself with ? A habit you want to break ? A habit you want to develop ? A 30 day Business Booster Adventure ? A 30 day detox ? Whatever.

Comments, suggestions, and ideas would be much appreciated. I guess need a little support.

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The 4 Hour Work Week and 7 Minute Abs.

The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Feriss – Escape the 9-5. Live anywhere and join the New Rich.

If you’ve never heard of this book before, then you’ve certainly missed something special.

The title may seem a little sketchy to the skeptical, as good friend of mine most hilariously said,

“4 hour work week ? phffff, sound’s like 4 Minute Abs”

and then refers to this classic clip from the movie, Something About Mary.

But seriously,The 4 Hour Work Week is the one book that sorta put all the pieces together for me after years of struggling to figure out exactly how it all should connect together. This book is defiantly in my top 3 non-fiction books of all time. Even though it is a few years old now, I would still highly recommend it to any one who is interested in how the modern entrepreneur can and should work. In fact I would reccomend this book to anyone who wants to break out of a 9-5 traditional job.

Find out more about this wicked book The 4 Hour Work Week at http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog

Have you heard of this book before ? I’m interested because nearly everyone of my online entreprenurs buddies know this book’s concepts inside and out. And there is alot of people who started there online businesses directly as a result of consuming this excellent book. So have you heard of it ? If so do you rate it as one of the best books out there for web business newbies.

posted by admin in Business,Lifestyle Design and have View Comments

TEDx in Bangkok

I was honored to be an attendee at the recent TEDx in Bangkok. A gathering of  big thinkers, artists, entreprenurs, grass roots changers, musicians, and amazing minds. I highly recommend you watch the two videos on this page, you will be educated, inspired and blown away.

What is TED ?

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

What is Tedx ?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. This event wass called TEDxKrungthep, where x = independently organized TED event. At the TEDxKrungthep event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combined to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

I will be posting videos and pics of this event on this blog later this week, in the meantime get a taste for what’s in store by watching these two classic TED talks below. At 10mins and 20mins, so if you don’t have the time, make the time and watch these when you get a chance. Seriouly excellent stuff. Enjoy

Adora Svitak: What Adults can Learn from Kids

Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

See more like this at TED.com Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.

posted by admin in Art,Business and have View Comments

7 Extraordinary Once in a Lifetime Experiences whilst Traveling the World

Back in late 2002 I set of on a journey of a lifetime to travel around the world, thinking if I can make it a whole one year I would be more than satisfied. Once my mind had been opened to how vast the world is and many amazing experiences are out there to be had, I was hooked. Nearly 10 years later I am still traveling and loving every day of it. Here are just a very small hand full of some of the fantastic experiences I have had since I first set off on that round the world adventure back in 2002.

One in Thirty Chance of being Shot at in a Helicopter over the Burmese Border.

It started with a late night out in the town of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I was drinking with a few Thai friends in this bar and got chatting to this Thai guy. We really got on well and drank for hours, when the end of the night came he revealed to me that he was a helicopter pilot for the Thai army and asked if I would like to come with him the next day to fly over to Burma. He asked where I was staying and said he would pick me up in the morning. He had to go because as he said, he has to get some sleep and sober up because he has to fly his helicopter in the morning. I said, “ yeah, yeah, yeah” not believing anything he was telling me, said goodnight and thought that was that.

Then 10 am the next morning he is banging on my door. I could not do it, I was too hung over, I had to say no. We rearranged and did do it the next day.

Wow, so he was like the Captain super duper boy at the local army base and I was his VIP guest. We flew over the River Kwai, across the mountains and jungles of Kanchanaburi, heading west towards Burma where they had to drop of supplies for the Thai army guys who man the border. It was like a valley which was the actual border with sand bags and a machine gun on either side. A little Thai camp on this side and a little Burmese army camp on the other side.

It was only after we had been there and I was asking them if they ever actually start shooting at each other. They told me, in a relaxed way, “Not really, but about once a month as we are landing they sometimes shoot at the helicopter”.  Seriously, I would have died from shock instantly if I had heard the pinging of bullets hitting this helicopter. Everything went fine and when we got back to the base in Kanchanaburi town, the whiskey and beers came out and it went on from there. Man, these fellas could drink.

Living and Training with Genuine Shaolin Kung Fu Monks at Wu Wei Temple, China

Temple PavilionsWhist I was in Dali in northwestern Yunnan Province, China in early 2003 I was lucky enough to become on of the first few foreigners to stay at this amazing Wu Wei Si ancient Shaolin Kung Fu Temple way up (7700ft) in the mountains of Cangshan.

I was only there for a week, but still an amazing experience. I had to live as they did. Right down to the vegan diet, which I wasn’t looking forward to but actually really enjoyed. One of the monks there had been doing these strict 8 hours a day training for 40 years. He was over 50 years old (looked about 25) and was a little guy, but you should have seen him move. He was somersaulting ,flipping and flying through the air with precision that would make your jaw drop. The way of living was also quite interesting and refreshing, with no electric and water from a mountain stream, the usual day would start about 4am and lights out and bed by 9pm.

Whilst there I learned a handful of ninja tricks and got really flexible, but I have to be honest and admit that I was glad to get out of there by the end as I felt the training over days turned to torture. We were pushed to our limits and well beyond, I was also desperate to eat some meat.

Once I got out of there I indulged in oven baked pizzas and yak meat goulash (the local delicacy-very tasty) in the main Dali town, which is an amazing place with fantastic little restaurants and cafes surrounded by some of the oldest Tang Dynasty (10th century) standing structures in southern China.

My International Traveling Movie Star Career

I have had background parts as an movie extra in 3 totally different movies whilst on my world travels so far. A Chinese Ghost Movie, A World War II movie and a Thai historical movie.

The Chinese Ghost movie was being filmed using the Shaolin Temple in Dali as a Background. They got us to where the black cloaks a run around in this forest at night. It was really interesting to watch the special effects of this movie. There were these guys running around burning some special leaves in metal cans and wafting a big board to fan the smoke into the scene. Another thing that was awesome to see was how they were using these spring boards where the actors would bounce into the air doing all sorts of tricks.

I was a Prisoner of War in a Thai movie where I was a slave working on the famous Death railway. Even more fun because I had a scene where I was shot in the chest, wearing an exploding blood pack under my shirt I had to die and fall off the railway into a pile of boxes. Being a stuntman for the day is so, so cool in my book.

Later that day I almost fainted on set because we were standing in the blazing sun most of the day and the movie team looking after us were spraying with ice cold water feeding us free beers all day. Sounds great, but the perfect recipe for sun stoke. Messy

In the Thai movie The Legend of King Naresuan I played 4 different Portuguese soldiers on different occasions. I worked on this movie loads of times and it sounds like fun (which it was), but it is actually really hard work. Starts 6am, Make up, big false beards, wearing heavy full body loads and saddled up with swords, guns and spears.

There is a lot of waiting round. Some days they would only use me for 10 mins, some days were harder.

Full action scenes involved running around in the sun dodging horses, elephants and pyrotechnic

explosions. This was the biggest budget Thai movie to date at the time and it was enormous in scale. They had taken over this huge Army Base and built full traditional bamboo hut villages, temples and massive battle fields. With hundreds of extras running around everywhere, I saw quite a few accidents because the safety procedures were maybe not to same level as Hollywood productions.

I heard a story that apparently after filming for 2 years most of the footage got lost or stolen and they had to film most of the film again. Filming went on for another couple of years, and I seemed to keep getting called back several times over the years.

Wearing a Police Mans Uniform in Cambodia

This one is a bit weird. I became friendly with a Cambodia guy who insisted that I came to visit his home village. It was far away deep in the farming communities along the Cambodia border. I was officially the very first foreigner to ever visit this tiny village. I was blown away at how much they welcomed me, every house in the village was almost fighting over having me come to eat at their home. They put on parties where the whole village came out to enjoy. It was amazing, but when it got weird was when the local village police man who was really drunk at the time started getting really insistent with me that I try on his police shirt. Next thing I knew he had stripped down to his underwear and had sort of forced me to wear his whole uniform. I remember thinking this is just odd as I am standing there in full police uniform and the policeman is standing there in his boxers.

Built an Indian Restaurant from Scratch in Thailand

Time for some slow traveling. The story of how I came to do this was back in 2006 I had been traveling round Southeast Asia for a few years and had enough money left to do about another year of traveling. I came up with the idea that instead of traveling for another year I could basically gamble my money setting up a business in Thailand that if successful would not necessarily make me rich but more provide me with free food and accommodation and a base 5 years. At the time I was partying and drinking too much and needed to get into something to keep myself busy and change my pattern. I did months of research and considered loads of different possibilities. I finally chose that I was going to open a high end restaurant in Kanchanaburi and I had boiled it down to either Italian, Mexican or Indian. I went for Indian and headed off to Malaysia to learn everything thing I needed to know about setting up an Indian restaurant from scratch.

It took six months to develop everything and I will never forget that first day opening, because I had done what I always say not to do, ‘Never put all you eggs in one basket’.

So with fingers and toes crossed the doors opened and I was in the situation where if this fails I’m in big trouble. Luckily the gamble paid off and the restaurant was an instant success. Some of the rave reviews we had were very good and word off mouth brought us more an more customers. After about a year assisting in getting it going I was able to step back and let it run by itself, (well actually my Thai missus was running it all, managing several staff and chefs from Nepal and Bangladesh).

I was now able to step back and focus on my next plan, figuring out internet marketing and learning about building an online business. I knew that the internet was definitely where I wanted to do future businesses because of the freedom of being able to operate the business from anywhere in the world. This was before the word location independent business even really existed.

The Indian restaurant business was fantastic for about 3 years then in the last 2 years it profits slowly fell as world economic problems and Thai political protests lowered tourism by about 70%. It had turned into a situation where the business was really struggling to exist let alone make a profit. The problem with this business was that it relied on a steady flow of tourists.

In May 2010 I had to bravely put a bullet in the head of this business and eliminate it. I could have saved it but chose to kill it so as to free up more of my time so I can concentrate fully on my online businesses.

Spear Fishing at Night in the Cook islands

One Foot Island, Aitutaki, Cook IslandsThis is one of those mind blowing experiences that I will never forget. Whilst staying in the Cook Islands for a month I became friendly with the family who’s guest house I was staying at. One of the sons who I became very good friends with started taking me out night fishing with him. We have these home made spear/catapults with underwater torches, snorkel, mask, flippers. We would walk out to sea and float on the surface looking for fish down in the corals. The fish are asleep and not moving so you are supposed to sneak up and pull back the spear and fire. We would collect many different beautiful looking fish and take them back to his home and store on ice. We went out doing this a few times over a week then on Saturday night I would help them prepare the pit barbecue. There is something that makes seafood seem to taste even better when you have caught it your self and share with friends.

This place was truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

Designed and Built a Fully Articulated Puppet Creature

I built a mini workshop/studio to the rear of my Indian Restaurant and took on this dream project of mine. In my early twenties I worked for several years as a freelance puppet builder, mainly working on small stop-motion puppets for animated productions such as Wind in the Willows and Noddy just to name a few. I had always wanted to build a full body high tech cable controlled creature puppet similar in construction to the original Yoda puppet used in Star Wars-The Empire Strikes Back.

So I did it, a massive project to take on, chipping away at it for a few hours each day for about 14 months, I went through the whole process from design on paper, sculpting, mold making, casting latex skins, building articulated skeleton, building mechanisms and controls.

I did all this using some basic tools that I got in Thailand and also basic materials; from resins from car repair shops to bicycle brake cables from bicycle shops. I found liquid latex many other materials from  hardware shops and artist/craft shops. Sourcing the materials was part of the challenge.

For some parts I had to find a local Thai guy to help me, like the levers controls where designed by me but made in a motorbike repair shop where they had all the equipment to do metal welding. These Thai guys and some of the Thai locals who new what I was up to thought it was fascinating. Because it must seem to Thais that the stereotypical farang (foreigner) staying here are mostly just largeing it up on the piss.

I also videoed most of the design and building process and someday maybe would like to deal with the monstrous task of editing these tens of hours of footage.

There were plans that this creature was destined present a youtube video games review show, but for several reasons it didn’t get further than test shots. You can see more about this project at AtomicNinjaMonkey.com

One thing I can certainly say about this project is that I think I can honestly claim that I am the only Farang (forigner) ever to have done this (Creature Construction) in Thailand.

Hope you enjoyed that, and if you did, show me a bit of love by commenting below, and If you wanna do me a super favor and share this on Twitter or Facebook, It will just take a second and I’d truly appreciate it.

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The End of an Era

In this video I am taking you on a quick tour of my Indian Restaurant that we are presently knocking down. Ali Bongo’s -Taste of India in Kanchanaburi, Thailand was one of the best rated restaurants in the main tourist area of  the town. It has been featured in many travel guide books and travel magazines. It has been also featured on Thai television and has many people who come back again and again for more.

Mix Grill

Unfortunately due to the sharp decrease in tourism we have had to close this restaurant, at least for now anyway. It’s pretty saddening for me in one way because I built this place from scratch but on the positive side I am happy to be out of the restaurant game as it is one of those businesses where the “business is the boss of you”.  Fun but a nightmare to manage.

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