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Six weeks in Darjeeling – The Wrap Up.

Darjeeling, India – I love it.

From the steep, twisting streets of the town to the momentous mountain views, friendly locals, top food and fresh climate. By “fresh” I’m referring to it being cold which to be honest, caught me a little bit off guard at first. I mean it’s India it ain’t supposed to be cold but then it dawned on me, with all the Tea farming I should have expected it to be cold. I remember years ago I stayed in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia and it was the same. Perfect for tea plantations, cold and wet and at high altitudes.

Below you can see my whole Darjeeling trip condensed into one video packed full of goodness. From my bumpy jeep journey up through the mountains from Siliguri to Kurseong Railway station, a trip on the famous Toy Train along the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway through to a tour of the local town and it’s surrounding areas. All mixed in with a few of my interesting little insights along the way.


cant’ see the video ? click here.

Like a fool I of course turned up in Darjeeling in pretty much in shorts and t-shirt and had to resort to wearing almost everything I had with me. Even though it was very cold it was quite refreshing for me as I’ve been living in hot climates for the last few years and I fell in love with Darjeeling within days and decided to stay a while. One of the first things that first hit me about Darjeeling (apart from the cold) was how much it didn’t feel like India. With not so many Indian-looking people and structures around it felt more like China or Nepal. As I learned more about the interesting history of Darjeeling from the locals it all made sense.

My Home

A major factor in me loving Darjeeling had a lot to do with the excellent place I was staying at, The Revolver Lodge is a funky little ‘Beatles themed’ place with most importantly free wifi that is pretty solid (essential for a digital nomad such as myself), stylish rooms, electric blanket bed warmers for those chilly nights, satellite Tv, books DVDs and attracting real interesting travelers

cant’ see the video ? click here.

I had phoned this place whilst on the train on the way to Darjeeling and when I arrived I was majorly impressed by the whole vibe they had going on at this stylish little lodge. Looked at the rooms and thought “Yes- this will do at least for my first night or two”. Six weeks later I was still there. Met some great people, saw some amazing sights and had a real chilled (literally) relaxing time.

A Day in The Life Of

An average top day for me rolled out something like this:

6am Up bright and early, mountain view walk to this tiny little local shop for a big cup of strong black Darjeeling tea.

7am work online for a few hours. using the good WiFi with my USB dongle as backup.

10am Breakfast at a local vegetarian restaurant- my favorite, Baked Beans on Toast topped with Cheese.

11am Back to Revolver for an hour or two blast on the Playstation3 -working my way thru a fantastic Sci-Fi first-person-shooter, chipping away at it thru to it’s completion a little bit each day.

1pm Work online for a couple of hours –by using some ninja productivity tricks I can get 4-5 hours work done in 2 hours.

2-3pm Lunch at Glenery’s Restaurant – too many amazing dishes to mention but I did become addicted to their roast chicken with roasted veg. Washed down with a chocolate brownie and ice cream covered in hot chocolate sauce. Burp.

4pm Back to my room at revolver for a bit of TV and maybe a cheeky afternoon siesta to sleep off my big lunch.

6-7pm shower and out for an evening meal – Indian or Chinese and quite often Italian. I found this awesome place that did fantastic pizza and pasta called “The Hot Pizza Place”, couldn’t keep myself away from there.

9pm back to revolver to work online as the US is starting to wake up.

11.45pm Midnight movie (and flick on that electric blanket for a toasty hot bed) – crash out for the night.

All Good

Pretty simple but a great little routine where I got tons of work done and at the same time had a real chilled out lifestyle that I changed up a lot and really got into. :)

Let me know in the comments below if you think Darjeeling appeals to you. Or if you have been there before, how did you rate it ?

And Then It Turned Bad

All round, I really, really liked Darjeeling and my stay at Revolver – THEN my whole India trip suddenly started to go seriously pear shaped and then got worse and led to me leaving India and having some life threatening and scariest, maddest few weeks I’ve had for a long, long time. :(   Find out all about that in my next post….

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First Half Day in India. Tripping out in Calcutta.

To sum up my first impressions of India in one word it would be “Mental”. After now being in India for nearly 3 weeks now I have started to adapt to the madness of it all. But let me tell you a crazy story about my very first day.

After a house sitting for a year in Thailand I was ready for some serious traveling adventures. Flew from Bangkok landing in Kolkata (Calcutta) airport with my girlfriend and we set off on an adventure to get to a hotel and get settled. I don’t know why but for some reason I did it all a little different than I usually would. Normally, when landing in a country that I have never visited before I would always book a room in advance for at least the first night. This time I only had the name of the train station closest to the airport and the plan was to get a bus from the airport to there, (I always try to avoid taxis from airport’s as they’re usually a rip off and rather my first experiences of a country be traveling with the locals rather than potentially being cheated) then head to Sudder Street area (backpacker central where all the cheap hotels and tourist information places are). Get a room, get our bearings and figure out how to get myself connected to the internet. The journey from the airport went smoothly and we soon arrived at Sudder Street (sort of like Thailand’s Khaosan Road), not my ideal place to stay but a good easy start rather than jumping straight off the tourist track.

This guy sits in his little cupboard shop 14 hours a day!

This is where it all started to go slightly weird, I’d heard about the tourist touts and was saying “No thank you” alot as we battled round looking for a decent guest house to drop our bags and get showered and relax. Many of the hotels and guest houses were full so when we did find one that had rooms we went for it. The hotel was an old British built building with really high ceilings and after checking in we were lead to our room by this tiny old Indian midget guy who was about 3ft tall, dropped our bags and quick freshen up. The missus wanted a little sleep whilst I went out to figure out the internet situation.

After just 2 hours, I had worked it all out and had set myself up with a usb dongle thing that I could plug straight into my laptop and apparently good speed internet 24/7. I’d have to test it out for a day or so to actually believe it but I was very proud of myself and was almost dancing back to my room punching the air with satisfaction that I was fully connected within hours of landing in India.

I got back to the room opened the door and was hit by this strong smell of some sort of thinners or gasoline and the missus sitting on the bed not looking happy. “What the hell is that smell”, I said. She explained that because of the noise of the traffic outside she had closed the window, as it was wide open when we first arrived and that she could smell gasoline and figured that it was coming from the traffic outside.

After trying to work it out for 10 minutes I said, “Right, we’re not havin this” and went to grab a hotel staff to get them to sort it out or at least put us in another room.

By this time I was starting to spin out a little bit (and the missus was pretty much tripping) from inhaling the fumes and when the little 3ft tall hotel guy came to our room with really high ceiling (about 20ft) it was all starting to feel a little bit like Alice in wonderland. Just to make it even weirder the little Indian hobbit guy was armed with a supersize (about 1ft tall) can of air freshener. He sprayed the room and told us that we must keep the window open.

“Eh? So the smell is in the room then?” I said,

The little guy replied “Yeah, we use Paraffin to kill the bed bugs”

WTF ?

After being left very confused and shocked by it all, we quickly checked out of that hotel and found another place, which turned out to be really nice and was actually cheaper but, most importantly didn’t smell of Paraffin.

Incredible India !?! What a bizarre first day.

Jump in the comments below and let me know…

Have you been to India ? Got any tips, must see places, or weird experiences to share?

If you have not visited India, does it appeal to you ? Probably not after reading this ;)

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Who said being homeless is a bad thing?

A quick explanation of the start of my next exciting adventure. After living it up at my temporary Thailand HQ for a year, being a house-sitting gig for a good friend of mine(who is one cool dude that ten years ago went around the world on a motorbike!) the house finally sold and I’m outta here. I’ve got rid of a lot of my stuff; Big screen Tv, Sofa, Oven, Motorbike and loads of other stuff that I’ve accumulated over the last couple of years. Sold it or gave it away and now down to the bare minimal. Bags packed and off for some full time traveling again. I’d actually been planning this for a long time so as to not get too comfortable at this house and then be sad when it sold.

India is where my next adventures will be taking me and I am really excited about the whole trip and what is ahead of me. I’ve very roughly planned it out but will be pretty much working it out as I go (which makes it even more exciting). Rocking a totally organic itinerary, nothing is set in stone and I will just go with the flow, gathering tips and tricks and making travel decisions from those I meet in India. The only thing I’m worrying about a little bit, is how wobbly the internet is, with all my business being done online, crappy internet really screws me up.

In this video I talk about this as a lesson on perception. Because when I first got news that the house was sold and I am out, I could have taken it really badly (and to be honest was really gutted because it is a fantastic place) but by setting up an amazing adventure ahead of me it makes me concentrate on that. Think back to the saying “The glass of water is half full or half empty” I say, “Dump the water and fill the glass with beer!”. Rather than thinking of it as “oh no, I’m homeless”, I’m on a “oh yes, I have freedom”.

And then there’s the story of why I stopped blogging for the last six months, and a really interesting story that is. I’ll tell you all about that and what I’ve been up to very soon. Either way, I’M BACK !

Let me know in the comments below what ins and outs of my upcoming adventures you want to know more about.

posted by admin in Lifestyle Design,Location Independent,Travelling and have View Comments

Milt’s Brain Twister – Would you eat BBQ Dog ?

A question that I have often raised over the years is whether the whole culture of eating dog is wrong or not. Myself, being a big dog lover, this has always spun me out and I have though long and hard about this brain twisting question.
I first saw this in an extreme way by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time when passing through a tiny village in the rural China in 2003. I saw a dog being hung in a tree and killed then dragged off to presumably the kitchen. When I first saw this poor dog struggling with a rope around his neck I was seriously considering whipping out my little penknife and running over and cutting the rope to set this guy free. I thought quickly about it and choose to not do as I am a visitor in their country and it is was not my place to interfere.
In the video below I am in the town of Savanaket in Laos and I am putting to you the simple question of-
Is eating dog wrong ?
Follow me on this mini adventure as I hunt for a dog BBQ restaurant and most importantly watch to the very end of the video to find out my disturbing angle on this deep question.


Can’t view the video ? click here to view directly on youtube

So, the million dollar question, Would you eat dog ?  Is eating dog wrong ?

What’s your angle on all this ?  Comments Below.

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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.

:)

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Railay Beach Long Tail Boat. Thailand Travel Photo

Railay Beach, Krabi. Thailand

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Fish Stink, Boat Bartering, No Spying and Viagra – The Ranong Visa Run Guide

The notorious Thailand visa run’s are one of the most fun things about long term travel around South East Asia (not). Some of these borders can be a little confusing if it’s your first time and the only fun in revisiting these places is tweaking you technique. I have had the pleasure of visiting a few of these boarders quite a few times over the years, and today I wanted to share with you my break down of how to tackle this particular boarder crossing.

Ranong to Burma Step by Step Guide.

* Ranong immigration opens 8am, it is really easy to find as it is right on the pier where the boats leave for Burma (Myanmar), I got there from the Ranong bus station on a motor bike taxi for 60 Thai baht.

* Get stamped out of Thailand at the immigration office.

*Buy a brand new Ten US dollar note for payment later in Burma or bring one with you. I got one from the little shop that sells coffee next to the immigration office (cost 420 baht with a little bartering). The important thing here is that it has to be crisp, flat and not folded otherwise they will not accept when you get to Burma and will make you pay in Thai Baht at a really crappy exchange rate.

*Grab a boat to Burma. If you ask to get on a boat with Burmese people you can pay 50-100B or rent a boat for yourself for your group at around 400-500 baht.

*Ride the boat for about 40 minutes stopping at some of the various check points along the way. You don’t have to leave the boat as the driver will collect all the passports and take care of everything.

*Once on the Burmese side the you have the choice to stay there for one night or come back the same day. If you want to come back the same day, they give you 30 minutes to go and do the Burmese stamp where you pay $10. Remember, crisp and uncreased.

*You get enough time for a quick look round and either dodging or indulging in the guys who are pushing cheap booze, cigs and viagra. I didn’t this time but I have before picked up a couple bottles of spirit and a few cartons of cigarettes (Dirt Cheap-totally legit). Personally never indulged in the vigra but apparently it’s all legit and cheap.

– A funny little story about this is that, on one of my previous visits to this boarder a few years ago, one on these street guys who was selling the viagra would not leave me alone and when I told him I was not interested he said, “what about viagra for women ?”.

I thought it was just for men.

Then he continued with his punchline, “yeah, it’s a powder you put in their drink“.

I didn’t know what to say, sort of funny and so not funny at the same time. Shocking really, I didn’t know whether he was joking or not. His marketing certainly made me stop for a moment though.

Although I must say that these days it is been cleaned up alot around this area and Burma has done a good job of constantly improving it over the years. All the guys who are street sellers are very good about not being too pushy and generally polite. They are really friendly people and are totally safe to talk to, I have never heard of anyone having any problems on this small Burmese boarder town.

If you are doing this trip for your first time you could take the option of doing all this from any guest house or tour booking place in Ranong or even as a one day trip from Phuket and other places. You usually pay only a small amount for the service where a guide from Thailand will take care of through the whole process. Or if your feeling brave you could just print out this guide and do it yourself. “Up to you” as they say around these here.

Cool eh ?

Had the pleasure of doing this trip before ? Anything to add, please do drop it in the comments below.

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7 Ways to Wreck your Location Independence

Having the freedom that comes with going location independent can also come with a whole load of struggles. It’s nice to talk about all the working from a laptop on a tropical beach but let me share with you today seven ways you can make your digital nomad lifestyle alot harder for yourself.

Sliced by stuffing my motor bike into a barbed wire fence only the other day. OUCH !

1. Motorbikes.

Talking from very recent reminder of this one, see photo. Playing with motorbikes, especially in countries where they are famous for their crazy roads and high accident rates. I personally try my best to stick by my motto of, “If you stay off the motorbikes then you lower your chance of having an accident”.

Over my years I’ve smashed up a few bikes in different countries around the world and it can be an expensive habit if rental bikes and can sting or be painful or alot worse. Ending up in a hospital is also not the way you want to go. I’ve been lucky and although I have had probably close to 10 motorbike accidents over 8 years, mostly Thailand, I am luckey and  have only ever had bumps and scratches. Just be careful is what I’m saying !

Quick Tip: If you do ever smash up a rented motorbike (let’s hope you never do). Get a quote from local repair shop on much to fix the scratches or totally twisted bike (if you have destroyed it you’ll most probably have to buy a new one). Then before having any work carried out, go and visit the place you rented the bike from, try and speak to the owner and be honest and tell them you’ve smashed up the bike and your gonna sort it out. Most of the motorbike rental places in south east Asia make more money than they do from renting the bike by charging extortionate prices if you even scratch their motorbike.

2. Alcohol

We all like a drink, but be careful. Booze is dirt cheap in SE Asia, the partying is top notch guaranteed and you will always have great times meeting some awesome people.

But it’s far to easy to get carried away.

If you’re just on a short vacation for a couple of weeks in Thailand, cool, party to your hearts content. But if you have the dream of travelling long-term you have to develop a certain discipline with alcohol because it’s extremely easy to drink too much too often in these tropical locations. When I look back at my first time travelling a one year round the world trip I am not proud to say that I spent over half of my years budget on alcohol.

Alcohol can massively chomp into your funds as well as potentially getting you into mischief.

Quick Tip: When my when my drinking became boarding on alcoholism I tackled it by using a combination of tricks. One was by saying to myself that when I went out drinking I had to drink 2 or 3 soda waters first before I hit the beer. This would bloat me a little and at least slow down or lower my drinking. I later started replacing beer with coca-cola, and slowly got back down to drinking alcohol occasionally. Then the coca cola got out of hand, but that’s another story.

3. Money

Spending wisely, saving, budgeting, Blah blah. Being good with money is a good skill to develop for the long-term nomad, personally this is one of my weaknesses, I hate dealing with money but suprisingly, it is quite an essential part of long term travel. Most modern nomads are either working remotely or building there own online businesses and the entrepreneurial nomad must also take care about budgeting their business activities as well.

It is also easy to make investments in your business development that sometimes don’t work out as planned. Talking from experience, I know because I have got things wrong before and really messed up my finances which causes huge problems and can really jeopardize the whole lifestyle. Although I think that this part is directly related to the entrepreneur lifestyle, easy to make money on demand and just as easy to lose money on ideas that fail. The learning curve of an independent mobile entrepreneur is a whole other thing.

Quick Tip: Move away from renting guest house rooms and instead rent a house or an apartment, catch is you have to usually pay at least 3 months upfront. It’s works out a heck of alot cheaper in the long run and you get to properly experience the local culture.

4. Romance

If your nomading with your loved one, there can be challenges. I’ve seen married couple break up whilst travelling (not fun to be around) and I have also seen people meet the loves of thier lives and live happily ever after. I’m lucky to be in a happy long term relationship, but today is for the the single nomad men.

It’s so easy to slip into playboy mode whilst travelling, either with other forign travelers or locals. Too many times I have seen single wannabe nomad guys come out to South East Asia and get into some crazy situations with local ladies. Often it starts out playing around in the bars and then leads to some crazy places that you would not believe. Some of the guys I have seen them been slowly rinsed of all there dough and have to return home broke. Let’s call them ‘entrepreneurial ladies’, they have fine tuned there art of squeezing cash from passing foreigners and it is amazing how the most smart streetwise fellas can get squeezed of all there money by some of these devious little ladies.

Quick Tip: If you are single and looking for a bit of local lovin in South East Asia, stay away from the girly bars! Instead, check out the talent in the local libraries, supermarkets, off the beaten tourist track, anywhere but the bars. Simply put, the classy ladies don’t hang out at prostitute bars. “Oh, but she’s not on the game, she just works there as the cashier.” Come on lads, just keep your witts about you.

5. Fun

I must sound like a real party pooper saying, stay of the motorbikes, drink responsibly, spend your money wisely and be careful of the sexy ladies. Hey, I’m all about having fun and I dig a good party, but too much fun can totally jeopardize your location independent dreams. There is just so many fun things to do and experience form scuba diving to climbing, meeting great people and sharing stories. All of this fun, like with anything must be done in moderation if you want your freedom to last.

Quick tip : Just think work before play. If you have deadlines to meet or projects that you are developing, be strict with your self and don’t let the having too much fun spoil your location independent set up.

6. Being an Ass

Behave yourself. Just remember you are a guest in the country you are visiting. Respect the locals, the culture and generally just be a good person and try your best to avoid trouble.

Be an ass and if the locals don’t get you then fellow travelling foreigners will get you. An extreme example of this that comes to my mind, is about 5 years ago I was staying on the beautiful Kao Tho island and met loads of cool people. I was partying with this group of 15 people who were all lone travellers who had come together over a week. We had all became really good friends then one night, we were all walking along the beach and we saw a group of puppies. These cute little baby dogs were really fun to watch playing on the beach. Then out of nowhere this one guy (European) shouted watch this, and ran towards the dogs and kicked one of these little guys like it was a football. I just heard the yelp and saw the puppy go flying through the air.

Now I’m a big dog lover, and whether you like dogs or not, this is totally wrong and not cool in so many ways. When it happened my jaw dropped and before I had time to get my head around what had just happened, some other unimpressed people in our group had punched this guy knocking him to the ground where some of the girls in the group ran in and kicked the guy whilst he was on the ground.

Simple put nomading is not for ass-holes.

Quick Tip: It is probably safer to be an ass-hole in your home country and you are more likely to get away with it . So if you are the type of ass that thinks kicking random baby dogs is funny don’t bother chasing the nomad dream as you won’t last long.

7. ?

All you travellers and nomads who are out there rocking the location independence your way, what is a seventh point you could add here. Alot of it is simple common sense. I’m leaving this one open to suggestions.

What do ya think ?

Comments below yo !

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Friday Photo 007 – BMX Mods, Manila.

More South East Asia crazy vehicles. This is a BMX bike that has basically had a metal cage welded to it. It is used for deliveries and mostly delivering big bottles of drinking water. My only thought is that when fully loaded they must be hard work to pedal because the bike has tiny wheels and no gears. You can see more like this in my video about modified BMXs in Manila.

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Friday Photo 006- Philippines Jeepney

If you know me, I have this weird obsession with getting excited by different types of transport around South East Asia. This is a Jeepney, one on the images that is directly associated with the Philippines. The story of how Jeepney came top be in the Philippines is also very fascinating. This goes right in the top 10 of my favorite South East Asia ‘crazy vehicles’.

From WikipediaJeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating. They have become a symbol of Philippine culture.

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