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Digital Nomad Cribs – Location Independent House Sitting.

Take a quick tour of this fantastic place which is temporarily my home in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I am actually house sitting for a good friend of mine who is currently in South America. I have done a bit of house sitting a few years ago but this place is just amazing. In such a quite, peaceful spaceous area surrounded by small mountains.

In this video I give you a quick spin through the local village and a tour of this awesome property where I am staying at the moment.   Enjoy…

I have not personally used these sites but I have heard that you can find great houses that need a house sitter dotted around the world, heres a bunch of them.

I got this house sitting gig by word of mouth and just happening to be in the right place at the right time. I was looking for a place and they were looking for someone trust worthy to take care of this beautiful property with mountains in the back yard.

I jumped at the opportunity and am currently staying here with my girlfriend keeping the place maintained and nice for occasional potential to look round. This is the perfect place for me at the moment where I can focus on my various online projects. I call this mode I am in at the moment ‘productive recluse concentration’, just a funky name for getting my head down and putting the hours in whilst in a totally relaxing environment with minimal distractions. It’s nothing new, people have been doing it for years where they hide themselves away for a period of time to focus on writing a book or painting or whatever.

I admittedly be a little sad when it is eventually sold and I have to move on but that will be cancelled out because I will be glad for the owner who can’t wait to sell this place.

I’m not sure where I’ll be going next, thinking maybe a beach area and I should be popping home to the uk sometime soon also. No big plans, I just roll with it and right now am enjoying the moment and especially enjoying the masses of space and nature around me.

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Friday Photo – Monkey Business

This week I have been filming a special video for something special that you will hear about very soon.  I was filming these videos where I am to talking and thought it would be fun to do it with a monkey sitting on my sholder. As a result, a lot of out-takes as these monkeys are mischeivious little fellas.

Anyway here’s a photo of one of my Gibbion friends and a video below that I also caught of a monkey playing with a local lazy dog.

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Coke Success and Writing Nearly There. My 30 Day Challenge Update.

Day 25 of my 30 day challenge.

I set myself the challenge for 30 days to break a habit of drinking loads of coke every day, to develop the habit of writing more whilst on a detox also focusing on developing my online projects and businesses.

The first thing that I have surprised myself with and am really happy to say that the quitting coke thing seems to have worked. I’ve not touched the dirty dark stuff since my extreme indulgence binge at the start. You can follow the 30 day challenge and the quitting coke story here.

Anyway, today I wanted to share with you the other part of my challenge where I wanted to develop my writing skills. I set my self the goal of writing 3 articles every day for 30 days. If I keep to this which I have, but only just, I will have 90 articles by the end of a month.

This part of my challenge I have struggled with. I have missed some days and caught up on other days by writing extra. It’s all been a bit messy as I am tweaking the system of how I do it. You see the thing is I’m to easily distracted, so I have been using a few tricks to help me focus more on just writing.

The first thing I am pushing myself with is the idea of writing first and editing later. The trick being that I do not delete and edit as I go, I just plough through and keep writing then later go back and then edit.

Using the software Dark Room that simply a blacks out the screen and uses green text, I found very useful. Apparently the green text on a black background is easier on your eyes than traditional black text on a white background. I think it also pretty cool in a retro way, feeling your tapping away on old school computer from the 80′s.I have used Dark Room for an while combined with using a countdown timer to record how long it takes me to write.

I’ve also been experimenting with listening to different types of music whilst writing and writing in silence.

Then I remembered this web app that I had heard a few peeps raving about a while back.

Now this is awesome, 750words.com is the perfect answer to my challenge struggle. It is a website that you login to and fire out 750words of unfiltered private writing each day. Now what makes it even more cool is that you can compete with other people and study statistics about the speed of your writing, the tone and much more.

This awesome web app was created by Buster Benson of Enjoymentland.com and what inspires me even more is when I discovered some of Busters other products that he has created like HealthMonth.com and the story of how he created that as a result of his own 90day challenge to create a business that creates meaningful work for him.

I’m digging the idea of meaningful work and I’m finding more and more that I am bending to this way of working also in the way of creating meaning work for myself. If it’s not work that excites or inspires me then I’m not interested.

With 5 days left of my 30 day challenge I have decided that I am going to do this again next month another 30 day challenge for November. I’m still deciding on exactly what I am gonna tackle in my next 30day challenge (I’m defiantly continuing with developing my writing via 750words.com ). I have seen such good results this month that I wanna continue the roll.

If you want to improve your lifestyle next mouth and join me on this next challenge, let me know in the comments below.

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Friday Photo – Rainbow Shack

Let me brighten your day for a moment.

What do you think ?

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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- Mountain Ghost Busters. Thailand

Whilst out on my motorbike exploring a mountainous area in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, I found this interesting little scene. In this picture you can see three different things that have been placed at the bottom of this small mountain to protect the area from spirits.

You see these all over Thailand in the jungles and mountains and I have heard various explanations of what it is all about. I honestly don’t know the exact stories behind how it all works with these protectors from spirits but it is certainly interesting.

Hey, if you know more about these spirit protectors, let me know in the comments below.

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Quitting Coke Challenge – Day 14

My original challenge that I set for myself was to kick a bad habit (coca-cola), develop a good habit (creative writing) and do a 30 day detox whilst also concentrating on giving my online businesses a boost.

Here’s the update on the quitting coke part. And that promised footage of the first day where I’m experimenting by overindulging in coke to help quit.

The Two Weeks Deep Update

The first day – Extreme Indulgence Experiment

Two weeks without drinking a single coke !

Now that is extraordinaire for me.

Seriously, I was drinking alot of this stuff all day long. I would usually do 2 cokes within the first hour of waking up and then it would continue from there.

So how did it go ?

Well, first couple of days I did not feel right and had some heavy headaches. Day 3 I was ok, day 4 the cravings started. I would almost hear little voices in my saying, “go on, you can have one coke secretly, no one will ever know” or “one won’t hurt”.

It’s weird as well how now any coke advertising or imagery feels like it jumps out at me, especially when I go to a shop or restaurant when choosing a drink the coke always seems to stand out.

I have resisted and surprised myself in that I’m loving my coke replacements. Big manly 2 liter bottles of cold water on hand all day and a few hot green teas. The other thing I’m doing is as part of my 30 day life booster challenge is getting into eating more raw vegetables and grabbing a carrot when I feel the urge for a coke seems to be working for me at the moment. One of my little rules I say to myself is, if I feel like a coke just have something else that is more healthy than a coke (not difficult to find coke replacements).

So far so good.

Do you reckon I’ll be able to stick it out ?

get rid of caffeine, caffeine addiction, too much caffeine, caffeine effects, coke, coca cola, extreme indulgence

Quitting Caffeine by Using Extreme indulgence experiment. I drink far too much Coke, so I decided to quit for 30 days and start with this little experiment. Can I quit drinking coca-cola using this method ? Will the cravings for caffeine drive me insane. Can I quit my caffeine addiction ?

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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 ?

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Friday Photo- Spot the Impostor.

Spot the Impostor.

Little bit different than usual but very relevant to my current adventure. The quitting caffeine by testing out my little experiment of extreme indulgence. In case you missed it click here to catch up on my coke story so far.

Anyway, so this weeks photo,

Spot the Impostor

I suppose this is the rebel in me doing a little middle finger to the coca cola company, in an effort to help my self stay off the dirty dark stuff for 30 days. Can you spot the cheeky impostor ?

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A Million Dollars for Honduras, Hand made Asia, Content vs Community and Cultivating change in Thailand. An Hour of Inspiration from TEDx.

Last month, I was honoured to be an antendee at TEDx in Bangkok, a gathering of big thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs, grass roots changers, musicians, and amazing minds. This one day event featured some fantastic speakers and this is my round up of my four favorite presentations that moved me in big ways.

*these videos are just over 15minutes each so if you are in a rush, you may want to bookmark this page and watch them later when you have the time to enjoy them fully. Definately worth a look, you will be amazed, inspired and most probably make you think differently about the world today and how you see things .

Raising One Million Dollars for Honduras

Shin Fujiyama was born in a fishing town in Japan in 1983 and immigrated to the US shortly after with his family. During his third year at the University of Mary Washington, Fujiyama decided to volunteer for a week in Honduras at a girls’ shelter without giving it much thought. He had no idea that the short trip would ignite his passion to help vulnerable children so much. A few months later, he launched Students Helping Honduras in his dorm room with his classmates and younger sister, Cosmo. Since then, Fujiyama’s organization has taken more than 1,000 volunteers to Honduras and has raised more than one million dollars to help vulnerable children raise themselves out of poverty. His goal is to create a chapter of SHH in every single university in the US.  Find out more at StudentsHelpingHonduras.org

Handmade in a Digital World

Elizabeth Briel is an artist who explores Asia with her camera, notebook, and paintbrushes. She prints 19th-century photos of disappearing places in distinctive blue tones, paints pictures of sharp-witted women from around the world, and writes about the arts of Asia. While living in Cambodia she taught photography to street children; in Hong Kong she founded a community gallery; and she now works from a Bangkok studio. ThingsAsian Press has published her illustrations and photos in books, and in 2011 will release her book Sensual Papers: a Quest Through the Back Roads and Rivers of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam about her search for handmade papers and the people who make them. She continually experiments with ways to connect artists to communities, and building bridges of understanding between West, East and places in between — we all have more in common than it may seem at first glance. Elizabeth is based in Bangkok and Sydney. Find out more at her website: ebriel.com

Community Trumps Content

Jeff Utecht is an international educator and educational technology consultant. Currently Jeff is working as a Technology and Learning Coordinator for International School Bangkok. He has consulted with and presented at international schools around the world. Jeff has been teaching online graduate classes for different American Universities since 2007. Jeff regularly shares his thoughts on education and technology on his blog, thethinkingstick.com. Jeff has recently been mentioned in the books ‘Reinventing Project-Based Learning’ and ‘Web 2.0, New Tools, New Schools’. Jeff recently wrote a chapter for the book ‘Wired For Learning: An Educator’s Guide to Web 2.0′. To learn more about Jeff visit: JeffUtecht.com

Cultivating Alternative Agriculture in Thailand

Bennett Haynes works for an organic farmers’ organization in northeast Thailand called the Alternative Agriculture Network — Esan (AAN). During his first year with the AAN, Bennett organized an organic farming curriculum with a local organization called Surin Farmers Support in Surin province. Since then, Bennett has been working on “food ways” research with villagers in Yasothon province. He also coordinates consumer awareness campaigns with the Yasothon Green Market and supports high quality standards for the market.
As northeast Thailand grows, what are the implications for food security and food culture? How can organic farming of rice, vegetables, fruits and local herbal plants provide a safe alternative for farmers and consumers? These are the challenges that the AAN approaches through farmer-to-farmer exchange, community-based research, technical training and alternative markets. The AAN also collaborates with key government offices to access more farmers and develop community food security policy. Find out more at AANesan.wordpress.com

See all of the speakers presentations from this years Thailand TEDx, TEDxKrungthep.

Interesting stuff, eh ? Which of these TEDx presentations moved you the most and why ?

Jeff Utecht
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