Frequently Asked Questions:
In response to a number of emails and comments I’ve put together some answers to commonly asked questions.
Do you accept guest posts?
I don’t, but thanks for your interest in writing for the site!
Are you looking for advertisers?
I don’t currently have any major plans for advertising on the site, but thanks for the interest!
Are you interested in other business opportunities?
I might be. If it isn’t a guest post / general advertising inquiry feel free to email me: clayton [at] spartantraveler [dot] com. I also tend to respond to mentions on Twitter (@SpartanTravel).
Do you ever get tired of traveling?
Yes, absolutely, but usually this has to do with movement (traveling too fast, not sleeping, etc), not being in another country. This is a big reason why I don’t move that much any more and tend to rent longer-term apartments that I can use as a base of operations. Things from home I occasionally miss: really good coffee, hot showers that always work, pizza, hoppy beer, consistency, and customer service.
What do you do for work?
I work on a number of projects (including this one) which generally fall into the category of online marketing. As a self-employed laptop nomad I work from anywhere with a decent internet connection. Hopefully in the future I’ll talk more specifically about these.
What’s your professional/educational background?
I’ve been working online since 2007 and I’ve had professional positions in social media, blogging, content marketing, SEO (search engine marketing), and PPC (pay-per click advertising). Most of what I know in each of these areas was self-taught using internet resources that are freely available. Most of my working experience came from San Francisco-based startups. I studied Biology and Chemistry in college.
How can I get started working online?
There are a few routes to working for yourself:
- Work for a company to gain experience (apprenticeship). Get paid to learn/refine the skillset.
- Learn it on your own.
There is no substitute for experience, but it’s not mandatory to succeed. A get-started-for-yourself brain-dump:
- First, read the 4-Hour WorkWeek. Spoiler: This book is not really about working 4-hours week.
- Second, listen from start to finish the LifestyleBusinessPodcast/TropicalMBA podcast series. Read all the blog posts too. Just about everything you need to know is in here.
- Third, start reading everything you can find about working online. Spend a few hours a day researching until you understand how web traffic ($$$) flows through the internet (via SEO/PPC/Social Media/Email). This really helps in figuring which direction to go in once you have the big picture.
- Try to meet as many people as possible who are doing what you want to do. Surround yourself with them.
- If you don’t have one, develop a skillset.
- Start using the skillset by doing some kind of work online, either consulting, working on projects on Elance/Odesk, or get hired by another digital nomad. Start small and gradually get better.
- Start testing your own ideas with as little financial investment as possible. Nothing I’ve started on my own cost more than $50.
- Hire a virtual assistant. Eliminate. Delegate. Automate.
- Productize your services in a way that makes you irrelevant.
- Build systems.
- Test. Iterate. Learn.
Remember: only the autodidacts are truly free.
Here’s a bit more of what I’ve learned about working online.
Should I ‘churn’ credit cards to get airline miles?
No. ‘Churning’ means signing up for, meeting the minimum balance to earn airline mile bonuses, then canceling credit cards. There are a few reasons you shouldn’t do this:
- It’s a logistical pain in the ass. Keep track of a bunch of credit card annual payment dates/actually calling each of these companies up is just not worth it.
- You don’t need to. A lot of credit cards give you enough miles to fly round-trip to Europe for free. Airfare just isn’t that expensive anyway, so you don’t need 1 million miles to go somewhere.
My recommendation is to sign up for 1 or 2 good cards and put all your expenses through them. If that’s not enough, consider signing up for a new card or two every year. No need to go crazy on this.
What if you get sick / travel insurance?
Amazingly enough, I stopped getting sick when I left San Francisco and started traveling. My lifestyle is much healthier than it was there, and I’m exposed to way fewer office-colds.
I’ve only been sick once from food while traveling and it was a one-day event. Sure, you will probably get sick while traveling, but not more than you would at home, and it’s rarely a big deal.
I’ve used IMG Global’s Patriot plan as emergency medical travel insurance, which include all sports coverage (scuba diving, rock climbing, surfing, etc) as well as emergency evacuation insurance. IMG seems to be much cheaper than other providers.
For the last year I’ve had US-based disaster medical insurance (high deductible, only for really bad stuff) that I found through e-healthinsurance.com. It’s worth have worst-case scenario coverage if you can afford it.
Who inspires you?
Off the top of my head, I’ve been most inspired by:
- Dan and Ian – Tropicalmba.com blog posts and podcasts
- Tim Ferris – 4-hour workweek blog and book
- Kelly Starret – MobilityWod.com and author of Becoming a Supple Leopard (more on my post)
- Yvonn Chouinard – Founder/owner of Patagonia and author of Let my people go surfing
- A lot of other digital nomads I’ve met on the road.
What do I do about Visas when I travel?
Most of the time I do a little research and wing it, and this has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, I hate travel planning, I’d rather just go and see what happens. Typically if you’re from countries like US/Canada/Europe you can get a 30-day Visa on Arrival to most countries. I only know of a few countries where you can’t do this, namely Vietnam, China, and Russia.
The downside is when you want to stay longer – if you plan to be in a place for a few months it makes sense to look into getting a visa ahead (I’ve done this only in Indonesia but should have in Thailand). Make the trek to the local visa office and get it done.
Note that you don’t have to apply from your home country. I’ve gotten 2-month Visas for Indonesia in both Budapest and Bangkok.
Great source of information for US Citizens can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html
Do you accept guest posts?
Generally no, unless it’s for a really good cause.