Editor’s Note: Many thanks to all those who encouraged me to get back to writing. 2015 was a bit of a grind, but the good news is I’ve got plenty to share from the experience.
Fear not, trusty readers, SpartanTraveler is alive and well.
But getting somewhere in life is about making hard choices, and the reality in 2015 was simple: focus or die.
‘Like the sculptor, who does not add clay, but strips away the inessentials until the truth is revealed.’
– Bruce Lee character from Dragon
I’ve always thrived at the breaking point of manageable activity. That place where positive stress forces focus and serious action. Where the goals and the necessity for completing them are immediately clear.
As a result, I always assumed as life went I’d continue to be doing more. More traveling, more and different types of adventures, and more varieties of work. Continue reading >>
Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by my good friend Scott Mueller who quit his job to travel the world back in late 2013. The post’s title is not hyperbole. What follows is an extremely detailed breakdown of how to fly around the world for a fraction of the listed cost. If you’re overwhelmed, check out the short FAQ on credit cards and airline miles or see my previous post on how I flew around the world for $220.
Whether you want to leave your cubicle for a short escape, attend a friend’s far-away wedding, or embark on a multi-country, globe hopping year of exploration – having a solid airline mileage strategy can enable your travel plans. Add to that a set of easy to follow tactics for accruing and redeeming miles and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to get started!
I get a lot of emails from people who are gearing up for a big adventure, and the most common question is: how do you prepare for this?
While this isn’t the full checklist (I’ll post that at some point), here are a few big things I wish I’d done before I left in 2011.
If you’re only making a short trip this may not be worth the effort, but if you’re in this for the long-haul these 5 things are worth considering.
[Ahem. Ok, maybe not everything]
I did this in 2011: a massive Craigslist sale, re-gifting to friends, taking a few trips to Goodwill. But every time I visit the US I’m appalled by how much is still left. Thousands of dollars in vehicles, equipment, clothes–mostly useless, replaceable, and only losing more value or becoming completely worthless over time.Continue reading >>
While making time for it doesn’t always happen, I know that I’m only limited by the information in front of me.
As I’ve heard human performance expert Kelly Starrett quip (paraphrased): ‘In the past we didn’t know. Now we know: the best way to eat, the best way to train–all the information is available. If you’re not awesome now, it’s your own damn fault.’
So inhaling large amounts of information and integrating it always has to be part of the schedule. The only problem is that with limited time we have to make sure we’re focusing on the right information. That’s why I rely so heavily on recommendations, and why I thought this list might be useful.
A caveat: “best” is totally subjective and ignores the importance of timing and experience. The right message at the right time can change your life, and while most of the “best” books are important just for getting the same message in a slightly different way, they won’t blow the doors off your imagination if it isn’t new stuff.
That being said, here are the books that made a big impression on me last year (I’ve also included a few favorites from 2013 at the bottom.)Continue reading >>
“Freedom is like a new sport.”
-Tim Ferris in the 4-hour Workweek
Back in mid-2007 a co-worker told me to read Tim Ferriss‘ book.
“You will love it” she said.
A week later I requested all remaining vacation hours and took a 3-week surf trip to Costa Rica.
I returned home sunburnt and happy, and the next day I promptly quit my job, started work as a professional blogger, and left on an indefinite sojourn to S. America that started with an expedition over the Chilean Andes.
Over 7 years later I find myself waking up in Budapest, Hungary, pursuing wilder goals than I could have imagined at the time.
If you’ve read the 4-hour Workweek (4HWW) you might expect me to say all this was easy–all I had to do was start a website, hire a virtual assistant, and get on a plane to Europe–where I would occasionally check to make sure money kept flowing into my bank account.
For those of you who haven’t read Tim’s palm-tree studded Bible of lifestyle-design, or for those who didn’t really get it, here’s the punchline: it’s not really about working 4 hours a week.Continue reading >>
After more than two years on the road it finally sunk in: location-independence is not an aberration. Moving around the world at will is a perfectly valid and (extremely) advantageous lifestyle choice, but ultimately just another way to navigate through life.
It has, however, warped my notion of reality over the last 6 months. Continue reading >>
The average price of rent here in San Francisco is $1200+ per month for a shared apartment, but I found a place to stay indefinitely, last minute, for $25 a night ($750 a month).
This basic process can be used to find a place to crash just about anywhere, but in general this much effort is only required in big cities. Outside the city I’ve never failed to find something by asking people on the street.Continue reading >>
Back in the day, airline tickets were really expensive and inflexible. Not anymore.
Welcome to the world of low-cost, flexible world travel.
While visiting family in February I decided not to get on my flight home. I wanted to spend some additional quality time there so I just didn’t show up for my flight.
Mom was flabbergasted: “You can do that?!”
Yep. You’d be amazed by what airlines let me get away with last year.
This conversation led me to the realization that in the last 19 months, every single flight I pre-booked more than a few weeks in advance I either didn’t get on or had to change for a lot of $$$.
If I no longer have pre-defined location constraints, and if pre-booking flights is both “a major turnoff” and expensive, why would I still do it?Continue reading >>
[Editors Note: And… we’re back! Q1 ate my lunch, but I’m hoping to post weekly for the forseeable future.]
The equipment that allows me to work from almost anywhere was thoughtfully accumulated over the last 18 months, and it’s a balance of price, weight, and power. There’s no need to go gear-crazy if you’re just starting out (or ever). All you really need is a decent laptop, some cheap headphones, and a place to work.
There are plenty of “top # pieces of gear for digital nomads” out there, but most of them range from borderline excessive to absolutely ridiculous. I’m assuming here that a) you have a budget or you’re just starting out and b) you don’t want to carry 80lbs of extra gear with you (that can also be damaged or stolen).Continue reading >>
[The porch out front in Bingin, Bali. As if I’m actually going to get any work done here…]
I was in the deepest of sleeps. My dream put me somewhere in the mountains, walking down into a beautiful valley with the wind lightly rustling my hair. The rustling got a little stronger until–wait a minute…
I opened my eyes in time to see a giant rat sprint to the edge of the bed and then leap off into space like a possessed flying squirrel.
Everyone within 50km must have heard as I bolted out of bed and ran around the compound screaming bloody murder. When my roommate figured out what happened he nearly choked to death from his own laughter.
This is about when the glamour of my lifestyle really started to fade.Continue reading >>