Things have been really busy in Chiang Mai so I have not been posting as regularly as I would like on here. We have a multitude of projects starting up and while trying to maintain it all, I have created a lot of draft posts!
There is no way to describe this other than my biggest update yet. (in the relatively short time I’ve been blogging)
Amanda is Having A Baby!
Top of the list is that we are having a baby girl in January 2014. We found this out in May while living in New Zealand on a working holiday visa.
We are both in our mid-early 20’s and have been traveling for four years with the intention to keep exploring the world. Having a child was the last thing on our minds as we planned our next adventure to Thailand while tossing around the idea of a move to Mexico after.
But life had a different path for us and much like the belief that everything would work out when moving to Thailand, I have faith that we will manage fine with our baby girl!
It is truly a blessing and we are delighted to welcome the new addition to our family!
My story in the pursuit of travel & online business.
I left my job in Australia in Jan of 2013 to move to New Zealand and commit to setting up a full-time online business.
I had no idea how I was going to do this, I just knew I was going to make it happen. Apart from a few attempts at making Adsense and Amazon affiliate websites I really had no clue what I was at, to be honest. But, I bit the bullet, made the call to my boss in Australia and quit my well-paying job to carve out my own life path.
We could have stayed in New Zealand until December with our working holiday visas, but plans were already in motion for moving to Thailand. New Zealand was only for a few months to focus on building an online business. In Thailand, I had a potential job lined up working with a well know Irish blogger and a Dynamite Circle meet-up to attend in Bangkok in October.
As it turns out, the job fell through due to conflict of interests and I moved to Thailand with around $4200 US and two potential freelance clients to get work from. It was a true sink or swim situation… I saw this as a temporary setback but if this is how it was meant to be, let’s roll with it.
Flight to Thailand, no job, no work lined up, baby on the way, no flight for Amanda, $4k and no flight out of there..
A Challenging time for sure!
(Amanda was in Scotland for a wedding and we had no flight out booked for her at this stage.)
Conventional thinking would have us stay in New Zealand for as long as possible to make money and the go home to have the baby. I can construction machinery and was offered sponsorship with a civil construction company, but we have been down that path before and it would have been a classic repeat of Australia. So we declined and boarded our planes out of Christchurch after a 10 day south island road trip.
Making The Move to Chiang Mai
I don’t know why exactly, but after months of researching and seeing where all the digital nomads live, I had my heart set on Chiang Mai. I do love the islands in Thailand, but there is too much distraction, dodgy wifi and electricity blackouts for me to become as productive as I would like to become. Chiang Mai is a hub for those who work online and we have met some really cool people since moving here. I have never seen such a collective of people who all work online with completely different hustles. It is inspiring to see this and to be a part of it.
Chiang Mai is a hub for those who work online and we have met some really cool people since moving here. I have never seen such a collective of people who all work online with completely different hustles. It is inspiring to see this and to be a part of it.
Lets talk money – $4200 to $450 in 4 weeks…How?
Leaving Koh Tao I had in my possession $2000 after one month on the island because I was spending silly money drinking and partying. I had always seen Koh Tao as my holiday and Chiang Mai as business time, but I never kept a budget and didn’t really think about funds. My two friends were running Spicy Tao so we made
My two friends were running Spicy Tao so we made snorkelling tour videos and a booze cruise video for the hostel to use as promo material. I am not even sure how I managed to blow this much money on the island but a few nights out and you can be down a few thousand baht very easily.
I made my way to Chiang Mai from Koh Tao the longest way possible with some hostel buddies and ended up forking out $1000 for a deposit + first and last months rent at the Smyth Residence. This left me with a grand total of around $1050 after getting to Chiang Mai, staying for 3 nights in a hostel and buying some supplies. I then spent $600 on a flight for Amanda to come out from Ireland to Bangkok. This left a grand total of $450US in my account after 4weeks in Thailand with a baby on the way.
This left me with a grand total of around $1050 after getting to Chiang Mai, staying for 3 nights in a hostel and buying some supplies. I then spent $600 on a flight for Amanda to come out from Ireland to Bangkok. This left a grand total of $450US in my account after 4weeks in Thailand with a baby on the way.
This left a grand total of $450US in my account after 4weeks in Thailand with a baby on the way.
You might think this was crazy, irresponsible, madness or, a true leap of faith into what the universe will provide in the way if opportunities and circumstances. I’ll let you make up your own opinion but I firmly believe that leaving yourself with no possible option of retreat is a sure-fire way to create success…
When I got to Chiang Mai I ended up spending 10 hours per day creating content, editing videos, freelance writing for clients and learning more about affiliate marketing and SEO. The quality of life in Chiang Mai is excellent and you can live very well on a modest budget. I will say that some people try to market the location independent lifestyle as being all about lying in hammocks and working four hours per day, but until you have the finances to outsource, you will be doing most the work yourself.
The quality of life in Chiang Mai is excellent and you can live very well on a modest budget. I will say that some people try to market the location independent lifestyle as being all about lying in hammocks and working four hours per day, but until you have the finances to outsource, you will be doing most the work yourself.
I would love to hire a video editor, designer, writer and virtual assistant but have had to perform all these tasks myself for the meantime.
So how did it work out?
We worked hard and managed to have our first +$1500 month in September, keeping in mind that previous to this I had made about $90 from my website Tropical Nomad.
This might be hard for some people to believe, but it is the truth. We went from $90 to +$1000 within one month online and this continues to grow. My goal was to be able to make $1000 per month and now that it has been achieved, my goals have gotten bigger.
I have achieved my freedom by working as a freelance writer, affiliate marketer, WordPress manager, buying and selling domain names and working with advertisers. e
We were looking at doing some TEFL teaching like our friend Angela from Tieland to Thailand travel blog, but if you can manage to make $1000 online then why teach in a school if you can avoid it?
I am taking nothing away from TEFL teaching, it is a great way to travel and I respect those who do it – I just wanted to avoid it if possible and focus on our online business. Also, two people cannot live on $900 a month in Thailand, so we had to come up with another plan.
If I can make $1000 why not $5000? It is true when people say that the first $1000 is always the hardest, after that you have an idea and plan to make it happen again. I am focusing on affiliate marketing campaigns over the next few months which should make that happen.
I made a lot of mistakes along the way!
For a very long time I wasted my efforts on projects that produced little rewards for hard labour. I made Squidoo lenses and Hubpages selling Amazon products on a 4% rev share basis. This is how I made my very first money online all those years ago!
It took a long time before my freelancing and online ventures paid off and still to this day it is very much a work in progress.
Creating The Circumstances.
This is how it happened… as soon as I landed in Thailand it was decided that I make a living by working online. There was no two ways about it so whenever anyone asked, this is what I said. I didn’t know where the money was going to come from, or if my clients would have work for me, I just knew that one way or another I would make enough money for us to live in Thailand.
There were no two ways about it so whenever anyone asked, this is what I said. I didn’t know where the money was going to come from, or if my clients would have work for me, I just knew that one way or another I would make enough money for us to live in Thailand.
People always asked ‘what do you do?’.. I just say I work online and they stand there confused. ‘How do you do it‘, ‘what do you do‘, ‘wow that is amazing, I want to work online’, ‘I wish I could do that’…
The how and buts were non-existent to me, so long as I woke up and opened my laptop, I was going to make this online business work.
I had some clients I had worked with before and ideas I wanted to work with, and they all worked out. I pitched one guy from the hostel in Chiang Mai and ended up with a project to start the next day lasting a few weeks.
Moving Back To Ireland
You might be thinking – What? All this talk of Thailand and you are moving home? You are a travel blogger and you are moving home, how can you do this?
After being on the road for four years and not living at home in 9 years for more than 3 months, It’s time to return to the homeland. I miss my friends and family like everyone else.
Our baby is the main reason we are going back and although we have looked into having the child in Thailand, we decided not to go ahead with it… We have a small collective of friends in Chiang Mai, all of whom are bloggers and digital marketers. None of them would be keen on having a newborn for a few hours while we run our business. At the minute it requires a minimum of 8-10 hours every day online (usually more), so if there is ever a time to have your family around to help, this is it!
I have never been to Scotland even though it is only a 20 minute flight away, yet I traveled to New Zealand which is as far on the other side of the world as possible from Ireland! When you are traveling you meet lots of Australians, Kiwis, South Africans and Americans who go on and on about how lucky we are to be able to travel Europe freely, live in Spain or Italy that you start to think, ‘Oh ya, I am lucky!’.. I do love the Mediterranean lifestyle and met Amanda while living in Spain in 2009.
If you actually made it this far then thank you. This is the reality of my story and if it inspires one person to make the leap to start an online business or travel the world then I will be a happy man!