I’m a Videographer and Entrepreneur that is trying to follow my heart and passions and achieve grand success. I decided to leave my IT manager job in 2011 and sell my place to start my first travel business in Vancouver.
It didn’t work out and so I got into video and traveled deep into Asia and created a travelogue called Chicvoyage in Asia. I spent all my savings and had to go back to work in Vancouver.
I already had the Asia travel bug and yearned to travel abroad. I lived abroad for the first time in Taiwan on a working holiday to start to learn Chinese and work on my business. After 2 years I was introduced to Digital nomad culture and now here I am in Chiang Mai for over a year.
1. How and why did you choose to go nomadic?
I sort of fell into it. After I left my job and sold my place I got back in a job for a good company. I still had my car and was going to a 9–5 job in a union environment. I was getting sick of going through countless meetings, projects, and reports again after I already tasted freedom. Opportunities in Vancouver were limited and costs were going up. My heart was ready for the next journey.
This time I sold pretty much everything I had except for my essentials, camera gear, and tennis rackets. I traded my iMAC for Macbook Pro and fit everything into 2 large suitcases and a backpack and started my journey. A stop in Hawaii, 2 months in Australia, 2 months in Singapore, and then I started the working holiday in Taiwan.
2. What was it like leaving your home country?
It was exciting. It was like starting fresh, selling and canceling everything I didn’t need. It was sad to leave my family, which I’m close to. I had some good friends, but everyone was starting to have kids and have their own lives. It felt like it was the right thing to do and the right time. I had an awesome going away party. Check out the video:
3. What are your biggest struggles? Fears?
Biggest struggles were lugging around my heavy camera gear and stuff around Australia and Asia. I’m not a backpacker. Some of the struggles in Taiwan were trying to learn Chinese from scratch and trying to start an online business at the same time. I worry sometimes I won’t be able to have a family with this lifestyle.
4. How are you funding your lifestyle and what projects are you working on?
I’ve built up an online business with several streams. I license stock footage (aerials, nightlife, travel landmarks) and teach online courses. I’m trying to scale and get to the next level. I’m working on selling my video library, a Digital nomad in Chiang Mai Essential Guide Course, and improving my online marketing. I would like to build up subscriptions for my online video school and my video library.
5. What is the estimated monthly cost of living for one of your favorite locations? What lifestyle does that afford?
My budget tends to favor a bit more comfort. I’m a bit older and have already been spoiled during my employee days. I still look for value though. My estimated cost is $872 US depending on how many massages, western meals, and wines I drink lol. If you miss decent wines go to Wine Connection for a decent priced bottle. I currently have a comfortable 1 bedroom apartment in Nimman, Chiang Mai.
I have a video breakdown of my budget:
I mix it up between nice, clean, local food and western food (wraps, pizza, burgers). Sometimes I’ll source ingredients from the market, fresh bread, Rimping, and meals I miss from home like pasta souped up with veggies in tomato sauce and cheese. I like a balance in life between work, exercise, and play. I go to the gym ($1.73), swim ($2.31), run, hike and also play volleyball, tennis and basketball. I like a craft beer and wine. In Chiang Mai I’ll settle some cheap Mar Sol wine, Beer Laos, Singh, or even Sang Som once in a blue moon.
6. What is your top tip for someone who aspires to earn money online and travel?
Figure out what you are passionate about, try to build up some savings or side income if you are currently in a job, and start your journey in Chiang Mai.
Give yourself at least 6 months if you’re serious about your online business. Get some travel insurance. To minimize disruptions, limit your travels to other countries to when you have to leave the country to make a visa run.
Listen to podcasts for information and inspiration from online entrepreneurs and digital nomads such as:
Any final thoughts?
I think it is still very early days for people that want to travel and work-online. I don’t think these opportunities to have time and location freedom were always there for us. I think the combination of things like more advanced laptops, faster wifi, 4 hour work week book, development in cities like Chiang Mai, and community growth are making this possible.
Enjoy the lifestyle, but I think it’s important to keep an open mind. Don’t get caught in the digital nomad nimman bubble. Look at what Tim Ferris is doing now (not digital nomad in Thailand), and Elon Musk is doing (read his book). Chiang Mai is a great place to hustle and get your start. I hope eventually we can build successful businesses and create more opportunities for ourselves that make the world a better place in the process.