Friday, March 1, 2019

Are Digital Nomads Wasting Their Lives Sheckelling?

What's sheckelling? I came across this word recently and I believe it's the term for somebody who works their ass off trying to make a few cents here and there online. I guess it comes from the word for Israel's currency, and the fact that in popular culture Jews are thought of as being good at making money.

Anyway, this blog post was inspired by Roosh V's amazing Roosh Hour #34 - "Man Up" show live streamed on the 24th February 2019. Watch it below:



It's 2.5 hours of essential listening for any red pilled Happier Abroader, or for anyone else who wants to improve their lot in life.

At the 23 minutes mark he comes round to the topic of Digital Nomadism:

that's for people who have an internet business and decide to travel for ever and for ever because it's better than being stable

Roosh is the master of saying it like it is.

Anyway, he shows us a video from a 35 year old German digital nomaddess who is starting to question her lifestyle because she's "starting" to run out of time to have kids.




I used "starting" a couple of times in the previous paragraph because as Roosh points out, she doesn't have much of a plan. In fact she comes across as really having no plan at all.

She says she's so deep into her travelling lifestyle that she can't meet people. She spends 2 months here, 2 months there. I guess she has to keep making visa runs, because she's too much of a short term thinker to get a longer term residency permit. So by the time she meets somebody it's too late because the next day she's off to the airport to fly some place else.

Not that she has much time to meet people (whereever she is), because she's too busy doing "media stuff" on her MacBook and trying to grow her business.

Roosh: "Can someone tell her the bad news".

We shouldn't single her out because she's not alone. Uh, bad choice of word because she is alone due to all that nomadding. But she's not alone in a sense because digital nomads are legion in some parts of the world. When I lived in Bangkok I found it funny that Starbucks was always full of digital nomads:



I used to imagine that every single one of them was blogging about blogging about Thailand.

That was six years ago.

How many of them are still making money today? How many of them ever made any money at all?

I've noticed that a couple of dating site guides made by digital nomadders have now gone offline. The KingsOfThailand and CupidsLibrary sites used to be pretty good, but now they're gone. I don't know if the former site ever made much money, but I know the latter did.

So maybe it was all a waste of time and the former site owners are back in farangland selling car insurance from some grey slab of a call centre building.

Online is dead.

Sure, you might be able to start a new online business from scratch.

Then again you could just as soon make some decent income by buying some lottery tickets instead.

I think the odds of winning the lottery are lower than they are for establishing a profitable website from scratch.

Am I right?

Check out the Niche Site Project 4 that's been going on over at Niche Pursuits.  Of all the participants only one has made more than $1000 in a single month. And this guy has a team of software developers working on his site, so that means it's highly unlikely that he's making any money at all.

All of the others are just sheckelling - like Ben who made $23.53 with a 48 page site, or Andrew who made $7.07 with a 75 page site. And there's Jobe, who after 3 months of building his site made precisely $0.54 in an entire month. That won't even pay for the electricity his MacBook Pro consumes.

Again, online money making is dead.

I pretty much gave up with the whole making money online thing back in 2015. Now I just build websites for fun. Like this morning I built this map of Thailand showing how many Thai Cupid ladies there are in each province. Now I'm writing this blog post. Nobody reads this blog and I'm not going to make any money from this post. I just wanted some essay writing practice so I can improve my teaching of English writing.

In the past I used to worry about how much money I made online each month. In 2014 I got banned by PayPal and I thought it was the end of the world. Now I would give zero fucks about what their call centre drones decide to do with my account. Here's my income summary for February 2019:

  • Teaching job salary: $1600 (54.9% of total income)
  • Apartment rental income: $650 (22.2%)
  • Investment dividends: $490 (16.8%)
  • Online income: $175 (6.1%)
Total: $2915

Guys - the internet is over. If you want to make money, then look elsewhere!

I'll also point out here that February isn't a great month for dividends - I made $1125 in January. Also, while my online income has shrunk by 12% a year since 2012, my dividend income is actually increasing by 10% a year (that's assuming no new money is being invested, which isn't the case). My rental income is also growing year on year.

Also bear in mind that I've been making websites since forever. I can do everything myself, so I hardly ever have to spend money outsourcing.

Sure, you could in theory still make money by being a digital nomad. If you already had an established business that's relatively location independent then that could work.

But the digital nomads' favourite location of South East Asia is a pretty terrible place to be if you have international clients, or want to freelance for your current or previous employer. Living in East Asia is a lonely existence. We're the first people to wake up, and by the time most of the world has started to think about making lunch, we're pretty much cooked for the day.

If you want to digital nomad and be in contact with clients then you've really got no choice but to work in the evenings. Which means that your social life will really suffer.

It might be better if you have your own income producing websites. For example maybe you're like Winston and you made a site 50 years ago and it's still around today. Then you might have a steady income stream. But I'm sure even Winston must be squeezed as dating site affiliate earnings shrink year on year. For example last year I paid $132 for an annual China Love Cupid subscription. This year I think I'll make do with TanTan, which is just $12 for the entire year. Or I could spend a couple of bucks on a Roosh book and improve my game so I wouldn't have to use these darned dating apps at all.

Are there any alternatives to digital nomadding? Here's two things you could do instead.

1. Hold Your Horses

So you're in your teens or twenties. You want to go abroad and check out the dating scene (if you're a dude then why else would you go abroad?). What do you do?

My advice is to get a career going. Sure I am a TEFL teacher now. Before that I was a software developer. It was a great career for stacking coins.

Most of the teachers I work with have had "proper" careers. Or they've been "proper" teachers. In fact one TEFL teacher I worked with last semester quit the game and now has a job working for a media company in Asia. That's got to be better than digital nomadding. He has a lovely apartment, a regular salary and a residency permit which means he never has to do visa runs.

If you absolutely must go travelling in your early 20's then by all means get a TEFL job. But get a job somewhere you can make some decent money. Read up on compound interest and rental property so that even if you don't manage turn ad-hoc TEFL jobs into a career, it's OK because you don't need to work for an employer anymore. Ben Teaches English Overseas is a good YouTube Channel to subscribe to if you want to learn how to maximise your income while TEFL'ing.

Stashing money away really does work, and the younger you start the better. How you earn the money doesn't matter. It doesn't even matter what you invest in or what the interest rate is. The amount of time you stay invested is key.

My war chest keeps growing:



There are plenty of ups and downs along the way, but the general trend is up.

The only time it took a major hit was when I put cash into my rental property.

In fact I've got so good at stashing cash away that if you look closely at 2013 you'll see I largely broke even while I was in China and Thailand for a year.

2. UnDigital UnNomadding

I call this idea UnDigital UnNomadding. Basically there are two rules: stay in one place, and don't rely on the Internet as a source of income.

As you might know I quit my boring cubicle job in early 2013 and went to live in China. Well I soon got fed up with that place and turned a fortnight's holiday in Thailand into a 6 month extended stay.
As far as dating went the best time I had was those first 4 months I spent in China. Because I'd just quit my job, the last thing I wanted to do was to write more code.

So most of my time in China was spent in the offline world. The only time I really went online was to line up some more dates on China Love Cupid, or to troll Odbo on the Happier Abroad forum.

It definitely paid off living in the real world because I did pretty well dating in China. I also started to make a pretty good social circle - again real people not internet people.

If I'd have stayed the course then things could have worked out for me. But in the end events conspired to take me to Thailand.

In Thailand I felt I was ready to spend a bit more time on IT. It was too freaking hot to go out during he day. So I settled into a lifestyle where I coded by day, and dated/partied by night.

I seemed to be turning into a digital nomad.

Usually I worked on my own projects. I did a bit of freelance work but the guy turned out to be a shithead and I had to fix code written by an idiot. In other words, it was just like my old cubicle life I'd given up everything to leave.

Then I worked for a cruel woman (is there any other kind?) who only wanted to pay me for the seconds I spent on the actual task. So when she said "making that image should take you literally 5 seconds", she only wanted to pay me for those 5 seconds.

After those experiences I closed my UpWork freelancer account and never bid for another contract. Instead I did my own thing, which is what I'm happiest doing.

The websites I built in Thailand weren't terribly successful from a financial standpoint. One is now an authority site and gets a stack of traffic but it's proven impossible to monetize. One makes a bit, but not very much. It did well in January, but sales died in February. I let the HappierBackHome domain expire but the content lives on here.

Eventually I was spending so much coding and for little in return that I ended up going back home and coding for a decent salary. I'm glad I did because in the four years after qutting Thailand I achieved the following:
  • Paid off $46,000 in mortgage debt
  • Put $27,000 into high yielding investments
  • Got a 120 hour TEFL certificate and then a CELTA
  • Spent 5 months living in Spain and Germany
  • Got to spend loads of time with my friends and family
  • Worked in both the City of London and City of Westminster
I would have achieved a lot less if I'd have stayed in Thailand. So much for digital nomadding and working ever harder just to stay still.

 


Summary

Back in 2013 I think my plan was a good one. I quit my job and went to live in one place (China). Actually I ended up living in two places (China + Thailand), but that was an unexpected bonus.

Taking a career break worked really well. I focussed on the new opportunities (dating, learning a language, living in another country, having fun) while not having to worry too much about money.

I tried digital nomadding but after a few months realised that I was having to work longer and longer for smaller returns. Heck, I'd have been better off back in the UK earning a decent wage.

So that's exactly what I went and did next.

If you're a digital nomad caught on the treadmill of working harder and harder for smaller returns then wake up and smell the (Starbucks - of course) coffee. Shut down your MacBook and get a plan together. Hopefully that plan will involve doing something in the real world. 

Do you dream of quitting your boring life and travelling the world? Have you wasted countless hours trying to make a few cents from people clicking on ads on your blog? Do you listen to Roosh's Roosh Hour show and think yup, that guy speaks the truth? Does anyone remember Odbo from the Happier Abroad forum? Leave your random thoughts below.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Xiongmao in Zhejiang 2.0. Another Year In A Freezing Hell Hole Or Dating Paradise?

Xiongmao re-reporting in. Last year I reviewed my first 4 months living in Chinas's Zhejiang Province.

When I lived in Guangdong I found it was a dating paradise. In fact I was so much like a kid in a candy story that notorious HA Forum member Odbo trolled me for being like a kid in a candy store.



Sadly, Zhejiang has been a big fat disappointment, although some things are better than they were in Guangdong.


Anyway, here's a review of another 12 months of living in Zhejiang Province, and of trying to be Happier Abroad.

Yes, despite all the woes I ended up renewing my contract. More than anything it was a case of "better the devil you know". It was quite a smart move because by renewing I got all my paperwork done before I returned home in the Summer. Plus they paid me a retainer of around $750 a month during July and August even though I didn't have any teaching hours. Finally I was able to leave a load of stuff in my room, and didn't have to rebuy stuff I'd already bought.

On the "better the devil you know" thing, I read so many scare stories about fake jobs in China and the penalties are so harsh so leaving a legitimate job to move to another one is way more risky than it is in another country.

Dating


Well dating in Zhejiang sucks. I've still had zero dates in what is it - 16 months now?

I've had a couple of almost dates. I chat to one lady sometimes but she left Shanghai and went back to Hunan. She comes to Shanghai sometimes but I think I'm old and wise enough to not spend $150 going to see her one weekend.

Not that anywhere else would necessarily be better of course. Last Summer I spent 20 days in Bangkok while on the way back to the UK. I only managed a single date in those 20 days. I fared much better in the bars in Nana Plaza though 😍. Ha ha I fell in love every night there.

What's making Zhejiang such a dating wasteland? I think it's just a numbers game, as my research here shows. There are eight times less ladies from Zhejiang on China Love Cupid than there are from Guangdong.

To summarise my research:

In 16 months my experiences have been:

  • China Love Cupid - just not enough ladies to chat to in Zhejiang. I've chatted to some Shanghai ladies, but the place is too Westernised to be a great hunting ground for wife material.
  • Jiayuan - I finally got my profile made on this Chinese language only site. It has a lot of members (even in Zhejiang) but I'd say 99% of the ladies on the site aren't really looking for a foreigner husband. If your Chinese is at HSK 3 or greater level you might do OK on here, but as I just said, they're not really looking for foreign husbands on this site.
  • TanTan - this Tinder clone is really popular but I've not had much success on here. It requires a lot of daily swiping and the wifi in my room is so poor that I just can't be bothered with it.
I should just add that TanTan has recently added a VIP option and it's super cheap. It's just like $12 a year or something though the App Store. Whether I'd get more luck with a VIP option I'm not sure - maybe it's like Match.com or Jiayuan when you pay once then they demand even more money to make your profile more visible.

A Better Social Life... Then It Went Sucky Again


After I posted my last article my social life in China got better. I met a group of Professional Expats and hung out with them a couple of times at a 5 star hotel bar.

Well it was nice to drink cold beer and watch stunning Cantonese waitresses, but I never really gelled with the other guys. They were around a decade older than me and we didn't have that much in common. I met a few Chinese guys there but they were just so boring with their talk of money and house prices and stuff.

One highlight came from this - I appeared on local TV. It was a cool experience and something that would be difficult to do back home.

The best thing that happened to me since the last article was that a sociable outgoing teacher joined our school last September. He found out more about China in a few weeks than I managed in a whole year! He taught me how to pick up Taobao deliveries (something that has transformed my life in China), steal unlocked ofo bicycles and introduced me to the expat nightlife scene here.

Well the nightlife isn't that awesome to be honest but we had a few memorable nights out.

I use the past tense because he dropped a bombshell in December - fun laoshi thought Zhejiang was too boring and now he's gone off to work in a major Tier 1 city.

Teaching Is Great... Never Going Back To My Cubicle Of Hell

It's weird. Back in 2013 I lived in Thailand and loved that, but I was never seriously considering going down the whole TEFL route.

I did actually apply for an IT job in Bangkok but the guy said he would only pay me a local salary and I didn't want to move halfway around the world just to go and live in another cubicle for 40 hours a week.

While I was in Bangkok I almost got as far as ordering some books about teaching English. But the whole thought of doing something as daunting as the CELTA terrified the hell out of me.

To be fair, doing the CELTA at International House a couple of years later DID terrify the hell out of me. Lesson two was marked not to standard and I thought things were going to fall apart just as my IT career had twice during 2014.

Somehow I made it through the CELTA, but it would be another two and a half years before I would go back into the classroom.

In the intervening couple of years I tried to get my IT career going again. The CELTA made me much better at job interviews. I ended up completely dominating a couple of interviews. These weren't at your average employer either. One was at a financial services company with offices beside the River Thames, the other was a leading cash management company who service two immense FTSE 100 companies.

Sadly when it came to actually doing the job I sucked and had the humiliation of two more firings to add to my career total of five.

Was I ever good at programming? Is any programmer any good at programming? It's probably the career path with the most amount of imposter syndrome sufferers in it.

Maybe as many imposter syndrome sufferers as there are in teaching.

I still worry about whether I'm a good enough teacher. But I seem to be doing OK. I got observed three times last year and of course one of the lessons was an absolute disaster. I did do some teaching of IT though as well as ESL, and the IT stuff seemed to go pretty well. My mantra in the classroom is are they actually learning anything?

Now I'm happy to be a teacher for a while. I've definitely come to terms with IT being a young man's game. My bestie back in London is trying to stay in an IT career past the age of 40 and it's car crash viewing really. He should really think about the TEFL route too.

It's cool that 20% of my IT students in China are girls, but I still think they'd have been better off studying on the Accountancy stream instead.

The Medium-Long Term Plan Looks Great

Well despite the boredom of  Zhejiang and the cubicle firings I tend to give zero fucks about anything but the longer term picture.

I've had so many "important" work meetings over the years but I can no longer remember what any of them were about.

Only one thing matters - the plan to achieve financial freedom. Well in that respect I have largely achieved that goal:


Maybe I'll do another post about this chart because I know there's a lot of interest in how I managed to stash so much cash away.

Incidentally, the large drop in 2006 wasn't the financial crash, it was when I bought my rental apartment and had to put down 20% (the other 80% was financed with a mortgage). I had another crash in 2016 when I paid off 40% of the remaining mortgage debt.

Anyway, I've done pretty well in Zhejiang. I'd have done even better but the financial markets have not been kind to me in the last 6 months.

Can I Escape My Island And Go Elsewhere

Yes of course Zhejiang isn't strictly an island, but with so many rivers maybe it is. Anyway, I feel much like Winston and his rants about how boring and dull Taiwan Province is.

Last Spring I did have a job interview for a job in Chiang Mai. I did try to escape Zhejiang! Chiang Mai would have been a great place to live and at least I wouldn't have to mess round with VPN connections to actually post here like I'm having to do right now. But the job's salary wasn't great and there was no apartment. I did some rough math and realised that I'd barely have broken even there. Meanwhile in boring Zhejiang I can save around half my salary (~$750 a month).

This year thanks to fun laoshi being the missing link in my being able to buy stuff on TaoBao I've been able to save even more money. Like Tesco/Vanguard sell pillows for ~170 CNY but I got a hotel quality one on TaoBao for ~69 CNY (including free delivery!).

So that kind of wraps up another year in Zhejiang. I've still got the Spring Semester to come (it starts next week).

I'm not mentioning the weather in this post. Last year it was freezing cold and went down to 8°C in my room. This year it's much warmer as I invested in an oil filled heater on TaoBao instead of relying on the crappy airconditioner unit to heat the room.

At least last Winter was sunny so I could go out and about exploring. This year we've had two sunny days since New Year (the Western one, not the Chinese one). The rest of the time it's been cold, grey and wet.

My neighbours have got cabin fever and keep yelling at each other - a good advertisement for NOT getting married to a Chinese women or any woman for that matter.

Well I'll wrap it up now, who knows what will happen in the 16 more weeks I am in Zhejiang. Probably nothing at all I guess...

If you have any comments or questions about China, teaching or financial independence then post them here. And remember to check out my Chinese dating maps - province by province and numbers of ladies to date per province.

Friday, December 28, 2018

What To Pack For Your Trip Abroad, Pt. I

By Andy

Packing for a trip abroad, no matter the length of the trip, is a tedious process. If you're a perfectionist like I am, you don't want to forget to pack any items, and you won't want to leave anything to chance. It is challenging, but not impossible to bring everything you need for your trip that fits in a suitcase and falls within legal regulations. With advance planning and some research, you can spend a lot less time on your trip abroad, worrying about where you placed a much needed item or locating the nearest store, and more time enjoying yourself. I have used my many years of experience in traveling abroad to compile a list of what to pack for that next great adventure. 

This post will focus on the suitcase, your checked baggage, and a later post will focus on what you should pack in your carry-on baggage. I should mention that, in my years of traveling, I have yet to master bringing just one bag as carry-on, that will fit in the overhead bin and not checking in any baggage. I don't know, nor have I met any fellow travelers who have done this. The only exception is those who travel domestically or for a week or less. If you're like me and you take trips of at least two or three weeks or even a month or longer, you'll understand the need for carefully packing checked luggage. 

So, without any further screwing around, here's an outline of what you should pack in your (checked bag) suitcase.

The suitcase: Well duh, this is blatantly obvious. You need something in which to pack your belongings for your trip abroad. But what you want is something that is strong, versatile, yet doesn't weigh too much. You want to be able to maneuver around airports, bus stations, train stations, and even short walks down the street to your apartment, bus stop or hotel with ease. Multi-directional double spinner wheels at the bottom are a must, and go for additional packing capacity (only available with a soft shell suitcase); you're going to need it.       

Do not get any suitcase larger than 25" because if you get anything bigger than that, you're going to have a very tough time lugging that thing around. You do not want to sweat profusely, hauling a large piece of baggage at LAX, going between the domestic and international terminals just to get your connecting flight. Also, bigger suitcases will run you the risk of going over the weight limit for checked baggage which is 50 kg (just over 110 lbs.). You do not want to look like a fool while checking in for your flight, being told your baggage is over the weight allowance, then fumbling around in your suitcase, looking for items to empty just to drop some weight. To be on the safe side, get a portable travel luggage scale that you can pack in your carry-on, and weigh your suitcase after you've packed everything you need.

If you're a novice to traveling abroad, I recommend getting a suitcase from Samsonite. They are a well known and reliable brand, and they've been in the luggage game for over a century. They have a wide selection of luggage, so you are bound to find something that is the right fit for you. I have the Samsonite Expandable Leverage LTE 25" Spinner in blue, which is a color I like and is easily identifiable at the baggage claim. It has plenty of compartments and even has a removal interior zippered suitor in case you need to pack a nice set of clothes for business or formal (your date wants to go with you to the opera or play) attire.

Luggage tag: Most suitcases come with built-in, and rather inconspicuous luggage tags. But, I have an additional luggage tag that's slightly bigger in size that I place on the top handle. The advantages to this are that it is an additional identifier not only at baggage claim in case some some other travelers have blue suitcases, but in case the airline loses your luggage. I recommend getting something noticeable like the Roaming Gnome or, if you like football, a jumbo helmet luggage tag of your favorite NFL team. Just be sure to write your name, address, and phone number on the tags; common sense comes first.

Cable luggage lock: Ever hear of the luggage mafia? Go ahead and look them up. Now, you see why you need to lock the main compartment of your suitcase with a padlock. Also, with baggage handling, you want to guarantee that the compartments do not somehow become unzipped. Just make sure to set a combination that is easy to remember or, if you must get a key lock, not to lose the keys. Oh, and make sure the lock is TSA accepted/approved.

Toiletries bag: First, make sure there is enough space inside your suitcase for your toiletries bag. As you will be hard-pressed to find an apartment or hotel with sufficient countertop space, get a bag with a hook that can hang on a shower or towel bar. A dependable and sturdy toiletries bag should cost you no more than $20. What to pack in your toiletries bag: shaving razor, travel size shaving cream, travel size after shave, small container with floss, interdental brushes, travel toothbrush, mouthwash, small tube of toothpaste, triple antibiotic ointment (small), travel size petroleum jelly, pocket size sunblock, body spray/cologne, small first aid kit, bandages, eye drops, ear drops, body wash/soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, manicure kit, facial hair/nose hair trimmers, comb/brush, hair gel/spray/mousse, condoms, and a pill and vitamin case for over the counter/supplements NOT prescriptions. Prescriptions are to be packed in your carry-on. 

Jacket: This largely depends on when and where you travel. Ideally, a lightweight, not bulky jacket that can be folded and can fit with the rest of your clothes without taking up too much space should do the trick. For example, if you travel to South America in September, the seasons are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere. So, a packable jacket that can fit in your carry-on and even a day pack will be a lifesaver during those rainy expeditions in Brazil. But if you're attending a tango show in Buenos Aires, you might want to go with something a little nicer

On the other hand, if you're traveling to Europe in autumn or winter, you'll want to take something a lot warmer. Don't skimp on warmth and please, keep your coat or jacket with you. Do not pack it in your bag; one is all you need in this case. You can put it in the overhead bin after you've boarded. In colder climes, you're going to need to have your jacket on shortly after you land. 

Shoes: When you travel, you are likely to be doing a lot of walking. So, it is of the utmost importance to be good to your feet and have comfortable walking shoes. If you're the person that likes to exercise and run along the river or in the park, you can pack some running shoes in a shoe bag and place them in your suitcase, as long as there is enough space. You'll save space if you can find good walking shoes that can double as dress shoes. 

Sandals: This will depend on the locale and the season. If you're heading to someplace tropical, pack a pair of sandals that you can take with you to the beach. You don't need expensive ones, just a cheap pair from Wal-Mart will do the trick. 

Socks: Pack no less than five pairs of socks. If you're going to be doing laundry, then you'll want plenty of clean socks while the others are in the wash and drying. Pack no more than two pairs of dress socks. For cold weather travel, Darn Tough Merino Wool socks will keep your feet toasty. Like I said, you're likely to be doing a lot of walking, so take good care of your feet. 

Pants: One to two pairs of jeans and one pair of cargo pants. Hint: If you wear your cargo pants on the day you travel to and from your destination, you'll save space in your suitcase. Plus, you won't have to worry about sitting on your wallet. Duluth Trading Co. and Wrangler are best for cargo pants.

Shorts: Depending on location and season, pack these in your suitcase. Two pairs should be fine, preferably cargo shorts. Head over to your local Wal-Mart for these if you don't have some already. 

Shirts: Depending on the location and season, pack two undershirts, and four t-shirts if traveling to warmer climes, a couple henley shirts that can be long or short sleeve. For clubbing or more formal outings, one polo shirt that can be long or short sleeve depending on season, and/or one dress shirt.

Sweater: One v-neck sweater that can be worn over a dress shirt for more formal outings and one half-zip fleece.

Swim shorts: Two pairs should be fine, and you don't have to wear a sunga. Speedo makes decent trunks that don't resemble diapers, and you don't have to wear the Water Polo briefs.

Gym/exercise: Two tank tops depending on location and season. Two gym/running shorts. If you like to be outdoors during colder weather, pack a running jacket and running/warm-up pants. If you want, you can use the half-zip fleece for those cold morning runs. Be sure to wear a beanie so body heat does not escape from your head.

Gloves: Depending on location and season, you'll want to keep your hands warm. You can also pack these in carry-on if you wish.

Hat: Keep the sun from beating down on you and avoid or minimize sunburn. 

Beanie: Keep your head warm during the colder months.

Underwear: DO NOT underpack on underwear. Again, pack no less than five pairs. Duluth Trading Company Buck Naked Underwear works wonders and is worth the price. 

Pajama bottoms: Pack these unless you want to sleep naked or in your street clothes.

Handkerchief: Pack four of these. Fold them up and they won't take up too much space.

Lint roller:  Get the lint off of your clothes before heading out. 

Travel TowelPack the larger one in your suitcase and the smaller one in carry-on. That way you are never without something with which to dry off. 

Travel size laundry detergent:  Just in case you stay in an apartment that has a washer, but no detergent, and you don't want to search for any at the nearest convenience store.

Laundry bag: Keep your dirty laundry in a separate foldable bag until you have time to do laundry or until the hotel staff does it for you.

Wash bag: Pack this in a side compartment just in case you stay in an apartment that does not have a washing machine.

Souvenirs: Pack a lapel pin or something small from your hometown to give to locals.

Documents: Make multiple copies of your passport and/or birth certificate and place a copy in a side pocket or inside compartment of your suitcase. This helps with being another identifier in case your luggage gets lost. If you take prescription medication, be sure to get a doctor's note from your primary care physician, make copies of that, and place a copy along with your passport copy in one of the compartments. 

Okay, so that about covers what you should pack in your suitcase. Hopefully, you have a starting point on things you should take on your next trip. My next entry will cover what to pack in your carry-on. Until then, happy travels. 



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Marrying A Colombian Woman? Here Are Four Things To Watch Out For!


Dating and marrying foreign women is all the rage nowadays. Chalk it up to the high divorce rates in North America or maybe just a massive change in romantic interests, but Western men are trailing their eyes overseas in the hope of finding the perfect bride. We all know, however, that perfection does not exist. Colombian women might seem perfect (and in many ways, they outshine all other women on earth), but trust me, they have their strange side as well. Four to be exact.

Before you plan on dating a Colombian girl, you might want to be aware of these facts:

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Happier Abroad Support Network

Do you have a book, blog, website, Youtube channel, forum, small business, or any product or service that needs promoting? Frustrated because you can't find reliable help?

It's not easy to succeed when there is so much competition and you have to fight so hard just to get a few clicks, views, and sales.

At Happier Abroad, we are building an outlet for getting what you need: clicks, views, reviews, subscriptions, sales. We call it the Happier Abroad Support Network.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Expatriation Ragnarok – My New Guide For Expatriating in These Dark Times

Hello everyone, Markcus McCloud here. You may know me better as Ghost from the Happier Abroad forum. I think it is evident that expatriation is harder these days, as the condition of the world continues to rapidly deteriorate. Ten years ago must seem like the good ol' days of being happier abroad. Where is there left to go that is still relatively good? How can you get started going abroad if you are starting at zero? And once abroad, how can you get what you need out of it? I talk about these things and so much more in my new guide, Expatriation Ragnarok.

The successor to Expatriation Apocalypse (2015), Expatriation Ragnarok expands on why the West is declining and collapsing, how we got into this mess and where it is leading, the ultimate economic doom that may be coming over the next few decades, and how to make the most of going abroad when things are so grim and difficult.

I have always had a focus on the 'common man' who is starting from zero or near zero. There are not enough resources for these alienated men who need help the most. Expatriation Ragnarok is the same – a guide for those who are at bottom and just want to get out of the West before it is finally too late.

Marrying A Filipina? Here Are Three Things To Watch Out For!

These are some tips about marrying a Filipina lady from a Filipino guy that I know. Some very interesting insights that you need to know if you are headed this direction with a women from the Philippines.

It's not a big surprise that many Americans today prefer to abandon ship when it comes to love and swim over to the other side of the world in search of their elusive soulmate. The relatively toxic culture of the West when it comes to marriage and commitment is an open secret, hence the collective eyes of its men are all turning to Eastern countries, one of which is the Philippines.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Life is a Scam – Enjoy Going Abroad While You Still Can

I'm going to tell you a secret that isn't so secret: life is a scam. If you are red pill, then you probably know that by now. But do you understand the depths of it? That is what I want you to realize. I'm not saying that life is a scam only right now, at this particular point in history. I am saying that it was always a scam. Sometimes the scam is a little better or a little worse for you, but it is always a scam. And it is specifically a scam for men.

What do I mean by that?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Traveling Abroad As Explained By The Joker

By Andy


Greetings, my fellow lateral thinkers. The picture below is so very true. But you know what? Screw what others think. Happy travels!



Monday, February 5, 2018

Review of Latvia

By Andy





Latvia is an amazing country. It is one of my favorite places to visit. I was very impressed with this country during my first visit. I was so impressed that the day I arrived there, I already wanted to come back. Latvia, at least for me, has that unique charm that keeps people coming back.

Where is Latvia, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked because most people in the U.S. don't know where it us. I myself, had never even heard of it until the early 2000's. Latvia is in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, and yes, it is a sovereign nation. It's not a big tourist destination, at least historically due to being a former Soviet State, so it's not as popular, and is very underrated.