The all-inclusive spa package begins with conversation about the concerns and issues you have from diet to lifestyle, which will be used to identify the treatments that will benefit you most. Massage treatments are woven into group fitness classes, personal life coaching and meals at culinary destination Studio. If you want to master what happens in the kitchen, you’ll have unlimited access to classes with The Loft’s Chef de Cuisine Brian Black, who has a unique approach to fusing comfort foods and spa menus.
If you need a long break — during which your body is the center of attention — this is it. Spa Montage is the solution to all the stress that ails you.
Taking a road trip is universally synonymous with adventure, relaxation, and new experience. While others might mention plotting out your trip, picking good stopping points, and making sure to have a rest and change drivers as often as you should, I won’t. Instead I’ll stress the one and only thing that you should never ever start a road trip without: a thorough mechanical check of your vehicle.
It you run out of sunscreen, you buy more. If you run out of money, you get some wired to you.
But if your car breaks while far from home… you’re stuck.
I no longer have a simple answer to the question, “Where do you live?”, so I usually launch into an explanation of exactly what I’m doing. I almost always get the same response.
“Wow. I wish I could do that.”
But here’s the thing: almost anyone can do what I’m doing. Despite being a much more interesting lifestyle, it’s not particularly difficult or expensive.
This is the story of how I became a modern day nomad, and how you may become one too if the idea appeals to you.
I quit my job a year ago. It was a great job by any metric, but something about sitting inside on a computer on sunny spring days seemed wrong. What was I doing with my life?
A couple months later I was free. I wrote a book about my knowledge and experiences gained from living with the most famous pickup artists in the world, and I began selling it.
I still had to work, but my work was totally mobile. My book was sold online only. I could write from anywhere, take care of customers from anywhere, and make phone calls from anywhere.
This led to questions like, “Why am I living in Austin?”, which led to questions like, “Why am I living in the U.S.?”, which led to questions like, “Why pick just one place to live in?”
And so the idea was hatched. I’d pick six different countries to live in, and would move every two months.It wouldn’t be vacation, though. I’d work just like usual, except instead of taking a break to see a movie I’d take a break to walk on the Panama Canal.
And I didn’t want to backpack either. Staying in a dorm room in some dirty hostel didn’t hold much appeal. I wanted to live like a local and really experience the country and the culture.
My good friend Todd listened as I explained the plan.
“Count me in.”
We wrote a dream list of all the countries we’d like to visit in the first year. Narrowing the list down was difficult, but we cut it down to six main destinations as well as a few small side trips.
Panama, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Qatar, France, Australia, New Zealand.
Deciding to do the trip was the hardest part. Once you pick a date to leave and decide that you’ll do it no matter what, the rest falls in place.
We sold everything. I had an RV, a condo, a car, as well as tons of computers, clothes, and other junk like that. Even if we didn’t have existing online businesses, our fire sales would have bought us enough time to start our businesses on the road.
With just a few hours to go, we were both down to just one small 28L Backpack each. Over the prior few months we had researched the very best gear to buy, and our bags were full of our findings. In those tiny backpacks we stuffed everything we’d need to live and work comfortably for the rest of the year.
Leaving people behind is difficult too, of course. I left a girlfriend, and Todd and I both said goodbye to a lot of friends and family. Internet makes that a lot better, though. Making calls with our VOIP Enabled phones is the same as using them as cell phones, and AIM and e-mail keep us in touch too. Some of our friends even come out and visit us on the road.
We anticipated that life would be totally different once we left, and that it would be a lot harder. This hasn’t been true at all. Once you adjust to a new country after a day or two, it’s business as usual.
There are a lot of differences, but the basics are the same. People are friendly and helpful everywhere. Good food can be found everywhere. Supermarkets are all basically the same.
It isn’t very expensive either. We bought our plane tickets through Airtreks, which averaged less than $500 per month. In Panama we had a two bedroom apartment with a large balcony overlooking the harbor. In Tokyo we have a large room with two beds in a big house in Shibuya, one of the best areas downtown. Both accommodations cost us only $550 per month each.
Because anything purchased has to be lugged to the next destination, we don’t buy anything other than food, which might be another $500 a month each. For just over $1000 a month we have the luxury of living all over the world, learning and experiencing more every month than we used to in a year.
There are no significant hidden costs or hassles. Living as a nomad is just as manageable as living in a single location, but a lot more fun and exciting.
Even if you don’t want to start your own internet business, there is a lot of work that can be done by contract. To start, check out eLance, or rentacoder.com. Between those two sites you can get paid to write, edit, create web pages, research, or program. If you can’t do any of those things now, you could surely teach yourself within a few months using free resources online and a little practice.
Thanks to technology, becoming a nomad is in reach of most people. If you’re interested enough to read this far, it’s probably something you could do too.
Serial entrepreneur and ultravagabond Timothy Ferriss has been featured by dozens of media, including The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, NBC, and MAXIM. He speaks six languages, runs a multinational firm from wireless locations worldwide, and has been a world-record holder in tango, a national champion in Chinese kickboxing, and an actor on a hit television series in Hong Kong — all by the age of 29.
His new book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, was released on April 24th, and it quickly rocketed to the #8 spot of Amazon’s best-seller list. Gadling got the chance to sit down with Tim, and discuss everything from his new book, his travels, language learning, and what it takes to scape that 9-5 job, live anywhere in the world, and join the “new rich.”
As always, Gadling has a few copies of his book to giveaway, so stick around after the interview to find out how you can get your hands on one. How did you get started traveling?
It was thrust upon me as a sophomore in high school. I was selected to spend a year living in Japan as an exchange student, and it became my first trip outside of the U.S.. I was told I would receive “Japanese classes,” which ended up being actual classes — physics, classical Japanese, world history — alongside 5,000 Japanese students! Talk about lost in translation. I’d only had six months of Japanese in the U.S. prior to landing and couldn’t even read exit signs. Even though I had failed to learn any Spanish in two years of study in gradeschool, in Japan I went from being illiterate to writing an article for my high school’s newspaper in 11 months. Thereafter, my progression period for learning languages got shorter and shorter. The reason for this is simple: though I lacked the proper methods (the “how”), I became very good at choosing material (the “what”). This is the difference between being efficient and being effective.
From that point on, it was an addiction. In the last five years, I’ve gone through three passports and more than 25 countries.
You call yourself an “ultravagabond.” What do you mean by this?
That’s actually what other people call me because I relocate overseas for 1-3-month “mini-retirements” a few times a year. I suppose the “ultra” is tagged on because it’s not nomadic behavior out of necessity — I have a nice home near San Francisco and manage a business for a few hours a week from wireless locations around the world. I don’t sacrifice income when I take these trips. I’ve actually saved about $32,000 in the last 12 months when compared to the alternative of just sitting at home in CA! Digital lifestyle design offers some amazing options once you learn to leverage time and mobility. From overseas tax credits to outsourcing your life, there are some incredible “lifehacks” right under people’s noses.
You speak 6 languages — how does this affect how and where you travel?
Before I answer that, I just want to point out that I believe — no, I know — that adults can learn languages faster than children. It’s supported by the research in “In Other Words” by Hakuta, I’ve done the research in Chinese character (kanji) acquisition, and I learned all of my foreign languages after age 15. I think it’s possible to become conversationally fluent — being able to speak, not just listen, 30 minutes without missing a word is my benchmark — in any language within three months.
I travel, in large part, to learn languages, so I like to relocate somewhere at least once per year where I don’t speak the native tongue. Culture is shared thought patterns, and thinking in adults is largely indistiguishable from language; thus, it’s impossible to understand a culture without understanding the language. Croatia and Latvia are next on my list, though Russia and Holland are looking good as well, since the book rights have been sold in both places. For the warm and fuzzy feeling of returning home to a favorite language, I’ll settle in Tokyo or Buenos Aires for 1-3 months.
Do you believe there is a capacity on how many languages one can be fluent in?
At one time, yes. I don’t believe it is possible for someone to have near-native fluency in languages from more than three or four families at the same time. That said, there is an unlimited number of languages you can become fluent over the span of a lifetime. In my case, for example, I have conversational fluency in two or three languages at a time, usually because they bridge families. Currently, I’m most comfortable in Japanese, Argentine Spanish, and Mandarin, in that order. But, if I have a week in Berlin or Milan, for example, I can “reactivate” conversational fluency in German or Italian. Maintaining half a dozen languages would be a full-time job, even two is a huge time drain, so I depend on a specific sequence for what I call “reactivation”.
Tim sets a tango World Record on Live with Regis and Kelley
In your book, you claim that it’s possible to design a lifestyle of “fun and profit” in the here-and-now. How can this concept be applied to the traditional save-money-to-travel mindset?
Let me answer that with a story. I recently had lunch in San Francisco with a good friend and former college roommate. He will soon graduate from a top business school and return to investment banking. He hates coming home from the office at midnight but explained to me that, if he works 80-hour weeks for 6-9 years, he could become a managing director and make a cool $3-10 million per year. Then he would be “successful”.
“Dude, what on earth would you do with $3-10 million per year?” I asked. His answer? “I would take a long trip to Thailand.”
That just about sums up one of the biggest self-deceptions of our modern age: extended world travel as the domain of the uberrich. If your dream, the pot of gold at the end of the career rainbow, is to live large in Thailand, sail around the Caribbean, or ride a motorcycle through China, guess what? All of them can be done for less than $3,000. I’ve done all three.
$3,000 still seem like a lot? For $250 in Panama, I spent five days on a private Smithsonian tropical research island with three local fishermen who caught and cooked all my food and also took me on tours of the best hidden dive spots in Central America. For $150 in Mendoza wine country in Argentina, I chartered a private plane and flew over the most beautiful vineyards and snow-capped Andes with a private pilot and personal guide.
The trick, of course, is creating time. This requires separating income from traditional ass-in-seat time and moving from presence-based to performance-based work. I cover remote work negotiation at length in the book — even including actual scripts case studies have used — but it’s not as difficult as most think. There is a great sequence many lifestyle designers use, called the “hour-glass” approach because it begins with a long period out of the office, returns to a short period, then expands back to a long period. Here’s how it works:
Use a pre-planned project or emergency (family issue, personal issue, relocation, home repairs, whatever) that requires you to take one or two weeks out of the office.
Say that you recognize you can’t just stop working, and that you would prefer to work instead of take vacation days.
Propose how you can work remotely and offer, if necessary, to take a pay cut for that period (and that period only) if performance isn’t up to par upon returning.
Allow the boss to collaborate on how to do it so that he or she is invested in the process.
Make the two weeks “off” the most productive period you’ve ever had at work.
Show your boss the quantifiable results upon returning, and tell him or her that – without all the distractions, commute, etc. – you can get twice as much done. Suggest two or three days at home per week as a trial for two weeks.
Make those remote days ultra-productive.
Suggest only one or two days in the office per week.
Make those days the least productive of the week.
Suggest complete five-day-per-week mobility – the boss will go for it.
As promised, we have copies of the book to give away to two lucky Gadling readers! Just leave a comment below and our magical system will automatically select two random winners — but make sure you use a valid email address, as we’ll have to contact you to get your mailing address. For official rules, please click here. Comments and contest will close one week from today, May 4 at 8:00 PM.
Every time Planet mag hits the shelves I feel as if I have this reader loyalty type thing to spread the word and paint the town with the news. If you’re not a subscriber I suggest you sign-up today. With just four issues a year it’s easy to let one slip by and well, you don’t want that do you? So how about I stop sounding preachy and things on the glossy and just tell you what’s inside this issue?