After meeting Miles and Melanie earlier this month on the Nomad Cruise, I caught up with Miles while he was in Sintra, Portugal.
Miles Beckler and his wife Melanie provide online information products, meditations and spiritual development courses. Miles is a wealth of knowledge and Melanie is also an incredibly driven entrepreneur. Together they own Ask Angels and The Angel Solutionas well as traveling long term since 2013.
We’ll be talking about traveling full time, the Dark Night of the Soul, meditation, social media growth, funnel marketing and the emotional element of entrepreneurship.
“Trial and error has been my greatest teacher.” – Miles Beckler
Sea legs [02:13]
What is it like to travel full-time? [04:49]
Slow internet and running an online business [07:30]
How Ask Angels began [09:36]
What is the Dark Night of the Soul? [12:33]
Social media growth [20:10]
Engineering a funnel marketing campaign [26:15]
The emotional elements of entrepreneurship [34:44]
Not just any school, you wanted to teach the California school curriculum while teaching students about organic farming, yoga, robotics and more?
Would you do it if you lived in Japan? Would you do it if you didn’t have any money? Would you do it if you didn’t even speak Japanese?
Jonathan Yaffe started there. The success of the school was one of many enterprising stories he shares today on the podcast.
Along with founding schools, art galleries and co-working spaces, he’s now working on another fascinating project. As co-founder of AnyRoad, their goal is to empower tour guides around the world to come online and connect with adventurers.
In this podcast, Jonathan describes his origin story. He tells some wild stories that inspired his love of learning, ethical travel and his favorite addiction, sushi.
Jonathan’s first big adventure to Manaus, Brazil [2:57]
On the mindset shift of traveling with a one-way ticket [6:20]
Tales from the gateway of the Amazon: Manaus, Brazil [7:40]
The Radiohead experiment along a jungle river gone wrong [9:47]
How to sneak out of Brazil when your visa expires [12:20]
How after 2 years of no work he finally ran out of money [15:55]
On being stranded in Japan with one pay check [17:50]
A dream school in Tokyo [19:53]
Finding a passion worth committing to for 2 years [23:30]
How to do what the California public school system does and more – Robotics, Organic Farming and Yoga [26:25]
His mission – To build a school where you know everyone [29:25]
What’s next? A Tokyo Gallery! [31:01]
How Tokyo’s trash turned out to be an amazing opportunity [32:38]
The secret to scaling your business…. is implicit trust [35:55]
The Kilimanjaro trek that changed everything [38:10]
Researching with guides from all around the world [41:20]
What happened when bringing 95% of local tour guides online [44:19]
How to see a hidden part of The Great Wall of China [46:40]
“He said, ‘You’re 23. You’re broke. You’ve never been a teacher before. You don’t speak Japanese. How are you going to do this?’… And I somehow got him to fund the school.” – Jonathan Yaffe on finding investors for the KAI School of Tokyo
Jonathan Yaffe’s Talking Points:
AnyRoad – Jonathan’s most recent pursuit, is bringing tour guides all around the world online for better wages, better services, and a better price for adventurers.
Imagine moving to a new city and living rent-free for months… or visiting a dream destination and staying in a luxurious home with an equipped kitchen and furry pets to keep you company. Today more and more people are traveling as house sitters.
House-sitting has changed the way I travel and live my life.
Blogger and author of Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to House-Sitting, Dani Heinrich has been taking care of homes and pets for years. I had her back on the podcast to lay down detailed tips on how to land the best housesitting gigs.
Listen to this one if you have a location-independent business and want to authentically experience a destination and save money at the same time.
How Dani’s last visit on the show introduced V and I to the wonders of house-sitting [01:13]
An Overview of “Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting”, a book written by Dani and her co-author Jessica Ainlay aka The Globetrotter Girls [1:52]
The secret to great house sitting is…. being personable [04:50]
How to find secret neighborhoods, truly local food and cafes of New York City through housesitting [7:00]
Two greatest advantages in landing a housesitting gig are great references and an ability to meet with the homeowners in person [09:52]
Important Note: Not everyone is trusting of house sitters right off the bat [10:31]
Why house sitting is an amazing way to move to a new city without paying rent for the first few months [13:45]
Tips for first-time house sitters [14:20]
1. Show your trustworthiness, personality and transparentness
2. Bonus: Be an animal-lover!
3. Be honest with yourself about what you’re comfortable with
4. Include references from other experiences like Airbnb and house sitting for friends
5. Horse lovers, you are wanted! [16:35]
6. The most important strategy is to apply right away. Do so, by setting up daily alerts [20:30]
How to write the ideal application letter [21:29]
What to do when house sitting experiences go wrong [24:14]
Tips for getting great house sitting reviews [30:20]
1. Clean before the owners return
2. Cook or bake something and leave it in the fridge for the owners return
3. Send plenty of pictures, texts and email updates to the host—Ask first!
5. Make friends with the neighbors…. it will get you more jobs!
You don’t have to be the perfect gypsy housewife to be a great house-sitter. Just be yourself [34:11]
“This is how I established my love for New York City… Before when I was staying in hotels there, I didn’t connect with the city as I did when I house sat and I got to know the neighborhoods.” – Dani Heinrich
Dani Heinrich’s Talking Points:
Hear the early Love Affair Travel episode that inspired V and I to start housesitting
Here we go – Another adventure, another traveler, another helluva inspiring story. You ready?
We’re still in Chiang Mai, staying in a beautiful apartment, and talking to entrepreneur, ironman, and founder of the Unleash Yourself Podcast, Michael Carbone (Check out his Instagram).
So listen in as we chill next to this glorious pool, surrounded by singing birds and greenery, and talk tales of making money, playing poker, and competing in one of the world’s most grueling physical competitions.
Enjoy the show!
Born and raised in Montreal [02:20]
Escaping the burning season in Chiang Mai [03:00]
When the Songkran starts [03:30]
Fire dancing! [03:50]
Wait … who hasn’t seen Harry Potter? [04:30]
Coaching poker and the implosion of Michael’s first business [06:15]
Playing it safe on the internet [08:00]
The life of a baseball agent [11:30]
How Michael negotiated an extra $15kfrom his bedroom [13:50]
Getting a dream job at Niké … or not? [19:15]
Discovering Ironman [14:40]
If you can learn to swim, what else can you do?[26:45]
We’re in Chiang Mai and it’s the 2016 Songkran Festival. People are outside obliterating each other with water pistols. Kids are laughing. Blues musicians are playing their hearts out … and there I am sat down with my MacBook preparing to interview the amazing Johannes Voelkner.
Well because he’s the founder of the firstever floating-tech-hub for digital nomads – The Nomad Cruise!
The top spots for digital nomads [02.00]
The start of Johannes Nomad Journey [03:15]
The rabbit hole of online marketing [06:15]
Studying in Cape Town [08:10]
How difficult is it to become a digital nomad? [12:15]
The birth of Web Work Travel [14:15]
Nomad Cruise! The coolest thing ever? [22:00]
Life on the Nomad Cruise [29:05]
A pre-cruise vacation [37:00]
“If you take small steps, eventually you will progress faster.” – Johannes Voelkner
Nomad Cruise Talking Points:
Springwise – New business ideas and innovations just for you
If you flew to Panama with a lot of debt, a little cash, no experience and nothing but a plan to make money online, would you still play it cool?
A common theme of this podcast is to explore transition. No one gives permission to do this stuff. It takes a leap of faith to make it happen. I love to ask how the most successful people made it happen.
My guest today is Chris Hughes (@whosChrisHughes). We met at KoHub one night. I dive into that story in the podcast.
Lots of people say that building a business is like jumping off a cliff and building an airplane before you hit the ground. For Chris, that plane was a Duck Dynasty Facebook fan page. Duck Dynasty caught him before he hit the dirt. He’s still flying. It’s a crazy story.
How Chris almost killed his friend [02:20]
Starting a life of travel [02:40]
The viral power of Duck Dynasty [03:35]
Using a Facebook Fan Page to buy a margarita [06:50]
Valet-parking cars for Orlando Magic [10:45]
Refusing job opportunities to keep your freedom [14:10]
Learning how to make money online [16:05]
On completing college for your parents [18:03]
Burning your ships and making the leap [22:38]
Being smart with your money [23:20]
Juggling for video games [25:20]
The benefits of Capitalism [29:05]
Leaving the surfing haven of Costa Rica [30:35]
Building systems for your business [33:30]
Making business work on Facebook [35:50]
Chris Hughes Talking Points:
Learn about the show Duck Dynasty which inspired Chris’s first business
This is a review of Dirtride Lanta. Dirtride Lanta operates from a small shop on the west side of Koh Lanta Yai. It’s run by Shade (Shadow?) who is an excellent motorcyclist and offers really fun, fast tours of both Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai in a single morning. We had an amazing time.
How to Do Dirtride Lanta
Connect with Shade via Facebook. He has a phone in his pocket and responds quickly and effectively. It’s probably him so be respectful from the start for best results.
When you book Dirtride Lanta, here’s what to expect:
What to wear when you drive to the office
Make sure you wear your own underwear and socks.
You will be provided with all the gear you need. That includes:
Long sleeve shirt
Really cool gloves
You could show up wearing nothing but underwear and socks if you wanted.
That said, please wear pants. Unless you are particularly good-looking. Then wear underwear and socks.
Is this really dangerous?
Shade will take you as fast as you want. Of course, he doesn’t pressure you to go faster. You can and should go at your own speed.
I have moderate motorcycle experience. He must have been able to identify that we aren’t motocross experts because he just rode a small scooter while showing us around. Even though I was on a Honda CRF250L motocross bike, I couldn’t keep up with him when he hit the accelerator. He is bloody fast.
So if you’re an expert, you’ll have a blast.
That said, he’s super nice and accommodating. If you’re a rookie, just take it at your own speed and have a blast.
A Note of What to Eat
Eat a solid breakfast before arriving in the morning. That day I did bacon, eggs and ham at Living Room Cafe which was excellent and fast.
When returning from the trip, you’ll be hungry. Shade and his family do a home cooked meal for the riders.
It’s phenomenal. His wife is an excellent cook. You’ll love it.
I didn’t even bring snacks. Feel free to do so, but a backpack will be a hinderance. You probably don’t need one. We were on the road the whole time having way too much fun to slow down and snack. I’m happy I brought nothing but underwear and socks (and the GoPro).
Other Details of Dirtride Lanta
If you want to film, just bring a bulletproof camera. An iPhone/Samsung will be good, but you won’t want to be holding it while driving. If you do a GoPro, connect it to the handle bars so you can adjust the angle as you drive.
In 2015 V (Veronica) and I ran an internet business which empowered us to spend the whole year island hopping in the Caribbean and driving across the United States.
During that time we took a boat from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, flew to Miami, drove to New Orleans, New York, Canada, Detroit, Chicago, Yellowstone National Park, British Colombia and down to Reno, Nevada.
V graces the show with her presence today. Unaware this is about to go down, until I shove a microphone in her face, she’s a willing participant. The aim is for her to help me tell this story. We have alot of fun reminiscing. This was the best year of my life and I’m deeply grateful to share this story.
Note: This is an enhanced podcast so while you listen on your iPhone (subscribe to the podcast) you can see images on the screen.
Today I’m talking to the brains and mastermind behind KoHub – the tropical coworking space in Koh Lanta – James Abbot.
James was a digital nomad before there was even a name for it. He used to divide his time between programming remotely using his collection of 3G sim cards, exploring undiscovered scuba diving spots, and sailing around South East Asia on the boat he lived on!
Since then James has traded in his life of perpetual travel, sold his boat, and now spends his time building a community within his coworking space along the Andaman sea.
Feeling like something is missing [03:11]
Asking the boss if you can take a year off [03:49]
Selling all of your stuff [04:00]
Are workers who live the nomadic lifestyle happier? [07:00]
Is digital nomadism a movement or industry? [10:45]
The need to run a coworking space as a business first [11:45]
Making Thailand your home [15:00]
The Coworking Unconference Asia (CUASIA) [16:25]
The growing number of digital nomads in South East Asia [17:45]
Working from a boat with 3G [20:00]
Cabin Fever! [23:45]
Rekindling the love of diving [25:00]
Why James sold his boat [29:00]
The sustainability of living on a boat [30:00]
The trials and tribulations of visas [31:00]
Organizing the weekly beach cleanup [37:00]
Traveling vicariously through the stories of the people you meet [40:00]
The difficulties with finding staff in Thailand [42:00]
Marcus Meurer and I have businesses that don’t involve location requirements. That empowers us and people like us to live in a new city every 1-3 months. It’s great for individual freedom, but what about community?
Marcus Meurer is the mind behind a lot of companies. He is now focused on the problem of community for the digital nomads. He is one of the founders of DNX, a co-working organization which sets up events, camps and a lot more for all these digital nomads scattered like glitter across the earth.
I met him on the island of Koh Lanta on the Andaman Sea side of Thailand. He was leading DNX Camp at the time and graciously offered a bit of his time to share with us how he is supporting the digital nomad community.
Welcome back to the show everyone.
Some of you may have noticed that Love Affair Travel got knocked out by a team of Chinese, Russian, Myanmarian hackers. It was a nightmare. The good news is, we’re back better than ever. The site loads faster, is more secure and just looks better. We’ve even added forums. My hope is that I can be of assistance to those who are listening to this show.
Just to catch you up, V and I have moved to a small island on the western coast of Thailand in the Andaman sea. It’s called Koh Lanta and we’re not alone here.
There is a large group of Digital Nomads here and one sect of them is the DNX camp headed by Marcus Meurer and his girlfriend.
In this podcast we discuss the nature of the digital nomad community, how it’s growing and what we can do to make the scene more vibrant for those new entrants.
“Getting the first client and getting the first bill paid changed everything for me.” – Marcus Meurer (Tweet It)
Marcus Meurer Talking Points:
Working with other digital nomads
Transitioning from the 9-5 into the nomad lifestyle
The challenges of building and working with remote teams
On removing the barriers that you create when the business needs you to grow
We took the Chiang Mai to Bangkok Train in February 2016. Overall, it’s a great experience. I don’t know that I would do it again, as flying is just sooooo much quicker and easier. That being said, it’s fun to ride a train halfway across Thailand. If you’re not in a rush to get to your next destination then this is a great way to travel. The time we had on the train was well spent and the countryside is beautiful. Sometimes the slower, less direct route is often the more memorable and exciting one. Life is all about adventures. Right?
Enter V. She did all the research before getting the ticket. Indeed, if it were up to me (Ian) we would have never of made the train. Apparently some people plan to take this train months in advance, especially during the peak season. Wow.
Originally we wanted to take the 3:30pm Express Train No. 52 to Bangkok because we wanted to see a little more scenery and also to have a fan (s 2nd class sleeper), with open windows, rather than air-conditioning. However, we weren’t able to get tickets. We left it too late. Instead we managed to score last minute train tickets (the day before departure) for the 5pm Special Express Train No. 14 to Bangkok. So we booked a S 2nd class sleeper which is an all air-conditioned sleeper train. V was worried it would be super cold (she’d read a bunch of online reviews about it being very cold and unpleasant), however much to our delight it was the perfect temperature and we were warm the entire train ride. Our tickets were only 881 Baht per person = $25 USD per person for a 12 hour overnight train ride. Bargain!
The Story of the Chiang Mai to Bangkok Train Experience
We start out at a great wifi cafe Rosabieng Restaurant, pretty much directly across the road from the Chiang Mai train station on Rotfai Alley. If you get to the station early there’s a bunch of sweet spots along this Alley to chill out at and bide time.
We walk into the train station and V breaks down how the process of getting a last minute train ticket works. Hint: it’s not super easy in the peak season (November – February and/or ‘Peak Periods’ like Public/National holidays, Festivals, weekend travel (Friday-Monday) or even ‘Commuter Rush Hour’). Many people plan a long time in advance before taking this train during these months, as this is obviously one of the most popular routes. If you’re late in buying your ticket (like us) V provides a game plan.
Then we board the train and enjoy the trip. It’s fun. V wanted to eat in the restaurant car, but the lady pressured her into having us buy our food from our seats. She was a bit upset until she investigated the train and learned that the food in the restaurant car was the exact same as what was delivered to our seats. Yes. Happy travelers!
The attendant comes around and takes your order at the beginning of the train ride, and your meal is delivered to your seat around 7pm. Food is also separate and not included in the price of the train ticket. It’s more expensive then the usual Thai meal so if you have a chance I would recommend you eat before you get on the overnight sleeper. I’m not going to lie, we both thought the food was pretty average.
Next, the train crew come around to put everyone to sleep early, around 8pm. They start from the top end of the car and hope to work their way to the end of the car in a swift, orderly manner. You have to move out of your seat to let the attendant do their thing. They stash the table away under a side compartment, then your seats folds out to make the lower berth, lastly they fold out an upper berth from the ceiling. We both got the lower berths which worked out great, they are slightly more expensive however much more comfortable than the upper berth. More room (if you’ve got valuables you can even store them at the foot of your bed for peace of mind), no ceiling lights bothering you (which never go out), and you’re further away from the air conditioner so it’s warm. Well worth the few extra bucks.
I needed to stay up late working on videos so the Thai train attendant set up beds for everyone else but me. He gave up in the end. If you’re like me and always have work to do, especially on long road trips, then stick to your guns. I did and I got exactly what I wanted; a long train ride to get stuck into editing. I stayed up late making the Nomad Summit video and the Nomad Summit Day video. We actually bought our train tickets the morning of the Nomad Summit Day video, so if you’re interested in seeing how that goes down, check out that video too.
I think it was complete luck that we were sat right next to a power socket (outlet). We didn’t do a completely thorough search of the train, but by the looks of things their aren’t many power sockets on these overnight sleepers. Certainly not on the train we took. So if you have important online work to do and you need your electronics to do so then this might be quite the challenge and you may want to rethink this travel option.
If this is important to you, before booking your ticket, I would recommend that you ask the Thai Railways customer service operator if your train has power sockets (and ask if you can be seated next to one). Also, if you need wifi during this trip, good luck, it’s super patchy and pretty much inexistent for majority of the trip. If you have an unlocked cell phone I recommend purchasing a prepaid sim card upon arrival to Thailand (True, 650B = $35 USD/month, Unlimited data) which allows you to tether off your phone and in this situation use the train as an office. If you have an online business I recommend doing this so you’re never left high and dry.
At the crack of dawn you’re woken up by the train attendants. We were the last ones asleep and probably the last ones up. They start packing away beds (in the same manner as setting them up) so that majority, or all of them, are ready for new passengers who will board the train when it arrives to Bangkok train station.
We say goodbye to our new friends from the UK at a town just North of Bangkok. (I always love meeting new people and making new friends in random places – Thanks for the interesting conversations Chris and Stu!). Then V and I jump off the train prematurely because we realize that it’s quicker if we bail there to get to our hotel, rather than carry on to the last stop, Bangkok Station. It’s a bit unexpected, but we made it and it worked out great.
Our story of Chiang Mai to Bangkok train ride comes to a close as we wave the train goodbye and V bargains a Bangkok Tuk Tuk driver (they know how to hustle in BKK) to take us to our hotel. But that’s another story altogether.
3 Helpful Tips to Book a Chiang Mai to Bangkok Sleeper Train (last minute, during Peak Season):
In-person at any train station – This is the most efficient way, avoiding any extra fees. The SRT has tried to make ‘Advance Booking’ as easy as possible especially for popular destinations and busy periods. In fact, you can book tickets up to 60 days ahead at stations, and up to 30 days ahead online. It’s recommended to book as far in advance as possible for these ‘Popular Routes’ or during these ‘Peak Periods’. You should book at least a week ahead for ‘Popular Routes’ leaving from Bangkok, such as Chiang Mai or Surat Thani, at any time of year, especially for ‘sSleeper Services’. This is where you’ll also be able to pick up your ‘last minute’ train tickets you’ve found over the phone.
If tickets are sold out and it’s less than 4 days till your departure date you can call Thai Railways at 12:29-12:30am to talk to a lovely, helpful English speaking Thai customer service operator (within Thailand call 1690 and follow the prompts) and they will be able to inform you if any new tickets have been updated into the system (people have failed to pick up and pay for these tickets) and are now available for purchase. They can tell you of any new availabilities, however they can not sell you the ticket. If you’re lucky and their’s a ticket available you need to race to the nearest train station (Chiang Mai train station hours 7am – 7pm) to be the first ones there the next morning to purchase these golden tickets! You can call Thai Railways every night up until the night before you wish to travel to see if any new tickets have appeared for sale if you’re desperate to get a train ticket. There’s definitely a possibility that a ticket may pop up and it’s worth the late night conversation and early morning motorbike ride to the train station to pick up your ticket. No hidden fees involved. Smiles all around. Well worth the time and effort!
Using a travel agent – This option is only available no less than 3-4 days pre departure date. The rules vary for each agency so make sure you check their website or call them. You can book up to 60 days in advance at some agencies. Choosing this service means you need to pay extra agent fees. So beware. You’ll also have a number of options of how to pick up the tickets, obviously this will depend on how much time in advance you’ve purchased them. I was given this travel agency in Chiang Mai to call if I wanted to go this route. B.I.S Travel 05 32 33 962. This option would be great for people not yet within Thailand and can’t get to the train station in person.