Mindoro Waterfall

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Building & Maintaining A Lifestyle In SE Asia

There’s a common trend that I’ve noticed among the travel blogger crowds that involves settling down somewhere, often in some cool bohemian location with fast internet connections and beautiful landscapes that inspire focus and introspective thinking, so that they can crank on work or a large project of some sort.

I did it (for 2 months instead of 4) in Cebu and plan to do it again in Thailand soon for a lot longer.

Erin & Simon from Never Ending Voyage, Johnny from Johnny Vagabond & Christine & her family from Almost Fearless have done it.

Even the Israelites in the bible times were known as ‘seminomads,’ often settling in locations long enough to build small economies and create agricultural systems during their 40 year exodus from Egypt.

Why The Change Of Heart?

So what’s with this tendency for people who always seem on the move, who a year ago were making bold and audacious plans to visit every continent or country in the world, suddenly deciding to ‘settle down’? Chris Guillebeau in his annual business review post puts it best:

What I’ve realized in more than a decade of doing this in one fashion or another is that I can maintain things from anywhere, but I wouldn’t want to develop and launch things from anywhere. The distinction is important: for long-term creative purposes, I need a certain amount of stability and reliable infrastructure.
[…]LESSON: Travel the world, but set aside time to “make stuff.”

If you are sitting at your dining room table dreaming of relaxing on some exoctic island in SE Asia, feel some comfort in the knowledge that I’m here on a tropical island dreaming of a quiet dining room table and chair to work from, if only to get into that mind-set that comes from having everything in order so that I can focus on the task at hand.

Right now I have 3 or 4 big to-do’s written out in Evernote, an AC unit in the corner of my hotel room that sounds like my nanny’s old smiley face vacuum cleaner (remember those?) and a soft baseline shaking my chair from the local karaoke joint to accompany it all. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change it for the world – in fact my hotel in Davao city, Philippines is what I would call backpacker-luxury and I’m having a ton of fun here – but the truth is that doing anything more then just maintaining what I have previously built or started working on is difficult in this in-transit state.

If you want to create a better life for yourself in SE Asia, realize that traveling constantly and hopping from place to place is great for building new relationships and finding new opportunities, but is not conducive to building/developing a career or business.

Take advantage of those suburban-mundane saturday evenings that you were complaining about to your buddy, put off watching that episode of big bang theory and crank on that creative or developmental task way before you consider booking your flights.

If traveling is already a big part of your lifestyle, consider joining me for a medium to long term stay in Chiang Mai or following Ryans footsteps in Columbia.

It’s OK… All the cool travelers are doing it

If you really want to build a life for yourself abroad, you wont be able to do it from your hostel bed (I’ve tried). You will need to establish a way to remove all the distractions that come with sporadic travel so that you can give your all to the thing that matters.

Better find yourself a Settlin’ In Spot.

Leave a Comment


  1. Spot on brother!

    That is why I have decided to stay in Cebu through 2012 to build my SPO (Sales Process Outsourcing) company.

    I am actually looking forward to finding a place that has a dining room table after working out of hotels for 7 months.

  2. Lewis I couldn’t agree with you more and I’m looking to settle down for a few months as well.

    I was traveling all over and just wishing I could sit down in a good office and get some work done. What a perspective shift from normal.

  3. Hey bro, just came across this… thanks for the mention! Strangely enough, I am back in Medellin and planning on staying here a solid 6 months…

    You’re totally right about constant traveling not being conducive to getting down to biz. If I can get some things off the ground in these few months, I will permit myself to travel again, but for now I’m staying put.