30 Ways in 30 Days

Walk Confidently

30 Ways in 30 Days – Day Fourteen: Your Demeanor

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As I briefly touched on in yesterday’s post, your physical appearance is important, but so is your physical demeanor. And while it’s a good start to not wear jewelery, dress simply and follow a few simple rules about blending in, your demeanor also plays an important part in your ability to meld and adapt, not to mention take you off the radar of anyone looking to prey on tourists.

Your physical demeanor is the way your outward attitude joins with your appearance. It’s your body language combined with your dress, your mental state of being and your entire person. If you are nervous and worried you are going to be walking like it, continually looking over your shoulder, checking your watch, fiddling with your cell phone constantly and so on in so forth. If you are relaxed and comfortable you take your time, you window shop, you stop and say hi to a couple of people at some of the shops, you browse leisurely and you exude confidence and a sense of belonging to this area of the city. Confidence that no one will ever disturb because you are blending in like a local.

Yes, it does take a little bit of time to master, but there are a few things you can do the moment you touch down to avoid being branded tourist and thus target. First of all, research the type of clothing the people in that area are wearing and pay attention to the weather. Show up in an outfit that matches what the locals are wearing. Be relaxed. Casual. Act like you fit in. Don’t stare at buildings because you haven’t seen that type of architecture before. Don’t take your camera out. Blend in. You’ve been here a dozen times before, you know the lay of the land, the landscapes. You are part of this city. Your walk is that of a casual veteran of the sidewalks.

Here’s the thing: you are a foreigner in X country. The vast majority of countries around the world love foreigners because you bring in money. This is especially true of developing countries. They want you in their country because you bring a salary that far outweighs what most of the locals are making. Everyone loves money. Which also means you have a cushion of protection for the little things because you are granted automatic preference above the locals simply by being a foreigner. That means you can assume a certain level of safety. Which means you can feel comfortable. Which you should let carry into your stance, your gait, your stride, your entire body.

Demeanor is  about being confidant. If you are a law-abiding individual who is living like a local in a foreign destination you have absolutely nothing to be afraid of, and this should carry into your attitude. You are just another person, living your life as anyone else would. You have nothing to fear. And when you can portray this in your stance, in your walk and in the way you portray yourself to those around you, you will stop being the nail that sticks up and instead you become just like everyone else…at least on the outside. Fly under the radar and you will find life to be no different than anywhere else.

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Blending In

30 Ways in 30 Days – Day Thirteen: Your Physical Appearance

Posted by | 30 Ways in 30 Days, Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, Traveling Tips | No Comments

The nail that sticks up gets hammered down. – Japanese Proverb

You wouldn’t go walking through certain sections of St. Louis (considered one of the most dangerous cities in the United States) wearing a lot of bling, and you wouldn’t do it in certain sections of London either, so when you are heading to a foreign destination to live like a local why would you consider doing so there?

Having accessories and dressing nice is all well and good, but there’s a saying when you are traveling: don’t wear anything you are afraid to lose. Personally, I live by this motto, although I realize it’s not for everyone and maybe you are someone who puts sentimental value on material possessions. With that being said, there is a smart way to do things and a stupid way to do things, and if you want to have an uneventful time pursuing the location independent lifestyle you need to keep a low profile.

Many people make the assumption that foreign cities (any place outside of the United States) are dangerous. We’ve briefly talked about this in another post, and we’ll cover it again in detail in a future post, but the reality is that most cities outside of the United States have a lower per/100,000 murder rate than their U.S. counterparts, which means they are not only as safe, but in many cases safer. And as far as pickpockets and thieves go, well…there’s a reason tourists get robbed and local people don’t.

Appearances.

The reasons locals don’t get pick-pocketed is because they are locals. Thieves know the locals don’t have beyond the normal level of money and accessories on them. Meanwhile, tourists arrive with laptops, iPads, expensive cameras, brand-name travel clothing and backpacks and designer bags and trinkets out the wazoo that can be sold at the local pawn shop for a pretty penny. Picture a fisherman going about his daily business. If he throws a simple hook into the water without any bait the fish ignore it, because they know it’s just a hook. But you put some bait on that hook, or use spruce it up with a lure and some colors, and suddenly you have a hook that all the fish are fighting over to reach because it looks good.

People are no different. If you dress like you have money you are a target. If you dress like a local and have a low-key appearance you are nothing more than just another hook in the water. None of the hungry fish want to deal with you because you don’t look like a meal; you just look like another hook.

This is one of the reasons I advocate individuals transitioning into the digital nomad lifestyle to travel light. Only bring a couple of articles of clothing with you when you arrive, and only the most essential things you think you need. Otherwise you can pick up local clothing for cheap. In most cases you can get two or three outfits for around $100 once you get established on the ground, giving you sufficient clothing to establish a local appearance for your everyday things like grocery shopping and the like.

But above and beyond the clothing is bling and trinkets. If you walk around with a bunch of jewelry on you are still asking to be mugged, no matter what city in the world you live in. Flash a wallet full of cash and you are a target for pick-pockets. Bust out an iPad in the middle of a crowded street at the fish market and you just set of an alarm for anyone within eyesight that you are carrying goodies. There’s nothing wrong with heading to a coffee shop and using your iPad or laptop there, but remember there’s a time and place for everything when you are living the location independent digital nomad existence.

There’s more to it than just your clothing, trinkets and accessories. Your physical demeanor is also important. If you are stopping at every street corner to gawk at a building or take pictures you are going to stand out, whereas the locals are just going about their daily business, uninterested in these buildings and monuments and otherwise for the moment because they see them every day. You have to adopt this demeanor. Walk as though you have lived here your whole life. Don’t stop and gawk at the local monuments; instead, wait for Sunday and go gawk with the locals so you don’t stand out like a sore thumb.

Another good tip if you are living like a local as a location independent digital nomad is to just act like you belong. Cast off the cloak of fear and realize that you are just as safe (if not safer, depending on the city you are in) in your chosen destination as in any modern city in the world. There is no reason to lock your doors and be afraid to go out of your house for fear of pick-pockets, thieves, murderers and rapists just waiting for you to step out your front door. This is propaganda intended to keep you from ever leaving the comfort of suburbia, instead staying home and spending your hard-earned dollars in the way you have been trained like a good little worker bee.

If you truly want to experience the location independent lifestyle you have to learn to adapt. As the Japanese proverb says, the nail that sticks out and stubs the toe of everyone walking by eventually gets hammered down, and if you stick out like a red flag when you are living on the ground enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle you will find the same thing happening to you.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

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30 Ways in 30 Days – Day Twelve: Taxis

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Cities are cities no matter where you are in the world, and there are always a few things that are a given regardless of where you are right now. Traffic will always be bad, parking is nonexistent and the quickest way to get about your business is on foot or with public transportation. On those rare occasions when it’s raining or you have more than you can comfortably carry back home, there’s taxis.

Many is the taxi driver who has a rigged meter specifically set up to take advantage of uneducated tourists, and just as equal in numbers are the guys on the other side of the metered fence with set rates for their cab fares, only in their case they simply double the rate or tack on some extra. It’s advantageous, pure and simple, and no matter where you go in the world cabbies at the tourist places like the airport and bus stations are notorious for scamming every moment they can. But there’s ways to avoid this issue, and when you are on the ground living like a local in a less developed city you should ere on the side of caution just to be safe.

No matter where you choose to set up a base of operations as a location independent digital nomad you are going to end up dealing with taxis one day or another. And while they are mostly safe and mostly affordable there are always things to watch out for, and some tips to follow to make sure you are never in a situation where you could be on the receiving end of an unpleasant scam artist.

First of all, try and use call-ahead taxis, also known as radio taxis in some parts of the world. Radio taxis are the safest type you can take because all of the calls are registered with the address and telephone number of the individual the driver is picking up. Some countries, such as Bogota, actually have a key code that you need to give to the driver to prove you are the person who placed the call. No code = no ride.

Secondly, always check the registration of the driver. Professional cabbies will have their credentials on display, along with their rates. Thirdly, never hail a cab from the street after dark. Instead, go home with friends or call a radio taxi to pick you up from wherever it is that you are. If you can, use registered city taxis if they exist in your city.

A lot of people talk about the dangers of riding in taxis but they are nonexistent if you follow a few simple rules. Never hail a cab at night on the side of a street, as this is just asking for trouble no matter where you live in the world. Travel with friends as often as possible when you are out late at night, and don’t get into a cab in a dark section of a street. During the daytime you don’t have to worry, but sometimes there are places in the world where a little extra caution can go a long way.

I’ve been using taxis for 12 years and never had an issue, but I had an associate in Bogota get robbed late one night. However, he did a few things you should never do. First, it was 2 in the morning and rather than use one of the registered cabs waiting outside of the club he decided to try and save a few extra dollars by hailing a cab on a darkened street two blocks down. He got a few blocks and then the driver whisked him down a side alley where two armed men proceeded to take his cash. Always take the registered cabs waiting out front of the club where it’s well-lit, because they are legitimate and there are plenty of witnesses around keeping everyone honest.

Just follow the common sense rules and you will never have issues regardless of where in the world you travel.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

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30 Ways in 30 Days – Day Eleven: ATMs, Cash and You

Posted by | 30 Ways in 30 Days, Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

Most of the general travel websites tell you to be careful with your money. Everyone talks about money belts and other ways of protecting your money, but there’s a lot more to it than the paranoia of unseasoned tourists. Living like a local means you get to see the other sides of the cultures that most people visit only for holiday.

What most people don’t realize about tourist destinations is that they are just that: tourist destinations. No matter where in the world you go all cities share this truth. And where there are tourists there are fishermen. For these men you are the fish, and if they can lure you in, if they can get you to be stupid and act like a tourist instead of a seasoned traveler, they will take you for all they can. These guys exist in every major city in the world. Pickpockets, hawkers and fast talkers. And they usually stay in the tourist sections of the city. Which means that when you get out past the tourist trap and into the real city behind the curtain you walk into another world where you go beyond simply visiting and into living the location independent digital nomad lifestyle.

The city behind the veil is always the same as it is anywhere else. Low key, normal people going about their normal lives, tranquil living and no pickpockets, thieves or fast talkers, for the most part anyway. Every city has its dangerous regions, no matter if you are in New York, Dubai, Denver or Cancun. Some sections you just don’t go into after dark, but for the most part the residential areas where most people live are completely safe and no different than suburbia anywhere else in the world.

Which means you are completely safe to walk around with your debit card and some cash on you as long as you don’t dress like a tourist and act like a tourist. Blend in. Learn how to live like a local. The people will treat you with respect and you can go about your daily business just as you would anywhere else in the world.

A funny thing, which we’ll talk about in another post later on, is that I was involved in a debate about safety in Mexico awhile back, and someone said that Cancun was one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico after Juarez. I had to laugh. The Cancun region of the Yucatan, Quintana Roo, has a 2/100,000 murder rate. Denver, in comparison, has 16/100,000. New York City is around 8/100,000. The chances of you getting robbed or hurt while out on the street are less than in Denver and New York City. Bottom line is that if you aren’t being stupid and acting like an idiot you won’t have any problems, ever.

There are a few rules to pay attention to. Some cities, like Cancun, do have their potential issues. For example, in Mexico it is a good idea to stay away from ATMs on the official paydays of Mexico: the 15th and the 30th/31st of the month. Robberies happen more often on this day because most Mexicans live a cash lifestyle without debit cards, paycheck to paycheck, and they need the cash from the ATMs on payday to go get groceries, stock up on water and so on and so forth. Thieves know this, and there are sometimes issues with brazen thieves mugging people at the ATMs on paydays. However, these cases are extremely rare, but just something you should watch out for.

Secondly, just don’t walk alone late at night with a wallet full of cash and a debit card or credit card. And that’s true for any city in any part of the world. If you are out past midnight get a cab and if you can, have a friend come with you, and only carry $20-$30 or so.

And thirdly is that you don’t flash it around if you have any. I personally only carry between $25 and $30 at any given time. I only take my debit card out of the house when I need cash or I’m buying groceries. In 12 years of traveling I’ve never been pick-pocketed or mugged but I keep it low key. Don’t flash your cash when you open your wallet, just take out what you need and pocket the rest.

In the suburbia areas of foreign places you can act just as you could in suburbia of any city in the world. You can carry cash, your credit cards, debit cards, anything you want. Just travel smart, don’t stick out like a tourist, keep a low profile and you will blend right in with the locals and won’t have problems no matter where in the world you happen to be.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

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30 Ways in 30 Days – Day Ten: Furnished Apartments

Posted by | 30 Ways in 30 Days, Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

One of the benefits of living like a local in a foreign destination after you transition into the digital nomad lifestyle is renting furnished apartments. No muss, no fuss and all of the things you need are already on location, which means you can get straight to enjoying your new life without the worries of accumulation or extra “things” weighing you down. Remember 30 Ways in 30 Days – Day Four: Traveling Light? This is just one of the ways you can benefit from such a method.

Furnished apartments vary depending on what city you are in the world, but as a general rule they are the best option if you are someone who is utilizing the location independent digital nomad lifestyle. The reasons are multiple, but it really boils down to affordability, flexibility and simple efficiency. You see, possessions are just things, and things weigh you down when it comes to traveling. The lighter you can travel, the happier you will be because you don’t have a slew of things keeping you from going somewhere and doing something. Not to mention things cost money, and money means you have to be working or having some kind of income, and the more things you have the more money you need to make and suddenly you are back to where you were in your home country, working 40 hours or more a week to pay for all of the things you think you need to have as part of a materialistic lifestyle.

Looking at affordability, let me just take you through a list of the place I’ve rented in the past. In Bogota, Colombia I was renting a fully furnished, all utilities included apartment for $325 per month in the heart of the Chapinero district, which is downtown. When I say fully furnished I mean fully furnished…sheets for the bed, dishes, cleaning supplies, sofa, bed, microwave, television, desk and so on and so forth. And when I say all utilities included I mean all utilities included…gas, water, electric, Internet, cable, cleaning lady and 24-hour-a-day security guards at the front door. Here in Cancun I’m paying about $425 a month for a similar set up, although my apartment here is larger and brand new. Everything included.

Now if you hit up rental sites back in the U.S….sure, you can find studio apartments in the middle of nowhere for about $300-$400 per month. But they are unfurnished. And none of your utilities are paid. A 2-bedroom place usually runs in the $500-$650 bracket and $600-$800 is the going rate for 3-bedroom places. Unfurnished. Without utilities. And no additional services such as cleaning lady and 24-hour security guards. We’re talking low-end, bottom of the barrel, no services attached and nothing inside of the apartment. You want furnished apartments in the United States? Expect to pay $800 or more a month on the low end of things and $4000 or more a month on the high end in the big cities. Want beyond upper middle class and you can expect to pay movie star rates for furnished rentals….$10,000 and more per month.

Not the case in most countries outside of the U.S. I’ve been traveling for 12 years now and living abroad for four of those years as a location independent digital nomad and I can tell you without a shred of hesitation that those types of prices are absolutely ridiculous and people who pay these types of rates are only doing so because they aren’t aware of the other options. This is usually because they haven’t ever considered living like a local in a foreign destination because the idea is so far beyond what they’ve been told and taught and trained to believe.

Every single country I travel to I pay less than $450 a month for fully furnished, all-utilities-paid types of apartments. All of them 2-bedroom places with total amenities included. The only thing I needed to show up with was my clothes and my laptop and I was instantly in a home where I was comfortable and had anything I needed. After that the only thing you need is food, and there’s half a dozen supermarkets within a five minute walk of your place. And when you only need $350-450 a month for your rent, $50 or so for public transportation, $150-$200 in food and maybe $100 in entertainment expenses per month you are in a situation where your average cost of living per month is $800 dollars. If you really want to splurge you can hit $1,000 a month easy, but you have to be doing some serious partying to get to that point, because beers and going out in these place is ridiculously cheap compared to the States. I’m talking 4-5 nights a week out in the clubs type of partying to reach $1,000 per month.

While you can always go with an unfurnished place and spruce it up on the fly if you plan on being somewhere for a couple of years, furnished apartments are the secret weapon of location independent digital nomads living like a local in foreign destinations. They are our homes, our retreats, our fully-furnished and fully-utilized sanctuaries. They are affordable, have everything we need and allow us the safety and security of having a home base while in a foreign city.  When you are living the location independent digital nomad lifestyle there is no other way to travel than with furnished apartments.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

Unplug from The System, cure yourself of The Greedy Bastard Syndrome, tap into your universal potential and create your own reality. Build a brand, travel the world and realize your cosmic consciousness.

Beyond Borders - The Social RevolutionGet Your Copy Today!