Guest Spot

Overlooking Montreal

Culinary surprises in Montreal, Canada

Posted by | Food, Guest Spot, Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

For those who have never visited Canada, it is a place filled with gorgeous architecture, good food and a nearby border. On account of these factors, it was not entirely clear that I was in another country during my first visit to Montreal in the fall of 2011. At first glance,  it resembled a number of other large cities, like Denver for example, with a large number of shopping areas, parks, and roads. I had the chance to visit St. Joseph’s Cathedral, situated up in the mountains, which has an astounding view of the city of Montreal from the top of their stairs. I did not think, however, that I would end up experiencing some of the best meals of my life in Montreal, especially a few that are dishes I have enjoyed in the U.S.

It was ironically my first meal in Canada which was by far the most memorable, and still possibly the best meal I have ever had to this day. I enjoyed a three-course lunch at the restaurant inside the Hilton Garden Inn where I was staying; this included a light vegetable-beef broth soup, a duck confit salad, and a coffee cake desert (of course not without a Bloody Mary for good measure). It has been ages since I have had any multiple-course meal, and clearly this Montreal restaurant knew what they were doing. The soup was perfectly portioned and light, which was pleasing especially for myself, since I often over-consumes appetizers and ruin the main dish. And the dessert of coffee crumble cake was particularly delightful, considering I had not had a crumble cake since I was a child. But it was the main course of duck confit that truly was an experience. I had never had duck before then, and it was soft, juicy and sweet. It went perfectly with the leafy greens it was placed next to, and I took the time to enjoy every morsel of this previously unknown dish.

I did get the chance to try a dish that is unique to Montreal, called Poutine, which consists of French fries covered in brown gravy, ground beef, and onions (if ordered traditionally), but there are a million other ways to order Poutine. I found it to be a greasy, heavy and very filling specialty, but I was determined to try some local cuisine, and I am glad I did. But I will never forget my lunch experience at the hotel, and it just goes to show you that you never know where you will have the best meal of your life.

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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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Rila Mountains, Bulgaria

The Secret of My Success: The Tech Guy

Posted by | Guest Spot, Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, The Secret of My Success, Traveling Tips | One Comment

Everyone has an origin story, a brithplace. Somewhere where the journey started, where the lure of the open road first tugged at the heart strings. A place that defined the rest of your life with a single epiphany: the world beyond the horizon is the world that you must see.

These are the hidden stories, the behind-the-scenes tales of expats living in other countries without the limelight of professional blogging or being part of the travel celebrity scene. These are the ordinary, average people just like everyone else in the world, and these are their Secrets Of Success.

Tell us a little bit about your business. What is it that you do?

I’m a writer for different leading publications in the IT industry. Part of the writing I do comes in the form of posts on my blog, The Tech Guy, which has grown over time to be more successful than I’ve expected for a site that’s only seven months old. Perhaps I could consider these two different businesses subsidiaries other. My main business – the one where I currently bring the bread home – is the writing that I do for others on a freelance and contract basis. This is a strategy that needs careful planning and time management to make things work.

When did you get started working online?

This all started in 2009 when I really needed to find a way to get the gears rolling while I had a kid on the way. It turned out to be alright, and I ended up in love with this kind of work.

Relying on the Internet can get scary, especially considering the unstable global macroeconomic situation. Who knows whether the Internet will just go AWOL one day? We’re unsure of that, but I’m sure of one thing: If the Internet isn’t flowing through my veins at any point, I’m coming out of the apartment with an axe and so many heads will roll that my city will have to make a new municipal department just for their collection.

I was kidding about that last bit, for the record.

How much has the Internet changed the way you do business?

I wasn’t always relying on the Internet, and I’ve seen that it’s a very big change compared to the “brick and mortar” model. The Internet is like one big television service with billions of channels, in contrast to the 500 you’d get from a decent satellite TV service. When people ask me if they’re in for harsh competition by starting a Web-based business, my answer usually is, “You bet your ass you are.”

Everyone, his mother, his grandmother, his dog and any other animate objects he might have lying around the house has a blog. Most people ask themselves: Has someone done this before? This isn’t television. They won’t get spectators by merely existing. The real question to ask oneself when doing business online is something like: Does what you offer present something that would entertain, inform, or otherwise entice a large enough audience?

It’s an exciting thing to be able to develop something out of nothing, and a $30 Internet bill has made that possible. There’s no other business model that would allow you to invest so little to get so much done. Perhaps I’m oversimplifying it, but that’s how it was for me. It was easy. The only challenging part was the learning curve that took me two years to get somewhat right. It might take me another year or so to get where I want, but at least I know how to do it, and I’m confident I’m going to get there, even if I have to glue my eyelids open. Sure, it’s a small monetary investment, but it makes up for itself in sleepless nights and difficult moments when you’re trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing.

What’s your preferred type of travel? Are you a backpacker, apartment renter, deal-scrounger or a luxury/all-inclusive kind of person?

I came to Romania for a relationship that didn’t quite work out. That’s something we all go through, but perhaps many people weren’t stupid enough to cross the Atlantic to do it and end up broke afterwards. It was a rough ride, but that made the rebound all the more glorious. Now, I moved south in the same country, married a sweet lady and feel just fine.

As a traveler, I’d say I’m the luxury/full package deal kind of guy. Let’s just say that I either save enough to travel with the flair of a good bottle of whiskey or I simply don’t step out the door.

Either that or I just blackmail my neighbors for cash. No, wait.. It’s the other way around. Sorry ’bout that.

You have traveled all over the world. For our newer readers, could you give us your take on general safety while living in these other countries you have been to?

I’ve traveled to many a location, yes. However, it’d only be of distaste to your readers for me to say I know everything about where I’ve been. I could only attest to the safety of Romania: Don’t go to Bucharest. OK, so it’s a decent place, has a lot to offer, etc. While there are a lot of sights to see, malls to shop at and thrills to be had, I’d like to see you come back from the Metro, a taxi, or a bus in one piece. The people there are the crankiest you’ve ever seen. It’s like a city with three million people on a nicotine fit. Think New York, only less “get out of my way” and more “chew on this (while showing you the ever-famous ‘bird’).”

Do you want to go somewhere nice? Pick a place like the nearby town of Targoviste, the north-western glorious Oradea, or the quaint and cute city of Cluj-Napoca. They’re all safe places to go. Just don’t walk around with your money sticking out of your pockets. I don’t suggest taking a “rob me” sign, either. Just play it smart and put your valuables on inside pockets in your jacket whenever you can. Dress for cold weather starting September, and dress for warm weather starting May. Bring both just in case. The weather can go insane at times, with sunny warm weather in the morning and snow storms in a March afternoon.

What’s your favorite aspect of traveling, exploring new cultures and seeing new places?

I love seeing how people interact in different parts of the world. Romanians and Chinese people listen to the same music Americans do. Don’t rely on that as a culture reference, though. Wait until one of them invites you in their home. You’ll enter a culture shock, which could be major or mild depending on what country you’re in. I find the shock fascinating and actually enjoy exploring it, as long as it doesn’t harm me physically. Did you know that Romanian children don’t keep their teeth under the pillow for the tooth fairy? Nope! They throw them over the roofs of their houses.

What is one piece of advice you can give newcomers who are just starting out looking to build their own online enterprise? Something you wish you would have known and/or done when you were starting out.

Contrary to what bloggers and other owners of online businesses say, your online entity will never run itself. Treat it like it is: an entity. It’s you… on the Web….Understand?

If you didn’t move all day and never ate, how would you feel? You need to feed it constantly and it’s a ton of work. The Internet is more competitive than you can ever imagine. Virtually every business in the world has a Web presence. They’re all barraging it with offers, features, content, discounts, promotion codes, etc. depending on what their businesses specialize in. Are you ready to take the heat?

The most major piece of advice I have for a person attempting to start an online business is: Prepare for several months of no profit, and have a backup plan in case you continue coming short of turning any profit at all. Gather up as many resources you can in cloud-based services. Even freelancers are using personal CRMs and cloud services for their websites and their own client relationships.

The Cloud will help you invest less while maintaining a raised level of productivity, allowing you to establish yourself comfortably. Use it.

There are things I wish I would have known at the beginning, but they’re only particular to my industry and my fields of expertise. It’s not exactly “one size fits all.” But if there is one thing that I wish I knew, I certainly would have wished to know that there were bigger markets for me to tap into. I was totally unprepared for what I was doing.

(T.W. Anderson: I can personally attest to this. When I was purely freelance writing (as detailed in The Expat Guidebook) I got away working merely two to four hours a day while living in Bulgaria and my initial time in Mexico and Colombia because I wasn’t interested in building a brand or a business; I was merely contracting, freelancing my way project to project via queries and referrals. That paid for my travels in/around those areas as well as my cost of living, plus plenty of money in the savings. Since I decided to grow my online presence as a full-time blogger in 2012, my work load increased exponentially and breaking into the niche — while not difficult — has been time consuming and requires far more “work” in terms of hours.

Bottom line, you have to tend to the weeds, trim the plants and cultivate, cultivate, cultivate. You get out what you put in, and if you want to be successful you have to be willing to put in the time to make your business grow. You can either have a hobby…or you can have a business that pays your bills. It’s your choice.)

What’s next on your agenda? Do you plan on staying in your current location, or will you be moving on to greener pastures in the future?

I’d like to go to the moon, but that’s not possible. In the meantime, I see no greener pastures. I’ve settled down, I have a wife, and I have a kid on the other side of the country who needs my help and attention. My life revolves around my child and my family at this moment, and nothing can break me from where I am. I love Romania and feel for its people. The current social and economical problems might drive me away, but I wouldn’t leave my son even over my dead body.

If I could have it my way, though, I’d take the wife, my kid and the cats to either the moon or back to Miami, where my mother has been longing to see us. The situation’s iffy, especially because of the socio-political and economic situation the world is facing. This will change, though, for better or worse. Until I find out which way everything’s going, I’m not sure I want to take this step.

Conclusion

The Tech GuyThanks for reading along with our ongoing “Secrets of My Success” series here at Marginal Boundaries. For more information on The Tech Guy, as well as a dose of humor throughout your day, you can visit his website at http://the-tech-guy.net/.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the first interview in our series from last week, and stay tuned for future installments as we continue to shine on the spotlight on the often-ignored expats living around the world who aren’t a part of the travel blogging community but nevertheless support their lives abroad via online businesses.

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!

Puerto Morelos

The Secret of My Success: ProWebCom

Posted by | Guest Spot, Live Like a Local, Quality of Life, The Secret of My Success, Traveling Tips | No Comments

For those of you who have been following along, I’ve been dropping hints the past couple of weeks about our Secret of My Success series. During the previews I have been telling my readers that we were going to do something a little different than most other travel blogs who only ever interview other travel bloggers or travel celebrities.  I wanted to go a step beyond that and show you the other side of the coin: the numerous online entrepreneurs who make a living via the Internet and have the flexibility to travel, but don’t write about it. This is all about showing you just how accessible making money online is…and just why it is that so many people –even those who aren’t blogging about it within the expat / digital nomad community — are taking up the flag of expat living for global benefits as described in The Expat Guidebook, available in PDF format or from Amazon.com for your Kindle reader.

First up in our series is Hans from the ProWebCom group. An online entrepreneur, Hans is not your ordinary web developer. He’s owned an engine refurbishing business that saw him going to Japan and buying used motors to repair and then re-sell back in his home country of Canada, a job which saw him traveling there in his mid-20s. Something else he did before he transitioned fully into the online arena was travel to the Congo in order to take advantage of buying gold and precious metals directly at the source…minus the brokerage and middle-man fees. He’s traveled the world, but over the past few years he’s built up his web development platforms until now he runs one of the world’s leading PSD to HTML services. He was the one who introduced me to Sovereign Man and the array of international investment opportunities available in the world, and I was the one who introduced him to one of my primary SEO, backlinking and marketing mentors, Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income project.

Too often when people are reading travel blogs within the digital nomadosphere they only ever come across bloggers who interview other bloggers in their field. And while you’ll certainly see a few of those names crop up in our own list as this series continues, I’m shining the spotlight on the ordinary, average online entrepreneur who travels and lives at least part of the time in other parts of the world, for a variety of reasons ranging from tax purposes, to escape extreme weather, to explore new adventures, see new things, enjoy a cheap cost of living and beyond. Or, as in the case of Hans, to take advantage of all of the things detailed in The Expat Guidebook, ranging from the cheaper costs of living, medical tourism, secondary passports and citizenships, and even heading to another country to buy gold and precious metals as an investment rather than trusting in the banks, which are all government-controlled.

But don’t take it from me. You can watch the interview in its entirety at our YouTube channel.

 

For more information on The Expat Guidebook, you can visit the website at http://www.theexpatguidebook.com/. Stay tuned for the next entry in the series, which will be focusing on another global entrepreneur who is utilizing the expat lifestyle to their advantage…and yet not blogging about it full time. These are the hidden stories, the behind-the-scenes tales of expats living in other countries without the limelight of professional blogging or being part of the travel celebrity scene. These are the ordinary, average people just like everyone else in the world, and these are their Secrets Of Success.


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!

Marginal Boundaries

The Secret of My Success: This Month at Marginal Boundaries

Posted by | Guest Spot, Live Like a Local, The Secret of My Success, Traveling Tips | No Comments

In today’s day and age there are a hundred different blogs and websites that you can stumble upon while browsing through websites with information for travelers, all of them written by expats and digital nomads around the world. With the advent of the Internet has come the ability to be global in every sense of the word, and for the enterprising, entrepreneurial nomads of this century it is no different than it has been at the start of any new era of humanity: explorers dare to do what few will ever experience.

Most nomads have some sort of game plan in place before they establish themselves on the path to location independence. Some form of routine and specific niche which allows them the financial independence to perpetually keep themselves on the road living the nomadic existence. For example, I’m a freelance/independent writer, editor and publisher. Others sell physical products or are photographers or scuba instructors or independent film makers  and beyond. There are truly no limits to the types of people who can undertake this type of journey, living around the world beyond the boundaries that the majority of normal society are kept tethered behind.

But there’s also the little things in life that help drive a person and keep them motivated and focused and challenged. Things like the never-ending pull of the open road, of a boat, of a train, a bus, a motorcycle…anything headed towards that next horizon. Anything that can bring you one step closer to that threshold of absolute freedom that awaits once you cross over. Once you get a taste it’s the fountain of youth that springs eternal in the breast of man, driving us to explore, discover, live.

This month’s focus is going to be on the secrets of success. The “my” in the title is meant to refer to anyone living this nomadic existence. The series is going to focus on the little things that mean the most, such as people’s motivations for traveling, their reasons for staying in a particular place longer than in another, passions and hobbies, the way the lifestyle affords you the ability to do any thing you want, any where you want, any time that you want, but most importantly we are going to be focusing on the many different avenues you can take to reach this level of location and financial independence.

I truly believe that the best part about the expat lifestyle is the absolute freedom to do whatever it is that you want, when you want, without restrictions. It’s the freedom of time to be able to say “Hmm…I think I want to go to the beach for three hours” or out for a motorbike ride through the mountains or a boat ride through a canyon, and never once have even a flicker of a sensation in your head regarding a “boss” or a time card or an eight-hour schedule. Your only thought will be “who wants to go with me?”

It’s the freedom to work on your personal passion projects, the ones that benefit you, not someone else. The ones which inspire passion within your breast. The ones that you are addicted to sharing with people around the world. Exploring new cultures, meeting new people, living new experiences every day and taking in the absolute wonder that is Planet Earth in its entirety. It’s the ability to live a life of perpetual retirement/vacation.

When you control your schedule and only need to work a couple of hours or so a day maintaining your network, you can indulge yourself on a daily basis in your hobbies. This keeps your mind at rest, at peace and fully content because it doesn’t have to worry or stress about anything. And when you have achieved that state of being, that absolute freedom which is a result of controlling your destiny, you can explore your passions whenever you want.

The series will take you behind the scenes of the many different routes you can take towards establishing financial independence via online enterprises through blog posts and video interviews with other, established veterans of the online world. Entrepreneurs in every sense of the word who spend the vast majority of their time working on global opportunities and traveling on a continual basis. To start, I’ll be interviewing people like my good friend Hans from Cheap Cancun Rentals, my friend Chimi from Snail Adventures, and my friend Rodrigo from Mayan Smart Guide in the coming week or so, and moving outward beyond there over the next couple of months.

Along the way I’ll be making the rounds and interviewing a number of other online entrepreneurs, ranging from those who are just getting started out in the industry to the veterans who have been on the road for years. The goal of this “Secret of My Success” series is to show readers just how accessible this lifestyle is once you start taking advantage of a few basic, simple rules to establishing financial independence, and how there are literally an unlimited number of ways to reach your goals. Each entry in the series will focus on a different person, couple or brand related to the nomadic or immersion lifestyle.

So stay tuned…the first interview is coming down the pipeline shortly and we’ll be interviewing more expats over the next couple of months as we progress further into 2012.

P.S. If you’re someone like me who is a fairly driven, outspoken person who prefers to seek out opportunities rather than wait for them to come to you, and you have an online enterprise that allows you to make a living traveling the world and choosing your destinations based on personal preference for maximum results, I’d love to hear from you. I’m always open to connecting and helping people build along with networking and working together with other professionals, so drop me a line if you feel so inclined. We’re all in this Human Experience together, so let’s get connected!

And, if you happen to be in the Riviera Maya, drop me a line :) I am based out of Cancun presently so if you are in the area and wanted to do a live recorded video we could do that as well…or just hang out for beers and ceviche!

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!