Before hiring one of my assistants, Charlie, I asked him where he wanted to be in 6 and 12 months.
I made him define what he wanted to have and what he wanted to do in both timeframes. At the top of the list was a mini-retirement to Thailand or South America.
Done and done.
Charlie just returned three weeks ago from Buenos Aires. It was there he developed a rather keen interest in Brazilian girls, who were visiting Argentina as tourists. Two weeks ago at around 2am, while preparing the new book launch at my house, he somehow accidentally (riiiiight) got stuck in a Flickr slideshow of Brazilian models.
The photos belonged to someone named Jeremiah Thompson.
Digging a little deeper, it turned out that Jeremiah had an incredible story. Two years ago, he decided he wanted to become a professional photographer of Brazilian bikini models. That, and he wanted to get married. Despite the fact that he was from Montana and had no training, he made both happen in record time.
Rolf Potts is one of my favorite writers, and his book Vagabonding was one of only four books I recommended as “fundamental” in The 4-Hour Workweek. It was also one of two books, the other being Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, that I took with me during my 15+-month mini-retirement that began in 2004.
The following is a guest post from Rolf on the art and lessons of travel, all of which you can apply at home.
Last fall I spoke at the excellent DO Lectures, which brings innovative thinkers from around the world for a series of talks in rural Wales (Tim was a speaker in 2008). My talk, which is available in full via the video link above encourages people to make themselves rich in time and to become active in making their travel dreams happen.
The talk itself contains essential advice and inspiration regarding travel — but what struck me on re-watching it was an improvised moment at the beginning of the talk, when I pointed out how “these aren’t really travel-specific challenges — these are things that can apply to life in general. Think of travel as a metaphor for how you live your life at home.”
Indeed, travel has a way of slowing you down, of waking you up, of pulling you up out of your daily routines and seeing life in a new way. This new way of looking at the world need not end when you resume your life at home.
Here are 5 key ways in which the lessons you learn on the road can be used to enrich the life you lead when you return home… Read More →
The following video segment is a continuation of the randomly shot randomian-thought random show project with Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose. This time, we’re not in a library nor are we out on a boat dock fishing for fish – we’re on a street corner in Jinggu. At night. And it’s not really cold outside. It’s slightly humid with a dusty breeze coming out of the southwest.
Audio Note: Most of this was recorded with a Shure-VP88 stereo condenser mic (good with headphones). Apologies for when I don’t have it pointed in correct direction (sounds like they’re behind us).
To borrow from Gary Vee, here is the Question of the Day (QOD): What is the most disgusting or confusing travel experience you’ve ever had?
Is it possible to become invisible without breaking the law? (Photo: gravitywave)
LOS ANGELES, MID-JUNE 2008
Sitting on a plush couch in the neon-infused nightclub, I asked again:
“What’s it about?”
Neil Strauss glanced around and looked nervous, which I found strange. After all, we’d known each other for close to two years now. In fact, he was – as New York Times bestselling author of The Game and others – one of the first people to see the proposal for The 4-Hour Workweek and offer me encouragement.
“C’mon, dude, give me a break. Don’t you trust me?”
“Guilt. That’s good. Use guilt,” Neil said. But the Woody Allen approach wasn’t working.
“I can’t let the meme out early” he said, “I trust you—I’m just paranoid,” he offered to no one in particular as he downed another RedBull. So I fired a shot in the dark.
“What, are you writing about the 5 Flags or something?”
Neil’s heart skipped a beat and he stared at me for several long seconds. He was stunned.
“What do you know about the 5 Flags?”
I was in.
The 5 Flags
Neil’s new book, Emergency, teaches you how to become Jason Bourne.
Multiple passports, moving assets, lock-picking, escape and evasion, foraging, even how to cross borders without detection (one preferred location: McAllen, Texas, page 390)–it’s a veritable encyclopedia of for those who want to disappear or become lawsuit-proof global citizens… Read More →
Many a false step was made by standing still. -Fortune Cookie
Named must your fear be before banish it you can. -Yoda, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Twenty feet and closing.
“Run! Ruuuuuuuuuun!” Hans didn’t speak Portuguese, but the meaning was clear enough—haul ass. His sneakers gripped firmly on the jagged rock, and he drove his chest forward towards 3,000 feet of nothing.
He held his breath on the final step, and the panic drove him to near unconsciousness. His vision blurred at the edges, closing to a single pin point of light, and then… he floated. The all-consuming celestial blue of the horizon hit his visual field an instant after he realized that the thermal updraft had caught him and the wings of the paraglider. Fear was behind him on the mountain top, and thousands of feet above the resplendent green rain forest and pristine white beaches of Copacabana, Hans Keeling had seen the light.
That was Sunday.
On Monday, Hans returned to his law office in Century City, Los Angeles’ posh corporate haven, and promptly handed in his three-week notice… Read More →
Rolf Potts is one of my favorite writers, and his book — Vagabonding — was one of only four books I recommended as “fundamental” in The 4-Hour Workweek. It was also one of two books, the other being Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, that I took with me during my 15+-month mini-retirement that began in 2004.
Six weeks ago I conducted my first social media travel experiment. I posed a simple question and let your responses to me on Twitter and this blog dictate exactly what I did on a 12-day roadtrip with my brother from San Francisco to Vancouver, Canada.
No packing or planning was done before jumping in the car (the best proof of this: I needed a friend to FedEx my passport to Seattle so I could get into Canada).
I’d done the trip from SF to Mexico several times, often meticulously planned, and this trip — my first up through the northwest coast — was both more fun and less stressful. Here is the progression of my “tweets” (Twitter entries), beginning with the first question… Read More →
It occurs to me that one way to approach the mini-retirements, at least financially, is to save for them, just as I might save for a new car. It’s not necessarily money I’m pulling from retirement then. It’s money I’m pulling away from a Mini Cooper and setting aside for a mini-retirement. I think the mini-retirement would actually provide more value to me at this point.
Well, sure. And I think one assumption that [you're making] is that you spend and not save money on a mini-retirement. Let me offer a personal example. The personal stories in the book are mostly from experiences I had between 2004 and early 2006, traveling around the world for about 18 months. During the first twelve month period of time, I actually saved $32,000 when compared to sitting on my couch watching The Simpsons in my apartment in the Bay Area. Read More →
One great method for taking an expenses-paid “mini-retirement”–or adding more time to your travels without adding costs–is to work with an international volunteer organization.
Some volunteer groups charge a participation fee, but there are some that will cover your food, housing–and provide you with good meaningful work–at no cost. I would like to share with you a few stories from friends who have all taken mini-retirements with Hands On Disaster Response, one such group.
A Little Back Story
Breakdowns of any sort can be great experiences: nervous, communication, etc. They allow us to return to center and to refocus on what it is that truly matters. For Tim, it was a one-way ticket to London in June 2004.
My breakdown came just a few months later and took me to Thailand to find anyone or any place I could help recover from the Tsunami that had just destroyed tens of thousands of homes and lives. I had been living in L.A. working as a freelance designer, treading water and occasionally getting mouthfuls of it, and my adventure to Thailand was a conscious decision to give up treading and to dive down deeper to explore just what was around me… Read More →
The best meat on the planet in Buenos Aires — $14 per person for all you can eat, including fresh vegetables, dozens of plates, hand-made pastas, and waiters in tuxes. La Bistecca in Puerto Madero. Noah Kagan at my right.
E-mail 1 (friend):
“You should come!”
E-mail 2 (me):
“Uh…. sure. It’s too damn cold here. I guess I’ll see you in 24-48 hours.”
That was on last Friday afternoon. I bought my ticket an hour later and arrived in Buenos Aires Sunday morning, greeted by 90-degree weather and a pleasant breeze through the stunning greenery now surrounding me.
Screw freezing rain in NYC.
“Where do you winter?” used to be a question asked only by blue bloods with old money.
The ultra-rich would leave their fancy digs in Nantucket or Central Park West once a year to go to the Caymans or somewhere equally inaccessible to most people who can’t live off the interest of their trust funds.
Not anymore. In a flat world, work and life and things you do and not necessarily places. Living the good life in an endless summer costs much less than you think. It also takes less work and prep than you think. Here are both for my latest escape:
-I bought a ticket from NY –> Buenos Aires –> Los Angeles fewer than 24 hours before departure. Total cost was $1,200, and I used nothing fancy, just the “multi-city” flight search on Orbitz. Just a few days earlier, those flights had been near $2,500. I almost never purchase airfare far in advance any more, as prices are better when the airlines get desperate to fill seats and panic. I’ve never missed travel because of this habit.
-I emailed BA4U Apartments and got a kick-ass apartment secured in less than three hours. Cost? $250 per week, the equivalent of one night at a comparable hotel in the posh area of Recoleta, which is where my apartment is located. Front and center. Check out the video below. Nothing third world about it. Tell Ralf I sent you — he is awesome.
-I arranged with my post office in CA to use Priority Mail to forward all of my mail to a friend in NY, who then sends me a weekly email describing anything I might need to respond my return on Jan. 15. Cost: $10 per week of forwarding with USPS, and I’ll buy my friend a bunch of drinks and gifts when I get back. If you have an assistant do this, it wouldn’t be more than an hour of work per week (thus, $10-15/week).
Total for two weeks:
$1,200 for airfare
$500 for excellent apartment in the best central location
$50 maximum for mail handling
Let’s do a few more calculations to make this sexier.
You might be inclined say “$1,750! I don’t have that kind of money.” Don’t forget to subtract what you would have spent in the US or wherever you happen to be. This goes for exercise, too: before you exclaim “I burned 215 calories on the Stairmaster!”, be sure to subtract what you would have burned sitting on the couch watching Family Guy.
Back to our example…
If you go out to a good club for New Year’s Eve in NYC and buy a bottle of vodka for a table, you can count on $200-400 per bottle. I can get a table for six and unlimited champagne all night for $100 USD here in Argentina. If we assume two bottles for the evening, I just saved $300-700, which I can subtract from my airfare, etc.
Long story short: I will actually save money by wintering in Buenos Aires for two weeks instead of NYC or San Francisco. How cool is that?
Alrighty then, ladies and gents, I’m off to party like it’s 1999. Be safe, be grateful, and may 2008 be the best for all of us.
Here is a quote (and a hope for all of you) from the father of my friend and world-class Russian strength trainer, Pavel Tsatsaouline:
“May you have the two things that are so hard to have at once–time and money.”
Other good spots for wintering:
Queenstown, New Zealand