Why I could be CTO but now I am cleaning a bathroom in Cambodia.

in travel •  2 years ago

Living the dream?

When I left Montréal in 2010 to work in Nice France, a world of possibilities opened.
Access to cheaper travelling options, explore a surrounding country just over a weekend, good weather and amazing wines ...

Nice France

>If you are an entrepreneur, you may not judge me.
Money was not the reason, I didn't ask any raise for 3 years. I must admit, I was getting depressed. Surrounded by talented people, nerf guns and 2 hours lunch breaks.

The Million Dollar Homepage : Office Wantrepeneur

Comfortable or dream job for some, I was still trapped in an office working for someone else where my biggest dreams would become reality. I would just dream of finding the next idea like the Million Dollar Homepage and wish that I would make enough to quit my job. Along with dozens of other projects or small businesses I had burning my evening, weekends and sometime relationships.

Few readings later such as The Lean Startup and The 4 Hours Work Week ..

I quit everything.

I had the chance to be able to do what some dream about, ditched my job and book a ticket to do 3 months trip WAIT ... lot of wantrepreneurs can, but it is never the right moment, I know, I was one of them until my body and my soul decided it was over, like an inner force that I am grateful today, it was a call for life and not in a spiritual way.

Back to the story, I broke my lease, bought a 65 liters backpack, read overkill advice and bought all traveler items for a globe-trotter travel: the money belt I never used, the instant-water-decontamination, etc .. I WAS READY!

I stored my old car (VW Golf 97, probably a good reason why I was able to have savings) ... bought my cat to a friend and booked an around-the-world open tickets. I put my earphones and enjoy the flight with my 4 hours work week book as a bible. The digital nomad cliché.

Just a 3 months test working while travelling

Asia was my first destination and I was so curious about it. I was trying to find my path and knew the burning entrepreneur inside me wanted to be free, after all, that is why I quit everything, a new beginning: listening to myself.

I was backpacking as a digital-nomad and as all the others, have read The four hours workweek by Tim Ferris, I had to build my muse and benefit from micro-retirements and enjoy life now concepts.

> A relationship later, I was already away for 6 months

I knew, my friends knew and my cat knew that I wasn't going to come back anytime soon. You may have expected it ... I found answers.

How to make money online

Make Money for Life
Making Money Online .. in Pakistan
DISCLAIMER : Without this new idea, I may have registered to seminars and retreat to learn "how to be a digital nomad" or "how to make money online", passive income, etc .. funny fact, most of the time, the trainers are digital nomads making money selling you this. So ask credentials.

Nah this is not the way for me!

How to be a Digital Nomad

The story is, I was just standing there by the beach in Sihanoukville south of Cambodia where I joined an old-time friend, I was doing like most of the digital nomads, promoting a life-style that isn't for most, with laptop by the beach and sipping cocktails by the pool and just burning their saving accounts nagging their old cubicle-friends.

With my old-time friend!
@cfaribault and I at Otres Beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia

The Ah-Ah Moment

The Reverse-Wallpaper - Nagging your cubicle-friends

I was trying to find a new way to make a living, was fixing a backlog of things for my clients, mostly for web related stuff and some SEO. But that I knew it was not it ...

> Macbook by the beach in a bad working posture is just for hashtagging #digitalnomad on instagram ..

That's not real, this can't be the dream that I read about, that very place where another travel-blogger wrote about, yeah right, your cocktail next to your macbook, the truth is : sun on the screen is, sand on your keyboard, crappy Internet and unreliable electricity .. yeah, sounds like a first-world problem, I will get back to this later.

> Imagine a coworking space by the beach, with a view on the sea.

Koh Ta Tiev, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

That was it, the Ah-Ah moment, since then, an exciting journey yet to happen. For the impatient, 3 years later, I do run a coworking space in Cambodia, but not by the beach

Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat

See the temples and work on my business plan

I came to Siem Reap a week later after the idea happened, I opened the pandora box, all my skills and what I leant became usable. If I could make money online elance upwork, I could help young Cambodians to do it and make a positive change. That's it, a coworking-space with a social value!!

Siem Reap country side road

The Shift

While working in cafés in town, I often experienced power cuts, slow Internet and I was smiling. Smiling because I was validating the need. The need for a coworking space, world-class Internet, stable electricity and an espresso machine :)

3 years later, no beach around and still smiling

Today, I am running AngkorHUB, a coworking and coliving space in Siem Reap. We are networking with organizations such as social-enterprises, NGOs to corporation to bring our vision to reality: Working together on a cause rather than the structure and stop re-inventing the wheel.

Coworking and Coliving at AngkorHUB

We have ran workshops, training, started few projects in town and are working on an incubation program with other organizations as well as a project to connect people and causes to share resources. In a country were the living wage is set to 177 USD / Month, while a lot of people earn less than that, we believe we can create impact by empowering individuals who cannot afford to ditch their jobs to become independent. Just a little push and some people ready to give advice and share their contacts.

Wanna help or visit us? Come by AngkorHUB or contact me by PM !

Angkor Wat

I hope this little story of mine helped burning entrepreneurs, because success is only measured with the freedom it create and anxiety it removes. I feel happy and know I will achieve many great projects, because now ideas are coming everyday and I only struggle to resist of working on all of them.

Best of luck and thanks for reading me.


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ur story is not just great but it is supper courageous!!! Love reading things like this because they are inspirational and not conventional. I have never worked a day in my life for anyone, have always created my own ways to live my life and would have it any other way. Good luck with everything will be looking forward to ur next post.


Thank you Mike I really appreciate your kind words. Funny you mention courageous, most people back home were telling me this, but in fact, 3 years later, I realize that it takes a lot of courage to stay sane in the rat race.

Congrats for being an all-life entrepreneur!

yes sometime what we tthink to be a life dream might be relative to others, so i thik sometimes, dream are achieved in different format


Well put, dreams are very personal indeed.

Great story and very encouraging! I recently quit my job too to pursuit something more than just the rat race. Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, thanks for sharing! Who says you can only make money through the regular 9 to 5, you are a great example of this!! Good luck with your adventure.


Thank you @rea .. I didn't say I am making money, those 2 first years were pretty rough in this area for various reasons. I had my house in Canada on the suburbs with a BBQ, with no tenants and a mortgage.

I wouldn't go to deep on my financial details which are far from a dream, but I can tell you one thing: If I wasn't starting a business hiring people and just being on my own minding myself doing small contracts, I would be very comfortable living in Cambodia. I could just do websites and make a good living and pay 50 USD a room a month if I want on a survival budget.

I chose to start a new venture in parallel of AngkorHUB in I.T Services which is my background, initially, it was because some investors turned me down for my incubator project so I've decided to do the funding myself. Since then, we are on a building phase, we hire and train locals and I cannot complain about the outcome. Not making a lot for now but I am confident for the future and I like my life on a daily basis which is the most important paycheck for me. I do way more than 9 to 5 but I love it :)

Thanks for your words and best of all, maybe see you soon :)

Great story, thanks for sharing!

Amazing story and great success ! Keep it up Jeff :D

That's interesting. I just moved to SR a couple of months ago after spending two years in Kampot.
We're soon to organize business events here in Cambodia for aspiring entrepreneurs. Your coworking space might be just the location we need.
You on slack by any chance? Or any way to get in contact with you?
Let's go grab a drink somewhere this weekend.



Hello @menta
sure, we seem to be like-minded! Come this Friday at our Hubtalks if you can we have to amazing Khmer game developers who will be interviewed .. and before-after is our weekly pub-hub bar and a good time to network with people living here, there is people from corporations to international NGOs, students, etc. Looking forward! :)


That sounds great. What time does it start?


Great, see you then! :)

Excellent work Jeff - Cambo needs all the positive influences and people she can get.
jol mui

Right on man. Good to see you writing your own story! Much respect and good knowing you. Be well.