So You Want To Be A Digital Nomad
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The book is called High Risk Behavior and it's a collection of stories that I wrote about various things I've done over the years that I deemed interesting enough to write about. If you want to know what made me such an autistic degenerate, you'll definitely want to read this.
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First world problems are the best problems
Okay, now that we got the boring shit out of the way, let's talk about my favorite subject: me.
I had to leave Thailand about a week ago because my visa was expiring. Normally all you have to do to renew your visa is cross the border and go back. If you do it too many times they might give you a problem at immigration, but the guy running my Muay Thai school is a cop. So all I'd have to do is give him a call and he can straighten things out.
That said, the weather has been shit in Phuket for the past month or so. It's been raining 2-3 hours a day which fucks up my beach time. Not only that, but with low season starting the crowds had begun to thin out. No bueno.
The last two weeks I was there, I got a little depressed. I had gotten there right when peak season started. It was packed with people, the weather was great, and I had to make absolutely 0 effort to socialize because I got a steady stream of new roommates every few days.
But before I left, it felt like I was just in some rainy city by the beach where I just happened to be doing Muay Thai.
And with my beach time drastically cut down to only 2-3 days a week, training had become the highlight of my day. I'd wake up at 7, keep waking up until 8:30 or so, and then run the 3k to the gym. Punch and kick things for an hour or two and then run back down.
Come back, work, and then...
Loyalty is overrated
Thailand had been so good to be these past four months. I got there a pasty white flabby mess with a few dropshipping sites, and four months later I'm transformed into a slightly less flabby coconut-skinned digital nomad with a mean leg kick.
It had given me so much, but with the weather turning to shit, what am I supposed to do - stay out of loyalty or something?
I think I just felt bad that I was going to leave my trainer. My gym is almost always totally empty. The whole time I was there, only one other long-timer has joined.
Patong isn't really a place that gets a lot of expats. Tourists come for a few days to party and then they move on. And the Thais don't pick it as a place to train because the MT scene there is not great.
I felt bad telling them that I would only be gone a week to renew my visa. But I don't like saying goodbye. I didn't even tell the people at the hostel I'd been living at for 4 months that I wasn't coming back either. Sad.
But that's life when you live out of a backpack for an extended period of time.
I can't count the amount of times I've moved to a new place, made friends with the people who worked at the fucking grocery store, and then been sad that I had to leave and would probably never see them again. This has been happening every few months for the past dozen years.
I guess I should be happy that I at least had the opportunity to make new friends. And yeah sure, if I want to be all Tony Robbins about it, I could say that now I "have friends all over the world."
But let's call it what it is: I'm never going to see the majority of these people ever again. What are the odds that we'll be in the same city at the same time ever again? And even if we are, what are the odds that we'll actually plan to meet up? And even if we DO meet up, who's to say that we'll be able to recapture the magic that we had when we shared similar experiences for just a short time so long ago?
Nah. Not gonna happen.
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful
I feel the worst for my trainer though. I can just picture him staring out at the road I used to run up to get to the gym, waiting for me to get there so he can throw an empty water bottle at me. God that's depressing to think about.
They were grooming me to fight too. I mean, they push everyone to take at least one pro fight while they're there. That's how they make a big chunk of their money. Plus it's respect for the gym.
Honestly though, I was too much of a pussy to put my ass in the ring.
I mean, forget about the fact that I'd only been doing Muay Thai for a total of three months and barely knew how to throw a punch before starting. I didn't want to fuck up my beautiful face fighting some Russian named Pavel who used to beat kids up at his Russian elementary school for their vodka money.
But when you train for long enough at a gym and start to make progress, you start to feel bad if you don't fight. It's like come on man, how many times are you going to hit the fucking heavy bag before you test yourself against an actual human being who's trying to knock your block off? Get your bitch ass in the ring and see what you're really made of.
Even though I was paying over $200 for the privilege of training there, I still felt like I owed them at least one fight. Why did they have to start the fights at 9 PM? Don't they know I'm usually in bed by then? Why couldn't we do some daytime fights or something?
God damn world won't change to accommodate me. So inconvenient.
Love em and leave em
Anyway, I had to leave Thailand regardless of my little Muay Thai mental drama. I didn't want to subject myself to the filth that was Kuala Lumpur, so I booked a $50 ticket to Vietnam and continued to be sad and depressed all the way to the airport.
It's funny though, every time I go to a new place and stay there for an extended period of time, I always eventually reach a point where I am somewhat comfortable there yet not completely fulfilled. It's like I get itchy feet or something and just want to go somewhere else. I don't know if the magic fades or what, but it's just not the same after a while.
And the funny thing is that even though I want to leave, I still feel sad about leaving. I feel like I'll miss my favorite convenience store clerk, my landlord, the lady who makes my coffee every morning, or whatever random person, place or thing I see on a daily basis. Then literally the second I pack my shit and get into the cab to the airport, I completely forget about all of them.
Onto the next place.
Sounds great, doesn't it? It's not. Trust me.
I WISH I could be happy in one place. That's not a humblebrag either. Do you know how exhausting it is to always have to pack your bag and move somewhere else because you're bored with wherever you are? Never satisfied. Always looking for some new novelty that will keep your interest for a few months before you have to tear yourself away from whatever random shawarma-stand owner has become your most recent best friend.
Ugh, and don't even get me started on all the people you meet in hostels.
Don't get me wrong, I've made a lot of friends that I literally never would have met had we not shared a room together. It's actually a huge part of the reason why I find this type of lifestyle so addictive - I hate socializing and am terrible at making friends organically (shocking I know). But put a rotating roster of new people in my room every few days, and eventually I'm going to click with some of them.
And even if you don't, just the fact that you're around each other so frequently is going to create a bond between you extremely quickly and with virtually no effort on your part. All you literally have to do is live in the same room with someone for a few days and you'll become friends.
I've had experiences where I barely said a single word to someone living in my room for five days, but then randomly we'd see each other at the beach, put our stuff together, have the typical where-are-you-from-how-long-have-you-been-traveling-etc-etc conversation, and by the time we get back to the hostel it's like we've known each other for months.
Repeat this every week with new people and you'll see how it can desensitize you to making friends.
I'm not saying I'm some kind of robot or something. I still get close to people and form friendships. I just don't go out of my way to ask the starry-eyed Danish backpacker what the name of her shitty little town is called.
It's not that I don't care, it's that it's not worth the effort for me to get to know them if they're just going to leave in a few days anyway. Unless I'm planning on having sex with them, and even then they've got to be smoking hot or at least unique in some way.
That's another problem. After meeting so many people from all over the world, you realize that people fit their stereotypes so well. Life starts to feel like a video game you've played through a hundred times before.
British dudes with sleeve tattoos. Clueless 19 year old German backpackers that wear their moneybelts outside of their clothes. Completely lost Chinese people that have absolutely no idea how the world works outside China. Yawn.
That's why when I meet someone who's a little fucked up, a little unique, I just can't help myself. Someone who's got some kind of interesting story to tell. I'll spend as much time with them as I can before they go because I know it'll be a while before I get to meet anyone who doesn't tick the boring boxes.
I especially like the fucked up girls. The ones who are hot but obviously troubled by some problem in their life. Do they actually think they're doing a good job hiding that from everyone with that fake ass smile and 1/2 liter beers at noon? Don't they know I used to sell hair straighteners? Don't they know I can read their minds?
But girls like that are so rare these days. I wish I met them more often, because when I do it's instant chemistry. All it takes is one good conversation, one walk to the night market, or one night out and boom - instant girlfriend.
But only for a few days. Just how I like it.
Do they remember me when they go off on their travels? Or am I just another random dude they fucked while they were abroad? Lord knows I barely remember them in my day to day life. Not because I'm some kind of Casanova, but who the fuck has time to pine after girls you knew for three days when you have to send 100 emails a day and scripted conversations with the 5 new people that moved into your room that day?
WIIFM > Jewish guilt
Anyway, how the fuck did I get off on this tangent? I don't remember. The point is that I left Phuket and it's likely I won't be back there until November at the earliest. I have my Dad's birthday in July and then I want to spend the rest of the summer in Tel Aviv. Monsoon season doesn't end until November anyway.
And even when it does, am I really going back to Patong? Why wouldn't I go to Koh Phangan or Koh Lanta for a change of scenery? Or literally anywhere other than Patong?
I just feel bad about leaving my trainer there all by himself. I'm off in Vietnam while he's stuck at that empty camp, save for the occasional tourist that comes to do a few rounds of pad work before speeding off to spend the day at some elephant sanctuary.
It's okay. The guilt will go away soon. Just need to write over the memories with a few new places and some new friends. Just let me connect with another human being and Eggman will just be nothing more than a few pictures on my Instagram page.
Fuck man. How can I live like this for so long? 14 months living in hostels this most recent round. Years of selling straighteners all over the world. Sharing apartments with random Israelis, bonding from the combination of the intense suffering of commission-only sales and living in exotic locations far from home.
In Hebrew well call it chavaya - there's no real translation in English. The best way I can describe it would be "an experience you MUST have."
The army is a chavaya. Traveling is a chavaya. Working in agalot (selling products in malls) is a chavaya. Having a threesome is a chavaya.
Me? I'm addicted to them. 100% openly admit it too. I can't live a boring life with office work and a mortgage. I'll literally want to die.
I don't know if it's because I spent so much time staring at the wall when I was a kid, or because I spent so much time staring at the wall when I was in the army - but I feel like I need to overcompensate for the years that I let slip through my fingers before I grew some balls and decided to ignore the conventional wisdom that people love to barf up when they use words like "career."
Ever since I moved to Israel to join the army, I haven't been able to accept anything other than a unique life experience. And not in that "we are all special snowflakes" bullshit sense either. I'm talking Edward Bernays, Abraham Lincoln, Bobby Fisher type shit at the minimum.
That's why I have no tolerance for the article-spinner-quality trash that proliferates this place. It's all just so mundane, just like the easily-categorized text-based version of the travelers I meet so often. It's not their fault, just like it's not the people's fault that they're the same as the last 100 I met that fit their description. That's just how they are.
Look, I realize that statistically speaking, there's no realistic alternative. It'll never be the case that every hostel I go to will be populated with 100% unique people and fucked up hotties who smoke too many cigarettes. Just like it's impossible for every post on here to be as awesome as mine. There's just no way.
This has become even more clear to me after working on @omniloquent for the past week. The irony of me writing thousands of words criticizing the content creators on this platform for writing bland content and then creating an account that produces 100+ equally bland articles per month is not lost on me. I don't know whether I should be depressed or happy about that.
Whatever. I don't give a shit. I'm just trying new things to see what will work.
Chasing the dragon
Anyway... the point of this retarded blog is that now I'm in Vietnam. Why couldn't I have just said that in the beginning?
I spent a few days in Saigon. Did I do any tours or see anything interesting?
Sure, if you count a local MMA gym as interesting, then yeah. And after trying to force feed myself the allegedly "healthy" Vietnamese cuisine, I broke down and have been eating chicken tenders at Texas Chicken for the past two days.
Tomorrow I take the train to Nha Trang. Just another random Southeast Asian beach town, a place were people go for a few days before moving onto a more "authentic" part of the country to go see temples or whatever other stupid shit they care about. Sound familiar?
There's an MMA gym there too. I already checked. Hopefully I'll be able to chase the same dragon that bit me in Patong. But if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that you never step into the same river twice.
You can't go home again.
What non-depressing things do you want to know about being a digital nomad?
Ask me in a comment!
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