Posts Tagged ‘Personal Development’

A cool breeze is hitting me on this shady patio as I look out on the lagoon in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.  It is the first time I have felt that I could really get to work since I got here.  There is no internet at my apartment and working in coffee shops when I don’t drink coffee just feels weird.  Also the midday heat at some of those beach side vendors is just too much for my northern blood.  I really haven’t worked in over a month now because of friends and family in to Puerto Vallarta for Christmas and New Years and then finding a place in Zihua that is comfortable enough to just sit and work.

One of my favorite bloggers, Tynan, just posted an article called “Do Something Now,” as well as some of the comments reminded me of why and how I started this journey three and a half months ago in the first place.  I wanted travel in my life, and lots of it.  I wanted to be meeting more people and have fun learning a language.  I wanted to build a business that I could run from anywhere.  I wanted to live a life that used the online world, and wasn’t run by the online world.  When I arrived in this city, I fell in love with the atmosphere, the people and the landscape.  This really is a great place to escape to (I have met a few that seemed to have gotten ideas from the Shawshank Redemption).  I found myself an apartment for the month with one problem: no internet at home.  I could have found another apartment, but I don’t think I could have found another place this nice for this price easily.  I tried to find cafés that had internet, but they just weren’t working well for me, then I tried going to internet cafés that were air-conditioned but they cost an arm and a leg.

I started to get the idea that I needed to create a situation where I could work offline and just send in my work when I could get a chance.  This was something I had thought about before, but had not really gotten set up.  So I spent a few hours getting things ready, and started trying to work.  I started making lists of things that needed internet and things that didn’t.  Kinda like to-do lists for the internet cafés.  I tried to only go to the computer when I had a list of things to do with the computer.  And with the strong separation of work and access to the time drain of the web I got a nice set of things done, but at the end of every day when the cafés closed I would always feel like there was more I could have accomplished in the day.  When I was working offline I would sometimes come up with a problem that I knew had been solved before and would usually just be able to look up, but instead I would have to wait or spend a few hours reinventing the wheel.  I currently don’t think I’m ready for this kind of disconnectedness while working.

I talked with a friend over drinks and dominoes last night and he said I could use his mothers place.  It really is ideal.  It has a view, a breeze, internet and no hourly cost.  I don’t think I’ll be able to thank him enough.  I will keep working on this problem, but for now I have a place I can go where I can really get stuff done and have the internet at the same time.

You have a schedule?  Aren’t you on vacation?  You are a gringo in Guatemala after all.

As I arrived in Xela, Guatemala, I knew I was going to be the odd one out.  I had a plan after all.  First vacation, then rebuild my life from the ground up.  I sat down in a coffee shop  with a pad of paper and wrote down these words from memory by Annie Dillard:

A schedule defends from chaos and whim.”

Followed by:


Physical – Exercise 4+ times per week

Business – Work for 2 hours a day on income producing ventures

Learning – Study Spanish for 2 hours a day

Social – Go out for at least 3 hours a day to meet local people

Personal – Write in personal blog for 1 hour twice a week, and business blog at least 1 hour per week

Financial – Check finances 1 hour per week

Planning – Plan for tomorrow for 1 hour every day

Eat – 3 square meals per day

Sleep – 8 hours every night

Reward – 1 exciting or interesting trip or experience per week

Interesting, eh?  Then I went into Google Calendar and built a plan around these priorities.  At times it has been hard to stick to the plan, but it has generally been quite rewarding.  I have gotten quite a bit done, and have had time to enjoy the local culture.  One area that caught me off guard was the local custom of setting off firecrackers at 6:30 am to wake up their loved ones who are celebrating a birthday. In a city this size that is every day.  Naturally this is followed up by loud music for a couple hours, ensuring that no one around can possibly get back to sleep.  It has taken a while, but I have adjusted my schedule for earlier nights and earlier mornings because of this.

An upside about spending an hour every day planning for tomorrow means that I get more done in the day or hours provided and that the quality of that work is superior.  The Pareto Principle and Parkinson’s Law working so well together 🙂

The Plan

Author: Kyle

See no evil, speek no evil, hear no evil.

At the turn of the millennium I went on a 3 month trip across Western Europe, touching the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, France, Andorra, Spain, Ireland and the U.K. Since then I have been pinning to get out on the road again. So here I am, nine long years later and it is more an emotional necessity then a mere wish or dream. My bags are packed and the date has been set. Since I returned one of the concepts that has always circled around my head was the idea of crossing the equator, as if it was a line that needed crossing.   Likewise I have had the desire to build a location independent business – a business that can be run from anywhere.

Two authors that have fueled this desire are Tim Ferriss of The Four Hour Work Week fame and Tynan from his awesome blog. Both have given me the tools needed and the knowledge that it can be done.

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something… almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” Steve Jobs’ Commencement address (2005)

I first came across this quote in The Four Hour Work Week, but have since played the entire speech to myself and friends over and over because of how profound it is regarding how I want to live my life. So I have given notice, given away most of my belongings and put the rest in storage and before too long, October 15th, I’ll hit the road to South America. Ideally I’ll be able to find a place in various countries, settle down, learn about the people, culture and language while also finding time to work and earn Canadian dollars before moving on to the next place.

Keep an eye here if you want to be kept up to date on my travels, information about work and travel and any other little tidbits that I find relevant to this lifestyle.  Thanks for reading!