Today I am starting on a new adventure in Asia, and by the time you are reading this I will already be en route to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
You might be wondering, “Why not back to China? Why Thailand and why Chiang Mai?”
While I plan to visit China during my travels, the main reason I am going to Chiang Mai is to meet people who are location-independent with their work. Another name for this kind of person is a digital nomad.
Digital nomads are people who can live and work from anywhere in the world. The key to doing this type of work and living this type of lifestyle is having an internet connection and doing work that can be done purely online (computer programming, teaching online, translation, drop shipping, writing, graphic design, and more).
There is a lot to learn as I build this website, grow my audience, sell books, and build my first online course: Land a Job in China. Being surrounded by people doing the same thing will help me accomplish my goals faster. This is what I’ll be spending the next few months doing.
Other digital nomads have already grown their audiences, made online courses, and they understand where I’m coming from. Chiang Mai has more digital nomads than any other city in the world and I am told there are thousands living there.
The reason Chiang Mai is so popular is because it is cheap. It’s cheaper than Bangkok but still a big city with a great quality of life. The Internet connection there is also good I am told.
This cheap quality of life is the second reason I am moving to Thailand. Living modestly in a suburb of Minneapolis in the USA allowed for a good quality of life, but it was expensive. Living modestly in a one bedroom apartment it was hard to keep my monthly expenses below $2,000.
Living in Chiang Mai costs a mere $600 for a similar quality of life. Having a cheaper quality of life will allow my to spend more time working on my online course and less time spent making money just to get by.
Having quit my Chinese medical interpreting jobs, I’ve already made much progress on my online course over the last two weeks, more than the last two months living in Minneapolis.
In Thailand I will continue to wake up (without an alarm clock) and spend the mornings working on my online course. The money I’ve saved up will also go further in Thailand than it would in a US city.
Like many people, I first learned about the concept of digital nomad after reading The 4-Hour Workweek several years ago.
The main concept of the book is that income is relative because you also need to account for time and location. If you make $100,000 year but work 80 hours a week and need to commute to an office, then you’re not necessarily as rich as someone who makes $40,000 per year but can live and work from anywhere and only works 10 hours per week.
Since the publication of this book numerous blogs and websites have popped up around the subject including Johnny FD, a blogger, affiliate marketer, and drop shipper in Thailand, Chris the Freelancer, a computer programmer and video editor traveling and living around SE Asia and Europe, Tropical MBA, a podcast about building businesses while traveling and working at the same time, and many, many more.
How many of them are successful at it and can make a decent income? That remains unknown, but some definitely do make a good income.
For the last couple months I’ve been lining up Chinese translation work to do online. Freelance translating is a way for me to have an income while living and working completely online.
During this process, I asked a friend in the translation business if she knew of any translating positions I could do remotely.
I sent her my resume and after she saw this website and the Dreaming of Zhongshan movie I made, and she directed me towards an online job she knew of combining video production, website design, and Chinese translation (asking your friends if they know of any job openings is a great way to find work!)
The job involves traveling the world to make these videos. Because traveling the world making videos has been a dream of mine for the last several years, I decided to take this chance and do this job working in Taiwan.
I’m also interested in finding out more about what work outside of China in another Asian country is like. Besides China, Chinese is also spoken in Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan and if you speak Mandarin you may have some luck finding work in these countries in addition to China.
So although my initial plan was to spend the next several months in Thailand working on my online course and meeting digital nomads, the universe has seemed to set up the perfect job for me, and in these situations, I like to follow the universe’s lead.
I will be spending the next month in Thailand and the next few after that in Taiwan. After that 我们再看吧! (we’ll see!)