How To Be The Coolest Guy In The Bar

Introduction

12:33 AM, Green Mango Club, Koh Samui, Thailand

Loud music is interrupting what would otherwise be the shocking silence of my new life. For 3 months now I’ve been out of my country, in a strange solitude, the road my single and constant companion.

I’m not sure why I’m here. Vacation? Mini-Retirement? Some desperate attempt to find meaning and fulfillment?

Why am I so unhappy? 

At 22, I’ve officially “made it.” I’ve built my own business from zero, and now it’s doing quite well. It provides a comfortable monthly income and, being entirely internet based, allows me to travel & live anywhere in the world. Despite this, I find myself utterly depressed.

When you think you should be happy, but you’re not, you end up miserable.  Continue reading

The Build It Before You Need It Strategy

I heard this line from Keith Ferrazzi while he was talking with Gary Vaynerchuk in this video while he was answering a question from an audience member about scrambling to get results on social media during the closing days of some contest (mostly irrelevant to this article). But it triggered a thought in my brain, and reminded me of something I said a while ago. That 53 people have now watched.

The advice Keith gave was basically, “your situation is a good example of why you build it before you need it.” I’d never really heard someone put it quite that way and as soon as I did it opened a whirlwind of thoughts, which then made me write this post.

This was something that I actually realized for myself about 6 months ago. I knew that I needed to be hustling my fucking face off on social media and building a community around myself, but I wasn’t totally sure why. More importantly, I always struggled to come up with content because I didn’t have an end game. I didn’t have a book to sell, or a product to move, or some big ask to convert on. Continue reading

Vice in Vientiane: A Slightly Darker Guide To The Capital Of Laos

Vientiane by mypuffin, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  mypuffin 

 

Why am I writing about illicit activities in Laos? If you’ve traveled around SE Asia then you already know the reputation of the countries. Thailand is the best: anything you want to experience can be had in Thailand. Malaysia kind of sucks but Kuala Lumpur is awesome. Singapore is very nice and high end, also quite expensive. Cambodia is on the rise. Vietnam has a lot of great stuff to explore, good mix of activity, great food.

Laos, however, is that boring, sleepy, landlocked country where there is not much going on. As far as travelers that love it, they are all the hippie stoners (weed is very cheap and easy to get here). It’s the poorest country in SE Asia. No night life. Maybe a nice break from the craziness that Thailand can be, but all in all, best to make it a short trip.

I’ve been to Vientiane on three separate trips now. The first two occasions were bad experiences. I was just here to get a new visa for Thailand so I could get back to the fun country. On both previous trips I’d heard that “Vang Vieng is fun” and always just flew into Vientiane, dropped my passport off with a visa agent (someone who will go to the consulate for you and get you a new visa – AKA sweet deal), stayed one night in some lame hotel and caught the dawn bus to Vang Vieng. I’ll be honest, this wasn’t a bad routine. However, before coming back for the third time I decided I was going to try and do an in-and-out within a few days and skip Vang Vieng.

In deciding this I asked myself, “What if there is actually some cool stuff to do in Vientiane? I’ve never actually checked.” Just having the idea that there might some fun to be had, led me to decide to explore this slow-paced little city.

I know a few things about people and cities. First, no matter what “the law states,” vice and corruption will always find a way to exist. Second, in a city of more than 50,000 people there will always be drugs and hookers. Continue reading

How to Travel the World for Less Than it Costs to be Poor in America

I am writing this post so that I have it to reference in the future. A lot of my friends may read this and say “yeah duh.” Most of my friends these days are frequent travelers. It’s easy for any of us to forget what it felt like before we got out and saw the world. Most people who are stuck in their ways really have no clue that the types of things I’ll be discussing on this site even exist. When I mention the things I do in my normal life, jaws often drop. The other party often leaves with a palpable air of disbelief, as if they are thinking, “there has to be more to the story than he’s letting on. It’s not that simple.”

Sorry, it IS that simple.

The view from the balcony of my private room in Vang Vieng, Laos. Double bed, A/C, hot water, fridge, $9/night.

The view from the balcony of my private room in Vang Vieng, Laos. Double bed, A/C, hot water, fridge, $9/night. Read my Vang Vieng post for more details

Have you ever wished that you could travel all over the world? This post is for you. Here is a no B.S. guide to your first major world travel experience.

It is a lot easier than you might think. For me it was like having sex: after I did it for the first time I thought, “Why the hell did I wait so long? This is the coolest thing ever!” And I haven’t quit either activity since.

But I think going places is way way better than that. I mean anyone can have sex, and most people do at least once in their lifetime. Less than 1% of people will ever truly experience the joys of extended world travel.

Continue reading

Vang Vieng, Laos: Southeast Asia’s Still Kind of Hidden Backpackers Haven

Getting to Vang Vieng.

In Vang Vieng, there is a feeling of remoteness that overwhelmed my American spirit. First, I flew 12,000 miles to the other side of the planet to land in Thailand. Then a month later I took 2 more flights (from Koh Samui to Bangkok and Bangkok to Vientiane). After 2 days in the very strange (to me) Vientiane, I boarded a bus that looked like something out of 1972.

The drive was very deliberate. Through the city at first, then it gradually becomes less of a city. The buildings go from very crowded to normal, to a bit of space, to more space, to much more space, to no buildings. Every so often we hit a village and cruised on through.  Continue reading

Freedom In Relationships: A Practical Concept Of Love

 

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, stalk them”

I always chuckle at that line, though now I can’t recall where I heard it. It doesn’t fit in at all with what I’m going to talk about, but it’s funny all the same.

I should start, as one must, by hedging my bets against potential inaccuracies. Love is of course a mystery. I don’t begin to pretend that I understand it. I don’t know that it’s meant to be understood.

The only way I begin to comprehend anything about love is by discovering what it’s not.

Love is not sex. Sex is sex. To confuse the two will lead to poor performance in both endeavors. Continue reading

The Ultimate Hangover Cure: How To Survive A Day Of Pure Misery

I think it’s important to begin my musings on boozing by addressing the inevitable repercussion that we all face from time to time after indulging too enthusiastically in spirits, the dreaded hangover. Before I  instill in everyone a dipsomaniacal disposition to drink, I feel obligated to share with you my painfully researched (I mean that literally) hangover cure.

As I strive to become s more serious and practical drinker,  I continue to learn a variety of tactics to help avoid this pitfall. However, anyone that drinks even occasionally is bound to have a night where their imbibing gets a bit out of hand and that will predicate a morning (and better part of the following day) of misery and suffering. Just in case you find yourself in that sordid state of affairs right now, I will get down to business.

I’d like to pay tribute to the late great Kingsley Amis. His book, “Everyday Drinking” and it’s chapter on the hangover is where I adapted my own hangover cure from. It was the inspiration 100%. It’s also a great book for anyone that likes drinking.

It’s important to understand the two headed snake that is “The Hangover”. First, you have the physical hangover (PH). On it’s own the PH is painful enough and difficult to cope with. Still, it’s difficulty is compounded as soon as you accept part two of the hangover.

That is of course, The Spiritual Hangover (SH).

Symptoms of Physical Hangover:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn/Indigestion
  • General fatigue and soreness of the body
  • Thirst
  • Vertigo and sensitivity to light & sound
  • Tremors, sweating, and Increased pulse and systolic blood pressure.

Or as I like to call it. Sunday

Symptoms of Spiritual Hangover:

  • Self loathing
  • A firm understanding that you are a useless human being who has no value to the world
  • Further recognition that no one, not even your family, loves you and that they never could.
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Fear for the future

Most hangover cures talk about treating this sickness as if it were only the physical body we were dealing with. In my view, the spiritual hangover has far more compounding and damaging effects if left untreated. A hangover is not just an illness, it’s a direct challenge to the human spirt’s will to go on. Continue reading