Author Archives: Kevin

Blazing through Romania with a stop in Constanta

 

Living out a childhood dream in Romania.

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FL121: Escape From New York

In this episode of Freedom Lovin’ Podcast, Kevin talks about his experiences in New York City where he has been for the past five days. He also talks about the changes he observed in Manhattan and Brooklyn, how the massive crowd overwhelmed him, and his observation in terms of how people behave in NYC.

This episode will give you an insight of what to expect when in New York City so don’t miss it!

Topics discussed :

  • His accommodation experience
  • Why New York City has been a contrast from San Diego
  • Crowds and their negative traits
  • Some changes in Manhattan and Brooklyn
  • The impact of the possible L train shutdown
  • Feeling overwhelm from so many choices
  • The fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • NYC and Taxes & Regulations, but more freedom?
  • Safety factors

And much more.

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Running Free and Running Remote in Bali, Indonesia

Listen to the podcast to hear more about my experiences visiting Bali.

It had been 6 years since I went to Bali.

In my head, it’s a magical place where other than the touristy beach areas, it’s largely not overrun by tourists.

The first shock was the airport.

We got in at 11pm, and getting through immigration could not have been easier.

Night & day from 6 years ago.

And…holy shit, the airport has changed! While in 2012 it looked like the airport of a banana republic, it now looks like a major, modern city airport.

The process before consisted of waiting in line to get a 30-day visa for $25 (woohoo bargain!), and then waiting in line to allow the bureaucrat to grant access to the wonderful island.

This time, we just walked right up and showed our plane ticket, and got a stamp. No questions asked, no scrutiny or even the typical suspicious looks! Seems Bali, and/or the country of Indonesia, is really wanting tourists.

In typical Bali fashion, as we left the airport, we had a taxi driver following us around.

“We’re using Grab,” we told him.

“Grab no pick up at airport. Must meet 3 kilometers from here.”

I gave him about a 40% chance of being truthful. So we asked him his price as we tried Grab. He wanted about 3 times as much as the Grab ride, and turns out….he was…lying! Shock and surprise.

Bali appeared completely different to me, as we wound through the streets on the way to Canggu. Everything looked…nice! And new. And even trendy. So many hotels, cafes, restaurants…all with nice signs out front.

Amazingly, the air was cool, compared to the Philippines. It was actually very nice. Except for the smoke, as the Balinese still burn their garbage, a sign that they still haven’t discovered the idea of caring for the environment.

I stayed at the Canggu Beach Inn. The next morning, I tried going for a walk on the main street, but it was pretty hectic- no sidewalks and motorbikes constantly buzzing by- feeling a little too close for comfort every time.

Landed on Vida Cafe for breakfast. It would be my home away from home for the next week, with dishes like this:

Cafe Vida Elixers

And even their own version of Bulletproof Coffee!

The plan for Canggu was to work and surf, surf and work, and eat.

Well the eating definitely happened, and work to some degree, but the rain dampened my mood to surf- not because I’m afraid of getting wet before getting wet, but the amount of garbage that washes into the ocean when it rains is unreal! And I’m not trying to get some in curable disease.

The shocking thing about Canggu is that, 6 years ago, there was hardly anything in the town beyond rice fields, like this one:

Now, it’s overrun by the digital nomad crowd.

There are more of them then there are locals it seems.

The good part of this is it’s very easy to meet people. We were meeting people at breakfast daily, and most people seem to want to connect, because everyone is of course from somewhere else, doing some kind of project or business, and living the good life on the cheap.

And Bali IS still cheap, from what I saw, costs have not gone up in the 6 years since I visited last. I think that is mostly because of the continuing drop of the currency.

The beach is still nice, although wayyy more tourists now.

Mengwi

I booked a villa as close as I could get to my conference, the Running Remote conference, in the town of Mengwi.

Unfortunately, the taxi driver had no clue how to get there, even with GPS.
Apparently, the place was in the middle of nowhere.

And the maps were wrong.

After asking several people, we finally got there. Place was really nice! And only one other guy in the hotel, and he too was attending the conference.

Romantic Villa in Mengwi

The Running Remote Conference


A lot was learned there, the TL;DR is, working with humans is very complex and there is no “right way” of doing things. Nonetheless, I learned quite a bit, and met some interesting and inspiring individuals through the weekend.

Ubud

I only had 3 days to chill in Ubud, but made the most of them.

Man, this city has changed in the past 6 years! It’s way more built up, more shops, restaurants, coffee shops, tourists…and taxi drivers 🙂

Central Ubud is a bit hectic. Last time I was there, it didn’t feel that way. The sidewalks have not improved at all, but there are more amazing eating spots.

I also had a “spiritual experience” there one of the days. I’ll talk more about that on a future podcast.

Bali is still a great place in many ways, and I can see why people move there, and why the digital nomad scene is so big there.

Monkey Power!

But for me, it’s still lacking something. Partly, it’s decent grocery stores, and good service. But it’s more than that. Not having sidewalks is actually a big deal. It’s hard to just go for a walk, unless you are out in the country, but even then, cars will buzz by pretty close as you are walking in the road.

Maybe the idea is to buy a rice field.

38.5 hours later, I arrived back in California.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:

 

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Freedom In The Philippines

Listen to the podcast to hear more about my experiences visiting the Philippines.

I woke up from my flight with a pounding headache. Haven’t had one of those in a while!

Not sure if it was my sleeping position on the flight, or attempting to fast. Definitely had enough water, as I was getting up to pee about every hour!

I broke my fast 12 hours into the 14 hour flight to Taipei. Too hungry and headachey to stick with not eating.

Onward to Cebu!

I exited the airport and the smell of smoke filled the air.

The air was thick and hot. It felt like I stepped into a smoke filled sauna!

Since Uber isn’t in the Philippines, and my phone was not working, I got in the first taxi presented to me.

Rookie mistake! You never go with the drivers hitting you up our front. Always try for metered taxis if no Uber or Lyft exist.

The few mile drive took over an hour to get to my hotel. The traffic just grinds, and the scenery is not the Philippines shown in the travel ads- mostly dilapidated houses and buildings, people mostly dressed in basketball jerseys, shorts and flip flops, and the ultimate smog-producing machines- the Jeepney’s – these old Jeeps turned into busses that bellow out thick clouds of exhaust.

Highlights of Cebu City- Ayala mall, nice, easy going people everywhere, being called “sir” 80 times an hour, Banana Leaf Thai, A-Space Coworking.

Ayala Mall, Cebu City

Bohol

They design the ferry boats for little Filipinos. We didn’t fit in the seats and had legs crammed up against the seats in front of us the entire ride over. Nice to get out of the smog and traffic, however, and feel like breathing was easier immediately upon getting out on the sea.

Alona Beach was the destination. First night consisted of going to a BBQ restaurant and inhaling more carcinogens than one should have in a lifetime. Tried all kinds of meat, most of it tasty, but the smoke from the grill was a bit too much to handle.

Alona Beach highlights: restaurant on the east end of the beach right on the sand, Buzz Cafe with amazing ice cream, getting scooters and cruising around panglao, stopping at underground swimming cave and cliff jumping.

Alona Beach

Siquijor

1 hour boat to Siquijor, the black magic island.

We were greeted with a free drink at our hostel! In typical Filipino fashion, the drink was a sweet iced tea- that tasted like pure syrup! We asked for something without sugar- and at first, they didn’t understand. Then they brought out watermelon juice, which was indeed unsweetened!

Almost everywhere we went, people spoke English. But the conversations were sometimes confusing and an answer was not reached.

For example, the scooter I rented had problems. The left brake didn’t work. It slowed me down but didn’t stop. Not safe at all! And the battery died when we were out and about. When I returned the bike, I let them know about these issues.

The woman checked the brake “Break works!” But it didn’t.

When I told her about the battery issue, she says “Did you leave the key in the ignition?”

“No I didn’t”, I said.

“Well you can’t leave the key in the ignition. Drains battery.”

“But I didn’t leave the key in. I always took the key out!” I  repeated.

“Because you leave the key in the ignition, this is the problem”

UGH!

Oh well. Motor biking around the island of Siquijor was extremely fun. Lots to see and do, and lots of dogs, cats, cows and goats on the roads.

Siquijor Island

Although this beach looks like paradise, not long after I snapped this photo, an angry security guard came by waving a shotgun and informed us that we were not allowed to sit on that beach. “Private beach!” Okay. The Filipino hospitality is not always there.

Philippines Pros and Cons

Pros:

Some of the nicest people on the planet.

Incredibly laid back.

Incredibly safe.

Amazing scenery.

Warm ocean water.

Relatively cheap (not as cheap as I imagined, however).

Not many rules (the shotgun-waving security guy was a notable exception!) For example, riding the scooters- no license or really anything was required to rent them. On the roads, no one cares if you’re a speed demon or crawling along like a granny. And I only saw 1 police car in 2 days of being on the roads.

Cons:

Cebu City, way too crowded and polluted

Food. Lots of sugar and bad oils used

Kind of hard to get around. It’s not easy to island hop, ferries are available, but it can take a half a day to travel. The Grab app is a way to call taxis, kind of like Uber, but not as good.

Overpriced hotels. Okay, I’m not complaining about $20-30 for getting a clean room with AC, but the difference in quality between the Philippines and say, Eastern Europe, is huge. For $30 in the Phils, you get a clean room with a bed and a tiny bathroom that has a shower with no door so you get water all over the floor no matter what, and maybe the shower works okay. In Eastern Europe, you get a nice apartment in the center of town for that in many places.

Spotty internet. In Cebu, the internet worked just fine. The internet on Bohol for us was absolutely terrible at times, other times it was mediocre. Surprisingly it was a little better on Siquijor, with the exception of the night the power went out, but that was only about an hour or so.

Spotty cell phone service. Most of the time in this country, I wasn’t able to use my phone data, even though I have an international plan. This was annoying as Google Maps is the most useful thing on the planet, but without data, it was difficult to ever know where we were going!

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FL114: Libertopia Festival, Living For Today

In this episode, Kevin discusses the upcoming Libertopia event in San Diego, and the idea of “Living as if it’s your last day on earth”.

Links

Libertopia San Diego (with 10% off)

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An Honest Review of Outsite – Haleiwa

I just got back from a 9-day trip to the North Shore of Hawaii, specifically the town of Haleiewa (pronounced hal-ay-eve-ah).

I stayed the whole time at the Outsite.co co-living, co-working house there, and wanted to write a review of the house, Outsite itself, and my experience.

I would like to start out with the background of my story, and a bit of my experience with the company in general…

Here we go!

I discovered Outsite in January, as I was living in Venice, CA. I went to meetup with a presentation by the founders of Safety Wing, a digital nomad travel insurance company with some world-changing goals. (you can listen to my interview with the founder, Sondre Rasch, here.)

Outsite seemed like a wonderful idea! Traveling to cool, fun, interesting places and living with others who are also working on projects or just working while they travel. This solves a lot of the problems I’ve experienced in the past, where the backpacker crowd is kind of the default of who you meet on the road.

When you’re not a 20-something penny pinching backpacker trying to scrape up enough to travel and barely get by, and you’re not highfalutin resort-type, and enjoy meeting people with business and life goals that align with your own, Outsite is pretty ideal.

I was really wanting to leave LA and work from somewhere else. I noticed they had a house on the beach in Costa Rica, and I had a couple friends traveling throughout that country that I thought would be cool to meet up with.

So I first applied to become a member of Outsite, since you get booking discounts as a member, and it’s only $150.

I filled out the application and days went by, but no response.

Oh well, I thought, I’ll just book a room at the CR house anyway, as it might sell out, and I was only about 8 days out from when I wanted to leave.

So I requested to book a room in the Costa Rica location.

I got a confirmation in less than a day. “Congratulations! You have been accepted, please fill out the form with your credit card to reserve your room for the stay”.

So I filled everything out, got a confirmation that they got my booking, and went ahead and booked a flight (one way) to San Jose, CR.

The next morning, Outsite sent me a message:

“Apologies for the inconvenience, but the house is full for the dates you requested.”

Huh?

I was accepted and booked it, how could it be full?

I emailed them back, but rather than wait, since the clock was ticking, I went to their Facebook page.

I told them what happened and my situation with a non-refundable plane ticket.

Here’s the exchange on FB messenger:

So they ended up offering me the 2 free nights, and I took them. I searched and found that there was room at the Haleiwa house, and I had some United Airlines miles to use for a flight, so I just went ahead with it- I wanted to give Outsite to full chance here.

Unfortunately, I lost about $480 on the flight to Costa Rica that I had to ditch. The 2 free nights make up for some of this, maybe $160 worth, which is much better than nothing, and I’ve been wanting to go to Hawaii for a while, so I was not upset- only disappointed that Outsite didn’t seem to want to acknowledge their mistake, or that they would correct the process for others in the future, so that it does not happen again.

Off To Hawaii – Haleiwa

I was excited to hang out on the North Shore of Oahu, experience the lovely weather, get some work done, and hike, surf, swim, and meet some interesting people.

I booked 9 nights. Why not? YOLO and I had no reason to hurry back to California.

I spent one night at a hotel in Waikiki. This is not my favorite place. I waded through the mass of Japanese and American families on their vacations and grabbed breakfast at IHOP. $20!

Then I went to Starbucks to do some work. Yep, living the American dream here!

I thought the Outsite house was 35 minutes away, but unfortunately that must be late at night, because I checked Uber and it said 1 hour 10 minutes, while the bus was 2 hours, 10 minutes away! I opted for a $61 Uber to get to the North Shore.

When I got dropped off, there was this odd gate at the front. It was clearly there to block cars from getting through, but it was “locked” with a bike lock that you could easily lift up and open the gate!

The house and the grounds were REALLY cool! It’s on a farm and you’re surrounded by green grass- along with chickens, roosters, lots of chirping bird, frogs, lizards and more!

I was a bit confused when I walked up to the house (there’s no front door), but a couple of people were in a little co-working area downstairs, and one of them showed me around a bit, and I found my room on the 2nd floor.

The Pros

I had a great feeling about the place. From the house, to my room, to the kitchen (there’s actually 2 kitchens in this house), to my “housemates”, to all the sounds of the jungle outside, I quickly felt like I was in the right place.

And a fascinating thing happened when the house was full, that I really appreciated. I think there were 7 people staying in the house at one point. And there are really no rules. Some might think that this would lead to chaos.

But something called spontaneous order took over.

Someone would always do the dishes.
Someone would make the coffee in the morning.
Someone would take the trash out.
Everyone helped with cleaning.
Everyone respected noise levels at night.

There was no schedule or top-down set of rules to keep things orderly, yet, spontaneous order worked very well every day I was there.

Doing without a car at the Haleiwa house was not ideal, as it isn’t extremely close to town, but it worked out just fine for me, as I was able to get rides from housemates, and occasionally bike into town.

The co-working space was just about ideal for me. It’s indoors but the walls are screens, so you get to feel like you’re outside, and you can hear all the birds and roosters (although the birds and their games can be distracting, they do funny things at odd times!)

The food in Haleiwa was also amazing.

Everything I ate from a truck was delicious- the Pitaya bowl, the Japanese place, the Thai place, the taco/Mexican place, all fantastic!

And if you want to stay in, you can order food from Dude, Where’s My Food? (no joke!) I tried it one night and it worked very well.

As far as things to do? Too much to squeeze into just a week or so! Surfing, hiking getting a tan, biking, bird watching, waterfalls…paradise!

Top of the Crouching Lion Hike

Top of the Pillbox hike overlooking Sunset Beach

And I want to comment on the house manager, Trini. She was very on top of things and very responsive to any needs I had. She even offered to lend me her car on my last couple of days! She organizes events once a week at the house, and while I was there, the event was an awesome hike near Sunset Beach.

The Cons

In the co-working room, there was a tear in one of the screens, and mosquitos were getting through.

There were a few other details that were lacking. Sometimes, things were needed at the house that        weren’t there, and there wasn’t anyone to help. For example, we needed a can opener, and apparently that was reported but we never got a new one.

There were TVs but I don’t think they connected to Macs, so difficult to watch anything.

If you are staying downstairs, you will hear the toilets flush upstairs loudly. That only woke me up a few times.

And my main issue goes back to the organization of the company. I was scheduled to leave on Sunday, but wanted to see if I could stay an extra day. I asked on Friday, when there were only 4 of us in the    house, with 2 empty rooms. I figured it would not be a problem to either keep my room, or move to another empty one.

“Sorry, house is full on Sunday” is what I was told.

But Saturday, nobody new showed up. It was hard to imagine that 4 or 5 new people were going to arrive Sunday!

So I left. And, as I heard from one of the housemates later, nobody showed up on Sunday either.

This goes back to organization. I have to question Outsite’s system of keeping track of guests at various houses. Just like when I was told the Costa Rica house was full after I booked. Just like when I applied to be a member and never heard back.

This is clearly a system issue that needs to be worked out.

Maybe they are just passing around an excel spreadsheet, and someone forgot to update it! 🙂

They lost money on me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one having this problem (in fact there was another guy in the house that was having trouble booking multiple nights as well).

The other thing that is missing is a rating and review system for houses.

When you go to book a room on the Outsite webstie, you have no way to get info from previous guests. This is a basic feature that anyone who’s traveling needs to know. This would help both customers of Outsite, to find out more about various locations, and also the company itself- to get better feedback and improve things where needed.

Summary or TL;DR

I’m very bullish on the concept of co-living and co-working.

Haleiwa is a cool little town with lots to offer.

I think Outsite has some issues with organization, customer service, and a way to rate/review houses.

But they get a lot of things right, and the Haleiwa house in Hawaii is overall one of those things.

Incredible Sunset a little West of the house

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FL107: Freest Country On Earth, Co-living, and Part 3 of Building a Freedom Stream

In this episode, Kevin talks about Cato’s “Most Free Countries” list, Co-living & Co-working, and Step 3 in building a freedom stream: The bare essentials.

This show will also give you tips when choosing places you want to live in.

Topics discussed:

– John Stossel’s take on the Freedom Index
– Kevin’s point of view
– Switzerland and other countries
– Outsite and Co-living ideas
– How to outsource to get your website built

Links
Work Hero
Outsite
Cato Freedom Index

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FL106: Location Independence Freedom Stream Part 2: Product

In this episode, Kevin talks about Los Angeles vs. San Diego, his travel plans, and the second step in creating a location independent freedom income stream: Your Product.

This show will give you 5 concrete steps to help you easily create a product- even before you have a website.

Topics discussed:

– LA (Venice) vs SD
– Kevin’s travel plans
– Talk to actual people in your market and find out the top 5 frustrations
– Never assume anything
– Doesn’t need to be the final version
– Video series’ work well
– Interactivity works well
– How to build a membership site without a website

Links
Work Hero

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FL 104: Location Independence And Asset Protection with Bobby Casey

Freedom Loving Location Independent EntrepreneurToday’s guest is Bobby Casey of Global Wealth Protection. He covers everything from his WalMart business to the surprising thing he recommends to do to be more free.

Topics discussed
-His background
-Starting his own business at 20
-That time when he owned a restaurant and faced a lawsuit
-Wyoming, Mexico, and Nevada’s LLCs
-Location independent entrepreneurs
-Cost of living
-What you can do instantly to get more freedom in life

Bobby’s Info:

Website: Global Wealth Protection
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/globalwealthprotection/

Quotes
“Don’t rely on one customer.”
“If you lie to yourself, eventually you will believe it.”

Links
numbeo.com

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Entrepreneurial Anxiety: 4 Ways To Effectively Deal With It

Video taken from near Half Moon Bay, California:

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