So many incredible experiences, people, sites, etc…..
We completed the Camino in 32 days.
I’ll post more about our Camino in the days and weeks to come.
For now, I’ll just say that if you have ever considered walking the Camino… by all means do it!!
PS: Good movies re: the Camino:
The Way (with Martin Sheen)
Six Ways to Santiago (documentary)
My original car and van living experiments were inspired by an old Georgia friend named Kenny Peavy. We used to sit at sidewalk tables in downtown Athens (GA) and discuss Thoreau… and how we could apply his philosophy of living simply, freely, and well in a modern context.
Kenny started his experiment by living in an old Ford Bronco while working at the Athens Nature Center. At night he camped in the park. By day he maintained a professional job as a naturalist… and few knew he was living out of a car. He called his experiment “YHP: Young Homeless Professional”.
That same summer I lived in my Nissan Sentra with my dog… and decided on the name “Hobopoet” to describe my similar experiment, inspired by Kenny.
Much has happened since that summer… but Kenny and I continue to experiment and adventure in our own ways. Kenny now lives in Malaysia, and he is currently involved in another great adventure.
He just quit his job in order to start his own company and non-profit (and hopefully this time I was able to provide him with a little inspiration)… and this summer he and a friend are riding their bikes from Thailand to Bali (minus the water parts)!
The focus of the trip is on environmental/ecological projects in SE Asia… so as they ride they visit various people who are doing cool things for the environment. Kenny & his friend call this project “Green Riders”.
They just finished day 3… and are currently in Southern Thailand. I’m happy for Kenny and I’m happy we have remained friends and vagabonds for all of these years!
Check out Kenny’s latest adventures on the Green Riders blog at: http://greenriders.asia/blog/
Ride Kenny ride!
For a long time I have been fighting a long grim battle with extreme moodiness and drastically fluctuating energy levels.
Last summer, everything came to a head. I had a number of extremely stressful events last summer– and my energy totally collapsed. I was in bed for a full month. After years of trying to live healthy, I was extremely frustrated.
I went to a (holistic) nutritionist and got a battery of tests (hormones, brain neuro-transmitters, vitamin and mineral levels, etc..)– and the results were disastrous. In her words, I had the body chemistry of an 80 year old man!
After a bit more frustration I did what I had to do… I started again. I threw out all of my assumptions about health, energy, vitality, and mood. For the past 7 months my entire focus has been on mood and health. I have read countless books and articles on nutrition. I have experimented with many ways of eating and many supplements…. and many approaches to fitness.
And I have finally figured out the answers (for me anyway)!
Answer 1. Sugars & Grains are The Enemy
I have completely stopped eating sugars (other than organic fresh fruit/berries). I have completely eliminated all grains from my diet (wheat, rice, barley, oats, etc.). I get my “carbs” solely from fresh vegetables and fruits (including sea veggies). Because diabetes is strong in my family, I limit my fruit intake to a minimum (and focus on veggies).
Answer 2. Nothing Processed (at all)
I call this the “Jack Lalanne Rule”. Jack famously said, “If it’s made by man, don’t eat it!”. I agree. I eat nothing from a box or can now.
The positive way to state this rule is:
Answer 3: Eat Only Real Primal Food
“Real” means unprocessed. “Primal” means “paleo”… in other words, foods that hunter-gatherers ate prior to agriculture. No pastries, no pasta, no rice, no other grains, no bread, no processed drinks,….
Answer 4: Fat is Awesome, As Is Protein. Carbs Only From Veggies/Fruit (& In Moderation)
I’m eating a very high fat diet… and losing fat pounds at a nice steady rate. I’m also building muscle (very gradually) thanks to higher protein intake. While my eating could be described as “low carb”… I’m happy to eat carbs from fresh vegetables (and fresh fruit/berries in limited amounts). In terms of fat, I avoid highly processed vegetable oils. I eat LOTS of coconut oil, virgin olive oil, raw cheeses, fish oils and ghee.
My blood sugar is now extremely stable throughout the day… even when I miss a meal. As a result, my mood is also much much MUCH more stable, as is my energy level.
My body composition is changing in a positive direction too– body fat is very gradually going down, muscle is very gradually going up (as is strength).
In a month, I will have my blood chemistry tested again to compare with the initial results (7 months ago). I expect to see significant improvement, based on how I feel.
One key lesson for me (a reminder really) has been this: be extremely wary of conventional wisdom (which is usually driven by the corporate media). For me, the conventional wisdom of “base your diet on lots of whole grains” was a complete disaster. Is this true for everyone? I don’t know. But clearly the high-grain (processed) and high-carb diet of mainstream America is disastrous…producing epidemic obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
To find peak health, energy and fitness… I had to experiment with my own body- through direct experience. You can find a diet book and research to support nearly ANY kind of approach to eating and exercise. It’s not the research or opinions that matter– it’s direct experience– what happens to your body, mind, emotions and energy when you eat a certain way? When you exercise a certain way?
Through lots of experimentation, I have finally found a way that is leading me back to peak health and fitness.. to a body leaner and stronger than I had in high school and college. Just as importantly, it’s leading me to happier more stable moods… every day, throughout the day.
At age 44 I’m taking up new, fun and exciting activities. My newest hobbies are Kite-surfing and Stand-up Paddleboard. I do very little “training” anymore– preferring to just be vigorous and active every day (by walking, snorkeling, kite-surfing, paddling, swimming, and doing a few basic calisthenics).
I can’t promise that this approach will give you tremendous results.. but I do encourage you to experiment with different methods to eating and moving your body.
Give this approach a try for 21 days and see how you feel. Here’s a great book to get you started with this experiment:
(PS: 21 days is a good standard for your nutrition and fitness experiments. Whatever approach you are testing, give it at least 21 days in order to really feel the results (good or bad))
I’m a nomad. A “neo-bedouin”. I simply love the variety and challenge of travel.
I have lived in a car. I’ve lived in a van. I’ve backpacked around Asia. I’ve lived in several Asian countries on a shoe-string. They were all great experiments- interesting and growth-producing.
Over the past few years, however, I’ve been a lot more stationary… kind of “stuck” in San Francisco. It has never truly felt like home.
That situation is soon to change. Tomoe (my wife) and I have decided on a nomadic lifestyle that fits our needs.
I, starting this Fall, will be a true nomad– splitting my time every year between Southeast Asia (probably KL, Malaysia), Kyoto Japan, and the US. I’ll spend roughly 4 months in each place.
We plan to rent a house in Kyoto. Kyoto is a fantastic place– the old capital of Japan. It is filled with marvelous temples, traditional houses, and bamboo-lined paths (in addition to a fully modern city). Kyoto has tons of artists and artisans, lots of students, and lots of health-conscious people. It has the most vegan/veg. restaurants of any Japanese city I’ve visited. The city is also surrounded by hills and mountains– plenty of hiking and nature nearby. It’s an ideal place to spend the summer– which is what I’ll be doing.
Tomoe has given me the task of learning Japanese while I’m in Kyoto- so that’s one project I’ll be focused on there! In addition, I’ll be doing classes and seminars for Japanese companies (and for my planned non-profit Foundation), doing seminars in other nearby Asian countries (Korea, China, Taiwan,..), and writing & planning lessons.
Kuala Lumpur is a fully modern SE Asian city. Tropical, diverse… and packed with fabulous food- incredible Indian food (better than India, in my opinion), Chinese food, and Malay food… and an amazing bounty of tropical fruits and veggies. It’s a bustling place… but unlike Bangkok… has clean air. My good friend Kenny (another Georgia boy) already lives there and, next year, also becomes an entrepreneur. KL is always hot and sunny– a perfect place to spend the Winter– which is what I’ll be doing!
While in KL I’ll be mostly focused on doing as many seminars as possible– in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, S. China, and India. We’ll also enjoy hiking trips.. and of course, lots of diving.
The final 4 months of the year I’ll spend in the USA– visiting friends and family, attending seminars, and recording lessons for Effortless English.
I’ve felt a giddy excitement building inside me every since we decided on this schedule. Taking to the open road and the open skies…. moving with the seasons… the nomadic life is calling me again….
What I find most sickening is the silence from so called “liberals” in America. When Bush was president, these people whined and complained about “his” wars, about the loss of freedoms, etc. It was all personalized to Bush– the evil idiot.
Now that suave Obama is president, these same people seem to have no problem with the occupation of Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan, the bombing of Pakistanis, and now a full-scale bombing of Libyans. These “good Americans” also seem to have no problem with the renewal of the “Patriot Act” and, indeed, the acceleration of the destruction of personal liberties.. and the Bill of Rights.
Americans are all about fashion and image and TV performance. Liberals like Obama because he sounds educated and seems suave… and says soothing things about “hope” (and says bad things about rich people). The average American doesn’t care about reality or actions… just about image and talk.
Likewise, “Conservatives” love Bush, Palin, etc. because they sound “down to earth” and “straight-talking”. They say soothing things about patriotism, family, and business. They also care nothing about reality or actual actions.
And so the American government (with it’s British pets) continually launches wars for oil… regardless of who is president. The government continually clamps down on civil liberties.. regardless of who is president. The government continually serves the mega-banks and mega-corporations, regardless of who is president. And CNN, the BBC, Fox News, etc. continually churn out the propaganda to promote the core agenda of every American government: banks, oil, mega-corps, control.
That’s fine with most of my fellow countrymen & women, just as long as their president presents an image they can identify with…. in America, politics is nothing but lifestyle marketing.
The Shikoku 88 Temples Pilgrimage is finished and it was a fantastic trip. Culturally, it was great. It was a completely different kind of travel than the usual backpacking or vacationing we all do. Strolling through tiny villages… up and down mountain paths.. in rural Japan– Wow!
Of course, there was also a spiritual component. Even though I don’t know a lot about the specific type of Buddhism practiced by the temples (Shingon Buddhism… founded by the great Japanese Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi)… it was impossible not to feel a sense of peace, calm and mindfulness while walking and visiting the temples.
Lastly, this was a significant fitness challenge. We averaged 5-6 hours a day of walking,.. plus 20-30 minutes at each temple. We took some buses and trains too… in order to finish the whole walk in 30 days. Needless to say, my aerobic fitness level was fantastic by the end of the trip (something I’m maintaining and building on).
On the other hand, this was a very difficult trip nutritionally. Being a vegetarian in rural Shikoku is not easy! We ate a TON of Udon noodles. Nearly every day, that was our lunch and dinner. Which means we got a lot of processed carbs (think: eating spaghetti for lunch and dinner every day).
Now that I’m back in Osaka, I’m eating much healthier. I’m also running every day (about 7 miles a day.. every single day).
One of the big realizations of this trip was that I have been living with a mediocre standard of health for about 7 years. I let my standards slip… every so slowly and gradually. During that time, I added nearly 20 pounds of fat to my body.
As I strolled along every day, I thought about this… and I projected forward. I imagined what kind of health and energy and vitality I wanted for the rest of my life. Did I want to go down the path of most people in the modern world…. or did I want the kind of life-long super-vitality of people like Jack Lalanne (who works out 3 hours a day at age 95).
Of course we all want life-long super-vitality.. but then the next question came: am I willing and eager to do what it takes to have that vitality? Am I ready to raise my standards much much higher in this area of my life? In the past, I have wanted to… but didn’t.
But I really got associated to the consequences of both paths (the normal and the super-health path) on this trip. I could see and feel what kind of life I’d have,… depending on choices I make now.
And so I decided to commit totally to Super Health and Fitness…. with the same no-compromise attitude I have towards being a vegetarian.
My decision is to be a model of health, fitness and vitality now… and for the next 4-6 decades of my life… and to eventually help others live this way as well.
I’m starting a new blog called EffortlessFitness.com to chart my progress on this path. I’m adopting a natural raw food (vegan) eating habit and have committed to doing 12 marathons in 12 months (starting sometime next summer).
The starting point (last month, before Shikoku):
Weight: 170 pounds (77kg)
Sugar/Carb-addict (ice cream, candy bars, pasta, rice)
Where I’m at now:
Weight: 164 pounds (74.5 kg)
No ice cream or sugar in 3 weeks
Drastic drop in carb intake
No pizza in 5 weeks
Taking 2-3 “Superfood Shakes” a day
Running 7 miles a day, every day
Feeling 1000x better.
As additional leverage for myself… I have been thinking about 2 old friends who each died, suddenly, of heart attacks. Both deaths came as big shocks to me.
I also think of many family members whose health has deteriorated. I’ve watched their vitality and energy drain away. I’ve seen their passion for life fade. People who used to be full of life and humor now constantly complain about being “tired” all the time.
Then I think of Jack Lalanne and his wife… both full of passion, energy, enthusiasm, strength and happiness. Jack is 95 this year… his wife is in her 80s (I believe).
I hope, in the long-term, not just to transform my own health… but to learn strategies to help others make the same changes. I know that many many people want to do this… but feel betrayed by their own minds and bodies… by deeply entrenched habits and cravings that feel impossible to break.
(Of course, the massive multi-billion dollar food & pharmacy industries are working against them… bombarding people with advertising and conditioning and supporting these unhealthy cravings).
So that’s the new mission I have adopted– first make the change in myself…. then help others do the same!
Here are some videos from Pittsburgh, where martial law is in effect for the G20 meeting. Good examples of the “land of the free” and Obama’s “change”:
Protester abducted by police and national guard:
Another arrest by guys who look like sci-fi stormtroopers from a movie:
Watch as they grab and beat a girl near the end of this video… “Hope” and “Change” indeed:
Clearly Obama’s “change” looks a whole lot like Bush’s America: martial law, secret courts, killing Afghans and Iraqis, complete destruction of the constitution, massive cash giveaways to Wall Street (from the pockets of regular Americans through taxes and debt), renewal of the “patriot act”, military bases in Colombia, etc… How people can be so blind to all of this is beyond me– but I suppose it has something to do with being TV drones. The Brave New World is here
In a previous post, I promised to discuss the vital topic of promotions re: your new micro web business.
This area is probably the most neglected aspect of most people’s micro web businesses. A lot of people seem to think that just having a cool website is enough. It’s not.
Hobopoet is the perfect example. Why does Hobopoet get almost no traffic, but my English teaching site gets tons of traffic? The main difference is promotion. I promote my English site like crazy. I have never done any kind of promotion for Hobopoet… and so it toils away in obscurity (sniff… 😉
So, once you have a simple blog website… and a product/service that ads real value and eases the pain or frustration of a group of people… how do you get people to your site and how do you get them to try your wonderful solution to their problem?
Here are some strategies:
1. Social Media
Advantages: Free Disadvantages: Slow and Tricky
The cheapest way to promote your web business is through social media, especially Facebook. I recommend a triangle of sites: Your Blog/Site, Facebook, and Twitter.
With Facebook, first signup for a personal account. Then create a business Fan Page. Fan Pages have no limit to the number of friends (“fans”) they can have.
The tricky part of social media is how to use it. Here’s a very important suggestion: NEVER sell anything on your social media sites. Perry Belcher gives great advice when he says, “Think of Facebook as a barbecue party, not a sales pitch”. Facebook is basically an online scrapbook. So… add photos to your page (trickle them in one by one… only one a day). Make little videos for your Facebook page in which you discuss your daily life. Be friendly and fun, just as you would at a barbecue party at your home. Facebook is about showing people that you are a real person, not some kind of business automaton.
As for Twitter, think of it as a cocktail party (another Perry Belcher suggestion). Your goal at Twitter is to provide little charming, interesting, or useful nuggets… with links to something more in-depth. Again, absolutely NO SELLING. Just link to cool articles, or funny videos, or your Facebook photos.
So, how does all this help your micro web business? Well…. sometimes you will write a really cool and useful article on your blog/site… and you will link to it from Facebook and Twitter. Below this article, you will have an email signup form, so if people like the article they can signup to receive more great information from you You can do the same thing with videos.
2. Results In Advance Videos
The central strategy in all my promotions is what Frank Kern calls “Results In Advance”. To my mind, this is the most honest and open way to promote your website (and also the most powerful).
In a Results In Advance promotion, you do just what that suggests… you deliver some of your best content & solutions for free. You give it away. For example, on my Effortless English site, I constantly give away great audio and video lessons, and also motivational videos and articles.
You must have an abundance mentality to do this.
Why is this effective? Well, you don’t need to do a lot of selling or BS. You just say, here’s a great solution to your problem that I’m going to give you for free. Enjoy it! Later, you give them another great solution to their problem, for free. Because you are doing something valuable, you gain people’s trust and gratitude– by being a great person who is helping them.
One easy way to do this is to make a series of FAQ videos. In each video, you answer one of the frequently asked questions about their problem and you give a short and easy solution.
Then you offer your full and complete package with even more great solutions… and many people are happy to buy it because they already know you and trust you.
You didn’t trick them into trust… you earned it by giving them Results In Advance!
Google adwords sucks… let me say that up front. Google has complete and utter contempt for their advertisers… so you must be careful when starting an adwords campaign.
That said, this is also the fastest and easiest way to get traffic to your site. Before you start a campaign, read lots of books about Adwords.
And then… VERY IMPORTANT… start with a TINY daily budget. I recommend $1 a day.
Send people from your ad to a page where they can sign up for your free video or email course (your Results In Advance course).
Then wait a while and see– are you making more from sales than you are spending on adwords? If yes, increase your daily budget to $2 a day. If no, adjust your ads, adjust your email signup page.
At $2 a day you wait again, until you are sure you are making more from sales than you are spending. Then you increase your daily budget to $3 day.
You get the idea. Increase your daily budget slowly and gradually… and NEVER lose money on adwords. If you start losing money, immediately pause all ads…. change your ads or email signup page or results in advance campaign… drop your budget low again… and start again.
4. Learn From The Masters
Keith Cunningham says, “Your business will never grow faster than your learning”. If you want financial freedom, you must learn. I recommend that you study the best. You can do this for free. On Twitter, follow people like Frank Kern, John Reece, Brendon Burchard, Tony Robbins, and Perry Belcher. Notice how they are using Twitter for their business. Watch their Results In Advance videos. Read their Results In Advance reports. You’ll learn a lot just from their great free content (without ever buying anything from them). Also, get on their email lists… and again notice how they promote their own businesses with Results In Advance campaigns.
By using these strategies, you can build a successful micro web business. And when you combine that with a simple life with reduced expenses… you will very quickly attain financial freedom.
The above is the exact approach I will take with my good friend Todd’s web business. By living in Thailand (especially small town Thailand), he has already massively reduced his living expenses (but still enjoying an amazing quality of life).
Next, he will start blogging and making videos to chronicle his progress as he builds his bungalows. We’ll get him on Facebook and Twitter too… to start building an audience.
When I get to Thailand in December, he and I will then make a product that is valuable and which solves some kind of pain (related to Thai language, or traveling in Thailand,…).
Then we’ll follow the above strategies– and give away some of his best content.
Finally we’ll sell his full package of great solutions to very happy and eager people.
And through this process, Todd will gain financial freedom… and the ability to live and travel as he wants, whenever he wants.
He’ll do it by living his dream and by contributing to people and helping them with a painful or frustrating problem.
You can do this too!
Todd is flying to Thailand, and eventually Koh Phayam, tonight. We said goodbye to him at the airport. You can watch the little video we just made at the airport: watch here.
What’s really cool about all of this is that we will document another Hobopoet success story in real time. My old archives (http://hobopoet.blogspot.com) and this site already provide the fully documented process of my path to freedom and self-reliance (from wage slave, to car and van living, to living abroad in Thailand, do scraping by in San Francisco, to micro-preneur, to successful and free entrepreneur).
Now we’re documenting Todd’s path to freedom… starting now as he flies off to Thailand… and continuing as he builds his bungalows, builds his web presence, and fulfills his dream of living a free, simple, healthy, and happy life on tropical Koh Phayam island in Thailand.
The reason this blog excites me is that YOU can see what’s possible… not in theory but in reality. You get to see the whole process… with all the bumps and warts and challenges…. and the victories. I want you to see that freedom, self-reliance, simplicity, and happiness are possible… without following the mainstream programmed path.
So I hope you’ll follow Todd’s adventures in Thailand, both here at Hobopoet and on his new blog.
And I hope you’ll see that my essays and exhortations are not just grand ideas and theories… but hard-nosed reality-based blueprints for anyone to follow.
Most of all, I hope you’ll find your own path to freedom and abundance!
Good luck to you too!
My friend Katie has a great new blog called Trail Dreamer. Check it out at: http://www.traildreamer.blogspot.com/