Digital Madness

Christopher Amoroso has been traveling and living abroad for fifteen years.  He has lived in El Salvador, South Korea, and Guatemala (where he currently resides), and has visited many other countries with countless adventures and experiences to write about.  His present hobbies include boxing, learning Korean, and finding the path to complete peace, joy and happiness, if it exists.

photo chrisI met Billy in Panajachel, Guatemala, sitting on the patio at the Kitsch Bakery wearing his trademark “RetireEarlyLifestyle.com” T-shirt.  Maybe not the prettiest item in his wardrobe, but it definitely caught my attention.  I asked him about it because, quite frankly, financially speaking, I’m screwed! (and I’m trying to get myself un-screwed!)

The situation?  I’ve got myself stuck in a third-world country with no money!

Billy’s site is all about preparing your finances AHEAD OF TIME so that early retirement and travel is PAINLESS.  Ignore his advice at your own peril!  Or, failing that, visit my future blog to figure out how to dig yourself out!

“So Billy,” I asked, “I’d like to ask you a few questions about that t-shirt of yours.”

“Of course,” he said.  He was very open to the idea.  Why else would he be wearing it?

The gist of the conversation that followed was that I, a very new digital nomad, was looking for a mentor to guide me in improving my financial situation.  More on that, later.

A digital nomad is, briefly, a person who makes his (or her) living online and uses that freedom to travel the world.  In my case, I’ll call it “Digital Madness.”

The Adventurer’s Guide to Guatemala

My current situation

I recently became a digital nomad, and having done so, refuse to look back.  I have freedom to move anywhere in Guatemala I choose, not being tied down to one location to earn money.  Only problem is, I’m not earning enough.  I need more – not as in “Keeping up with the Joneses,” but, “If I can’t pay my visa late fees, I’ll never be able to leave this country!”  Of course, I could always sneak across the border late at night, but the risk of ending up in a Mexican prison like Andrew Tahmooressi keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Here’s my story

I’ve been living in Guatemala for some time, but recently my cash started running out.  Bank accounts empty; credit cards full, and an enormous visa fee I must pay if I try to leave the country, I had to do something, and fast!  I don’t know about bar tending and wouldn’t make a good waiter, which left me with Teaching English.  With flyers in hand, I promoted my services and soon began earning some cash!

I also found a job working at a local English Academy.  I made enough to get by and even starting saving up a little for my Big Escape!  Things were looking up!

Several months later, however, it all came crashing down!

First I lost my rent-free room.  They needed it for storage.  Storage??!!  Of all the things!

Then, I lost my job at the Academy.  The Director’s new boyfriend needed work, so he got all my classes and I got the boot.

So the prospects of having to pay for rent and meals with no cash flow brought me near to panic.

My online work rescue

Fortunately, I had begun teaching a few English courses online, and there was my salvation.  Moving quickly, I contacted a friend in Korea who helped to promote my services, and soon I was teaching 16-20 hours a week to eager Korean kids who, in the words of one young student, “Didn’t want to be poor” for lack of English skills.  Soon I was earning more than enough for my basic needs, and the crisis was averted!

So I’m getting ready for my 6:00 am class, bleary-eyed and in need of some strong coffee in a town that I had grown bored of, and it occurs to me that, now that I’m working completely online, I could be doing this from anywhere!

And that’s how I became a digital nomad!

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Branching out

My first stop as a digital nomad was the famous black-sand beaches of Monterrico.  Three weeks of sun, sand and surf was a nice treat after a brush with poverty and homelessness.  A 30 minute walk separated my beach bungalow from the nearest wi-fi zone, and that early-morning walk on the breezy, ocean-sprayed beach refreshed my soul each day.

But three weeks in that hot, humid Guatemalan paradise was enough for me, so I decided to relocate to Lake Atitlan, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

Learning about financial independence

That’s where I met Billy.

Wanting to help a poor fellow out, Billy suggested I start a blog – people would want to read about my experiences, he said.  Then, eventually I could turn my writing into a money-maker and that I should check out how on his website (See Retirement Jobs ).

I just might start that blog.  I’ve already written my first posting.  You’re reading it right now!  And there’s plenty more adventures to share!

So stay tuned to see how I get myself out of this jam that I’ve created for myself.  I’ve got some ideas cooking, and it shouldn’t be long before I have some results that will give me the true financial freedom that I desire to continue my life as a digital nomad.

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired two decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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