10 Tips for Retiring to a Life of Island Hopping
Author: Ryan Biddulph | August 29th, 2014 | 52 Comments
blogging tips , blogging from paradise, tips for retiring to paradise
How did I do this?
What inspired me to become an island hopper?
5 years ago, at this time of the day back in New Jersey, I’d be reading numbers off of a container in Newark. I was a security guard who worked in a shipping terminal.
Now, at this time in the South Pacific, here in Savusavu, Fiji, I’m sharing my thoughts about retiring to a life of island hopping. I’d never have dreamed this would be my life….in a million years.
Back in the old security guard days I was:
- Ignorant of the internet’s earning potential
- Ignorant of the rules of entrepreneurship
- Ignorant of all things blogging
- Ignorant of personal development
Yet here I am. How?
I became comfortable with being uncomfortable. Forget about all the traditional advice, of having a vision, or desiring a fuller life, or any of that good stuff.
I became comfortable with being nervous, or anxious, or worried….or with being angry, or resentful, or jealous….or with being excited, or elated, or….with watching my mind race ahead at 15,000 RPMs each time I found myself in an uncomfortable situation.
Yes, no matter how much you try to avoid these emotions, you need to face, embrace and release them, to retire to a life of island hopping, through smart bloging.
Fiji and Me
Fiji has been a treat. Everybody here speaks English. No language barrier, no communication barriers, and not many cultural barriers too as Kelli and I have become accustomed to island living over the past few months, and through trips to places like Bali and Koh Lanta.
My time in Fiji was marked by a massive shift, though. I shut down my old blog. I trashed 3400 blog posts. That felt super uncomfortable, but since I feel comfortable with being uncomfortable I went ahead, trashed it, and grew like a weed, since.
I had to let go to grow, and letting go is a freaking uncomfortable experience at times.
Hey, since I’m all about sharing blogging tips here, I may as well share the greatest piece of advice I could share to anybody who want to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging:
“Your desire to be free must be greater than your fear of letting go.”
I was hungry. Damn hungry, really, to be free. I tired of working for people. I wanted to travel, I wanted to work when I wanted to work, and to take off when I wanted to take off, and more than anything, I wanted to be free.
Because I wanted to be free more than I feared letting go, I:
- Let go the 9-5 job gig
- Let go weekly paychecks on each Thursday
- Let go my apartment
- Let go my car
- Let go old, worn out friendships
- Let go the need to have people tell me, to do what I needed to do, in order to do it, and to get paid through this process (this is commonly called, working for someone else)
Hey, I loved most of my jobs and felt grateful for each one. If you have a job, be grateful for it. It rocks. Trust me. Compared to much of the world we’ve seen….like in Cambodia, where the average person earns $1.90 a day, according to figures I read from the Phnom Penh newspaper….and yes, I read this in Phnom Penh….you’re so rich, if you have a full time job.
I learned so much down at the docks, and in various office settings, but I simply had a different preference than many folks, and I followed through on realizing that preference.
That’s why I’ve retired to a life of island hopping.
That’s why I’m writing these words from a cliff-side house with a million dollar view, overlooking the bay in Savusavu, Fiji, instead of looking at Newark Bay, in NJ, USA, back when I manned the patrol post, at Terminal 64 (what we called it, at least).
On to the tips….
It’s funny; sometimes I see failures, or to put it nicely, people who are failing, and angry, and miserable, who want nothing but the most practical tips.
Yet, their ignorance of mental science mires them in a nasty muck that prevents them from seeing good advice when it pops up in front of their eyes.
That was me, my friend, 5 years ago. I wanted to be free, but not so much that I’d actually pay attention to choosing my “why” reason.
Now I know better. I wanted to be free, more so than I feared being uncomfortable, a few years back. When I made that shift, and things swayed in the direction of my desire, things improved for me.
When I shifted my “why” a few months ago – I want to take you with me, so we can both blog from paradise – things REALLY started to accelerate.
When you’re thinking of leaving the 9-5 gig to live life as an island hopper all sorts of fears may flood your mind. Money worries, stability worries, all types of worries, may cause you to panic.
Be calm. Embrace the fears. Re-visit your freeing desire. Doing that embrace thing, and shifting your attention, is the way to freedom, and that little change in focus helps inspire you to make the changes necessary to begin the journey to retiring.
Let’s Talk Money
4 years ago I had monster cajones. I retired when I had no business retiring, from a financial standpoint. I made a choice. I stuck to that choice.
I had no kids to take care of. I had no financial commitments other than mine, and Kelli’s. So I went for it.
Since I’m about transparency here, I’ll offer you 2 sets of advice.
1: Choose to retire without a financial safety net. The talents you’ll find, in you, will astound you, with your back against the wall.
2: Choose to retire with a financial cushion of savings. The talents you’ll find, in you, will astound you, when you don’t worry about money, or where your next meal is coming from.
As an honest guy, I’ll tell you to go for option #2. Only because I suffered through #1 for many years.
You can decide that you want to retire. Then, you’d build an action plan. Then, you can work full time at your non-blogging job, and start seriously working your blogging gig, while you pile up savings.
Then, you can quit your job when your blogging income streams, collectively, provide you with a comfortable monthly income.
I’ve no clue in hell what your risk tolerance is, nor if you live lavishly, or frugally. You make the call, dollar wise, because EVERY person is different, in terms of the “should I quit my 9-5 to retire to a life of island hopping(have I saved enough money)?” question.
How did I do it? I retired from the 9-5 before I had a cushion. The School of Hard Knocks taught me, to teach you, that padding your savings until you ditch your job is the way to go….but you gotta make that decision.
As a rule, if you’re making enough money through your blog to cover all expenses and to sock away a nice chunk of change in the savings account, you can consider retiring from the full time job.
OK, Now Let’s Talk about Money, but Let’s Apply it to Traveling
This one will make you think about Tip 3.
Here in Savusavu, Fiji, the USD to Fijian Dollar exchange rate is almost exactly 1:2. This means that every USD I make gets me 2 Fijian dollars. Since the cost of living here is relatively low I’m taking advantage of the internet lifestyle bit in a big way.
In a place like Chiang Mai, Thailand, Kelli and I paid $2 USD a day for a lunch for 2. Awesome vegetarian food, healthy servings, wholesome fare. We weren’t cheaping out. We were just living in Chiang Mai, eating in a veggie haunt, with awesome food, in a Thai neighborhood.
In January through March we rented an apartment fit for a king in Chiang Mai. In the New Jersey, in a town like Hoboken, we’d have paid 3 to 4 times as much for this slick, custom-built, spacious, gorgeous apartment.
So, you understand what I’m getting at; if you travel, and if you live in places like Southeast Asia, or even, in a place like Fiji, you’ll be able to live on a helluva lot less than versus if you lived in NJ per se.
This is the whole relative wealth versus absolute wealth thingee that I love stressing, before you believe that traveling, or living in paradise, is impossible because it’s too expensive.
Having absolute wealth means you make a ton of dough. Not a bad thing.
But many folks who have big league absolute wealth are tied down. 7 days of work a week. Can’t travel. 18 hour days. No real home life. Etc. You get the picture
Having relative wealth means you make money from anywhere on earth. Many of these places have a very favorable exchange rate for a guy who gets paid Western rates, in USD.
So a high rolling online entrepreneur or doctor making big bucks in the USA, but who’s tied down, to a location, for 80 hours a week, may have serious absolute wealth but in the relative wealth department, he or she is poor.
What it boils down to is this: if you can’t ENJOY your health and money, and freedom, who cares if you’re stacking up big figures? If you truly enjoy your job or business than more power to you. If you rue that you can’t take a vacation until next year – and that, it’s only for 1 week – you’re doing life wrong. Something’s up.
Now, the guy/gal who retired to a life of island hopping engineered a freeing lifestyle. He/she may not – or may – have as much money is his or her bank account than a high roller, but he/she can drop everything and fly to Bali tomorrow. He/she can take this week off.
He/she can live in countries where their currency is super strong, and where, even though the area is paradise, the cost of living is super low.
So before you start crunching those retirement numbers understand that the amount of cash you have saved in a country like the USA can go a LONG way in a country like Thailand.
Cash in point. Even if you have only $5000 USD, saved up, in Chiang Mai, this is like $20,000 USD. Renting a small, basic but clean place, would cost you $350 a month. Lunch is $1 to $2 at a local stall, where the food is excellent, and sanitary conditions are up to snuff. If you want to go high end, Western style food wise, dinner for 1 may cost $5.
If you’re really savvy, you can cut your bills on airfare too. Just check out a guy like Tim Ferriss. He’s a multi millionaire but gets off on getting deals. He once booked a series of flights around the entire world….for only $1500 freakin’ bucks.
Get the Logistics Down
Have your friends or family check your mail, if you rent out a PO Box, or change your mailing address to a family member’s mailing address, so they can check your mail easily.
Also, if you’re doing the 3 or 4 or 5 year travel thing, and will be visiting home for like 2 or 3 months a year, sell your car, and most other physical possessions.
Ours is not the life for sentimental people, I know, but if you want to be free, and to have your capital and investments working for and not against you, sell the stuff.
As for your house – if you have one – think long and hard about paying mortgage payments, or power bills, or maintenance bills, for a big old dust collector, if your goal is to travel for 2 or 4 or 5 years or longer. Think about selling, and investing the money in a future home 4 or 5 years down the road, or perhaps, some other investment if home ownership ain’t for you.
Create Really Really In-Depth Blog Posts
Blogging from Paradise gained so much traction so quickly because I over delivered off the bat. Each post spans 2500 to 3000, to, in the case of my last post, some 3800 words.
Google likes long posts. Readers like in-depth resources. Knowing this, I chose to create super in depth posts.
Remember, I’m blogging to take you with me to paradise, not to stick to some blog posting sked, or not to blog, just for the sake of blogging.
I say, 2,000 words minimum. Then, go a little beyond. If you’re newbie blogger start out at 600 words. Write 2 posts a week, or maybe 3. Push yourself. Take your time in writing posts, but do publish a few times each week.
Over delivering creates an influx of value. That influx of value flows to you in the form of prospering ideas, valuable relationships with influential bloggers, and money…and yes, each thing, or person, helps you retire to a life of island hopping.
Gobble Up Interview and Guest Post Requests Immediately
I have a new guest post out.
I’ve featured on some 22 blogs in the past 8 weeks. 2 more interviews are in the works…make that 3….and 1 more, I’ll be completing tomorrow.
That’s a lot of interviews, guest posts, and features. But the more folks who know about me, the better, right? So they too can island hop, and retire to a life of paradise-living, through smart blogging.
Only turn down guest post and interview requests from low quality or non relevant blogs. Gobble all the others up immediately.
Ok, back to the new guest post.
Jacob Share of JobMob asked me to submit a guest post for his awesome contest. I obliged. Heck, he picked up my eBook and he’s a fellow world traveling blogger. I was inspired to create something for his blog.
Click the link to visit, and if you want to help me win the contest, please comment on the post and share it across all of your social networks.
I appreciate your support.
By the way, Max CDN is one of the contest sponsors. Since I’ve used Max CDN in the past and was impressed with the improved speed of my blog, I’ll happily give them the thumbs up.
MaxCDN is all about speed. They have PoPs around the world to distribute your content to visitors from all over the globe. You’ll have your website faster in minutes using their services, and since I experienced this personally, I highly recommend the folks over there and the service they provide.
(By the way, I’m not an affiliate, you FTC folks out there hiding in the bushes, and of course, so you my loyal readers know.)
Align Your Blog
The prior tip is a perfect example. I’ll sell what I’ve used. I will never sell what I haven’t used.
Pros who retire from being an employee, and who become successful entrepreneurs, only sell what they fully believe in, and what they’ve personally used.
I only promoted MaxCDN because I used it, AND I really dug the service. If I didn’t – and for a while, I found no contest sponsors offering stuff that I used – I would have told Jacob to either delete the post, or to pull me out of the contest.
Integrity, being transparent, being authentic, and just flat out promoting stuff you’ve used and believe in, or that you’ve created yourself, is what separates the people who lead their niche, from the rest.
People who island hop, and do this blogging bit full time, are the leaders in their niche. Leaders are authentic, and people who act with integrity have aligned their entire brand, blog, and all that good stuff, perfectly.
They sell nothing that doesn’t align with their core values. Actually, they DO nothing that doesn’t align with their core values.
Align all you do. Get clear. Succeed.
By the way, if you need help aligning yourself on the personal development/self help side of things, visit my fiancée Kelli Cooper’s blog. She has a real knack for inspiring by sharing simple, powerful concepts….and her travel pictures rock too.
I use Hootsuite Pro. I suggest you use Hootsuite Pro to automate too.
- Helps you enjoy your travels
- Saves you time
- Boosts your cash flow
- Adds a passive element to your blogging campaign
- Helps you reach multiple time zones in a few clicks
- Is kinda fun, when you think about maximizing your leveraging potential from some tropical locale
On that last point…..I’m writing this post from Savusavu, Fiji. Fiji is 16 hours ahead of EST in the US. EST is kinda the optimal time zone for me and many folks around the world.
So I’ll auto publish this bad boy while I’m fast sleep in Savusavu. 8:05 AM, EST, on Friday is 12:05 AM, Fiji Time, on Saturday.
Enter tools for sharing. I’ll wake up around 8 AM on Saturday….aka, 4 PM Friday, EST. OK, I’ll share the post on a few networks at this time but I’ll put on the share rush for 8:05 AM Saturday, morning, EST time, via Hootsuite Pro.
I’ll share the post on Faceook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus (through my Page), and I’ll also pop in, check my @replies on twitter, and stagger my responses hourly, for the following day, 8 AM to 4 PM, EST.
Automate. When you’re in a different time zone, or up in the air, or traveling by rail, or by bus, or doing touristy stuff in your paradise of choice, send out automated updates.
Make Friends in High Places
Friends in high places expand your presence quickly. A tweet from someone with 300,000 followers helps you reach hundreds of new folks, pronto.
Being promoted by some real heavies on sites like Triberr leverages my presence something serious.
Comment on authority blogs. Promote niche leaders. Retire to your island paradise of choice.
You know about my aggressive blogger outreach campaign by now. I’ve gone as far as my friends have carried me.
Friends in high places will inspire you, support you, and will also give you a platform through which you can connect with a ton of people.
Create Multiple Sources of Income
MSI. The great secret of island hoppers everywhere.
Heck, just look at someone like John Chow. He island hops here and there, but even though he’s a bit more of a home body than myself the man has some serious multiple sources of income.
He’s a champ.
MSI helps you receive cash through channels like:
- eBook sales
- affiliate marketing
You choose the number of channels; just be creative, and be innovative, and keep on creating and connecting…..one note: do one thing DARN well. Don’t open multiple sources of income through different niches. This confuses your audience.
Become a skilled, well-known, well-connected blogger, who writes and networks like a champion.
Then you can parlay your writing skills into offering freelancing writing services, and into generating sales through the eBooks you’ve offered, and into generating ad, affiliate and consulting revenue.
Another note: MSI can be passive, too. As I noted, Kelli and I each have savings accounts, retirements accounts, and we have my pier guard pension, too. Invest intelligently, open up those streams and boost your net worth to blog from paradise.
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Share this post on all of your social networks if you found it to be useful.
To all of my professional, full-time bloggers, what tips would you add to this list?
Are you struggling to become a full time blogger?
What do you need to let go, to retire to a life of island hopping?
He's also a blogger, traveler and internet lifestyle junkie.