15 Years of Blogging From Paradise and I Still Love Every Day

November 4, 2016
Nai Harn Beach in Phuket, Thailand. One of Rob's haunts.
Nai Harn Beach in Phuket, Thailand. One of Rob’s haunts.

 

(Guest posting is now closed but I had a few in the queue to publish…check out this inspired post from Rob Palmer)

 

Blogging from paradise sounds like a great idea, right? Living in the sun surfing at the beach in the morning, working from your laptop by the pool in the afternoon and relaxing with a cocktail while the sun sets in the evening. What could be better?

 

But is this really a serious long-term proposition? It’s one thing for a backpacker to blog and make a few bucks to see the world with. But can blogging really make you enough money to finance a whole new career?

 

I’m here to tell you that it can. I know for sure, because I have been ‘blogging from paradise’ full time since 2001. Fifteen years into my new career, I still love it as much as ever – and I intend to continue for many more years to come.

 

Escaping the Rat Race

 

The decision to change my life happened back in 2000. At the time, I was living in London and working as a copywriter and marketing consultant. Although my job was better than most, I worked long hours and struggled with three hours of commuting every day.

 

I made good money, but it was all swallowed up by enormous mortgage expenses and the high cost of living in the big city. And as much as I love the UK, there is no denying that the weather is awful – cold, rainy and downright dreary for much of the year.

 

I decided my family needed a break from the January snow, ice and sleet, so we headed off to Queensland, Australia for a vacation. And that is how I found myself sitting on Bribie Island beach, watching my kids having a great time bodyboarding while the orange-red sun sank slowly in the sky.

 

‘This is the life,’ I thought. If only we could live like this every day!’

 

I looked behind me and noticed a house nestled right up against the beach. The house owner was sitting at a table in front of the house, reading a book and swigging a bottle of Aussie beer. He seemed perfectly content, relaxing and enjoying the evening glow.

 

I realized that for him, this beautiful experience wasn’t a one off event. This was his normal life. Every day after work, he could sit in his yard and watch a spectacular sunset. In a few days’ time, I would be back in wintry London, enduring freezing fog and endless rain. But he would still be here in the glorious sunshine – day after day after day.

 

At that moment, I resolved that my life had to change. When I got home, I devoted all my spare time into launching a website for freelance writers. Today you would call it a blog, but back then the term hadn’t been invented. I called it an online newsletter.

 

Luckily, my new venture took off and started attracting a lot of traffic. I added a paid membership area which showed people how to start a freelance career, and soon I was making more money from my hobby than from my regular work.

 

So I quit my consultancy job, and started ‘blogging’ full time. That was the first big step.

A few months later, we took the second big step. We sold up everything in the UK and got on a plane to Australia, ready to start a whole new life.

 

From Gray Skies to Sunny Beaches

 

What a transformation! From day one, we were living a life that was truly awesome. Instead of being trapped indoors by the inclement weather, my kids were out loving life in the sun. We spent many hours on the beach, and many more hours in our swimming pool. The summers were beautiful, and the winters mild and pleasant. Spring and fall were idyllic.

 

I was able to continue making money ‘blogging from paradise.’ I blogged from the deck by our pool while the kids splashed around playing Marco Polo. I blogged from cafes overlooking the beach, and from the back of a camper van waiting for the right surfing waves to come along.

 

We were able to travel, too. We explored Australia from northern Queensland to the southern tip of Tasmania, and we traveled the world from Hong Kong to San Francisco. I blogged wherever we were, and made more than enough money to finance our truly awesome lifestyle.

 

The Early Days of Blogging

 

So blogging has been very good to me, but it hasn’t always been easy. When we first arrived in Australia back in 2001, running an online business was much more challenging that it is today.

 

First of all, there was no Wi-Fi and certainly no mobile broadband. For the first couple of years, we rented homes on short lets so that we could travel around the country. But every time we moved house, I had to get a phone line installed in our new property so that I could get online.

 

Even when I got online, I was restricted to painfully slow dial-up speeds. If I wanted to work out on the deck by the pool, I had to trail a 30-metre wire all the way from the modem in my office to my laptop on the deck.

 

Publishing content was a real challenge. There was no WordPress, and no other CMS. Every web page had to be hand-coded and uploaded by FTP to the server. Hosting cost about $100 a month for a basic shared plan, and registering a new domain cost $75. Running a server to host my large mailing list cost me over $600 a month. Everything was far more expensive than it is today.

 

There was no social media, so promoting content was much harder. Google was more primitive than it is now, so the search results were full of spam. That made getting a legitimate site ranked annoyingly difficult.

 

PayPal hadn’t yet caught on, and it was hard to get a merchant account for online businesses. To process membership payments, I had to resort to a processor primarily used by porn sites. Sometimes this processor would send me emails recommending other websites in their network that I might like to partner with. The suggestions were colorful to say the least, and totally inappropriate.

 

There was also very little in the way of online marketing software – no backlink tools, no competitor analysis tools, no keyword research tools. There was no YouTube, and therefore no training or educational videos. I was working in the dark, finding my way by testing and trying ideas to see what worked. It was fun, for sure, but it wasn’t easy.

 

Lessons Learned from 15 Years of Blogging from Paradise

 

So based on my experiences, I can tell you that blogging is most definitely a long-term proposition. I started my website from scratch and built it up to revenues of over a million dollars a year.

 

If you find it hard to believe that a blog can make a million bucks a year, check out these blogging millionaires regular folks who pull down big money, month after month. There really is no reason why you can’t make an entire career out of blogging, too.

 

Secondly, I can tell you that right now is a fantastic time to get into the blogging business. Blogging has matured enormously in recent years. You now have access to tools and resources that I would have killed for back in 2001.

 

WordPress is an amazing platform, making it possible for anyone to get started as a blogger, even with no technical knowledge whatsoever. Tools like SEMRush, MajesticSEO and BuzzSumo give you a huge advantage in getting your blog off the ground. And social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter make it easier than ever to promote what you do.

 

The costs of blogging have plummeted, too. Now you can register a domain for ten dollars and get decent hosting for a few bucks a month. That’s all you need to launch a blog that makes you a full-time income.

 

And nowadays, it’s so much easier to do your blogging from paradise – wherever paradise may be for you. The advent of universal Wi-Fi and mobile broadband has made it possible to blog from almost anywhere. I have blogged from a temple at the top of a mountain, and from a yacht far out at sea.

 

Whoever you are, and wherever you want to be, you can make a good living with nothing more than a laptop and a good idea.

 

Blogging from Paradise Part Two

 

A lot has changed in the last 15 years. My kids have grown up and left home, so I decided to start a new chapter in my life. I relocated to Thailand in 2014, and have been blogging from this new version of paradise ever since.

 

I have been able to spend time living in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Bangkok, soaking up a fascinating new culture and enjoying every moment in this beautiful but slightly insane country. I have learned to speak passable Thai, and have acquired a lovely Thai girlfriend to accompany me on my travels. Recently, we were guests of honor in Phnom Phenh at the wedding of a Cambodian friend – an experience I will never forget. I now have new friends all over the world, and look forward to making more.

 

Next year, maybe we will move on to live in Fiji, or the Bahamas…who knows? One thing is for sure, the world is my oyster, and it’s blogging that has made it all possible.

 

You Can Do It!

 

So if you are wondering if blogging is all it’s cracked up to be, wonder no longer. I have thoroughly road tested the lifestyle and give it my full seal of approval; five stars out of five.

 

If you want to escape the rat race, you can. You just have to make the decision to make it happen. Start a blog today, and you, too, could be living in paradise this time next year.

 

See you on the beach!

 

screenshot-2016-11-04-at-3-56-56-pmBio: RobPalmer is a full-time blogger and online marketer who helps people escape the rat race, pursue their passions and achieve financial, location and personal freedom.

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Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who's been featured on Richard Branson's Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Positively Positive, Life Hack, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He can help you become a full time blogger with this eBook.
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24 Comments

  1. Hi Mark,

    What a fascinating post, right?

    I have been in the same for about a decade and I am a baby compared to Rob. Especially because he had to do pioneering stuff in remote areas of the world, with extra obstacles to knife through. Kudos to him for his patience, clarity and diligence in building his awesome online brand, his wealth and his dream lifestyle.

    Thanks much.

    Ryan

  2. Mark Newsome Says:

    What a truly amazing journey Ryan!

    Thanks so much, for letting Rob
    share it with us!

    And thank you for putting things in the
    proper perspective for us Rob!

    Current bloggers, and or online marketers, often fail to
    totally appreciate, just how much, online marketing in general,
    and blogging in particular, has evolved!

    There wasn’t always twitter, FB and Instagram etc!

    And as you mentioned, there was a pre WordPress era!

    Thanks for sharing and putting things into the propoer perspective and context!

  3. Lokman, this is amazing right? Rob is da man. Thanks for commenting!

    Ryan

  4. 15 years of blogging career!. Wow, incredible. Awesome man carry on.

  5. Hi Sathish,

    I admired it too. Can’t take credit though LOL; Rob’s story. He faced immense challenges in the beginning. Like current day bloggers blogging from remote areas around the globe. Thanks much dude!

    Ryan

  6. Hi Ryan,

    I thought this would be some fake story, but after reading it, it makes me stick with it. It’s so interesting; I was not able to move my eyes on the other side of the internet, that much I loved the blog. You have shared your story and your difficult years. By reading this, I’m getting the energy to work harder to achieve. Because in the earlier days, your way was so more challenging, but now you are the best blogger. So hard work does not fail once again proved to you. I have bookmarked this article, whenever I’m down I will read out this blog and makes myself energetic.

  7. Hi Dean,

    I too have immense respect for Rob and early bloggers. They REALLY wanted it! Willing to be uncomfortable to free themselves. 2 year Thailand guy here, collectively. In the US now – the cold NE 😉 – but can’t wait to get back to the Land of Smiles. Thanks for commenting!

    Ryan

  8. Dean Byford Says:

    Hey Ryan and Rob,
    Rob i know what you mean, coming from the UK it is a cold place and the weather is not that great. Thailand is extremely hot and I seem to find my time in aircon environments. However I dont spend much time at the beach so maybe thats why. I found your post so interesting and it must have been so hard years ago with the cost of the blog and the dialup networks, I had forgot all about that .
    I am so glad that things have moved on and that blogs are much easier to create than before. So with earnings like that you can truly live anywhere in the world.
    Well done, Fantastic post, I really enjoyed it so my and have so much respect for the early starters years ago that had it harder.
    Regads
    Dean

  9. Hi Anyinature,

    Like a famous US President I cannot tell a lie 🙂 Rob Palmer wrote this post. I view him as the a true pioneer of the digital nomad movement, a guy who built the framework while guys like me were neither digital or nomadic. Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  10. Sure thing Pari. Thank you for commenting 🙂

    Ryan

  11. Hi Louis,

    Rob definitely is. I kinda do too 😉 More than that, it seems all we have is the moment. And the moment ain’t caring about numbers on a calendar or human concepts like age or marriage or divorce. We just choose to vibe at a certain level and that’s that, independent of conditions. As I take an icy cold shower twice a day now perhaps I’m grooming myself for a waterfall dive later in life LOL. Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  12. Rob Palmer Says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

    I still love going back to the UK, but I try to only go back in the summer! But the point is, blogging makes it possible for you to live wherever paradise is for you. That might be a tropical island, or a big city, or somewhere in Northern Alaska. You have the freedom to shape the life of your dreams.

    I really do think this is a very exciting time to be a blogger – so many great tools, resources and opportunities. And with mobile greatly expanding the amount of traffic, there is a huge audience to talk to.

    It’s a great time to be alive, and an awesome time to be blogging from paradise.

  13. Hey Guys,

    This post reminds me of a walk I took with a good friend through the rain forest of Jamacia just after my marriage broke up
    .
    My friend was 83 at the time. A successful English businessman. Fit healthy and vigorous. He jumped into the waterfalls before me! He gave me some good advice. He said we live long enough to have three cycles in our career and lives. First career 20s to 30s, second career 40s to 50s and third career 60s to 70s.

    From your blog it seems that you’re dong it. Me too.

    Louis

  14. Pari Says:

    Thanks for sharing such inspiring story.
    Congats on this big achievement.

  15. Its a 15 years of Job well done.

    After Reading Your post,I got some points and some question for you sir.

    Are You The 2nd Robert Kiyosaki?That is my question for you sir.

    What if i made the same decision you made to quit your offline Job and focus on Blogging,Hope it wont be a regret though i have made some cool Bucks blogging.

    The Rat Race must be stopped ,I need to Abolish it and make a cool living out of something.

    You Just Inspired Another Young Man Today.

    God Bless You My 2nd Mentor Robert Kiyasoki.

  16. Hi C,

    You are C, right? LOL 😉 15 is inspired! 1 is awesome too. Better blogging tips? Look up and down my right sidebar. Over 100 plus eBooks and 3 courses for ya 🙂 Thanks!

    Ryan

  17. Craft Says:

    waw.. really great blogging is already 15 years.. I have almost a year blogging, can you give me tips for better blogging again?

  18. Hi Sherman,

    Inspiring guy Rob is, right? It really inspired the hell out of me too. I really dipped my toes into blogging until 3-4 years ago. Seriously. I did not commit like this dude. So seeing where I am now, getting more detached and having fun with the process and seeing where I can go, and where we all can go, is amazing.

    Yep, MUCH fewer obstacles for us greener horns these days LOL.

    Thanks for the comment as always!

    Ryan

  19. Hi Fabrizio,

    Wow, Mauritius? I’d never have left LOL! But I also dig the cold and cozy weather in a place like London because NJ gets like that sometimes too, especially during the fall time. Cornwall is beautiful. I recall one of the brave heads of security who passed away during 9-11 lived not too far from me in NJ and he hailed from Cornwall. Place stands out in my mind.

    2005? Old timer you are 🙂 I really didn’t dive in a good 3-4 years from when I started, as far as investing time and energy and some scratch and doing this right.

    Thanks for commenting dude!

    Ryan

  20. Hi Amar,

    I love your take on blogging, and think Rob’s story, combined with your fresh perspective, show the immense potential through this platform. From making millions of dollars per year to expressing through creatively, blogging offers you the stage to help, to inspire and to connect with awesome folks like yourself, from all over the globe.

    Thanks for your always thoughtful comments Amar!

    Ryan

  21. Hey Ryan and Rob,

    This is truly an inspiring story. YES there are a lot og people who are on the fence with blogging but when you read about stores like this, this makes it easier for the rest of us to dive into blogging.

    No doubt there are going to be many challenges, but nowadays there aren’t as many as there was when Rob started. I remember those dial up days, and ad a matter of fact I use to provide tech support for dial up customers and believe me I’ve met some frustrated ones LOL.

    But blogging has been made for the average person to make extra money or even retire. We all can make this happen and all it takes is persistence and effort on our part.

    Great story Rob! HAve a great weekend!

  22. Holy smokes, what a truly inspiring post.

    Hi Ryan, and pleased to meet you Rob. Thank you for validating the power of blogging, and how it can transform your life with the right approach.

    I know exactly how you feel about the UK being wet, grey and miserable throughout most of the year Rob. I was born and raised on the tropical island of Mauritius, so yes, the UK is a HUGE contrast. But weirdly enough, I consider it to be my paradise now.

    There’s something about the dreary, goth like, depressing winters and foggy morning walks along the rough and unforgiving coast and beaches in Cornwall that I’m drawn to ha ha.

    I have to say however, I think I take for granted the tools, technologies, apps and all the other services available today that makes things a lot easier. I started blogging in 2010, so I can’t imagine what it must have been like starting with minimal resources.

    I do remember starting a website for my first online business venture back in 2005, and even then it was quite a challenge and costly too.

    Once again, very inspiring post. Have a great weekend in paradise both of you.

    – Fabrizio

  23. Amar kumar Says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Blogs might have fallen out of fashion a touch, due to the onslaught of social networks, but there’s something about having a space that’s properly yours, potentially free from the distractions of a billion adverts and countless competing status updates. And the best thing is, there are a load of free blogs out there to get you started.

    Tenacious grip on the future and the art of the possible inspired me to grow above and beyond in ways I had never imagined or ever thought possible. Sure blogging takes a lot of time and resources to do it right, but it also is a great business tool. As an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, you are no doubt always working on the problem of how to get more people to purchase your products and services. Eventually, thanks for reviling unknown aspect.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  24. Don’t you just love Rob’s story?

    Starting out with FTP to build sites?

    Bananas!

    Inspired me like crazy.