March 2019 – Travel & Income Report

Welcome back to my latest monthly report where I share my latest progress of my nomadic journey.

It‘s been the 4th monthly report in a row and I can proudly say that I am happy to have survived that long 😀

However, considering that some people have been traveling for years now, makes me realize that I am still very early in my nomadic journey and that there‘s a long way to go, still.

The purpose of publishing these monthly reports is to keep my friends and family updated about my latest whereabouts and share what I was actually up to during the last 4 weeks.

The other reason is to give people a sense of how a location independent life really is. A lot of people have these glorified image that „digital nomads“ just sit with their laptops at the beach all day and making $$ while drinking ?

This couldn’t be further from the truth as a location independent lifestyle offers many challenges that most people don‘t get to see on social media.

Speaking of which…

For the last couple of weeks, I‘ve become more and more quite on social media as I want to purely focus and sharing my experiences on my blog. I‘ve realized how much time social media consumes of my life. I love taking nice photos and curating them for my instagram profile. Yet, I felt that my mind was dominated a lot by questions around „What‘s next to shoot?“ or „where to go for the next best shot?“.

Instead, I will reduce the amount of mindless scrolling through news feeds or mindless double tapping for likes and focus on creating more valuable content here.

So apologies to those whose pictures I haven’t liked lately. I saw them and loved them all ?

Alright, with that out of the way, I will dive in to my monthly report for March 2019.
To align with previous posts, I will keep my report to…

  • a short summary of my last 4 weeks
  • my personal projects
  • my income and expenses for the month
  • learnings / life lessons / challenges
  • and upcoming travel plans

 

What I‘ve been up to the last 4 weeks

hanoi skyline

As I mentioned in my previous article, after two months, my Thai Visa finally expired and I had to leave the country. When I was in Thailand two years ago, I actually overstayed 1 day and almost got into trouble at the airport. For that reason, I decided to leave 4 days before my Visa actually expired this time to be on the safe side ?

writing

I am currently in Hanoi, Vietnam, and writing this article from a nice coffee place called The Coffee house (Hanoi has so many of them now!!!). Funnily, the CEO of the „The Coffee House“ franchise has the same name as me and so it happens that you will see his face everywhere when you google my name. Yet, still got the domain 😀 muahahaha.

Anyways, back to my main story.

The reason why I came to Vietnam was to:

  1. visit my family
  2. Checkout the nomad community
  3. See if it can become one of my home bases

In general, this month felt much more hectic to me, since I‘ve been moving around quite a lot…again. This wasn‘t all planned.

One of the challenges I had in the past was that I always stayed with family and was never really my own boss.

This time was supposed to be different.

I actually wanted to get my own apartment but prior to my arrival, my aunt told me that she organized a place already for me in the city center…at a friends place. This turned out to be kind of a homestay…

hanoi homestay
My small and dark homestay room…

So instead living with my family, I just lived with another family 😀

However, I had much more freedom, also because it was in the city center and I had the freedom to go in and out without anyone asking.

But for next time, I really need to get my own apartment to really get this sense of independence.

I‘ve been looking into apartments in Hanoi before and found that most of them are much more pricey compared to apartments in Chiang Mai.

Most apartments you find on websites will start around 350$ while apartments in Chiang Mai will set you back on average 200$…

I found that by joining Hanoi expat groups on facebook, you will get much better offers so I recommend everyone to checkout Facebook first, before heading to any „outdated“ Website.

In general, I found Facebook as one of the most important sources for nomads because it makes knowledge sharing so much easier compared to websites.

I stayed at the homestay for about 2 weeks in total with a little break in between where I moved in an Airbnb with someone else, but more on that in the Dating section later 😉

hanoi airbnb
We booked a very lovely airbnb together. The weirdest thing though, was the window in the bedroom from which you could see the staircase.

After the homestay I moved back to my families house, since I wanted to go to Hoi An end of March and it didn‘t make much sense for me to look for another apartment with a minimum 1 month lease. But then, two friends of mine also came to visit me in Hanoi so I decided to extend my stay and join them in a hostel.

hanoi church
I love the streets in the city center of Hanoi. There is a lot of charm to it.
hanoi drink beer
I love going out in Hanoi. There are so many fantastic restaurants.
hanoi pho
Pho Ga. Probably the most known vietnamese dish in the world.
hanoi streetfood
This is how vietnamese breakfast looks like. Just sitting on the streets and watching the world goes by.
hanoi banh mi
Banh Mi – Best vietnamese baguette with french influence.
hanoi aeon
what sushi are we gonna get today?
sushi
Its like japan. For real!
hanoi fog
Fog or Smog? Cant really tell. The Air Quality is indeed not the healthiest in Hanoi though.
hanoi street
The main vehicle in Vietnam is still the motorbike
hanoi ho hoan kiem at night
Lovely lake at night.

Dating Life as a digital nomad

This is something I didn‘t expect to happen at all to be honest. But back in January I met a Lady in Chiang Mai and we started to hang out. Over time, we became more close and started to date.

At first we didn‘t expect much from it but slowly we grow closer and closer. Before we knew it, we were hanging out and texting almost every day.

After Chiang Mai, we both went to Vietnam and decided to meet up in Hanoi. We booked an airbnb together for a week.

But we knew that things would eventually come to an end because we both are at a different stage in life and also followed different goals. She is going back to her home country and I will continue my nomadic journey.

After spending so much time together it wasn‘t easy for either of us to say good bye.

Dating as a digital nomad is definitely one of the hardest things. I totally embrace meeting new people and being open to whatever happens, but in the back of my head, I always keep the departure date in mind. Which makes it so much harder to date someone local. Nevertheless, I‘m grateful for every person I meet along the way, whether for short or long term.

I can only highlight the importance of staying openminded and taking things as they come. Sometimes things will go sideways for sure, but then, there will those moments that will make up for everything else.

Closing our mind upfront, because we are afraid of getting hurt, is an inevitable way to limit our own progress and having nice experiences.

Online business

During the last two months, I made significant SEO changes to my online store in hope to get more views. I dived much deeper into keyword research and updated all my listings with relevant search terms. But for whatever reason, my general views went down in the last couple of weeks and I only have three explanations for that:

  1. In general, march is a slow month…for a lot of people
  2. Under the hood search engine tweaks that affected how things are found
  3. Because I updated 90% of my listings, my store needs to be „re-calibrated“. This can take up to 6 month.

#3 is most likely what effected me. When I first started my store last July, I had very little views. The traffic to my store grew stronger towards the end of last year (3-6 months in).

Going through the comments of some facebook groups, I saw a lot of people being very impatient with SEO by changing things all the time because they don‘t see immediate results the next day. This is a common problem that I see our society struggles a lot with: impatience.

Today, everything needs to happen instantly. Things move so fast that we get used to the speed and get nervous if we don‘t see instant results.

The thing with SEO is, that it takes 3-6 months, sometimes even a year until you see any effects. My blog didn‘t get any organic traffic for 2 years. It still doesn‘t get a lot of traffic but at least I see it some slowly moving charts.

If you are planning to build an online business (or any kind of business actually), plan for the long term. It‘s a marathon, not a sprint. Some companies can take decades to finally become successful. Look at all the big companies out there and you see a long history of hard work behind the shiny logo.

Now with all my old listings updated, I will focus on creating more products (currently around 60) and over time. I believe that SEO will catch up with all the old listings and create more momentum in the next couple of months.

february march
Due to SEO changes, my traffic went slightly down after february. However, I’m so excited to see more sales coming in.
march
I had two sales in March. Never happened before. When I started, I had my first sale after three months. and then after 2 months…

Expenses

This month has been fairly reasonable for me as I stayed at my families home a lot. Also, I feel like Hanoi is slightly cheaper than Chiang Mai if you know where to go and what to eat. Also I found that getting around with GRAB is slightly cheaper in Hanoi. My biggest expenses was really for the accommodations like the Airbnb and the Homestay. Other than that, I spent quite some money eating out and treating myself with nice meals. However, as you can see, even with eating out all the time and having coffee and drinks, I still didn’t spend more than 400€ a month which is incredible 🙂

Here is a quick summary what the categories mean:

BASICS:

  • Includes things like accommodation such as apartment or hostel
  • mobile phone
  • laundry

FOOD:

  • Daily meals
  • coffee
  • drinks when going out

INSURANCE & LOAN:

  • Fixed monthly costs and self explanatory

TRAVEL:

  • Includes transportation costs like Flights, Busses, Trains or GRAB rides in the city

BUSINESS:

  • Such as CO-Working Space, Workshops & Seminars, etc

SHOPPING:

  • all unnecessary spending to feel good 😉

SUBSCRIPTIONS:

  • monthly occurring payments such as Netflix, Adobe, etc

TOURISTY:

  • Once in a while I need to do some touristy stuff. This includes buying tickets etc

LEASURE:

  • Such as Cinema Tickets, etc

MISC:

  • Everything else (gifts, postcards, etc)

march 2019 01march 2019 02march 2019 03

Psychological Challenges

March was the first time I struggled with a bit of homesickness.

Especially after the dinner night I had with some friends right before I left Chiang Mai.

We are so used to having our own space that we call home. A place that is safe and comfortable. This kind of environment is hard to create if you are traveling full time.

For a long time, I haven’t been really cooking my own meal. Eating out in Asia is such an important part of daily life and I got used to the way that food is so easy to get here. However, I miss the days were I had intimate dinner nights back home with my friends. Since I am very early in my nomadic journey, I don’t have a stable and close friends circle yet, that I had at home. It takes time to build relationships and moving around all the time, doesn’t make it any easier.

I realize that homesickness is part of the process because our brain is just trained to only know one place as our home.
Yet, my hunger to explore the world is still so much bigger, so I’m not going back any time soon ?

Travel Plans

As I mentioned in previous posts already, staying in one place for a minimum of a month, will prevent travel burnout and keep up productivity. Therefore, there are not much travels planned for this month. In fact, I extended my stay in Hanoi and will most like be in Vietnam until the end of April. Hoi An is still on my list and I plan to go there by the end of April. I’m looking forward to escape the big city and go back to the beach to enjoy the fresh air. There is also a nice Co-Working space, created by a young german lady, that I wanted to check out.

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Hi, I'm Ninh

I’m a UX Designer, Online Entrepreneur and World Citizen.
I currently travel around the world, build lifestyle businesses and help others to hack their creativity, personal growth and entrepreneurial mindset.

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