I have managed to achieve my dream of earning my keep whilst on the move, of carrying all I need in something that can fit into the overhead locker of an aeroplane.
I’m not on the move all of the time as I love to get back to Europe for the balmy summers, where the sunny days interspersed with spells of inclement weather are my idea of heaven. But when the thermometer starts dropping I make a move for the airport, for three or four months London gives in to the cold, this year I’ll be away for 6 months.
I haven’t always earned my keep digitally whilst on the move. The first job I had whilst on the road was to pick grapes in the South of France, where the constant supply of red wine killed the pain of cut fingers and stony hillsides. I am a scuba instructor because when I taught the internet was not a mobile thing. I made underwater video for a living and have done all sorts of odd jobs for food, played guitar for beers in cafes or outside Chung king Mansions in Hong Kong. Busking was good before the handover in 1997 when you could rely on a working visa to keep the police away, when you met up with people by leaving poste restante messages at post offices, drank beers moving from one happy hour to the next.
Portability has always been my biggest passion. The idea that I could carry my world with me. At school I would collect camping gear, the lighter the better. My buddies and I would talk of little else sometimes, we would then camp out in the wilds and peer through the tent doors at shooting stars, listen to the night noises and feel our first taste of freedom. I would imagine tools or contraptions that would shrink to nothing, but in their minuteness be incredibly valuable.
And now we have the internet and it’s a dream come true.
To give one example I was in India recently and managed to find myself a bungalow, on the beach, with WiFi (in Palolem there are 3 or 4 now). I had electricity, a view of the sea and when my window was open I could call to the barman to fetch me a beer.
I could write about some of the downsides here, the way the world is shrinking, how a few people are raising the hopes of too many people because dreams are powerful things, how the endless ebooks on making your travel blog a success are not where it’s at, but for now I’ll just recline with a big smile on my face and fall in love with it all.
Oh yes, I almost forgot to say how I actually make my living on-line.
I started up and ran a template store for a while, well enough to sell it at a profit and learn enough to find my way around the web. I can make websites, put ecommerce stores together, undertand the vagaries of on-line life because it’s like a language I have learned. This is one of the reasons blogging is so easy for me to do, because I’m on-line anyhow and I really do enjoy writing and always have done.
And if I had one recommendation about earning a living on the move it would be to find something that not everyone in the known universe is doing, find that niche and be original. Then when everyone finds out what you’re doing THAT’S the time to write your ebook!