Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Permanent story.

I am a Perpetual Traveller, a Global Nomad, a Cyber Gypsy, call me what you will. I bimble my way around the world minding my own business, harming no one and doing my best to stay out of harms way.

How did this come about? Like so many I found myself somewhat disillusioned with life as Western society seemed to define it, my professional career (Clinical Research Associate) and it's associated trappings hadn't bought the sense of satisfaction I'd been 'programmed' to assume. The 60 hours per week I was pulling either on the road, dealing with clients or dealing with the corporate way left me with very little time or energy to actually enjoy life. My work/life balance was all wrong, and no amount of Hugo Boss suits and exotic one week holidays could put that right.

In 2004, at the age of 28, I did what many have done and quit my job. I bought a 12-month "around-the-world" ticket to give myself what I thought would be at least one last taste of true freedom; I fully expected that this would be just a career break and after 12 months of travel I would be prepared to rejoin the rat-race.

Throughout the six years of my career I had been relatively prudent, remained debt-free and accrued a little wealth. Fortunatley my hobby of playing cards had also provided me with some extra savings. I purchased a laptop and (provided I could find an internet connection wherever I was) I would see if I could cover at least a proportion of my travelling expenses by playing poker online as I travelled.

During this first trip I partied hard in Cape Town, South Africa for one month, lived in Perth, Western Australia for 6 weeks, Sydney for 6 weeks and Melbourne for 1 month. I then sampled the Gypsy lifestyle in New Zealand for 2 months - living in a converted 1960's Bedford Ambulance. After a particularly well-planned 2 week 'holiday' in Fiji (I landed in the middle of rainy season) I sampled life in the USA for 3 months, living in LA, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Finally I headed to Canada (Toronto) for 2 months before flying back to the UK.

Throughout this trip I 'worked' sporadically. For example in Cape Town and Australia I probably managed no more than a total of 20 days 'in the office' in a total of 5 months, whereas in New Zealand , the USA and Canada I probably averaged around 20 hours per week.

When I got home and did my accounting I realised I wasn't a great deal worse off than when I left, yet spiritually I was a new man. I had fallen in love with the nomadic lifestyle and the sense of freedom that accompanied it. I figured there and then that with a little more application I could adopt the Perpetual Traveller lifestyle and perhaps even prosper at the same time.

Now that I had tested life in several of the more culturally fimiliar countries of the world I figured I could help tip the financial balance in my favour by spending the majority of my time in less costly parts of the world (a strategy I later discovered to be termed lifestyle arbitrage. After a little research and some advice from several of the travelling friends I had made on my first trip I settled on Buenos Aires, Argentina: a happy balance of relatively inexpensive living costs with a relativley developed infrastructure.

When I arrived it took just two days to find a suitable place to live (tourists are very well catered for in Buenos Aires), the idea was to knuckle down for 3 months, make some decent money and then explore more of South America before heading East (Thailand etc) then finally back for another UK summer. Two things conspired against me - a cute local girl (we are still togethor 18 months later) and a new business acquaintance (actually two: a husband and wife programming/web-designing team). Essentially this is where the blog first post back in Feb 2006.

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