Category - Travelling Around The World

STM & F5 Amsterdam Meetup on May 3rd
Moving to Thailand: Why I’m Going Back
My Plans For 2012: Survival, Flat Pack Disposal and America

STM & F5 Amsterdam Meetup on May 3rd

Another year, another affiliate meetup in Amsterdam.

On May 3rd, StackThatMoney and F5 Media are hosting what promises to be an epic night of networking, schmetworking, boozing and (probably) red light district cruising.

This is going to be one of the biggest affiliate events of 2013, and you don’t want to miss out. The meetup also coincides with Queen’s Day on April 30th.

What is it about Amsterdam that attracts the world’s top CPA marketers?

We probably shouldn’t answer that question. It’s obviously the stroopwaffles.

STM Amsterdam Meetup

Queen’s Day is a national holiday in the Netherlands, and this year will be even more chaotic than usual. Prince Willem-Alexander will be succeeding his mother to become the first King of the Netherlands since 1890, thus turning Queen’s Day in to King’s Day.

The Dam is sure to be bouncing, and in more ways than usual.

How do the Dutch like to celebrate a changing of the monarch? The same way they celebrate every other day: by being awesome, slurping mayo, and staying vocal all night.

…Albeit in a slightly oranger shade of clothing and hair than usual.

The downside to this national event is that hotels and flights to Amsterdam are going to be more expensive than usual.

Book accommodation early or be prepared to spend your evenings paying €50 per 15 minutes to curl up feebly in a hooker’s nest. You snooze, you lose.

For more information and to RSVP, check out the official Facebook Page.

Recommended This Week:

  • I want to say a special ‘thank you’ to everybody who’s picked up a copy of my brand new Affiliate Marketing Survival Guide 2013. The book shot straight to #1 on Amazon’s Marketing bestsellers in the space of 12 hours. Booya! If you haven’t yet grabbed the book, a) Why are we still friends? b) Get one here. It’s $5.

Moving to Thailand: Why I’m Going Back

12 months ago, I traded the stifling heat of Thailand for the leafy safety net of West London’s suburbs. I wouldn’t say I made a bad decision. But like many expats returning from a tropical paradise, all I can think about is what I left behind. And why I left it.

Coming home was the weary culmination of a year exploring Asia and realising just how ‘safe’ I’d been playing my life. My passport was stamped to shit, my visa was running out and everything about Asia was a million miles from the home that I considered my own.

It’s only when you’re clung to the back of a Cambodian tuk tuk as it cuts up a group of veering motorbikes that you start to think, “Jesus, London might be plastered in chavvy little shites, but at least it never put me through a real-life game of Mario Kart…

It’s difficult to move to a new country. Especially when that country has such a unique and foreign culture, not to mention a whole new language. There are mistakes I made in Thailand that held me back from ever calling it home.

When you are disconnected from friends and family for the first time, you imagine what’s going on without you. You see the photos on Facebook, the news on the BBC, and you feel like you’re missing out on the lives of those closest to you.

It’s only when you get home that you realise the nature of the illusion. All that you’ve been missing is a semi-occasional ‘catch up’ where everybody shares how little has actually changed. Rarely is it worth waiting for.

It’s a year since I arrived back in London and the only noticeable change is my own rising intolerance to the mundanity of these same old empty streets.

I am paying £1500/month to rent a house full of shagged fixtures, albeit in an area with good schools and a reasonable commute to Central London. It would be nigh on perfect if I had to commute, or if I had kids. But I don’t, and I won’t, so what in the heck am I doing here?

That’s the question I’ve been asking. And that’s why I’ve decided to do the sensible thing… and move back to Thailand.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may be starting to sense a pattern.

‘He gets bored, he bitches about it, he moves to the other side of the world, he rinses and repeats.’

That’s pretty close to the truth. But there are lessons I’ve learnt, things I will do differently.

Admittedly, breakfast on the beach in Koh Samui won’t be one of them:

Breakfast at the Library

So what did I learn?

Well, if you’re thinking of putting a boot through your apartment and escaping to a sunnier part of the world, these reminders will do you no harm.

Adopt the country as your own.

It doesn’t work otherwise. The reason I failed to settle in Thailand was because I never really tried.

I was guilty of treating it as an extended holiday rather than a permanent move. Small decisions like decorating my apartment, or buying new furniture would turn in to a personal revolt. I wasn’t fully committed, which is the equivalent of embracing a life in transit.

You need to put in the effort to make your home feel like home, not simply a residence where you’re staying for a short period of time. And if you work from home too, that means pimping out a proper office. Not getting by on the tiny bloody dressing table that serviced me in Sukhumvit.

Learn the language.

My target is to be semi-fluent in Thai (speaking it, not writing it) within 3 months of touching down. The difference language makes to your overall happiness is incredible. Not being able to communicate is a real pain in the balls. It’s like a wedge between you and the city.

Even though Bangkok is an easy place to get by without speaking Thai, it’s impossible to fully enjoy the quirks and sideshows if you can’t speak the native tongue.

I’ll be taking a year of language classes in Bangkok. It’s dirt cheap (only £500), and it gets me the education visa that takes care of another big stress…

Visa issues are a bitch.

Oh yes they are.

How do you settle abroad if you don’t know where your next visa extension is coming from?

It’s frustrating enough having to exit Thailand every 90 days to get a new visa, but the situation is even worse when you have no guarantee that said visa application will be accepted. I had my extension denied in Singapore and was forced to choose between an education visa, or returning to London. I eventually chose London.

If you’re going somewhere with the intention of settling for the short to mid term future (1-3 years), you better have your visa path mapped out like a hawk – or be prepared to relocate within 14 days and lose your existing deposits.

Make an effort socially.

When you relocate as a couple, there’s less pressure to push yourself in to social circles and get to know new people. You share experiences with each other.

While that is nice, I definitely want to spend more time meeting new people in Bangkok – and to network with the strong expat community. You’ve got to make friends and connections for any city to feel like home. As a couple, it’s easy to unintentionally insulate yourself from all the meetups and events that are going on around you.

I met up with several affiliates on my last trip, including some familiar bloggers like Andrew Wee, Justin Dupre and Nick[y Cakes].

This blog gets a ton of traffic from Thailand, so it’ll be great to catch up with a few more marketing scumbags when I get the chance.

If you miss ‘home’, visit it.

By speaking to a lot of expats you will notice a recurring trend. They move to Thailand, they move back home, and then they move to Thailand for good.

Sometimes this is down to visa issues, but more often it’s a case of homesickness followed by the realisation that home isn’t what it once was.

It’s not just expats that encounter the problem.

Even students who’ve enjoyed the time of their lives at University can suffer from boredom and unrest after returning to their hometowns. You learn a lot about yourself in the time away and when you return, you’re not quite the same person.

Often the place where we grew up isn’t the place where we feel we belong. But we’re always going to miss the friends and family that we associate with that place.

This time, when I’m feeling homesick, I’ve learnt enough to realise that I can fix it by visiting home for a couple of weeks and catching up with everybody. There’s no need to move back for good.

Nothing crazy or otherworldly will happen while I’m gone. It never does.

Bangkok at Night

Recommended This Week

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My Plans For 2012: Survival, Flat Pack Disposal and America

2011 was one of the most eventful years of my life. I started it by living the high life in downtown Bangkok (literally, on a 15th floor apartment), and ended it sloshed on the dance-floor of Shepherds Bush Walkabout, an experience that has become uncomfortably familiar over the years.

In between, I’ve travelled to Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore. I’ve moved house no less than FOUR times. And I’ve singlehandedly kept the coffee economy afloat – firstly via Gloria Jeans and now Cafe Nero. If there’s any life lesson I’m eager to take in to 2012, it’s that I’d be an utter dipshit to kiss goodbye to as much deposit money as I did last year; a grand total that ended up a few notes shy of £5500. FML.

Indeed, the moment where I’m asked to commit my signature to any dotted line is now met by a ferocious growl, followed swiftly by brooding silence. The kind where you could be forgiven for anticipating that I’m about to eat said contract.

My new home is the Greater London suburbs. Greater London by name, Greater London most certainly not by nature. My stress levels have tapered off significantly since finding a semi-permanent home. But that’s not to hide the fact that the closest I get to an adrenaline rush is when an elderly neighbour trundles in to a pile of dog shit outside my driveway. Such is the pace of living in ‘Greater London’…

I think the most excited we’ve ever been was when we thought we found Hitler on a bus.

Hitler on a bus

Alas, moving house has proven, without doubt, that one of life’s greatest miseries is the struggle of relocation. If I have to accept one more flat pack from a courier, I’ll be greeting the merciless prick with my very best “Here’s Johnny…” impression. That and obviously, the point blank refusal to “sign fer it, mate“.

Christ, there’s already one room in my house dedicated to the shit I’ve yet to recycle.

Christmas recycling

That’s my dining room, believe it or not. Correction: That will be my dining room when I get hold of some recycling bags from the council.

Travel Targets in 2012

I already have some trips planned for 2012.

In May, I’ll be heading to America for a wedding, and to meet some of my partner’s friends.

New York, Chicago and Indianapolis will be our ports of call. Can you spot the odd one out? Yep, I’ve been told that Indiana’s biggest tourist attraction is the Indy 500 race, which doesn’t bode well for my souvenir hunt. I’m not a fan of motor racing at the best of times, but especially when it’s the retarded American version that takes place in a circular ring.

The only time I’ve found circular rings and cars to be compatible was in Destruction Derby on the Sega Saturn. And something tells me a Nascar event has gone badly wrong if it resembles as such.

Digs aside, I’m looking forward to visiting America again. It’s been a while since I last had my anal cavities probed at immigration. Remind me not to provoke Passport Control by smiling next time.

I’m also excited to travel back to Thailand at the end of 2012, although I’ve learnt another vital life lesson: don’t come home with a puppy. Unless you like handing over £3000 to government quarantine, as well as the puppy.

With trips to Spain, France and ‘somewhere beginning with B’ (hold hands, let’s pray it’s not Birmingham), it should be a good year.

Business Targets in 2012

Like most affiliates, my gameplan for 2012 is survival. Don’t get banned from Facebook, don’t get sued for false advertising, don’t get swallowed up by the competition.

Generally speaking, if I can succeed with just one of those targets, it’ll be a bloody good year.

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many people that I’m slowly moving my business away from affiliate marketing. As much as I love the money, the job is about as satisfying for the soul as a bicycle kick to the bollocks. The sooner I become less reliant on mindless arbitrage, the sooner I’ll be able to force myself out of bed in the morning.

My most important target for the year is to get published. I’ve always wanted to be an author, and this is the year where I’m determined to make it happen.

I’m currently writing a book that sums up the sleaze of working in the Internet Marketing business. While it could be difficult to find an agent for my profanity woven prose, I’m hoping one will take pity on me. Or read this blog and get in touch. Nudge wink ball tickle.

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  • Don’t forget to subscribe to the FinchSells RSS feed. And if you don’t already follow me, add FinchSells to your Twitter. Have a banging 2012!

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