Change of Plans: I’m Moving to America

By now, you are surely familiar with Finch’s twice-a-year, “I’m Moving to…” post.

I change plans faster than a badger in a honey maze. The latest twist should therefore come as no surprise.

Only a few months ago, I revealed that I was trading London for Bangkok (where I lived in 2010/11). Much has changed since then. For a start, I got engaged to an American girl.

Engagement raises a lot of ‘life questions’.

Questions such as:

  • Should I houseban Pinterest until the vows are exchanged?

  • Does she really think a herd of pink unicorns with chandeliers hanging from their bollocks are going to be available for catering?

  • Will I escape this wedding alive?

  • Holy shit, where are we going to live?

After much consultation, we were able to answer one of those questions.

Unfortunately, it did not bode well for a unicorn payday…

Our conclusion: Living in America sounds pretty cosy.

New York City skyline

New York City: The daddy of the concrete jungles.

My Fascination with America

I fell in love with New York City when I visited in May. There’s something about Manhattan that captures your imagination.

If you are Felix Baumgartner, standing on the precipice, about to dive balls-deep in to the abyss, you would not be surprised – no, you would expect – gravity to tug you straight in to the heart of The Big Apple. It is a city that feels like the center of the universe.

And to many New Yorkers, that’s exactly what it is.

Even the dude selling hot dogs out of a broken cart gets to experience that rare sensation of the world revolving around him; tumbling skyscrapers in every direction, the buzz of something happening.

You come away from NYC feeling small, humble and a trifle shagged in the wallet. Victim of the tipping shakedown, aka “I’ve just wiped my arse using some of your toilet paper. Here’s ten bucks. Please — Don’t hustle me! I appreciate the service!

While I won’t be moving to New York City straight away (We’ll be crash landing in the Midwest to build a house, if all goes to plan), I do want to make myself familiar with the bits of America that I haven’t already visited.

And that’s a good thing.

Besides New York, I have seen an abundance of corn and some Amish settlements. There has to be a middle ground, and I intend to find it.

Where should I visit?

Places on my To Visit list, in no particular order:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Chicago
  3. Las Vegas
  4. Jersey Shore (I’m interested to see if we’re the same species)
  5. Hollywood
  6. Miami
  7. Yellowstone Park
  8. Hawaii

Yep, you could say my list resembles the tourist’s guide to ‘playing it safe like an unadventurous motherfucker‘. I’ve seen one too many motel slasherfest B-movies to chance my arm.

If you have any suggestions of awesome places to visit in America, hit me with them.

I’ll be taking a trip to Thailand next month. I’m hoping it suppresses my appetite for beach cocktails and chilis over breakfast. Christ knows, if I don’t get my hands on some Mango Sticky Rice soon, there’s no telling how many kittens will perish.

See you in another six months for news on my immigration to China.

About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


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  • Dear lord Finch please avoid the Jersey Shore (spoken from a born-and-raised Jersey girl). There are so many more interesting places to see in this country.

    I’d add Seattle or Portland, OR to that list. Good heaping of affiliates and internet types in both… very different vibe than the rest.

    But “Unadventurous America” pretty much screams Disneyworld to me.

    Alternatively, because I think a Brit as an outsider-looking-in would be fascinated with Nashville and Dollywood. (And they’d be equally fascinated with your accent, I’m sure).

  • Dollywood? Is that what I think it sounds like?!

    Seattle is a good call too, actually. Bucketed.

  • America? Cring! Which America? The United States is not America.

    I think you have a good list there, as a start. You’re essentially visiting 8 different cultures. I would agree with Amanda that a visit to Portland or Seattle is in order, but I would lean toward Seattle as it has more to offer, unless you love Japanese Gardens, but if you’re in Seattle why not hit Vancouver which is in Canada, but also in ‘America’.

  • Do you guys not refer to your country as America? That’s pretty much what we call you over here…unless my slang radar is veering of course (as per the norm). I thought it was a standard term on both sides of the pond!

  • 1. san diego
    2. new orleans
    3. napa valley
    4. orlando (chix dig it)
    5. vegas (make sure to do the helicopter tour…grand canyon…horseride…etc)
    6. boston

  • Hey Finch, I did a 2 months road-trip around North America (USA+Canada) a few years ago and if you don’t want to see only cities, I’d definitely advise you to check Joshua Tree Park, Monument Valley (freakin impressive), Antelope Canyon…

  • Hi Finch,

    First time caller, long time listener here.

    I have to admit that I am a little saddened to read this post. It seems to me that you are willingly trading the incredible buzz of Bangkok, one of the world’s most exciting cities, to go and live in the American midwest, one of the world’s most boring places. I’m sure you make enough money to live comfortably anywhere in the world, but comfortable is all the midwest is. It’s all it can be. Bangkok can be the most exciting, life affirming, buzzy places on Earth. It’s an adventure. You know this yourself. The American midwest is dull as dishwater. You’ll find that out too.

    If you were moving to NYC it would be different. That is an incredible place. However you need serious bucks to live at the height of luxury there, whereas in Bangkok it’s accessible to any reasonably successful affiliate. I lived in NYC a few years back and it was great. I had friends who were living a real baller lifestyle there, and it looked like the best lifestyle in the world. But it was expensive as fuck. Personally I still couldn’t afford to do it. I don’t know your income, I am sure you do very well, but if you were spending £1500 a month on rent in London, I can’t see that you are suddenly going to start spending the £5000 or so a month it takes to rent a luxury place in Manhattan or Brooklyn these days.

    Speaking of lifestyles, I envy your freedom, but it seems to me like your freedom is being curtailed. I remember when you moved back here from Bangkok, a large part of your rationale was so that your girlfriend could start a career in fashion. How did that go by the way? I’m guessing not so well since you’re now off to the midwest, not exactly a place on the fashion map. Now you’re giving up your desire to go back to Asia because of her too. I don’t like the phrase pussy whipped but it is obvious you are allowing your woman to control your life.

    It’s a real shame, because you have all this freedom from the way you make your money, but you have somehow lost it all. Your fiancee (I am sorry, I forget her name) is clearly very pretty and I am sure she’s intelligent and funny and everything that you could want in a woman, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to be lead around.

    I’m not one of these “You’re the man and you should be in charge” assholes, not even close. I know that in a relationship there has to be compromise, but moving to a boring as fuck place instead of one of the best places where you can have a fantastic lifestyle is one compromise too many and one that you will seriously regret, and resent having to make.

    Lastly I hope that this comment doesn’t offend you, or your girlfriend if she reads this. I wrote this big long comment because I am a big fan of yours, and I greatly appreciate all the affiliate marketing info that I have gleaned from this blog. The last thing I want to do is be inflammatory towards you, but I know this comment is very plainly spoken so if I have offended you then I apologize.

    Take care and good luck whatever you do. I’ll still be reading this blog whether you’re in Dundee, Des Moines or Đà Lạt


  • I also recommend Seattle and San Diego, because I’ve lived in Seattle most of my life but transplanted to San Diego because it’s the best city in the US, hands down. Come for a visit. 🙂

  • Good move Finch. Really, NY is all you need. All the other states will seem massively boring to you once you settle in. Kinda like visiting Birmingham after living in London.

    LA and San Francisco are the only other cities that will keep you somewhat interested. But hey, definitely travel around the country and experience the real USA. NY, LA and SF are not good examples of what the country is really like. They are much more progressive than the rest of the country. You have to experience where Honey Boo Boo actually comes from to really understand this great country.

  • @Renauld – I’ve been to the Midwest on several occasions before so I know what I’m getting in to. It’s not the most dynamic place to live. But I don’t plan to be living there long.

    We intend to move to New York City eventually, but like you say, the cost of luxury in Manhattan is a lot more than it is anywhere else in America (Barring LA, I guess?). The bigger issue is that when I land in America I will have zero credit. It will take a couple of years to build it up. We would both rather find our footing in the Midwest, where my fiancee has family and friends, then move on to more exciting locations…

    I also have to weigh up the return on renting.

    I’ve spent over $60,000 in the last couple of years on renting alone. That is money that I will never see again. Whereas in the UK, my home outgoings have been around £2000/month, in America, they will only be a fraction of that – and I can put it on a mortgage to eat in to ownership (pending the credit).

    There’s really no sense that my freedom has been trampled on.

    I love Thailand, and I love Bangkok. We both do. But I’ve already lived there. If I can visit BKK and the islands for a month or two every year, that’s fine with me.

    But what neither of us can stand is to spend another year in London where the prices are an arse-rape and the quality of living is so low.

    @Nate – I forgot Seattle in my original list. It’s definitely up there.

    @Pierre – Yeah, I do get the impression that the metropolitan cities are a different country to the Bible Belt. Where was Honey Boo Boo from? I think I’d shit bricks if I saw her.

  • Finch we are in total agreement about the quality of life in London. Even if you have a lot of money it’s still not a great quality of life here. Sadly I still work for a big corporation rather than myself, so I am stuck for the moment! London is great but even on a very healthy salary my life still falls short of real luxury.

    I think you will have to be very successful to live the baller life in New York City, if that is your ambition. Rent is even more expensive than London. I think that’s crazy when you could go and live the baller life in Bangkok right now, and work towards NYC from there. A penthouse overlooking Lumpini Park isn’t quite as good as a penthouse overlooking Central Park, but it’s a hell of a lot better than a house over looking the Wal-Mart car park.

    It would be a fucking shame if you ended up stuck in the Midwest with a couple of kids in ten years time, wondering what happened to the 25 year old guy who made sweet money and could live anywhere in the world he wants. In all honesty I think you are crazy to get engaged when you have so much cash coming in and you could have one hell of a youth and settle down when you are 30, but I also know what it’s like to be in love. 🙂

    Still, you know your life better than me, I’m just some guy who reads your blog.

    I hope you prove me wrong.

    Thanks for taking my comments in the spirit they were intended. 🙂


  • I wouldn’t get engaged if I thought it meant settling down with kids in the wilderness. You can trust me on that one! I have no plans to have kids.

    Never wanted them, doubt I ever will.

    New York City is expensive, but it’s not far off London prices (when you live West).

    The Midwest has a reputation for being where civilisation goes to grow old fast… but I think that it’s different when you have a job that is laptop-based. Neither myself or my fiancee will be working a 9-5. We both work online.

    When you don’t have that restriction, you can exploit the cost of living and travel more, not less. An expensive home is a burden if your ambition is to travel.

    I’ve seen a lot of Asia already. But there’s much of America that I’ve never seen. It’s an experience I’m looking forward to. But it’s not a life-time commitment.

  • I’m a Brit who has lived in America before (Florida). I spent a year living there about 6 years ago. At the time, I had the opportunity to stay longer but turned it down. I’ve been back for medium term periods since and think I made the right decision…for me.

    The hardest thing was finding people to relate to. If you find a good ex-pat community you’ll be ok (an English pub that showed Premier League football worked for me). But at the end of the day I kinda missed Britishness. I felt American culture (consumerism, individualism) deviated too far from my own values and what I wanted/appreciated about life.

    I recently got back from travelling SE Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand). The way of life there connected with me so much more than the US. Riding around Koh Phangan on a scooter was as close to bliss as I’ve been I think.

    Still, there are some really cool places to visit in the States – from my experience check out Key West, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia – for some history and culture.

    It all depends what you want from life I guess. Maybe being a married man will change your Affiliate Scumbag values.. or maybe not 🙂

  • Asheville, North Carolina. It’s always voted one of the best places to live in America. It’s a badass city, in the mountains and a trip to the beach is only a 4-5 hour drive. Not to mention they have the orange peel music hall which gets awesome national acts.

  • Finch, I’m glad to see your not getting scared off by some of these guys talking smack about the midwest. I was born and raised in the midwest, and like you ventured out to live in exciting resort style places for the past 5 years once I went fulltime with AM, but just recently moved back for a lot of the same reasons you seem to be moving to this neck of the woods.

    For one, like you said, the friends and family pull is huge, it’s hard to fight that. Two, you can buy luxury for practically nothing. The spread we just closed on 2 months ago would have gotten me 25% of the house in some of the other spots we lived in… if that. You can live like a king while you put your money towards an asset all the while saving boatloads that you can use towards business and travels. It’s a great place to have a super nice home base that you can venture out from.

    Furthermore, there is absolutely no other place in the entire world I would rather be during the months of June through August. My wife and I plan to travel heavily during the winter as we’re not tied down to a 9-5, but during the summer we’ll be spending extended weekends at the family lake house, and loving every minute of it. Nothing beats an midwest inland lake with sun, beer, water, boats, jet-skis, sailing, and most importantly friends and family. From what you said about the Amish I’m guessing your likely in northern Indiana or Wisconsin, possibly somewhere else, I don’t know. But either way you have to be close to a nice lake. If your fiancé already doesn’t have access to a lake house of some sort, you HAVE to rent one for the month of July. You’ll love it. Let me know if you need any suggestions as to specifics lakes, as I’ve been to a ton of them.

  • Finchie,

    Definately need to add Alaska onto that list. Although, ensure you go in the summer time. It’s cold as fuck during winter.

    I’d also throw in 4 corners, Daytona Beach (I prefer Cresent, its quieter, but all the tourists go to Daytona).

    And last but definately not least, Emerald Isle in the Carolina’s.

    🙂 America is a nice spread of cultures. Just get ready for an assraping when it comes to taxes. Especially if Obama gets in office again and raises it to 40%.

  • Ah, it’s these “The State of Finch’s Location Independence” posts that resonate with me the most. A lot of my English and European friends talk up the virtues of NYC, I really need to see what that’s all about. For a U.S. citizen, I haven’t explored much of my own country. Must be the “grass is greener” syndrome, but I’m more drawn to go outside of America.

    Being from Hawaii, I was happy to see it listed. To be honest though: if you like buzzing urban machines like London, New York, and Bangkok, then Honolulu really can’t hold a candle to those places. Do an extended stay of a month or more before ever committing to living here. If you’re looking for a Japanese-American fusion and beach culture, then you might like Hawaii.

    I run the Oahu Online Entrepreneurs Meetup Group, so if you’re down in the islands and want to meet other Internet marketers, just shoot me an e-mail.

    San Francisco and Portland are on my list for U.S. cities I’d like to live in. Although I have this romanticized idea of Buenos Aires . . .

  • Hey Finchey,

    We Americans do call home America. Don’t let all the disinformation confuse you. I’m born and raised in the Midwest, in a city named Chicago. It’s a great city with so much to do. You can as Ryan Eagle. We do have some rough winters, but the summers are gorgeous. Look up Rush Street, Oak Street Beach, and the Magnificent Mile. We have world class museums and attractions. We are a sports town that’s for sure and footy is really catching on with all these Americans such as Stan Kroenke, Lebron James, John Henry, and the Glazers purchasing teams. Google/Motorola Mobility, Groupon, EWA, and countless other tech companies and startups are located in or near the Merchandise Mart. Come down and stay at the Waldorf Astoria run a few Facebook campaigns from your suite to pay for the trip and check it out. Come on Finchey we work online baby!! Make sure you hit the West Loop, Wicker Park, Pilsen, and the rest of our great treasures. I’m sure once you livw in America for a year you will want to stay forever.

  • Finch, New Jersey, which is 5 minutes away from Manhattan is often as cheap as the midwest. Not quite as cheap as Central Georgia where Honey Boo Boo is from, but definitely as cheap as Chicago.

    I’m originally from the Midwest, but live in NY and LA. I’ve also lived in Houston and Philly briefly. While all of those places have pros and cons, the pros are absolutely dwarfed by the greatness that is NY, SF and LA.

    And let me tell you that if you even come close to making $1000 a day, which I’m sure you do plus some, NY is not really expensive at all. I was only making that in back 2007 and I was still living quite well on both coasts. You will be fine.

    Watch out though, when you move with a woman your life is no longer just your own. Where you are is where you may have to stay for her benefit (and you’d better believe that her benefit is your benefit). Especially if her family is close. heh It’s just how life works. I’m sure you will go the place that you love, but consider that the choice you make may be where you are stuck for a while and it’s impossible to pre plan that happens next.
    /Guy rant from experience

    Are you going to Adtech?

  • Lol Finch doesn’t make $1000 a day. Not every day anyway. Do you think he’d be living in some shitty £1500 a month house in deep west London ( if he was doing those numbers? And he was struggling even to keep up a decent lifestyle with those kind of overheads. NYC is not an option for him, he needs cheaper, not more expensive. Knowing the type of stuff that Finch does I’d say he’s a solid $10k a month man and he probably has the odd good month where he pushes it up more towards $20k. Not to be sniffed at for sure, but not $1000+ day. Unless maybe he is doing some stuff that he NEVER mentions, even hints at, to make up the difference, but I doubt it considering he is moving to try and bring up his quality of living without parting with any more money.

  • Pierre – NYC Adtech? No plans to. I didn’t like the London show. I’ll be in Thailand next month.

    Steve – For a guy who presumably isn’t an accountant, those are pretty good deductions if you’re talking numbers of a dating affiliate in the POF/Facebook/PPV verticals. I can vouch for that. But you’re also right in the sense that about 60% of what I work on, I never talk about. My business is probably only about 40% affiliate marketing these days. I’ve never hidden that.

    As for lifestyle decisions, trust me, there are plenty of reasons keeping me in West London that have nothing to do with money. It’s not a question of downscaling or upscaling. When I look at the ‘problems’ that are currently in my life, money is near the bottom.

  • You should share some info about your other businesses with us! Not the tasty stuff, obviously, but just the table scraps. 🙂

    Although I’m still trying to replicate your affiliate marketing success. $10k a month would be a step up for me! Sorry if I came off abrasive, like John Lennon said, I’m just a jealous guy.


  • Also voting for San Diego / La Jolla area – planning on moving there myself in the next couple years. IM capital of the known universe, yards from Mexico and tax free Nevada, year round fabulous weather, cool dudes and Frank Kern.

    You’re already pretty fluent in BS – you could easily be the next fire-walking-feet-burning-Guru and one day we’ll be giving out golden gonad awards and calling them Fincheys

  • My vote goes to Denver. Although I live in Canada (lots of room for you here!) I spent some time in Denver. I’m sure you’ve heard all about the mountains etc. and it is breathtaking, but its the people that impressed me the most. They were friendly, open and helpful. Don’t miss Denver!
    PS New York City, really? Get out of Manhattan and look around. Broke down, broken and broke!

  • I would add Denver and Boston to this list. And on a side note, don’t be surprised if your values and interests change over time. Saying you never want kids at 25 is a lot different 10 years from now. Things change, people change. That’s a good thing.

  • LA isn’t anywhere near as expensive as manhatten, san fran is a close second. Technically SF is more expensive than NYC, but be aware that NYC includes the burroughs such as long island, queens, brooklyn…Manhatten, where you want to be, is much more expensive than SF.

    I gotta vouch for SF. Progressive, smart people, and your 15 minutes away from breathtaking nature to the north, 3-4 hours away from world class skiing/snowboarding, 2 hours from amazing surfing.

    And don’t stay in the cities like another mentioned, grand canyon is unbelievable, the northwest has vistas of trees that are stunning.

    Midwest isn’t bad, I grew up there, a little boring, hard to find great food, but people are generally nice. Oh and btw, contrary to popular belief, america has got great national food, make sure to find a good reuben sandwich, tons of cajun, texas bbq and chili, california burrito, and chicago deep dish pizza. To name a few.

    Have fun and enjoy the adventure.

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