The Nomadic Life – Slowly (Rapidly) Becoming Reality

As each hour goes by and each day passes, the very real road to becoming a digital nomad is hitting me harder and harder (phrasing).

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Working on finances, what to pay off, what can wait, what has priority, what to do when the time comes, what needs to be done, etc.. pretty much making a whole lotta life decisions in a span of several hours.


Addressing The Elephant In The Room.

Finances.

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The astounding amount of debt a typical 26 year-old guy has, to eliminate all the credit cards and loans in less than a year is a very bold move. Let’s just say that I have over $13k USD to pay off by September 2018. That’s $1300 a month! From what my friends have figured out is to take control of credit card debt. After that, to tackle the bike and car payments, and basically triple the payment of that a month. It’s going to be a very ambitious goal to meet, but something I’m willing to do.

Money sucks. What I’ve seen in how-to’s, blogs and any other type of resource out there about being a digital nomad or an expat is to rid yourself of your financial obligations before you head on your journey. The last thing you want is to have some type of large financial obligation back at home taking your income while you’re abroad. It totally makes sense.


Location-Independent Income.

Another large part of prepping yourself for your new life abroad is to create some type of income that can be done from pretty much anywhere. Unless you’re rich, a location-independent income that you can generate either passively or whilst working online is going to be key in your endeavors.

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If you’re anything like me, you don’t have any type of passive income in the form of rent income or another business you own. You need to have marketable skills that are in demand and can be performed while away from home. One of the most common ways to earn an income while abroad is to market yourself as either a web developer (front and/or back end development), publishing or drop shipping through Amazon.

Since I don’t have any type of marketable skills that I can do away from home, I learn all of my skills through Skillshare. With Skillshare you are able to learn pretty much anything and everything. For me, I’m learning about digital photography, post-editing, iOS app development and front-end web development (website building). Those jobs are definitely something where you can work from a computer abroad and earn some type of income to fund your living costs and travel expenses.


Friends & Family.

I’ve threatened to move away from home so many times, it’s actually almost sad to even write about. From California to Michigan to Virginia to Arizona, each of those ‘attempts’ have been half-baked at best. Surprise surprise, I’m still in Minnesota. The income I make at my day job, my friends and family have always kept me in Minnesota. Content is one helluva word to describe the life I’m living. Not doing anything particularly exciting in my life, just literally living it day-by-day, earning an income, spending said income to live somewhat of an exciting life traveling around the US with whatever little time off I had.

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This transition to becoming a digital nomad has been a very unique one for me. With the little time I have away from my day job, I spend now honing in on my photography, coding and blogging skills. Usually with Josh, Rezal, Sam and Veronica. My best friends Carrie, Ryan and Tiff (hey guys! I miss you!) I haven’t been hanging out regularly unfortunately.

I want to spend more time with my friends I haven’t seen in a long time, with what little time I have left here in the States, however I need to continue to work on my marketable skills to truly work online on a location-independent basis.

My mother has probably been the most skeptical about this whole ordeal, citing that I’ve failed to move to closer places within the US, what makes moving to a different country in Asia different? She’s right you know. I definitely do not do well in hot and humid climates, I definitely don’t speak any other language besides American English, I don’t have a steady-paying job abroad to earn me a guaranteed income to sustain myself.


Time’s Flying By Fast!

Who knows whether or not this will be another half-baked attempt on moving to a different location to start a new life. One thing is for certain though is that my drive to travel and work online at coworking spaces is much larger than the other motivational factors I’ve had in moving to those other states.

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Work hard, play hard — but don’t forget about your friends and family. They’re forever.

/MEDIA – The New Multimedia Venture

Kevin, where have you been? Well, indulge me as I enlighten y’all on what I’ve been up to recently.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working hard on another side venture with my friends Josh and Rezal on creating a new multimedia company called /MEDIA (Slash Media).

What /MEDIA is is a multimedia production group that encompasses and embraces different viewpoints in our photography and videography ventures together. Josh specializes in logo/watermark design and videography. Rezal specializes in absolutely stunning photography and “B” roll. Whereas I just specialize in photography.

As a newbie in photography and starting two ventures (The Nomadic Tire and /MEDIA) it has been a very unique ride working on these two in tandem. Starting my day job at the dealership from 9:30a-6p and working on either The Nomadic Tire and/or /MEDIA from 7p-1a.


The Start Of Something New.

Recently, we’ve been meeting at Perkins and a co-working space called The Reserve. Staying up well past midnight each night working, trying to get some ideas together, we took this from concept to site-ready and uploaded in the span of just a few weeks.

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Another fantastic thing is that working on the /MEDIA website really stretches my knowledge of HTML, CSS and Javascript. With help from my friend Rezal (GOJIRARS), we were able to successfully take the website from no content, to a feature-rich and interactive website featuring our work.


How Far We’ve Come…

From initial concept to now has been a good few weeks, with almost all everyday working on the site in terms of coding and content for at least 5 hours a day, we’ve spent quite a lot of time getting this off the ground. It’s actually a very surprising amount of effort put forth by us all to get this up and running, we’ve achieved more than what we typically would with our skill level in such a short amount of time — and I guess that’s a good thing as it really helps us work on our coding skills.

So far things have gotten off to a great start. We’re pretty much live at this point, save for the pricing details. Now that we’ve gotten this far, we will be working together for the next several months until Rezal leaves us to move to Malaysia. Then next would be me heading to Malaysia in September.

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What’s In Store For The Future?

Well, that’s all up in the air at the moment; however, since we’re live, we may as well start the process of marketing ourselves pretty soon and engage with potential local clients for work. Winter is going to be a tough time in general when it comes to photo/videography because of the colder weather here in Minnesota. We’re also going to try and market a very cost-effective solution for front-end web development and in the future, app development.

When Rezal moves to Malaysia, he’ll be working on /MEDIA over there, while the rest of us continues work here in the States. So, essentially, we’re going to be a world-wide endeavor in freelancing services, gathering clients from all over the globe.


What About The Nomadic Tire?

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Don’t worry, The Nomadic Tire will still be around, alive and well. TNT will always be at the forefront of my side endeavors. Though /MEDIA’s services mirror The Nomadic Tire’s own services, I will primarily focus on honing in my skills with /MEDIA and utilizing the skills learned and perfected to freelance a few months before moving out of the States with The Nomadic Tire.

In the meantime, you little Nomadic Tires will still get awesome content in the form of blogs along the way along with photos and videos of my future endeavors while I wrap things up with good ‘ol America, and say hello to South East Asia*.

 

*Speaking of South East Asia, I really need to make it a point to get my Passport. Like soon. Whoops.

Keeping Motivated As A Future Digital Nomad

As a future digital nomad, you gotta keep your goals on track. Get your finances in order, learn marketable skills as a freelancer or expat. You know just as well as I do that it’s easier said than done.

I’m here to tell you that even though the going gets tough, it’s actually easier than you think.


Music!

Escape and tune out. It’s super easy to focus on your side venture to become a digital nomad. For most people, music is a form of escape. I’m no exception.

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My weakness as an American is Spotify. With Spotify you can listen to practically anything you want. Spotify’s “Your Discover Weekly” playlist automatically generates a playlist of music based on your listening habits. With it, it’s super easy to just listen, tune out and get work done, wether you’re self-learning HTML/CSS/JS, editing photos, color grading footage in Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro.

Not only that, Spotify is also great for keeping your motivation up. You can also save music that you like into a specific playlist for you to download and listen offline – say you’re in an area that you’re not in service such as an airplane, or exploring through some jungles in Cambodia. It’s way better than Pandora, in my humble opinion.


Bring A Friend!

Three words: caffeine induced mania.

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Like-minded friends are always fantastic in keeping the motivation and creative juices flowing. In my case, my friend Rezal (GOJIRARS) has a very similar mindset as I do in terms to traveling, photography, technology and cars. He’ll be moving to Malaysia next year and fully understands and supports my goal to become a digital nomad.

With supportive line-minded friends, it’s super easy to stay on track and focus on the task at hand. Bounce ideas back and fourth, ask for opinions, get help, etc… it’s a great way to collaborate! Hence why I’m pushing Rezal to get a membership here at The Reserve, so we can do this regularly.


YouTube!

A VERY big part of my motivation as well when I’m done coworking at The Reserve, travel videos on YouTube really boost my motivation to make this work. My favorite channels are: Chris The Freelancer, PsychoTraveller, Vagabrothers and High On Life.

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As you can see, my recommended videos are of cars and travel. If you’re going to keep motivated, YouTube is probably one of the best resources out there! Take a gander at Vagabrother’s video “10 Reasons Why YOU SHOULD TRAVEL the World RIGHT NOW!

 

Winona-Bound For A MazdaSpeed3.

The date is Wednesday, November 1st, 2017. 2:10pm Central Standard Time. Snowing like a motherf***er outside.

A quick backstory: my buddy Marc ended up crashing his Gen2 MazdaSpeed3 into a ditch avoiding a rodent on the road in rural Wisconsin. Though the damage was not as bad as it could’ve been, it did render his Speed down for the moment as he fixes the damage himself instead of going through insurance. The plan is to get another Speed daily while he repairs his Gen2 in his garage.

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The original plan was to fly down to Tallahassee, FL and get picked up by a seller in southern Georgia that had a silver Gen2 Speed3 for sale, but the times just did not align for Marc and I to either drive or fly down and take a look, purchase and drive back to MN/WI. Marc then found a Gen1 for sale “locally” in Winona, MN. Though it was still a somewhat decent drive away from our homes, it was a helluva lot closer than Florida Georgia Line (queue the music!).

Here’s the route: Rockford, MN to Roseville, MN to New Richmond, WI to Winona, MN then back to Rockford.

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To give you perspective, that’s the route that me and my buddy Marc drove in my 2012 Mazda3. For scale, I used the whole State of Minnesota.


Minnesotan Weather.

Hell, we may as well be Canada at this point. The winters here get brutally cold. In fact, just a few years ago, Minneapolis/St. Paul was labeled as the coldest place on Earth, beating out Antartica by a few degrees. Trust me, it’s cold here.

Our original plan was to drive down, get some beautiful shots along the way and some nice shots of the car at night. However, Mother Nature pretty much said “No, f*** you guys. That ain’t happening.” and decided to have a lovely freaking blizzard the day of the off.

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The initial drive from Rockford to Roseville was one headache that I really didn’t want to go though again, only because traffic was absolutely appalling. My left leg has gotten a workout and I’m sure is currently more developed compared to my go-pedal leg. Leaving from Roseville to New Richmond, WI was for the most part actually pretty free-flowing, however once we arrived in New Richmond, the snow really started to come down, hard. We didn’t stay long in New Richmond and we decide to leave an hour early, making the expected 2-hour trip into a 3-hour one.

Boy, did it pay off.


Blizzard + 3 Hour Drive = Butt-Clenching.

We stopped at a Flying J Truck Stop to fuel up and grab some snacks for the drive. The start of the drive was very dull, since we were taking long, straight country roads over to what’s called “the river road.” Everybody seems to be going 30mph on the long country roads. In a bold move, I decide to overtake a truck and trailer and the slush in between the lanes was shit-inducing. Yeah, let’s not do that again.

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Then, we arrive at “the river road.” Boy, did the drive not disappoint! With the wonderful winding roads, and the tree branches being coated in the freshly-fallen snow, the amount of beauty did not disappoint. Unfortunately I didn’t stop to take pictures because I wasn’t sure how much longer it’ll take us to get down to Winona on time at 7pm. Close your eyes and just imagine it, though. Absolutely. Breathtaking.


3 Hours Later…

Though the brief drive down the river road was absolutely stunning, past that it was really a “meh” drive. Not sure if it was too dark to see the scenery, or what.

Anyways, we finally arrive at the seller’s house and boy is the country just amazing. Quiet, peaceful, no road traffic to speak of. Just the sense of serenity bliss. Right when we arrive, the seller was backing up the Speed into his driveway to show us. He didn’t even get a chance to get the handbrake on and we pulled in right in front. Talk about perfect timing!

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We pop the hood and give the engine a quick inspection to make sure what we were buying was what he listed in the ad. It didn’t disappoint. Sounded great, looked great besides a rust bubble on the driver’s front B-Pillar door frame. The test drive proved to be equally as respectable with no qualms from the turbo, good strong pulls and good brakes.

Then… we got distracted by the other cars this seller had in his driveway. Namely the two  6th Gen VR-4 Galants, the DSM Eclipse and an Evo 9. He sure does love his diamonds!

Take a gander and the two Galants! These two beauts were pretty much rust-free and both put out 400+ bhp.

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The Gen1 Speed3 Made It Back To It’s New Home!

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After a long drive back to New Richmond from Winona, Marc parked the Gen1 next to it’s bigger brother Gen2. Together, in MazdaSpeed harmony.

iOS 11 Woes – The Battery & Stability Saga

It’s no surprise that iOS 11 has given a lot of iOS users a lot of headaches. What do you expect though from Apple? When a new iOS version comes out, natural reaction is to update to get the latest in features and security fixes. Well, this is where Apple messed up. Royally.

— Be forewarned, this is a long post about the struggles of iOS 11–


The Big Day.

Rewind back to September 19, 2017. Apple has released the highly-anticipated iOS 11 update to the public, promising features such as a peer-to-peer payment system called “Apple Pay Cash,” along with a completely revised lock screen and Control Panel, to name a few.

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Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I must’ve accepted the prompt to download and update to iOS 11 overnight while I was sleeping, because when I woke up, my iPhone 7 was already updated and was awaiting for additional setup prompts to complete the setup. Great! The initial installation of iOS 11 gave me amazing new features that I really appreciated.

By this time, I was blissfully unaware of the absolute havoc it caused, because for me, I was one of the lucky few that actually had a stable installation of iOS 11.0.


Panic Ensues.

Fast forward a few days later when there was a bug fix with a “minor-point” update to iOS 11.0.1, naturally I opted for the update. Same thing as before, I downloaded and installed the update overnight.

The next morning, I was actually a bit concerned. My usual routine in the morning is to get up, get ready for work, hop into my Mazda, hook up the charging cable to my iPhone, set my music through Spotify and set off for work. During my drive, I noticed that my iPhone was actually getting quite warm to the touch, and it was literally just sitting there charging and streaming music via Bluetooth — and it was getting hot though a LifeProof Frē case. I didn’t think much of it however, since it could’ve been re-indexing the OS.

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Getting to work, I don’t do anything outside of my normal routine. Unplug my iPhone, go inside the dealership, set my phone on my desk and log into my desktop.

This is where things really start to get alarming. I check in a few customers, fast forward about half an hour and the battery life on my iPhone went from 100% to 95%. At this rate on standby, my iPhone 7 on iOS 11.0.1 is dropping 10% EVERY HOUR.

As I used my phone intermittently throughout the day, I literally can watch my battery power dwindle, percent after percent with each passing minute my iPhone is being used. This is not good since by hour 4 of my workday, I’m sitting at a paltry 37%. Not even going to make it through the workday with light usage mostly on standby. Disappointed.

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This issue as I come to find out though initial research is that iOS 11 in general, up until recently, has been an absolute PR NIGHTMARE for Apple. Tens of thousands of iOS device owners displaced by the lack of quality control by Apple with questions and venting happening through the Apple Support Forums, Twitter, Instagram, etc… Yeah. It’s that bad.


Okay, This Is Getting Old, Apple.

Apple being Apple, in a panic state rushed out another minor-point update in the form of iOS 11.0.2. Another bug fix that all of us who were unfortunate enough to update to iOS 11 at the time of release about a week later after the initial minor-point release.

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Those 4 words. “Bug fixes and improvements.” What a false sense of resolution. It broke just as much as it fixed, but it did not improve stability or battery drain whatsoever.

Then I decided to take things into my own hands and downgrade back to iOS 10.3.3, the latest version of iOS 10 before iOS 11 hit the shelves. Unbeknownst to me, my latest backup on my Mac was an iOS 11 backup with absolutely no record of my old iOS 10.3.3 backup. They aren’t compatible. Shit. Either stick with shitty stability and absolutely shocking battery life, or downgrade back to iOS 10 and lose all of my data and favorite features introduced in iOS 11. Naturally, I chose the latter. Let the downgrade begin!


Santa, Is It Really You?

You came early! As I was rocking iOS 10.3.3 for quite some time, my iPhone kept prompting me to download and install the latest version of iOS, which was still at their 3rd minor-point update — 11.0.3 (which, by the way, still did not address the elephant in the room).

Seeing the prompt I was just about to dismiss it, however, something caught my eye. The iOS update numbers were short. Could it be? It’s not another damned minor-point update? iOS users rejoice!

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iOS 11.1 has arrived. However…

Still being highly skeptical of Apple iOS updates, I decide to do my research first. Since I received notification, iOS 11.1 had only been live for less than 24 hours, and there was not a whole lot of literature out, yet. I did read, however that the iOS 11.1 Public Betas 3-5 showed very healthy improvements on stability and battery life.

Continuing on my research on the latest Public Beta, which was iOS 11.1 Public Beta 5, seems to be what’s called “Golden Master,” which means it’s pretty much more-or-less the exact build that Apple will release to the public, and indeed it was.

Build 15B93 is the same build number in between iOS 11.1 Public Beta 5 and the official iOS 11.1 public release.

Captain, ready to initiate download and install iOS 11.1!


Thank God Santa Came Early.

Being an Apple Fanboy, it’s very difficult for me to admit that Apple royally effed up the release of iOS 11 so hard, that it had me questioning if Apple were off their rockers.

I’m very happy to report in a day of routine usage, I can definitively say that compared to iOS 10.3.3, battery life has actually improved!

In my typical day usage during work, I’d usually leave work with roughly 75-80% battery life. I left today as my first full day of iOS 11.1 with 92% battery life left, without any change in usage habits compared to iOS 10.3.3!

So, in closing, if you’re wondering or skeptical to upgrade to iOS 11.1 from iOS 10.3.3, DO IT. If you’re looking to update from any iOS 11 minor-point (11.0.x), you have absolutely nothing else to lose. There’s nowhere else to go but up. You’ve been at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to stability and battery usage, and I can proudly say that Apple finally has fixed the battery and stability woes — even though they haven’t officially acknowledged that the stability and battery issues existed in the first place, they didn’t directly say anything about those fixes in the official release notes. Fret, not! Download and update! REJOICE!

Coworking Spaces – Is It Worth It?

YouTuber Chris The Freelancer has done various different video reviews of different coworking spaces all across the globe. Which got me thinking, there aren’t many reviews on coworking spaces in the United States. Probably because we’re a bunch of anti-social sociopaths? Who knows.

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American Psycho (2000) Rights Reserved – Lionsgate Films.

 

What can be said though is that coworking spaces are very underrated for the entrepreneur. Yes, you can work from home and save yourself the monthly dues of a coworking space, but is it worth it? Let’s find out.


Kevin, What Are Coworking Spaces?

Great question! Imagine the TV Series “The Office.” There are a lot of different coworking spaces all across the globe. Some are social coworking spaces, others are very professional “let’s get shit done” spaces. They’re spaces that have one communal space for anybody to work wherever they choose. No set seating, no set desk. You come in with all your work gear, you sit down where you’d like, crank out some work, then pack up and go home.

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Most coworking spaces have fantastic internet access that’s secure, most also provide printing and mailing services for those who wish to have stuff mailed to said coworking space. They also provide private offices and set desks for an extra fee if you’re so inclined to leave your stuff there when you leave.


My Experience In Coworking…

Has been very positive to be honest. It’s a space where you can get away from all the distractions at home and just hunker down and get stuff done. It’s a dangerous way to be productive. My buddy Rezal has been sampling the coworking life with me at both locations of The Reserve, and he says he hasn’t been this productive on his photo editing and front end web development before. It’s a good addiction that I think we all can get on board with.

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Most coworking spaces comes with complementary coffee for you to continue to crank out good work and stay focused. A kitchen with snacks for purchase and a member fridge is usual fare for a lot of coworking spaces as well.

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Beautiful, clean, non-distracting spaces are the best. Coworking with friends is even better. Brainstorm some good ideas together. There are also never any shortages of power outlets.

Now, if you’re traveling abroad, I’d recommend you purchase a power adapter and a power strip so you don’t have to travel with adapters for every single piece of equipment you own. Plug in the power strip to the power adapter, then plug in your computer, camera, drone, and anything else that charges from the wall. /protraveltip

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For the aspiring up-and-coming digital nomad, Internet speeds are usually always deal breaker. Thankfully most coworking spaces are bearable to the point where you can do your work, upload your project or video (if you’re a YouTuber) and eat some lunch/dinner while you’re uploading.

The coworking space The Reserve – Woodbury branch has absolutely fantastic Internet speeds, averaging about 190Mbps. Makes uploading and downloading anything an absolute breeze.


Overall…

I firmly believe that coworking spaces are essential if you work online in getting shit done. If I were at home trying to work, I’d get distracted so much easier. There’s something about the cleanliness and professionalism of a coworking space that triggers something in your mind. You need to get stuff done. You have to get stuff done, and you’re not even mad about it!

There are coworking spaces over in South East Asia such as KoHub in Koh Lanta, Thailand; Pun Space in Nimman, Chiang Mai, Thailand or @CAT Penang in George Town, Penang, Malaysia.

If this life of coworking is a somewhat of a taster of what life’ll be like overseas working at a coworking space, SIGN ME UP!

Nikon D3400 to Sony a7S – An Amateur Move?

As an amateur photographer with limited funds and already having a DSLR camera, why did I purchase a new a7S?

Oh, lemme tell ya why.


It’s dark.

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No, really. Look outside. It’s dark. As old man winter approaches and natural sunlight diminishes, the Nikon as I am quickly finding out doesn’t cut it. A photographer’s nightmare: blown-out, grainy and noisy shots that lack any bit of detail you were hoping for. Maybe I’ll rise back up from the dead after being killed by my clients and shoot with my Nikon again, only to have it let me down one more time.

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