Dec 2018: Income, Travel, and Expenses Report from Maldives and Koh Lanta

This has been a dream month and the perfect end to a great 2018. As I write this I'm sitting on the beach in Koh Lanta which is one of my favorite islands in Thailand. I just got back from two weeks on a dive yacht in the Maldives, and I got to start the month doing my favorite thing which is working on my businesses and helping to promote the digital nomad, location independent lifestyle up in Chiang Mai. This life really is surreal and is something so different than what normal life would have been if I had stayed in America and continued to work at a corporate job. Sure, I may have visited both Thailand and maybe the Maldives once in my life, but that most likely would have been it, a once off dream vacation. Instead, this is the life I have designed for myself and the reason why I'm so passionate about sharing it is because it's something that I think everyone can aspire to do as well.

I almost skipped the month's income report and was just going to sum it up in a year end report instead, having December be just another month. But this morning, I decided it was too important of a month to lump in and skip over. This month I got to live out what it really means to be both financially and location independent. I got to follow my dreams, do what I love, all while earning money online from my laptop, even in the middle of the ocean and right here on the beach as I'm writing this now. It really is an incredible life path that us digital nomads have chosen to take, and I'm excited to share with you everything I did, learned, and experience this month. Keep reading for all of the details in this month's travel, income, expenses and freedom report.

Where I Traveled

The big trip this month was to the Maldives, which has been a dream destination of mine for years. The coolest thing was that instead of the trip costing me $10,000 like it does a lot of people, I got to do it pretty much for free. For the past 6-8 months I've been helping a scuba dive liveaboard booking site with their UX (user experience), website sales flow optimization, and internet marketing in exchange for a small profit share if I hit the targets, as well as a free dive trip anywhere in the world once a year. Normally I would have charged a much higher hourly or monthly rate which might have been out of their budget, but instead, I was happy with the performance pay setup as I really just wanted to get the dive trip out of it which was worth around $2,500. 

The cool thing about staying on a liveaboard in the Maldives is that all of your food, accommodation and expenses are included for the 12 nights,  which means all I really needed to pay for was dive equipment rental as well as my flights from Thailand to the Maldives. Luckily Air Asia had some relatively affordable tickets there and back. Below are some videos from the dive trip showing some really cool things like turtles, sharks, stingrays, a ton of tropical fish and even dolphins and a whale shark!

The Negative Comments

If you're reading the comments on the above "Best of the Maldives" video or any of the others and are wondering why the comments are so negative and unrelated, it's because the guys at the MLM/Pyramid Scheme American Serving Americans are trying to discredit me by calling me a scammer, liar or even as far as a con-artist everywhere. He also threatened and has no had his MLM members leave negative 1 star reviews on my books 12 Weeks in Thailand and LIfe Changes Quick and has now done it and has left dozens.

It started because I wrote about them and refused to take down the blog post when they threatened me. The reason why I hate Multi-Level Marketing and think it's a scam is because the only way to make money with it is to recruit other people, which means, the people at the bottom will have zero chances of success running their "own business" which it's not because with MLMs you have no control. With online business whether it's dropshipping, amazon fba, affiliate marketing, ecommerce or whichever, the actual underlying business method itself works, which means regardless if you bought something through a referral or not, or if you chose to refer people or not, you still have a business that actually works.

The funny thing is that the comments are super out of context as my most recent videos are just about Dolphins, Fish, Scuba Diving and other underwater life, like this one below, which by the way was such an amazing experience being able to swim with these beautiful creatures in the water. But soon those comments will also be on this blog post and video which may really hurt people thinking that working online for yourself isn't possible.

Random comments on my Dolphin and Fish Videos. 

Negative 1 Star Comments on my book Life Changes Quick

Life Lessons Learned

A few years ago, I would have been really hurt and angry from the hate comments and from people trying to discredit me. I actually went through something similar 3 years ago when I first started promoting dropshipping and was one of the first people publicly and openly sharing my success with the business model. A few very vocal people started saying that dropshipping was a scam and that it didn't work. The silly thing is that the business model has been around for a decade and now really big companies like Wayfair and Hayneedle all use the same system that we use. The funny thing is now 3+ years later, I'm still following the exact same method and course that i've been recommending for over five years now and every month I'm meeting people who never post anything online about their success and never refer anyone to the course but are hugely successful running their own dropshipping store.

That is the primary difference between an MLM and an online business that also happens to have a refer a friend program or an affiliate program. The actual business itself works and it actually is your own business. This is why I've learned to ignore anyone who says dropshipping is a scam, because I know it's not, and the best way to prove is to continue recommending people to courses like Anton's Method as I know it genuinely works as it was named Shopify's best ecommerce course of the year. Also because I've personally now met hundreds of people who have successful businesses now because of it, 99% of which never talk about it publicly or refer anyone to it or post online. Luckily i've gotten a few of them to talk about it on the podcast, like on episodes 181209, and 210

Travel Lessons Learned

As far as travel lessons go this month I ended up abandoning my original plane tickets, hotel bookings and travel plans to chase a girl. We had met just 6 weeks ago in Chiang Mai and she was literally on her way out of the country that day, to Burma. The lantern festival was coming up and I had convinced her to stay even through her friends were going to move on without her. This month, just a few days before my trip to the Maldives, I we met up in Bangkok on her way back from Burma, and instead of going back to Chiang Mai afterwards as planned, I ended up flying down to Koh Phangan to meet her again. It was a bit silly of me as I know she's on a year long trip traveling through Thailand/Burma/Malaysia/Vietnam/New Zealand and Australia and that at most we would have just a few weeks together here and there. 

But what i've learned is that as digital nomads, we're blessed to have the freedom of location and enough time and money to travel, and that instead of being fiercely independent and sticking to our plans, sometimes it's worth throwing it all away and chasing happiness. Maybe it's the holidays talking, and having someone amazing to spend Christmas and New Years with, but even though today is our last day together and she's moving on to her solo backpacking trip and I'm going back to Chiang Mai to get back to business, I'm glad I took the shot and had the time together. In life, I've learned that especially when it comes to people you meet while traveling, sometimes we really are two ships passing in the night, but if it's possible to take a detour, even if it's just for a little while, it's worth it, as the journey really is more important than the destination. 

Life would have been easier if I lived in one place, or back in the US where if I met someone incredible, we'd have all the time in the world to spend together. Or even if I met another digital nomad we would could travel together. But sometimes life and priorities just don't match up. It would be unfair to her if I slowed down her travel to stay with me in Chiang Mai for the next month, and it would be unfair to me and my priorities if I started a round the world backpacking trip. But either way, I have no regrets as I have some incredible sunsets that i'll never forget and in a time when it seems like a lot of people you meet are overly complicated or selfish, it's such a nice reminder that there exists some truly amazing, kind, caring, beautiful, easy going, accepting and appreciative women out there still. So even if the timing of our lives didn't match up, i'm glad I we met and hope to cross paths again one day, somewhere in the world. 

An unforgettable sunset on Koh Tao

Expenses for December

This month should have costed me a fortune as 12 days in the Maldives, 8 plane tickets as well as hotels for the month, a full moon party, Christmas and New Year's should have added up to a fortune. But I was lucky to have been able to have this amazing month's experience for not that much more than I would have spent otherwise. The first thing I did before I left was sublet my apartment to another digital nomad as I knew I was going to be gone for an entire month. She was happy as I have an amazing condo which is impossible to get in December as it's high season, and I was happy that it wouldn't have to sit empty for a month and cost me money on top of the hotel rooms I'd then have to double pay for. Also since the liveaboard was all-inclusive I didn't have to pay the outrageous hotel room prices that normally come with the Maldives which normally start at $250 a night, and I also didn't have to pay $15-$35 a meal either. 

Since the liveaboard was part of my consulting fee working for that liveaboard company, the first half of my trip was essentially free, aside from the costs of plane tickets. The second half also normally would have been expensive as we were staying on nice islands during the peak season. But since Bohne is traveling on a budget and because she insisted on always paying for half of everything including the hotel room we ended up always finding decent places for a good price. Here's a breakdown of everything I spent this month.

Apartment in Chiang Mai: $0
Flight - Chiang Mai to Bangkok: $64
Flight - Bangkok to Maldives: $171
Liveaboard - Maldives: $0
Flight - Maldives to Bangkok: $288.49
Flight - Bangkok to Koh Phangan: $80.47
Hotel on Koh Phangan: $30 a night, 4 nights, divided by 2.
Ferry to Koh Tao: $30
Scuba Diving on Koh Tao: $50
Hotel on Koh Tao: $19 a night, 4 nights, divided by 2.
Ferry/Bus to Koh Lanta: $29 
Hotel on Koh Lanta: $22 a night, 4 nights, divided by 2. 
Flight to Chiang Mai: $100

Total Travel Costs: $924

Food/Drinks - Lots of Great Food: $415
Electricity Bill: $0
Water Bill: $0
Propane/Gas: $0
Drinking Water Delivery: $0
Gas for Scooter: $3
Maintenance/Repairs: $0
Ubers/Grab Taxi: $20
Home Internet: $18 (SiNet 100down/40up)
Netflix: $11
Travel Insurance: $15 (insurance blog post)
Cell Phone Plan: $16 (5GB + SuperWifi by AIS)
Gym Membership: $37.50 (Didn't use)
Miscellaneous Spending: $50 (estimated)
Donation to Isaan Muay Thai: $15
Money to my Parents: $1,000 (Mother's retirement)

Total Expenses: $1,506 (not including donations)

*increase from $1,176.67 last month. (not including paying for parent's property tax)

My expenses and accounting for December 2018

Income for December

It's been an interesting month income wise. If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that I started a few new projects just two months ago in November and I'm happy to say that some of them are starting to pay off. My two main projects these past two months was organizing the upcoming Nomad Summit as well as leading the Dropship Partnership Program for 2018 where 7 chosen people flew out to Chiang Mai to start or grow their dropshipping stores together. I'm really happy to report that a few of the stores are already making sales and already profitable. We're currently at 4 out of the 7 stores are already making sales and aim to get all 7 out of 7 by the end of January, lets keep our fingers crossed!

Below are screen shots of the dashboards for a few of the stores, including one of our Australian stores and one American store. Also shared are screen shots of some of the other sources of income I'm receiving including Kindle Book Sales of my two books Life Changes Quick and 12 Weeks in Thailand as they are both great books that have withstood the onslaught of fake 1-star reviews.

Also shown are screenshots of my Udemy courses earnings as well as my Youtube dashboard for advertising on the videos, which by the way, if ASA doesn't stop with the negative comments, i'll be forced to make a new dedicated video on Youtube to exposing them as well. I honestly don't want to waste my time doing so as I could be working on my own businesses or helping people with theirs, but what ASA doesn't realize is that the negative attention they're driving towards me is actually increasing my traffic, and when people take the time to actually read through my blog, watch my videos or listen to the podcast or read my books, they'll figure out for themselves that my content is good and I'll just gain new followers because of it. It's silly to say but all publicity is good publicity, and even negative comments drives social traffic and engagement which means more visitors.

Total Profit for December: $6,892.69

*decrease from last month's income of $7,652.04

Sales from one of our new US Dropshipping Stores

Sales from one of my new Australian dropshipping stores

Some of the affiliate earnings as taught in Income Boss

Kindle book sales from Life Changes Quick & 12 Weeks in Thailand

Sales from my Udemy Courses

Ad revenue from my Youtube Channel

Monthly Wrap Up

This was one of the best months of my life. I got to spend it doing what I love and with someone really special. I feel so fortunate to have found this way of living as an alternative to the traditional 9-5 job back home where going somewhere like Thailand or the Maldives would be a dream trip. I think this is why I'm so passionate about promoting this lifestyle and way of working online while traveling as a digital nomad. I genuinely feel bad for people who have gotten stuck living back home at a job that they hate with no freedom of time, money, or location. It's really sad to me when people join things like multi-level marketing companies like ASA because they desperately want to start their own business and don't know where else to turn. This is why I publish interviews with hundreds of successful location independent entrepreneurs on the Travel Like a Boss Podcast and make them all available for free. I want people to hear from those who have made it regardless of which business model they choose to follow.

I've used myself as a guinea pig to test various business models, and put myself out there openly and transparently even though it often leads to hate and negativity. Because of it I'm often a target of people's attacks and false gossip, but it's also forced me to be stronger, smarter, and unfuckwithable if that's a word. I've learned to double down and use the negativity as free traffic and towards my advantage, and have built up multiple streams of income so I don't have to worry about ever feeling pressured to take down a blog post or give in to a threat.

I've also learned that the people who listen to anonymous or random comments on the internet without using any common sense or thinking of their own aren't the people I want to attract as readers anyways. So if anything, it's a filter for those who are smart enough to understand that online business is possible and that the only scam is those for give up on their dreams because someone else told them it's not possible. I hope everyone reading this far has found happiness in life, love, business, and travels. But either way, we're at the start of a new year, so happy 2019 and may this be the best year of your life! Below is the video version of this month's update with more info!

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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  1. You're truly living the dream, Johnny! Love reading your stuff and knowing you're always gonna tell it like it is.

  2. How was everyone's December 2018? Feel free to ask any questions here!

  3. Hey johnny! Glad life is treating you well! I got a visa related question that im hoping you could answer. I also live in Thailand doing the SETV. I have done 3 this past year and am travelling back to the states this coming month. My question is - What was your visa situation this past year and what is your plan for 2019? You still doing METV's? Thanks in advance

  4. Hi Johnny, I'm sorry to hear you've been sick. I have also. I'm also sorry to hear that people have been attacking you, especially on a video that has nothing to do with business.

    Not attacking but I do have an issue with you calling all MLM a scam. That's painting with a pretty broad brush. There are scams in MLM and I've been a victim of one. I also made good money in one, working a specific angle with it.

    To say that people at the bottom have 0 chance of success is incorrect. Anyone can rise up through the ranks but most don't. It does take being a natural born leader with very good sales skills to make money. I have a friend here in CM who does pretty well with it, although I think she can do better with her talents elsewhere.

    Just my 2 cents. I won't be joining any MLMs any time soon. You're right that online businesses have a much better chance of success.

  5. You won't be affording those trips for long asshole.


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