Feb 2019: Monthly Travel, Income and Expenses Report from Kuala Lumpur

This month was split exactly down the middle with 2 weeks in Chiang Mai, and the last two weeks here in Kuala Lumpur. It's been interesting working online while traveling from the digital nomad hub of Thailand to the up and coming city in Malaysia. KL has always been known as a place to go make visa runs and to stop over during connecting flights, but if you read my previous blog post, you'll know that Kuala Lumpur is also potentially a fantastic place to base as well. In this month's post i'm going to breakdown how much it cost to live here, cowork, travel, eat, and get around along with how much I earned online.

I'll be updating my travel plans and revisiting my new year resolution goals to see where I'm standing and if i'm on the right track or not. Right away I can tell you that it was a good month in terms of resting up, working on my relationships, getting back in shape, and setting myself up for the next few months of travel and the craziness it'll ensue. This was my month to rest, relax and make sure everything was on track and planned out for the rest of the year. In a sense, having nothing to do all day here in KL was exactly what I needed. 

Where I Traveled

I started the month in Chiang Mai but had to leave on February 18th as my visa had run out and it was good timing to leave just before burning season started. It's a strange month in CM as even though with the exception of a random day or two, the weather during February in Chiang Mai is great and air doesn't usually get bad until the beginning of March, yet the city often feels like a big going away party as people start prematurely leaving all month in anticipation. Part of it is fear but more of it is excitement by beginner nomads who are always looking for the next cool place to go to whether it be Bali or DaNang. 

That being said, I normally would have stayed until the end of February, but didn't want to risk having another extension stamp in my passport as I would have been in Thailand then for 6 months this year on tourist visas which is something that immigration is starting to frown upon seeing. So when the German girl I have been kind of dating since November suggested we meet somewhere for a week between travels, KL seemed like the perfect spot. She had suggested Vietnam, but since I had already been there twice and didn't want to go back, I suggested Sri Lanka. Both would have been out of the way for us, so I suggested we just get a nice Airbnb in KL and hang out for a week. Read more about my blog post on Kuala Lumpur for digital nomads here. 

She's sitting next to me now at a coworking space and it's been a great week together. However, the fact that I'm sitting here on my laptop doing my accounting for the month, while she's writing in her travel journal and planning out a four month long backpacking trip through Vietnam, Japan and New Zealand just shows how different of places we are right now. We've both been putting off talking about it, but she's leaving tomorrow to Vietnam and then off to NZ to work and travel. I'll be going to opposite direction through Sri Lanka, Europe, and to Mexico. So as great as it's been these past four or so months, this may be the last time we see each other, at least for a while. 

It's a bit sad to think about, but at the end of the day, even though the time we've spent together has been incredible, we both knew it would soon come to an end. We both had the option to change our travel plans and follow the other or create our own, but neither of us did. I think that deep down inside we know that even though we care about each other and have fun when we hang out, we know that at least for now, we both have other places we need to be and different life paths and journeys we'd rather be on. I hope we'll remain friends and keep in touch, but at least for the next 4-5 months we probably won't be crossing paths anywhere in the world. 

The end of one journey starts another.

Lessons, Goals and Plans

The first big lesson I learned this month is that we all have choices and it's what we prioritize that defines our lives. If I prioritize the ease and instant gratification of ordering a pizza over the hardship of making a salad and going to the gym, my life will reflect those choices. Right now I've been prioritizing traveling and having new experiences over a set routine. That means that I'm enjoying seeing new places, trying different food, and the excitement of new. But the cost of that has been developing longer relationships, eating healthy, and regularly working out. 

The nice thing about both KL and Chiang Mai however has been that it's been relatively easy to have a bit of both. We've been cooking a lot at home here in KL even though it's actually cheaper and easier just to eat out. And since there's a nice gym inside my building, there hasn't been an excuse not to work out regularly. The one thing I messed up on was having a few drinks and breaking my sober streak. As much as I try to ignore the fact, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to alcohol, and not just Asian flush allergic, but breathing problems allergic. Luckily I have a live in research assistant, who tells me that even though I don't snore normally, whenever I drink alcohol I end up snoring for at least 2 nights in a row, which I'm taking as a sign that I just shouldn't do it at all. 

As for fitness, I thought I had gotten back into a good routine and really pushed myself hard during my last gym session. I felt great at the time, but was so sore yesterday I could hardly move, and today, that muscle soreness feels more like pain of overdoing it than the usual DOMs. (Delayed onset muscle soreness) Lessons learned are that I really shouldn't drink alcohol, and that even though I think I can still workout like I'm training at a Muay Thai gym, that I really need to take it slow until I'm back into a steady routine of more than just a few days.

Crushing it at a gym in Kuala Lumpur.

Expenses for the Month

It was a stange month with half of it being purging and selling all of my stuff in Chiang Mai, and then moving to KL. Even though I've done it literally 10 times now, this year was by far the most difficult time I had selling my motorbike in Thailand. I also had terrible luck and bad timing as it was the start of low season and people were leaving. My main issue was that I had two scooters and really bad luck with both. The Honda Click was a bit older but would normally start and drive fine but decided to not start on the day I listed it for sale, even worse the battery ended up dying from trying to start it for so long. I ended up letting someone who is handy with repairs buy it off of me for 6,000 baht ($190us) even though it's worth normally at least double that. 

But at the end of the day, I would have spent 2,500 baht a month renting a bike over the past five months anyways, so at the end of the day, even completing messing up and having the worst luck possible with both bikes, it still ended up only costing me a total of 4,500 ($143usd) after what I would have spent anyways renting one. This is why as mentioned in my book 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap, it's still always a better idea financially to buy and later sell a motorbike if you're staying for 3+ months than renting. Plus if you crash or damage your own bike, oh well, verses getting screwed damaging a rental.

Aside from the bike buy and sell, here's what I spent the for the month. 

Chiang Mai Condo: $235usd - 2 weeks
Kuala Lumpur Airbnb: $303usd - 12 nights
Flight CNX to KUL: $120usd - AirAsia
Transportation: $120 ($2.50 per ride) - Grab Taxi
Coworking Space: $0 (Cafes and Trials) - CommonGround
Coffee and Tea: $60
Food and Dining: $270 
Netflix: $11
Gym: $0 (hotel gym)
Travel Insurance: $15 (insurance)
Cell Phone Data: $18
Misc. $50
Money to Parents: $1,000 (why)
Donation to Muay Thai: $15

Total Expenses: $1,196 (not including donations)

*same as last month's $1,195.32

Indoor Trampoline Park Chiang Mai 
Office of the Day in Chiang Mai with Chris

Income for February

The best thing about working online is the fact that we can set out own schedule and pace. This month was all about getting things ready for my upcoming months of travel, which meant not taking on any new projects, and making sure everything was wrapped up nicely and automated as much as possible before I went to Sri Lanka and then on the Nomad Cruise. A lot of the month was also getting things finished up for last month's Nomad Summit including getting all of the photos uploaded, making sure all of the videos got edited and published and setting up the event for next year.

Aside from that, I didn't actually do that much work for my own personal businesses or start any new projects. Luckily, a few months ago I started a bunch of new dropshipping stores which are now starting to be profitable and paying off. Below is one of my stores start is starting to make around $3,200 a month in sales with an average order value of $400. It's time to start scaling up these stores and turning up the advertising campaigns now that we know which products are selling and how the suppliers are handling the orders. 

Also below are screen shots of some of the other sources of passive income I've earned, mostly from things like my book sales, Udemy courses, and Amazon referrals which are things that I built up months if not years ago that are still paying me monthly in passive income, which is what I teach inside my Income Boss course which shows case studies on how I built everything from scratch years ago. 

Total Profit for the month: $4,981.88

*decrease from $12,795.99 last month.

Revenue from my Dropshipping Store

Revenue from my Amazon Books

Revenue from my Udemy Courses

Revenue from my Youtube Channel

Monthly Wrap Up

It's been an interesting month. On one hand it's exactly what I needed and was an ideal month. I got to spend time with good friends, people I care about, and work from nice coworking spaces and cafes. I didn't have that much responsibility so the stress that came with putting on the live event in January was over and everything else has now been at a slower pace. Health wise I got to spend more time cooking at home and going to the gym as well as to the pool. And with the exception of one night, I didn't have any alcohol for the entire month.

On paper, my life has been great and it was exactly what I wanted, which was to spend a few weeks chilling out in a nice Airbnb watching Netflix on the couch with someone I cared about. But this experience also gave me a glimpse of what normal life would be like. Living in one place, having a routine, cooking at home, watching movies every night. And even though it was comfortable, I also realized how different it is from my normal life of travel and adventure. I think I'm ready to go explore the world again, and luckily so as I fly to Sri Lanka tomorrow before starting my 2019 Summer Eurotrip. I'm excited to pack my bag, hop on a flight and see a new country as a tourist again and not as a digital nomad.

I'll still work a bit to keep things going, but at least for now, I won't be starting any new projects this month and will just be maintaining and following up on things that are already in place. I'm sure my income will suffer because of this, but making a lot of money isn't my priority right now and I don't think it'll make me happy. So at least for now, budget backpacker mode is back in effect as it's the best way to explore Sri Lanka anyways. Wish me luck, and keep in touch to see what happens next! The only thing I know for sure is that things always change and nothing stays still.

With love from Kuala Lumpur,

Johnny FD

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  1. Thanks for the post Johnny. KL looks like a place I need to visit.

    1. Go for the food and let us know what you think of the city!

  2. Enjoy KL dude. Chiang Mai in about 2 weeks for us Johnny. First BKK for 3 days then off to CM. I love it there. Feels like home to me.

  3. As usual, thanks for your income report!
    Side note: you might see some extra website sessions from Bulgaria on Google Analytics :)

    1. Hey awesome Filippo! You moving to Bulgaria or did you share it somewhere? =)

  4. Nice ! Passed through KL coming back to CM in CM more - 'cosier' would be the word....too many high-rises and freeways snaking everywhere in KL.

    I'd fly into KL and KL to CM if I were you Johnny when your coming back later this year. Visa stuff getting tighter and tighter here...6 months away or not, they are looking at total length of time here in BKK airports and people get bounced back to the origin airport at times.
    You can usually get the KL-CM leg free by varying your inbound KL flight across 5 different days on the price checker till one day is cheaper than the rest and that pays the airasia flight KL-CM.

    Investlikeaboss would tend to agree, yes ? (No affiliate link below, just fired it up on another tab as I was reading your post.) I hate that fake comments/link spamming crap.

    "The two best ways to make money are by outsourcing your work and creating passive income, according to self-made millionaire Grant Sabatier"

  5. Yeah I agree Chiang Mai is definitely cozier with more of a small city warmth to it.


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