March 2019: Travel, Expenses, and Income from Sri Lanka and Gran Canaria

I started the month in Sri Lanka with the intention to backpack, travel and sightsee more than actually doing work. I knew that the wifi in the country wouldn't be great so I made sure I didn't have any important calls or projects to worry about for the 3 weeks I'd be there. But even then, I was still able to work a bit, or at least check emails everyday. Some people would be annoyed that they have to work during their vacation, but for me, I actually enjoy it. Sitting down at my laptop after a long day of walking around sightseeing is actually relaxing. I guess reading a book, watching a movie or checking facebook would also be, but for me, knowing that the gears are still grinding and working even when i'm not is surprisingly a nice feeling. So there I was, taking trains, buses, and jeeps through tea plantations, surf beaches and safaris, not really working, but at the same time, not spending much money either.

About halfway through my trip, staying a 3 minute walk away from an amazing surf beach, and spending my days in the water, I asked myself, what if I just did this instead? My guest house was $14 a night, and the board rental was $2.50, with the low costs of local food and the ease of just being able to walk everywhere, I could technically just retire today and become a surf bum. My total costs of living would be less than $700 a month and I could live at the beach, have someone clean my room, cook me food, and rent me a surfboard whenever I wanted to go out in the ocean. I seriously thought about it for a few days, and am still thinking about it today sitting here in Gran Canaria where I am now. This is my travel, income, expenses, and lessons learned update for the past 30 days.

Where I Traveled

I actually started the month in Kuala Lumpur after spending two weeks with the German girl. It feels like so long ago already since we split, but since then she's been motorbiking across Vietnam and is now headed to to Japan, while I went surfing in Sri Lanka. Part of me regrets not going with her but, I think it was better for both of us. We still text each other most days, but with distance and also knowing that we won't see each other again for half a year or more our communication also reflects that. Going to Sri Lanka was actually originally not my idea. She wanted to find a place in Asia that we could meet that wasn't Bali but had good surfing. I had gotten so excited about the idea of finding Sri Lanka that even though she ended up not going, I knew it was a place I had to experience for myself. It was like finding another world that I had never knew existed and I'm glad I went. You can read more about my trip to Sri Lanka and plan your own here. 

Even though I miss my life in Chiang Mai, Thailand, things are getting stricter and stricter there for long term tourists and digital nomads. Immigration no longer allows you to stay longer than 6 month a year on a tourist visa, making it feel less and less welcoming to have the country as a home base or even consider buying a condo there and settling in longer term. I'm thankful that I've made and saved enough of my income these past few years that I can afford to move around more, and don't need to be tied to one location to work as now the plan is to spend 3 months a year or less in Thailand and see places like Nepal or visit new countries every year starting in February after the annual Nomad Summit mid Jan. 

Now I'm in Gran Canaria, after an amazing 3 week trip through Sri Lanka, which is somewhere I'd happily visit again, maybe even for longer next year. Life was cheap there, the water was clean, the surf was amazing and it was a fantastic place to surf. Sri Lanka is the better version of Bali, it just doesn't look as good in instagram photos and hasn't been written about in the Oprah book club yet. Also a place I love is Gran Canaria which is a place that I lived in for a few months last year and am glad I'm visiting again as it's reminded me how magical this little island is. It's a place I'd easily make my home base and live in long term if I was from the UK or Europe as it's close by and part of Spain. It was a bit difficult to get to from Colombo, Sri Lanka, but thankfully I found a good deal on a business class flight with just one layover in Zurich. Here's the video of that experience. 

Travel and Living Expenses

It's a bit silly that I spent more on my flight from Colombo to Gran Canaria than I did the entire month living and traveling throughout Sri Lanka. It's another reason why I want to slow down my travels and stay in each location for longer as flying so often is not only bad for your budget, but also your health and the environment. However since I had to be here for the Nomad Cruise which leaves out of here next week, I had to find my way here from Sri Lanka and the only other options were to take a series of 3 or more layovers and first flying into Ukraine which would have made the trip twice as long. Thankfully Swiss Air / Edelweiss has a weekly flight with just one layover in Zurich, the only catch was that instead of being a $450 one way flight with 3 layovers, it would be almost double the price even for economy. 

After a lot of thinking and mulling over, I ended up booking a business class flight for $1,673.11 which was actually only 2x the price of the economy seat, which isn't that bad as normally it would be 400% more. But even then I still pondered a lot about the financial decision as I could have also saved over $1,000 by taking a flight with 3 layovers instead. It's one of those strange decisions we have to make as digital nomads as for most people, they are either constrained by time or money, and since we are both location and time independent, we now have the choice to either save money and spread out our trip longer, even staying in 3 different countries for a few days each and slowly moving towards our destination, or paying more and arriving sooner. 

I still don't know if "wasting" $1,000 was a good idea as since I haven't been working as much I can't justify the time savings anymore. A few years ago, I would have just worked an extra 4 hours and made that money back, which would have made it an easy decision to just fly business class, get there sooner, be rested, and work more than the next day or even during the flight. But now that I'm in passive income mode, it makes it a hard decision, which honestly sucks to be in. The fact that I'm still thinking about this today means that I'm stressing about money more than I should. Thankfully the rest of the month had super low expenses as living in Sri Lanka was dirt cheap, and I'm now staying in at my buddy David Vu's place in Gran Canaria for free in his guest bedroom. 

Flight - Kuala Lumpur to Sri Lanka: $94.84
Flight - Sri Lanka to Gran Canaria: $1,673.11 
Hotel in Sri Lanka - $14 a night ($280 for 3 weeks)
Apartment in Gran Canaria - $0 (staying with a friend)
Surf Board Rental - $25 ($2.50 an hour)
Surf Lessons - $28 (two lessons at $14 each)
Jeep Safari - $39 (Udawalawe Park
Food and Drinks - $300
SIM card Sri Lanka (15gb) - $5 
SIM card Spain (10gb) - $22
Taxis and Trains - $90
Monthly Gift to Mother - $1,000 (blog post)

Total Expenses - $2,558.14 

*increase from $1,196.00 last month. (excluding gifts)

Income for March

The strange thing about passive income is that it comes in cycles. The work you do this month usually had nothing to do with how much money you take home until months later. In my case, a lot of the income that I earn is from work done months or even years before and has little to nothing to do with how much I did, or in my case of this month in Sri Lanka, didn't work. Also with my favorite types of passive income including investment income,  and even sometimes with affiliates, we're often paid quarterly which means that there are tons of ups and downs with income even though in reality over the year it's actually smoothed out. 

So even though this month I hardly worked at all, it was actually a pretty decent month, but it was also 100% passive income as I really didn't work at actively. I said no to all coaching clients, phone calls, and didn't even have time to work on existing projects. 

I'm also very grateful that I have an amazing team that I built back in October of 2018 in Chiang Mai. A group of us got together to create dropshipping stores following Anton's dropshipping method and I'm pleased to say that they're all making sales, and one just hit over $10,000 in revenue for the month! The profit from these stores, combined with everything that I make from my other passive income sources including what I teach inside Income Boss and the course itself has made me over $6,000 this month even without actively working. Part of that was interest collected from the investments I've made ever since selling my first couple of dropshipping stores and cashing out as well as dividends collected from my index fund investments. 

Total Profit this month: $6,335.45

*increase from last month: $4,981.88

Sales from one of my dropshipping stores

Dividend and Growth Returns from Index Funds

Interest Collected from Peerstreet

Lessons Learned this Month

If my stress levels and tone of voice seemed to have changed halfway through this month's blog post, it's because I started writing it before I actually got to the section of how much I earned this month and before I did the calculations. I was geninely stressed about wasting the $1,000 flying business class this month as I knew I didn't work that much and was worried that my income would have been super low. It wasn't until I actually logged in to calculate my earnings that I realized that I actually made $1,000 more than I did last month and had the best month in dropshipping sales since the start of the new stores.

I think that as long as you've put in the work at some point, it's okay to relax a bit and not stress about purchases that you know were justified. At the same time, I'd like to get my income back to a point where I can spend $4,000 even on a round trip business class flight somewhere and not stress about how much money it cost. I don't know if that'll be my priority anytime soon as it's honestly a lot easier to just coast and make $5,000 a month which is plenty in my modest lifestyle anyways. The value of being able to chill out, surf all month and still make a full time income is incredible. The lesson learned this month is to stop stressing out about money and to just enjoy it. Here's the video version of this month's income report with more info!

Did you learn anything this month, or would you have done anything different in your situation or mine if you were in it? Leave a comment below!

With Love from Gran Canaria,

Johnny FD

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Income Report 1918552911138860872

Post a Comment

  1. Would you rather work from Gran Canaria or Sri Lanka?

  2. Just sold my DS store..I'm definitely going the surf bum route in Sri lanka!lol.Great video Johnny!

    1. Nice buddy! With the money you made from selling your dropshipping store, you could travel in Sri Lanka for years without working! =D

  3. Johnny, long time follower here. You could get a VA to do a weekly update to pull your information and compile it for you, assuming you can give 'view' access only to all the resources.

    1. Hey I would but most websites don't have view only or limited account access! Most just have single admin logins!


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