April 2019: Travel, Income, and Expenses from the Canary Islands, Lisbon, and the Nomad Cruise

This has been a super fun month starting out in the Canary Islands, going on the Nomad Cruise, hanging out in Lisbon, and now making it all the way to Eastern Europe in Ukraine. With the exception of the last few days where I got into a good work flow, I probably worked less this month than I have in years. I've been averaging maybe 30 minutes a day, logging in to check email and make sure nothing too crazy has happened. I've been trying to relax my work schedule now for months and really just take a break and enjoy life, destress, and get back into shape, and it's finally starting to happen. I'm in love with my life, my routine, and the lack of responsibilities I have, but it wasn't easy to get to.

For the past one or two years I've been struggling trying to work less, while stressing out and feeling bad for doing so. On one hand I'm really fortunate that I put the work in and saved up and invested enough money that that combined with the passive income I still earn is more than enough to cover my costs of living, especially since I generally live super frugally. However, even though I don't actually need to work, I feel bad for not doing so, and I've accidently build another prison around myself juggling ten different websites, two podcasts, a team of partner stores, three conferences, a bunch of speaking engagements, and a bunch of businesses that although mostly passive, still require some attention and mental space. Yet somehow this month, I've finally allowed myself to just chill out and not stress about it, and I can tell you that it's awesome. Here's everything I did, spent, earned, and achieved for April 1st-30th, 2019 as well as my goals and plans for next month.

Travel Part 1: Las Palmas

I started off the month in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria as I mentioned in last month's income report. It was a ton of fun and it was nice to catch up again with my Polish friends from Chiang Mai, Krystian and Martha as well as Louise Croft who I interviewed for Ep 221 of Travel Like a Boss, and of course my buddy David Dang Vu who I stayed with.

We ended up going snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, abseiling, and even paragliding turning my time there. It was a blast and made me love life on Gran Canaria even more knowing how much cool nature stuff there is to do within a 20 minute drive. It was also nice seeing that the Nomad Coffee Club Las Palmas is still going strong and that the digital nomad community as a whole there is thriving. More info on Las Palmas and Gran Canaria for digital nomads here.

But for me, going on the Nomad Cruise and having it leave again from LPA was a nice excuse to go back to the island, stay for 2 weeks before hand to catch up and enjoy it again, and I'm glad I did. Gran Canaria is still a place that I would highly recomend anyone who wants to live in the EU but wants warm weather year round and lower costs of living to consider moving to.

Travel Tip: Although it's part of Spain, it's geographically in Africa so it's warm year round!

Travel Part 2: Nomad Cruise

Then it was time to board Nomad Cruise 8 which started in Gran Canaria, took us through two more of the Canary Islands. Tenerife was beautiful and amazing with a really nice beach, drums from Carnival and just an overall nice vibe.  Lanzarote on the other hand was okay, but a bit boring from what I saw. But to be honest, it's hard to get a good judge on a place just being there as a cruise ship stopover. On one hand, it's pretty easy to google top things to do in each city, look at what excursions they have and get a general idea if it's worth going back to again, but at the same time, it makes it a bit too easy to check off that city, island, or even entire country off my list of places I've been and not go back.

This happened at my our next stop in Casablanca, Morocco which is a place I never planned to visit, but now that I have, I don't plan on going back to. People have told me that there's so much to see and do there and that Casablanca, although made famous by the old movie from 1942 isn't actually the best of Morocco. So who knows, maybe one day I'll go back again to visit Fes or Marrakesh, but the country wasn't high on list of must visit places anyways so maybe it's good that I got a taste of it for a day as I otherwise wouldn't have. I recorded a podcast Episode 222 of Travel Like a Boss talking about my thoughts on going back to Gran Canaria again, this Nomad Cruise verses the one I went on last year prior, and a bit about Lisbon and my future travel plans as well if you want to download it on your phone and take a listen on your next commute or next time you're washing dishes at home.

Travel Tip: Use coupon code "NOMADSUMMIT" when booking your next Nomad Cruise for €50.

Travel Part 3: Lisbon

I really loved Lisbon the two times I've been there. I can see why Johannes and the Nomad Cruise wanted to start and end the cruise at two nomad hotspots, as Lisbon is definitely one of them. It's my third time there and I still love it everytime I go. I've actually had a few digital nomad friends including Dr. Shannon Weeks and Dr. Alexis Shields who I met in Chiang Mai both move there permanently to set up a new life and residency there. It's a beautiful city with friendly people, good weather, although still a bit cold in winters, and a low cost of living compared to the rest of Europe and even Spain. The digital nomad scene there is thriving and one of the largest outside of Asia and life overall is great. 

If I wanted to live in the Europe it'd be a toss up between Lisbon and Las Palmas as both have their charms. I'd choose Las Palmas if I wanted to be by a beach and use it daily, as well as do more nature stuff, and Lisbon if I enjoyed city life more, including nicer restaurants and sightseeing and would just go to the beach a few times a month. I wrote a mega blog post about Lisbon for digital nomads here if you want to check it out. Below is a video that I made showing "a day in the life" in Lisbon, actually filmed over my entire week there, but it's still one of my favorite travel videos that I've made as there's so much cool stuff to do and see there. 

Travel Tip: Lisbon is like the better Barcelona, it's worth checking out! 

Expenses: Staying with Friends

You'd think that with all of this world travel going from the Canary Islands, doing all of this amazing stuff like paragliding, scuba diving, then eating and drinking on a cruise ship through Morocco, Portugal, staying in hotels along the way, then flying all the way to Ukraine where I am now would cost a ton of money, and normally it would if I was just a normal traveler. The nice thing about living this location independent entrepreneur lifestyle is the freedom and flexibility we have. 

I spent two weeks in Las Palmas staying in a beautiful 3 bedroom flat on the beach boardwalk in the heart of Las Canteras where all of the action is with my buddy David Dang Vu so it was a huge savings of not needing to book a hotel or an airbnb for that time. But before you think it's just nice to have rich friends, remember that in life, the more you put out there, the more you receive in return. The reason we even met in the first place is that I went out of my way to reach out to him to help promote his ebay arbitrage course when it first came out. I've probably sent him hundreds of customers and made him tens of thousands of dollars in the past few years. It was easy for me to recomend as it was a cheap course that anyone could afford, that was easy to follow, proven to work, and was a great first step into online business.

Secondly, even though hundreds of people were coming to Las Palmas to go on the cruise, most people weren't going to arrive until a day or two before. David missed hanging out with English speaking friends and actually asked if I wanted to come and stay for a month, which I couldn't as I would be in Sri Lanka still and because it would eat too much into my 90 days on the Schengen visa. Then there's something that most people don't think about or mention, but the reason why friends don't mind hosting me is simple, I clean up after myself and don't treat their house like a hotel. It's silly to even have to mention, but you'll be surprised how many people overstay their welcomes or take more and expect more than they give in life. Even doing something small like cooking dinner for everyone instead of just yourself, and making sure you clean up after goes a long way! 

Life Tip: Be a good houseguest and you'll never find yourself homeless! 

Aboard the Nomad Cruise with David and friends. 

Expenses: How Much I Spent

Here's a breakdown of everything I spent for the month of April. I was already in Las Palmas when the month started so I counted the flight from Sri Lanka in last month's income report. But for this month my expenses were higher because instead of living in one place, I was traveling around a lot and settling into a new place which always has startup costs. 

But at the same time, my actual expenses were a bit lower as I just moved into my Airbnb last week which means that the $530 I paid below is actually for this month and half of next month even though I counted the entire month. Also since I refer so many people to the Nomad Cruise, Johannes never charges me full price for it even though I always sign up during the early bird pricing just in case. For accomidation, even though I can afford to stay in nicer hotels, I don't see the point when I'm traveling alone so if it's less than a few days, I often end up staying in shared or private rooms in hostels as it's a lot cheaper. The room at Selina was super nice and I basically got 4 nights for the price of 1 by sharing it. 

Also things like signing up for VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) which is something you need if you travel a lot to be able to watch certain Netflix shows, login to your bank accounts that may block certain countries, etc, all have refer a friend programs or annual plans that end up costing less. But, here it is, everything I spend money on this month, it was actually a slight decrease from last month as I flew super economy on Wizz Air from Lisbon to Ukraine instead of business class like I did last month from Sri Lanka. 

Apartment in Las Palmas: $0 (Friend)
Paragliding Canarias: $56
Adventure Trip/Rock Climbing: $34
Nomad Cruise 8: $1,000 (Early bird pricing) 
Hostel in Lisbon: $66.64 (4 nights at Selina)
Gym in Lisbon: $18 (Train Away - Coupon NOMAD)
Lisbon Walking Tours: $22 (Free + Tip, 2 tours) 
Flight: Lisbon to Kiev: $140.32 (Wizz Air LIS to IEV)
Train: Kiev to Kharkiv: $13.71 (2nd Class) 
Airbnb in Kharkiv: $530 a month (City Center) 
SIM Card in Ukraine: $3 (10gb of 4G) 
Gym in Kharkiv: $17.06 (monthly) 
Spa/Sauna/Massages: $70 (monthly) 
Metro Pass: $9 (30 rides) 
Ubers in Ukraine: $90 ($2 a ride on average)
Eating Out: $90 ($3-4 a meal on average) 
Alcohol, Tea, and Coffee: $90 ($1-2 on average) 
Groceries: $85 (cooking at home) 
Gym Shoes: $20.85 (Needed a 2nd pair) 
Replacement iPhone Screen: $64.44) (Oops) 
Misc/Other: $100 (random stuff) 
Gift to my parents: $1,000 (for their retirement)

Wordpress Website Hosting: $6 (Siteground)
Ecommerce Stores Hosting: $29 (Shopify)
VPN: $4 (WiTopia)
Email Autoresponder: $40 (Aweber / GetResponse)

Total Expenses for April: $2,448.77

*Decrease from last month's $2,558.14 (totals don't include donations and gifts)

Most Services are Paid Annually for Savings

Income: How Much I Earned

This is strange as I'm literally pausing right now to do my accounting for the month as I have absolutely no idea how much I earned. The funny thing about online business is that most things that you do this month won't pay you until 2-3 months or even much later. Aside from the one phone coaching session I took on this month which paid $175, everything else has been passive. So the fact that this month I hardly worked at all, and for a lot of it was on a boat in the middle of the ocean without internet, or on a plane or train traveling, it's going to be a surprise to me as well.

In the time it took you to read the last sentence, I heated up a bowl of homemade Borscht which is a hearty Ukrainian soup, did some air squats and pushups and my accounting for the month. It turns out that even without doing much of anything of work this month, I still managed to earn more than I spent, including the $1,000 a month I give to my parents for their retirement. The best thing is that almost all of it came from work that I had done months or years ago and are now sources of passive or investment income. For example, the affiliate income I get from things like the Hypath 2 in 1 luggage I reviewed on my blog as well as the USB Microphones I've reviewed as well.

Below that is a screenshot of one of my dropshipping partner stores that I helped start. We followed Anton's method of dropshipping high ticket items and with $7,270.41 in sales this month, it did okay but still has a lot of potential. Keep an ear out for the next episode, 223 of Travel Like a Boss for a another success story from someone who went through the course and went from being a teacher in Korea to an ecommerce business owner. Below are a few of the screen shots from my dashboards, not everything is there but it's to get an idea.

Income Tip: Passive Income is the best income, work your ass off now to build it so you relax and enjoy it later.

Total Income for April: $4,949.14

*decrease from last month's $6,335.45

Affiliate income from Amazon for things I mentioned.

One of my Dropshipping Partner Stores.

Dividend income from Fundrise

Goals for April + May

As I mentioned earlier my goals for this month weren't to make as much money as possible, it was really to finally take a break and relax for a bit. I'm still working on putting together the 2019 Nomad Summit Cancun with the rest of the team, but aside from that, I've really been trying not to focus so much on work and to finally relax a bit. My priorities for this month have been to enjoy the Nomad Cruise, have fun traveling, then find a place to settle down for a few months.

I'm really happy to say that I found a nice apartment right in the city center of Kharkiv, and every morning I get to walk through a quaint park to the gym, come home to study Russian for a few hours, have lunch, do a bit of work, then have the rest of the afternoon to go for a walk, grab coffee, and enjoy the country. My plan and goals for next month are the same. If I can consistently go to the gym 5 days a week, study for at least an hour or longer a day and not stress too much, I'll be really happy. It sounds strange as it doesn't seem like that big of a goal to achieve, but if you've know how much I stacked on my plate these last few years, you'll know that I've desperately needed to get back into a simple routine like this and relax a bit.

Below is a video explainer for this month with a bit more detail, check it out!

Hope you enjoyed this month's travel, income, and expenses report. Leave a comment below to join in on the conversation!

Warm Regards and Love from Kharkiv,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Have you been to Gran Canaria or Lisbon? What are your thoughts on the two nomad hot spots or anything else we talked about this month?

  2. Good article. I like it as a good reference of what I want to achieve financially: cover my expenses with passive income from online businesses and investments. I'm still in a 9-to-5, working on my first online business on the side. Your reports and podcasts are very useful to stay on track.

    1. Thanks Miguel, glad you liked it! As for your goals, I think that's a fantastic goal to be able to cover your expenses. A good hack to reach it quicker is to first lower your expenses to the minimum. Like I wrote in 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good LIfe on the Cheap, it was MUCH quicker and easier to achieve $600 a month in online income to cover my costs of living in Thailand first, then work my way up, than waiting to cover my $3,000 a month expenses in California.

  3. Nice write-up Johnny. The paragliding looks like fun but I'd rather do it solo. I did a little hang-gliding back in the day.

    As for Morocco, I would definitely recommend Fes. It's an ancient city and very interesting. Marrakech is a little more modern. A lot of movies are filmed there. For a real memorable experience, I'd recommend going on an organized trek through the High Atlas Mountains.

    If you go back, read some Paul Bowles novels first. It will make the experience that much better.

    1. I've heard some really nice things about Fes, and a hike through the High Atlas sounds awesome. Will check out the books as well if I go back!

  4. Nice,cool,interesting to read.Earning by or while travelling.great.


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