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2020 Year in Review! (Travel, Income, Goals, Expenses)

If you haven't taken the time to sit down and review your previous year, take this as inspiration to do so yourself. Tim Ferriss has said "Forget New Year's Resolutions and Conduct a 'Past Year Review' Instead" for good reason, it's much more effective. I'm a big believer that the number one reason why New Year Resolutions don't work is because it's easy to be optimistic for something you want in the future, before you actually have to do any of the work. That's the same reason why 90% of people who sign up for a gym membership on January 1st stop going by February.  


Instead, I like to look back, going through my calendar similar to the way Tim does it, and reflect back on what I've done, where I was each month, and what the positives and negatives were. For him, he focuses on looking on emotions and to eliminate the bad ones and add the 20% that triggered 80% of the best emotions. For me, I focus on where I was happiest, healthiest, and most productive. As with each year i'll look into if I was in better or worse shape, in better or worse relationships, friendships, and financially better or worse off. Lets see if 2020 has increased or decreased my total debt, networth, income, expenses, waistline, relationships, and overall happiness. 



 

How Tim Ferriss Does It: 


I’m often asked about how I approach New Year’s resolutions. The truth is that I no longer approach them at all, even though I did for decades. Why the change? I have found “past year reviews” (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable than half-blindly looking forward with broad resolutions. I did my first PYR after a mentor’s young daughter died of cancer on December 31st, roughly eight years ago, and I’ve done it every year since. It takes 30-60 minutes and looks like this:

Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.

Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.

For each week, jot down on the pad any people or activities or commitments that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month. Put them in their respective columns.

Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask, “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”

Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and prepay for activities/events/commitments that you know work. It’s not real until it’s in the calendar. That’s step one. Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of 2019. These are the people and things you *know* make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.

That’s it! If you try it, let me know how it goes.

And just remember: it’s not enough to remove the negative. That simply creates a void. Get the positive things on the calendar ASAP, lest they get crowded out by the bullshit and noise that will otherwise fill your days. Good luck and godspeed! (Source: Tim.blog)




Start of 2020



At the beginning of the year I was excited to travel, see new countries, and was full of hope. I was in good shape from spending the previous month intermittent fasting, eating just one meal a day (OMAD) and lifting weights 6 days a week. I was living in a one room condo right in the city center of Chiang Mai and life was simple. I was directly across the parking lot from an amazing gym, and I'd walk to most places. 

I was single, and had been for a few months, but I was casually dating so romantically I was never lonely. I also had a ton of friends in town and had been traveling with a few buddies so my relationship life was fulfilling, but not complete. I started the year with a total net worth almost $100,000 less than what I am today. I shared openly in Invest Like a Boss Episode 134 and will be updating it again in the Pateron Only Q4 Update for 2020 coming out soon.

Honestly my life in the beginning of 2020 was fantastic. I'd give it a 9 out of 10. I felt great, was in amazing shape, was earning good money, and had the entire year of travel to look forward to as I wrote here in my 2019 Year in Review + 2020 Travel Plans post before everything started. This will be an interesting post as I'll be looking back through the year, month by month to see where everything went well, and when things started going wrong. But as you can see from my Jan 1st 2020 vs Jan 1st 2021 photos, health and fitness wise, this has been a disastrous year with me gaining more than 10kg/22lbs. 

Most of the weight gain was a combination of a carb heavy, rice, rotti, and bread diet here in Sri Lanka, as well as getting too comfortable traveling too much, eating at nice restaurants, then getting burnt out and staying at home to eat and watch Netflix while eating ice cream, all while being happy and content being in a relationship. More on that later. 







January 2020 Recap:


This month I earned $12,795.99 and spent a total of $1,195.32 + gave my parents $1k giving me a net positive of around $10,000. This was a fantastic month for adding to my net worth and to my Financial Independence goals. 

Here's my income and expenses report for January 2020 if you want to go deeper, but basically, it was an awesome month living in Chiang Mai in a studio apartment as a single guy with very little expenses. 

It was also the month where my live event, the Nomad Summit was taking place, which explains why I had such a good month income wise as we had over 300 attendees buy tickets to come to the conference. It was months of planning and a ton of work, but it was well worth it both financially as well as socially as everyone had a great time, and without any of us knowing, it would also be the last time we were able to gather is such large events together in person. Here's the video recap of the event, it brings back fond memories. 

Lesson Learned: Chiang Mai, and hosting these large events really was my perfect paradise and my happy place. I'm glad I enjoyed the process and never took it for granted as I don't know when we'll have it again.







February 2020 Recap



I started off the month with a few days in Bangkok was I enjoyed but really isn't a city I'd want to spend much time in. I flew with a group of friends that I had met in Thailand through the Nomad Summit and convinced them to come to Sri Lanka with me. We had a big crew of friends that we came with, and met up with while we were here as pictured in the photo below. It was a great time as it was just before COVID hit and everything was open, we were traveling, surfing, and having a great time. 

It was my second year in a row coming to Sri Lanka and my plan was just to stay for two months to surf, see a bit more of the country, and to chill out before heading to Ukraine for the end of Winter and the start of Spring. Here's my Monthly Report for Feb 2020 with all of the details. 

My expenses that month were extremely low even though it was the start of high season in Sri Lanka, mostly because I was splitting the cost of the room and everything else 50/50 with the German girl I was dating at the time. In total I spent $871 that month. Income wise, it was a strange month as even though I wrote down that I earned $14,199.59 that month, most of that was from selling one of my investments that was still up, but I had technically lost $20,000 in the stock market that month as things were starting to fall. So at least on paper, my networth was negative $6k that month and about to fall even further.

Lessons Learned: The number one reason why I keep my expenses so low while investing everything I make is because the future is uncertain. I grew up poor and my parent's always fought about not having enough money. Being able to withstand that -$20,000 month was a blessing that I created for myself by diversifying and having enough in my emergency fund not to have to sell off any of the losing stocks. 







March 2020 Recap



The first half of the month was completely normal, we were surfing, traveling and having a great time in Sri Lanka. But on March 20th, a complete island wide curfew was put into place. We were no longer able to go outside for days at a time. No one was allowed outside of their front door. That meant even though I lived across the street from the beach, we weren't allowed to go outside for exercise, a run, or to go to the stores. Everything was closed and we were only allowed to go to grocery stores twice a week to stock up and cook at home.

Luckily that was the month that Tiger King came out on Netflix, and honestly, all of us expected things to go back to normal with a few days or weeks. Little did we know this would continue for months after.

I had started to see the writing on the wall for America and our economy, so I started to cash out on any and all investments I had that were still up and hadn't dropped yet. I put in requests to close and cash out of my real estate investments, and was able to free up $72,000 which I moved into Vanguard to set up buy orders as to buy more shares of VTI (Vanguard Total US Stock Market Fund) as the price dipped lower and lower. 

I got lucky and timed it correctly as the very next month my account was up by $30,472 and continued to recover over the next few months until August. I got really lucky and bought $10k of shares at a super low price of $110 which is today worth $194.64. However, I also had most of the $72k still sitting in the account unexecuted as I was fearful and greedy and had most of my buy orders set for $95 which VTI never dropped to. 

Lesson Learned: I should have listened to my own advice on How to Invest in Stocks and dollar cost averaged in quicker as my net worth would be much higher today if I did. I got a bit fearful thinking that this time things were different and that the economy would surely collapse. 







April 2020 Recap:



This is the month that most people flew home. Out of the 20 something digital nomads and tourists I came to Sri Lanka with, one by one, they all flew home, or to other countries. Many went on special government organized emergency flights home, while others decided to leave Sri Lanka to travel to places where there was no curfew. 

Personally, it would have been easier for me to leave as there were still flights available for me to "escape." And honestly, being stuck in my hotel room for 3-4 days at a time then needing to rush out to buy a week's worth of groceries and battling crowds of people only to find out basics like pasta, peanut butter, or avocados were sold out wasn't fun. But I sat down and wrote this post about Traveling During Covid where I stated that the best thing everyone could do is to stay in place and not risk spreading around a virus from country to country when we don't know what is going on yet. 

Unfortunately, most other people didn't think that way. Sri Lanka started to repatriate workers from other countries back to the island and many of them skipped quarantine and went home to be with their families. The country went from having zero cases to having a huge spike and local transmission causing the lockdowns to extend further. 

To make things work, some uneducated or ignorant Sri Lankans started to become fearful and racist towards Westerners even though tourists weren't the source of bringing COVID19 to the island. As things started to get worse, the girl I was living with decided she wanted to go home to Germany. She felt bad for leaving me behind, but honestly, it was the best for both of us and I honestly just wanted to be alone. It turned out to be one of the most productive months of my life. Here's what my daily routine looked like.








May 2020 Recap



This might sound strange, but May was one of the best months of my life. Maybe it's all relative but after being completely isolated for an entire month alone in my room, it was well needed. Most people don't realized this, but everything is a choice, and we ultimately control our own futures. That's not to say bad things don't happen to us for no reason, as none of us wanted this pandemic. But we all had the choice on how we would react to it. 

Some people got angry, and sat around watching Netflix while ordering overpriced UberEats and GrubHub all day even though they were unemployed and had no savings. Others used that time to start a side hustle, an online business, pivot their existing one, learn a new language, skill, or get in shape at home. Here's a video I made about the subject: 






For me personally, I took the chance and moved out of my comfortable prison cell with an ocean view and moved into a shared villa the town over. In normal circumstances it wouldn't have been a bit deal to move 20 minutes down the road, but honestly, I was fearful. 

Things were comfortable and everything worked where I was. Moving there I'd give up the certainty of where I had been, in hopes for a change of scenery. Ultimately it paid off as instead of being completely isolated, I now had a small group of new friends to hang out and take turns cooking dinner with. I also now had an entire coworking space as an office to myself as I was the only one working at the time which allowed me to start working on new streams of income as my previous business, hosting live events and conferences had totally collapsed and was bleeding money each month not having any idea when the world would open back up again for travel.

I had decided to refund all ticket holders of the Nomad Summit scheduled for Tbilisi, Georgia this month and ended up negative -$8,600 in lost fees, marketing costs, software fees, ticketing, and salaries from needing to provide customer service and marketing for an event that would be postponed for at least a year. Even though it would have been financially better for me to just hold everyone's ticket for 2021, and refund only those who specifically asked for it, I wanted to free myself mentally of the daily communications and spend my time doing something more productive. 

I ended up using that month to create a 100% free dropshipping course that outlined everything I had learned from the 7 years I was in the business. I had normally just told people to sign up for Anton's DSL Course or to watch his free webinar and to figure it out from there. But I knew that online business was the key for a lot of people to pivot and use this new unlimited time at home to do something productive. Those who put in the time and effort to create the business have been rewarded as member's of both Anton and even my free course have had record sales since people started ordering everything online from home instead of going to stores this past year. 

Lessons Learned: Although some of us are luckier than others, and sometimes we're just dealt a bad hand at life sometimes, we all have the choice to either blame others, the world around us, or just to make the most of what we can. This month truly separated those who always blamed not having enough time, verses those who did what needed to be done regardless. This is how I created freedom regardless of tough times and situations. 





June 2020 Recap



Even though I had just started getting a taste of semi-freedom being almost directly on the beach in the small beach town of Kabalana where even on curfew days, there were so few locals that no one blinked or cared if you went for a solo swim or walk on the beach. During those last few weeks everyone I knew, including all of my housemates started moving to the East coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay. Although travel restrictions were still in place, the local Public Health Inspector (PHI) in almost every district was happy to write you a letter or issue a certificate to let you travel in exchange for 2,000lkr or a bottle of Arrack, which dozens of people I met had done successfully.

Although I was tempted, I decided to wait until curfew and travel restrictions officially lifted and on June 3rd, I officially moved to Arugam Bay. The funny thing is, I had decided just prior to that trip that I would stop making as many business related videos and that I would focus more on just fun, travel content instead, even though it made a lot less money. The simple video I made, documenting the van ride from the South of Sri Lanka to the East Coast, titled "Journey to Arguam Bay" ended up getting shared, as a lot of people were curious to see even a tiny bit of travel within the country again. 

Life is Sri Lanka reminds me of what things were like in Thailand back in 2008 when I first started traveling. There was little to no information about where to stay, how to get around, and if things like WIFI or internet was working or reliable. The only people who were traveling to Arugam Bay prior to this year were hardcore surfers, who mostly stay offline, and like to keep information hard to find, as their biggest fear is popularizing their favorite surf spots. That being said, moving to Arugam Bay was a huge risk as I knew next to nothing about the town before moving half way across the country to get there. I've since included a walking tour of the city along with more info in my 6 Months in Sri Lanka blog post. 

Lesson Learned: Even in 2020 there are still plenty of little known pieces of paradise that have great little communities of expats and travelers, but aren't overly touristed or popularized yet. You just have to travel a lot, meet the right people, and take a few risks to get there. 







July 2020 Recap



This was the month that I started dating Kristina and also accidentally became a full time travel Youtuber. I remember making $883.70 that month from my videos and I was super excited as that was more than double what I used to earn from my channel. I wrote about it in more detail and shared screen shots of how it happened in my July 2020 Income Report

That month was also the last month that I would be in good shape, and live a healthy lifestyle. But wow was that an incredible month! You can see it in my "perfect day" video below, which happened to be filmed on my birthday, but everyday was similarly amazing. I would wake up and drive my scooter through the beautiful streets to my favorite surf spot in the world, rent a board for $2.50 an hour, paddle out just a few minutes to the perfect break. It was there that I started becoming a someone decent surfer, finally being able to stand up consistently, and riding a shorter and shorter hard board every week as a progressed.

On the way back I would stop by the village town of Pottuvil for a chicken biriyani and some fresh fruit, become going back to our beautiful hotel for just $321 a month including A/C near the beach.  

Lesson Learned: I'm most happy when I'm healthy and exercising on a daily basis. Surfing has been the best sport and exercise in the world as it's a fun way to get out into nature, enjoy the sun, and the ocean all while working on a skill and your fitness. 



 




August 2020 Recap



This began an incredible month for me in terms of travel and growing my Youtube channel. It was the first month where I made over $1,000 from Youtube and it officially started opening doors and opportunities for me. The bike trip we did throughout Ella and Nuwara Eliya was fun, but too short. In retrospect we should have stayed an extra week just to enjoy the climate before heading back to Arugam Bay. 

As soon as we got back, Kristina started wilting again and basically stayed indoors for an entire two weeks in the air conditioning.  I started to surf again, but little did I know, that would be the last time I would be consistently in the water for the rest of the year. We had decided that even though it would have been nice to stay the rest of the season in Arugam Bay and enjoy the surf, that since she was miserable in the heat, we had to leave and start slowly making our way towards the rest of the country.

We started by first going up the East Coast north, where it was even hotter, but at least we had some really amazing experiences during the process.

Lesson Learned: Never rush your trips, stay an extra week, or even a month wherever you go, there are so many benefits of slow travel. 





September 2020 Recap



It's official, we became social media influencers! Actually, I hate that title and would never call myself that. But it was the first month we started getting free trips in exchange for making a video to promote the hotel. It was also the first month where I earned just $80 shy of $2,000 from Youtube, making it almost pay for my entire costs of living for the month. 

The ironic thing is that even though we had exactly half of the month complimentary, I ended up spending more that month as we gave up the cheap long term apartment for weekly and nightly rates. Sure it was incredible to stay in 4 and 5 star luxury hotels on the beach, and even spend two days on an 84' Super Yacht and have all of our meals on board. So at the end of the day it was well worth it just for the experiences and especially since it all made really good Youtube content and videos that people loved. 

I think until this day the Yacht Life video has been my best or at least most cinematic edits. It took me over 3 days to cut and create so I hope you enjoy it! 

Lesson Learned: It's always cheaper to travel slowly and stay in each place for monthly rates rather than move around and stay daily or even weekly. 
 






The strange thing about my months is around here I started mixing up dates as I started filming so many videos for Youtube that I had a 3-4 week buffer even though I was releasing videos every other day. That caused me to start living 3 weeks behind on both my blog and my Youtube channel so I wouldn't confuse people talking about something that they wouldn't see until next month. 

So in reality most of the videos and photos you'll see for October actually happened the month before, where we officially become part of the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau's influencer program and was taken around the country free of charge for two weeks to film and create content for the country. It was a bit strange timing as the country was initially set to reopen for tourism around then, but was postponed. Still they wanted us to release the content to keep Sri Lanka on people's minds for 2021. 

That being said, even though half of the month was completely paid for, the second half we ended up spending triple what we normally would have spent while living in Colombo. We were so exhausted from the press trip that we checked into a 4-star hotel and paid for an entire month. What's ironic is that we could have made a deal with almost any hotel at that time to get a free stay in exchange for a video promotion, but we were both so exhausted, and I had so many videos to edit and catch up on, that I happily paid the $1,500 for the room. 

We did however get to see some really amazing places including the Elephant Gathering and going up to Jaffna that we previously would have skipped if it wasn't for the tourism board taking us there. 

Lesson Learned: Free is never really free. We're grateful for the opportunity to have been sponsored by the Tourism Board, but if we were to do it again in the future, we would have to require a few completely no travel days in between to rest, edit a few videos, and to recharge our mental and physical batteries. 







October 2020 Recap



This was the month were we decided to leave the Capital City of Colombo just in case of another curfew or travel lock down happening. After months of Sri Lanka being basically COVID-Free and everything being open again, there was another outbreak and over 1,000 employees of the Brandix Apparel factory being tested positive. Since it was near Colombo, and because of the population density, we had decided to cut our big city trip short and move to Nuwara Eliya to enjoy a bit of winter before heading down south to enjoy the high season by the beach.

During those next three weeks we lived on a farm, in a little English cottage, and really enjoyed our time there. But by the end of it, we had enough and things started getting strict again, so we figured we should move down south before another potential travel lockdown would being. Things did get a bit strict there during the holidays, but no travel restriction ever came back into place for more than a few days. But we're still glad we made the move as life in the South has been fantastic and everything has felt back to normal again with friends, social life, and even a bit of surfing.

Lesson Learned: It's never good to be scared and fearful for no reason, but sometimes you do things just in case that don't end up paying off, but it was still the right move to make at the time. Things sometimes actually turn out even better than you expected, as even though it would have been nice to stay there an extra week, we enjoyed our time. 







November 2020 Recap



For some strange reason, even though this was just two months ago, it feels like forever ago. This is the month that we moved into our villa down south in Ahangama and where we've been ever since. My original goal was to start surfing again everyday, but honestly, we've both been so comfortable staying at the nice villa, cooking at home and watching Netflix on the big screen TV that neither of us has wanted to leave the house on most days.

I regret not surfing more that month, or at least doing some yoga, or working out at home, but after months of traveling we needed a break. We're super fortunte to have been able to rent this incredible villa for just 103,000lkr a month which is $550usd a month as normally in the high season it can go for more than $300 a night. Remember earlier when I said that the choices we make end up affecting our futures? It was the choice I had made to stay in Sri Lanka while everyone else panic flew home, that has allowed us to be one of the remaining tourists on the island still. It was also the choice I made these past 7 years to focus all of my energy on building online businesses, then investing 80% of everything I earned that now allows me to even be able to afford the now top end of the market. 

Most other tourists I know who are still in Sri Lanka have budgets of 25,000 - 40,000lkr a month which is $135-$215 and are either staying in cheaper houses or renting a single room in a hotel. Honestly if I wasn't in a relationship, I would probably be doing the same as there are plenty of deals going around, and many of those places are directly or near the beach and I'd in much better shape and a much better surfer today. But again, we all make choices in life, and these are the ones I've made, both for good and bad. 

Lessons Learned: Part of me wishes that I had spent the last 7 years surfing, enjoying life and not worrying about earning and investing money, while the other part is glad I did. Either way, it was a choice I had made, it wasn't easy, but it's the one I made and the results are what I live with today. 








December 2020 Recap



After months of going back and forth deciding if I wanted to upgrade to an iPhone 12 or the new M1 Apple Laptops or not and actually deciding not to. I ended up spending over $3,000 this month upgrading all of my electronics and even buying a drone. At first I was annoyed at the 30% markups for all things Apple here in Sri Lanka, but after a bit of searching around and thinking, I told myself that as a full time content creator, it's okay to invest in my gear if it's going to produce better quality videos. 

The decision has paid off as the new videos coming out these few weeks all have high quality drone and iPhone 12 shots, and are now edited on an M1 Macbook Air which has been a pleasure to work on. I've even just bought and installed Final Cut Pro for $325 and will learn how to edit on there to make even more beautiful videos. 

We also did a few side trips from Ahangama like going to Unawatuna for the day to go scuba diving. It was Kristina's 2nd time ever doing it and seeing how much joy it brought her made my dive amazing as well. I'm glad she got to see it as a new diver as one of the problems with being too experienced is being spoiled and not being able to enjoy anything but the Maldives, Raja Ampat and Socorro anymore. 

Lesson Learned: It's usually a terrible financial move to buy things in hopes you'll need or use it often. It's much better to work with what you have, until you actually start making money from it, or use it to it's fullest potential, then and only then should you pay for the upgrade. 






Expenses for December


This month's expenses ended up being much higher than usual, mostly from the electronics I bought. If I was in the USA, Japan, Taiwan, or many other countries, the prices would have been 20-30% less, even after taxes, but these were the best options I could find in Sri Lanka and it's just the price to pay to want the latest tech from Apple here. 

The M1 Macbook Air, even in it's base form with 8gb of ram has been incredible so far and easiest the best purchase I've ever made. It preforms better than a $6,000 laptop from any brand, including the Intel Macbook Pros or the best Windows Laptop out there. Being able to edit 45 minute videos, play games like Hearthstone, or other power hungry tasks in record times, all while being on battery power is mind blowing. 

I'll write and review the laptop more as things go on, but so far a week into having it, i've had zero issues, and nothing but great things to say about it. The iPhone 12 has also been a significant upgrade from the 11, especially the front facing camera and night time video.  And the DJI Mavic Mini 2 has been perfect as well, I love this little thing and am glad I bought it. 

Lesson Learned: It's good to save money and not spent foolishly, but sometimes, things are just worth the price, especially if it can help you create better products or content to make even more money.


Ahangama Villa: $551
Extra Wifi: $80
Grocery Stores: $380
Wine and Alcohol: $60
Restaurants and Cafes: $80

iPhone 12 128gb: $1,139.29
Macbook Air M1 256gb: $1,297.73
DJI Mavic Mini 2: $511.25

Netflix (HD Plan): $14.06
Cell Phone: $27
Scuba Diving: $60
Colombo Trip: $70
Gym, BJJ, Muay Thai: $30
Surfing: $20

Taxi's and Trains: $60
Tips, Gifts and Other: $350
Parent's Retirement: $1,000 

Total Expenses for December: $5,832.24







Earnings for December 



Ironically, this was the worse month I've had recently income wise. This month I actually made a $1,000 less than I did the past two months, meaning my Youtube earnings has dropped by 30%. Maybe the new better quality camera gear will win me more viewers and subscribers and pay for itself in January? 

Or maybe it won't and I'll be negative -$3,000 for no reason. Either way, it's a gamble I took and it's one that I have to live with, both good and bad. The upside is that this was the first month where I had sponsorships with brands for my Youtube channel. So even though my ad revenue was much lower than it has been since September, the money I got from the sponsored videos ended up just making up for it. 

I go over the specifics on how much I earn from each of my various sources of income inside my course Income Boss which teaches everything I learned from years of online business, building up a following and monetizing through affiliate marketing, youtube and brand partnerships. 

As for my dropshipping store that I run with partners that we built following Anton's Method had another good month totaling $59,000 in sales. They've been doing all the work and I'm now just a limited partner, so my payday will come when the store sells to a buyer, but I have asked to get my profit share for 2020, so hopefully I'll be able to add that to my 2020 numbers soon, but those earnings aren't included in my monthly income just yet. 

Total Income for Dec: $3,241.68








Overall Thoughts for 2020



This has been a strange year for everyone and a tough year as well. Even though some of us suffered more than others, and some people really unfairly got hurt, there are many others who opened their eyes and got a massive reality check. I genuinely feel bad for all of the small businesses, restaurants, and those who lost loved ones or suffered because of the pandemic. But at the same time, it's reminded me even more on how the choices we've made these past 10 years affect the out come of life today. 

If I never left California back in 2008, I'd be dealing with the BS happening there now, and most likely too scared and unsure of myself to even move out of the city. I would have no tech skills to work online, no passive income, and probably no savings or investments as the costs of living there was so high it was almost impossible to save. Even more so I would have been trapped in the cycle of buying clothes, home decor, and other things to try to fit in, or keep up with the neighbors. Maybe I'd even be married with someone I settled with and didn't necessarily choose as when you live in one place, your options are to those within a 20 minute radius from where you are. 

I never would have seen the world, become self dependent, learned minimalism, saved 80% of everything I earned these past 7 years and learned how to invest my money wisely. If I chose to run home when things got bad, I wouldn't be in Sri Lanka today enjoying the privileges of being one of the few tourists with money still here. Some of the choices I've made have backfired or have made my life worse, like choosing to be comfortable, travel and earn money instead of surfing all day and getting in great shape. But in 2020 I have learned that good or bad, we always have choice. I've learned this year that too many people blame others for the faults in their own lives, while expecting the government, or other handouts to improve their lives. I've learned that most people's excuse that they were too busy, was of their own doing and because of their own choices, and even when magically given 4 months of free time, instead of finally doing what they've always wanted, they've wasted it. 

We don't necessarily have the choice of where or how we are born, or what happens to us or the world, and some people really do have it much harder than others. But we do have the choice on how to use the cards we are dealt, both good and bad. I've met people born rich that died poor, and I've met people born poor that had opportunities to change the futures but don't. People say they want a chance, but when given, they often just want to take the easy way out. Most people have no idea what hard work, sacrifice or real struggle is, until it's too late and they really have no other choice. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a couple of months or in a year, while underestimating what we can do over the course of a decade if we continue to work towards it. I've shared everything I have learned over these past 7 years openly and free of cost here on my blog, youtube channel and podcasts, yet so few people actually took action. Instead they put it off, or found excuses on why they can't or shouldn't do it. In 2021 I'm done trying to help people who don't even want to help themselves. 

Here's to making the next decade count, and good or bad, lets own it.  Here's to 2030 being the best decade of our lives. Join me if you wish, or get left behind, the choice is yours and your new lease on life starts today.



If you want to learn more about how I developed this mindset, built my businesses and set goals, check out my book Life Changes Quick available on both Amazon Kindle and Paperback.


With love from Sri Lanka,


Johnny FD


Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.



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  1. Tell me how your 2020 was and what your goals are for 2021!

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  2. Looks like you forgot about your 50k to Worthy Bonds or was that a sheist?

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    Replies
    1. I invested in a lot of things in 2020 that weren't mentioned here. But it'll all be in the Q4 Update for Pateron's on Invest Like a Boss.

      Delete
  3. "We don't necessarily have the choice of where or how we are born, or what happens to us or the world, and some people really do have it much harder than others. But we do have the choice on how to use the cards we are dealt, both good and bad"

    Well said, Johnny! It's been a tough year for everyone but even when bad things happen outside our control,we always have a choice.

    Reading your write-up reminded me of the great time I had at the Nomad Summit. One of the high lights of my year. Thanks for organizing and running it. Really miss Chiang Mai and hope I can go back soon. And now watching all your videos about Sri Lanka, I'm super curious about it too.

    In terms of self development, this year was a disaster for me as everything I'd been planning--Google talk, finance conference talks, appearing in a documentary, TV show---all went to shit and got cancelled by covid. BUT the silver lining is I managed to fix the difficult relationship with my mom and get her the help she needs. So on the relationships front, big strides this year. Here's to hoping 2021 is better! Happy New Year to you and Kristina! Hope to see you guys somewhere in the world once things open back up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kristy, it's good to hear from you! I miss the Nomad Summit as well.

      Great job with your Mom, the other things will come in 2021 hopefully. =)

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Actually, my original 2020 plans all went out the window with the lockdowns. I just pivoted and made the most of it.

      Here's my original travel plans: https://www.johnnyfd.com/2019/12/2019-year-in-review-11-countries-and.html

      Delete
  5. Thank you for all the great content and knowledge you share. I always look forward to watching your videos, reading your blog posts and listening to your podcasts. I am inspired and can't wait to start on a nomad journey. Keep up the great work and look forward to meeting you someday at a nomad summit or traveling the world. Have a great 2021!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! See you at and event one day hopefully!

      Delete
  6. Awesome to read and thank you for sharing the journey Johnny

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very impressive and inspiring ! Thanks a lot for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice Johnny. I like how you keep with the gear you have instead of buying the next big thing. As a filmmaker myself, I use what I have, and when it is time to finally upgrade to work on a necessary project or invest in a new product, I take the plunge.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I read every word Johnny, thanks for inspiring me. A few weeks ago I set my #GoldWatchChallenge because of your book.

    All the best on 2021, cheers from Playa del Carmen.

    Diego

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome Diego! I'm glad you enjoyed reading Life Changes Quick and decided to take action!

      Delete
  10. Great post! Really good to see how you played the year with the new challenges. I love the pivot to focusing on travel for your YouTube channel :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachael! It was great to have the option to pivot and take a different path when the road ahead collapsed. =)

      Delete
  11. Yes, despite increasing my exercise by over 25% this year, I'm still unhealthier. Too many puddings perhaps. Enjoyed reading, and as always in awe of your productivity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Martin! Cut back on those puddings in 2021. =D

      Delete
  12. Love the positive negative scheduling exercise in the beginning!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Appreciate your positive messaging and transparency. Your review has motivated me for this year even more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome Bracken! I'm excited to see how 2021 goes for you too!

      Delete
  14. This was a good read. Would love to learn more about investing and saving up for the future. Cheers and Happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks RK! Start with this post: https://www.johnnyfd.com/2020/03/how-to-invest-in-stocks-or-index-funds.html

      Delete
  15. 2020 was actually a pretty awesome year for me looking back. When I started listening to ILAB 2 years ago, one of the first pieces of advice I took to heart was "invest in yourself first".

    In a weird and miraculous series of events, an old YouTube channel I had created was sold. The buyer wanted the url ( as back then before google bought YouTube, your user ID was the url). I used that money (almost ten figures) to do two things.

    1. Produce a documentary about my volunteer work.
    2. Get much needed dental work done.

    For so many years I had been shy to be in groups or interact with people in a way I wanted because of fear someone would notice/comment on my teeth. For the last 20 years this has weighed on me and not allowed me to be the person I want to be. I just knew in my hearth that IF I took care of that, I would finally have the confidence one needs to be able to be social, to network and make friends.

    Coupled with that was the documentary. I hired a movie producer/director to produce a 40 minute documentary about the ocean debris cleanup work I do here in S. Korea for Project AWARE.These two things together opened all kinds of doors and more recently gave me the chance to appear on a popular S. Korea TV show that focused mainly on my ocean debris work helping to open eyes and inspire locals to this issue!

    Despite being out of work most of the year and living on savings, I have managed to bounce back these last 2 months and get close to replacing my normal working income. Aside from that I'm building my second DS store (I gave up my first after fears of shipping issues)and feeling eager to start building the site out now that I have already done it once before and have a better idea about it!

    I also lost 16kg in 2020 and got myself into the best shape of my life. Again due to no work and mainly boredom. Growing up a skinny kid and martial artist I never imagined I would get overweight. It's easy to eat and not exercise!

    What you said in this post is SO true. 2020 gave all of us something we didn't want or expect, but it was an opportunity for EVERYONE to reevaluate and make changes. I lament the idea someone out there didn't learn a new skill, lose weight, better their relationships, come to appreciate people more, play an instrument....SOMETHING that they will come out the back end of COVID-19 with for the better.

    Many folks are saying goodbye to 2020 like it was the plague (pun intended). I will happily say goodbye, but appreciate the changes it FORCED on me because I know I am a better man because of it!

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey William, I'm glad you found Invest Like a Boss when you did! That's crazy that someone would buy a Youtube account/URL. How much did you get for it in USD? 10 figures is a $1Billion US which i'm sure isn't correct. =)

      But great job putting that money towards your Documentary and your self! I'm glad you ended 2020 better than you started it!

      Delete
  16. Replies
    1. I just like how fair, efficient, organized and logical they are. No idea why they like me though. =D

      Delete
  17. Hi Johnny,

    I have benefited from the information which you have provided through this blog and youtube channel. This brings about the fear which most people refrain from making the decision. I think that one will need to overcome the fear and take action without hesistation after much consideration and assessment. This is the way of progression as per my perspective.

    WTK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you got a lot of value and benefit from my blog and Youtube channel!

      Delete
  18. Great stuff Johnny . Thank you for taking the time to share your journey! One question. I notice you don’t talk about affiliate income any,ore. Did that dry up or just no longer a focus?
    Best
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Mike, it's just been no longer a focus of mine as I've been doing it for so many years that I'm bored now. The good thing about it is that most of it is 100% passive now from old articles and videos I made years ago. I actually still earned $23,134.03 from affiliate income last year in 2020, so it's still good money. I show everything I did and learned inside my course at IncomeBoss.com - so if anyone wants to learn about it, they can go there.

      Delete

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