Today I feature a budding entrepreneur who is reaping the rewards with an envious travel lifestyle. Please meet Danny Flood of Open World Magazine.
What is your name?
I’m Danny Flood.
Which country do you come from/call home?
I call the entire world my home: it’s the home that I chose. However, I was born in San Diego, California… which is not such a bad place to be born in 🙂 Beautiful weather, beautiful beaches, and beautiful people.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I was always different than most backpackers in that I had already somewhat established myself as an entrepreneur before I began to book one-way tickets around the globe. Most backpackers I met would save money and take time off from the responsibilities of school and work to travel (especially Australians).
At first, my plan was to travel for 3 – 6 months each year and come home. Then I decided I wanted to speed up the pace, and now I permanently base myself in “hubs” (I’m currently in Bangkok), from which I can explore all of the surrounding regions and countries. I’ve been living in and traveling around Asia and the Pacific regions for the last 16 months or so.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
When I started, I was managing online marketing projects for clients back home in San Diego. When my clients saw results (such as their business at the top of Google), they were happy to keep paying me to keep the customers coming in the door. I used Authorize.net to process credit cards which would bill them each month for an agreed upon amount. It was a beautiful system that required very little management.
I would also do the odd web design project for roughly $1,500 – $3,000 a pop, which supplemented my income, and some occasions I would trade a WordPress web design for a hotel in exchange for a free month’s stay.
These days, I’m no longer involved in that business and instead have so many different products and services all over the place! It’s been a wild journey since I quit my first business and I know what it’s like to live in poverty – I spent last summer eking out an existence in the slums of Manila, for example.
I’ve published four books on Amazon this year and I do a bunch of consulting for other entrepreneurs and others, and offer various products and productized services for that market.
I really just want to diversify my income as much as possible and I’m willing to test any idea to see if there is a market for it or not. I use Airbnb for my condo in Bangkok, which gives me more money and freedom to travel; and I also offer “experiences” on Vayable as a sort of travel guide.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
My father took me along on a business trip to Japan back in the mid 80’s, though I don’t remember it too well! After that, it was a long time till I really had the freedom and means to travel. As a child, my mom took me to Hawaii and to Cabo – but those were just tourist trips hanging out at the hotel and doing tourist activities.
Once I booked a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires a few years ago, the world really started to open up to me, and it’s only gotten better and better with each adventure I take.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
When I first arrived in Indonesia, it was a big culture shock for me. I’m not sure what I was expecting (actually I had no idea what to expect), but it was so incredibly different from Penang Malaysia, where I had flown in from.
Most people say that when you travel to Indonesia you should “ease into it” by visiting Bali first. I haven’t been to Bali, opting instead to arrive first in Medan and the much more wild Sumatra.
Yes, the trash, poverty, and overcrowding will get under your skin, but it’s the pace of life that threw me off the most. I love Indonesians, but they are also the laziest people I have ever seen. Sitting around at home all day drives me nuts, I want to be doing things and put my mind to work. But throughout my time in Sumatra, I struggled to find any wireless internet, for example. It just doesn’t exist because no one works online there.
It was still a great trip and I met so many wonderful people, but as someone who does their work online I felt as though I was going backwards in time and totally disconnected from everyone and everything. I appreciated the new perspective the experience gave me but it was tough to take.
Vientiane was another place that was totally different than I expected. I was expecting the capital city of a country, with at least a tiny bit of development, instead what I saw was the wild wild west and felt like I was back in the 19th century.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Tons of them; but I’m actually grateful when bad things happen because you learn and you become incredibly resilient, which greatly increases your capacity to deal with future difficulties.
Here’s a small list: missed flights in Manila, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. Lost iPhone in Brazil. Lost iPad in Japan. Stolen iPod (and stolen wallet) in Vietnam. Broken foot and several smashed teeth while hiking alone in Malaysia. Macbook HD crashes. Surfing and rock climbing injuries. I could go on.
The point is, bad things are going to happen to us from time to time in our lives. We can’t possibly prevent them all, but we can develop our capacity to respond like a badass and handle them when they do.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Toss-up between Vientiane and Medan.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
It’s a tough question because there’s things to love and hate about anywhere. Love the night life of Buenos Aires – which literally doesn’t stop until you’re stumbling back to your apartment at sunrise. Love the day life parties of Brazil. Love the holiday celebrations in Thailand – especially Songkran and Loy Krathong (but there’s many others – lesser well-known). Love the serenity of Luang Prabang.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Some of my goals around Asia include riding a bicycle across Southern China, trekking the Himalayas and visiting Bhutan, and landing a movie role in India or China. I’d also like to hang glide in Pokhara, rock climb at Railay beach (tried once but got injured), and climb Mount Kinabalu in Sabah.
Can you imagine life without travel?
I’ve never been able to sit still in once place ever since I was a young boy. In high school, I must have set a record number of sick days because I always had to get a doctor’s note to avoid class. If I couldn’t travel I would get bored extremely easy. Even at my current home in Bangkok, I try to take every weekend off to travel to other parts of Thailand.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Perhaps living a boring, unfulfilling life back home trying to please work associates whom I do not like or respect. It’s no way to live a life, man. When I started out as an entrepreneur I was networking a ton and saw other self-employed people who should have retired who were still attending networking meetings, pitching their business, and handing out business cards, even after 40 or 50 years of work. It’s not for me.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
OpenWorld Magazine – check it out at http://www.openworldmag.com 🙂
When did you begin your website?
It’s been about 16 months.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
My blog is sort of my central focal point for the online brand that I’m developing and all of my online business activities. I write books, record podcasts, and offer consulting and other similar services. Blogging is a $0 per hour activity, obviously, but it’s a great way to get exposure and attract opportunities into your life that you can monetize.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Well, I like to believe that I’m really transparent and frank about what I’ve experienced in this journey.
When I interview others, I really want to get into their head beyond just the standard questions: Did you have fears? Any doubts? How can I become you?
I know what it’s like to be that guy who’s frustrated with how things are going, and who needs real quality information that they can actually act on to make their life better. Travel is a huge component of what I write about, but I love personal development more than anything. So it’s kind of a blend of ways to develop yourself, take on adventures beyond your wildest dreams, and develop the entrepreneurial capacity to fund it all.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Yes, quite a few! If you’d like to check out any of my books, visit my author page: http://www.amazon.com/Danny-Flood/e/B00SOQXFEU/
If you’d like one-on-one coaching to kickstart your path to freedom, I offer that too. You can contact me here: https://clarity.fm/dannyflood and be sure to mention the promotion code “TRAVELBLOGGERINTERVIEWS” for a 50% discount on your first call.
I also offer services for aspiring authors to package and market their books, as well as a PR service where I help authors and entrepreneurs book interviews to promote themselves and their brands. Contact me through my website if interested 🙂
I also have a range of exciting products on gumroad. Check my blog for more details.
Finally, if you’re visiting Bangkok and would like a custom, personalized tour with yours truly, I have two available:
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Easy. My “Top 30 adventurers under 30 post” 🙂 It’s gotten around 30,000 views to date.
It became apparent to me after a while that I would never be able to make Forbes list of top 30 entrepreneurs under 30, but I thought there should be an award for top adventurers under 30 because these people and their accomplishments are every bit as impressive.
If I recall, the post was more than a month in the making – perhaps even two. That’s because I posted in a bunch of discussion groups and forums to ask people who they would like to nominate for the award. I went through every single nomination – around 80 or 90 – and featured the top 30 in the post.
Visit my site and search around for the full list – it’s quite a fantastic read 🙂
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
Tough question! Perhaps it was the article I wrote called “What I’ve Learned About Life and Failure from Entrepreneurship” I wrote it while I was living in Vietnam.
In the post, I was very open and brutally honest about my many failures in business, in love, in work, and in travel. I’ve been fired from countless jobs, been broken up with dozens of times, and found myself in way over my head when faced with certain difficult situations (such as while traveling).
The article lays it all out and shares what happened sans any political-correctness. I think a really great writer should never hold anything back; it’s a disservice to readers.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I definitely find that traveling overland is a far more worthwhile endeavour than traveling via air and being dropped off at a destination. The world is made up of an infinite tapestry of people and places, and if you take a plane you just skip over it all and miss the chance to experience it all.
Some of my more adventurous trips have seen me crossing entire countries on motorbikes, ATVs, or even a pedal bicycle (such as my cycling trip across Mexico in 2013). Great way to travel, and you’ll be in for an adventure for sure.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Yes! Check out my book “Buy Your Own Island” because it has all of the advice I could ever offer to anyone who wants to live a digital nomad lifestyle.
Here are a few tips off the top of my head:
1) My best advice is to start small. Take baby steps in the direction you want to go. Don’t make a mental monster out of your goals. We all encounter internal resistance, fear, and doubts – I still get that way before virtually every trip I take!
For that reason, don’t ever make things more difficult than they need to be. If there’s something you really want, just keep it simple and take the small but necessary actions to make it happen.
2) Carry a bag of oatmeal with you whenever you travel. It’s often very hard to find a good breakfast when you’re traveling. Oatmeal is super easy to prepare (all you have to do is add hot water), it saves you money, and it can double as a healthy snack at any time of the day (useful for long waits at the airport or train depots). Instead of paying $15 for a meal at Singapore’s Changi airport during a layover, for example, I made a quick snack of oatmeal and kept the money in my pocket!
3) Pre-network before you travel as much as you can. This is one of the best ways to ensure a great experience. If you’re traveling to Hong Kong next week, for example, go on Facebook and search for different groups in Hong Kong. Write a friendly post introducing yourself, what you do, and what you’re all about.
When I do this and mention that I’m an author, usually a bunch of locals invite me out for lunch, a drink, or a hike. It’s really cool.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me to be patient. It has taught me that differences between people are rather very arbitrary and underneath our religious and political associations, we’re really all just the same. For that reason I no longer have any firm beliefs in religion or politics, nor do I care for professional sports the way that I used to.
I’ve learned how to smile like a Thai, drink like a Vietnamese, dance like an Argentinian, laugh like an Indonesian, celebrate life like a Brazilian, savor food like an Italian, slow down like a Mexican, make love like a Colombian, and so much more.
Quick fire questions:-
Tough one! For budget travel, probably AirAsia. But my best experience was probably with LAN Airlines, based in South America. Their in-flight meals are delicious, and if you want another they’ll give it to you, for free, no questions asked! Try getting that with an American carrier – ha!
For a pure backpacking experience, probably Indonesia – it’s a country with 17,000+ islands and so much to offer travelers!
As a base to relocate to, it’s hard to beat Thailand. Nowhere in the world offers the quality of life that Thailand does for such a low cost of living.
Overall, I’d have to say Tokyo. If you had to spend your life in one spot and never travel, you could spend your entire life in Tokyo and never get bored.
However, I believe (like in my previous answer about Thailand) Bangkok offers the best quality of life at the lowest cost of living of anywhere in the world. Even better, Bangkok is a food heaven and there’s no where you can be surrounded by so much delicious food for so cheap.
Taipei deserves an honorable mention, and so does Buenos Aires.
Black’s Beach in San Diego, California. The hiking and surfing is extraordinary, on par with anywhere else in the world. You can golf or paraglide too. It’s also a gorgeous place to watch the sunset. And there’s plenty of great places nearby to grab grub and a drink afterwards 🙂
As a Southern California native, I have to say Mexican food. Thai food is a close second, followed by Brazilian, Indian, and Malaysian.
Japanese! It’s surprisingly easy to learn, and a lot of fun to speak. I’m an intermediate level Japanese speaker, but don’t ask me to read it – I can’t.
Books by Danny Flood
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.OpenWorldMag.com
Twitter handle? @dandanflood
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/openworldmagazine
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/107657907858622374088