Travel: Why I Moved Back to America After Living in Asia For 2 Years
It seems to be a right of passage for affiliate marketers each day. You become successful in the industry and immediately you start traveling (Bangkok or Chiang Mai most likely).
That was my initial goal. I didn’t dream about making a millions of dollars when I first started. My biggest influence was The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. All I wanted to do was make around $40,000 a year and go live cheap in Asia or South America.
Eventually I became successful at affiliate marketing. Lets just say I made a LOT more money than I ever anticipated. My dreams of traveling slowly died out. I had a steady girlfriend, I had an office with employees, and I had too many commitments weighing me down.
A year later I found myself in a different position. My relationship ended and I found myself without employees (I kinda got fucked over).
No excuses now. I packed my bags and leave for Asia. It was now for never.
The next few years was amazing. I started off in Bangkok. My friends, Thanh & Aaron, from AsianEfficiency.com were already there.
Life in Bangkok was nice but then I had to leave because of the flood. I decided to settle in Vietnam.
There were two reasons mainly
a) I’m Chinese and Vietnamese. I always wanted to learn more about Vietnamese culture
b) I already had friends in Bangkok. I wanted to go to a place where I didn’t speak the language and didn’t know anyone. You have to be uncomfortable in order to grow.
Life was good in Asia.
I had some CPA deals with networks so my campaigns were nearly auto-pilot. In the daytime I played Starcraft and went to the gym. At night I went on a date or went to the clubs. This was the dream life.
Or so I thought it was. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, but I was unhappy. It didn’t make sense because this was the dream I envisioned. I’m making money, having fun, and traveling. Why did I feel like something was missing from my life?
I then realized the missing ingredient was growth. I was learning and growing at an a accelerated rate my fist 3 years of affiliate marketing. Once I landed in Asia I slowed down tremendously.
I lost a lot of motivation. Back then I knew everything about productivity: pomodoros, I blocked websites, but I couldn’t find that hunger in me anymore.
I’m not sure what happened. One of the reasons could’ve been I didn’t have people around me to push me harder. The average guy in Vietnam makes $200 a month. When you’re so far ahead of everyone around you, it’s hard to find that hunger.
Another reason is the environment. Living in Asia just felt like I was on vacation. How could I work when there was always so many distractions around? Every night there’s something to do. If I’m bored on the weekends I could spend $100 and fly to the beach.
I decided to move back home to Atlanta. This is where I originally went Super Saiyan. I wanted an environment where I could work without distractions.
The Current Work Life Balance
Coming back to Atlanta was what I needed. I started the blog as soon as I came here, and I was able to build out a team locally.
I think Virtual assistants are overrated. They’re great for small-time work, but I wanted people local that I can train to run campaigns. I wanted THINKERS, not people who just follow instructions.
People have asked, “Why can’t you just work and build a team out in Asia?” I’ve tried and it’s not for me.
I guess the easiest example to give is to imagine someone’s trying to quit alcohol. Which environment’s better for him? Living in a college town with bars everywhere, or living in the suburbs. That’s the way I feel.
When I’m in Atlanta I naturally get into the work zone. Asia is where I relax and have fun.
You have to figure out what makes you happy. I’m happiest when I’m learning and growing so I’ve put myself in the best environment for that. I’m still traveling 1/3 of the year, that’s more than most people do in a lifetime.
Now I have an interesting work life balance. My girlfriend’s in Vietnam and we’ve been together for 3 years. When I’m in Atlanta I work my ass off 7 days a week for a few months. Every summer and winter I fly to Asia for a few months and have some fun.
I’m hoping to move back to Asia at the end of the year. My team’s built out and can work without me. My girlfriend misses me. And there’s tremendous growth / opportunity in Asia right now.
- A key to happiness is progress. Once I stopped growing I started becoming unhappy
- Local employees > virtual assistants
- Find the right work-life balance for you.