Medellin Colombia

Medellin for Digital Nomads


After finishing up a 3 month stay in Medellin, I thought it was only fitting that I post a ‘digital nomad destination’ review for the “City of the Eternal Spring”..

To start things off, I will say that my original intent was to visit Chiang Mai, Thailand, but after tons of research, I realized Medellin better lined up with my needs, as you’ll see below.

What I was looking for

In doing my research, I made a short list of traits an ideal destination would have. Some of these things included, in no particular order:

  • easy to access
  • reliable internet
  • inexpensive (sub $1500/mo USD)
  • ability to come & go with pets
  • minimal culture shock
  • and so on..
Where to go? Somewhere easy to access, with stable internet, and all at a low cost. Click To Tweet

Why Chiang Mai wouldn’t work

While it seems that Chiang Mai is a digital nomad hotspot, there were many areas where it falls short. On the surface, it seems like an inexpensive place to live, but upon further examination, there are lots of expenses that most people tend to gloss over.

Things like the cost of a visa, visa extensions, border runs every 90 days, and the somewhat substantial flight cost (if you’re not travel hacking). Not to mention the lengthy flight if you are coming from the US.

The Search Beginsglobe

It was these initial findings that had me start looking for an alternative destination.

I actually started my new search by reading ‘best international locations to retire to’ types of posts, and then checking SkyScanner for flight length & prices.

My logic was that retirees are often working from a smaller fixed income, yet they still need access to modern infrastructure and amenities. This would likely mean that these destinations would be cheaper than living in the US, but still relatively modern.

Medellin, Colombia

Medellin SunsetAfter several dead ends, I found a location that looked promising. One of the things I noticed, was that much of the world still thinks Colombia is full of danger & chaos, while that hasn’t actually been the case in almost a decade.

You can see this reflected in the cost of living which, arguably, should be 50-70% higher than it actually is. Add in the not-so-stable currency, and you get a destination where the cost is roughly 50% lower than most American cities, but without sacrificing modern conveniences.

Also, when comparing flight costs, Chiang Mai was about $600 for a 1-way ticket, while Medellin was only $140. This, coupled with the short flight time (only 5 hours), was a huge difference, especially if I needed to return back to the US sooner than expected.

Life in Medellin

Aside from the initial confusion on our arrival (detailed in an earlier post here), we were able to settle in quickly and start to assimilate their culture.

One of the things that made the transition easy for us was the ubiquitous acceptance of Visa & Mastercard. In fact, there was only 1 shop (besides the farmers market) that I needed cash to pay. Another big plus was the ability to use Airbnb & Uber.

With Airbnb, we picked out a nice flat a month in advance that was within a few minute’s walk to the ‘Golden Mile’ in the higher end El Poblado section of the city. And after picking up a local SIM card, it was never more than a 5 minute wait until having a personal driver available from Uber.

Airbnb is a bit pricey, which is mainly due to the fact that most listings are priced in dollars instead of pesos, so you aren’t able to take advantage of currency fluctuations. For our 2nd & 3rd months, we moved to another flat, and negotiated directly with the property manager. This allowed us to stay in a place that was much bigger & nicer than our first flat, and at practically the same price.

Medellin Quick FactsWorking

Al Alma Cafe MedellinWhile there weren’t too many co-working spaces in the area, there were plenty of cafes and other places to get work done. If you’re OK working alone, you’ll have no trouble being productive.

Almost everywhere had free WiFi (usually between 5-10 Mbps) that was mostly reliable, with a couple exceptions; the entire El Poblado area was without internet for nearly 2 days, but this was due to some upgrades to the infrastructure, so this may have been a 1 time outage..

There is even a thriving ‘expat’ scene, not exactly tailored to digital nomads, but great for help with learning Spanish (and also nice when you need a break from Spanish and want to speak English with other native speakers).

Culture, Nightlife, and more..

Besides work, Medellin has a lot to offer with regard to culture; museums, parks, shopping, and more. There are plenty of options available for a night out, and a wide variety of cuisine can be found.

‘Cons’ of Medellin

With all of the upsides, there are a few drawbacks to living in Medellin. First of all, learning some Spanish is a must. Most people you meet will only know a few words of English (despite the fact that most movies in the theater are shown in English, with Spanish subtitles).

If you make an effort, though, they will do the same. I never ran into someone that wasn’t willing to try to help bridge the communication gap, when issues did arise. Having the Google Translate app on standby (and downloading the Spanish language pack in advance for offline access) will help out quite a bit.

Beyond the language barrier and a couple of WiFi outages, I didn’t experience anything negative about the area. I never felt unsafe, didn’t get sick at all, and was able to adapt to the elevation within just a few days.


I definitely Medellin Colombiaenjoyed my time in Medellin, and hope to return again. While I had been a sort of ‘digital nomad’ for a bit before visiting, leaving home to travel somewhere international made it feel ‘official’. I can definitely recommend it, especially for digital nomads living in the US.

If you do have interest in visiting, a great resource for information is the Medellin Living blog. It was my one stop shop for researching the area prior to (and during) my stay.

That’s it for this week. Next week, I’ll have a post talking about a book that inspired me to become a digital nomad, long before I had even heard the term, and maybe before that term even existed. It is one of the most empowering books I’ve ever read.



Location Independence Medellin

What’s the point of location independence?

Location Independence Medellin

What’s the point of location independence… if you don’t change locations?

When you think about location independence, what location do you think of? A good majority of the bloggers and other ‘experts’ in this industry fall into 1 of 2 categories: Those that choose a location based mainly on the low cost of living, and those that don’t bother to change locations at all..

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#digitalnomad #hustle”]Achieving location independence is just the beginning.[/tweetthis]

Initially, I fell into the 2nd category, and then almost fell victim to the 1st category. Fortunately, I struck out on a better path..

Choosing the location

plane wingWhen I decided to become a digital nomad, I divided my time between setting up online income streams and choosing an ideal location to start my journey. Initially, I thought Chiang Mai might be a good spot, as it is an extremely popular ‘digital nomad hub’.

Due to a few logistical concerns, we eventually settled on another location; Medellin, Colombia. Luckily, I stayed true to my philosophy of finding the best solution for me, not what the majority seems to have chosen.

I’ll give a full review of Medellin as a digital nomad destination in an upcoming post. 

With that decision made, everything else fell into place. Well, mostly.


slip on banana peelHaving a plan is essential, but rarely does that plan hold up once the action starts. This was no different. Even though everything had been planned for, there were a few hiccups.

First, our flight arrived just as the airport was closing, which meant no chance at getting a little local currency, and practically no cabs available. The airport was also lacking WiFi, so we were on our own.

On top of this, there was some additional paperwork needed to ‘import’ our cats (basically another small shakedown), and there were no English speakers to be found. Luckily, the official and I both spoke enough French to get things squared away.

At this point, it was after midnight, and the few ‘cabs’ available appeared to be opportunists looking to deprive us of our luggage. I managed to find an ‘off duty’ cab driver who happened to be at the airport to pick up his girlfriend, and offered him a bit extra, roughly triple the normal fare (but still less than 1/2 of what it would cost in the US), to take us across the city.


Aside from the chaos of arriving in a country where you don’t speak the language, don’t know your way around, and don’t know anybody, we figured things out pretty fast.

In my experience, most people will help you out when you need it. We did need to make some lifestyle changes, but most of them were minor. Once we’d finished a few Spanish lessons, went out shopping, and learned our way around the city, we developed a nice routine.

Note: I think it’s important to learn the local customs and try to fit in a bit. This is in direct contrast to the boisterous tourist that expects the locals to go out of their way to accommodate him.

So What’s Next?

We’ve decided to finish up here, staying up to the 3 month mark, and then head back to a different part of the US for a little while, and then decide what to do and where to go next.

The Road Ahead

I should have plenty to talk about for the next Progress Report post at the end of April. Next week, I’m going to touch on a strategy I’ve written about before, but go much more in-depth.

See you next week,


2016 Goals Post

New goals for 2016? Nope.

2016 Goals Post

As the new year begins to get underway, I thought it might be fitting to write the ‘customary New Year’s post’. While in one sense, I don’t like jumping on the bandwagon by writing about goals & resolutions, in another sense, it’s nice to harness some of the collective energy out there to start building (or maintaining) your momentum.

This is also the time that you typically see a swarm of Income Reports or Goals & Motivation for the New Year posted on blogs of all types, and I didn’t want to disappoint. But since this blog has only just begun, I don’t have much to report on those fronts.

Instead, I want to focus on the mechanics of how I set and achieve my goals. First, let me clear the air..

I Don’t Believe in New Year’s Resolutions

As I hinted at in the title, I strongly dislike the concept that we should begin moving toward new objectives on January 1st. It should be an ongoing process.

In the same way you usually don’t feel older/wiser on your birthday, but that new insights and instances of personal growth are felt at random intervals based on your experiences & revelations within certain situations.

Why I still make “New Year’s Resolutions” notepad and coffee

Not to contradict everything I’ve just stated, but I do make some plans & set new goals around the new year. It’s one of those rare times that you can tell those around you about your goals, and have them be encouraging & supportive.

Also, since I regularly set goals and evaluate my progress, I’ll use just about any excuse to pause and re-evaluate my situation.

What’s WAY better than resolutions?

In my opinion, resolutions are typically made in the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” fashion. In reality, the majority of them aren’t kept through the month of January, let alone the entire year.

To make things worse, I often hear people mention new goals in October & November, but say that they’ll wait until January to get started on them.

So What’s My System? set and reach goals

I’m currently using a system that is ongoing, and doesn’t rely on a single date on the calendar to start & stop. It is a combination of a long-term plan (updated annually), coupled with shorter sprints, which are then broken down even further into daily actions.

Long-Term (5-years)

This might seem a bit complicated, but it’s really quite simple once you get into it. It starts with a 1,3, & 5 year plan. This covers different areas of your life – Income, Lifestyle, Accomplishments, etc.

Something important to remember:

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#goals” remove_twitter_handles=”true”]People often overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year & underestimate what they can achieve in 5 years.[/tweetthis]

It isn’t too in depth. Just a sentence or two for each area of life, and 1-2 specific accomplishments I’d like to see in those areas.

Short-Term (90-days)

So once you have this big bird’s eye view of your ideal 1/3/5 year vision, you can break it down into smaller, actionable tasks. This is the part where we break it down into 90 day sprints.

This is a technique I learned from Jack Canfield’s Success Principles (Principle #8: Chunk It Down).

Now it’s time for a 90-day sheet where I list the smaller objectives & benchmarks that will help me accomplish the long term goals. These are broken down into: Active & Passive Income, Personal Development, Leisure, and Life Events/Milestones.

Again, this is just a brief outline. 2-3 objectives in each area is sufficient.

Weeklycomputer and journal

So now that our lofty 5-year goals have been broken down into what we intend to accomplish in the next 90 days, we can begin to break those down into weekly objectives.

I’ve found that having 3 important objectives of the week is more than enough to accomplish most/all of your goals. All it takes is 15 minutes before each week starts.

Once this has been done, you can get to work on your daily action plans.


Now it’s time to break them down even further. Each evening before I go to sleep, I choose the 3 tasks for the next day that will best move me forward. These tasks move me towards my weekly objectives, which in turn move me towards the 90 day and beyond time frames.

[tweetthis remove_url=”true”]A successful life is created 1 day at a time. Make each day a success, and you can’t help but create a successful life.[/tweetthis]

I realize that this system may seem a bit complex and time consuming, but it’s rather easy to implement. Here’s about how long I spend at each step:

  • 1/3/5 Year Planning – about an hour
  • 90-day sprints – another hour
  • Weekly – 15 minutes to plan it out, and another 15 minutes midweek to check on my progress
  • Daily – usually only 5 minutes

If that seems like a bit much, consider this: If you won’t take a few hours to plan for success, you won’t put it the time & focus needed to be successful. Period.

What Now?The 65 25 10 Formula

With all of this planning & goal setting, I’m sure you’re wondering how I these plans into action. I use something called The 65-25-10 Formula. In two weeks, I’ll be dedicating an entire post to that topic.

Until then, set some goals, and I’ll see you in the next post.



Personal Update Post

Personal Update – Relocation

Personal Update Post

Personal Progressset and reach goals

Every time a month with 5 Fridays comes along, I like to dedicate that 5th Friday to a sort of ‘Personal Progress Update’, which includes both personal & business updates and goals..

Often, the simple act of measuring something can improve your results all by itself. Add to this any actions & course corrections, and you can achieve extraordinary results.

Hence the tagline: Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust.

Personal Updates

Most of my personal updates this time around relate to my upcoming trip to South America. Passports, check. Plane tickets, check. 1st month of accommodations booked, check.

Takeoff Quote ImageThe major work here lies in selling everything* we own. Mostly via Craigslist, but a bit on eBay as well.

*Excluding 4 suitcases of goods, and a few totes stored with family.

This is the 3rd time I’ve sold at least 50% of my possessions in the past 6 years! So although it involves creating 100+ listings on Craigslist, it really only takes a little bit of mental energy, since the process itself is pretty quick & easy.

I’ll also need to cram in some language learning, since English won’t be very common. Between the Pimsleur audio lessons and the DuoLingo app, I should be OK.

Those are the main highlights, now on to the business updates.

Business Updates

The business updates fall into 3 main categories: active income, passive income, and brand building.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#passiveincome”]Active income pays the bills today, but remember to add passive income streams.[/tweetthis]

Active Income

For the active income, I’ll be experimenting with another micro job platform and increasing my output on Fiverr. I’m basically looking to spend the least amount of time possible on active income while still covering the bills and adding to my reserves.

Passive Income

Passive income is probably my biggest focus at this time. I’m finishing up my 2nd book, about to start my 3rd, and would like to get back to my 1st book and put out a 2nd edition with some needed updates.

Beyond books, I also have a couple of video courses lined up for the beginning of next year.

Brand Building

repurpose your contentMy main objective with brand building is to take care of two things at once: begin building an audience and content creation that can later be re-purposed into books and/or video courses.

So far I’ve been able to stay consistent with my blogging schedule of one post each week, and I’d like to throw in a guest post or two each month.

Beyond that, I need to finish up my resources page and write an autoresponder sequence for new subscribers.


Besides progress with my 3 income categories, my top goal is to have a successful relocation; all our possessions sold and a safe arrival in South America, and enough Spanish learned to get by (for now).

Until Next TimeIm Off Quote Plane

There is quite a bit I need to work on until the next update (which will be the 5th Friday in January), so I have about 90 days to make a big dent in this list.

I’ll also be taking the month of November off, and will resume my normal weekly posting schedule the first Friday of December.

So until next time..


[ Update ] How did things go when I arrived? Find out here.

Becoming Location Independent

The Journey Toward Location Independence (Part 2)

Becoming Location Independent

Location Independence; dream or reality?

So in Part 1, I gave a brief overview of my journey toward location independence. Now in the 2nd part of this series, I’ll be going over the specific steps I’ve already taken, and those I plan on taking in my business and personal life.

Personal LifeTakeoff Quote Image

The main area of focus here is the continued scaling back of our possessions so that long-term travel/relocation is more easily accomplished. This has been a focus for the last year anyway, but now it’s time to really get serious about it.

The goal is to get the core of our belongings to fit into 4 suitcases (2 per person). Anything beyond that would be sold before leaving, and then re-purchased at a later date if need be.

Here is some of what has been done so far:

  • Migrating my expansive (physical) book collection onto my Kindle.
  • Scanning all of our pictures, old journals & notebooks, etc., and then throwing out the originals.
  • Selling/donating anything that hasn’t been used in a year or more.
  • ..and we had already downsized our possessions quite a bit when we moved into a nicer, but smaller place.

While some of this might seem a bit extreme on the surface, having space that is unused or possessions that are being stored away (often in a storage unit with a monthly payment), is not really doing you any good at all.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#essentialism #digitalnomad”]Having fewer things allows you to have nicer things.[/tweetthis]

In Businesslaptop

There are a couple of goals in this area. First is the transition to income derived entirely online. Next, having flexible deadlines for any non-passive income is a must.

My business is already paperless, and having dropped my smartphone plan in early 2011, my communication has been almost entirely online for a while now. To put things into high gear, we’ve dumped Windows and moved to Chrome OS via Chromebooks.

With that, I’m putting a lot of trust in Google and ‘The Cloud‘. While I do have a secondary backup of my most important files (both physical and in Google Drive), my pictures have all been moved into Google Photos, and my music library now resides inside Google Play Music.

To learn more about the technology I’m using to become location independent, check out my free report HERE where I list 21 of the top resources I use that will allow me to run my business & life from anywhere.

In addition to my free report, I’ll dedicate an entire upcoming post about the switch to Chrome OS, and the pros & cons about moving your business entirely into the cloud. (Spoiler Alert: The Pros far outweigh the Cons.)

In Summary

So, in essence, it’s not about becoming a minimalist, decreasing your quality of life, or settling for second best. It’s about focusing on what is actually important. Becoming agile (i.e. able to move quickly and easily) is vital to location independence. It is equally important to be mindful of your actions & experiences.

In my next post, I cover a tactic that lets me live rent free, which also happens to be the topic of my next book.



[ Update] If you want to see whether I’ve become location independent, check out my ‘progress report’ series here.