I’ve been so fortunate to have experienced this incredible seven-year run, starting back in 2010.
It’s been quite an adventure. And I couldn’t be more pleased with where I’m at in life.
But I’m also just getting started. At 35 years old, I’m still young. While this current version of me is the best that’s ever existed, I still feel like my best is yet to come.
I’m the best yet, and yet, my best is yet to come…
-Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.
Frankly, that’s how we should all think.
Most of us here are fighting for financial independence. And those of us who have reached financial independence are using our additional resources to become better and happier versions of ourselves (at least, we should be). The constant striving toward your potential as a human being is not something that ever ends.
With that in mind, I’m looking forward to 2018 as what will almost surely be another wonderful chapter in my book of life.
But there are three things I’m particularly excited about this coming year:
Exploring More Of Thailand And Southeast Asia
I’m admittedly not a big traveler, which is kind of funny to say considering I live in a foreign country full time.
But now that I live in a totally different part of the world, I’m anxious to see what this part of the globe offers. It’s obviously very expensive (and time consuming) to fly over here from the US, which is why it’s such a gift to be located here permanently. I can freely hop around the region with relatively little resource expenditure.
First, however, is seeing more of the country I now call home.
I’m currently in the midst of planning out a March-ish trip to visit a Thai island or two in the south. While I enjoyed the beaches in SW Florida just fine, the beaches here in Thailand are on another level.
But Thailand is a huge and diverse country. I’ve spent the last few months seeing plenty of Chiang Mai and its environs, but I’m anticipating broadening my exploration of the country throughout 2018.
A trip to Bangkok in the near future is also highly likely. It’s easy to see a good chunk of southern Thailand from there.
And this is all before even talking about the rest of SE Asia, which includes the likes of nearby Vietnam and Cambodia. It’s relatively cheap and easy to zip around to these countries. In my view, Thailand offers by far the highest quality of life in this region, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a little bit of some neighboring countries.
Moreover, I have some interest in seeing parts of Eastern Europe, which appeals to me for some of the same reasons Thailand does.
Eastern Europe is especially appealing to me as a summer destination/home, as part of what I believe is the ultimate snowbird solution.
Well, it’s now much easier to hop over to, say, Budapest than ever before. And it probably makes sense to take advantage of that at some point, perhaps as early as this summer.
Of course, none of this would be very fun alone. But I’ve been super fortunate to meet a great girl over here who’s been enjoying the exploration process with me. This makes the adventures so much more fun. And she’s been happy to show me around, opening my eyes to places I might not have seen all by myself.
Meeting New People
I feel like a nut (literally?) coming out of the shell over here.
Due to a concurrence of numerous factors – natural introversion, a dearth of like-minded people, self-imposed extreme frugality, the expense of going out in the US, a ton of hard work and side hustling that limited free time, etc. – I had a very limited social circle back in the States.
But that is changing rapidly over here in Chiang Mai.
I’m going out of my way to attend meetups/events, extend my help/knowledge to others, and build new relationships.
There almost isn’t a week that goes by in which I don’t meet at least one new person doing something pretty interesting.
Many coders, writers, vloggers, investors, drop shippers, and even your more garden variety retired expats often hang out in the same spots as I do, which makes it easy for serendipity to strike. Plus, there are events – catering to all kinds of interests/businesses/passions – going on just about every single day over here.
With a much lower cost structure in place, it’s now far easier to go out and have fun if/when one strikes up a friendship with someone.
So there’s just this rich and dynamic environment that pulls people together in an organic and fantastic way that I’m enjoying.
Now, just because someone is living in Chiang Mai, or just because someone is working online, it doesn’t mean we’re going to be best friends. In fact, I’ve come away from meeting some people over here flabbergasted and disappointed.
But I’ve expanded my social circle somewhat significantly over the last few months of living here. And I see that circle expanding even further in time. Since people tend to come and go here (it’s a transient city), it’s good to have a stable of people who enjoy some of the same things.
Crafting High-Quality Content (And Inspiring People In The Process)
I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited to write than I am right now.
Inspired by amazing (and cheap) coffee shops that can be found on every street, 24-hour coworking spaces, the concentration of online entrepreneurs, and the general improvement in my quality of life since moving abroad, my productivity has been off the charts.
Furthermore, the totally new experience that is living in a foreign country has added a totally new angle for me as a writer.
I spent about five years writing pretty much exclusively about personal finance, especially in terms of how to combine frugality and dividend growth investing to achieve financial independence.
I’ve spent the last 15 months or so splitting my creative time between writing about dividend growth investing over at Daily Trade Alert and writing about what life is like in real-time for someone who’s actively aiming to improve happiness and quality of life within the construct of financial independence here at the blog.
Well, I now have a totally new topic to tackle here at the blog: life as a young and financially independent expat living in Thailand.
This has thoroughly rejuvenated my creativity. Adding in the extra productivity on top of that excites me about what’s possible in 2018.
Knowing that my content helps and motivates people keeps me going. To be totally honest, helping others make their dreams come true is a dream come true for me.
Meanwhile, my enthusiasm for writing about, actively participating in, and personally benefiting from dividend growth investing has never been stronger than it is today, supported and evidenced by the six-figure dividend growth stock portfolio that generates the five-figure passive and growing dividend income I need to cover my expenses.
I’m eager to continue spreading the good word about dividend growth investing throughout 2018 (and beyond). And I’ll regularly be buying high-quality dividend growth stocks over the next 12 months, adding to the wonderful collection of businesses I’ve already built.
For perspective, I’m going to end up writing ~20 articles in January. Many of those will be published over at DTA. I’ll also be producing two valuation and analysis videos that complement the Undervalued Dividend Growth Stock of the Week articles I write. And there are some other projects in the works, too. Plus, I’m coaching clients toward financial independence, which is incredibly rewarding.
When I tell people – even fellow writers – here in Chiang Mai about my content production numbers, they’re usually shocked. They must figure I’m burned out, especially considering I’ve been writing for almost seven years now.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I feel like my best ideas are still yet to come. At the very least, I’ll be able to keep things fresh with every piece I put out and every project I take on. I put my whole heart into this, but that’s only possible because I truly enjoy it as much as (if not more than) I ever have. Allowing myself to grow as a person and writer, along with knowing there is always a new person to help and inspire, makes my writing pleasurable.
Lastly, I enjoy the work because working is a world away from jobbing.
There’s so much to be excited about as we all look forward to a new year.
Some local travel, meeting new people, and putting high-quality content together for you readers are a few things I’m particularly excited about as I think about the next 12 months.
Our opportunities are limited only to our imagination and will, as long as we don’t let fear hold us back.
But keep in mind that a year is, after all, a collection of 365 individual days. So let’s make every single 24-hour period count!
What are you most excited about for 2018?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
P.S. If you’re interested in becoming financially independent over the course of 2018 (or any year, really), or if you’re at all interested in moving abroad to live as a dividend expat, I’ve compiled some resources that are invaluable toward that end. Check them out!