Proof: I am not delusional and it is all possible – The story of ‘Drew’

Location of writing: Jungle Garden, Negombo, Sri Lanka. Final stop in this amazing country.

Travel: Despite 10 straight days of torrential cyclonic rain, it’s been a ripper week. Hanging out with some of the best people I know, constantly crying with laughter and getting into some pretty wild adventures. Just for example, we somehow managed to get caught up in one of the craziest storms I’ve ever seen while out at a small local roti shop for dinner.

We ended retreating to the little kitchen and hiding with the 15 Sri Lankan staff working there as the roof started to collapse and full sheets of tin roof flew down the road for an hour or two.

Turned out we should have listened to the policemen yelling at us to go home as we walked into the restaurant; “haha, it’s only a bit of rain” we said..

At the end of the night we sat around (in the darkness as the power was out for 24 hours of course) with some luke warm beers and laughed at how quickly a relaxing dinner turned into a “ok, emergency meeting spot, strongest concrete bench to hide under, closest police station, do we bring the beers with us” kind of situation.

For anyone considering Sri Lanka, I can highly recommend. The people there are genuinely some of the happiest I have ever come across, and the scenery is amazing. The surf is fun, I didn’t score anything ‘epic’ but I’ve heard it can happen. Not quite as cheap as India, but much easier to travel and less hectic.

Travel tip #101 – hang out with people who take ripper photos and turn to face them sometimes – @lewis_beards.

So my ‘yearlong adventure’ is coming to an end, but my motivation to continue is as ripe as ever. 

Yep, time to finally start heading home. 

When I boarded the plane to Denmark this year I did not plan or expect the kind of the year that followed – especially to become so closely immersed in so many amazing families, friends, and friends of friends.

I also never planned or expected to launch a new business, or start writing a blog and pouring my business and personal thoughts as I went – but it all happened, all while having the best experiences of my life.

Also managed to finish off a couple of university degrees while I went, and kept Namaste Collective afloat and ticking over – ripper.

From husky sledding with the family in the Alps of Switzerland, to living like a local in Belgium for 5 months, to business buying trips through the bustling souks of Marrakech and surfing up and down the coast of Portugal and France, it all could not have been much better of a trip.

If I could attribute the year to anything, it would be ensuring you say ‘yes’ to as much as possible, and backing it up with ‘why not’?

It sounds cliché, but it works.

You may end up making some pretty bad decisions at times, and you will sometimes end up in pretty heavy slumps, but if you ‘keep on keeping on’ you will be bound to come across some amazing experiences and people that will, as cheesy and “#wanderlust” as it sounds, change your life forever.

All my amazing friends (and friend’s families) really did make it all possible. They offered me food (like really really good food) and accomodation all throughout France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Bulgaria, and everywhere else for pretty much 5 of the last 6 months.

They also made sure I drank all the local liquor, ate all of the local food, and saw all the local hotspots they could possibly think of. On top of this, they made me feel at home. I expect my biggest ‘culture shock’ experience to be arriving home in Australia – that’s how at home I’ve felt away.

(*Update – yep – culture shock back in Australia, I actually forgot how open, chatty and friendly Australians are… Why does this Cindy lady at the Target checkout really care about how my morning has been so far!?)

I honestly could not thank you all enough – expect some salty Australian thank you gifts in the mail, and expect me to visit again sooner than later. And of course, my door here is always open.

Proof – The ‘work while you travel’ ideal is not just a dream. For many, it is the reality. 

In Sri Lanka especially, I have come across lots of people (lots of Aussies) funding their travels through photography, graphic design and web developing, freelance writing, blogging, and also people who have set up camp and started successful cafes and hostels. Many of these people have been travelling non-stop for years now.

However, there are still the doubters.

“Yeah, that would be ideal. I would love to have a job where I could travel and work as I went. Just not possible. If you get a job you need to keep it.”

I have heard this countless times as I’ve moved around and explained what I am doing (or at least trying to do). Many will say this, but never make any actual action to test if it is possible in their own life.

Many others however will not try because they think that yes, you may be able to make a bit of cash to keep you moving, but you could never run a ‘successful’ and ‘large-scale’ career while working / travelling abroad in exotic locations.

Cue the Story of Drew

It was a raining and onshore 2-3 foot day at Midigama and I decided to paddle out and join the only other guy out there.

As so happens when surfing in Sri Lanka, it didn’t take long to get chatting and get into a deep conversion – ‘where you from, what you doing, want to swap boards, want to stay at my house’ etc etc.

Through my probing questions in between waves, Drew’s story ended up being a ripper and very relevant to everything I try to preach in this blog. In a nutshell, here is is:

Drew and his co-founder, Dainen, started a telecommunications company in the Byron area (stereotypical hippy area for any non-aussies wondering) back in 2001.

Put simply, he and his young team found a solution whereby they could provide decent speed internet to more ‘rural’ houses out in the Byron hills, by filling the void where Telstra and Optus refused to cooperate.

Fast forward to now, and it is a publicly listed company with contracts with huge clients including mines and governmental organisations.

Drew and his team ignored the constant warnings that they were “crazy to go up against Optus and Telstra” and they pushed through the hard times by, just for one example, living with their parents in the basement for a solid chunk of time through their mid to late 20s.

However, the main reason I am telling this story is not to describe the success of this business in general. Lots of businesses succeed, no shit.

I am telling this story to point out that Drew was in Sri Lanka.

Surfing with me.

Sipping on a cold drink in a hammock as I came back in. And no – he has not retired – far from it.

He has managed to organise his role and his work so that he now basically travels non-stop all while keeping a close connection with the business and all of its daily activities.

He is completely on top of everything, minus the usual stress of a non-stop busy city corporate life.

Drew has:

  • Lived in Sri Lanka (in his private villa) for 1 year and four months and counting;
  • Lived in the Phillipines for a year prior to that;
  • And lived in Costa Rica for a year prior to that.

He manages by waking up early (See Blog #1 – Take the Mornings), working on the ‘Australian business hours’, and then, basically, surfing and enjoying life.

He pays minimal rent and expenses (living in Sri Lanka is 60% cheaper than Aus), has faster internet than most people would find in Australia, and is the least stressed guy you could find.

In my short time with him, Drew inspired me to keep on trying different things, and demonstrated that sometimes if people think what you are trying to do is ‘crazy’, then perhaps it is a sign you are on the right track.

He also highlighted the advantages of setting up business in exotic locations where the costs of living are so low, that it can sometimes actually give you a better chance at success by leaving more cash left over to invest into your venture. Not to mention the positive health effects due to reduced stress and higher physical activity.

I am now in touch with Drew regularly via email and look forward to having him as a personal mentor. Here is some solid advice straight from the man himself:

Drastically change your environment.

Remove yourself from family, geographic and social conditioning; you can go back to it but give yourself a year at least out of the fartbox, and if the business curiosity is a seed it will grow out of you.
Other advice is 1 and 1 is eleven. Translation:  Two heads are better than one, you need a team.

Drew in his natural habitat.

Back to reality

Aren’t you going home? Aren’t you going to start a ‘real’ job?

This isn’t the nomadic travel while you work lifestyle you preach – Blasphemy! 

And to bring things back to reality, yes, I am heading home.

No, I’m not giving up on the dream of travelling non-stop and working as I go. I will keep it up. I will also keep this blog going from home.

Yes, I am planning to start a full time job next year, but I also plan to have that job send me to live in Mumbai, India for 8 months, which will be a pretty decent travel experience for me.

Cue to Example Two – Ben:

Can ‘full-time work’ and ‘travel’ be blended?

Por que no los los? 

Ben, a best friend of mine, has recently managed to score a full time job in Paris through hard work, asking the right questions and basically, taking the right risks.

Sure, he isn’t ‘travelling the world and working from tropical resorts on a laptop’ but he’s 24, working an amazing job, and learning French in Paris while travelling to different countries each weekend.

On top of this, he has already encountered the possibility of being able to do some of this work remotely, maybe from a cafe in Paris, maybe Berlin, maybe even that tropical resort.

You really, really cannot complain with that. So yes – you can have both.

Instagram husbanding with Mr Ben. Yes, he is working full time. And he works pretty hard too. But he has weekends free in Europe. He seems happy no? 

Zeee blog continues… 

Thats it for now.

Although I’m on a homeward journey, the ‘Packabusiness’ blog will continue as I continue to work on my side hustles. I probably wouldn’t have continued with it if not for all the messages of appreciation and support that I’ve received from all of you following along.

I’ll keep growing Charlie Spike from ‘hipster cafes’ (no shortage in Australia) over the next few months, and keep grinding as much as possible out of Namaste Collective.

Again, if anyone is liking anything I’m putting down through all these business blogs, feel free to show your appreciation through a cheeky sale on the store – every bit helps!!!

I thought, seeing as I’m about to board a plane in Kuala Lumpar, I’d add bunch of photos to show a very small snapshot of how the year has gone.

Struggled to narrow it down to less than a million photos,  but here are just some of the ‘good times’ I have been trying to preach and some of the amazing people that made it possible.

Click on the photos to view individually or scroll through with captions – best on desktop. 



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