A few weeks ago, I found myself in a strange situation that reminded me of all the things I HATE about being a freelance graphic designer.
Usually, most of my work comes from online freelance websites like O-desk, Fiverr and more. I rarely actually do anything for REAL LIVE people standing over my shoulder but I recently made an exception/mistake (which I should have totally seen coming by the way) that I would later regret.
Do you want to see the world and make money while you’re at it?
That’s what I wanted to do and somehow my calling of becoming a travelling freelance graphic artist fell into my lap!
But there are several career paths that you could pick that would be great for travelling around the world and you’d be doing it while picking up a paycheck for it every month! How can you beat that?
I’ve been around…
Wait a second–not the in the way you think! What I mean is that before I decided that I would actually pursue a career in freelance graphic design, I had a few tries at some other jobs and activities here and there.
I know the title of this post may come as a little surprise to you seeing as the words "geek" and "shopping" are almost never be found in the same sentence. However, I will admit that I have an online shopping addiction. That shouldn't really come as a surprise to you seeing as I'm a web geek and all.
It first started a couple of years ago when I was looking for housewarming gift ideas for a friend of mine who was Filipino. I knew that housewarming presents are usually household appliances but I wanted to give it a little bit of personal touch by giving him something that would be very useful in a Filipino kitchen. Based on my research, I found out that rice was a staple in Filipino meals. Therefore, I decided I would get him a rice cooker.
Problem was, I didn't know what to look for in a rice cooker. My search in finding the best rice cooker lead me to ricecookergoodness.com. Through the site, I was able to determine what brand and model to get. Then came the problem of where I was going to make the purchase. So I once again went on Google to search for a store in my area that was selling the rice cooker that I wanted. One thing lead to another and I before I knew it, I was clicking the Checkout button at an e-commerce store.
But aside from the rice cooker, I also ended up buying myself a couple of things because I realized that they were a lot cheaper compared to those sold in brick and mortar shops. After a couple of days, my order was hand delivered to my doorstep. I was ecstatic when I opened the package because everything was as it was described on the website. The best part was I didn't even have to step out of my front door. I was able to shop for everything I needed sans stress from the lack of parking at the mall, annoying crowds, and long queues at the cashier. That was the beginning of my online shopping addiction.
Aside from the hassle-free experience that online shopping gives me, another reason I love it is because I have access to a wider variety of merchandise. I can shop from a store that's located in say, Bangkok, within the comforts of my living room. I also have access to items that aren't available in the US. The downside though is the shipping fee. However, I don't mind paying a little extra for the convenience.
Just the other day I was looking for a gift to give my sister who lives in Oahu. She's recently taken up surfing as a hobby and was asking me for a paddleboard for her birthday. I landed on shakasurfer.com in my search for the best standup paddle board or SUP for beginners. After getting a few recommendations, I started searching for a site that offered the best deals on SUPs. I found a website that was selling the exact SUP that I wanted to buy for my sister and the best part was they also offered free shipping to Oahu. To cut the long story short, I already bought the SUP and had it shipped directly to my sister in Oahu. She doesn't know that I already bought her gift so I'm very excited to see her reaction.
That's another thing I love about online shopping, I can buy gifts for friends and family who live in another state and have it hand delivered to their doorstep. This has allowed me to show the people I care about that I am thinking of them even if I am miles away. Indeed, the internet has made it a whole lot easier for people to connect even if they're on opposite ends of the world.
As much as I love traveling, there are a few downsides to exploring the world. I love to keep in shape, but when you travel it’s difficult to keep up with your workout routine, because you don’t have access to your workout equipment and you are having fun discovering a new place.
In this article I have put together my top tips for keeping fit while traveling.
1.Increase your workouts before you go.
Before I set off traveling I try to fit in as many training sessions as possible, and there are two reasons why I do this.
Number one: Most of the time I don’t have access to any gym equipment unless I am staying in a nice hotel. But even then, working out is still time consuming and I want to spend as much time as possible enjoying the trip.
Number two: I also like to relax during my vacation and if I am exhausted I am able to relax much better.
2.Strict diet before we go.
Another preparation you can do before you go is to be strict on your diet. Two weeks before I am due to travel I remove all the sugar and fat from my diet entirely. I do this because when I travel I want to try new foods, drink alcohol and indulge. If I know I am in the best shape possible before I go, then during my vacation I don’t feel guilty or have to think about every aspect of what I am consuming.
3.No equipment workouts
As I said above, it’s unlikely that I will have access to any gym equipment during my trip. It is still important to exercise, especially if the trip is longer than two weeks.
The answer is no equipment workouts, and one of my favorite ways to do this is with HIIT exercises. HIIT stands for “high-intensity interval training,” and you can see examples here and a video here.
HIIT is a very good way to mix up your workouts even when you’re not traveling. Each workout is very different and you can adapt the training to your own level of fitness and increase the intensity with ease.
One piece of workout equipment I always do take with me on every trip is a skipping rope. A skipping rope is light-weight and easily fits into your bag. Skipping is cardio training and every athlete can improve his or her fitness levels simply by skipping on a regular basis.
You can run anywhere and it never costs you any money. All you need is a pair of shoes see dss-tuff, socks, a T-shirt and shorts and you’re good to go. No matter where you are in the world you can run, and the bonus to running during your vacation is you get to see parts of the area you are visiting that no other visitor gets to experience.
Running takes you to new areas and will often improve your vacation experience as you will notice buildings to explore later in the vacation or discover a beach four miles from your hotel that no one would have told you about. I can’t tell you how many local people I have met simply by running around the area I am visiting.
It is undeniable how the internet has greatly improved the lives of so many people around the world. Not only has it helped families stay connected despite being on opposites sides of the world, it has also made the task of gathering information a whole lot easier. This does not only apply to researching topics for college papers or in the case of homemakers, getting recipes for certain dishes or DIY tips.
Believe it or not, you can also find information on how to conceive a child with the gender of your choice. Sounds a little ridiculous, right? But it's true. There is a special calendar used by the Chinese that will tell you the exact date you should conceive if you want a baby boy or girl. There are websites that offer this calendar for free. Likewise, there are also sites with calculators that can tell the gender of your baby based merely on the date of your last menstruation. You won't have to wait months to finds out. However, these aren't always reliable so make sure you wait until the gender of your baby is confirmed by an ultrasound before you go crazy shopping for pink or blue onesies.
Say you already suspect that you're pregnant and want to take a home pregnancy test but don't know which one to pick. According to Pregnancy Test Central, there are pregnancy tests available online. However, it is still best to use a home pregnancy test kit that can detect even the slightest increase in the level of hGC in urine if you're only under 8 weeks along. Knowing this piece of information will not only save you money from having to buy one of each pregnancy test kit on the shelves of your local drugstore but it will also prevent you from feeling the disappointment and frustration brought about by a false negative test result.
Let's get to the part where you've already confirmed your pregnancy and now you want to connect with other pregnant women to discuss your excitement, anxiety, and everything else you may be feeling. The internet can also help you with that by means of forums especially dedicated to women who are also expecting. Aside from that, you can also find sites full of articles on how to manage the discomforts brought about by pregnancy. You no longer have to spend money on books about pregnancy because you can get all the information you need through the internet.
Another way the internet has made pregnancy a lot easier for women who are expecting is through online shopping. As you get closer and closer to your due date, the harder it will become to move around. If you still have to do some last minute shopping for your baby's things, doing it online is the best way to go. Not only will a wider range of options be available to you, you can shop for everything you need with a just few clicks of a button. When you're done, all you have to do is wait for your order to be delivered to your doorstep within a couple of days.
The internet has been criticized a lot by educators and parents because it has had negative effects on children. What they don't realize is , the internet has brought more benefits to parents and in effect, to their children. As far as the negative aspects go, it's all about keeping a close watch on your child's access to the internet and implementing boundaries.
If you didn't know, I am actually half British. My dad moved from England to the US in the 70's to seek greener pastures. He met my mom a little over a year after he arrived, dated for a few months, got married, and had my brother the following year. Two years after that, my mom was pregnant again and after 9 months, I was born into the world. The rest was, as they say, history.
You may be curious as to why I started this post with a background on my family. Well, I'm going to be talking about the one thing that I've been very conscious about ever since I was a teenager – my teeth. Growing up, I have always been teased about my teeth because they weren't pearly white and had gaps in between. My brother was lucky because his teeth are just fine. I totally blame my misfortune on my dad's genes. You know what they say about the British having bad teeth, right?
Anyway, my insecurity got worse when I became a teenager. Imagine liking a girl but not being able to smile at her or even open your mouth as widely as you would like when you're talking because you're ashamed that she might see how hideous your teeth were? Not good, right? Well, that's exactly what I had to endure in high school. Sadly, cosmetic dental procedures weren't as accessible to the common folk back then so even if my parents were willing to pay to get my teeth fixed, we had no idea where to go.
Let's fast forward to about 8 years ago when I first started freelancing as a graphic artist. One of my first clients was the owner of peachveneers.com, a website about veneers in Atlanta. Back then, I didn't exactly know what veneers were but as soon as I was done researching on the internet for the project, I knew that it was what I needed. I saw the project as the answer to my prayers because not only did it lead me to the solution to the problem with my teeth, the money I would earn would be enough for me to get porcelain veneers in Atlanta at the Peach Veneers clinic.
It was a good thing that I was a freelancer and thanks to the internet I can work anywhere because based on my research, it would take at least 3 weeks for porcelain veneers to be done. When I finally completed the project and received my pay, I immediately started making arrangements to fly to Atlanta. I was able to get in touch with a cousin of mine who lived there and had a spare room in his apartment which he was willing to rent out to me for peanuts.
I also called the clinic and spoke with one of the dental assistants regarding my concern. He told me to email in some pictures of my teeth so the dentist can see if I was suitable for veneers. After a few emails back and forth, the dentist confirmed that I was a suitable candidate and finally agreed to give me an appointment. I was ecstatic!
Moving forward to today, it's been almost 8 years since I got my porcelain veneers fitted and they still look like new. They did cost me a little more than I thought initially but I don't regret getting them. They did wonders for my self-esteem and even improved my way of life because I am able to eat better than I did before I got them.
About two months ago, I decided it was time to spend some money on a little gift for myself as a reward for all of my hard work in 2014. If you didn't know, I live a pretty frugal life despite earning a higher income compared to regular employees. In fact, my frugality has become somewhat of an inside joke within my family because I rarely spend money on things basic things like say, nice clothing. Why? Well to put it simply, I don't think I need to spend so much money on clothes because I am comfortable enough by wearing jeans and t-shirts from the GAP store. Besides, I travel a lot so I don't really need to own too many things.
However, what I save on necessities are put into funding my travels. Before you get any ideas, let me tell you now that I don't travel first class and I never book a room at a 5 star hotel. That said, I will admit that I have managed to build quite an impressive financial portfolio despite the fact that I am under 30.
Anyway, let's go back to the biggest purchase I have ever made in my adult life so far. I decided it was time to buy something for myself that can be passed through the future generations of my kin. I wanted to buy a really expensive watch that can stand the test of time. The first brand that came to my mind was of course, Rolex. After all, I read on the internet somewhere that a Rolex watch was found in the wreckage of the Titanic and it was still ticking when they retrieved it despite being underwater for decades. Imagine that!
Being the web geek that I am however, I hopped on the internet to see what Time Connoisseur had to say about the best watch brands for men in 2014. Unsurprisingly, Rolex was at the top of the list followed by Tag Heuer. That's when I made up my mind to purchase a Rolex. I won't lie, I wasn't too keen on spending at least thirty grand on a watch. But I kept telling myself that it was a worthwhile investment because the value of a Rolex appreciates over time.
Since I was already on the Time Connoisseur website, I also looked up their watch reviews on Seiko watches because I needed one which I could wear every day. The Sportura FC Barcelona Chronograph caught my eye and after taking down the name of the model, I started browsing through website after website that offered information on the best place to purchase authentic Rolex and Seiko watches.
Okay, I am not a fool as to buy something as expensive as a Rolex over the internet given the number of scams that some online sellers pull off. But through my research, I found out that if I wanted the best deal possible, I should make the purchase in Dubai. Fantastic! I had a scheduled trip to Dubai less than one month away.
Fast forward to today, my $34,000-worn-only-once Rolex is sitting safely in my safety deposit box in the bank. I am however, currently wearing the Seiko Sportura watch I was able to buy in Dubai with a 30% off deal on its price tag. After all, who wears a Rolex with a pair of worn out shorts and a faded blue t-shirt, right? Am I sorry about the purchase? Not at all! It's something that I can pass on to my future son, he to his, and so on. A family heirloom that started with me. Surely, that's worth its price?