I thought it would be useful to list the resources I use to live and travel, especially around South America, as well as some of the tech tools I use to save time, be more productive, and live better. I will continue to add to this list as I learn more. So I recommend bookmarking this page for your reference and convenience… Enjoy!
Start Your Own Website or Blog
If you don’t have any previous website experience, I highly recommend starting your own blog, just to get a feel for what it’s like to publish online. It’s really cool having your own little corner of the web, and often there’s a steep learning curve. Later on, you might begin selling products or offering services from a professional-looking website. Here are some resources along the way to starting your own website or blog:
WP-Engine: The best hosting solution for WordPress. Period. Costs $29/mo.
WordPress: The free and open-source web-publishing platform that’s easy to use and very versatile. All of my sites now use WordPress, it’s so easy you can teach yourself.
JustHost: The hosting provider I used just starting out. Costs $4/mo. Great if you are a beginner and/or new to creating websites.
Sucuri: Security monitoring for websites and protection against malware. Absolutely necessary, if you aren’t on the baller hosting solution.
WooThemes: Great looking WordPress themes and easy to use. Make your site look good from the get-go.
Google Analytics: Baseline statistics about your website visitors. If you don’t have at least this installed, you’re behind. It’s free and just a copy-and-paste to setup.
Internet Business Tools
If you’re going to go all the way and start your very own internet business, it can be a bit overwhelming. Just take it one day at a time, and pay attention to providing a valuable product or service that your customers want and you should be fine. Here are some must-know tools for building an internet business:
Odesk: Outsource and delegate. I prefer to use this for non-technical tasks.
Elance: Outsource more technical stuff, particularly anything code-related.
Screenflow: Screencapture software I use to make tutorials for the tasks I outsource.
Screenr: A free alternative to Screenflow. For recordings of 5 minutes or less.
Legalzoom: Incorporate your business when you are ready. Super easy.
Market Samurai: Easiest tool I’ve used to do market / keyword research as well as track your rankings for search terms.
Aweber: Easy-to-use email marketing. Definitely the #1 tool of many internet businesses.
Clicky: Medium-tier analytics. See where your visitors come from and where they go in real time.
CrazyEgg: Top-tier analytics. See the eye path of your cutomers as they are on your website.
ManageWP: Manage multiple wordpress sites from one dashboard.
Have you ever been curious what I wear or the travel-related stuff I pack in my suitcase? Well, I occasionally make minor changes, but right here I’ll list the most valuable gear I take with me on every trip:
Lowa Shoes: Outstanding multipurpose boots that I’ve kept since my first extended trip abroad.
Billabong: Makers of great boardshorts, which are INCREDIBLY versatile for travel.
Augusta Wicking Shirts: Comfy, effective, and without outward logos… Can be worn practically anywhere.
Sanyo Rechargeable Batteries + Charger: Incredibly important.
Wahl Beard Trimmer: Keeps me clean shaven. (Use batteries listed above)
100% Natural Chapstick: Keeps lips moist without putting the additive junk on them. I haven’t been able to find them in the countries I’ve visted. So I keep 3 or 4 sticks.
Unlocked iPhone: You just buy a local SIM card and stick it in the phone and you’re up and running. Buy an earlier version to save some $$.
Pacsafe Travel Safe: Portable safe you can loop through your dorm bed frame. Put your cards, passport, and cash in there, and you can be at ease. (Tip: use a padlock instead of the lock included. No hassle carrying keys!)
Wordlocks: Smaller sized, travel-friendly locks with an easy to remember combination. I carry two of them. (No keys!)
Seagate External Harddrive: I backup my entire computer at least once a month using this tool. With a Mac, it takes 1 or 2 clicks. All the cloud-based backups I’ve tested have been too slow.
Prey: Free and open source tool to find your stolen laptop or iPhone. Check it out!
Where’s My Droid: Easy to use app to find or wipe your Droid clean via SMS. Great for Droid users!
SwissGear Computer Backpack: Best backpack I’ve owned. For carrying laptop + loads of other stuff.
Productivity Resources – Speed Up Your Life
I don’t know about you, but I always want my life simpler and more efficient. If there’s anything I can do to save a few hours here or there, I’ll do it. Living in the 21st century, I am happy to take advantage of technology advances to do more with my life. So, here I’ll share with you the tools I use to get more out of my time:
Skype: If you don’t know what this is, you’re probably old (no offense!). It is an absolute godsend for any traveler, or anyone else, for that matter.
Evernote: A remarkable free computer app that reduced my paper usage by 90%. One of my top tools of all time.
ScanSnap Scanner: Scan something to Evernote in one click. Amazing tool that’s reduced my paper storage by 90%. It’s also small enough to put in your carry on!
Gmail: The best email out there. It’s free. This is another switch you should make, if you haven’t already.
Google Drive (formerly Google Docs): Easy to use online documents. Store everything in the cloud. Integrates with Gmail. And it’s free!
DropBox: Easy file storage and sharing, and it’s free!
Enounce MySpeed: Watch anything flash, including YouTube videos 1x-3x faster. This has given me back countless hours of my time. Absolutely worth the investment.
Hospot Shield: A very popular virtual private network (VPN). Useful for watching Hulu, NFL highlights, or other videos from outside the US. Free.
RescueTime: I love this tool. It tracks how you spend your time, automatically. Extremely effective.
Foreign Language Resources
A lot of folks find my site because they are searching for things related to learning Spanish or Portuguese or just language learning in general. Along the way, I’ve tried a bunch of methods– some which worked, others which didn’t work. Here I’ll share with you some of the best resources that really worked for me:
Pimsleur Spanish: The best tool to get started with Spanish that I know of.
SpanishPod101: A solid tool to use once you are into an intermediate level.
LoMasTV: Watch TV with timed subtitles and an embedded dictionary. A really good tool to use after you know a substantial amount of Spanish.
SpanishDict App: The best free Spanish-English Dictionary app I know of.
501 Spanish Verbs: A really good look into Spanish verbs… something you’ll need to do if you’re learning Spanish!
Pimsleur Portuguese: The best tool to get started with Portuguese that I know of.
PortuguesePod101: Solid tool to use once into an intermediate level.
Portuguese Dictionary App by ithinkdiff: Really an excellent tool for your iPhone. The free version is great!
501 Portuguese Verbs: A great book for seeing conjugations instantly.
Ta Falado: Free podcast targeted on helping speakers of Spanish learn Portuguese
Anki: Free, open source flashcard app, for learning vocab of a foreign language.
I’ve been traveling a lot the past few years, and have gathered a good bit of ‘intel’ about the process of finding cheaper flights, booking hostels, finding apartments, and the various other aspects of traveling. Here, I’ll show you some of my favorite resources to help you travel efficiently and effectively:
Hipmunk: Most user-friendly flight search I’ve found. Often finds great deals.
OneTravel: Combines many booking engines into one. I use this and Hipmunk when I need to fly somewhere.
VisaHQ: Quickly check visa requirements using their online tool.
ifly: World’s best airport guide. See all departure schedules based on airport.
Hostelworld: My go-to site for booking a hostel. Easy to use and user-friendly.
Traveling in South America
VivaColombia: The best fares for travel within Colombia.
I’ve reduced the amount of strict book-reading over the past few years in favor of reading websites. Nevertheless, there are a few gems I’d recommend to you, no matter where you find yourself. (By the way, the first thing you should do is buy a Kindle and electonify your book collecction. Seriously, if you’re trying to travel and don’t have one yet you are missing out.) Here are the books:
The 4 Hour WorkWeek: The book that inspired massive numbers of people to try and achieve the dream lifestyle. Tim Ferriss totally knocked it out of the park with this one.
The Total Money Makeover: Why debt is stupid, why cash is king, and how you can build real wealth. Dave Ramsey will inspire you to get your financial house in order.
The Alchemist: Any story by Paulo Coehlo is an interesting read, and a great choice especially if you are learning Spanish or Portuguese– his books are in these languages, too!
How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World: If you are interested in taking the reins of your life, check out this book. You too can find freedom.
Blogs You Simply Must Read
Like I said, I read a lot online. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. Here are some blogs that I consider must-reads:
Sovereign Man – Simon Black rocks my face off.
Stefan Molyneaux – Popular philosophy show. Watch at your own risk.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. I have experience with all of these companies, and I am recommending them because I’ve found them helpful and useful, and not because of any financial relationship. In fact, for every 1 company I recommend, there were 4 or 5 others that I’ve not been satisfied with… so just know this list is borne from experience.
If you decide to buy something, I would be really grateful. If not, I understand and we can still be friends. … Please don’t buy anything unless you think it will help you achieve your goals!