Digital Nomad Life Skills: Systems

Life Skills Systems on

Friends and people I meet in Asia or on the internet are constantly asking me for the secret to traveling, living abroad, working from anywhere as a Digital Nomad, and otherwise living a seemingly fantastical life. If not daily, at least several times a week.

The short answer is that there is no secret formula that will immediately get you from point A to your ideal point B of success in whatever it is you dream of doing.

But there are a lot of basics that struggling people never learn and rarely realize are getting in the way of their own success in their dream areas of life.

I decided to make a video series about these life skills to point you in the right direction if you want to get started with this kind of life, before getting into the steps you can take to actually start down the road or hop on a plane to live on the other side of the world.


In today’s video, I detail some of the systems I use to get out of my own way in my daily life, so that I can focus on the important things. These are just a couple of simple examples I use that save me from the havoc I would otherwise create daily, as I see so many people do.

These simple processes take care of the brain juice I would otherwise be wasting trying to get through the day, instead of important things I could be working on.

Did you even realize you had systems of your own for removing simple decisions or problems in your life?

Take a look at things that you frustrate yourself on a regular basis, and see if you can figure out a system to make it go away.

Let me know in the comments what systems you use, and if you thought of any new ones to put into action in your life!

If you like the backpack you see in the video that I’ve lived out of for the past 3 years (and it still looks new), it is a GORUCK GR-2. I bought it back in 2012, and talk a bit about it on my updated packing list post.


Libertad Apparel Creates Travel Clothes with No Stinky Wrinkles

Travel apparel has always been about the best combinations of practicality and functionality while on the road. The options have always given travelers a certain touristy look, whether they’re actually in far off places or just around their home country. I’ve had quite a few of these traditional travel clothes, as I’ve listed in my first and second packing list posts

You want to pack light, have plenty of pockets and features to handle the myriad situations you’ll find yourself in while traveling through what you hope will be a grand adventure. Most of the time, those quick-drying polyester pants with the zip-off pant-legs merely make you a target for various touts, scammers, and locals who know you’re not likely to know local pricing. To anyone who has spent a good deal of time in heavily tourist-ed areas, you are “that guy.”

Digital Nomads and the various forms of location independent professionals can’t be taken seriously in the business and professional world when they’re dressed like Steve Irwin in the outback. You need to be taken seriously by clients and other businesses you need to network with if you want to grow your business in any significant sense.

Sure, if you’re off backpacking on your gap year, and have no need to impress a client or make a sale, all those pockets and straps can come in handy while you’re off trekking. They dry quickly, pack small and light, and can cover a variety of scenarios. Who cares if the locals are sniggering at you wherever you go?Libertad Apparel Conference

But those scenarios are rare for the modern traveler. You may still need to pack light and need functional clothes while you’re off building your business in a remote location, but you’ll find as you go that most of the things you think you need to fill all those pockets with are easily discarded or tossed in a messenger bag or day pack anyway.

You’ll want to go out and experience the nightlife without looking like Indiana Jones. You may not need to carry a suit everywhere you go, but the difference between minimalist packing and looking professional has so often become a choice between your “nice” t-shirt, a collared shirt with epaulets and 34 chest pockets, or the plaid travel shirts that everyone loved back in the eras when people wore flannel lumberjack shirts, but for some reason are popular options for travel apparel now.


After many prototypes and trials with other people as sweaty and travelly as me, Libertad Apparel is finally ready for production.

The Libertad Apparel Kickstarter Campaign is kick starting now August 25, 2015. I’m joining Kyle at a small gathering to kick it off after all his hard work getting to market. He’s found some of the best tailors and sourced his very specific material needs in just about every country in Asia.

I’ve already received my first Libertad Apparel shirt (which I’ve worn for 5 days straight now), and will order one or two more now that it’s gone live.

Libertad Apparel Product Testing

I met Kyle last year here in Chiang Mai, Thailand at a local networking event for digital nomads. He mentioned in a conversation I was eavesdropping on that he was trying to make travel apparel that doesn’t suck (paraphrasing here). He was wearing what looked like a nice dress shirt, and other than his stubbly and worn face, I didn’t realize he even was a long-term traveler, or that his nice dress shirt was actually a prototype he had developed.

One of the features he mentioned was the fabric, and how it doesn’t stink like all the plastic travel shirts I had at the time. It seemed once you skanked up one of these ploy-synthetic blended shirts I had worn so many of for years, they start to smell like body odor when they get wet. No matter how many times you wash them. If you’ve ever stayed in a hostel in Asia, you know what I mean.

So I mentioned to him that I had been sweating since about 2007 when I moved to Florida and then to Thailand, and boasted that I could stink up his fancy shirt in no time. He said he’d take me up on the offer.

He later contacted me to test one of his shirts when he was ready with the next round of prototypes. It was August in Thailand, so I was certain I could ruin his shirt with no effort at all.

He asked me to wear the shirt for 5 days. No washing, no ironing, and do whatever short of playing rugby in the shirt.

So I wore it for 7 days straight.

Libertad Apparel TestDuring that week, I sat all day at the TedX Chiang Mai event, so I wore it about 14 hours that day. The only time it was wet from anything other than my profuse sweating was when I rode home in the rain.Libertad Apparel Test

Since I was trying to break the shirt, I balled it up wet and left it to dry after that ride. When I picked it up off the floor the next morning, it had some slight wrinkles that essentially brushed out once I put it back on.Libertad Apparel Test

On the 7th day, just before meeting back up with Kyle, I had all the ladies in my Thai language class smell me and tell me honestly if I smelled bad, without telling them why. They all said I smelled fine, though a few mentioned I was ugly (unrelated to the shirt). When I then told them I’d been wearing the unwashed shirt for a full week, they wanted to smell me again, and still couldn’t tell.Libertad Apparel Test

I gave Kyle his prototype back on the 7th day and have hounded him for a year to get to market so I could replace my wardrobe with 2 or 3 of his shirts.

Here’s a short video he made with three of us product testers.

About the Shirt

The secret ingredient to the odor and wrinkle-free Libertad Apparel shirts is Merino wool. It is becoming popular in the travel apparel world, but until now has mostly been used for t-shirts, underwear, and the aforementioned plaid shirts. None of these are great for business-class travel, meetings, and professional appearances at conferences or events.

Wool does not retain odors, as I tried so desperately to do. Once you sweat in it, your pit stink doesn’t cling to it like synthetic fabrics.

The material thickness Libertad has chosen is very thin and breathable, even in the tropical climate here in Thailand, and it wicks sweat away to keep you cool.

The shirts are not as quickly-drying as some of those plastic shirts, but with the thin material he chose it doesn’t take long to dry once it’s wet.

“Kyle said to wear it for 5 days without washing, so I wore it for 7 days straight… and I still had a girlfriend afterward.”

I also noticed that even with a dark color, I had no salty sweat rings once the shirt dries, like I get with my dark cotton t-shirts. There is probably someone more able to explain the reason for that, but I only barely science.

Kyle has a bunch of good info up on his Libertad Apparel website, as well as many other videos of people trying to ruin his fine travel shirts. Between people balling them up and storing it under the seat of a scooter for a day or two, to ripping open the FedEx package and putting the shirt on straight out of the wadded-up package wrinkle-free.

Go check out his site and Kickstarter campaign page to see more.

Libertad Apparel is running early bird specials on the first day. If you jump on their mailing list, you can get a good deal on this fantastic shirt and stop being a stinky sucker on safari when you travel.


Heavy Discounts at Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade Outlet Location

Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade Outlet Store

Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade Outlet Store

There is a constant river of visitors flowing through the ancient city of Chiang Mai, Thailand looking for traditional Northern Thai Tribal clothing and accessories. I’ve written before about Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade after visiting their showroom for an event, but have since been several times, and referred several tourists and locals alike there for authentic Fair Trade items.

Whether it’s the never-ending stream of tourists exploring the city for the first time, the huge amount of expats living here long-term sprucing up their homes, or visiting friends looking for souvenirs to bring their friends and family back home when their trip of a lifetime is over, Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade is still the place I send them, and they are never disappointed.

Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade Outlet

During a recent visit from an old friend from the U.S. looking for locally made gifts for family not found anywhere else, I finally went to the outlet store located near Thapae Gate on the eastern wall of the old city. I discovered that this location just inside the moat is a traditional outlet discount store, with savings of about 20-30% off their regular retail prices.

Thai Tribal Crafts Outlet Store

Being right in the heart of the most heavily traveled tourist area of the city, most tourists will happen upon it already. But I wanted to give a heads up to the big local community here in Chiang Mai, as well. Locals spend a good amount of money on local items, so I wanted you to be aware that this outlet has this heavily discounted stock.

The staff at Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade Outlet tells me that the stock gets rotated pretty regularly, as they have a constant supply of newly designed items by designers around the world, who have their products made by these local village artisans in their traditional styles.

Thai Tribal Crafts Outlet Store

The quality and variety of the clothing and accessories are better than anything you will find at any of the local tourist markets, with everything made in the homes of local hill tribe villagers. Much of the stuff found in every other stall at a tourist market is only at a factory-made, low-quality trinket level standard.

With their decades-long work in helping the tribes of the numerous small villages in the Northern hills of Thailand to survive and thrive, they are allowing many families to stay and live in their traditional homes. So many have had to move to cities and go to work in factories instead of keeping their traditional Thai crafts alive.

So whether you are just passing through and looking for gifts for you and your family back home, or you’re now a local here in Chiang Mai looking to upgrade your wardrobe and decorate your Thai home in a traditional style, the Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade Outlet store near Thapae Gate is a place to go!

Artisans craft the best hammocks for Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade Outlet Store

Artisans craft the best hammocks for Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade Outlet Store

Why Buy Fair Trade

Fair Trade supports local artisans and not for profit commercial businesses for the global import market, especially with fair trade importers. These artisans would otherwise be marginalized by larger factory interests.

Colorful hill tribe crafts hand made by local artisans

Colorful hill tribe crafts hand made by local artisans

All of these export quality purchases go back to the communities to directly create jobs and extra income for the producer’s families that support their children’s education, healthcare, and other benefits.

Thai Tribal Crafts has worked with local hill tribes since 1973 (more than 40 years now), and you can read more about their history here.

The outlet store is open Mon – Sat, 10.00 am – 7.00 pm, and is located at 25/9 Moonmuang Rd., Chiang Mai 50000. You can also call them at +66-53-273 858

Fair Trade Shop Website
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