Karol Gajda is a globe-trotting minimalist rockstar –he even brings his hand-made guitar with them anywhere. He lives a simple life, has traveled through India, Thailand, and is currently in Poland. He’s dedicated to helping 100 people establish “ridiculously extraordinary” freedom at his blog by the same name.
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Karol on a very special day — the release of his new product How to Live Anywhere. I’ve just read the e-book thoroughly, and I have to say, I’m incredibly impressed by the work he’s done. I won’t say more, I’d rather let the interview do the talking. I’m sure the e-book isn’t for everyone, but if you’re interested in pursuing a location independent life, How to Live Anywhere can help you.
Anyway, onward to the Interview. We spoke about Karol’s globe-trotting exploits, his changed attitude toward consumerism, and how to live anywhere in the world.
Everett Bogue: Karol, I’m fascinated by your ability to live and work from anywhere — many of your techniques I’ve been able to apply to my own business. As I understand your goals have morphed significantly over the last few years. How has your perspective on making a living shifted?
Karol Gajda: Thanks Everett! My living has always been based online, but I didn’t really start taking advantage of that until a couple years ago. Instead of embracing the opportunity to live and work anywhere I bought a big house, an expensive car, and useless toys. As you know I wrote more about that (and about how I got rid of everything) in theMinimalist Quick Start Guide here on Far Beyond The Stars.
Karol: My perspective has shifted from a blatant buy-buy-buy consumer to a careful consumer. I still buy things, but I live out of a 32 Liter backpack so I’ve given myself limits. For example, instead of buying a bunch of physical books I have an Amazon Kindle, which I can now use in almost any country I’m visiting. I’ve bought books while in India, Thailand, and Poland (which is where I am currently.)
Everett: I first interviewed you last year. I understand you’ve had quite a journey since. Can you give us an update on where you are now in your travels, where you’ve been, where you’re going?
Karol: Yeah, during that time I was in a small break between New Zealand and India, getting some vaccinations and catching up with friends/family for the holidays. Shortly after that interview I left for India to learn how to build guitars by hand. Technically I don’t call myself an ultralight packer anymore because I have a guitar in tow. But hey, I built it and it rules. The sacrifice of this piece of baggage is worth it. After 2 months in India I went to Thailand for 40 days. I was in Bangkok during the early parts of the protests, which unfortunately got violent and deadly about a week after I left Thailand for Poland. And I’m currently in Poland until October. I was born here, but my family left when I was a baby so I’m back to learn the language better and get to know some of my family. After Poland I’m going back to the US for about a month and likely Panama for 3-4 months after that.
Everett: How do you support yourself in order to live anywhere?
Karol: The easiest way to put it is Internet Marketing, but that’s such a general term. Over the past few years I’ve focused more on niche Web sites, doing affiliate marketing and niche info products. 80% of my income over the past 10 years has been through affiliate marketing. One of my favorite approaches is to use an infoproduct as a lead generator and then promoting infoproducts/memberships through affiliate marketing on the back end. For example, selling (or giving away) a small eBook about unique date ideas, and then promoting a dating site (or other dating products) on the backend.
And now, as of today, I’m launching my first product from my blog teaching people how to do what I do. The philosophy, logistics, and specific making money aspects of living anywhere.
Everett: What is your number one priority in releasing How to Live Anywhere?
Karol: When I started my blog in 2009 the goal was to help 100 people achieve Ridiculously Extraordinary Freedom, which is not defined by me, but by you. To me it’s the ability to live anywhere. To somebody else it might be to have a home base for most of the year, but move to Mexico or Japan or France for 3 months every year. It boils down to being able to do what you want, when you want, where you want, with whoever you want. How To Live Anywhere is essentially my life’s work, and can teach people how to make those kinds of awesome things happen.
Everett: In your mind, what is the single most important people should be doing with their work online if their goal is to live anywhere?
Karol: The quick answer is simple: provide value. But those words can come across as a bit empty sometimes. How exactly do we provide value? All of us have something unique we can teach people. For example, you started this blog and business by teaching people how to pare down their possessions and become minimalist. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. Maybe you’re an amazing singer. You can teach that online. Maybe you rock at gardening. You can teach people your gardening secrets online. What I would say is don’t be like everybody else who is in your niche. Without showcasing your unique voice (we all have a unique voice) you’ll just get lost in the online crowd. If you’re truly giving people good content and giving us your personality, you will be heard through all the noise.
Everett: I imagine you’ve had to make some interesting lifestyle choices in order to live anywhere. Can you think of an unconventional strategy that you’ve had to employ to move anywhere?
Karol: Because of the way I travel I don’t need to be a minimalist. I’m visiting places for more than one month so I can chill out. Checking big baggage wouldn’t be a problem because I wouldn’t be lugging it around much. I’m not constantly on the move. That said, I live out of a 32 Liter backpack because minimalism makes life, whether you’re traveling or not, easier. Those of us in the minimalist community don’t think of it as unconventional at all. But this is a very small community. In general, whenever somebody sees my bag of possessions the first thing they always ask is, “Where is all your other stuff?” My answer: “This is it!” Minimalism is still quite an unconventional strategy even though it is becoming more mainstream.
Everett: Have you had to sacrifice anything?
Karol: Obviously I don’t get to see a lot of my friends back in the US. But then, a lot of my friends are constantly traveling as well. I do try to make it back to Michigan every New Year’s Eve because we throw a big party and reconnect. As far as things like technology, I’ve had to make no sacrifices. We live in an amazing time because so much can be done online, and a laptop is all you need. I haven’t even used a cell phone for 4 months. It has been fantastic!
Everett: Finally, what do you think the single most powerful benefit of living anywhere is?
Karol: Experiencing new people and new places teaches us to respect others and ourselves more. I used to sit at home all day, watching TV, going out with friends drinking, and stuff like that. The only lesson I learned from that is I wasn’t living life, life was living (and killing) me. By getting out into the world and living in new places I connect with new people (I used to be a big introvert and traveling has forced me to change that) and reconnect with myself. What I want out of life is awesome experiences. It took me a long time to learn this lesson, but the money I make is only important in that it allows me to seek out new people and experiences.
Be sure to check out Karol Gajda’s How to Live Anywhere, available today.