How Living in Southeast Asia for 7 Months Changed My Life FOREVER

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 04/02/10 •  7 min read

This is a post that has been a long time coming.  Many of you that have been following me since the days of daydreaming and remote work proposals keep asking me the question “what exactly are you doing to support yourself while living in Southeast Asia?”

Today is the day I answer that question.

Well, kind of.

I’ll tell you up front I’m not going to go into detail or the specifics about the businesses that I’m working in.

However, you will find out about the skills I’ve learned and find necessary to achieve this lifestyle, what my income is really like and how that relates to my expenses, what my plans are for the future (or what little I have), and I will even touch on some ideas for how you can do something similar, although there will be much more on that in the coming weeks.

I came out to Bangkok having no idea what to expect.

This whole idea of the Tropical MBA, while it sounded good on paper could have been one gigantic scam.  Although I’m not sure what they would have expected to get out of me…I digress.

Viewpoint of Railay Beach

Viewpoint of Railay Beach

Point is, I came out here to find that not only was it not scam, but I would immediately be moved into one of the top positions in a product development company that is on the verge of blowing up (in a good way).

I was also shocked to come out here and spend the first three weeks doing very little work.  As soon as I touched down I was ready to get going and get involved, and while there were certainly things that I could do, they weren’t too concerned with that.

So what were they concerned with?

Hanging out.  Having beers. Getting to know each other.

Seems weird right?

Not really.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about a lifestyle business it is that the people and the relationships matter more than anything else.

If I didn’t get along with Dan and Ian, realized our goals weren’t congruent, or couldn’t imagine working together over a long period of time, there would have been no point.

Work will always find a way to get done.

The skillset? I’m a smart guy, thats all stuff that I can figure out.  But relationships can’t be learned or forced.  You either gel or you don’t.  So their biggest concern for the first few weeks was to ensure that we would all be able to work well together.

And so far? I couldn’t be happier. To be a part of a team that shares the same mindset as me, both in terms of business and lifestyle is a very rare thing, and I consider myself very lucky.

Sure this may not be as big of a deal if you are a solopreneur or affiliate marketer, but if you are looking to build a legitimate business, do NOT under any circumstances undervalue the power of a good relationship.

With that said, come February it was time to get down to business.  The team was in place, so now what?

I went from chillin’ on the beach talking about girls and the jet set lifestyle, to working 7 days a week attempting to become a master at e-commerce, drupal framework, and project management.

I now help to manage a growing team of developers and designers in the Philippines, that help to ensure our various sites never miss a beat.  These are some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with.  They;re just as talented as anyone in the western world, a fraction of the price, and most speak fluent English.  Bangalore ain’t got nothin’ on Manila.

The fact we use a team from the Philippines is huge because it gives us exponentially more developing horsepower than our competitors, all in a way that doesn’t break the bank.

So how about money?  I’ve gotta be rolling in it to be experiencing the incredible things that I’ve been doing, right?

Ha!  Not even close.

Another key component to building a business is sacrifice.  Anyone in our organization will tell you they could be making many multiples more money working for someone else.  But that isn’t why we are doing what we do. It isn’t about the money.  It’s about the lifestyle, and the understanding that the money will come eventually.

Check out: Why My Lifestyle Business Has Been So Successful (Full Income Report)

Right now my monthly income is right around $1,000.  This comes from the work I am doing for the Tropical MBA, affiliate sales, as well as the work I do as an affiliate manager for another blogger.  Certainly not a lot of money by typical western standards.

However with that said after looking at expenses such as my student loans, rent, an astronomical air conditioning bill, and going out with friends I usually don’t exceed $1,000 a month.  Sure there are a few exceptions such as taking a trip down to the islands, but even that didn’t break the bank.  It’s amazing to think about the kind of lifestyle you are able to live in Asia for next to no money.  And frankly, being in Bangkok, I’m in one of the more expensive places I could be.

One of the coolest things about all of this, is that my work doesn’t feel like work.  I’m learning all of the skills I’d been searching for, I work with people that I’d be friends with anyway, and I’m helping to build a business that I can really feel some ownership of.  About 20 minutes ago I woke up to find out that one of the sites I’ve been helping to develop for the last few months made its first sale.

This is real, and it’s going to be big.

I told Dan one of my measures of success for being out here is to eventually be a part of the Tropical MBA 2nd semester.  To be at a point where things have gone so well, that I need some help, and I can help to pass on the knowledge that I’ve learned to someone else looking to break out of a traditional lifestyle.  Still a lot of time between now and then, but the potential is there.

As I’ve gone through this whole experience, I’m realizing that I’ve gone from totally clueless about how to pursue this kind of lifestyle, to having a wealth of knowledge about various paths of getting here.  I plan to explore in more detail how you can do the same thing over the next few months, but in the meantime, be sure to send me a message if you have any specific questions.

If you want to know more about what life is like in Asia or want to hear a great interview about what I’ve been doing, check out 17 Reasons Why Living in Developing Areas of Asia Kicks the Crap Out of Living in the West as well as Episode 23 of the TropicalMBA Podcast.

Ready for to start building a lifestyle business of your own? Awesome, I’m ready to help you. Get started for FREE today, with our six day course.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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13 comments on "How Living in Southeast Asia for 7 Months Changed My Life FOREVER"

  1. Wilson Usman says:

    Great brother!!

    I like the point about getting to know each other to see if you gel together. I met a guy a few months ago and he seem pretty smart and business oriented, so I thought wow I should make him my partner. One day he just stopped receiving my calls. So, now from now on I will definitely make sure I go and get to know my partners better.

    Also its so true its not about just the money, its the lifestyle. I could care less if I was making a million dollars a month or $1000, as long as I could do everything I wanted to do. Just yesterday I went to eat with one of my friends and he told me he wanted to start a Dog business in mexico, I was like that’s great, I figured he wanted to live a location independent lifestyle. Then he told me he wanted to invest in the stock market, and also wanted to invest in Real Estate. I asked him why do all these things he said “because I want to make money” so I got a little sarcastic he’s my friend you know. I said, so you just want to have a ton of money and swim in it and count it everyday? Long story short, I educate it him a little bit on Dreamlining, but he still believes he will be able to do all these things working at UPS. I am probably going to send him this website so he can see that its possible to work and live anywhere.

    I don’t understand why people still chase the money, the money will come if you do what you love…YOU ARE FULL PROOF!!!

  2. Hi Sean!
    Sounds like you’re having an awesome time in Thailand.
    It’s really not about working as few hours as possible, it’s more about enjoying what you do. And a big part of this is working with people you like.
    I’ve been fascinated by the whole “earning in dollars/euros, spending in baht” – concept since I read about it in the Four Hour Workweek. The TropicalMBA sounds really great, if Dan is looking for new interns in the near future, I’ll definitely apply.

    Hope to meet you soon when I come to Bangkok,

  3. Methinee says:

    Once again I found myself checking your blog, it sounds good and I hope you could go far from this. It’s like reading the world is flat from Thomas Friedman all over again.

  4. teevee says:

    I quit my day job over a year ago make about 50% less than I used to make. Yet I have never been happier.

    I am doing things I love doing and am passionate about.

    I am definitely looking forward to your posts on your journey.

    You’re right, Source Control kicks ass!

  5. Isaac Dudek says:

    Great to get an update on your Tropical MBA experience, and fantastic to hear it’s going so well! I’m in full-out hustle mode, trying to forge a similar path for myself.

    I don’t know Drupal, but shoot me a message if anyone out there needs a Rails developer. 😉

    Watch that A/C!

  6. Karen says:

    Hey Sean,

    I was wondering what you’ve been up to out there while working on your internship. Sounds like you have come such a long way with internet business, and are on a road to much more successes… I think doing work that doesn’t feel like work is the key. That just sums up my idea of success- doing something you love and having it be your career. Who would’ve thunk this is what you’d be doing a year ago today?! 🙂

  7. Moon Hussain says:


    Sounds like you’ve got some great stuff going on: great friends, working hard, enjoying everything.. keep us updated on your progress!

  8. Wow! Apart from reading your blog, I don’t really know you, but I couldn’t be happier for you! I’m currently working on my own location independent business (2 at the moment, actually) and my dream is to move to Thailand. My plan is to be there within a year. Maybe we can meet up and have a drink? My treat. Anyway, I look forward to reading your upcoming posts about your tips on designing a location independent business. Keep up the great work! You are truly lucky.

  9. Ross says:

    I love reading about your success. It’s become cliche for folks back home to sit around the living room, cafe, etc. waxing about dreams of entrepreneurial success. You’ve risked “the next step” and its paid off. Cheers!

    P.S.-The relationships are everything. I’m curious: how has it been building relationships with Thai, or other non-western folks? Language barrier aside, this feels like the final frontier in Asia-getting in with the locals.

  10. Ash says:





    CHEERS, Ogle! Always love the updates.

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