Episode 12: Tom Mullaly, Digital Nomad, Living in Bali, Indonesia

Tom spends most of his time doing client work nowadays, though WageFreedom is his real purpose.

BIO of TOM MULLALY

Tom Mullaly describes himself as a pre-digital nomad, a pretentious way of saying he was a guy with a backpack who only went back to the US to earn enough to leave again (doing contract engineering jobs in the aircraft industry–Boeing, Northrop, etc. for 6-12 months). The Internet–as they say–changed everything. At some point it was clear that he could probably dream something up so that he could earn enough to live without having to go back to the cubicle. It turned out that he could. Tom bought a place in Bali in 2005, low SE Asia expenses made it much easier. Geo-arbitrage, etc. He got (relatively) serious around 2009, bought a big tech website, learned SEO, made several dozen niche sites, etc. and has basically just followed his interests online and done many different things. He went into affiliate marketing using paid traffic around 2014. 

Tom started to help friends who had businesses (in the Western world) with their digital marketing. SEO/Adwords/FB Ads, etc. By now with his background he can do digital presence teardowns in his sleep and you’d be surprised how much help most 7-figure/yr-revenue businesses are in need of. 

Tom spends most of his time doing client work nowadays, though WageFreedom is his real purpose. He most enjoy helping people clear the practical, psychological and financial hurdles of leaving jobs/careers/lives that constrain them from living better lives, waging freedom. It might sound corny, but it didn’t feel corny at all when he did it.
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SOME OF THE TOPICS COVERED

  • Being an older and more experienced digital nomad
  • The best things about living in Bali, Indonesia
  • How Tom ended up in Bali, and island paradise
  • Getting work using SEO and Content Creation skills
  • What does Tom consider a negative about living in Bali
  • What mindset should an expat have when living abroad

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TOM MULLALY’s TOP 3

Balinese Food

  • If you eat pork try Balinese babi guling. Anthony Bourdain said it was the best pork dish he’d had anywhere, which is saying something. Ask a local. 
  • Nasi campur. A mix of 5 to 15 small portions of food, a hint at Indonesia’s endless culinary variety beyond Bali. 
  • Exotic Asian fruit. Westerners will see lots of fruit that’s new to them. Dragonfruit, mangosteen (my all-time favorite!), snakefruit, rambutan, milk banana, and if it’s in season you should try durian. Durian is an acquired taste but who knows– you might like it!

Must-do Activities

  • If you’ve always wanted to try surfing, the beaches in the southwestern corner of Bali are pretty good for it year ’round–except during big swells, which are pretty frequent. Please hire a guy to teach you and guide you. Don’t worry: “that guy” will find you.
  • The kecak dance, or ‘monkey dance’ is put on for tourists around the island, but if you can see it at sunset on the cliffs overlooking Uluwatu down on the Bukit Peninsula, I’d recommend it, as much for the setting as anything.
  • If you’re lucky enough to pass by a big ceremony on the street or on the beach, stop and observe for a while. They do happen a lot! There are many created adventures for tourists today, but I’d recommend making time for any authentic glimpses of this complex and still-living culture you can get.

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CONNECT with TOM MULLALY

Tom’s Website: http://wagefreedom.com

YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/Wagefreedom?sub_confirmation=1

Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/wagefreedom

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/tommullaly/

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TRANSCRIPT

You can read the transcript below or download here.

Zach Ireland:

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Expat Chitchat show. I’m your host, Zach Ireland. Today, I’m filling in for Marilyn Monroe. Ms. Monroe cannot be here today, unfortunately, as she is giving a TED talk about whether or not if blondes really do have more fun. Welcome to the studio, digital nomad and runner of the website, Wagefreedom.com, Tom Mullaly. Thanks for joining us today, Tom.

Tom Mullaly:

Hi, Zach, it’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you!

Zach Ireland:

Thank you and thank you for reaching out to us. So, Tom, can you go ahead and do me favor and describe the room that you are in and what we would see if we look out your window?

Tom Mullaly:

[laughs] The room I’m in, I’m on the 3rdfloor of, basically, a small condo complex in Bali, Indonesia. If you look out the window, you would see the grounds of a hotel which is sort of annexed to us. The beach is probably a hundred yards away or so, maybe closer, but I don’t want to make anybody mad and yeah, the sun is going down. Probably an hour from sunset. It’s a sunny day. Rainy season’s over, pretty much I think, in Bali. We’re right on the cusp. So that’s what you’d see.

Zach Ireland:

You didn’t want to make anyone jealous but you definitely made me jealous, considering I am currently sweating away in my apartment here in Taipei at the moment, which is more than a hundred yards away from the beach.

Tom Mullaly:

[laughs] Ah, it’s overrated. Come on down!

Zach Ireland:

Careful with that. I’ll absolutely take you up on that offer. Alright, Tom, so let’s talk a little bit about you because this show is not about me and how I’m experiencing the weather right now. The show is all about you so let’s start a bit with your background. You are an American, correct?

Tom Mullaly:

I am, yeah.

Zach Ireland:

And where in the United States are you from?

Tom Mullaly:

I was born in LA. I didn’t live there much. I usually say San Diego until I was probably early to mid-twenties but then, Seattle since the early 2000s when I’ve been in the U.S., I’ve been in the Seattle area and have a lot of friends there. Almost everybody actually has left San Diego, interestingly, but yeah, so it’s mostly West Coast but I’ve actually worked all over the United States as well, quite a few states actually, yeah.

Zach Ireland:

What made you make the leap moving from the United States into Bali, Indonesia?

Tom Mullaly:

For me, it was sort of an organic process. I mean, I was a guy who, before the days of the internet, just really lived to put a backpack on and go budget travelling anywhere in the world and I mean, that was my priority enough to where I, well into my thirties, that’s still what I liked to do and I did it without any apologies and I would work these jobs, and the contract jobs in the aircraft industry, basically, just to, frankly, make enough money to go up to Europe or India or wherever and that was my thing. I cleaned toilets and I planted trees in the snow and I worked at hostels, all of these things that backpack types used to have to do unless you’re independently wealthy, I suppose, before the internet came along. Eventually, I was on a trip here to Indonesia, just Southeast Asia, and it was right after 2002, there was a bombing here, unfortunately, a tragedy in Bali and that happened to be the first time that I came here despite what had recently occurred. The friendliness, the warmth of the people affected me and Bali, actually, is quite a melting pot. Not just of Balinese but Indonesians, generally, and people around the world so I like that sort of cosmopolitan aspect of it even then. Long story short or maybe short story short, I met my wife after just a few weeks of being here or I met a woman who eventually became my wife. We went to India. We were very tired and afterwards, we came back to Bali to chill out and a couple of units became available in the building where we were staying and, long story short, I bought a unit for the first time in my life, island real estate, okay, and that was sort of a big leap for me psychologically but it just seemed to make sense. The backpacker who always liked to just sort of be on the road, to have a base and a place I didn’t like being and Bali is the beach and I liked it anyway so I sort of, you know—there was no grand plan. I saw an opportunity and my girlfriend at the time, who became my wife, it just seemed like a no-brainer. We were even living in the building for a couple months and knew we liked everything—pretty much everything about it. Look, we took the plunge and I guess that was the watershed for me or I may be made a little bit of a shift from the backpack guy to maybe an expat. That’s what happened.

Zach Ireland:

From what I gathered from this, you were doing a lot of contract work. You’re going back to the United States and making money then, allowing yourself to essentially go back home. You were essentially making a long-term commute then, eventually, you made the shift into, what we consider, working from home because this is before we had the era of the buzzword ‘digital nomad’ so it sounds like you were the digital nomad before digital nomads were even a thing.

Tom Mullaly:

Yeah, I mean, I jokingly call myself a pre-digital nomad which sounds insanely pretentious but that’s sort of what I was and there was no internet to support yourself so it was cleaning those toilets or maybe you had some better gig or something—and more power to you, of course—but it was things were more of by the seat of your pants, I suppose, and lack of communication as we had now and the rest of it so it was trickier, right? But yeah, so it sort of flowed into digital nomadism, I think, and absolutely wonderful, man. We must have had thousands of people here in Bali here in Canggu, right? And I’m so happy that folks don’t have to do what I did a lot of, frankly, which is sort of compromising. I don’t think cleaning all those toilets was particularly enriching. Not to overstate it, I didn’t do it for years and years, right? I would eventually go back to the contract jobs but sometimes, it just made sense to work at the hostel or whatever it was but essentially, nowadays to have a, sort of have it both ways, to be able to see the world and not really compromise your professional life or, if you want to call it that, your way of making money whatever that might be right. It’s got an online component, that’s all. Yeah.

Zach Ireland:

Speaking of this there’s something from your website, wagefreedoom.com, that I would like to quote to you and the listeners can see online.

Tom Mullaly:

Thanks.

Zach Ireland:

Yeah, of course! So, from your website, Wagefreedom.com, particularly in your article called ‘Don’t Ask How to Quit Your Job, Ask This Instead’, “When someone tells me they are quitting a job I congratulate them. I can’t help it. For almost everyone, the danger of starving to death from striking out on your own is far less than suffering with frustration or boredom when they’re employed. Quitting is a sign you paid attention to your own disappointment with your direction and that you expected more from yourself, enough to feel justified in moving beyond the path of least resistance.” So, in bringing this up, I want you to talk to us about—I think we know what it was that made you move towards your path of least resistance—but I want to hear more about, because you’re not just talking about this earlier, you wear many, many hats, can you talk a bit your job in general? How would you describe yourself on a CV items?

Tom Mullaly:

It’s more difficult overtime, I suppose. Now, I tend to leave off the aircraft jobs because those doesn’t have much to do with me. Do you mean professionally? I mean—

Zach Ireland:

Yeah, professionally.

Tom Mullaly:

–I have a digital marketing agency and I help small and medium-sized business market themselves online. I have deep knowledge of search engine optimization, google ad words which is now google ads and also Facebook ads. I run a lot of page traffic in my day and for a long, long time, I’ve been quite competent. I’m able to help business with their marketing which is frankly easier than it sounds because a lot of business just really need help. That’s what I found. 

Zach Ireland:

So, in regards to that, talk a little bit about what you’re currently doing in Bali and how that allows you to take advantage of the current age of the internet and being a digital nomad?

Tom Mullaly:

Yeah, well, basically, my network is big and I have business owners from all over the world—Australia, UK, United State—that are currently my clients. I do not emphasize Indonesian clients because that’s the terms of my residence permit but I haven’t needed to, really. Like I say, we’re all sort of in this global village now so it’s about as easy to get a client, who’s maybe a friend of a friend in the UK as it would be somebody down the street here. This concept of geo-arbitrage which is—having—earning it in the West or in the Western World and having expenses in the less-developed world is something that digital nomads are quite familiar with and that certainly has worked for me, as well, overtime.

Zach Ireland:

I love that word: geoarbitrage because it’s very true with the internet now. It’s so easy to, right now, be talking with you. You’re in Indonesia. I’m in Taipei but speaking of that, I know from your website, Wagefreedom.com, you try and coach other people into, also becoming digital nomads so I’m sure that you know many different types of digital nomads. Can you talk a bit about that? Can you tell me the different types of digital nomads you know in your life?

Tom Mullaly:

Yeah, I sure can. You hit the nail on the head. My experience, it’s such a broad term is what’s happening. Maybe 10 years ago, everybody thought, “Well, I have to—” 10 years ago, it’s like, “—I have to build an app and then maybe that will let me have enough money to survive or whatever,” and to take nothing obviously away from developers, now, we’ve got, I think in my opinion, a lot more options. Ways to monetize whatever it is you’re good at, whatever your passions are, how you want to spend your time. In my opinion, the opportunities have broadened. You know what I do see a lot of and what I recommend to people who, Wage Freedom readers, who are dissatisfied with their current—maybe it’s more dissatisfaction with their job, their whole career, looking for a change in direction—I point out that if a person was, let’s say a reader or pretty literate, a decent writer—it may be very hard to write books that would support you or maybe very hard to write— be a content provider to write articles to support yourself. I mean, you can do it. You can but if you take your skills and add a bit, a twist of technology to them, that writer— and I’ve seen this many times, maybe you guys have as well—a person with writing skills can become an SEO content provider, okay? It doesn’t take years of study or experience to become a person who can really help with good content for websites and businesses that need it. Sometimes, in obscure niches that aren’t particularly interesting, but just to drive the point home, you can take that thing you’re good at, add a little bit of tech and marketing to it and completely transform your career and your life without having to feel like you are, have somehow, sold your soul.

Zach Ireland:

I think everyone is familiar with the term nomad. We roam around. When you add the term digital, we immediately think tech. We think that this is something that you have to be so well-versed in technology to do and that immediately alienates a good portion of the people who could be good at this. People who, maybe, are older and don’t have much experience with technology. Maybe a person like me who grew up in a village with 200 people where we still have dial-ups where my father lives and so I’m not tech—

Tom Mullaly:

Is that right?

Zach Ireland:

–Yeah, absolutely! We still have dial-ups and so, I am not versed in technology at all but you do have an article on your website called “How to Make Money Online with Little Tech or Website Knowledge,” it’s a long article, and for our listeners at home, definitely go and read the whole thing but I was wondering if you could sort of give a few examples or some advice to these people who hear the word digital and the immediately freeze up, they think, “This isn’t for me,” 

Tom Mullaly:

It’s a super good question, I mean, it’s so important because a young, sort of, for want of a better term, geeky person sort of knows that they can take that skill that they got. It’s something definable and something a company or companies might already be paying them for, relatively maybe, I won’t say easy but at least, a clearer path for them, right? But I do have exactly this conversation quite a bit. I tell people, “If you are older and maybe you have decades of experience at a thing,” I mean, look, there are people right now who are in college learning that thing and it’s not about them not—them stopping college but to augment their formal education with some, whatever that person whose been in an industry for maybe decades or have an expertise of knowing something intimately for decades, to create a presence, an online presence around that thing, if you’re approaching retirement. This is what usually happens: people see it coming. “What in the world will I do? I’m still a vital person and healthy. What will I do after retirement?” and I am like, “You’ve got this thing. Either you did it professionally or is a hobby you’ve had for decades, lets focus on turning that into an online presence and you continue to do your thing and tell people. You write about it, definitely make videos about it or all of the above. Create that presence. Create, we call them fans or whatever, just readership and help people. Do it for all the right reasons because what happens is the list grows and down the road, there will be opportunities for you to actually monetize that, okay?” In my opinion, there are ways to monetize a skill or a passion that you have, to do it in the right way. That’s all. To actually have helping people be the real priority, right? I mean, that’s what I’ve tried to do at Wage Freedom. Just sort of encouraging people to, again, create that presence and see where it takes you. A thing that, this might be obvious, but remember that the journey of a thousand steps. I mean, don’t. Again, please don’t overthink it. Just move forward because whatever you think it’ll turn into in six months or a year, it’s not going to be exactly that anyway. That’s perfectly okay. You’re going to get an idea or people are going to tell you that they like it or they’d like to hear something from you that have an end of life to date and then you change your approach a little bit, right? I started Wage Freedom as a way to, sort of like, just to write about my own mindset and the thing that made me so easily able to, let’s say, walk away from the United States. I’ve definitely walked away from jobs that I didn’t really like. I thought, well, me, I always wrote about that as an affirmation thing for myself and I did get positive feedback and people going well, this sort of steps them along, too, in their own process of maybe letting go of something that’s not entirely healthy and then, the thing is, as I learned how to support myself online, people began to say, “This is all great but how are you supporting yourself?” And I’m like, “Well, here’s how I’m actually doing it. It works for me. It may not work for you but by the way, there’s different things you can do online.” All I’m saying is that, I mean, you start something for one reason and it is…it keeps it interesting for yourself as well, the way it can sort of morph into something else, right? And yeah, just listening to your audience. You’ll never run out of, let’s say, relevant topics, right?

Zach Ireland:

That is something that I really do love about your website and to your credit, the whole Wage Freedom brand is you don’t offer a, this 100% guaranteed. It’s like this is not a formula that has worked for me and has worked for other people, it’s more of a guide for you to teach yourself how to become independent. 

Tom Mullaly:

Yeah, from the beginning I didn’t want to get to a make my online thing and I definitely didn’t want to be a guy who is sort of like going to hammer people with my latest course. I may do a course in the future but the priority for me was just, well, I was interested in hearing people’s stories, to be completely honest with you, and if I could talk a little bit or interact a little bit, if I could help them at all, then that really made me feel great. Yeah, it’s been sort of weird tiptoeing for me, as far as Wage Freedom goes, I really don’t want to sort of sell out that initial impulse that I had when I started this site which I thought was, as I say, for all the right reasons and yet, people do want to hear about the practical side as well so, but the onus is always on your to act, number one and also, figure out what’s going to work for you as well. In conversation, I actually can help people come up with ideas for people because I have been doing this for a long, long time and I do enjoy doing that. I think I’m pretty good at it.

Zach Ireland:

Because we hear all the time like you see these clickbait articles, you see these pop-up ads, say “Click here to find out how to make $500 online,”, “Click here to do this,” it just seems like it’s just going to be a Trojan Horse. It’s just going to be a way to get viruses on your computer or worse, sometimes, you hear from a person who’s making money online and it turns out, oh, they’re selling MAC cosmetics and it’s a pyramid scheme but one thing about your website is it’s not that. It’s not a pyramid scheme. It’s tools that teach you how to become a digital nomad and so, here’s a question for you. Do you think that it’s hard to become a digital nomad or would you say it just takes the motivation to take the risk?

Tom Mullaly:

I think that it’s the latter. You need to be motivated. I do think it’s easier for some people than others but it may play into where you’re coming from and the level of dissatisfaction that you have with either your entire life or an aspect of it, whatever it might be.

Zach Ireland:

For most people, listening to what you said and having read your website, you talk more about finding what it is that sparks joy within your life, what is it that you know more about than anyone else around you or what is it that you could research for days and days and days on end and never become tired of, so it sounds like, for some people, that might just mean that they need to narrow their net a bit and find something more niche but then, for some people, they may need to even widen their net a bit more because if it’s too specific and you’re only speaking to 10 people, then which I think would be hard to do with the internet, but it is still something that’s possible.

Tom Mullaly:

Yeah, if you will just start putting the content out there, again, feedback that you get is extremely constructive. It’s just very important not to let your own preconceptions limit even getting started especially. That’s all. I guess I’ve said that.

Zach Ireland:

Tom, I think a lot of people would say that being a digital nomad is young person’s game. If you’re over 30 or 40, it’s impossible to do. What would you tell people who say that?

Tom Mullaly:

What I have said is I’d rather be an older person with a lot of experience and interests and have to learn a little bit of technology than somebody who’s 20 years old and pretty conversant with the technology with almost no life experience and trying to come up with something about themselves that is unique at that age. Not to take anything away from 20-year-olds, of course.

Zach Ireland:

Can you tell me about the negatives of living in Bali?

Tom Mullaly:

Yeah. I’m a bit biased. I don’t think there’s too many of them but I’ll give you two. One is healthcare. It’s not the best. I like to be diplomatic as I say it. It’s coming on. It’s getting better. I believe that. There’re small hospitals here now whereas 15 years ago, it was pretty much clinics, right? But we’re not yet on par with the western world. Maybe I’ll leave it at that, unfortunately, but 5 years, 10 years from now, it is getting better. I will say that, okay? Another thing that’s more of a nuisance than anything but it’s definitely worse than it was is traffic, I’ll be honest, especially in the tourist areas. It’s noticeable. There are simply more cars and more locals have cars so, as an American, it’s impossible for me to say, “Oh, you know, there’s too many people are owning cars now.” That’s for sure, right? So, it’s related to the general prosperity that’s coming on but definitely more traffic and healthcare, I would say. Two negatives.

Zach Ireland:

But I imagine like, I mean, after all you’re living in an island paradise so the positives probably much outweigh the negatives?

Tom Mullaly:

For me, they certainly do. I mean, look, the reality is if you want to be sort of in the center, sort of where the action is and take advantage of the tourist infrastructure, expats who live here, we do that. There’re great restaurants around and I mean, a lot of things that you won’t find in smaller, let’s say, expat enclaves or digital nomad enclaves, it’s just so many tourists coming that we can find Turkish food, Mexican food. Almost anything you want is probably here, not just restaurants, right? Internet is much faster, basically, and infrastructure’s great but if what you’re asking is the feel of a place, for someone who hasn’t been—the Balinese culture is still alive here and it’s all around you. What I mean when I say it’s alive, every 10 steps, there’s a small temple on the side of the road. Every day the Balinese are doing their pujas, their little tray with the offerings and stuff and small reminders that you’re not in just sort of some generic sort of, I don’t know, western civilization thing where we have no concept of what was happening maybe a few decades ago. Maybe, it’s mostly California, I don’t know. I love California but there’s just a real connection here that culturally, with the past and with what the culture of this place has been forever and, even though I’m an outsider and I always will be, I think there’s a good feeling through it. The way they close streets down, they got a ceremony that’s going to happen on this street, the whole street will be closed and you might sit there and watch for 10 minutes and take some time out of your day and just to take a step back and reaffirm, I’m in a really, quite exotic place. It’s a nice, unexpected tinge on your day. There’s a lot to like. There’s the infrastructure I mentioned. There’s the feeling of it that people talk about. On a practical level, it’s still, in my opinion, one of the best places in the world for this combination of low costs but having a lot of comfort associated in it as well. If you go further out up in the hills, you can go ahead and do that as well.

Zach Ireland:

Very cool. Speaking on being an outsider, one of our recent short stories is homesickness. Do you find yourself getting homesick often?

Tom Mullaly:

I think, for me now, this is more home than anything, I suppose, but I will say that it’s pretty cool the way on my phone, in the course of an hour, I can either talk to or just message people on three or four continents and I do that virtually every day. You guys probably have the same experience. It’s not the same as seeing your friend and giving them a hug, it isn’t. Or seeing Mom but, as an old guy can say, the isolation that an expat or a nomad or a digital nomad might’ve felt 10 or 15 years ago or more, it’s not anything like it used to be. I mean, that’s my own experience. I’m sure other people would differ but it is nice to be able to actually look at somebody on the device and if you want to, feeling homesick, it’s a great antidote for it, right?

Zach Ireland:

Do you ever see yourself living permanently in America again?

Tom Mullaly:

I probably don’t really make a firm plan like that but there’s…I don’t see what would take me back and make a base there but I have never, in my life, made big plans about where I’m going and stuff. that’s just, maybe a character defect, I don’t know. I will say this, to be honest with you, as years go by, I miss it less and less. Yeah, that’s true. I don’t mean to sound negative but that’s the reality of it.

Zach Ireland:

Alright, Tom, so it’s a random day, a random Tuesday, a random Wednesday and you don’t have anything to do work-wise so how do you enjoy your time in Bali?

Tom Mullaly:

Okay, what I do, is I get up late and I have coffee with my wife virtually every day and then, if I don’t have any work to do, you know what I do? I take my computer to any one of about a dozen of my favorite restaurants and I sit there for about 6 hours and I actually work on client campaigns and things like that because, for me, not to make too much of a point of it, I like it and I guess it is work but it’s not work in like the work I used to do. I just sort of live and breathe it so, that’s what I do. Now, a friend might show up. We might be co-working which turns into more talking than any working so a lot of people in Bali, I think, a lot of socializing just sort of happens in these 3 or 4-hour eating and BS sessions that we just sort of have, so yeah, to answer your question and that can happen at the drop of the hat, right? So, which is great. I do walk on the beach every day. I have to be pretty sick not to. I do unless I’m actually sick for at least an hour because I just feel like I really, really should. It’s good for me and my head as well then we tend to stay up pretty late. We stay up late, we wake up late, me and my wife, and it’s just, we just sort of revel in not having a firm schedule, I suppose.

Zach Ireland:

That actually goes to a lot of what…a lot of advice I give because a lot of people, whether they’re back home or even young people, they always ask me, I really love doing X, Y and Z but I can’t find a job in it and your job doesn’t necessarily have to be the thing that you love but your job should allow you to do the thing that you love and it sounds like you really lucked out. You have found a work that really gives you job and that’s something that I really enjoy about, again, I keep harping on your website, people are going to think that this is a sponsored podcast, which it isn’t, but that’s something I really enjoy about your Wage Freedom website and your Wage Freedom lifestyle. 

Tom Mullaly:

Thanks a lot, Zach, I really appreciate that.

Zach Ireland:

That you share about there. It’s very selfless. It’s truly selfless. You are trying to help other people enjoy the life that you are having.

Tom Mullaly:

Thanks. Yeah, I aimed it to be that way. Sometimes just making a little connection by telling folks exactly where your head is at can be enough to sort of open a door, too, for them as well.

Zach Ireland:

Well, and this is sort of a bit of a random question but you know, you are living on a literal island paradise. I think your life is what a lot of people dream of their lives to be but I also know that, in being an expat, sometimes you just have to get out and you have to take a break from the country you’re currently living in so my question for you, Tom Mullaly, the man who lives in paradise, what is your favorite place to vacation when you need a vacation from Bali?

Tom Mullaly:

It’s a really good question. I don’t have a real good answer for you, buddy, because we’re pretty complacent around these parts and we don’t travel as much as we should, as much as we used to. I’ll tell you I do enjoy Singapore when I go and people will probably laugh but, and now I’m going to make people in Singapore mad, too, probably, but I really like Singapore. I like the fact that it’s everything works and it’s clean and I would suggest that everybody give it a shot especially when you’re on Southeast Asia which can be, maybe, endlessly interesting but a little rough at times, sometimes. Go and see, get a glimpse of the future in Singapore because I like it. I take my—my wife’s within earshot and I got to take her back there so now, I think I’m probably in trouble. It’s high on our list. We do like it there. It’s fun for a few days, yeah.

Zach Ireland:

Yeah, Singapore is great. Amazing, amazing Indian food but it sounds like you have great Indian food right there in Bali.

Tom Mullaly:

Frankly, not as much as you might imagine which is strange. Somebody’s got to get on that. it’s not enough, not yet, but coming.

Zach Ireland:

Jumping back into your work a little bit, what is the best way for people to learn about what it is you do about being in SEO and digital head optimization and things like this? How do they free themselves from the monotony of an office job?

Tom Mullaly:

When somebody ask me that question, I got two or three people whose YouTube channels I forward to them and specific videos even within those channels, okay? We can include—I don’t have any problem including any of these channels in the show notes or however you want to do. I will say that somebody one can learn a hell of a lot from is Miles Beckler. He gives and gives and gives and extremely good content, very easy for the layman to understand. I’ve learned a lot from Miles, personally. Never paid him a dime. Another way that one can learn is getting a hold of Tom Mullaly because I am looking for content for videos and I’m comfortable with my Bali videos and I’ll continue to do them but I do want to branch out my Wage Freedom channel and, as you guys probably realize, questions are very good source of future content so if people have questions, I’m dead serious, just get with me out of the blue. Email me or get with me on Twitter or wherever you want to do and I’m happy to help, I really am, or point somebody in the direction, okay?

Zach Ireland:

How can people find you? We’ve talked about Wagefreedom.com. What are your Twitter handles? What’s your YouTube? How do you want people to get a hold of you?

Tom Mullaly:

I’m starting to focus on, well, not starting, I’m focusing on my YouTube channel, please subscribe to Wage Freedom. That’s just youtube.com/wagefreedom. @Wage Freedom is the Twitter account that I use the most and those are two good ways. Otherwise, I don’t have any problem putting my email in your show notes if they like to get a hold of me, absolutely, yeah, and I’m happy to talk about these things. I’m pretty long-winded when it comes—I’m an evangelist for digital expat is, nomad is, or whatever you want to call it. I drank the Kool-Aid a long, long time ago and I enjoy giving people the nudge that maybe sometimes they need. That’s all.

Zach Ireland:

Cool, cool. Alright, so what type of mindset do you think makes the best expat?

Tom Mullaly:

I have to say flexibility. If I have to put one word on it. Adaptability. It’s not going to work, or you give yourselves some problems if your expectation level is too high. It’s not to say that you can’t make a life here that you’re very comfortable with and really enjoy wherever you find yourself going to but every day, your adaptability probably will be tested to some degree or another and you just got to be comfortable with not knowing everything. Some things not being as easy as they’d be back where you’re from. For some people, it’s probably a tradeoff that’s maybe not worth making but speaking for myself, it’s not such a big deal.

Zach Ireland:

Alright, so, here we are at the end of the podcast to one of my favorite sections: what did we learn? Today, I learned that, even before we had this buzzword of ‘digital nomad’, there were people who were doing exactly this who found a place they love to live in and found a way to make it work and make it happen. I also learned that there is absolutely no age limit who can be a digital nomad. All you need is an internet connection and a willingness to make it happen. I’ve also learned that Bali is a lot more international than I assumed it would be. I never would have thought that you could get good Mexican food in Bali, Indonesia and here we are. Alright, Tom, thank you so, so, so much for joining us here in the studio. I know that I learned a lot. I hope that our listeners learned a lot as well. Once again, if you have time and you are interested in checking out how to do this yourself, please, please, please check out Wagefreedom.com. It’s a great resource. Tom, do you have any parting advice for the people at home?

Tom Mullaly:

Don’t kid yourself if you’re feeling like you want more out of life whether it’s coming to Bali or someplace else in the world or maybe just quitting a job or a career that you’re not satisfied with. Don’t spend time kidding yourself. Face the fact and do what it takes to move on because you can and that’s what life is all about.

Zach Ireland:

Wonderful! Alright, thanks again and I will talk to you guys next week. 

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