Travelling alone is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It opened my eyes to both the external world and internally into my own personality and mind.
One of the changes I had to quickly adapt to was that if I wanted any type of human interaction I had to go out and find it. Moving about constantly means you need to be able to make friends quickly or else you may find yourself eating dinner alone, which is no fun.
While there are hundreds of ways you can go about meeting people while travelling, with hanging out in a hostel being one of the easiest, I want to share a simple strategy that I used all the time in every country with a 90% success rate (I just made up that number but it basically works all the time). It’s also a strategy you can use if you are staying in a nicer hotel or on a business trip so don’t worry if you don’t plan on going backpacking any time soon.
The Bar Strategy
Sounds like a pretty unique strategy right? Just read…
If you’re travelling on your own (even if you’re in your own city really) and feel like meeting someone new and not spending the evening alone, here is what you do. Spend your day sightseeing or in your meetings. While you’re going about during the day look out for bars that you feel are your kind of style. When I say a bar, I mean a place with a bar. Not a lounge, not a club and not a beer garden. You want somewhere that has an actual bar, around the bar tender area with stools you can go and sit on. Plus they should serve food. If you see a place during the day, pop in quickly and chat to the bar tender.
You: “Hey, I’m new in town and looking for somewhere to hang out tonight, what’s this place like?
BT: Its good / Its bad.
*If it seems like somewhere cool that you could hang out at, and it seems like it gets a little busy follow up with this.*
You: Awsome, sounds cool. I think I’ll head back here later. Thanks so much for helping me out. What’s your name?
BT: No problems, I’m Julie.
You: Julie, nice to meet you. I’m Vinay. Are you going to be working tonight?
BT: Nah, I finish at three.
You: Ahh, too bad. I wanted to see you again so I could give you a HUGE tip for helping me out. Do you know who is going to be working tonight?
BT: Yeh its Dave I think.
You: Dave hey, what does he look like?
BT: (blah bla description)
You: Ok cool. Thanks again Julie, it was nice talking to you. I may see you again tomorrow.
What you have just done there is properly sussed out a venue. It’s only a 1 min conversation but if you jump into 5 different bars throughout your daily venturing, it can seriously help out the quality of your night. Plus, now you have something to talk about when you go back in later. It works just as well if the bartender is still going to be working that evening.
Come back into the bar, ideally earlyish. 6 or 7. With the plan to eat dinner and get a few drinks (or not if you don’t drink). Sit down at the bar, in the middle of the bar. Next to other people and ideally near the section where people come and buy drinks. Strike up a conversation with Dave telling him how you met Julie earlier. Tell him you’re new into town or on holiday. Ask him what is happening in the area tonight. Talk LOUD (but not obnoxiously) so that others in the bar can hear your conversation and contribute. As soon as you get chatting with the people next to you, introduce yourself. Find out what they’re up to (if they’re staying for a few or about to leave is all you need to know). If they’re staying for a while, offer to buy them a drink straight away. Don’t worry, you will get one back. Tip the bartender big the first time.
You now have a whole bar full of friends. When people (read girls) come up to the bar to order their drinks, bring them into your conversation. Introduce the girls to the bartender and to your new friends. Can you see the snowballing effects here?
Don’t worry if the bar isn’t the coolest place in the world. You can always move on later in the night. Also, don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to check it out during the day. If its fairly busy and has a bar, it still works fine.
I can’t tell you how many crazy nights I have had that have started off in this exact manner. I’ve ended up being taken out by the bar tenders, the people next to me and the girls that walk up. To all sorts of crazy places, in different countries. You never know where you’ll end up.
As a closing rule, if you are travelling and out to experience. Try Do not to say no to anything. If some old dude invites you to his kids birthday: Yes. If two seedy guys invite you to a strip club: Yes. If two beautiful girls invite you back to their place…
Couches in random peoples houses, rooms in raging college parties, bustling 18 bed dorms in hostels and of course planes, airports, bus stops, trains etc…
With so many changing sleep environments it is essential to create a fool proof system to be able to sleep anywhere anytime, below is my system. The system might change a little depending the environment but this post will cover the essentials:
1. Eye Mask
The eye mask is really the best tool for blocking light. Your face structure will depend on which mask works best for you. I have gone through a few. If you fly business they usually give you a pretty decent one, or you can pick them up at most airports.
Hoodies are an essential tool for traveling on planes, ideally zip up. Not only do they keep you warm and can be used to block light by putting the hood over your eyes (make sure hood is big enough to do this) but they are also great because you can hide your headphones without the flight attendants seeing that you are still listening to an electronic device (you will see why this is important below).
P.S. I have not turned my electronic devices off on the last 40 flights I have taken… Don’t worry, you won’t bring down the plane.
This is a super hack. The White Noise App is available for both iOS and Android costs around $2 (there is a free lite version too) but is totally worth it. Even for 1 nights good sleep, $2 is a small price to pay, but for countless nights sleep, the value is infinite. Possibly the highest ROI app I have ever purchased. Get some quality noise cancellation headphones (sport headphones work well to if your roll around in your sleep a lot), close your eyes and listen to the world fade away. Use this in conjunction with a hoodie on flights, and sleep right through the safety announcements, takeoff and landing to get a sold extra 30-45 min sleep on a flight.
I currently use this on my Nexus 7 tablet and really like it. It allows you to wake using any music on your device, I have it just play randomly from my playlist, it fades in music so you are not woken suddenly, it tracks your sleep patterns if you keep your tablet on your bed while you are sleeping and only wakes you when you are in a light sleep pattern within your given window and it makes you do math problems to turn it off!
There you have it. With this combo you will be able to sleep through the next world war and wake up fresh for work on Monday.
One of the best things about my life recently has been the amount of travel I have been able to do. I love travel and am so grateful for all the places I have been and experiences I’ve had.
Travel is amazing for so many reasons. It boosts confidence like nothing else, constantly facing the unknown makes you more comfortable in every situation. It makes you more social with people of all walks of life. It expands your knowledge in so many areas including culture, geography, history and language just to name a few. It makes you more interesting and gives you a holistic perspective of the world just to name a few.
This has been my travel for the last year and a half:
For the last year or so I have been trying to live my life much like the Yes Man (you know that good book by that guy and the crappy movie with Jim Carrey). It’s amazing what can happen in your life if you just say yes.
There are a whole bunch of quotes I could pull to this argument and I have talked about the importance of decision making in the past. Men (and women) should make decisions and that decision should be yes – most of the time anyway. And once you say yes, you need to DO IT, and DO IT GOOD!
Take my last 2 years for example.
I made the decision to quit my job and travel. I then made a decision to make money while I travel. I travelled all over the world (South East Asia, Europe and North America) while making money and having all sorts of crazy experiences which I loved. While I was in Canada, I made a decision to enter the Shoemoney Contest which I won controversially and lead me to Vegas. In Vegas I met Adolfo Salazar who I now work for. I met Shoemoney and DK who are great guys. I moved to Tempe, Arizona to work with Adolfo for a couple of months, I then plan to spend Summer in Costa Rica.
While I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t decide to say yes, I also wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have support and help of others. Such as my uncle in Vancouver, Adolfo and Jeremy Schoemaker. Humans are social creatures and we progress much faster when we work together (something many internet marketers don’t embrace). Relationships are everything. Relationships are created through commonalities and shared experiences and are maintained through loyalty and trust. And because I promised to get a Shoemoney tattoo if I won the contest AND the black jack hand here it is….
Now that’s Abstract Living…
And thanks again Jeremy, my life has changed directions (once more) thanks to you.
Its been more than a week since I have gotten back from Affiliate Summit West 2011 (#ASW11) and wheels are turning. I am thinking it may have been the most productive few days of my life, even though all I did was get wasted all night and wake up at 5pm each day.
You may notice there is very little of the ‘actual conference’. That’s because I didn’t really go to much of the ‘actual conference’…. Hell I didn’t even use my free breakfast’s, lunches and I think I used about 2/10 of my drink vouchers…
Some people may say that I wasted the time there because I didn’t go to any of the sessions and didn’t learn anything (which I know is what many of the others who entered Shoemoney’s Contest wanted to do.
But I beg to differ.
I learned HEAPS. But what I learned, will never be told at a session or keynote. Its the real shit. I also made some deep relationships. I went to Affiliate Summit knowing nobody. Like literally nobody. But I have gotten very used to rocking up to places knowing nobody and quickly making friends. It is kinda necessary when you are a solo traveller.
I left ASW with a bunch of new contacts. But not just business cards. Real projects that are in the works. On top of that I made new friends.
It is really hard to really befriend someone when you meet them during the day at a networking event. Sure you may have things in common, sure you may have an interesting conversation, maybe even go for lunch or something. But it is still surface level.
To build a relationship and you need to have shared experiences. There is almost no way around it. So how do you do this?
My goal at ASW11 was to make some solid connections. I didn’t want to come back with a bunch of business cards and no follow up plans and I didn’t want to come back having not met anyone but listed to a bunch of speeches which I could learn in a few hours of research on my own (no disrespect to any of the speakers).
But hey, that was just my strategy going in knowing nobody. Next time it will probably be a little different as I will arrange to meet people in advance now that I know a few people.
I can’t decide which one is better. I know that spending a weekend with Shoemoney will completely change my life forever. And that’s not just some “oh yay lets go and get feelings and be all emotional and see the light” warm and fuzzy life changing crap. I’m talking direct, immediate repercussions that will hockey stick my income, network, reputation and lifestyle immediately.
Buuuut, the Playboy Mansion…. This is something that has been on my “top 10 things I want to do before I die” forever like… You could have all the money in the world and not be guaranteed entry to the mansion. Well.. if you had all the money in the world you could probably get in, but you know what I mean…
The good thing is if I win this contest, I won’t have to choose! Because Shoemoney, the mad man that he is, is giving away the opportunity to win both of these fantabulous prizes in one hit! Oh he’s also chucking in some other cool bonuses like a free trip to Vegas and a $2,000 blackjack hand to sweeten the pot!
This post is my entry to said contest which you can read all about here.
A year ago I took it upon myself to redesign my life. I was 24, working in good job in Sydney as an IT Recruiter. Life was good, I was earning 6 figures, had lots of toys, but it wasn’t Shoemoney good. And I wasn’t free.
I wanted excitement, adventure, riches, travel, VEGAS!!
So I set off, off to see the world. For the last year I travelled through South East Asia, Europe and North America. But before leaving I took it upon myself to get set up with some income to help me along the way and truly achieve my goals. Having an already fairly strong background in IT and business the internet seemed the way to go.
My first endeavour was an e-commerce store which is still running strong and has been my main earner over 2010. While travelling I worked on this business and quickly learned the ways of the internet world.
After 9 months of excessive partying like New Years in BKK, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, 4 day festivals in Hungary, the biggest nightclub in the world in Ibiza, underground raves in Amsterdam, experiences in Berlin that I will not write about publicly and much other crazyness it was time to get serious again.
So a couple of months ago I relocated to Vancouver where I am now. I have stuck my head down doing 100 hour weeks and have got lots done. I released my first free product. My first collaborative ebook and my first paid product is currently in WSO testing. I have built niche sites like this and this. I have a full time VA and have assembled a team to produce my first app kicking off early in 2011 – no links here, this one is hush, hush. I feel I am right before tipping point and am just looking for something to push me over the edge. Rolling with Shoemoney would without a doubt be the rocket fuel that pushes me to the next level.
I wanted to move to Vancouver so I could have access to opportunities just like this. I made it to Blogworld for my first Vegas experience a few months ago which was mental but nothing compared to what I expect ASW to be! I also wanted to be in the same time zone and be closer to people who were more experienced and accomplished than me in the online world. They say you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with so I want to make sure I spend my time with people I respect and who are better, faster and stronger than me. So far so good as I met my partner for my software project here already!
Ok so why do you DESERVE to win?
Well I don’t know if I deserve to win or not, only our esteemed judged and super sexy voters will determine that. But what I do know is that I WILL maximize this opportunity to its fullest.
Some people will tell you they party hard, but few people know what partying hard really is.
Some people may tell you that they know how to be professional, but few people have pitched to Fortune 10 Investment Banks.
Some people may tell you they are serious about making it online, but few people have put in the work to learn everything they possibly can AND act on it.
Some people are applying for a free trip to Vegas, but few people understand the REAL value you are offering in this competition.
Hell, I will fly myself to Vegas for the opportunity to hang for a weekend. I don’t care about the expenses or the blackjack hand (although I REALLY want that ticket to the Playboy party!) I know the value will be far beyond the immediate material benefits of the prize.
In terms of what I can offer in return… What do you give the man who has everything?
Well, I know I can offer fun company. I can tell you that I’m an easy going guy with a steadfast positive attitude. I have oodles of interesting stories, know how to have a good time and get along with people from all walks of life. I’m also a single man with lots of experience chasing girls all around the world if that’s your kind of thing.
I can be known to give good advice but I can also be known to tell it how it is which some people don’t appreciate. In return, I prefer to be told how it is and I know Shoemoney is that kinda guy. You won’t need to tread lightly with me.
In terms of promotion: I will blog the whole experience and promote Shoemoney as the next Hugh Hefner to every good looking girl I come across for the rest of my life. I will do any type of interview or promotional campaigns you want. I will send everyone who helps me win this a personalised card filled with blue glitter and for the grand finale: If I win the blackjack bet, I will use the winnings to get the shoe money logo tattooed onto my back!!!
Yes you heard me right. John chow can even record it and post it on his blog!
By the way, I don’t have ANY tattoos so this is a pretty big deal. That’s how bad I want this. I’ve thought about it many times and have always said – if I ever get a tattoo it needs to have a good story behind it. If I’m lucky, I might have just found my story.
So please Shoemoney and his oh so very good looking staff, pick me!!