Can a single, minimalist, vegan, Jamaican author and nomadpreneur escape the rat race, reinvent his life, live true to himself, find love, happiness, organic food, but more importantly, an apartment with a kitchen, sunshine and a wi-fi connection in China without paying the ultimate price….the foreigner’s price?
a business partner of mine just sent me something interesting that has profound implications for reaching niche markets around the world (yes, even in China!)
It’s called Rippln (That’s R I P P L N), and essentially, it’s an app that allows you to create a permanent, portable “ripple effect” network that you can use to recommend any future technology/app/product.
Say you refer 5 people, those 5 persons refer 5 people, and so on. Every person who gets involved based on your initial invite is considered part of a “ripple.” Each person who gets involved based on the recommendations of those in your first ripple are part of an ever-expanding “ripple effect” that grows exactly like the ever-expanding ripple wave that happens when you drop a pebble in a lake. You’ll earn money whenever anyone in your ripple network makes a purchase or refers someone who does.
From what I’ve seen so far,there’s no real downside to this. If the founders get things rolling and convince the next Facebook/Twitter etc. to sign on to Rippln, you’ll have your “ripple” (think “portable downline”)in place. If they don’t, well, you don’t lose anything.
They launch officially soon. If you’re interested in learning more, I can send you a limited-time invitation with a non-disclosure agreement.
p.s. Since I have a background in network marketing (it’s what freed me from corporate confinement many years ago), people have been sending me information about these types of new business opportunities. This is the first one that’s grabbed my attention. If interested in learning more (while I do my own due diligence), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you an invitation. I’m only given five invitation codes at a time, and each invitation lasts only 24 hours in order to give others an opportunity to jump in. So, please act fast to get in the inner circle now. Again, I’m making no guarantees here. Every great opportunity is often speculative at first, but life often rewards those who are willing to take a chance!
And, even if you’re not interested in the money, since there’s no charge to simply get involved and “play,” it’s simply a cool way to see how many and how far and wide and into how many countries your ripple network extends! It’s pretty cool!
The reason I share with you the cost of airline tickets and other expenses is to show how relatively inexpensive it is to do what I’m doing. It costs $197 to fly from New York to Jamaica. $157 from Kingston to Miami, etc. I stay at hostels, couchsurfers, or with friends. While not for everyone, it’s a lifestyle that is within financial reach of many people. All you need is the freedom.
Yes, the freedom comes first–at least it did for me. I’d like to suggest to you that freedom is not dependent on money. Money provides options, sure, but freedom is something you can claim at any time depending on your level of courage, and freedom is something you can maintain as long as you wish, depending on your level of discipline.
Between the Sunday that I decided to quit my civil engineering job, and the Tuesday when I actually handed in my resignation letter, nothing changed as far as my financial status. I was still broke! What changed was my level of commitment to live my dream. That’s what made the difference.
It’s not all “perfect” yet. The tides of revenue ebb and flow. The pendulum of profitability swings back and forth. There were ups and downs, and there continue to be ups and downs. However, the freedom is still there. The freedom is still there because I have the discipline to weather the tides of outrageous fortune.
My journey has been chronicled and made into a step-by-step guid in the books I’ve written:
So, when you share my adventures as the Jamaican in Wherever, know that anyone can do this. I’m just an bordinary guy who simply wanted freedom bad enough.
With that said, here are some scenes from the past few days of freedom hanging out with Heru, a friend and fellow rat race escapee and nomadpreneur on the island of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Heru takes me to THE coconut vendor on the road by First Car Rental, Wayne who also sells irish moss, coconut oil and other coconut-derived drinks and products
And special thanks to Wayne’s son, Eli (pronounced ALLI), who reminded his dad to make me a special batch of honey-sweetened “coconut moss” (irish moss seaweed and coconut water)!
It’s a four-cruise-ship day!
Ital Glory sidewalk cafe!
I am now officially addicted to Judy’s cooking! Clay pots, square dumplings and moringa juice $10 for a large plate with HUGE portions!
Health Food Store
Blurry shot inside health food store
Heru is “The Whole Body Consultant” on island and has a “Lunchtime at Livity” workshop at Natural Livity Kulcha Shop & Juice Bar every second Thursday of the month
Hanging with Al, Heru’s Tai Chi instructor
Heru also does two radio programs on WUVI 1090 AM, “Avenues of Healing” which airs Thursdays from 4-5:30pm Eastern Time, and “The Music & Culture Experience,” which airs Friday mornings 10:00am to 11:45. Stream live at: http://wuvi.am
Being interviewed. (on both programs)
A new friend on the University of Virgin Islands campus
As a nomadpreneur, I typically only purchase one way tickets.
Once I discovered that my Jamaican pilot friend, Ron, was heading to Jamaica, and once we agreed to meet there and hang out together, I wasn’t sure exactly when I would depart the island, so I purchased a one way ticket from New York to Kingston. ($197 on Fly-Jamaica)
Once I landed in JA, and as the days progressed, I decided I would leave at the same time Ron would (May 7th), My post-Jamaica plan was to visit another Rat Race Escapee and nomadpreneur friend on the island of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
After doing a bit of research from back in New York, it seemed that I’d have to fly back to Fort Lauderdale on the US mainland and then take a flight through Puerto Rico on my way to St. Thomas. The arrival and departure times of the connecting flights weren’t working out conveniently, so it seemed that I might have to spend a night in Florida, and perhaps use that opportunity to visit a college friend.
Fortunately, however, while searching again in Jamaica, I found a flight from Kingston to Miami ($174.48 on American), and then a few days later, I found a direct flight from Miami to St. Thomas at a great price and purchased that ticket on April 27th. ($157.20 also on American). Woo hoo!
So, I left Jamaica on May 7th, (I booked myself on the same flight he had arranged months before), Ron headed back to Macau, and I did a little island-mainland-island hop:
Kingston to Miami and then to St. Thomas
Now, the ticket agent in Kingston had told me he wouldn’t be able to “tag” my bags such that they’d be routed all the way to St. Thomas because of the fact that I had made two separate reservations for the two-stage journey. He also told me that since I’d therefore have to re-check my bags in Miami, that I’d be charged the $25 domestic-flight baggage for my checked bag. (I, however, had no intention of paying this fee).
Once I landed in Miami, got through the huge immigration line, picked up my bag at the carousel, made my way through customs and then headed to the ticket counter, I explained my situation to the check in counter agent and she got her supervisor, Gina, to come over. I explained to Gina that my trip from Miami to St Thomas was all one international flight originating in Jamaica and not simply a single domestic flight, and therefore, requested that my baggage be treated according to the international flight baggage allowance. She agreed and waived the $25 charge. Woo hoo!
Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Thanks, Gina!
and, so, at 8:55pm on Tuesday, May 7, I landed
Nighttime on St. Thomas
….and am now the Jamaican in St. Thomas! (Um, not sure for how long. Only bought a one-way ticket)
Morning in Fortuna….The view from Heru’s place in the hills
And, after being on island for 24 hours, my first question for everyone is:
So much to share, so little time! For the eighteen days I spent in Jamaica, I accomplished quite a lot.
In addition to Milk River, Reach Falls, the Bob Marley Museum, there was….
A visit to the Green Grotto caves Beneath the earth
. Entertainment in Runaway Bay
Rafting on the Martha Brae River
I’d have to say that this was the high point of the whole trip! Make sure you ask for Captain #45, Mr. Daley. He’ll treat you right! Take my photo along with you and tell him the Jamaican in China sent you!
. Tourists from France…psst…ditch mom, and meet me at the mouth of the river!
. Thanks, Mr. Daley! Great guy!
A visit to Rose Hall, the haunted “Great House”
. Tour of Rose Hall
. Shopping in the markets
. Reconnecting with friends from the old neighborhood….
. As well as with family….can you see the resemblance with Aunt and cousin?
I’d have to say, however, that the simple pleasure (or harrowing, hair-raising, adrenalin-pumping trauma, take your pick) of driving on the narrow winding roads through the mountains of Jamaica was one of the most satisfying activities! It’s sort of a rite of passage for anyone who calls Jamaica their home.
Here’s a video, with “It’s all coming back to me” by Celine Dion providing the soundtrack
And, then, there’s eating locally-grown, tree-ripened, pesticide-free food (pumpkin, sweet potato, green banana, yam to accompany the callalloo picked an hour earlier from my Aunt’s back yard) Last meal in JA
I’ll be sharing more photos and observations of life and my time in Jamaica, but, now it’s time to wrap it up and say goodbye…
Time to hit the skies once again….
This blog is about to become….
As recently as this March, I had the opportunity to tutor some students in New York in Integrated Algebra in preparation for their Regents exams. The students were great, and eager to learn and wished do well. However, while tutoring, I noticed there was something missing in their fundamental understanding of the relationship between and among numbers.
Many of the students in high school simply don’t know their multiplication tables well enough and stumbled when it came to answering simple multiplication queries (eg. “what’s 9 times 8?”).
I realized they hadn’t been sufficiently prepared in their earlier grades.
In Jamaica, starting in second grade, students are taught to memorize their multiplication tables from 2 to 12. When I was at Pembroke Hall, for example, we drilled “Two 1s two.
Two 2s four.
Two 3s six.
Two 4s eight” etc., all the way to 12, ending with “twelve 12s 144!”
This memorization and practice would be drilled day after day from second grade to onward. The result is that Jamaican students have an affinity for numbers which forms a solid foundation for higher mathematics.
I remember my second and third grade teachers, Mrs. Sutherland and Mrs. Downy, respectively, walking around the classroom–with cane in hand–listening to each student as he/she recited, and giving a whack to anyone who messed up. As a result, the recitation becomes automatic, unconscious and quick. In fact, if someone in Jamaica wants to say something is done quickly, they might say it happens in “two 2s.” For instance, the paint advertisement I showed in the previous post could have said alternatively “In two 2s, it dry!” referring to the lightning speed at which one processes 2 times 2.
This simple training has far-reaching effects not only in school, but in daily life as well. For example, if you are purchasing several items in a store each with a price that ends in 5 or 0 (say, candy at 25 cents each), and the cashier tells you the total price is $1.57, you immediately know this is incorrect because any number multiplied by 5 MUST end in a 5 or a zero. It gives you a confidence with how numbers work and interrelate that improves your chances of success in school, life as well as in business.
Here is a video of 3rd grade students at Pembroke Hall Primary school in Jamaica reciting their “times tables.”
I learned that the recitation has been modified to now reinforce the complementary relationship between multiplication and division. (i.e. “Two 1s two. Two into two goes one time…”, etc.)
As mentioned, I went back to Pembroke Hall to speak to the students during their 7:30am Wednesday morning “Devotion,” where the students gather for prayer and a few words of encouragement before their day of class. Here are a few shots from a wonderful day!
click on image to see larger version Students gather outside the classroom
Getting ready for my return engagement with Mrs. Brown
Who knows? One of these kids may just grow up to become another Jamaican in China!
Then I decided to launch Ron’s public speaking career and put him on the spot as a real-life Jamaican pilot living in Macau. The kids loved it! Ron, on the other hand, had a few words to say to me about ambushing him like that! Pilot speaks to pupils
Then, I asked Mrs. Brown to lend me a few students for a photo in front of the school Walking to the front of the school
Say “cheese!” and remember: Only the best is good enough!
Scenes of life and times on the Rock…Seen?
click to view larger image
Jamaican for “eat” is N _ _ _
Pat, can I buy a vowel?
(Answer for non-Jamaicans: NYAM)
As yuh quint, it dry!
In the Oxford Dictionary, you’ll find a definition of quint:
QUINT: five: the cardinal number that is the sum of four and one.
In the Urban Dictionary, you’ll even find a provocative, but misleading Jamaican slang definition.
The truth, however, is that “quint” means blink or squint–as in “as you blink, it’s dry”
I really like the fact that Jamaican ad campaigns now feature our Jamaican patois “language.” Even though practically everyone speaks and understands it, Patois was never considered legitimate enough to sit alongside the Queen’s English in ad campaigns sponsored by corporate concerns. This is major and represents, on one level, a cultural embrace of our culture.
Ben, a friend of mine who reads my blog said: “Walt, I was in the super market yesterday on Cape Cod. One of the aisles said, “Jamaican Food”. It wasn’t even in the international food aisle. Thought it a bit odd.”
Um, psst….Walt…..behind you….take a picture
Oh, well see, the trouble is, as you spend more time in Jamaica going from Parish to Parish, you get so accustomed to the beautiful scenery around every corner and in every crevice, that you forget to take photos
Here, lest I forget, is a random, gratuitous shot of paradise to remind you where I am Random, gratuitous shot of paradise
The infamous “Flat Bridge!” One day this bridge will be improved…..I hope…
From Church on Sunday
Welcome to Montego Bay
Table Tennis in Runaway Bay
No matter how challenging survival gets, you can’t ever really starve in Jamaica. Fruit trees abound along the road and in every backyard and front lawn. June plums in St Mary
This is what a june plum seed looks like. Can anyone from Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic
or any other region tell me if you have it in your country and what do you call it?
In the little neighborhood of Pembroke Hall in Kingston, exists a little school called Pembroke Hall Primary.
My family left Jamaica and moved to the U.S. before I had the chance to attend high school. Pembroke Hall Primary, therefore, is where most of my great memories of attending school in Jamaica took place. (I also attended Old Harbour Primary for one year). This is where I met my first “best friend,” Andrew Walters. Here is where I had my first schoolboy crush on a girl named Gail Scott. Here is where I learned my “times tables.” Here is where I walked home from school with my friends and got chased by dogs. This was the first place I would visit once I started to return to the island during the summer breaks from my elementary schooling in New York. The list of names to whom I dedicated my books, Jamaican on Saipan, and Jamaican in China are the names of my Pembroke Hall Primary schoolmates. I’ve never forgotten them, and for some, I even remember their phone numbers! And so, it was with a feeling of great excitement and nostalgia that I visited for the first time in many years. Here are just a few of the shots from that visit.
The front gate
The sign says:
The following will not be permitted on the school compound:
Rollers in hair
Tight, short shorts
Tight, short dresses/skirts/merina
Uncovered stomach (back and armpit)
Please dress moderately
The school grounds
The water pipes! Everything is right where I left them…ahhhh, yes! No crowds now, but wait until lunch time!
“Excuse me, I’m a past student. Who is the principal of the school now?”
Meet Ms. Norma McNeil, the principal of Pembroke Hall Primary
Chatting about past students, what my teachers are doing now, and the auditorium project.
Ms. McNeil gives me a tour of the grounds and shows me the location of the hoped-for auditorium. In this video, Mrs. McNeil explains the need for funds to continue and complete the construction. There’ve been raffles and food sales to generate the money, but there is still a ways to go. I’ll be helping any way I can. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to help, too!
Pembroke Hall represents the foundation of my education. As such, it is an integral part of the path I took from elementary and high school in the states, my engineering degree at Columbia, my path as an entrepreneur and writer, and ultimately, my freedom as a nomadpreneur! Thank you, Pembroke Hall Primary School!
The banner beneath the logo says: “Only the best is good enough!”
p.s.Ms. McNeil has asked me to visit again on Wednesday to give a short talk to the students. Stay tuned!
As a nomadpreneur, that quote from Bob (“My home is in my head.”) accurately describes how I feel, and is how I often respond when people ask me about concepts of “home.” It has special meaning given one of the spots I visited today.–Walt
DAY 5: Thursday, April 25, 2013
We decided we’d stay in Kingston to run some errands. First, Ron took his suitcase to a Fix-It shop to repair the in-flight damage incurred during his trip to JA!
at the Fixt It shop
Then, as Ron is a pilot, we went to the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority to take care of some of his business.
Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority
at the window of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority
56 Hope Road is the former home of Reggae legend and Jamaican hero, Robert Nesta Marley, known affectionately by Jamaicans simply as Bob. As I’ve said in a previous post, it is mandated by law that every Jamaican must utter the words “Bob did seh” (Bob said…”) in any conversation about life, politics, religion and any matter of cultural significance.
Bob Marley Museum front gate
Fulfilling the vision of Bob’s widow, Rita, the home has been converted into a museum paying tribute to Bob’s legacy and impact on the music industry, the struggles of freedom fighters the world over, and the status of Jamaica and Jamaicans throughout the world.
A sign inside the compound
The Garden at the Gate
We did the hour tour of the premises and house ($500J = $5US) The tourist rate is higher!)
Ms. Rowe at the ticket booth.
Posing at the statue while waiting for the tour to begin–Bob Marley Museum
Natasha begins our tour
Tour of the grounds
Natasha shares facts and figures and interesting trivia of Bob’s life
Step to it, people! We’re going inside!
There’s no taking of photos allowed during the tour of the house, but we got to see photos, artifacts, clothing, furniture, memorabilia and more details chronicling Bob’s music, career and honors.Great stuff!
You’ll have to experience it for yourself!
Me and Natty Queen
After the tour, Natasha and I posed on the very steps Bob Marley would sit and reason with his bredrin!
Completing my visitor survey at the Bob Marley Museum
Next stop: food!
On the way to New Leaf Restaurant (found through Happycow.net) we stopped at a juice bar and picked up a papaya, pineapple and guava juice.
Now then. For my friends who’ve suggested I smile more in my photos. I’m sure you’re not aware of this, but The “How to be Jamaican Cool” manual explicitly prohibits “crap eating grins” and big toothy smiles in photos of men. But, I’m going to do something totally out of character. Here are some photos with smiles for anyone who requested them.–W (These were captured by Ron when I didn’t know the camera was rolling; a clear and flagrant violation of HTBJC Rule #476, but I’m willing to break the rules just this once for you.)
Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!
The Joy of Juicing!
Then headed to New Leaf Restaurant
New Leaf Restaurant!
Finally! A meal!
the star of the show: Veggie stir fry with curry sauce and brown rice