Written from a quaint little cafe in the heart of Chang Mai while stuffing my face with a tuna sandwich.

Read time: Approx 6 Mins / 3 Mins Highlighted Sections

While out in Bangkok I regularly get asked two questions whenever I meet someone and we get talking

  1. Why are you not wearing pants?
  2. How can you live out here but not have a job?

Two very important questions and I will look to answer them both within this article. Well, not so much the first question as that is simply personal preference – it is just more comfortable.

Why Read

This article basically outlines the three core philosophies that I live by currently and how these philosophies allow me to live an amazing life out in Thailand without having a job.

These philosophies have allowed me to retire from a hard 40-50 hour work week and move to working less than 90 minutes a day with a substantial increase in lifestyle quality. This is one of many posts to come exploring the new lifestyle I am fortunate enough to live and how it is done.

I Have Been Lucky

I am not going to say that it’s easy and anyone can do it because it is not the case, nor is it the case that it is the lifestyle for everyone. More over, it is not that I am somewhat more talented or clever than others which has allowed me to lead it. I have been very lucky in how my life has panned out which has resulted in my having this opportunity.

However I do believe it is possible for most should they choose it.

I would like to say that what I talk about below are not new ideas and that many people have, and do, used similar principles. I have simply just summarised the three main ones that I live by. Tim Ferris and his book “The Four Hour Workweek” really kicked things off for me and countless others and so I definitely recommend reading it.

Currently how I design my life is through a philosophy I coined “Light Touch Entrepreneurship” or “Light Touch Living”, the core principles of which I will explain in this post. Further posts will follow regarding more detail about Light Touch Living and also why everyone should at least give it a go in the future.

The Light Touch Living Philosophy

Light Touch Living focuses on creating streamlined revenue streams which give financial freedom, freedom of locality and freedom of time to the entrepreneur or owner of these streams, subsequently allowing them to focus on enjoying life and helping others.

One of my good mates had another take of the philosophy which was “to sit on a beach all day and run an online business” but I have chosen to selectively ignore that comment as it is only half right. I also punched him in the arm for good measure.

Light Touch Entrepreneurship focuses on three core areas:

  1. Leveraging the power of currency:
  2. Harnessing the internet for global communication and outsourcing
  3. Applying The Pareto principle to all aspects of life and business

1. Leveraging the power of currency – How to make 300% interest on your money

Core to financial freedom and subsequently the freedom of locality and the freedom of time, is the ability to live within your means, and thus, it is of utmost importance to streamline and reduce personal overheads as much as possible without limiting or reducing your quality of life.

To do this Light Touch Entrepreneurship focuses on leveraging the power of currency, or in laymen’s terms, earning pounds but living on peso’s.

Pounds or Dollars can be made to be worth 4-5 times the relative amount if living in a country where currency fluctuations are favorable. Light Touch Entrepreneurs therefore focuses on living in and using the currency of any country where the entrepreneur can gain maximum value from every pound and dollar they spend.

If I told you I could get you up to 500% interest on any money you may have, I guess you would be quick to point out that I was wrong. Your current investments may be earning you  5%, 10% or maybe even 15% interest and you are happy with it. Without more risk higher interests are not possible, right?

I respectfully disagree, as 300% is easily achievable and I get it regularly on my savings.

In Bangkok for example, my savings, even at todays vastly reduced rate are still worth around an average of 3-4 times what there are in England.   I have already got 4 times richer and live a lifestyle that reflects this, just by leaving the country.

The key to leveraging maximum value from currency differences is to ensure that you are earning or creating a stream of income of the more powerful currency but living on and spending the weaker currency.

It’s amazing what one british pound will get you in Bangkok.

This principle does not just apply to personal living but is also used to drastically reduce the costs involved in creating and running the revenue generating assets and businesses of the entrepreneur. By streamlining and outsourcing as much of the work as possible to countries where it is possible to gain the most currency leverage or “bang for your buck” the entrepreneur can substantially lower the start up costs and increase the net profits of their ventures.

It is easy to hire 10 guys for the price of one using websites like www.elance.com.

For any of you who doubt the quality of the work, I can say from personal experience that it is second to none. In many aspects far surpassing the more expensive options in reliability and quality.

2. Harnessing the internet for global communication and outsourcing – Hiring 10 guys for the price of 1.

The internet has revolutionised our world and has change the dynamics of business practice, social interaction and the entertainment industry, to name but a few.

Light Touch Entrepreneurship focuses on maximising its power as an information source, communication tool and outsourcing instrument.

The world is now very small and with advances in technology individuals nowadays have access to a global market place and a global workforce, as well as access to almost limitless information. Light Touch Entrepreneurship focuses on capitalising on these advances and using them to create their streamlined and automated cash generating assets.

The core idea for Light Touch Entrepreneurship is to create these assets, ensure they can control them from a laptop and then remove themselves from the equation as soon as possible.

The main goal of any venture is to ensure the entrepreneur becomes the least important person in that business as soon as possible, hence having a light touch in the business. Being the most important person in an organisation is great but by it’s very nature all decisions ultimately then need to be made by you and this does not give you freedom of time or generally location either.

Light Touch Entrepreneurship is not about building empires where the entrepreneur is the central figure but instead is quite the opposite, where many and various assets run automatically with minimal control from the owner.

This is the key to achieving the freedom of locality and the freedom of time.

3. Applying The Pareto principle to all aspects of life and business – Doing a small part of the baking and getting most of the cake.

You should venture over to the “5 Killer Rules For Effective Working” blog for more on the Pareto Principle.

The Pareto 80/20 Principle states that all things being equal 80% of your results/sales/income will come from 20% of your efforts/staff/business. If 20% of your effort is obtaining 80% of your rewards then this also means that 80% of your effort must be spent obtaining the last 20% of the rewards. Light Touch Entrepreneurship focuses on the 20% of effort that creates 80% of the results and happily accepts that the final 20% is not worth the 80% effort.

This principle is not just applied to business but to all aspect of the Light Touch Entrepreneur’s life, substantially reducing the time employed in any given activity while still yielding 80% of the results.

This ensures that the entrepreneur achieves all that they want out of life while substantially increasing the amount of free time they have available to them. Throughout their ventures and life, processes are evaluated and streamlined constantly using the Pareto 80/20 rule to get the most rewards from the minimal amount of effort.

Sir, Madam. Would You Like Some Real Life Proof?

This is just a summary and I wish to go into more detail on different aspects of Light Touch Living in future posts but just in case you think that this is not possible or cannot see the advantage, let me just highlight a few changes in my own life in the last few months.


  • Worked a 40-50 hour week stressful Project Management job
  • Had limited time for a social life and was usually very tired.
  • Became housebound.
  • Didn’t go out for entertainment that often because of expense.
  • Had very little time and energy to pursuit my own ideas and projects.


  • Work less than 6 hours a week
  • Spend my mornings working on my business, the blog, swimming and reading. Spend the afternoons in cafe’s writing my two new novels. Spend the evenings running and out with friends at bars, clubs and entertainments. Spend my weekends traveling, scuba diving, elephant trekking etc.
  • Have almost complete freedom.
  • Spend a fraction of what I did in England doing substantially more.

It Can Be Done

I have used the above example, not to gloat, but to prove that it can be done and it really does pay. I have many more post planned explaining how I quit my job, set up the businesses that support me etc but if there is anything in particular you would like to know please leave me a comment and I’ll try and address it.

If you are interested in finding out how things are going then keep coming back to the blog or subscribe to thelifething.com feed. It would be good to have you as a reader.

And finally…I do actually wear pants.

Below if your opportunity to have your say and let others know what you think.


  • September 30, 2009 Reply


    shalom Johnny from MOunt ZIon in Jerusalem. I am enjoying both your adventures and your reflections on them. Keep them coming! I am building a succah in Jerusalem – go google it! love Mirabelle

    • September 30, 2009 Reply


      Hi Mirabelle. Thanks for your kind words and support. All the best in Jerusalem and hopefully I will be able to come out and visit some time soon,.

  • October 1, 2009 Reply


    Light touch entrepreneurship is a new term for me. Thanks. I’ve learned something completely new from your post.

    • October 1, 2009 Reply


      Thats great Gordie. It’s exactly what I set the site up to do. Glad I could help.

  • October 1, 2009 Reply


    It’s great to see someone else living a well thought out life. I’d love to see what you have generating the income, and the systems you use to manage it. elance.com is your go to place eh? …and light touch living…your term?….keep living the dream…geoarbitrage isn’t for me, but its fun and smart if your lifestyle can be bent to it.

    • October 1, 2009 Reply


      Hi Robert, good to have you at the site, I hope you will return or subscribe. Yes, Light Touch Living is a term I coined which I think best suits the life I am currently designing and leading. Elance is a really great site for outsourcing work and I definitely recommend it. I will be writing a piece about how I run my companies and other various income sources at some point in the future which I hope you will enjoy.
      Keep up the great writing on your site.

  • October 1, 2009 Reply


    Johnny, looking forward to more posts in relation to the operations of your income streams. I love where its heading.

    • October 1, 2009 Reply


      You are welcome Schmdity and they are in draft at the moment. Watch this space.

  • October 3, 2009 Reply


    You’re amazing. I have a friend moving to Bangkok this year and I’m really interested to see how you are doing there. Stumbled!

  • October 3, 2009 Reply


    Thanks Oscar but I think I am more lucky then amazing. I have had a very fortunate life to date and I hope it continues.

  • October 3, 2009 Reply



  • October 3, 2009 Reply


    Great post. This was very inspiring and I’ll be checking back here often for related tips.

    • October 3, 2009 Reply


      @ Neshand | blog.self-improvement-saga.com

      Thanks for your comments Neshand and I hope you do check back regularly.

  • October 6, 2009 Reply


    Really well written article. Where do you generate these streams of income? Any plans for a future article on this topic?

    Oh, and life without pant/trousers/jeans is just so much better. That’s actually my definite major purpose!



    • October 6, 2009 Reply


      Thanks for the comment Ian. I am indeed planning a future post outlining where I generate these income streams, it is currently in draft so watch this space. Good to hear about others who have thrown off the shackles of trouser-based oppression.

  • October 9, 2009 Reply


    Your approach is awesome. I would love to have this lifestyle one day. I am striving for that now. Just trying to monetize efforts that I know are available. Thanks for the great post.

    Dave Damron

    • October 10, 2009 Reply


      You are welcome Dave. Best of luck with monetizing your efforts. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

  • October 11, 2009 Reply


    Great post, everyone above me mentioned this and I wanted to say that I’m also very interested in your income stream.

    For my own sanity and productivity I don’t use an RSS reader but I’d like to subscribe to your blog. Have you thought about setting up email subscriptions? I use Google Feedburner to manage my blog’s email subscriptions and it works amazingly.

    Also, I was wondering why you have email addresses rather than names show up in the comments section.

    • October 11, 2009 Reply


      HI Nathan. I am drafting a post currently with regards my income streams so watch this space. I so far do not have an email subscription for my own sanity but I have not tried out Google Feedburner. When I get a chance I will look into it. The name this is more a coding error then anything else, I am working on fixing it.

  • October 12, 2009 Reply


    Sweet, I highly recommend Feedburner when you find the time. Super easy and pretty much zero maintenance if you just use the email subscription tool. In appropriate fashion to Google, Feedburner has WAY too many features but I’m a huge fan of simplicity so I pretty much only use it for that one thing.

    • October 12, 2009 Reply


      Lol, on that recommendation I will definitely try it out.

  • October 21, 2009 Reply


    Thanks for explaining the 80/20 rule. Never really got an explanation. I am going to check out the other article. I am loving your blog. You’re making me think differently about some things.

    • October 22, 2009 Reply


      Thanks for the comment Gerlaine and I hope you continue reading and I am able to keep providing content that helps.

  • November 17, 2009 Reply


    Ok, you’ve perked my curiosity. I”m going to learn about the Pareto Principle now.

  • November 19, 2009 Reply

    Sharon Hurley Hall

    Wow – you have really put lifestyle design on steroids. I know lots of people like Bangkok, but I’d be interested to hear of other places where you can get that kind of return on the money you make.

    • November 19, 2009 Reply


      Hi Sharon, thanks for visiting. Bagkok isn’t the cheapest in Thailand as up North in places like Chaing Mai it is really cheap…and cooler.
      Currently I am travelling through Lao to the East of Thailand and it is cheaper still. I just had a great restaurant meal with a mate down at the water front. Three main courses, two sides and two large smoothies cost us just over a tenner and we are staying at a pretty nice guesthouse which cost around four pounds for a double room

  • November 19, 2009 Reply


    Nice post. Reminded me a lot of what was outlined in the Four Hour Work Week, almost like a refresher course.

    It’s great to see real life examples of it happening. Looking forward to more posts on the topic.

    • November 20, 2009 Reply


      Cheers JayBot, If that is indeed your real name.

      Like a soap opera that has run its course, there will be more to come.

  • December 2, 2009 Reply


    I just stumbled across your site and have really enjoyed browsing through your posts. Entertaining and very helpful.

    My girlfriend and I are from the UK and also work while traveling. We’re currently in Melbourne and will be moving around OZ and NZ for the next few months. We’re trying to decide on our next location and want to make more use of your point about leveraging currency.

    I wondered how reliable you find the internet access in Thailand? I’m a graphic designer ( http://www.brightsparkcreative.com ) so it’s important that I can get online without too much difficulty. You mention Buenos Aries as a possible future destination for you? I wondered if you had any other suggestions for countries where pounds would go further but also provides decent internet access?

    Thanks for an excellent blog and I shall certainly be returning regularly.


    • December 3, 2009 Reply


      HI Dave,

      Thanks for dropping past the site.

      Leveraging currency is one of the key aspects of making living abroad a reality. I choose places that allow me to live a very good lifestyle one very little money. As I start making more money and my monthly passive income increases I will start to explore the more expensive places to live. Bangkok is excellent, especially if you work online. In many way Bangkok is the most developed city I have ever been to and you are never short of high speed internet so don’t worry. I highly recommend it – cheap and awesome place.

      I have heard good this about Buenos Aires but I wont be there for a year or so as I am going to tour India instead. Anywhere in asia is usually a safe bet. Shainghai is another place I lived for a while and it is also incredible and cheap.

      hope this helps mate.

  • December 3, 2009 Reply


    Thanks very much Jonny! That’s a big help and I think Thailand now looks favourite…

  • December 5, 2009 Reply


    The 300% interest thing is a little misleading; what you are talking about is *purchasing parity*, not interest on a balance. And it’s not particularly sustainable either; Thailand’s economy is growing rapidly, while the UK’s is literally contracting. Four years ago you got 75baht to the £, now you get 55 on a good day. When you return to the UK, you won’t find 300% more GBP sitting there waiting for you.

    Well done on achieving the lifestyle you set out for, I’d just rather not see some ebook for sale one day, claiming how you can earn “300% interest” by moving to Bangkok. More info on your actual revenue streams would be more useful to me, and a realisation that it’s not necessarily enviable to be constrained to third-world countries.

    • December 5, 2009 Reply


      Hi James,

      Thanks for the comment and while you are correct in the semantics of what you say it is easier for people to understand if you talk in terms of interest. In Thailand, even at todays vastly reduced currency fluctuations you can have a substantial increase in life quality akin to having at least 3 times the money you would have in Britain for example. Also, with regards to “Third World” countries Bangkok is actually one of the most developed cities in the world and would rival places such London on most things and I speak from experience on this.

  • December 5, 2009 Reply


    I’ve been to Bangkok, and I’ve been to London (I’m from the UK). I would argue that you only find Bangkok “comparable to London” because you are disproportionately wealthy in Bangkok. It’s like comparing a Chelsea footballer living in London to a Bus driver living in London. In London, I can drink the tap water. In London, people don’t contract cholera from the water/sewage supply. In London people don’t wash themselves in the Thames. And yes, people do do this in Bangkok, just maybe not in the business district, or other western areas. I guess it really depends on whether you’re interested in the wider community (or being part of a community at all).

    Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good experience to visit these places, but that doesn’t mean the solution to everyone’s problems is to set up a mediocre business that earns them just enough money to benefit from cheap cost of living in poor countries. I’ve read Tim Ferriss’ book, and what I found interesting is that he starts with the claim “I went from earning $40,000/year to $40,000/mnth” and then in the later chapters seems to suggest “actually you barely need any money, just sell all your stuff and move to one of these cheap places…”. Let’s face it, if most westerners were pulling in $40,000/mnth, they wouldn’t go live in Bangkok.

    I think much less emphasis should be placed on location, and much more emphasis on maximising income. I probably have enough money to give live in Thailand for years without doing a stroke of work, but I feel like it would result in a massive skills gap and a drop in personal productivity (i.e. I’d become even lazier!). There’s a reason people teach English out there, and it isn’t just for money – it’s because people like to have a purpose. There’s also the sustainablity issue: what if you want to return to the UK and build up a brand (or get a skilled job, become a CEO of an existing company, etc.). Do you think you’re going to get much respect by saying “well, I’ve only worked 90 minutes per day for the last decade, but it’s ok: Bangkok is really cheap you know?!”.

    I think you mention Richard Branson elsewhere in your blog. What strikes me is that Branson has achieved what he has by shooting for the moon, not by shooting for £2-3k a month (coz you can live like a king in Bangkok on that).

    Anyway, appologies for going beyond the scope of this post – it’s just good to challenge each others’ philosophies sometimes. Maybe I’ll wrap it up in a book:
    “The Anti-Four-Hour-Workweek: Why the World Would Fall Apart if Everyone Lived Like Tim Ferriss”. :)

  • December 9, 2009 Reply

    Martin Benes

    Great article, I agree with you, I’m going to change my life in the next year and my idea is to live exactly like u wrote. It’s nice to read this things here…tell me good luck man and of course, good luck to u…i’m your new reader!

    Se you one day in BKK!


    • December 10, 2009 Reply


      Hi Martin,

      Good luck man, I am sure you will be change your life and create it exactly how you want it. I look forward to hearing about it and I love your blog design.

  • December 30, 2009 Reply

    Adam Mayfield

    Great post! I’m able to relate on many levels. I’m very very close to paying off all of my debt along with trying to set up an income stream. Having a bit of trouble with the last part but I’m sure it’ll happen.

    Cheers and keep posting and I’ll keep reading!

    • December 30, 2009 Reply


      Hi Adam,

      Glas to hear it has helped and I wish you all the best with getting out of debt and setting up your income streams. Glad to have you as a reader.

  • April 10, 2010 Reply

    pay per install affiliate

    Good work, keep us posting, you are very good writer.

    • April 10, 2010 Reply


      Thank you very much pay by install affiliate, you computer generated message.

  • May 21, 2010 Reply


    You are so hysterical! I enjoyed this article. Even if I was that “free” so to speak, I wouldn’t be able to do all that as I have two infants (twins as it were!) and an eight year old. Maybe when I become ancient (and kids have run off to college) I will ride elephants regularly. <3 … well, and maybe not. :)

    • May 23, 2010 Reply


      Hi Timbrel,

      The trick to getting the kids to college, I think, is not to wait until they run off but to actively force them out. They are never too young, eight is fine :)

  • June 18, 2010 Reply

    The Dame

    Id really like to stop stripping and run an online business, but after 3yrs of wanting to do this, I still havent found a way to make money online :/

    • June 18, 2010 Reply


      Wait what? Lol.

  • July 21, 2010 Reply

    singles vacation packages

    Great, I will work hard just like you.

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