I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page, listing all of tools I use for living in Colombia and living the digital nomad lifestyle. I’ll keep adding to the list as I learn more. I recommend bookmarking this page for your reference and convenience. Enjoy!
Fincaraiz is the best platform for real estate listings all over the country. All the local agents upload their listings here. I also use their site when selling my own apartments, instead of paying 3% commission to an agent.
Classified ads in El País is a another good place to find houses and apartment, but only for Cali and surroundings.
Classified ads in El Tiempo for real estate listings in Bogotá.
Classified ads in El Colombiano for real estate listing in Medellín.
Expense calculator for buying real estate in Colombia.
Supernotariado for downloading Certificados de Tradición y Libertad.
XE.com is the best currency converter available. I use it to figure out when it makes sense to bring in dollars or euros for investments purposes.
AirBnB for renting out property short-term to tourists and business people in Colombia.
Before buying anything, please read my article on how to buy property in Colombia. It will save you a lot of trouble.
Life in Colombia
Duolingo for learning Spanish (or any other language) is an amazing free tool that helped me improve my skills considerably. Their app for smartphone also works well. Bueno, entonces is another fun way to learn to Spanish, although with an Argentinean accent. The teaching revolves around conversations between a British student who is falling in love with his Argentinean teacher. Especially good for auditive learners.
Como es Pa’ Hoy is an event calendar for all of Colombia’s big cities. A good place to stay up to date with shows, concerts, etc.
Plan Ciudad is an event calendar specifically for Cali. The agenda is full of both free and paid events in the city and worth checking out for both residents and visitors alike.
Linio is the Colombian knock-off version of Amazon. Sometimes they sell the exact same stuff for almost the same prices, saving you waiting time, overseas shipping and import duties. Although they don’t have the massive selection that Amazon does (Duh!), I’ve had great experiences with them.
TuCarro and sister site TuMoto are the best sites for buying and selling vehicles here. They force the sellers to take GREAT pics, which really help us as buyers. Wish there was a similar service for real estate listings.
Maps.Me is the best navigation app for Colombia and many other developing countries. It beats the sh*t out of Google Maps and Apple’s own map by running completely offline, thereby saving you gigabytes and data roaming charges. The app is free and works for iPhone and Android. A blessing in disguise.
Bogotastic is a great blog and resource about life in Bogotá. It is written by Jade – a Frenchy-Gringa with a curious approach and very positive outlook on her expat life in the Colombian capital. Highly recommended.
Tools for blogging and living the digital nomad lifestyle
Below are all of the tools that I use to run my blog. I took me months of research to figure out which service providers to use.
I use the WordPress platform for all my blogs and websites. I’m no computer programmer and don’t write any code, but I’ve found it to be surprisingly intuitive and easy to get started. First off, I chose a hosting solution – the best are listed below. To avoid programming, I then bought a theme for my website through Themeforest (I bought the Fox Magazine theme for $44). Buying a theme, which can be activated with one click once you have a hosting plan and a domain, means that someone has already done all the programming for you. All you have to do is insert content and customize colors, fonts, etc. to suit your taste.
Most reviewers agree that the two best hosting providers for WordPress websites are: Dreamhost and Bluehost. The services and prices that they offer are pretty similar. All of them allow you to install WordPress with just 1-click, offer unlimited hosting space, unlimited email accounts, great speed along with good and responsive customer service. Prices start at $3.95 a month for shared hosting, which is all you need until you have at least 15.000 daily visitors. You can buy your domain on their sites as well.
Yoast SEO is one of only two plugins that I’d recommend for you to install on your blog / website. It does an amazing job at making your website visible to search engines and helps you improve your traffic tremendously. It’s free and easy to work with and can be installed directly from the plugins link in your WordPress Dashboard.
SumoMe is the second plugin that I recommend. Their apps, which are mostly free, help you collect email addresses from your readers as well as provide tools for your users to share your content. Once you have the plugin installed, you can choose which apps you would like to install as well. I only use the free list builder, which is the pop-up that you experience on my website.
The cool part is that when someone subscribes to your newsletter, you can have SumeMe automatically forward the email address to your mailing list with either Aweber or MailChimp. Both are options for helping you send out newsletters and they are among the very best in the business. The reason that you need a professional service for this procedure, is that it guarantees delivery of your content and provides you with important statistics. If you send a newsletter to 3.000 people from you Gmail account there’s a very big chance that most of it will end up in people’s spam folders. Aweber is probably the best product on the market. They have the best tools, mobile app and integrates well with other products. But MailChimp is free until you have 2.000 subscribers.
SmartPassiveIncome is great place full of tips and tricks about how to get started with any online business.
Click Millionaires by Scott Fox. Despite the tacky title, this book was my primary inspiration for starting my own blog. Plenty of ideas and case studies for how to start any online business.
Problogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way To A Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse is a supplement to the above. The good part about is that it goes into more depth in the part about how to monetize your blog.
Four Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss is for many considered the Bible when it comes to creating a lifestyle for yourself as a digital nomad. It digs into automation and outsourcing and brings plenty of case studies to back up the theories.
Make sure to read my article series on how to earn dollars in Colombia, where I also present a lot of tips and useful tools.
Tools for improving productivity
Facebook News Feed Eradicator is a free extension for the Chrome browser. Every time you log into Facebook your news feed will be gone, leaving you instead with an inspirational quote from one of the world’s great thinkers. It’s like the “Hey – nobody’s on Facebook today, so I might as well log out!”. It has diminished the time I spend sticking my nose in other people’s business tremendously.
Momentum is a free extension for the Chrome browser. It replaces new tab pages with a personal dashboard featuring an amazing scenic photo, your daily to-do list, the weather, and an inspirational quote. I’m a big fan!
Workflowy is my favorite tool for taking notes and organizing my thought. It works way faster than Evernote and synchronizes immediately across desktop, tablet and mobile. I have a free plan and absolutely love it. You can use this link to get 2x more free space than regular users have.
Tools for stock and option trading
Interactive brokers allows you to trade more than 100 markets in 24 different countries. It is my preferred broker for trading US stocks, options and (corporate) bonds. It’s not the easiest platform to use, but they make up for it by being the cheapest. Many of my trades cost less than a dollar and their mobile platform works well. Please note that they require a $10.000 dollar minimum deposit and and have a $10 monthly fee, unless you do a minimum 10 trades a month. It’s a place for active traders.
Nordnet Bank is my Swedish broker for all my European stocks. It’s also where I hold my pension. All account are free to open with no required minimum and commissions are pretty low by European standards.
Tradestops is where I monitor my stops on all my stock and option positions. If you enter your stops with your broker, they become visible to market makers, who can take advantage of them. I just started using them within the last few months and must say that I am very positively surprised.
Yahoo! Finance is where I go for current prices on stocks and options as well as get financial information about the companies that I research for my investing. They also cover financial news. Free and no membership required.
Bloomberg is my supplement to Yahoo! Finance. I used their app for my iPhone for financial news.
Zero Hedge is a financial blog that brings (often times controversial) from all over the world. This page is by and for the ultra libertarians, who believe in the less government interference the better.
Magic Formula Investing is a free stock screener by Joel Greenblatt, the author of The Little Book That Still Beats The Market. I use it as inspiration for finding great businesses, whose stocks are worth buying or sell options on.
Stansberry Research – if you’re really genuinely interested in learning and understanding how the markets work, I can’t think of a better place to start than with Porter Stansberry and his associates. I’m a lifetime member and have access to everything they publish, but I earn nothing by referring you. I’m just a happy customer. It’s simply the best stock and options recommendations along with the most sound advice about investing, asset allocation, portion sizing gathered in one place.
Sign up for a few of their free newsletter like the Digest, DailyWealth, Growth Stock Wire before you decide on any paid service. If you decide to try out one of their paid services, I’d recommend that you start with the Stansberry Investment Advisory ($99 a year) or the Retirement Millionaire ($39 a year). Both are a steal at these prices, even just for the reading and learning value. They have several other publications that cost thousands of dollars a year, but in my opinion, you get lot more bang for your buck in the two newsletters listed above – especially if you are just starting out. Their training center also provides a plethora of valuable information.
Casey Research, founded by Doug Casey, a legend in the natural resource investing has been recently taken Stansberry Research as a partner in his business. Although I don’t subscribe to their paid services anymore, they provide high-quality information for their readers and their free content is great as well. Their sister site InternationalMan has a free newsletter that delivers quality information on, you guess it, internationalization. Stuff like best tax jurisdictions, how to obtain second passports and the likes.
Grant’s Interest Rate Observer by Jim Grant is by many considered to be the one of the very best commentators and newsletter writers on Wall Street. His services are a little pricy, but all analysts at Stansberry Research agree that his publication is the only one that they never miss and episode of.
Stock Gumshoe is a financial blog by Travis Johnson. He reviews stock picking newsletters and with great humor tries to figure out what stocks the different newsletters are pitching in their advertising in order to make you sign up. He is undoubtedly very smart and all you need is a free membership to access his material.
Dow Theory Letters has been written by Richard Russell since 1958. Imagine how long ago that was. My dad wasn’t even born back then. I don’t have a paid subscription to his newsletter, but I recommend that you read his two classic pieces called The Perfect Business and Rich Man, Poor Man. They are free and will give you a new perspective on business and investing.
Books for learning and entertainment
I read about 20-25 books a year. Below I’ll be listing the ones I found to be the best.
My 10 best reads in 2015 (so far)
Born to Run by Christopher MacDougall taught me a lot about the evolution of running and helped improve my own speed while avoiding injuries. It’s a semi-scientific approach combining with some of the best storytelling I’ve read in a long time. An absolute pleasure to read.
Hormegeddon by Bill Bonner is in many ways a controversial book that explains how too much of a good thing can lead to disaster. Case studies include the government, healthcare, economics, military and energy. Bill has such a humorous way of writing about dry subjects that it becomes a joy to read about. An eye-opener and probably one of the most important books I’ve ever read.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel is a very different business book that forces you to look at industries and ideas in new ways. A glimpe into the thinking of one of the smartest investors in Silicon Valley.
What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars by Brendan Moynihan shares a very interesting story about how money and emotions are interrelated. It has taught be stay disciplined in trading and investing when emotions take over. Sometimes it’s better to accept a loss and move on.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen is a small book about the great power of the mind. It includes a lot of timeless principles and is a book that I will be re-reading for the rest of my life.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber because I sometimes feel like I get out outsmarted by my 2-year old daughter. This book has improved my communication with children immensely, but also helped me understand how their minds work. A must-read for any parent.
The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William Thorndike is a book about eight business leaders that you, except for Warren Buffet, have probably never heard of. Yet, they created some of the most prosperous companies the world has every seen and treated shareholders better than any of them could have ever hoped for. Here’s the recipe.
Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived – Laurence Shames & Peter Barton is in many ways a sad book. It tells the true story of very successful man, Peter Barton, and what happens when he finds out that he is dying of cancer. How does his priorities change? What becomes important? A very candid and tear-pressing story that makes you value the “small” moments in life a little more.
Shadow Divers and Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson are two amazing books that both follow deep wreck diver, John Chatterton in his underwater explorations. Both are thrilling real-life stories and history classes at the same time. I read Shadow Divers first and started Pirate Hunters the following day. Exciting books that are hard to put down once you’ve started.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini is relevant for anyone involved in any kind of selling or negotiation. Lots of practical examples and fun to read. To be honest, I’ve haven’t finished it yet, but is has proven too good not to add to this list.
My 10 best reads in 2014
Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa is an epic novel about the samurai era in Japan. As one of the most sold books ever in Japan, this is a most for anyone fascinated by Japanese culture.
Brain Rules and Brain Rules for baby by Dr. John Medina offer interesting insight into how our brains work, as kids and then later as adults. How can we improve learning for our children? What happens to our brains when we watch TV? What happens in your brain when you learn to play an instrument? This book answers those questions and many more.
Investment Biker by Jim Rogers. I love investing, traveling and motorcycles. What better than a book that combines all three?
The Little Book That Still Beats The Market by Joel Greenblatt offers timeless advice about to find a business and estimate its value. Relevant to beginners as well as expert investors.
High Income Retirement by Dr. David Eifrig & Brian Hunt was my inspiration to start options trading. The conservative techniques that this book teaches works, and can be applied by anyone looking to generate extra income with their savings. I’m 40 years from retirement, but still use these strategies to generate $1000-2000 of income per month
Nuts: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success by Kevin Freiberg is an encyclopedia of good ideas, many of which can be implemented in any business. A fun and entertaining read.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. The story of how an Australian drug addict ends up as a medic in an Indian slum, before becoming a Bollywood movie caster and eventually ending up smuggling weapons to Mujaheddin freedom fighters in Afghanistan. A must read!
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull is the story about how Pixar came to be and how their different style of managing their creative talents has produced one of the most success businesses in animation history.
Man’s Search For Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl is about the author’s experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. How does one find meaning in life when everything seems hopeless? Who survives and who does not? A gruesome, yet amazing tale.
Choose yourself by James Altucher is a wakeup call to everybody who are still stuck in the employee mentality. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to implement some changes in their life.
Some of my all-time favorite books
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is an amazing novel about what happens in society if a government suppresses its most productive individuals. A long and hard read that took me months to finish, but was worth every minute. If you don’t have time to read the 1000 pages, then do yourself a favor and read this passage called “Francisco’s Money Speech”. Not for communists nor ultra socialists.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain because I grew up in the restaurant business and Anthony’s tales of the industry are both hilarious and scary at the same time. His style of writing makes me jealous yet leave me craving for more.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a fast read with timeless principles about how to improve your social interaction.
Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson is one of my all-time favorite business books. It’s impossible not to admire Richard’s balls, entrepreneurial spirit and positive outlook on life. A massive inspiration of mine.
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz because it helps you overcome personal boundaries that usually only exist in your head. Why dream of running 10K if you can actually achieve a marathon? Why buy an apartment to rent if you can buy an entire apartment building to rent instead? An empowering book and very easy read.
First of all, let me be clear. I hate taking any kind of supplement or eating any kind of factory food. Gatorado is in my opinion poison. I’m all about eating natural foods and organics whenever possible. For that reason I’ve refrained from eating much while running because most of the stuff available didn’t fit my criteria. Remember that I live in Cali where 35C° temperatures are normal. Running up and down the local mountains make you sweat like a hog and during longer runs (2+ hours) I’d often run out of energy and get a massive headache.
I’m not very good at eating during races and especially energy gels make me want to vomit. If I eat, I usually go for a Clif Bar or Clif Shot Blok Gummies. The are the most natural products I have found and include 75%+ organic ingredients. Don’t underestimate a home-made bag of trail mix with dark chocolate (65% or more), almonds and raisins. A sandwich with peanutbutter, banana and honey (or Nutella) also makes great gasoline.
Skratch Labs hydration mix developed by Dr. Allen Lim who used to be director of sports science at the Garmin Professional Cycling Team. His job was to prepare the team for Tour de France. He noticed how most athletes were dreading their sports drinks and decided to change that. After I started using the hydration mix during longer workouts and run, I immediately got rid of my headaches. The product is completely natural product and doesn’t have that synthetic flavor that many other products, including Gatorade, has. If I’m out of Skratch, I mix a spoonful of sugar with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes are necessary for long races and hard workouts to avoid salt deficiency and cramps. Especially in warm climates, where you tend to sweat more. I pop two an hour. This also helps prevent headaches and dehydration.
Saucony Peregrine 5 is my favorite trail running shoe at the moment. In fact, I’ve never tried anything that offers the same amazing combination of grip, support and suspension.
To strengthen my feet during my daily walks I use the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila Evo, which simulates walking barefooted. For running on paved road, well, I don’t really do that, but just in case I do, I’d wear my Nike Free. Super light and just the right amount of suspension for a hard surface.
My Ultimate Direction Access 20 hydration belt was inaugurated during my first mountain marathon in August 2015, which took me 7 hours to complete. I was very impressed by the bounce of the belt – a lot less than anything I have ever tried before – and I still had plenty of space in the pocket to carry a few goodies. Ultimate Direction works with Scott Jurek – one of the most bad-ass ultra marathoners alive – on their designs. I used to run with a CamelPak but always got excruciating back pains. This was my solution and I’m very pleased with the results.
Arm and Hammer Natural Deodorant to not smell like a wet moose during while running. Besides using the crystal deodorant that my father swears by, this is the best and most natural that I have found. No toxins and when I’m not working out, my armpit stays nice and dry all day.