Interview with Nomad4Ever, Christian Skoda

Christian Skoda in Boracay

Christian Skoda in Boracay

Christian Skoda spent 14 years of his life working for a large corporation. About six years ago, he decided to get out of the rat race and begin a new life as a perpetual traveler. Christian has lived in Singapore, Thailand, Bali, India and most recently, the Philippines. He shares some of his experiences in this interview.

Please tell us about your current life now. Where do you live?
I’m currently in the process of moving to the island of Negros, in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Before I lived 6 months in Goa/India, 2 years in Bali/Indonesia and 8 months in and around Phuket in Thailand. Before that I was working for 3 years in Singapore, which I enjoyed very much, as it gave me the opportunity to explore the surrounding countries during extended weekend trips. Asia is simply a region of plenty, I just can’t get enough of it!

How do you earn an income?
From my previous activities, I have several passive income streams, like rent, dividends and interest. My motto is to generate income in hard currency countries and spend in lower-cost-of-living countries. Therefore – Asia is the right place for me to live. I simply love it here, the people, the climate, the food – and, of course – the lower costs of living compared to Europe, Australia or the US. I also try to make some money blogging, although that is so far not more than some pocket money. I also don’t want to stress that too much, as to not scare away my readers with too many ads and affiliate schemes. So all in all, writing a website is more to keep my brain juices flowing and not drying up. 😉

What do you like and don’t like about your life now?
I love that I am completely free to do, what I want to do. I can wake up at noon, go to bed every day in the early hours without any regrets and spend my days without justifying my activities to anybody. Usually, it’s a pleasure to live in foreign countries and dive into new cultures, try out new food, chat with friendly people and explore the natural wonders of our beautiful planet. I was never less bored than during the last couple of years.

Do you have any regrets about your life now?
Yep, I regret not having worked in foreign countries earlier. I had several opportunities before to work for my employer in other countries, thus earning a good salary with the safety net of a long-term employer and having the opportunity to explore new cultures and regions at the same time. As maybe plenty of other people, I too was afraid of change. I thought that the risk is too high or that I wouldn’t cope and would have to come back defeated. All those fears are completely unfounded, as everyone anywhere is cooking his/her tea with the same water. If you are young, skilled and hungry – you can make it and outperform your peers almost everywhere – not only in New York, as the old tune goes. You are in a much better position to adapt, you will always do your best, compared with people stuck for much longer in the same place and you will most likely succeed!

How much savings would an average person need to be able to move abroad and live like you do?
That really depends on your choice of lifestyle, your savings/investments and if you work or not. I found for myself that I’m even more happy, the less material possessions I own. Wherever I roam, I try to reduce my belongings, which currently fit in a larger travel bag and a small backpack. Who needs a house, a car, too many electronic gadgets, expensive toys, suits and ties anyway? Happiness comes from the inside, not what you patch on yourself from the outside. If you can give up on all those ties to the material world, you can live very basic and frugal, yet very fulfilled. My budget is something around US$800 per month, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. I gave up calculating, as it was fairly stable over the last couple of years. I admit, that this lifestyle  probably isn’t for everybody, but that’s simply the way it is.

What were you doing before you became a JetSetCitizen?
I was working for 14 years in sales and customer-related functions for a large European outsourcing company. While that basically gave me a nice title and salary, as well as a chance to travel and see the world; it also put a strain on my personal life, health and especially relationships. When I try to remember the most remarkable moments of this time of my past working life, it is like somebody pressed a fast forward button. Everything is some sort of blur, with only a few positive spikes standing out. This thankfully changed completely after I quit working, so I’m 100% convinced that I did the right thing in the end.

Why weren’t you happy before? What was missing from your life?
It’s not that I was completely unhappy. Like other people every day, I was just completely driven by my job and work life. This might be okay for a while, but it burns you out easily also. And aren’t those not the best years, when we are the youngest and fittest – wasted somehow for some corporation instead of your own self-development?

Being on the road for 4 days a week, I used to wake up in a hotel bed in some city somewhere in Germany. At a point in time, I had to first check my calendar to remember which town I was in. That was somehow an epiphany to me. Also two bosses of mine died of heart attacks, one in his mid 40’s, the other in his early 50s; both having a similar job as mine. Counting the years, it was clear to me, that I had to do something to not end up like them, hehe!

What sacrifices and risks did you make in order to get to where you are today?
Sacrifices? What do you mean? To not having a steady 9-5 job, a big house, a guzzling SUV car, a 2+2 family? I see it the other way around. Living the corporate life before, I sacrificed too many things for far too long. My right to happiness, self-fulfillment and walking our earth as long and wherever I want to. Who is happy with 3-5 weeks holiday a year anyway? Who is sacrificing? I’m happier and healthier now than at any point in my working life before, so the times of sacrifices are definitely over.

What advice would you offer for others pursuing similar career objectives?
If I could start all over again, I would try to plan way earlier – to save money, maximising my income while still working, reducing/downsizing my expenses and working a job which would give me the chance to explore the world and earn money at the same time. Multinational companies offer the best opportunities here in my view. They have foreign subsidiaries and sometimes expat packages to ‘ease’ your pain, when living in a foreign country. Even with a local deal you will probably be way happier than rotting over many years in a cubicle in your home country. If you have the chance, try as many different countries as possible before taking the plunge of moving (semi-)permanently.

Nomad4Ever Web Site
Follow Christian Skoda on Twitter

More Interviews
Interview with Marie Teather – Came to Japan to teach English and became the Editor of an expat magazine. Now traveling Europe.
Interview with CartoonSmart Founder, Justin Dyke– Sells great video tutorials for Flash and other web related topics. Moved to Virgin Islands and returned to the U.S.
Lifestyle Design Interview: Richard Graham– English teacher turned global nomad. Sells self-made CDs and promotes them around the world
JetSetCitizen Interview 1: Trevor Stefiuk- Musician in Australia– Musician who moved to Australia, went back to school and started a new career doing what he loves.

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

6 Responses to Interview with Nomad4Ever, Christian Skoda

  1. […] nomad4ever interviewed for John Bardos asked me recently to answer some questions for his website The site is about people who live a nomadic lifestyle; the modern gypsies of this world who create the lifestyles they want to live. So it was a no-brainer for me to comply. You can find the interview here. […]

  2. Interview with Guatemala Expat, Christoph Maichel | says:

    […] Interviews Interview with Nomad4Ever, Christian Skoda – Perpetual traveler. Interview with Marie Teather – Came to Japan to teach English and became the […]

  3. Glad I’m finally having the time to catch up on some older posts John. I’ve followed you here and there for a long time, but great to learn more about you Christian! We have a lot in common: a shared interest in Asia and in minimal living, and I also pull my income from stronger economies and live on a reasonable budget here in Thailand for now. I love it! Great food, beautiful place, good prices, good people.
    .-= Cody McKibben´s last blog ..Quit Trying to Convert Me Because It Ain’t Gonna Happen =-.

  4. Cody, yeah – Thailand is also a nice place to live. Will probably visit for a few weeks soon again. Midterm, I feel more comfortable in Indonesia…but everyones has ones favorites. Good! Enjoy your life and hopefully we’ll bump into each other some day, would be nice to chat over a few Beer Chang, Bintang or San Miguel!

    Sorry for the late reply…only noticed your comment now……so much to do…… :)))
    .-= Chris @ nomad4ever´s last blog ..6 Months Philippines – the Best, the Good, the Ugly =-.

  5. Regev says:

    I enjoyed this post very much. I’m 24 right now, I was released from our 3 years mandatory military service two years ago, and since then traveled to the US of A (Dreaded capitalism all over!), and also bicycled Sweden to Denmark to Germany for two months. I came back and started working and then studying at a major university here, but quit before a 2 months passed, as I felt a deep need to explore the world some more.. so I’m moving to East Asia as well in a few months, in a plan to stay there for a year or so, before moving to Central America or something 😛

    See you all online entrepreneurial dudes there !

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