The Perfect Job on the Beach

You’ll often hear the phrase “Same Same… But Different” in places like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. And that phrase sums up the freelance copywriter’s lifestyle in Southeast Asia almost perfectly.

Here’s why.

For starters, freelance copywriters – even in places like Southeast Asia – have real responsibilities…just like any other career position you may find back in the U.S. or Canada.

For example, you’ve got projects to manage. You’ve got deadlines to meet. And you must produce results if you want your career to grow and earn as much as six figures per year.

Sounds the “same” as any career back home, right? Well… not quite.

Here’s where it’s “different.” And in a big, big way.

To become a freelance copywriter, you don’t need any special education or experience to get started. (I actually failed English in both high school and university.)

What I’m saying is…it’s far from rocket science. With a bare minimum of effort, desire and the right training, anyone can learn how to get started as a freelance copywriter.

And once you’re established, you’ll find that the demand for trained freelance copywriters will never, ever go away.

Here’s the best part…if you’re a diehard world traveler like me.

Once you’ve made a name for yourself in this business, you can live and work from almost anywhere in the world you want.

Seriously. Even from the world’s most famous and most “off-the-grid” overseas destinations.

I’m talking about places like Bali. Prague. Koh Phangan. London. Vang Vieng. Hanoi. Melbourne. Anywhere you want. As long as you’ve got a laptop and a reliable Internet connection, you’re in business.

For example, right now, I’m writing this article from the balcony of a restaurant called the Seahorse in the beach town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. It’s early evening. It’s about 78 degrees outside (in January). And I can see the Gulf of Thailand to my right. Not a bad “office,” if I must say so.

And here at this restaurant, where I just ordered the “Mixed Grill” (a combination of grilled beef, chicken, “Coca-Cola” spare ribs, fries, garlic bread, and a salad with Thousand Island dressing) for just $4, I can pick up 12 Wi-Fi signals.

Right now, I’m using the free Wi-Fi signal that Seahorse offers…and I just clocked in at 3.47Mbps for a download on Not blazing fast, mind you, but it’s still definitely fast enough to get work done.

So it’s easy to “set up shop” and get work done…even in an off-the-grid beach town like Sihanoukville.

So—what’s a “typical” day like for a freelance copywriter in a place like Southeast Asia? Here’s an idea of a good, productive day of “work” here in Sihanoukville.

I’ll usually roll out of bed around 7:50 a.m. I’ll then make my bed, brush my teeth, grab my netbook or iPad…walk a few steps to the restaurant in the resort where I live (I’m currently staying at a resort called “Beach Road” for just $13 a night with air-con, hot water, cable TV, and a pool) and order some oatmeal with banana slices and scrambled eggs for about $2.

Then, from about 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., I work remotely on my copywriting. Once I’ve got my writing done, I’ve got the rest of the day to enjoy all the spoils of living in a cheap, fun beach town like Sihanoukville.

On some days, I’ll head to the beach with my netbook, grab a BBQ seafood lunch for $3, and do some research on a project I’m working on. (Many of the beach restaurants offer free Wi-Fi…so Internet access is almost never a problem…even right on the beach.)

Or perhaps I’ll read a book on my Kindle.

When I’m feeling a bit more adventurous, or when I want to give my brain a little break and get some exercise, I may grab my iPod, rent a bicycle for $2, put on some uplifting tunes, and ride a few miles to Otres Beach; recently ranked the 22nd most beautiful beach in Southeast Asia by Forbes Magazine.

I did this the other day and I swear…there were more cows in the grassy fields beside that amazing beach than there were bungalows!

In the evenings, I like to grab a meal at any of the ridiculously cheap restaurants in town, then meet up with the local expat crew for a few cold Angkor beers (usually $1 each) at popular watering holes like Monkey Republic, The Big Easy, The Dolphin Shack, Sessions Bar, and JJ’s.

Then it’s back to bed around midnight…so I can wake up fresh and ready to do it all again the next day.

I absolutely love it.

If you told me a decade ago that I’d be living like this now, I probably would’ve laughed and said, “No way. No way in the world.”

But thanks to the good folks at AWAI who got me started on my copywriting journey, I now enjoy a day-to-day lifestyle that is definitely “different” from anything I’ve ever experienced professionally or personally before.

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