Remote work is exciting, gives plenty of options and lets us live the way we want. But how about the climat crisis? Since I fly so often isn’t a grand vision of remote work saving the environment just a hypocrisy?
While we were enjoying amazing places like Canada and Thailand my fiancée kept on telling me how amazing South Africa is. She extolled the virtues of a city that has both the ocean and mountains, and teased me with waterfalls, wineyards and the perfect steak. Fortunately, the opportunity has come to say “I call”.
In April my Fiance had to go on a business trip to Cape Town. We decided to take a chance and jumped on the plane to spend some time in South Africa. Since famous bloggers like Casey Neistat and I think alike we took a ride in a SealMobile to high five with sea dogs.
One of the advantages of remote work is that I don’t need to take time off to enjoy another part of the world. So when I got bored with crumbs and spilled coffee on my keyboard I decided to head to Switzerland, get my laptop some melted cheese and practice my amazing snowboarding skills.
Thailand is a capital for every digital Nomad. It is not only cheap, but also spectacular in many ways. So we decided to give it a try. It turns out that Thailand is not only Bangkok, beaches and booze. It’s Barracudas as well.
With Remote Work, you don’t have to choose between your career and behaving like a human being. You don’t have to uproot yourself and embark on an uncertain journey to seek a better life. The days of Wild West are gone.
The opportunity to move for work is a privilege, and the immense potential of those of us who are not willing to leave our lives behind is only beginning to be explored.
As I write this, my grandfather is not doing so well. I very much enjoy the opportunity to visit him and listen to his crazy war stories. About the time he was running a public house as a 14-year old to feed his family. Or how he stole german weapons and sold them to the resistance.
My Wife appreciates these stories too, and she “adopted” him as her own.
This is a summary of the presentation I gave in Mumbai in February of 2018.
Why Simple Payments?
I am a public school teacher and not a web-designer. I decided to start a new business (…). After I found the “Add Payment” button I knew I could do it. I went public and started taking payments two days later. The new button simplified everything.
Cree Bol tombolphotoworkshops.com
Simple Payments is a feature of Jetpack plugin and WordPress.com that enables you to sell products on your site. I had a privilege of being a part of the team that launched it in 2017.
Yes, there is WooCommerce with ample functionality, various payment gateways, plugins and options.
But starting with WooCommerce is not easy. The choice and configuration can be overwhelming, especially for someone that just wants to test their business. WooCommerce has a fantastic wizard now that simplifies the process considerably, but there is always a tradeoff between functionality and ease of use.
Simple Payments is designed for an easy start. No, there are no other payment gateways, no plugins, no automated fulfilment, no AI. Easy start, that is it.
But often, the start is the hard part.
PayPal is coming to India
As of now (feb 2018), PayPal is gearing towards entering the Indian market. Simple Payments is built on top of PayPal Express Checkout.
- Launching soon for general users.
- Testing with large merchants at the moment (BookMyShow, Yatra)
- Accepting and payout in INR
Right now, you can collect USD and pay out to your bank account that will convert to INR
How hard it is to start with Simple Payments?
To start selling with Simple Payments, you need:
- PayPal account
- One of the plans:
- Jetpack Premium (₹690/m, ₹6900/y) OR
- WordPress.com Premium (₹575/m, ₹6900/y)
- One form to fill out
Yes, that is it. One form. And in this form the required fields are:
- Name of what you are selling
- Price / currency
- Email that will be connected to PayPal account
One more thing…
You don’t really need a PayPal account.
PayPal has a feature called “progressive onboarding”. That means, if you receive money destined to the email address that does not have PP account yet, money will be waiting for you to claim until you create such account.
Simple is also sustainable
Back in the day, I was running an e-marketing agency and we also did WooCommerce stores. Whenever something broke, API changed, etc – I had lots of work to keep it all running. Sometimes client changed API keys to PayPal, or a setting got deprecated. But with Simple Payments:
- No payment gateway setup
- No access token keys, app secrets, etc
- Reliant only on 1 plugin (Jetpack) and external API (WPCOM) that is heavily tested every day
- Auto updates and backups built in (JP „undo” feature)
No late night calls from your customers that something broke!
Successful Simple Payments sellers
This is a small gallery of successful Simple Payments sellers. As you can see, there are various business models.
High school fishing championship participation.
You gussed it – photography classes 🙂
Prepared meal plans
Outdoor wilderness classes.
Under the hood 🔧
So what are we doing there to make it happen?
- Customer clicks „Pay with PayPal”
- PP JS makes request to WPCOM endpoint
- WPCOM endpoint calls transaction/create PP endpoint
- Customer enters CC details, clicks „pay”
- WPCOM endpoint calls PP transaction/execute
- Passes success message to your site
- Sends you notification and email
- Displays result to the customer
All data stored on your site
- `jp_pay_order` custom post type
- `jp_pay_product` custom post type
Simple Payments is designed to get you started. Don’t over-engineer your solution if you are not yet selling anything. Start simple, test your business and then scale with WooCommerce once you have more orders than you can deal with.
Item 20 on my Bucketlist.
I was raised on Lego. My engineering skills were honed by building the infinity of stuff that can be assembled from these ingenious little blocks. I love how they are designed to be great fun for years without buying heaps of new sets.
My love for Lego is is so strong, that I travel with an assortment of Lego minifigs to capture their ventures around the globe.
Fortunately, I have great friends (adult ones!) excited by Lego as well and they together we embarked upon a sentimental journey to Legolland, Billund. (The original one).
To say that have amazing stuff there build from lego is a huge understatement. But, apart from Lego construction it’s a pretty rad theme park in its own right! There is a plenty of rides, water-related activities etc.
One trick that a friend found is that we have stayed in Lalandia – a closeby water park and had 2 day Legoland tickets, water park unlimited pass and a very neat skadinavian cabin/ house for the 4 of us. It was a great stay!
This was number 164 on my bucketlist.
I love swimming in various weird places, so swimming in a Cenote was a dream of mine ever since I swam in “Blue Hole” in Jamaica.
In Mexico, Yucatan peninsula is made of porous limestone. That means, that water just sinks through rock and all the water bodies (lakes, rivers) are underwater. It also means that sinkholes are very common there. Cenotes are just that – sinkoles filled with water.
And so – in the autumn of 2016 I found myself in Mexico. So I swam!
My favourite Cenotes:
- Cenote Samula
- Cenote Xkeken
- Cenote Ik Kil
- Cenote Dos Ojos
- Grande Cenote
Few years back, I visited Japan with my friends. My intention was to “tick off” the country, because I’m not a great fan of whole Anime culture and it didn’t seem like my cup of tea.
But instead, I was blown away by the incredible mix of old and the new and recently I find myself wanting to go back there. This is my subjective top 5:
Japanese food is not really about sushi. The variety of food is much greater than you would expect and everything is delicious (except for nanto – fermented soy beans…)
Things to try
- Bento box – my definite fav. This is a neat lunch box, sold near offices and this is what Japanese people really eat. This boxes have a cute assortment of dishes
- Proper Miso soup
- Conveyor belt sushi – the cheapest variety there is and Japanese people consider it subpar quality. More modern ones let you order from an iPad and automatic conveyor belt brings you your sushi
- Takoyaki – battered octopus pieces deep-fried in waffle iron. Literally, very hot!
- Omu – Rice ommelette with, well, almost everything inside
- Tuna – tuna is a big thing in Japan and it tastes like heaven in any form
- Any streetfood
I fell on love with old Japanese tradition. Enchanting red temples inside a lush green forest are just spectacular. Respect for tradition is an important thing in Japan.
Things worth checking out:
- Splendid temples in Kyoto
- Holy Deer in Nara
- Little temples anywhere
- Tsukiji Fish Market
Just sheer out-of-context weirdness
Things worth checking out
- Alcatraz ER – a prison/hospital themed cafe. Weird fun!
- Dog / cat cafe
- Japanese toilet seat. Really!
- Any “supposedly european” dish. It will be the weirdest european dish you’llever have
Japanese are very modern, but the tradition still lives on in day-to-day struggle.
Lost in translation
- Kaizen – Philisophy of never-ending improvement
- Mottainai – Regret concerning waste. Or resources, but also unnecessary action or a word.
- Ikigai – A reason for being, something that drives you
- Komorebi – Sunlight filtering through trees
- Shinrin-Yoku – Visit to forest for relaxation / “forest bathing”
- Yugen – A profound understanding of the universe that triggers a string emotional response
- Majime – Reliable person who gets things done without drama
- Sumo match
- Onsen – Hot spring/spa. I highly recommend convincing a friend to jump into a “electric stimulation” bathtub. So much fun!
- Pachinko – Hydhly addictive pinball machine. In Japan there are whole floors of these machines. I cannot express weirdness of it. You have to see it.
- Traditional tea ceremony
- Jiro dreams of sushi – one of my favourite movies about a michelin-star chef and Japanese work ethic
- No Sex Please, we’re Japanese – splendid documentary about Japanese population decline
- 1041uu – I dont know the background, but these animated pixel art gifs about Japanese life are captivating
- Mateusz Urbanowicz – Polish illustrator living in Japan creating beautiful art about Japanese reality
Stuff to come back for
For me, there is still so much to see. Of course I want to there again!
- Love hotels – tiny cheap hotels with a variety of decorum. Their main purpose is not hard to figure out, but weirdness may be interesting
- Ryokan – Traditional Japanese “Inn”
- Sagano bamboo forest – A bamboo forest near Kyoto
- Hand-Made Damascus steel Chefs knife – I want one
- Shinkansen – Japanese bullet train
This fullfills my Bucketlist #78