How to get an onward ticket easily, cheaply (and even for free!)

No, they won’t ask you for an onward ticket out of the country every time you cross a border. I spent most of my twenties traveling without an onward ticket and never had a problem. Of course, my twenties were a decade ago and the rules do seem to have changed (or maybe I was just lucky). Now they will ask you for an onward flight on occasion – particularly if you have the ‘wrong’ kind passport. For me, I’ve been asked to prove I’ve got a ticket out far more often since I started traveling with my Central American girlfriend.

And when they do ask you and you don’t have one because you haven’t yet decided where you’ll go next, that can be a real problem. For example, when checking into a flight to Costa Rica they wouldn’t let me get on the plane without an onward ticket. As there was only an hour left before boarding, I had to run around like a maniac trying to get something that would satisfy them. In the end I managed, but not before getting seriously stressed out (and paying a bomb). And that’s not what I enjoy doing just before getting on a plane.

For that reason – and because getting an onward ticket of some kind before I travel is easy as pie – I now always make sure I have something.
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The Four Principles of How to be Lucky (According to Science!)

In some moments our lives seem far luckier than at others. Like when you go traveling the first time. For those months everything just seems to go your way. You meet interesting people, find opportunities and have a ton of lucky coincidences – way more than before. It’s like your charmed or something.

But for a logical person who doesn’t believe in superstition that can’t be, right? Luck is random, after all.

Well, it turns out that it might not be entirely true. It’s quite possible to actually be luckier during some times than others. And it’s not down to fairy dust, lucky numbers or your astrology sign.

Instead, according to psychologist Richard Wiseman’s book the Luck Factor, being lucky comes down to behavior and beliefs. In his book, he discusses four principles which separate the lucky from the rest. It would seem that during those lucky times, like when we first start traveling, we unconsciously embrace those behaviors.

Now imagine what you could do if you were consciously aware of those principles. Then you could take steps to enhance them in your daily life and end up not just with periods of good luck but a whole life filled with it.

For that reason, without further ado, here they are (along with a few observations of my own, of course).
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6+ Simple Insights To Make Your Query Letter More Effective

Do you loathe the query letter? I sure did when I started out. And it wasn’t just because I didn’t know how to write them, but also because when I did it was so damned hard to figure out what to make of the feedback I got back.

I mean, there are so many reasons somebody might not get back to you or turn you down when they do. Yes, obviously they might not be impressed by your letter. But it’s as likely they’re overworked, got distracted or don’t need any freelancers. The problem is, you don’t know which it is. And so, often you end up trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

To help you avoid that fate, today I’ll explore what I’ve learned over the years about writing query letters. In that way, you might have a guiding light and won’t have to learn by trial and error like I did.
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How I Find Clients – Tackling The Most Tenacious Freelancing Problem

When I started freelancing I didn’t have a clue how to actually get clients. So I did what I always do in those situations. I read a lot. A bunch of the articles I read said I should start on the big freelance sites like Upwork. I guess whoever wrote those didn’t know how to get freelancing clients either. That isn’t too strange, as getting those initial clients is probably the hardest part.

So I followed their advice, created a profile, wrote query letters and spent the next six months trying to break through there. In the process, I learned that it is true what they say. The worse the client pays the more demanding they are.

By that standard, Upwork’s clients are among the most demanding out there. The site is infamous for having clients that pay ludicrously low rates. I charged a cent per word there, which is too little to support my girlfriend and myself. And yet still I was regularly undercut by people willing to do it for less.

Those were some pretty miserable months, I can tell you!

Of course, hardship is a phenomenal teacher. I recount some of the lessons I learned there in the article my life as a warning to a friend and a whole generation. The one that matters most here can be summed up pretty simply.
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A Content Marketing Guide for Digital Nomads and Travelancers

Live on the road and want to get news of what you’re doing out there? Then content marketing is a no-brainer. It’s markedly cheaper than traditional marketing and gives you about three times as many leads. What’s more, you’ve already got the one thing most people struggle with – content. What else would you call do you call a life filled with beautiful places and interesting adventures? That gives you a massive leg up on your more sedentary competition.

Of course, you already knew that. It’s why you’re reading this article, right? You don’t need to be told that it’s a good idea. Instead, you’re here for guidance on the execution. How do you make sure that your attempt at content marketing does not disappoint?

To help you in that regard, here is what I’ve learned from a year of content marketing on this site and elsewhere. None of that regurgitated crap from other websites, where I have no idea of the effectiveness but I rehash it because it sounds good. No. Only tried and tested ideas here!

Sound good? Then let’s stop dipping our toes into the water and jump on in.
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Coming Home And How To Survive Reverse Culture Shock

Machines beep. Green and yellow lines wiggle up and down on monitors. My father’s glazy gaze meets us from where he’s nestled in a web of tubes filled with bodily fluids that run the same red, green and yellow. When we ask him how he’s feeling he gives a waxen grin. “No more pain. But the colors keep changing.” The painkillers seem to be working, then.

Even though it’s weird to hear my 70-year-old father giggle like a schoolgirl, it’s better than last night. Then he’d told us it hurt so much he wished he could kill himself. That’s not something you want to hear anybody say; let alone your father.

It was good we came. Even if you do feel absolutely powerless as you sit there, your presence does make a difference. I know. He told me so. That’s quite something for my dad, who showed affection in my younger years with a leg pat or a hair tussle and a smile. To have him take your hand and voice his appreciation means something.

Yes, even if he’s high as a kite.
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How To Be More Proactive And Boost Your Freelancing Success

When you’re reactive, you treat the symptoms that you have. When you’re proactive you prevent the sickness from ever arriving. Sure, in some lines of work you might be able to get along without being proactive. Perhaps if you work on the factory line you don’t have to be.

Freelancing is not one of those fields.

There, proactivity decides if you’re going to prosper or perish. Heck, even the strain of freelancing will be inversely proportional to how proactive you are. This is because being proactive will let you counter the natural freelancing cycle. You might see a period of slow work coming and push extra hard to find new clients to fill the gaps. It is also how you keep yourself and your skill set current. And that’s the only way you can stay ahead of the curve.

This makes it an essential freelancing skill. So what do you do if you don’t have it? That’s what we’re going to cover in this article at the hands of:

8 Simple Strategies That Will Boost Your Readability Today

To say we can measure readability objectively is going too far. Some aspects are still beyond our man-made formulas – probably because they’re too abstract to track. But we can get close. That’s for two reasons:

  1. Contrary to what most people think, a lot of readability is down to simple things.
  2. We’ve been working on figuring out what those are for quite a while now.

The initial push came back in the 1920s along with the first cross-Atlantic flight and jazz. There were several attempts at formulating readability. The most renowned is the one invented by the psychologist Edward Thorndike.

He proposed that you could measure readability by giving a text’s difficult words a score and adding them together. Not bad. Our modern theories do almost the same, though they take into account other factors. The most famous one is probably the Flesch-Kincaid test, which was thought up in 1975 and is still used today.

Here’s the formula:

Flesch Kincaid readability test

Don’t worry about the details. I have no idea why he chose those weights either. Instead, let’s focus on the big picture. As you can see, it uses words per sentences and syllables per word to analyze a text. Seems too simple to you? I hear you. I thought the same.
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How To Effectively Deal With The Strain Of Freelancing

Sure, freelancing has some big plusses, with the biggest one being the freedom. I love that freedom. A while ago we just got up and moved countries (something I described at length in the myths of Digital nomadism). Rclieight now, I’m working in my swimming trunks, as after this I’ll be going for my daily swim in the Caribbean.

At the same time, freelancing isn’t some flying unicorn farting rainbows. There are downsides. The biggest one is the other side of that freedom coin – uncertainty. We’re creatures of habit and with freelancing that goes right out of the window. For many, that’s stressful.

So how do you deal with it? Well, being more proactive helps but isn’t a cure-all. The best tool is time. The longer you do it, the better you get at it. That’s down to you having a reserve of previous experiences to mellow out the downs and lessen their impact. So stick with it. It will get better.

Of course, that won’t help you much if you’re not feeling that great right now. So, for that reason, here are some ideas to help you acclimatize that bit faster.
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How To Easily Crush Your Bad Habits On The Road

There is so much going on when you’re living on the road that it can be hard to stay productive. That can be stressful. At the same time, it’s not all bad news. In one regard, the road gives you a huge advantage. It allows you to easily crush your bad habits.

How so? Because many habits are at least in part linked to things and places. For example, seeing the balcony might cue you to smoke. Similarly, when you pass that doughnut place where you know everybody, the call to go in can be irresistible. When you’re on the road, all those external signals fall away. This makes it easier to shed those nasty unconscious subroutines that you’d rather get rid of.
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