What I’ve learned almost 10 years as a Digital Nomad Content Creator
When I left my job in 2011 in Vancouver Canada my goal was to start a luxury travel company. In 2020 I never thought that it would evolve into becoming a Digital Nomad Content Creator or a Travel Videographer. By following my passion and my heart it led me down a pathway I would never imagine.
As a write this I’m sitting in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. I’m listening to a midnight mix on youtube, sipping on almond milk, trying to publish my podcast interview with my Canadian friend Chris. We did this interview at his lavish 5 star condo in the city center of Kuala Lumpur. He asked me about everything about where I was from , what I studied in university, my time in Taiwan, and my goals for the next 5 to 10 years.
You can here to find out what I’ve learned. So here we go:
Follow you Heart and Passion
Don’t rely on a single platform or stream of income
Do things gradually. Don’t leave your jobs right away
If you decide to become a Digital Nomad do it from destinations that will give you the most advantage
Understand the building blocks of Content (text, images, videos)
Find-like minded people
Use the information online from youtube and on-line courses to find what works and experiment
Learn Online Marketing to Excel like Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Email Marketing, and Sales Funnels
Please listen to the podcast if you want me to expand on these points. What I will say is that following my heart and passion for travel, video, and business led me down a path I could have never predicted. I didn’t even know what a Digital Nomad was by the time I had already moved to Taiwan in 2013. I already had Macbook pro laptop and a SLR camera so I was early in the game. It is different now as there are many youngsters in the game that are excelling at what I’m doing.
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I’m glad I made the decision to come to Asia as this region has a lot to offer. Great weather, fast internet, great food, cheap travel costs, and like-minded people. My favorite destinations are Chiang Mai Thailand, Danang Vietnam, and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
For May 2020 I’m going to give you an update on the coronavirus lockdown situation from kuala lumpur malaysia. I’m also going to share a lot to help with content sprawl and management, by introducing how my content schedule.
I’m going to give a recent update on the Malaysia lockdown including a recent easing of the restrictions as of May 4th that will see restaurants open, cowork spaces opening, and certain non contact sports permited. I also have reached a milestone on my youtube channel chicvoyage so I’ll share that and my strategy for what content I create using the analytics. A whole lot more. I’ll be sharing my headstart package with my top interviews with successful entrepreneurs in the online teaching and Youtube space.
Sign up for the Headstart Pack that will include some gems to get your start with your online business. I will include full entrepreneur downloads from established Youtubers and Online teachers and more!
With the Corona Virus impacting all of our lives I can’t help but wonder if the era of being a Digital nomad is over for awhile at least. The allure of being a digital nomad is closely linked to Travel, which is the hardest hit industry. Countries have closed their borders to foreigners, and even transiting through an airport is not possible at the moment. Airlines and Airports have started to downsize staff, and operations making less flights available. I and some friends are currently in various parts of Asia went this pandemic suddenly accelerated into a full lockdown.
The last 7 years have been a bit of a roller coaster with ongoing travel and what seems non stop hustling and grinding to scale our businesses. It’s also a good time to reflect a bit on highlights of the digital nomad lifestyle.
I would like to share a bit of background before I continue. I have been a digital nomad since 2013 before I even heard of the term in Taiwan. I first heard of the term from a Canadian Digital nomad named Nigel while in Taipei in 2014. I’ve been able to earn an income regardless of location using my video and creative skills in freelancing and online business and sustain it for 7 years. I consider myself a veteran in this game due to my age and time in the game and share my creative, travel, and business knowledge in my Creator Academy School. I have digital nomad friends that are 10 years my senior as well as the younger group that are 10 – 15 years younger than I am. Although I don’t consider myself a digital nomad because I tend to stay in a location for 3 – 6 months I do identify most closely with this group.
Traveling itself was never an essential requirement of being a digital nomad although it has been one of the perks being able to travel primarily to lower cost countries with a good lifestyle. The term nomad implies not having a home base, and there are different flavors of the digital nomad from slow to binge traveler. The issue is that regulation and government visa’s haven’t adapted to technology and the new lifestyle possibilities that digital nomad’s have enjoyed in recent years using tourist or social visit visa’s. Digital nomads often use creative means like visa runs where they change location every 1 to 3 months to another country often returning to their home base country to reset the duration of their visa. If you spend any length of time in Thailand especially in Chiang Mai you’re bound to hear a visa run story.
If the traveling lockdown does ever end and I think we may be looking at a very different environment for travelers and digital nomads. Travelers are already in the crosshairs of governments seen as the primary carriers of the coronavirus. In the future we may be looking at countries that make non essential travel a lot more restrictive than ever. Of course digital nomads are just a minority of the potential victims of a post corona fallout. We’ve already read stories of airlines, hotels, tourism operators, and travel companies like Lonely Planet take a hit.
Human’s are naturally curious and I think the rules will relax over time to allow travel again. I’m not sure how long this period could be. It could be 6 months, it could be a year or many years. By this time there will be a larger group of people with home base businesses with the ability to live a digital nomad lifestyle. There may come up a point where pent up demand meets a relaxation in traveling again potentially creating the next larger wave of digital nomads.
How are Digital Nomads coping with the lockdown?
For this year 2020 at least I think the established Digital Nomads are in good shape partly because most will benefit from the rest of the world spending more time online than ever. They had a period of 5 years to ramp up their knowledge and skills to make a sustainable living without the need to return back to their home countries. They are highly independent and it is normal for them to solo travel and work in isolation at home or from a co-work space or cafe.
I myself teach online courses and I have seen all-time highs of my teaching minutes as well as watch time on myYoutube Channel.Most established digital nomads are able to earn an income purely online so that they don’t have to be in physical contact with people. They have learned specialized skills in areas of affiliate marketing, online teaching, dropshipping, ecommerce, youtubing, video editing, teaching english, teaching online courses, translation, search engine optimization, stock trading, licensing video and templates and more. It’s true there has probably never been a better time for someone to make a living online due to the technology we have available and the number of people spending time online in isolation.
We are fortunate that technology is where it is today in 2020. Internet speeds, smartphones, laptops, and essentials apps and platforms have made this lifestyle possible. Starting in the period between 2013-2015 developing and lower cost countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia offered everything that a Digital nomad needed and then some. Things like good weather, safe environments, cowork spaces, fast wifi, nice places to stay, and the opportunity for new friendships and relationships. Established digital nomads are quite tech savy, adaptable, flexible, and can operating a business lot of overhead. My Videography production side of the business has been impacted, but I had build a business on the foundation of diverse income streams. For example, I have online course, license footage, and still freelance by video editing for clients.
Co-work spaces were also an important, but not an essential requirement of the digital nomad. In fact it was in 2019 that co-working spaces had reached the mainstream where giants like we-work had become the domain of team startups and even larger firms. In Thailand and Malaysia I had seen cowork spaces sprout up to serve Digital nomads, students, and businesses. Co-work spaces for some were essential to get the necessary environment to do their work, for some a place to get inspired and get out of the house, and for some it was a place to network and community. However many cowork spaces will likely loose a lot of money and business during the lockdown and may even shutdown and not reenter the market. I hope this is not the case.
Chiang Mai, Thailand was considered the global capital for Digital nomads. In my opinion it reached it’s golden age in 2015 where there was peak interest and there was a strong organic international community. It was a great time to meet other like-minded people, exchange ideas, get inspiration, make friends, and attend business and social events. This year in 2020 the dreaded burning seasons started as early as January and still continues to plague Chiang mai even into April. Digital nomads value the basic essentials like fast wifi, good weather, but also value good air. I see digital nomads spending shorter periods of time here in the future unless this changes.
When stripped down to the bare essentials needed to run my online business it is fairly basic. I need a power laptop, hdmi cable, fast internet, monitor, and comfortable desk and chair. If this is the last season for awhile to being able to enjoy this lifestyle I will have no regrets. I’ve had a lifetime of experiences being able to make good international friendships, relationships, scaling my business, and experiencing living in different cities around the world. Some digital nomads and travelers currently abroad including myself are currently in Asia anxiously awaiting to see what will unfold during the lockdown. There are many factors at play like government decisions on lockdown’s, visa length, airport closures, flight costs, and even health and safety being in a plane and airport with other travelers.
We may end up staying in our current destination longer than expected or our options may dwindle down to one, which is to return home. Whatever happens I will treasure the remaining time abroad. If travel is restricted, if cowork spaces close, if we have to return home it mark a different chapter for many digital nomads. 2013 to 2020 was a good run and I’m grateful for it. Thanks Thailand and Malaysia for the memories. If you have enjoyed any of these digital nomad vlog videos be sure to subscribe to my digital nomad Youtube Channel.
What is culture? Have you lived in multiple countries as an expat or digital nomad. You will realize the first month you are back to a city or country how apeople behave. The language they use, the different slang words, pedestrian rights etc and more will be explored in this episode contrasting malaysia and thailand.
Marijuana weed or Cannabis as it is known in Canada is legal since Oct 17 2018. It has a long history in Canada if you google it, but today we are going to be talking about what is it like to access marijuana in Vancouver in October 2019. Many digital nomads spend time in Asia where as this time you don’t even bother trying to smoke it as it is difficult and penalities can be severe. We spend our time in Asia not smoking about it, but we talk about it a lot maybe because we cannot access it. Craft beer is a luxury item in Asia, but is a commodity in Vancouver Canada. We want what we cannot have.
When I was in Vancouver in December 2018 a lot of dispensaries were still operating and offering marijuana for sale like lotus land. However, when I returned in October 2019 I found many of them were closed. In it’s place there are online options that you will find on google map, and there are a few shops like Cannabis Co and Hobo where you can buy. Check out my interview with Chris from Asia to share my Vancouver Marijuana Report.
The time is ripe to be a digital nomad in Asia. You may have heard of the remote year that organizes groups year round in Asia and around the world to remote work. They organize accomodation, co-work space, and logistics for you. However, it is quite expensive and sometimes you may want to organize your own trips, but need some inspiration and information to do so.
I’ve been working Remote since 2013 and invested time to live and experience the laptop lifestyle from Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, And South Korea and more. There’s a lot this side of the world has to offer: Fast Internet, Cowork spaces, Community, Food, Cheap Travel witin the region, good hot sunny weather, and cost of living that are about 1/3 of the cost of Vancouver Canada. h
If you were interested in arming yourself with essential info like survival guide, co-working, and developing production skills. Click to check out some of the free lessons in the course which is set to launch soon
The Digital Nomad Course was designed for Remote Workers, Digital Nomads, and Freelancers that want to start their entrepreneurial journey and do a workation or working holiday in Asia. Included in the course are living guides that contain essential information for the digital nomad in locations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cebu and Bali. There is deep information on locations such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and South Korea. You are also going to get some additional tips that you may encounter living this lifestyle on a long term basis. Some examples are the lifestyle design, productivity, and time management tips.
Digital Nomad in Asia Free Lessons
You are going to learn more than just the guides though.
As a Digital Nomad Videographer of 7 years I share tips for producing Video and Audio Content. I also share some Business and Marketing tips I’ve learned that any freelancer or entrepreneur could apply to their business. You can join the course here
Podcasting is a mature platform and a great way to reach a new audience on itunes, spotify, google music, stitcher and more. I’ve been podcasting since 2015 and have since published 40 episodes. Here I share why you should podcast and tips for doing it.
I study a Social Media Videographer Influencer called the full-time filmmaker with over 700k subscribers on Youtube. I study how he is used social media, his business model, and other keys to his success. My Podcast on itunes https://t.ly/28DGO Fulltime filmaker Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/pawalbeck
In 2011 I took a major risk. I sold my apartment in Vancouver Canada to fund my dream of starting a travel related business. I left a stable high paying IT manager job in Vancouver after getting my MBA degree. Why? I wasn’t happy. I knew it was time for the next chapter of my life. I discovered my passions for Travel, Video, and Business. After the travel venture didn’t work out I ended going on a tour of Asia for my friends wedding in Taiwan along with my SLR camera. It was eye opening, but I eventually ran out of money.
I went back to corporate life again in 2013 all the while I was experimenting with creating my first product. It started as a trip to Asia on vacation and then a working holiday to Taiwan in 2013. I sold my apartment, car, and packed a laptop and my camera with my dreams. 6 years later I found myself sharing my lessons learned with the next generation of travel videographers
After a 13 year career in IT in Vancouver Canada and a university and MBA degree from SFU I decided to needed a change. I went through a process of self discovery to determine what my values and passions were. (Travel, Business, Video). It started as a trip to Asia on vacation and then a working holiday to Taiwan in 2013. I sold my apartment, car, and packed a laptop and my camera with my dreams. 6 years later I found myself sharing my lessons learned with the next generation of travel videographers in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chiang Mai, was an important part of my Entreprenuarial journey and it’s great to be able to give back some knowledge to the community.
Huahin Digital Nomad Expat Guide The Danang of Thailand. Chiang Mai with a beach. Whatever you want to call it Hua hin was off my radar until a month ago. My Digital Nomad Journey Began in Taiwan and Sophmore year was in Chiang Mai Thailand, but it seems as though there are many destinations that are becoming great options as well like Hua Hin Thailand.
The main draw for Hua Hin is the beautiful long beaches, the ease of getting there from Kuala Lumpur, how quiet and uncrowded it is, and the laid back vibes. Add in the overall fast Wifi, quality low cost condos on Airbnb, Grab Taxi, Golf courses, Tennis Course and a lot of what you may love about Thailand (cheap massage, thai food, 7-11, Pools) and you’ve got a great destination to either to go into mini-retirement or live as an expat/digital nomad. At the time I went there were 2 co-work spaces. If you stay near the True Arena then you are close to both of them. One of them is called Gopro and the other you will see on your way to Cicada market. They are a bit pricier than Chiang mai or Bangkok at 350 baht per day. There are a few cafes that are laptop friendly like coffeelism and the Truesphere cafe in the Bluport Mall. I recommend getting a condo with at least AIS fiber.
I’ve only seen one beach and the sand is a nice texture, clean, and white. There are some options to drink at the beach or you can go for a walk. One of my favorite things to do was to check out the various restaurants, cafes, and bars along the beach. Check my instagram for exact locations, but some suggestions are Mourakesh to catch a sunset, or Azur’s freeflow 699 baht at the Intercontinental. Huahin is a turning up to be the sleeper hit destination of the year. It has a beach. The air quality is better than most Thailand destination’s as it’s further South. Internet Speeds are fast in cafe’s and the home with AIS fiber very common. Good modern condos are cheap and available built by Sansiri similar to the condos built by Dcondo out in Chiang Mai. Good flights in from Kuala Lumpur on Airasia, but not to the rest of Thailand. Getting around on Grab is available, but a bit pricier and hard to get in the hot spot tourist areas. You can motorbike here for short distances as the traffic is less than larger cities. There are 2 large malls with everything that you need from movie theathers, gourmet market for all your culinary needs, and pletny of massage shops. There is an understated upmarket feel to Huahin and you can expect prices to be a bit more than Chiang Mai. Cafes and cowork spaces aren’t as plentiful yet, but there are options in the mall and you can work from home.
There isn’t that many tourists here in general and less Digital Nomads, but that can be a good thing. This is not just some beach town. Huahin hosts many gems if you know where to find them.
Sample Prices Motorbikes 1600 baht Sim AIS 7 days plan 150 baht Accomodation 450 cdn for 2 weeks inluding utilties and wifi with proper gym and super duper long pool Thai Meal 100-150 baht Western Breakfast 200-250 baht Beer 100 baht IPA beer 200 baht bottle wine 500 baht Taxi from airport to city 200 baht (need to take regular taxi from the airport, Can grab to the airport due to the mafia) cowork space per day 250 baht. Internet Speeds 20mbps- 200mbps #huahin#digitalnomad#locationindependent#expat
Recommended for: Beach Lovers, Motorbikers, Sabai sabai Thai lifestyle, Red light District Scene, Hot Weather
Best Time to Go: November – April ( I was there for the 2nd half of May and it was super hot)
How do I live this lifestyle as a Videographer?
I use my skills and content to create a lifestyle of time and location freedom as a Travel Videographer. I fly my drone and license my aerial footage and do videos for clients. Check out my Online Courses for more Info.
Busan South Korea is South Korea’s 2nd largest city. Why would you want to come here? The biggest draw aside from the korean food, fast internet, decent air, top notch public trains, are the beaches. Haeundae and Gwangan (Gwangalli beach) are the most well known. I’ve been here twice both for 1 week stints. Let’s get down to business.
Essential Info for Busan
I recommend going during the summer in June for nice warm weather. They also hold a famous film festival in October. I visited in early March this year, which is a bit cold and sunny. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom end of March.
Who is Busan for? It’s for a digital nomad that isn’t as price sensitive, wants to enjoy the beaches, a dose of korean culture, fast internet, perhaps a free co-work space, and a developed city in asia that can offer good direct flights to Western North America. Bring out XE currency or your favorite convertor as I will be quoting prices in various currencies. If you need to complete some fast uploads then some of the fastest internet speeds are located here.
Getting in. There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Busan via air Asia. They do leave kuala lumpur late around 2am and you arrive in around 9am in the morning. I paid about 1400 MYR for mine. As a Canadian I get 6 month for my visa just for visiting! For sim cards I use an android phone and needed phone number and data so I went with KT at the airport. Price was 38,500 won and is good for up to 10 days and reliable throughout South korea. This will cover all your internet needs. Basically there is solid fast wifi from most places from starbucks to Holly’s cafe.
You can get into the city using subway, limousine shuttle or taxi. From cheapest to most expensive. Subway is about 4000 won to the city and the shuttle was 7000 won one way. I took the shuttle as I had some heavy luggage to carry.
Where to stay in Busan South Korea
I recommend staying in Huaeundae or Gwangalli as they are both walking distance to the beach and offer convenient access to the subway and restaurants. Other areas you could try are Centum City or Seomyeon. I checked out hotels, but airbnb offered a more comfortable experience and better value plus extras like a kitchen,washing machine, access to a local host, and living like a local is an experience I value. I paid 338cdn for my airbnb for a modern, well-located condo with kitchen, washing machine, wifi, japanese style toilet, heated floors, walking distance to the beach, and a view. No fancy amenities though and it’s not as spacious as malaysia. Yes it’s a bit pricey.
You can work at Starbucks Reserve or any starbucks, holly’s cafe, or check out the creator’s content studio at centum city for what they call a free co-work space. Wework is opening soon so there are many options. Be sure to bring a plug adaptor as North American style plugs will not work.
What to do in Busan
I recommend checking out all 3 beaches: Gwangalli, Haeundae, and Songjeong beach. The Gamcheon cultural village known as the Santorini of SKorea is nice for photos and also close to the Jagalchi fish market. As for food I recommend trying a lot of beef (beef shabu, beef bbq, beef bugolgi), dumplings, bim bam bop, and if you’re into seafood there is a ton of variety here as it is a sea port. The subway station is pretty cheap and efficient. You can try visiting different areas and working out of cafe’s and enjoy the fast internet speed. Can you fly your drone in Busan. I flew at Haeundae beach with no problem and have flown at Gamcheon cultural village last year. Check the rules, and fly at your own risk. Standard Aerial Videographer rules.
Cost of Living
I haven’t lived in Busan for a month for so I’ve made an estimate based on my week here. You’ll notice that the exercise and gym has a gap as I haven’t had time to figure out costs of using the gym yet. My total accounts to $2050 US which is about $500 US more than Kuala Lumpur. Use this as a guide as this varies with everyone’s lifestyle and you have to make certain assumptions to project out costs and how you will spend your time. In general accomodation costs are higher than south east asia at 1126 US, but not bad considering I’m looking at an apartment less than 5 minutes to the beach. One way ticket from Haeundae to Centum city if 1400 won. Coffee is about 3800 won from starbucks. A nice noodle soup dish is about 9000 won. Taxi ride from Haeundae to the Busan station is about 16000 won. Craft beer is about 7000 won a pint.
Busan is probably too expensive and the language barrierr will leave you with a level of isolation that won’t be as long-term friendly. I could probably do a month here or a few weeks for a visa run in the summertime to enjoy a beach lifestyle in a developed city with good flight routes to Canada. You can take the the high speed train (KTX) from busan station to Seoul if you want to check out another city or a cheap flight to cities in Japan using Air busan.
The Gluten free Nomad and I explorer where we are on our entrepreneurial journey and how we would spend 20k on our business. It’s a fun exercise to go through to think how would you invest those funds back into your business. Would you spend it on office space, new software, new camera gear, or some assistant or interns? find out.We also explore a number of topics from the Golden Age of Chiang mai to co-working in Kuala Lumpur.
I’ve recently jumped off the Apple Macbook train and back to Windows 10 after 6 years. As a Video editor I was using Final Cut Pro X and have made the Switch to a huawei Matebook Pro X laptop running Windows 10 and Adobe Premiere CC 2019. Get some tips on the transition in this podcast
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I’m using more of Adobe’s tools for my Video Editing and Design work since I started using Adobe Premiere Pro for Video Editing. Why? Because Adobe is a company that is focused on designing software and services for creatives (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Spark, Adobe Rush, Adobe Premiere).
There were other reasons for this as well. At the end of 2018 I decided to upgrade my Macbook Pro to a Huawei Matebook Pro X. The main reason I switched was that Apple was charging way too much for the hardware they were giving.
Here are the products I use from Adobe and Why?
Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 – I can use it to Video edit on any type of PC not just a mac. It has efficient with handling high resolution footage, it offers powerful motion graphics and fonts to give my videos a customer look.
Adobe Spark – I’m using this program, which is free to use if you have are paying for Adobe Premiere cloud creative service. It allows me to easily create professional looking graphics for my Youtube videos, Online Courses, Kindle Book Covers and more
Adobestock – I use them as a contributor as I submit my stock footage here more frequently in recent years since they have entered the game. They have good integration to their stock library with their programs
Here is a thumbnail I created using Adobe Spark.
Disclaimer: Please note that I’m an affiliate of adobe. I use the these products for my core line of business, but I get some compensation at no extra cost to you by using these links if you decide to use their products as well.
The modern tech savy creators that can make their own career using their creative skills in video, audio, graphic design using the Internet and today’s technology. I met an interesting creative digital nomad Kim Li in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. She shares a South African background with me as well as a creative background. She started her entry into the entrepreneur world on Upwork, a platform for freelancers. She is a general graphic designer and is doing well for herself. Find out more on the episode.
The Corona Virus in Asia is having a global impact, but what about to everyday life in Malaysia and my Video Business. I will talk about the Corona Virus in Kuala Lumpur as well as some opportunities that are coming out of this global event.
In this interview with a former client you will get tips for learning how to start a global video business. It was a first for me to have an interview with a former repeat Video client in Chiang Mai Thailand. Terry Masson of Raynor Massage and Youtube of the OSHITS channel had an interesting discussion with me about how he find my video business in Bangkok. He also had some interesting questions about the early stages of my business. This is a valuable discussion for young video production businesses or people thinking of starting their video business from anywhere.
If you’re interested in learning more about improving your video skills or how to start an online video business with passive income streams to give you the ability to travel anywhere using your skillset then check out my travel videographer school here.
In this episode I’m going to reveal 3 scams I was exposed to in Vancouver Canada including the Wedding Video QuickBooks Scam, Fake Google Rep scam, and the spam government calls. In my 9 years providing video services internationally I’ve never been scammed until in December 2019.
I think various locations outside Vancouver are targeting our province because of the wealth in this city. As a videographer I’m going to expose them as I ended up losing $200 through a fake wedding where I was encourage to sign up for quickbooks.
I grew up in Vancouver beginning in 1991 in Richmond and then moved to Vancouver Island before returning in 1995. I’ve seen how Vancouver has changed very quickly most notably after gaining global attention after the olympics.
Vancouver attracted global attention and started ranking as one of the top cities to live in. This attracted foreign investors to purchase a lot of property. Many locals (myself included) that had property at the time cashed in, but now prices in 2019 have become still affordable for most locals. There has been a trickle down effect from this property market. Locals with families have been forced to move further outside of Vancouver and make long commutes for work. Restaurants are close and younger talent are moving out of the city because its just too expensive. Salaries have not increased along with the property prices.
In this context is there still a future in Vancouver for new residents, university graduates, and locals that for whatever reason don’t own property post 2010 olympics. I explore this topic in this podcast.