discovering paradise

$1,000,000 in the bank isn’t the fantasy. The fantasy is the lifestyle of complete freedom it supposedly allows.

― Timothy Ferriss

Today I want to tell you a 250 word story that changed my view of the world.

But first I have to let you in on a little secret…

How Average People Can Feel and Live Like Millionaires

This morning I woke up to what I’ve decided is the most breathtaking morning view of my life.

I’m writing from the deck of a modest thatched roof bungalow  set over a small soft sandy beach cove on the Island of Koh Lanta, Thailand. The hotel, if you can call it that, is aptly named ‘Relax Bay.’

Yesterday we upgraded to a ‘VIP’ room with air conditioning (last night had no AC, which made for a tough 85-degree high humidity night…). It’s the only room in this cove that is actually on the sand. We have a full view of the private turquoise bay from our deck, where a nice little hammock also hangs.

The remote office

The real kicker? This experience cost me nothing…

This room, which will no doubt be the room by which all future Dinsmore vacation standards will be measured, with breakfast and wifi included, costs 4,050 Thai Baht, which translates to just over $140 USD a night (most our rooms have been closer to $65/night). If we want a 60-minute massage, it will cost an additional $13.

A room at the Best Western in the San Francisco suburbs near my hometown easily costs more than that on a slow night.

To add to the fun, we booked our flight using free airline miles from our credit card, allowing us to travel like millionaires, in the front of the plane in Business Class, complete with full bar menu and 5-course meals on fine china — while paying less than $45 for our round trip tickets from SF to Bangkok. That saved us over $3,300 if we were buying coach tickets, or $16,000 for two ridiculously priced full fare business class tickets (which we would never even consider buying).

We also found someone to take care of our apartment, using Airbnb, who paid us $2,800 before we left — God I love that service!

So from day one of this trip, we were over $6,100 in the green.

With the Right Creativity Anything’s Possible

I tell all of you this to show you that a trip like this is not as out of reach as most think. Chelsea and I are not able to take this trip because we have some absurd amount of money (which we don’t). We are able to take it because we got creative and found the flexibility. As a result, it’s possible this trip will cost us a net of zero dollars.

Remember, it’s not the money that everyone is after, it’s the experiences we imagine that will come with the money.

As it turns out, often you can have the millionaire experiences without the need for all the zeros in your bank account (and the wasted decades to accumulate them). That is a very freeing realization.

I hope you all take this into account as you think about any excuses you might have found in the past, which have kept you from exploring. I believe world travel is the most powerful self-discovery and learning tool on the the planet. There is no better education and no better way to expand your understanding of what’s possilbe.

That’s why I spend as much time as I do with the ‘travel hacking’ and all else to make sure these trips happen.

I do everything in my power to kill the excuses.

I hope you’ll prioritize to do the same.

One such revelation came at just before 7am this morning as I awoke and looked out my window to see a lone fisherman in his boat, collecting his fishing nets to see what the previous night had brought him.

It was possibly the most serene and calming view of my life.

Seeing his early morning efforts immediately reminded me of a story I refer to often. One that whether you’ve heard it before or not, is always worth another read.

I don’t think any set of 250 words has changed me more than this one…

How Simplicity Swindled the Investment Banker (and the rest of the world)

The simple fisherman

The simple Thai fisherman who inspired this post…

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Realizing you are already there

Are Your Working Towards What You Actually Want?

Too often we try to over-complicate things.

I am more guilty of this than most.

When we clear away all the noise and societal expectations, most of us will be refreshed to see we already have all it is that we really want. And what we’re told we should be working towards, is actually taking away from our ability to experience what matters.

As I swing here in this hammock, I’m overcome by this realization — and this inspiring feeling of responsibility. Of possibility. That while the message we strive to deliver and help people with at Live Your Legend is quite simple (spend your time doing things that make you and others come alive), it has the profound ability to change the world.

Our revolution here means everything to me.

And none of it would be possible without all of you Living Legends who make it what it is.

I have never been more committed to the cause we all believe in and the task we have ahead of us.

Our impact is going to be huge.

May we all spend a little more time fishing today, and every day going forward — whatever that means to each of us.

As for me, I think we’ll stay in this room a few extra nights…


Now tell us in the comments – what did this fisherman make you realize?

  • Nazrin

    Hey Scott,

    I love these 250 words. What a great reminder.

    The meaning of these words are exactly why I chose to say no to the $20,000 promotion and why I choose to make every Tuesday adventure day with my kids.

    I guess that is why we call it living hey?

    I really appreciate you letting everyone know about our litte Aussie gathering. We are really looking forward to creating a bunch of fun!

    I am enjoying hearing all about your adventure in Thailand. Thanks for sharing it.


    ~ Naz

    • Scott Dinsmore

      Wow Naz – you continue to amaze me with how crystal clear you see what matters to you. So refreshing! And you know how excited I am for what all you ladies are doing. Anything I can do it support I will – I’m very much in your corner. I just wish I could be there with you all next month!

      Your Tuesdays sound perfect btw :).

      • Nazrin

        Tuesdays are pretty hard to beat! This is my daughter on top of the world exploring the Sydney Botanical Gardens.

  • Leah Hynes

    And we stand behind everything YOU do Scott.
    I second what Naz says about the 250 words. LOVE that! And it is for this reason that I have requested reducing my ‘face time’ at my day job to 4 days/week.
    Let’s start shifting that balance baby!!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for spreading the word about the Sydney get together. It is truly going to be an amazing day.
    So glad you and Chelsea are enjoying Thailand, you deserve it my friend.
    Big hugs,
    Leah :)

  • James Greig

    This will make you laugh — my therapist keeps telling me I could be the “British Scott Dinsmore”.

    Reading this I’ve realised that the decision I took to quit my job a year ago was the most important I’ve made so far in my adult life.

    I’d been unhappy in my job for so long without even realising it, and although the past year has been a roller-coaster of emotions, I’d take that over cubicle life any day. (Note: I didn’t actually work in a cubicle. I had a great job at a respected design studio working with a bunch of very talented people. But my “me” was slowly suffocating).

    At the moment I’m sat in an amazing 18th century windmill building (see attached) where I’ve been working remotely for the past two weeks. There’s a wood-burning stove to keep me warm, and fibre-optic broadband to let me work.

    Some days I’ve woken at 6am and written 800 word blog posts. Other days I’ve gone for bike rides or long walks, or just read books and played guitar (badly).

    It’s just hit me… I’m *already* living the future life that I was chasing.

    I have less money but more freedom. Less certainty but more possibilities… because I have hundreds if not thousands of new connections with the world.

    • James Greig

      (My current office)

      • Arushi

        James, your current office looks like a dream! :)

        • James Greig

          It is… or was… back in London now !

          • Arushi

            Why would you ever leave this one?

      • Magu Bee

        That is the coolest office I’ve see in a long time! :)

        Congratulations, James!

  • Scott Bowers

    I was an investment banker, did a deal in Costa Rica and for the past 12 years have been living in Costa Rica and setting up vacations….now I live in a little paradise called Perez Zeledon nestled between Costa Rica’s highest peak (13,000 feet) and the Pacific Coast (25 minutes down the mountain) where I am into things like hydroponic gardening, my gallinero and surfing as often as possible….those 250 words really hit home and made me think….sometimes I catch myself wondering what life would be like if I had continued on the former path….and then I think about all those bankers who have a lot more money than I do, but when they visit I can detect a tad of envy…

    Pura Vida,


  • Bobbi Klein


    Those words are so true. So many times I find myself wondering what it takes to get someplace, when the reality is it is so easy to do. It’s time to stop wondering, start creating more, and living the life that I truly want. By the way, I’m having my spanish class answer your 27 questions to finding your passion as part of their final project. It is going to be a real game changer in these college students’ lives.

    Hope your enjoying Thailand!



  • Jason Gracia

    This is the type of article that can change a person’s life. I’m grateful that a topic as important as this is in the hands of such a talented writer and communicator. No question why you have all the success you do.


  • Daniel Holterhaus

    Very refreshing, Scott! Reading this post and the comments below really blew my socks off. Great message and great to hear what others are doing around the world!

  • Matthew G. Bailey

    This is actually the story that inspired me the most as well from the 4-Hour Work Week and I was just working on a post about it as well.

    It really makes you question life as many westerners see it. Maybe a pension in the end is not the only answer to life. Maybe there are other ways we just don’t know about.

    That story and the book completely changed my life. I now travel most of the year, meet amazing people and live limitless; doing things like bungy jumping, losing half my body fat in 12-weeks, Acting in movies, teaching people how to travel around the world for free, and getting engaged to a beautiful Mexican señorita.

    I never imagined myself writing and inspiring people. I never imagined myself living such a remarkable life without millions in the bank.

    It just takes a shift in the mindset. That’s it.

    Thanks Scott. Great post.

  • Fab

    Hi Scott,

    interesting article!!

    1) As far as, “1,000,000 in the bank isn’t the fantasy. The fantasy is the lifestyle of complete freedom it supposedly allows.” by Tim Ferriss.

    Actually in his case, the truth is quite different because is net worth is something about $15,000,000!!

    2) The story you have reported is not related at all to the subject “Living off Your Passion” because the Mexican man mainly lives for a life of pleasures which is quite different just to use a euphemism !!

    All the best!

    Fab, greetings from Italy.

  • Deacon Bradley

    This is awesome Scott! I think for me it’s not even so much about going someplace amazing (although I wouldn’t turn it down). For me it’s about the time to be able to do so. With a salaried job I’m pretty much stuck with the time off they give me, which is why I’m busting my ass to change things :).

  • Arushi

    Scott, you and my mum sound so alike! I’ve just graduated in November, and I’ve been waiting ever since then for a visa to go work at an awesome studio where I scored a job.
    During this long, seemingly endless wait, I started working on stuff that I was really passionate about – handicrafts and repurposing/upcycling. I’m enjoying myself so much now, that I wonder if this is my dream job :)

  • Magu Bee

    I love this!

    I have actually been to Koh Tao as far as a week back, doing my scuba diving and freediving courses. Before that I was in Bangkok, did a zip lining jungle trek in Laos and enjoyed Singapore for a while just after attending the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix finals (most of which I didn’t have to pay for, not even 1$).

    Opening oneself up to other people and the opportunities some unexpected relations bring is priceless. Well, actually, it does have a price – one you would put on dreams coming true :)

  • Courtney Crosslin

    This is right on time! Just in the last two weeks, I’ve had to explain and defend (twice in court) my choice to live a simple life and explain how I travel and live without large sums of money in the bank.

    “They” wanted to know why I choose not to drive, how I manage to travel without a 9-5, why I travel, etc. It felt like a witch hunt!

    They couldn’t (or refused to) understand why I choose not to work myself crazy or into a hospital.

    Why? Because most of my work days look like…

  • Business Man

    Hi Scott, the ibanker and fisherman story is a classic life lesson story. People should read it every once in a while to remember what’s important.

    I work in finance and a guy whose blog I follow wrote a somewhat similar story…good read.

    • Klemen H

      Great article. Very relevant for tech / internet entrepreneurs. I love the guy’s writing style.

  • Guest

    Thanks Scott for a great article Scott. It is always great to remember the fisherman story. Enjoy your time in Thailand.

  • Yaron

    Thanks Scott for a great article.
    I love the fisherman story. It is one of the stories that I always keep in mind when when I think about my actions and the future.
    Thanks for the reminder and enjoy Thailand.

  • Mike

    I so need a vacation.

  • Cathy

    The very good knowledge you have written here so that we know how to reach our goal and feel like a millionaire. You have given a very good inspiration to us for doing the right things in order to get success in the life.

    Many thanks,


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