Fast Forward 3 Years: What’s Been Happening!

Written 8 November 2016.

It’s been almost three years since I last updated this blog.

I’ve inserted it as a blog from just after I left off, so that you don’t have to see this as your first post every time you visit this site.  But it’s November 2016 as I write this.

Many times I’ve been inspired to keep writing on here; in fact I’ve written many posts about our adventures over the past few years but they’re sitting there unpublished.

So now I plan to attempt to mix new posts in with old posts, and get this blog back up to date.

We’ve had some amazing times in the last 2 years. We’ve been to Sri Lanka, Nepal, New Zealand, Borneo, The Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, and as always, Thailand and Laos.


Exploring the jungles of Borneo

I stopped writing the blog mainly because our online businesses really started gaining momentum so I decided to devote the time I spent online to growing these.

As we gradually were able to step back from our responsibilities in Laos, at first due to having more westerners help out and then because over time the staff became more skilled and able to take care of more themselves, we started to focus on our online ventures again.


The Online Businesses

Saltwater Aquarium Advice was always ticking over in the background; without it and the income it produces we would never have had the freedom to even start Forest Retreat or Bamboo Lounge. So the time had come to ramp it up again, and it started to take off in a big way using our refined Facebook strategy.

Through this, we started to get a little bit known, and people started asking us how we were making money online.

This spawned another business, Our Freedom Blueprint. Here we share our Facebook strategy that we’ve honed and continued to refine over the last couple of years and teach others how to do exactly what we do, to make an income online.


Cruising around Palawan, Philippines


More Travelling and loosening the reins of Bamboo Lounge

We started spending more and more time away from Laos, as the staff started to become more capable of running things by themselves.

What had once been the ability to leave for a week or two, turned in being able to leave for months at a time (through a gradual increase) so we found ourselves with a lot more freedom.

This also meant the time we did spend in Laos was more about having fun and chatting with customers. Everyone we talked to in Luang Namtha wanted to know how we’d ended up in Laos, and although this in itself wasn’t too different from when we were in the restaurant full time, it started to dawn on us that there were so many travellers wanting to do what we’d done, only most of them wanted to do it on a smaller scale.

We started talking to lots of different businesses and found that there were hundreds of businesses wanting help, and thousands of travellers wanting to help out – or travel in a more meaningful way.

So Swap Work for Travel was born, and we had lots of fun connecting with many travellers and businesses using the same Facebook strategy mentioned above.


Hiking in the Himalayas, Nepal

Another venture

By this time, we were travelling around and helping quite a few different businesses with Facebook and their websites… and this led to more businesses hearing about us and asking how we implement our Facebook and Website strategies into our businesses.

We took on a new challenge: fully systemize our other businesses, so that we could devote time to helping more businesses.

This was the creation of another business: Amplify.

Here we work with businesses to optimize their Facebook Marketing strategy and website. This is our current ‘baby’ and we’re getting so much joy from this because the results are so tangible.

It’s really satisfying for us to be able to make a difference for other people’s lives, whether via their business, their travels, or teaching them now to earn income online.

Our lake front houes in Sri Lanka
Sunrise from the patio on our lake front house in Sri Lanka


Life now

Right now it really does feel like the adventures we’ve had and are having, combined with the people we’re now able to help is a very fulfilling way of life for us.

Amplify is our business passion and Andrej still is in love with marine life and saltwater aquariums as a hobby; so being in Asia around oceans a lot of the time, travelling, and working on these different businesses seems to work for us at the moment, combining our business and leisure passions!

Moving forward we intend to spend more time with our families also, in New Zealand.

Over the coming months I intend to get the blog back up to date, and hope it makes for some entertaining reading!