Non-Verbal Communication

My wife is outstanding at knowing what I’m thinking. She’ll tell me what I’m thinking. In fact, sometimes I didn’t even know I was thinking that. (Sound familiar?)
She knows what I’m thinking because my face reveals a lot while we’re talking. My eyes, especially my eyebrows, how my mouth is formed, where I’m looking – all communicate my feelings at the time. And as I write this, I understand this is probably why my friends enjoy playing poker with me. They watch, they know – they win.
The value of recognizing and reading non-verbal communication is obvious. If you can “read” people’s non-verbal communication, you’ll win. Much more than at poker, of course.
What made me write this? I was writing messages to include in month 6 or 7 of the “Gone in 1 Year” program, and it hit me how non-verbal communication really affects home and poker life. So helpful to be aware of our own face and posture when speaking with others.
Have a great day everyone!

What Does English Sound Like?

Ever wonder what English sounds like, if you don’t speak English?

Watch and enjoy:

Pretty neat, isn’t it? It’s as if you know they’re speaking English, but you just can’t understand them, like they’re speaking too softly. But it’s not English at all, it’s nonsense; no real communication at all. And if you’re a native English speaker, you know this to be true immediately.

Continue reading What Does English Sound Like?

Why Learn a New Language

I’m writing a post on why to learn a foreign language? Really? The question shouldn’t be “why” but “why not??
But what the hell, I’ll go with the “why.”

First, I’ll bet today, you believe you’re smart enough, attractive enough, interesting enough and people like you. Am I right?
Continue reading Why Learn a New Language

Thirteen Years of National Emergency

Heard the News?

Just in case you missed the news, US President Obama quietly extended the country’s status of national emergency. I’m guessing you missed that bit of news. Though, you probably didn’t miss the fact the year is now 2014.

I know what you’re thinking… it’s 2014, and the terrorist attack which killed nearly 3000 people on September 11, 2001 happened in 2001. That’s like …13 years ago. Yup, 13 years. Yup, the US, the most (insert here: powerful/wealthy/nuclear-tipped/war faring/inch-measuring) country in the world, still running scared in a state of national “Oh GAWD, the sky is falling!” emergency.

It's a trap!

Thirteen Years. Seriously?

Do you know what you were doing during the attack? For millions of Americans, it’s the annual conversation-starter question, if ever there was one.

Continue reading Thirteen Years of National Emergency

The World’s 10 Most Expensive & Cheapest Cities To Live

You want to work abroad. You follow the steps, nail the interview and hear their salary offer.

Is it enough? How much is enough?

Sure, now you know how much you’re taking in. But how much will be going out? How much for a month’s rent, a loaf of bread, a gallon of gas?

For some cities, you’ll make more than enough to pay for a good life, plus sock away the rest in savings.

And for some cities, …well, you should have countered with a higher salary.

How should you have known? You could have known. Research.

For now, let me give you the 10 most expensive and the 10 cheapest cities. If your city isn’t one of them, read on.

Continue reading The World’s 10 Most Expensive & Cheapest Cities To Live

Who the Hell Is Terry Fox?


I have a small life lesson to share: Don’t ever ask “Who the hell is Terry Fox?” when you’re talking to a Canadian.

You can say “Hmmm, it’s interesting you bring up Terry Fox, tell me more?” or say “I’m eager to learn more about Terry Fox.”

But please, trust me, you don’t want be snarky when asking about this Canadian legend.

Continue reading Who the Hell Is Terry Fox?

45 Life Lessons, Written By a 90 Year Old

This has been posted on the Internets more times than my phone number on bathroom stall walls across the world. But, like in both cases, why not post again, hoping for more action?

  1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
  4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
  5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. Continue reading 45 Life Lessons, Written By a 90 Year Old

Canada’s a Magnet for People Unlocking Cell Phones

Did you catch the news that since last Saturday, it’s now illegal to unlock your phone? You probably did.

But did you hear how big the penalties are? For first-time offenders, we’re talking half a million dollars and up to 5 years of jail time! Yeah, that’s a serious f***-ing penalty for a new law.

UPDATE: This post was originally written in 2013. As of early 2015, the act of unlocking a phone in the US is now legal again, with one condition. If the phone company agrees your contract term (typically 2 years) is satisfied, then they must agree to unlock your phone if you request it. (Thanks Joel!)

If you’re a techno-phobe, left wondering what “unlocking” even means, here’s the skinny: A “locked” phone can only be used with one service provider, like AT&T. When unlocked, you can use the same expensive phone with Sprint, Verizon, etc. The common argument is “But I paid big money for that phone…why couldn’t I use it with any provider I want?” The industry answer is typically “You only thought it was your phone…ours and (you) will always be ours.

What does this mean for Expats like yourself?

When I travel, I take my phone with me. In fact, I’ll be taking my new iPhone 5 with me to Prague when I go in 2 weeks. I did some serious research before buying my iPhone 5. Even got Expat Yourself community members in on the discussion.

When I travel, I take my phone’s SIM card out and replace it with a local SIM. That gives me a local phone number and data plan for temporary use. But when a phone is “locked” – that’s not an option.

Luckily for most of the world’s travellers, this “locked” business really only happens with American cellular phone providers. (Yes, for example in Britain, everyone’s phone can freely be switched over from provider to provider.)

So, before an American travels abroad, he must first pay a small fee ($20-$50) to unlock the phone.

Oh, but not anymore. Now, that fee is gone, and replaced with jail-time.

Isn’t There a Hero In The House (or continent)?

But Wait! — There’s Canada to the rescue! In Canada, there’s much public discussion around a draft bill. The draft was initiated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. They made the draft public (imagine that!) and invited any and all feedback (and imagine that!!). Crazily enough, the public like it. Why? Because some of it is exactly opposite of what the US recently passed. Whether causal or coincidence, it looks like Canadian smartphone owners may soon be all the envy of American smartphone users.

Now, am I saying you should move to Canada to enjoy more features on your newest iPhone, Android, or smartphone? Of course not. That’s like suggesting you move from Provo, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada to access electric fuelling station for your electric car. There are far better reasons to move to Las Vegas…and there are far better reasons to move to Canada.

Canadian Freedom

How To Start Your Own Country


Make Your Own Country and Live There!

Brainstorming time.  What do we need?  There are lots of options, but we’ll start with the 3 basics: Land, People, and Government.  (do we even need that last one?  We’ll see…)


land is yoursYou need a place to plant your feet. And your flag.

This could be a continent (but I think they’re all spoken for), or a peninsula, or an island.  If you’re going ultra-cheap, a raft and anchor works.

You need land for obvious reasons: you need a tree or two for your hammock, a vegetable garden for eats, and depending how likeable you are, you might like a wall.  Yup, you need land.

Where to get:

Going with islands, there are plenty for sale.  Yes, some cost millions, but some are actually affordable.  Here are a few examples:

#1: Dokis Marina Island, Ontario, Canada

Nestled in beautiful Ontario, Canada.  Cost: $225,000.  Sure, at half an acre, it’s small.  But it comes with a house, and a 19′ boat.  Best of all, the detached cabin can sleep 4 of your closest friends (who happened to drop by).   More info here

#2: King’s Island, Denmark

It’s a fortress & artificial island.  Cost: $12,000,000.  17 acres with 200 room estate.  Complete with dual Hawk missile defence.

Best of all, it’s located 15 minutes between Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden (2 of my favourite cities).  More info here

Kings Island


#3: Isla Gatun, Panama

It’s 3/4 acre large island in a manmade lake.  Cost: $30,000. (WOW!)  No house, but construction possible.  Complete with cellphone coverage from mainland Panama.

Best of all, it’s … $30,000.  More info here

If you want to try “shopping” for your own island, try HERE (islands for under $250,000)


we the peopleMost important thing for a country, second to its land: citizens.  Odds are, you’re starting with a population of 1: you.

But is that enough?  If you’d like company, convince your spouse or buddy to share the “founding father” duty.

Before you know it, you’re building up your new country’s credibility with cool stats like Birth Rate and Immigration!



The law of the land.  Maybe this isn’t a positive thought… maybe your old government made you want to get out and start a new country.  But whatever the case, having some ground rules is necessary.  At least, that’s what the United Nations says is needed before you apply for sovereign nation status.

The easiest way is to assume you’re a libertarian (small government & personal liberties are a good thing).  You’ll want to rule very simply and leave everything to its inhabitants.  But wait, both the Gov and the inhabitants are one ….you.  Cool!  Done.

What are you waiting for?   Get out there and grab your land!  Here’s a shopping list

Optional other stuff

You got land, people and government taken care of.  What else is there?  Oh, you want to invade someone?  And someone to loan you money for it?  Well, let’s keep going…


Not necessary for everyone, but helps if you’re a dominatrix or you like entangling alliances.

Side note facts: About 15 countries, or 7% of the world’s nations have no military.

Another 6 or so have no standing army, but some sort of national police/defence presence.

A prime example of a country that feels no need is Costa Rica.  If they can swing it, why can’t you?


coconut tradeYour new country might have natural resources, like wood, fresh water or coconuts.  You laugh, but there are a lot of countries out there that don’t have coconuts.  If they want to buy yours.  How do you handle that?  That’s your industry.

And you can earn money from your own personal skills.  Maybe you’re a great writer, singer, cabinet maker, coconut husker, or whatever.

Given your valuable skill or natural resource, you just need to find a market for it and make payment simple — those are the 3 essential steps to a startup, according to Chris Guillebeau in his recent book “The $100 Startup.”



Okay, this is a tough call to even touch on.  However you decide, I only suggest you back up your currency against something of true value, e.g. gold, silver, …coconuts.

When you start declaring your currency as “legal tender, because we say so!” …well, you’re no better than the guys you left.  (see fiat money)

Bottom Line

You know, all this talk about making your own country…. it’s not really necessary.  You can bet there’s already a country out there that’s just like you would do it.  It may be easier to just move there!

Go on out there… try them out!


Drop a Comment

If you think I’m missing a key ingredient (or have too many), let me know.  If you have a buddy you’d like to come with, send this their way.