008 | Redefining Adventure Near and Far with Ed Tee

This episode, Ed takes adventure to the next level with ways to experience adventure near and far.   Ed is a husband and father originally from Singapore now in Washington.  Prior to Covid he was a sophisticated travel hacker, but now more of an aspiring polyglot.  Others might also say he’s a tax optimizer, a geo-arbitrage schemer, homeschooler, entrepreneur, and just adding a budding asian cuisine chef…Right?  Let’s just say Ed Tee has become one of my adventure Super Heros.  This episode will demonstrate, there is not much he hasn’t done as he works to leave his own mark on the world.  

In preparing for this interview I dove deep into what it means to be a polyglot: which is the study of multiple languages.  While Ed only speaks 2 languages fluently, I believe he said he can speak at an elementary level in I believe 12 languages.  For listeners who may not be familiar with geo-arbitrage, it’s the ability to live anywhere.  As you will hear Ed spends a significant amount of time in various countries.  I am so grateful Ed was able to join us and take us on a wild ride just touching on a few of his adventures and give us all some tips and free resources to support our own adventure journey.  

Military Experience
Language Learning
Unlikely Cooking Lessons in Thailand
Length of travel and depth of experiences
Teenage daughter inspired most iconic adventure for the entire family
Homestead experience in Western Mongolia
Travel hacking
2020 version of adventure
Lifestyle fueled by Financial Independence

Key Takeaways:

I just wanted to recap with a couple of key takeaways that I noted throughout this episode. 

  1. Embrace the suck.  Making the best of an experience can open your mind to new possibilities.
  2. Once you realize you can belong anywhere, and be happy, the whole world opens up to you.  
  3. Language and food are critical aspects to local culture.  Authentic local experiences typically don’t require extensive tourism.
  4. You don’t need to be fluent, but the attempt to learn the language builds connections.  Define a benchmark such as ordering a beer.  
  5. The military can be a path to explore the world and make meaningful connections.  
  6. Traveling the world is “more than collecting stamps in your passport.”  
  7. Is hunched over cooking at a street vendor push cart what you imagined for local cooking lessons?  Maybe it could be.  
  8. While American safety standards exist for a reason, be open to what the standards in the community you are visiting.  Lean in – get curious.  You might be opting out with your hidden bias.  
  9. Is anyone else craving yummy Asian cuisine now?!  Note to self: go to Thailand and indulge.  It’s cheaper than Mac-N-Cheese at home 🙂
  10. Look for inspiration everywhere.  The curiosity of his teenage daughter took them on one of the most iconic experiences for their family.  
  11. Someti mes the greatest experiences will happen in the most unlikely places.  Memorable experiences are not always synonymous with comfort.  
  12. Adventure and travel is a tool to reinforce children’s learning.  
  13. The buddy system is a good practice, even for remote locations like Western Mongolia
  14. Not traveling in 2020 led to adventures in learning a new language and Japanese home cooking.  Language and food were 2 large chunks of his travel experiences.  What are big chunks of your travel experience.  
  15. The key to allowing their family the flexibility and freedom to travel extensively was a combination of Financial Independence and Homeschooling.  
  16. Financial Independence = Earn More, Spend Less, and Invest the difference.  Maintain a reasonable lifestyle that keeps your spending aligned with your values.  Make investing simple using broad-based index funds.  After 10 years they were able to draw 3-4% to cover their annual living expenses.  
  17. Fill the gap by being willing to take odd jobs or ad-hoc consulting.  This gave them the ability to be anywhere in the world.
  18. Free Resources Referenced during the Show:
    1. Financial Independence 5-day Challenge: Free FI challenge for people short on time and just want something bite-sized and action-oriented: choosefi.com/challenge.
    2. FI 101: Free FI course for Everyone: for people who want to get started and dive deep into FI: the Foundation’s FI101  choosefi.com/fi101.
    3. Choose FI Travel Rewards course: Your shortcut to traveling better using less money with travel rewards.  https://travel.choosefi.com
  1. Pimsleur Language Learning Series: CD set available from local library system.  Recommended by the military and available in about 50 languages.  
  2. Asian Home-cooking: http://Justonecookbook.com  with Nami.   
  3. To see the video his daughter created on the Western Mongolian Experience: Mongolia – YouTube

Seriously, I learned so much in my 30 minutes with Ed. I’m just loving this community. I love having the Sherpas of this group contribute and tell their stories. And so this was just one example of many more to come.  Thank you so much for joining me folks. Ordinary Sherpa is all about connecting and community.  It’s also about learning from each other.  We’d love to hear one take away from you and continue this conversation in the Ordinary Sherpa Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ordinarysherpa

Where to Listen

Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher,  Google Podcast, anywhere podcasts are played