Back in early 2019, I wrote an article about why I quit social media as a full-time travel blogger. I think I gave up an audience of around 10-50k people (when that was a lot) that got me into newspapers and magazines and even got invited onto national TV.
Since then my thoughts around this have evolved a lot. I won’t repeat what I wrote in the old article so read that (if you haven’t) along with my Instagram Influencer article.
Memetics and life
My early life was walking a lonely (to others) path. Being Goan/Indian, dropping out of college, not having anything lined up, and just leaving home with a backpack.
I just had to believe in the actual reality of the world that I could observe for myself.
An interesting note: I met my friend John Denney on week 2 of leaving (April 2016) while couch surfing. Last year while we were in El Salvador he had said “I met a lot of people in my travels, they all talked about quitting their bubbles and just traveling the world. Jeremy’s the first one I met that said it and ended up doing it”
I didn’t use role models in my life. I only cared about what was true. I understand that most people don’t work that way.
Example: Can a travel blog make money? If so what is the work is needed and what’s the roi of time?, those are objective questions with objective answers that lead to ‘how SEO works’ or ‘how the Instagram algorithm works’.
But people search for role models and instead of talking about the ‘Instagram algorithm’ they talk about how the travel bloggers they see aren’t brown. ‘Cool you just played yourself’
think ‘telling people that they’re missing the point’ is the new ‘someone is wrong on the Internet and I need to correct them’
Even Tim Ferriss, I read the 4-hour work week after I was already working online and traveling the world. (found it a great read for time management tho)
Today that manifests in weird ways.
1. Recently someone asked me what I do, told them about internet bizes and they asked ‘will it last?’
I laughed and just said “lasted for 7 years, what do you think?”
2. But also the other way around
‘Jeremy it’s thanks to your old articles from 2018 that I finally was able to travel to southeast asia’
‘I’m making 10x my income thanks to you’
“Well, it’s really good that in 2018 Jeremy was motivated enough to write those articles.”
Neither negative nor positive actions by other people around having my shared reality matter much to me.
I’m happy that I can help others but both people agreeing and disagreeing with me rarely affects how I feel about what I do.
People believing I can travel the world or not doesn’t make the actual reality of traveling the world easier or harder. The more I’ve lived my life, the more I’ve realized that shared realities are irrelevant to how reality works.
It’s not like a friend deadlifting 3x bodyweight makes 4x easier for me. 200kg is 200kg.
People are mimetic and often need others to stand next to them if they’re going to say ‘everyone is wrong’. And also with something like ‘competence’ most people play other people’s games vs just playing single-player games.
Single-player games aren’t ‘better’, it often comes down to whether you are a people person or not.
2. Mimetics and Truth
There a 4chan meme that in typical 4chan fashion ends up being about men dominanting women😂 but there's a twist to this meme worth thinking about pic.twitter.com/mOkcQIliwg
— Jeremy (@JeremyNoronha) September 25, 2022
Just live life
Back in 2017 when I had an audience there was one particular phase that irked me the most.
Jeremy thanks so much for sharing this, I’m living my dreams through you
I got that message/comment multiple times from multiple people. And every single time it just disgusted me.
Exceptions for the below are someone who is genuinely too old to travel, can’t walk, etc. My mother-in-law lives some of her dreams through my wife because she can’t do them easily. But this exception is rare.
I hear the same excuses from my 20-year-old high school friends as from 60-year-old retirees. That’s some bullshit right there (wrt 20 yr old)
I always felt like shouting, “don’t live your life through me (or anyone), shut down your phone and fucking go live your own life”
Over time I realized that so much of the world works this way. A doctor (except a family doctor etc) doesn’t want you to be completely healthy because then he has no customers, so there are always misaligned incentives.
If your audience follows you for inspiration (which is what most audiences do) then your goal is never to help them achieve their dreams.
Who the fuck wants to follow a travel blogger when you can just go to the same places and explore things for yourself?
For example, the only ‘travel’ person I sometimes check out is Lord miles cause he does stuff I wouldn’t do. Like chilling with the Taliban etc.
Podcasts I recommend listening to:
Fight the power
Growing up I was angry a lot. I wanted to fight back against the chains that held me down.
I have a very vivid story about this.
I was 15-16 and was going to a semi-religious higher secondary school. There was a special day and we had to go to mass for one day the next week.
We were in chemistry class and I started talking back to the teacher saying that “Either you believe in what you are teaching me in which case I don’t have to go to church or you don’t believe the shit here and I don’t have to pay attention to you. You can’t have both.”
I was a very militant atheist and I wanted to read my non-school books at the back of the class and the teacher was telling me to ‘pay attention
Anyways I was sent to the principal’s office cause I wouldn’t stand down. I was clear that either you make me go to church and I can ignore my classes or you can’t force me to go to church.
So it escalated further and my mom was called in (who I had been already fighting about with religion for about a year now) and I was like ”yeah I don’t believe your bullshit and I’m not going to play your make believe games”.
Long story short: I won the argument, and the school acknowledged that they can’t force me to pray to their god but they can make me attend the mass as a school event and that day I had 4 teachers making sure I was sitting in the church.
My friend “D” just decided not to go to church. Cause outside little-fighter-have-to-win-the-argument Jeremy they didn’t check if anyone else was there.
I won the argument, and “D” won the reality.
So as a kid I had this anger around the chains I grew up with (religion being one of many). I wanted to fight the system, my parents and everyone else around me every time I could.
On one hand, it’s understandable, when you’re 15 ‘exit’ is not always an option. “Voice” is so you scream louder.
But as I turned 18, my anger went away cause I stopped trying to change systems, people, beliefs, etc. I just left.
My story on covid vaccines was a good example of that, I didn’t try and waste any strength on fighting mandates I just observed the reality that mandates didn’t exist in many places and just went there.
I’m happy that people ‘fight’ and as I shared in Rejecting Modernity maybe I have a bit too much ‘exit’ mentality. But I wasn’t always this way, I started out using voice and yes voice works but much slower and I personally don’t vaule society enough to wait.
I’ve done a lot of ‘extreme’ things in my life. Every time I look back I always like “oh yeah that happened”
1. Negative bank account
In my ‘origin story’ I shared how 6 months into my travels I had a negative bank account (withdrew money and then fx fees hit causing it to go negative) and was living in a tent eating peanut butter from a jar.
The hilarious part was once when I was marketing my blog on a forum, someone said that I was ‘privileged enough to have a bank account and not everyone in the world had a bank account (that could go negative)’
Yes, the Internet is that stupid. Don’t waste time in holier-than-thou games. (at least I got paid for the above by growing my blog, some of you reading this are having stupid arguments on the internet and don’t even get paid for your time)
It was also why it was easier for me to let go of even considering people who use the ‘most people’ argument as to why their own life is soo shit.
2. Bro that didn’t happen
Back in 2019 I shared this post on Reddit. (sidenote this exact post led to an Indian-origin guy leaving the US to travel full time and we ended up becoming friends)
In it I had a line:
“I once was interrogated by immigration officers in Indonesia and I showed them my blog and how I travel and they was amazed and followed my Insta haha!”
The internet in typical cynicism a forum called r/thathappened
Now here’s the thing, for starters the internet is right to be cynical because there’s always someone trying to pull something on you.
I’m not going to win the argument on the internet ever. More precisely because I’m too lazy to even try.
But I’ll win the bigger point which is
The day after the above story happened was the day that I met my wife for the first time in Borneo. So yeah, I lost the internet argument, but I met my wife. (cool trade-off)
Think the above is a perfect example of ‘do you want to win the argument or do you want to win’
I don’t have proof of the Indo immigration officers following me, but for all my friends I had a hilarious article of me breaking into a fans house published in 2018
Funny part of the article tho is I found another snippet that the internet will say ‘yeah right’
Thanks to the above snippet I was able to find a picture.
So, why do I share all this?
There’s a very important reason, it’s not to brag. The quote I heard recently was ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”
I went to a Starbucks this morning and had a latte – little evidence is required, can trust the person.
The coffee I bought was floating cause the shop is haunted – okay you’re going to have to reproduce it multiple times with witnesses.
But here is the thing I’m tired of with ‘the internet’:
I don’t consider my claims extraordinary, I consider and know them to be “obvious” if you just pay attention to the world.
And since I don’t consider them extraordinary I don’t have the patience to ‘explain things’.
Just because what I do is extraordinary to many people doesn’t mean it’s my responsibility to make it obvious.
But if you want an audience, you have to waste your life with ‘evidence’/show your work.
Personally I’ve moved closer to this quote for every year that passes.
“If you don’t believe me or don’t get it, I don’t have time to try to convince you, sorry.” – Satoshi Nakamoto
Not Needing To Have An Audience
An audience will always make you ‘more’ money. More companies will want to work with you etc etc.
But if you already have ‘enough’. It’s better to not have the audience then have to have the audience.
This is where numbers matter to understand ‘enough’.
1. Need Audience to survive.
If you make $1000 and your cost of living is $700. If you give up the audience you’d only get $500 which isn’t enough to survive. In the above case you ‘need’ the audience.
2. Having an Enough
If you make $20,000 and have an audience, but if you gave up the audience you would make $10.000 and your cost of living is $5000 which still allows you to do everything you want.
But in the second option, you have to pick life over money. You have to say $10,000 is ‘enough’
- yes, you’ll always make more money with an audience. But if you make enough (by expanding skills etc) and also work to know how much is enough you’ll don’t need an audience anymore.
- Once you stop working on “audience money” you will have more time to make money without an audience.
Another aspect of this is that when you don’t have an audience you’ll stop ‘living for the gram’.
An example of this from my life is that I visited Istanbul around 6 times in the past 5 years and still haven’t visited the Hagia Sophia. Wasn’t ever intentional, just couldn’t be assed.
Maybe I will the next time around but there’s no ‘fomo’ cause I’ll always be back in Istanbul and if I go it’s just for me not for the crowd. But ‘travel blogger Jeremy’ would believe he wants to see it. But that’s a lie, he just wants to tell the audience that he was there.
Basically, in a phase,
Sunsets without sunset photos might make you realize that you don’t really like sunsets and that’s okay. You might just be a sunrise person or a sit-by-a-lake person
And Addition to the above quote: ‘you might be desensitized to “sunsets without sunset photos” as your dopamine circuits in your brain has been fried from all the years of sharing and it might take a break for you to get sensitized again”
This also isn’t just monetary.
I shared the quote “it’s simpler (but harder) to let go of insecurity than it is to fulfill them”
You don’t need to get 100,000 followers to learn that it won’t help with your self-esteem issues. You can just pay attention to every single person that tries to solve their esteem issues with social media and see how it worked out for them.
So just like my wife jokes that my financial advice is ‘stop being poor’
My life advice often sounds like, ‘just let that insecurity go’
But in the above example, it’s just deleting Instagram. “But I can’t/but I need it for this or that”
‘No, your account is just like everyone else. You have the delete button and all your excuses are bullshit.’
It’s similar to my advice for people who say their attention span is bad. “Just quit the Internet (yes the internet, not just social media) for a week. You can easily read”
Life is that simple.
Again Simple, but hard.
And saying it’s hard is just an excuse, ‘so what?’.
Block Your Mom
My friends often don’t see me struggling with problems so they assume that I never had the problem, to begin with.
Often that’s not the case, instead, I’ve just solved the exact problem by doing the ‘simple obvious shit’ so I don’t have to keep on talking about the things.
An example of money & ‘hustle people’ is the spend savings section of my retirement article. Like if you’re insecure about less money just spend it all and make it back and switch to looking at it as an Ocean with waves.
I can’t talk to any SaaS B2B person about money because all of them live in competitive fear rat-races cause they make 5-6 figures a month but are soo full of fear.
Simple obvious Shit Solution: take a year off, spend saving, and realize that money is better as a river vs a swampy pond.
But a bigger example I can explain this with is my parents
My parents were typical Indian over-communicating-questioning-helicopter etc.
Eg, my dad wanted me to send pictures of the number plate of every bus I was taking. Mom used to call every other day asking how I was etc.
So before I continue I believe the following:
Other people’s emotions and insecurities are their problems, not mine and it’s not my responsibility (if it’s an inconvenience) to accommodate it.
Now it’s a kind thing to accommodate it, but it’s not my responsibility.
Reread the above sentence twice.
So what did I do? Well, I set boundaries, and rules of engagement and I enforced them.
I want to live in a tent and go off the internet so no one can contact me. = don’t cave into the demands of ‘give only us a number we can call
“Mom doesn’t respect me saying ‘stop calling me’ unnecessarily” = blocked her for a month after a warning.
Fast forward 7 years and nowadays my parents aren’t worried at all and oftentimes aren’t aware of which continent I’m in.
In summary, “just because you were born with ‘Indian parents’ doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire life with those ‘Indian parents’ you can set clear boundaries that you enforce, and over time they adjust and change.”
But that means doing the hard things example ‘block your mom’. So I blocked my mom multiple times 7 years ago so that I don’t have to block her today.
I’m not saying you should do the same, but for me it’s was the ‘simple obvious solution’.
Instead, the people who say ‘you can’t block your mom’ will spend the next 20 years of their life living in resentment of their parents. They think they’re being smart and kind, instead, they’re just afraid to do the hard thing.
Somewhere on the internet, you’ll find someone who’ll share another strategy where over 10 years you’re able to do the same gradually.
It’s not that you can’t solve your relationship with your parents gradually over 20 years by close nudges. You can, but do you want to spend 20 years? I didn’t.
Both strategies work, I just happen to have the mentality of ‘solve the problem in 1 year instead of 10’ so we don’t have to talk about it after year 1.
I’m the wrong person to follow if you’re searching for how to start a business while keeping a job cause I’ll tell you step 1 is quitting your job.
Just doing the hard simple thing saves so much time. Also, the earlier you choose hard choices the easier things are (20 year old vs 40 year old with kids and mortgage)
The super obvious shit like “block your mom” always have excuses like “can’t” but unless your phone is designed differently it’s more a belief. “Can’t” always mean “don’t want to/afraid to”.
And the above is fine, but at least I don’t have the patience for people in my life who don’t just do the simple obvious things or repeatedly ask for advice but never do the thing.
The above might be the best explanation of the quote from my previous article “most people are living life on hard more cause of false beliefs”
Meet people where they are
Speaking about my mom, I thought I’d share a relevant story
Recently my mom won the National Award for Teachers from the President of India.
She became a principal of a school in a rural town in India 9 years ago. Before her, there was rarely if ever a year when everyone in this school graduated.
It was remote and very disadvantaged kids. Almost every child probably has one or both parents not having the ability to read or write.
Anyways she revamped the school completely, and in the next years, the school had 100% results every year. The kids went from dropping out to winning competitions at a state level.
Sidenote: This is also what’s happening in El Salvador with the gang violence and kids. Listen to people living there.
What did my mom do?
Something simple that is very necessary. She met people where they were.
As a teacher that’s what you have to do. You understand what your student need and you try multiple ways to communicate the same thing.
Meeting people where they are is also a necessary attribute if you want to have an audience/be a good teacher.
For example, if you want to be the guy that helps someone make their first $1000 online, you can become that guy and spend the next 10 years helping people do that. You will realize that different person has different triggers that help that.
Some people read books others listen to podcasts. So you do everything. I have friends who enjoy doing this, they find sharing the same idea in different ways enjoyable.
But here’s the thing: If you choose to be that guy you’ll always have a churning audience. You’ll never run out of people that you can help make their first $1000. So if you identify with that identity, the world will always let you stay that person.
Some people have that in their personalities (my mom and John) are similar in that. John is now running the largest Bitcoin education project in the world.
But I don’t have that personality. Even in life, I can live anywhere in the world but I rarely go meet people “where they are” (literally). Instead, I want to meet people where I am.
Even my closest friends, in the past 5 years I’ve spent more time chatting with my friends from Goa In Albania than I have gone back to meet them in Goa.
Similarly; yes I believe people can have some benefits from reading a summary of a book like Antifragile but I would still just tell them to read the actual book 4 times instead of talking to me about it.
On the internet, you’re often told to change your personality to ‘meet people where they are’. I agree that it’ll give you a larger audience.
But another option is ‘giving up the audience and making people meet you where you are’ and that’s fine too.
Taking The Good Parts
One of the recent shifts, when I started writing in 2021, is all my readers to my thoughts are friends sending my article to other friends.
The most important part is that it becomes a web of trust where thanks to the referral I don’t have to ‘hold punches’ or explain myself all the time.
Trust is higher which means information (hopeful) moves easier.
But one of them shared a joke recently, “you don’t just read Jeremy’s articles, you have to live them. I started sharing Jeremy’s articles with ‘A’ friend and now I managed to get her to go to a 10 days vipassana.”
Yes 😂 exactly!
Aristotle said it first “the purpose of knowledge is action, not knowledge”
Another way I described is, I want to write stuff I can link back to in conversations I have with friends or even better ‘save time on useless conversations’.
Eg. I said the following to a friend: “If you had read the book Antifragile multiple times, we wouldn’t have had to have the conversation around barefoot shoes, or fasting or keto or rest or quitting jobs/stable income, etc etc etc.”
But I also want to help my ‘expanding friend + reader circle’ get more free.
Free: in the sense that, I don’t want 100,000 reading my articles. I want 20-50 people that I meet all over the world that are independent so we meet in random national parks and take 6-hour hikes and talk. And not people I have to ‘schedule a lunch’
Ie. help my friends and their friends break from stupid cages with open doors. (money, health, stress, society)
Over the years I got a lot of benefits from having an audience, I slept on some of their couches, I connected with their friends, and I got famous.
But I think today I want to swap an Audience for a tribe. Much much fewer people but people who I’ll meet IRL and lift weights with, climb mountains with, chill and talk about life, etc.
The progress will be slower, but it’s something I find genuinely valuable.
Run With It
In a podcast, I heard recently there was a perspective I’ve had for a while.
“I spent 30 years researching this subject and finding the faults. So I share that with my students so they don’t have to spend the 30 years that I did and they can go further.” – a Professor
Most people haven’t met many ‘adults’ like above.
Instead, people have met insecure ‘kids’ who have the mindset of “I’ve spent 40 years to get here and so should you” just a lot of schadenfreude
I don’t have time for the second group of people at all so I act like they don’t exist or matter (because they don’t)
Instead, I like and try to model my articles around the first idea.
I don’t believe my thoughts are better than the books I mention, BUT I do think they compliment them and I want the people who read my articles to run ahead of me with them.
However, since the above is true, my articles are often 10x more useful after you’ve read the books I try and mention.
So let’s get all my friends richer (and freeer) whenever I bring up money & healtier (whenever I talk about fitness) so they get the time to read the books too and run with my conclusions and suprise me on the other side😁
Amazing article Jeremy. Knowledge with action is the key takeaway.
Loved the part about Indian parents