This column, “Escape Artist,” is a series about folks who have escaped. More importantly, this biweekly column is for those thinking about trading in their 9-to-5, leg-shackled-to-the-desk existences in order to grab life at the roots and forge their own way. The brave outliers featured in this collection of interviews are the digital nomads, the online entrepreneurs, and the lifestyle trendsetters, who decided it was time to say to hell with the humdrum and go elbow deep to grab life by the roots.
Marcello Arrambide runs Wandering Trader, a travel blog that covers travel deals, travel destinations and the location-independent lifestyle. Since 2009, Arrambide has lived in 12 countries across five continents and visited more than 90 countries. Through his Day Trading Academy, Arrambide has trained others how to work in the stock market for a few hours a day and earn enough to travel. Wandering Trader and Day Trading Academy have been featured in CNN, USA Today, Business Insider and BBC. In 2016, Arrambide is looking forward to extensive trips to Cambodia, New Zealand and the Great Ocean Road in Australia.
Paste Travel What was the “aha” moment that sparked ongoing travel for you in 2009?
Marcello Arrambide When I was in college, I took a trip to Italy for an exchange program. Living in Sicily for more than a year completely changed my mentality on life. Once I graduated college and became comfortable day trading (and had enough money saved up), I wanted to test the waters and see if I could travel around the world and still be able to work. I took trips to Iceland, Costa Rica and Argentina. I spent an extended three weeks in Argentina to see if it was possible. I realized that it was exactly the life I wanted to live.
PT How does a life of travel compare to your life before you got on the road?
MA When I graduated college, I was day trading but also had a minimum wage job. Even though I was doing really well in the financial markets, I always worried about leaving my job due to the insecurity. I would day trade from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then go to work from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Now I am able to wake up whenever I want because I can choose my own schedule.
PT Why did you decide to focus on trading and the idea of “Wandering Trader”?
MA The original idea for Wandering Trader was to provide leads for my day trading business. Then it turned into a personal blog about my travels. I never imagined that I would be able to inspire so many people around the world. I still share my personal stories and information about day trading via the blog. I want to show people that anyone can learn how to day trade.
PT As “Wandering Trader,” you also fill a niche I haven’t seen on other travel blogs. Have other traders followed in your footsteps?
MA To be honest, yes. Years ago, I didn’t see many traders who were traveling, but now it seems that everyone is doing it. People love the idea of being able to work from a laptop anywhere in the world. When you have the ability to make money even during an economic crisis, that is something special. Day trading is the only profession where you can actually make more money in bad times than in good times.
PT The “dream job” and “travel blogging” mentality also seems to be booming. Does the market seem saturated, and how do you stay connected with your followers?
MA Every year more and more travel bloggers crop up. Travel blogging is tough work until you break out of the herd. Most people have to eventually go back to work, and then the site just sits there. The difference with many of the travel bloggers I started with is that they created a way to monetize their work so they can stay on the road. I try to stay connected with my readers by answering all the emails and questions that I get every day. It is hard work to stay in touch with everyone, but I always like to respond because I would like people to respond to me as well.
PT What is one tip you have for readers who want to live a life like yours?
MA Take the risk. At the end of our lives we will regret the things we didn’t do more than the things that we could have done.
PT Do you have a favorite travel spot you’d like to share with Paste readers?
MA I have a few favorite countries: Colombia, Brazil, Israel, Belgium and Ethiopia. When people read that list, most ask about Colombia and Ethiopia. Colombia is not as dangerous as everyone thinks it is, and Ethiopia is one of the countries that most people don’t consider for travel. Both are incredible.
PT What are you most excited to focus on in 2016?
MA The markets and my trip to Asia. The markets are going crazy right now and everyone is scared. Being a day trader, however — and I hate to say this — I am extremely excited because the upcoming volatility and volume will mean good profits in the markets. Also, I am excited about the trip to Cambodia, New Zealand and Australia because they are places where I haven’t explored deeply even though I have been to nearly 100 countries.
Carolyn Crist is a freelance journalist based in Georgia. She writes about travel, health and business for regional and national publications.