Budapest & the Traveling Entrepreneur

In today’s video, I have a rather unusual update for you: one of the great benefits of running a purely virtual, “all-online” business is that it gives you location independence.

This is a benefit I’ve been making liberal use of in the past few years. Here’s my review of one of my favorite places so far and why I believe long-term travel is an opportunity for yourself as well as your business to grow.


My question to you: what are your favorite cities and places that you’ve ever traveled to and/or lived in? Leave a comment below!

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About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Michel says:

    Great video! I lived for a year in Sofia, Bulgaria to work independently and still continue to travel back (from Switzerland) frequently. Being in a total different environment was one of the greatest learning experiences, as it reframed everyday things that I took for granted (like infrastructure, conveniences, habits and culture) into a new perspective (and it wasn’t worse, but very different). Like waiting 20 minutes for a bus was taken lightly in Bulgaria, while in Switzerland people become literally anxious if the bus doesn’t arrive within 3 minutes of schedule.
    I can clearly recommend Sofia for entrepreneurs, as costs are extremly low (Services, e.g. Dentist, Restaurants, Hotels etc. on “Swiss quality level” are approx. 4-6 times cheaper than in Switzerland).
    By the way, Shane, as I heard you are in BG yourself at the moment, if you need an Alphabet Course, let me know, I am launching one on Tuesday. ;-)

    • Shane says:

      Hi Michel,

      Yes, that’s very well put. I’ve also had this reframing experience many times now.

      I’m still struggling with the Cyrillic alphabet, so maybe your course is just what I need. :)

  • Gary says:

    Hi Shane,

    You speak in the past tense in a few paragraphs regarding Budapest, where next/now?

    Best regards,

    Onwards and upwards.


    • Shane says:

      I’m in Bulgaria, at the moment. I’m not sure how long I’ll be here or where I’m headed next. I might escape the winter, or I might sit it out right here. :)

  • Terry Mason says:

    Budapest looks amazing. Europe’s cities are much more interesting than what we have in the USA. I’ve spent some time in the UK (Oxford) and Italy. Although I had an apartment in Florence I enjoyed visiting Rome very much. I spent 4 years traveling up and down the western US and Canada with my home base in Southern California. I’ve lived in cold areas (North Eastern US), hot humid areas (Florida), and hot dry areas (Arizona)… I prefer the milder warmer less humid climate of California. I love visiting the cities… mostly nearby San Diego but I prefer the less congested and quite suburbs. I really like Victoria on Victoria Island in British Columbia Canada. It has a European feel while being on the edge of the wilderness… and the Puget Sound… I love it there. I just returned from Provo Utah. This is a pretty nice spot located between huge mountains on one side and a large lake on the other. It was 29 degrees F when I left… so I had to get out and return home to sunny California.

    • Shane says:

      Thanks for your comment, Terry!

      I envy anyone who’s currently experiencing good weather. I’ve not seen any of the American continent, but I hope to amend that next year, with a visit to a few places in South America.

  • Paul Barber says:

    I have been very privileged to live in different countries through my work.
    1. Iraq. Was there for 2 weeks and then the Iraq/Iran war broke out. Stayed 2 week in to the war, getting arrested and bombed in the process and then driving out to Jordan and flying home. As a civilian experiencing war helps you get priorities sorted. (came home and brought a Lotus Elan just for the hell of it)
    2. Oman. Fabulous place. I was privileged to travel extensively within the country including private Palaces and areas out of bounds to most people. Layered gardens of Saaq (not sure of the spelling now) being one of the highlights and driving up the mountain from tropical south coast, into the cloud and coming out the other side in the dessert.
    3. Nigeria. Saw a very different way of life with corruption riff, and life often at risk due to desperate thief’s who put no value on life.
    4. Trinidad. Fabulous beaches and travel to other islands. Caribbean lifestyle wonderful. Most memorable moments watching the turtles lay their eggs (and chasing off poachers) and Marlin fishing.

    All that finished 30 years ago!

    Did have a sort spell in Barbados a couple of years back with a view to moving there. Working remotely worked very well until Hurricane Janet hit (1st one in about 50 years) wiped out the power for over a week, so no internet. unfortunately could not meet revised visa requirements to stay for as long as we wanted (to get our youngest into school)

    Great blog. Where are you now?


    • Shane says:

      Wow. All of that sounds very interesting and also quite dangerous. I clearly have some catching up to do. :)

      I’m currently in Bulgaria, which is also very nice.

  • Mark Webster says:

    I’ve lived in Budapest for over 4 years now. We have a decent group of like minded people, most of whom run their own online businesses. If anyone else is in Budapest, even for a short time, get in touch.

    We have regular nights out and dinners together. Request to join our Facebook group:

    • Shane says:

      Hey Mark,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      To my readers: these guys are awesome. If you’re in Budapest, this is a valuable connection to make, right here.

  • Bence says:

    A reader here from Budapest! Thanks for advertising the city. Yes the language is a bit complicated :) Budapest is definitely more cheaper than Switzerland or USA. I hope you will be back.

    • Shane says:

      Thanks, Bence! I’m sure I’ll be back. I enjoyed my time in Budapest very much and I definitely have to see it again.

  • Rob says:

    Budapest looks great and thank you for your perspective on the entrepreneurial culture that exists there.

    We are currently finishing a 6 month house sit in Panama and are heading to Europe in Jan. Budapest looks like a great place to spend some time.

    • Shane says:

      Thanks for your reply, Rob! Panama looks like a nice place as well. If you come to Europe, I can warmly recommend a stop in Budapest.

  • michel mosca says:

    Great post – as usual – Shane!

    Out of the past 18 years or so I have spent 12 years in India. Experiencing a completely different culture and witnessing the mind boggling changes in this emerging market were both stimulating and challenging.

    I am currently back in Switzerland and have now enjoyed its beauty and convenience for the past 7 months, but quite frankly – I already start to feel a bit itchy here…

    My declared goal is to spend summers in Europe and winters in Asia, and building a good portion of my business online is certainly the way to get this accomplished.

    Wishing you a great time in Bulgaria, which BTW is also one of my candidates for a European summer HQ.


    • Shane says:

      I have a similar goal. Since I’ve been moving around more, I’m starting to feel like cold, dark winters aren’t something I really need to be putting up with. :)

  • Hi Shane, I live in New Zealand and have been travelling and working with my family since January this year. Most of the time we spend in Namibia and Cape Town, South Africa.
    I can recommend both those places. They are easy to live in and the living cost is about half of New Zealand. I have found that my most important challenge is finding good internet connections. Sometimes they can be expensive and slow. It’s best to travel in the off-season as accommodation can then be easily found and quite cheap to. Don’t go there in the main holiday season.
    My favourite place to travel and work by far is Cape Town. It is a brilliant place with heaps of things to do and it’s buzzing.

    • Shane says:

      Yes, the internet connection thing can be a deal-breaker (Romania, surprisingly, has some of the best speeds and connections in the world, though). Also, I’ve definitely experienced more power outages since I started traveling.

      Cape Town sounds very interesting! Never been anywhere near it, yet.

  • Easy to communicate in English with young people?
    OK, in another words, It was easy to pick up women only speaking english haha

    I grew up on Paris/France but I chose to move to Brazil on my own with only 17years, more precisely in Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais state).
    It was an extremely big shift, everything very different and a completely new lifestyle – in a positive way.

    Since I got my business running exclusively online I spent some time on other Brazilian cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Fortaleza (where I spent my last 3 months and recommend, its awesome – I’m coming back for some weeks in january/2015).
    Now I’m in Paris for 2 months but I’m crazy to get back to Brazil on december, where I’ll can enjoy good beach, excellent weather, aquatic sports and speak back with lot of entrepreneurs who live there.

    With a so big and beautiful country I don’t spend lot of time traveling around the world but I want to, I just need to stabilize better my businesses.

    If you got here in South America, get a step on Brazil and let me know maybe we can drink some beers :)

    • Shane says:

      Haha, I like your interpretation. Unfortunately, that’s another thing I didn’t take advantage of properly.

      Brazil is a place I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. Still haven’t made it to South America yet, but it’s high on my list.

  • Sophie says:

    Shane, I am choked up. I left Hungary and Budapest 32 years ago. I left partially because I am an entrepreneur and at that time it was not fashionable or even legal to be that, the taxes were suffocating, and I was hopelessly alone.

    Hearing that you found groups of entrepreneurally minded people is a great surprise. I, for the first time, felt a sting of homesickness, darn.

    I live in the snowy and cold Northeast USA now… and maybe I’ll follow your lead and start living in different countries… a year here and a year there… what an idea. Maybe I am not too old for that yet. I am 67

    I totally enjoy your articles and videos, mostly how you think differently, and how you are more authentic than most marketers I am exposed to. I have even republished some of your stuff for my own audience… and they loved it too.

    thank you.

    • Shane says:

      Wow, that’s incredible. Thanks for this comment, Sophie. Budapest must have changed a lot since you left. All I saw was a brief snapshot of it, of course.

      And yes, I think you should definitely go for it. :)

  • Great perspective as always, Shane.

    I’m currently in Edinburgh, which is a gorgeous city with views to rival Budapest, but as you know, Scotland isn’t the warmest place.

    I’ve had experience living in Seattle, and spending several weeks ‘going native’, i.e. not just being a tourist] in San Francisco and New York [the East Village], and love the vibe in each of them.

    In terms of exotic locations, Bali is still my favourite. The people and culture there are so gentle and friendly, and it’s unbelievably relaxing, with plenty of location independent entrepreneurs living there. Internet connection speed can be an issue, but apart from that, it’s a slice of heaven on Earth…

    • Shane says:

      I can imagine, yes. I was in Ireland towards the end of summer and it was already freezing up there. And that’s still quite a bit south of Edinburgh.

      Sounds like you’ve seen some awesome places as well (and I have some catching up to do).

  • Juan says:

    Hello Shane, We own a cottage in Lahaina – HI and my current business, direct mail, prohibits me from living there all year since most of my business is local in Miami, Fl.

    I am appreciative of all your videos and tools to launch a 110% on line business. I’m really glad i have your team on my side.

    Aloha and Mahalo ;)

    Juan Colome

    • Shane says:

      Hi Juan,

      Glad to provide any help I can with my content. :)

  • Joseph DR says:

    Excellent post, Shane! Thanks for the great info on Budapest.

    I am from Texas and I lived in Germany for two years. I absolutely loved it! It was an amazing experience. Next stop: Costa Rica, and maybe live there for a few years.

    • Shane says:

      That sounds great, Joseph!

      I have a few friends in Germany, but I’ve never been there for a longer period of time. I guess neighboring countries are never as alluring as more distant places. Having said that, I’d love to spend some time in Berlin.

  • Sandra says:

    Wow, I always find it inspiring to hear from fellow entrepreneurs living a geographically free lifestyle :)

    Having grown up in a sleepy town in Germany I was very happy to experience the city flair and charming people in Cologne and Bonn. I then moved to Bristol which I fell in love with — great vibe, close enough to London to provide business opportunities yet also a lot of nature and beautiful Bath on the doorstep.

    Shame I didn’t get a chance to meet you on my visit to Budapest this summer — I totally agree with what you said about how grande Budapest looks. I just walked around for hours and loved it (not to mention those insane roman baths!)

    Bulgaria has it’s plus points, too, though I’m sure – I had a nice skiing holiday there a few years ago… ;-)

    I live in Cornwall at the moment, probably not too far from Rob Cornish (how very fitting with that name!)

    • Shane says:

      Yes, same here. I love reading about all the places people have been to.

  • Marcel says:

    Hi Shane,

    Thanks to confirm what i’m living actually in your Post.

    5 Years ago for a Web Project and the great type from tim ferriss (The 4 hours work weeks) y decided to take one year break and leaved Switzerland for the land of smiles ak Thaïland. The one Year became now 5 and i moved to the Maldives.

    I combine my 2 Passions The Web Business and Diving.
    Actually i’m in Bali for 2 Month and Bali could be definitively one off my next living destination.

    The great with Internet business is that you can work from all around the world as long you get a Internet connection, what not always so easy in Bali.

    For me the hardest part of being a travelling entrepreneur is to stay in focus.
    It is so easy to get distracted but also this open so much your mind that it become priceless.

    Thanks Shane

    • Shane says:

      Bali must be really nice, yes. I remember reading about it when I first thought of spending some time in SE Asia (still hasn’t happened, unfortunately) and it seems like a really nice place.

  • Anuj says:

    Nice to see you enjoyed Budapest. It is quite a happening place indeed.

    Me dad was career military (infantry). So we moved around every 2.5 years… transit camps, training establishments, posh townships, war college, broken villages, hills, plains, rugged plateaus – you name it! This went on until my mid teens, when we settled down in a busy metropolitan.

    Tell me Shane, how is Switzerland?

    I’m the kind who is tired of city life and just want to settle down in a calm peaceful place with vast grasslands, a nice foothill view, NO nightclubs, very little technology, lush gardens, no schools, no colleges and doves cooing every morning :)

    • Shane says:

      That sounds very idyllic.

      Switzerland is very picturesque, very wealthy and very peaceful. I sometimes feel like I grew up in a bubble, with lots of things happening outside (often bad things like wars, economic troubles, floods…) but nothing ever seems to get through to Switzerland.

      This can be a very good thing, of course. But it’s probably also part of the reason I wanted to go and explore the wider world for a bit.

      I think in many ways, it would be a match for your settling down location, except that it’s too small. You won’t find vast grasslands, because there’s simply not enough room for them in this tiny country. :)

  • Hello Shane,

    Favorite places – that’s a difficult one. I have so many having worked in many places around the world.

    Near the top of the list has to be your home turf, Switzerland, where I have worked and tried to buy a house many, many years ago in the days when the Swiss controls did not allow non-nationals to buy houses there; unless your private wealth was so attractive that they ignored their rules.

    I believe I live in the best place. For forty years I have never had a near neighbor. It takes ten minutes to get to one. The scenery is fantastic. The house is 400 years old. The wildlife is abundant. And, yes, I do get a broadband service.

    Where do I live: in the mountain rescue part of the English Lake District. Wherever I travel I always return here.

    Beat regards,


    • Shane says:

      Wow, your location sounds like my kind of place. I feel like for at least some time of the year, it’s good for me to be away from everything. I enjoyed living in a large city and being in the middle of things, but I also need to take a break from that, every once in a while.

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