My day trading has graciously funded my travels. It gives me an amazing amount of freedom, and can pay well (or not at all.) Day trading has given me the freedom to follow a life that many only dream of. I’m lucky to have this skill, and to have bright people around me to learn from (after all, no man is an island.)
My day trading journey started at age 12. I remember quite clearly when a friend’s dad described to me how people make a living buying and selling stocks on the stock market. They quickly make trades for profits over super computers connected to the internet. All of this sounded magical to my 12 year old ears (remember, even the internet was magical back in 1993.)
Me (in the blue) before my day trading dream.
This day trading journey, however, seemed like a bit of a dream. From what I had been told, day traders were very rich people who traded their own money to make more money: essentially as a high stakes hobby. Since I’m not independently wealthy, my 12 year old dream of being a day trader faded into the cold Canadian night.
I didn’t stop following the stock market, however. I just turned my focus onto a “more reasonable” profession: stock brokering. It didn’t sound as exciting as day trading, but it was still being a player in the stock market, which I found so intriguing.
Fast forward a few years to my university days, where I decided to enter a Finance degree at the University of Lethbridge. By then I realized that I had a knack for numbers, and still truly enjoyed the financial system, and how the world’s money is put to work. I had lost the vision of being a stock broker (it’s a dying occupation with online brokerage firms,) but loved what I was studying.
After university I had to do what any university graduate eventually has to undertake: the “real world”. I took a pretty standard approach to searching for my big post-university job, which included internet job database searches. This is not an approach that is successful for most, but it led me to an ad that changed my life. The ad’s title was something like this:
RISK TAKERS WANTED: STRONG VIDEO GAME SKILLS ARE AN ASSET
Intriguing. This obviously caught my eye, so I read on. I then realized that the dream I had dreamt as a 12 year old, could become a reality! Someone would give me their money to trade stocks! The dream I had given up on so many years before, was once again reborn.
The dream, however, wasn’t without a reality. I had just finished my university degree, and was near flat broke. I needed to make money. The interviewer informed me, however, that the failure rate of trainees was about 80% (I’d say it’s closer to 95%,) and that the 20% of people who make it usually go without a pay cheque for the first six months.
The prospect of going six months without earning a penny was not a pretty one. This prospect was especially daunting considering I was offered a well paying job at a boring 9-5 job. So what did I do? I took a look in the mirror and asked myself “what excites you?”
Probably more money than I had to my name when I started day trading.
Of course you know the decision I made, and it wasn’t the boring 9-5. I started with Swift Trade as a trainee, and against the odds was making money in my third month. I had beaten the odds. This didn’t mean, however, that the rest was easy sailing. In the following 3 years I had many successes, but trading is a profession where every day you have the opportunity to make large sums, but the counterbalance is that you could also lose everything with one bad trade.
I worked in that office for approximately five years. I made great friends, and decent money. Swift Trade, however, would not allow its traders to trade from home, or off of their own computer. They required their traders to come into the office every day and trade from there. I enjoyed the office environment, and learned a lot from my fellow traders, but needed to look for something else.
My setup in Rio, while day trading Brazil style. (Thong not included.)
Last year, however, I wanted to take advantage of one of the biggest advantages that day trading offers: the freedom to roam. I quit Swift Trade, and signed on with a new firm, Title Trade. I had to learn new software, and accustomize myself to trading at home without the constant buzz of the office environment (I still miss that buzz.)
My first month in Medellin I was following my dream of being a traveling day trader. I had my laptop and my trading skills, and this was all I needed to make a living while learning amazing new life skills. The first month, however, was a disaster. I lost the deposit I had put up, had to put up another deposit, and was questioning the viability of my new life path.
My Colombian office in Medellin (also my bedroom.)
Thankfully, just as I know that the great times in day trading don’t last forever, neither do the bad times. I bounced back from my bad month, and continued making a living from my new outpost in Medellin. Life was exciting, and was exactly what I had dreamt of when I left Canada.
I’ve now traded from five different countries, in a few different time zones. I’ve logged on to trade everywhere from a Caribbean beach, to hostel dorm rooms, to a Rio de Janeiro penthouse. It’s an exciting life.
Along the way I’ve met a fellow traveling trader, who goes by the moniker of the Wandering Trader, Marcello Arrambide. I had searched for “traveling trader” before leaving Canada and found his site. He was in Medellin, and so we met up. We’re now working together on our trading (among other projects.) He’s an extremely gifted trader, who also has a knack for teaching people how to day trade. If you’re interested in this lifestyle, and are willing to put in the dedication, I’d highly recommend going for it. Marcello offers extremely high quality classes at The Day Trading Academy. Check him out, and maybe I’ll have the chance to meet up with you in some far off place.