Well, that's easy to answer but, more important what is he doing? And
why? Well, here is a not so quick update.
First, the executive summary
- I am in Nicaragua
- I just finished a book (that you should buy and read)
- I am creating another Linux-based web site with, of course, free
- I am still working on the Geek Ranch for you guys
I moved to Estelí Nicaragua over three years ago. It is a big little
town in the mountains in northern Nicaragua. It offered a good
compromise between the "city conveniences" I need (basically regular
mail service and decent Internet connectivity) and being three minutes
from the country. It also is a relatively inexpensive place to live
and has decent weather year round.
What will likely come as the biggest surprise to most who know me is
that I got married. I thought I was still too young to do such a thing
but it happened. Maybe I was just trying to prove my Spanish was good
enough to seduce a local (I still can't believe it really is) but, in
any case, it happened. To her credit, she had never heard of Linux,
free software or any of that funny stuff and had never owned a
computer until I bought her a Nokia 770.
Let's move from Ana (that's my wife's name) to the book. I remember
talking to someone 25 years ago about Nicaragua and they told me that
Nicaraguans must be looses because the average income there was
$600/year. That got me thinking that if a Nicaraguan could live on
$600/year and I paid more than that for car insurance then they must know
something I don't. Twenty five years later I figured it out.
Helping me was my wife. She comes from a poor family. But, poor is not
a dirty word here. It doesn't mean you expect a government handout nor
that you live under a bridge and beg for quarters. It just means you
don't have a lot of things folks in "the first world" know are
That got me thinking about the people I hear about buying land here
"for their retirement". They appear all the time on my discussion web
. They don't know anything about
Nicaragua except that while they can't afford land on the California
coast, they can on the Nicaraguan coast. They will continue to pay off
mortgages, college tuition for their kids and huge heating and cooling
bills until they retire. Then, maybe, they will get to come to
To me, it seemed there must be a better way. That is, a way for
someone relatively young to escape from the rat race now--not when
they are too old to appreciate mountains to climb, the surf and
generally nice outside weather.
Well, Ana and I put our heads together and wrote ain ebook called
Living Like a Nica
. We just self-published it on lulu.com
It combines my knowledge of where you might be coming from with her
knowledge of how to live here cheaply. It is full of pictures and
personal anecdotes. Yeah, before you ask, it was produced using
Scribus and other Linux-based programs.
Now, before you say you don't want to live in poverty the rest of your
life, let me explain that isn't what the book is about. I see
Nicaragua as the land of opportunity--much like the US was 50 years
ago. The idea is that today you could afford to bail out of the rat
race, get your life established here and live cheaply as you move
yourself up the food chain. It is hard for someone paying $2000/mo
rent to imagine living on $200/mo but is is possible. And it is
possible to live well here for $500/mo.
Anyway, end of the sales pitch. You can read the table of contents and
introductory chapter for free on Lulu and then decide if you are ready
to drop out. We will be waiting for you.
Always wanting to do something geeky, I decided Nicaragua needed a
business portal. Not for multi-national corporations but for
ordinary people with ordinary businesses. NicaPlaza.com will,
hopefully, become that site. It is based on Joomla. I will be adding
more modules with more functionality over the next year.
Now, confession time. I was looking for business directory software. I
made two mistakes. Both were proprietary packages and both proved to
be exactly what I didn't need. While they came with source code, it
quickly became obvious they were not going to do the job.
I found a module called SOBI 2 for Joomla that is a much better fit
and, besides, it actually works right. That part is now installed.
Once I finish the tuning I will be adding another Joomla module called
Joomfish which will make the site multi-lingual.
The Geek Ranch
Finally, I am working with a Nicaraguan on a Geek Ranch. What's that,
you ask? Well, it is a facility where you will be able to run away
from your huge rent payments, heating bills or whatever, hide in a
little cottage and write the world's greatest piece of software.
The main difference between doing your work here as opposed to Silicon
Valley is that you will be able to afford it. We are
shooting for $500/mo for a private mini-house, maid service and three
meals a day. Sure, we will give you options to spend more money if you
really want to but I am guessing that isn't in the ballpark of
anything in Silicon Valley.
While the idea was initially just for geeks, Jill quickly pointed out
that book authors would probably be interested as well. So, while I
still want to call it a Geek Ranch, anyone who wants to hide, not have
to do the gruntwork they find at home and just work on whatever they
want may see this as a great opportunity.
That's pretty much the update from here. Keywords are peace,
tranquility, good weather and continued work with Linux. Oh, and toss
in local fresh fruit and vegetables year round and excellent organic
coffee at $2 or so a pound. Hope you are all having fun in the first