East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

No matter what happens, as long as it’s interesting


Considering the **huge*+ success of yesterday’s post (no, it’s OK; it’s OK), I thought I’d expand a little on the subject.

I am a geologist and palaeontologist by trade, but I’ve been doing odd jobs for over four years, ever since my father’s health started deteriorating in 2013 and I dropped everything to help him. Basically I did all the sort of stuff you can do while attending a sick person and changing adult diapers and emptying catheters: translations, writing, the odd private lesson. My brother was here with me, helping along.
Then our father died and we were left with huge bills to pay, a mortgaged house, no work, and no income. It was scary.
It still is.

So, while I started sending CVs just about everywhere, and it soon was obvious there would be no reply, I sat down and did what I could: I started writing and translating. I started doing it faster. With my brother we started RE:CON, a shoestring venture to provide research and contents for writers, game designers and other creative types.

We paid our bills, and put bread on the table, and paid off most of the manageable debt.
But the mortgage was still there, and is still there, and is about to swallow us up whole.
No house, no money.

I need a job, fast – which is not easy, when you are fifty, in a country wracked by an economic crisis, no social safety nets, and you live at the back of beyond, in a small village deep in the country, where internet works like it did in 1989.

The Last Adventure of the Mana Brothers

And yet, a quick assessment confirmed that about 90% of our income, in the last ten months, came from what is called remote jobs: work-for-hire done for American publishers, true, but also for companies that are no more than 80 kms away.
Most of our income came to us through the web, despite the fact that the web, here, sucks big time.

So, why stay here?
We talked this out with my brother, and he agreed with me.
We need to move somewhere we can use the full potential of the web, and up our game.
I am a writer and editor, my brother is a code monkey, and we are both translators and game designers.
As I said, it’s called remote working or cyber-commuting.
Location independence describes the situation neatly, but it sounds too cold for me and involves a whole lot of other things.
I like the pulpy sound of the digital nomad label. It carries this image of exotic places, and a guy in shorts working on a laptop on the beach…


But it basically means being a working stiff that finds writing or coding gigs online.
And why not, if it pays and it’s done on acceptable, mutually-agreed terms?
Call it what you want.
What we will do is try and get a modicum of respite from the bank about the mortgage, sell everything we own as best as we can1, and move out of our house. We’ll start sleeping on the floor at some friends’, and we’ll start looking for work online that can bring in cash.
Granted, we’ll keep looking, I’ll keep sending CVs and all that. But in the meantime, we need to get work.

Is it going to be hard?
Hell, you bet – it’s pretty hard living the laptop lifestyle when you don’t own a laptop and you can’t afford one. We might as well end up in a homeless shelter somewhere by the end of the year.
But we will make it.
It’s going to be the last, great adventure of the Mana Brothers, that once were bright, smart kids and now are broke and tired old men, and that are going back on the road (figuratively and literally) after a long, frustrating, hard, sedentary time.
No matter what happens, as long as it’s interesting, like the man said.

Will I blog about it? Sure. I’ll keep you guys posted until they come and pull my plug.
And if you have any suggestion, as usual, don’t be shy, and use the comments.


  1. anyone interested in a HUGE collection of science fiction and fantasy paperbacks? 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

22 thoughts on “No matter what happens, as long as it’s interesting

  1. Best of Luck. You’ll do fine. Yes you need reliable internet to work.


    • We are getting ready, and we’ll see what happens.
      but without reliable internet and a solid infrastructure (public transport, quick access to services) we are dead – if we are in such a poor shape is because we’ve been stranded in a backwater hellhole for too long.


  2. You two are the bravest men I know. Really, you are an example of strength, courage and determination and I wish you two all the best and, more importantly, all you deserve. You may be broke and tired and a little older yes but you’re still smart and bright. Possibly smarter and brighter because there’s something else to say about the Mana brothers: you are experienced. And that counts for more than something, I’m sure.
    (Forgive me for my terrible English)


  3. Good luck. You deserve it.

    PS: If I’d know about some translation jobs, or other stuff like this, I’ll let you know ASAP.


  4. Yes you will make it!! I know you will. Thank you for sharing from your heart.


  5. Amazing! Well written!


  6. Incredible story. Continue doing and success will come.


  7. Sounds that you’re facing something that’s interesting, hard and full of new possibilities in your life. I wish you all the best. Maybe one day I could do something similar. 🙂


  8. Incredible and well written story! Continue doing and success will come.


  9. Good luck! Great post 🙂


  10. I know myself that living boring times instead of interesting ones, sometimes is not that bad… Anyway, we get what we get.
    I sincerely wish you good luck!


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.