A chef at Benihana

Benihana, Indian Food, and Discovering Your Life Purpose


in Travel

Hell yes! I came back to Sacramento this week, to hang out with my parents. I love being back here. Mom makes the best chicken curry, and Dad and I get to eat like kings. I swear, the best spices you’ll ever taste, I don’t know how she does it.

Every Indian will understand what I mean when I talk about how Indian parents are the best negotiators in the world. They are ALWAYS looking for a deal. My dad has been carrying a check with a Los Angeles address in his wallet for 25 years because every time he goes to Disneyland, he gets a discount.

This time, BAM, mom snags us two free Benihana gift certificates. (Get $30 at Benihana’s during your birthday month by clicking here) Hell yes, dinner where the chef does a show, flipping the meat and cooking steaks right in front of you. F’ing DELICIOUS. Man, it’s nice to be home sometimes.

We get seated next to another group of people. We start chatting. They talk about an interest in travel, but haven’t once left the country.

It dawns on us that we have four birthdays at a table of six people. I’m watching the Benihana chef chop the tails off of shrimp. SCREECH the spatula on the skillet, and he flicks his wrist: 6 shrimp tails fly into his pockets and over the brim of his hat.

And I realize, I’m lucky. It’s not everybody gets to live the nomadic lifestyle. Most people never even consider that traveling the world, building an online business, outsourcing—-most people never even see this as an opportunity.

But that’s what irks me. That most people NEVER EVEN CONSIDER that there is an alternate lifestyle, one different to what everyone is used to.

Maneesh Pets a Lion In Argentina

What if you could pet a lion? (See above) What if you could have a sandwich named after you? (You can) What if you could make money from the back of an elephant? (You can) What if you could do all of this, while living in exotic locales—-Brazil, Italy, India, Colombia, Argentina, or anywhere really—-and earning more than you spend? (You can)

Goddammit, the fact is most people don’t even see a different lifestyle as possible.

Different… Is… Scary!

In 2008, after my junior year at Stanford, I took two years off and traveled around the world. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I left as a student, not sure what I wanted to do, became a freelance programmer, and in the meantime built a passive income business that let me continue to travel without working.

If I had followed the normal path—-ughhh, it pains me to think about. If I hadn’t decided to do the stupid thing and travel, I know 100% that I would have become a programmer and been working 60 hour weeks in a cubicle in downtown San Francisco. It makes me realize that travelmore broadly, an affinity for new experiences– is the most important factor in achieving a dream lifestyle. People who are afraid of new experiences ONLY FOLLOW THE NORM—and the norm is not where opportunities lie. Instead of fighting against the crowd, go around it—look for opportunities to succeed in unconventional ways.

The problem is NOT that most people are afraid to build their ideal lifestyle. No, the fact, is most haven’t even considered that another lifestyle exists.

I want you to understand that you don’t have to follow the same lifestyle that everyone around you follows. You can do anything. Say it with me. Anything

Reader, I’m talking to you right now. Take 10 seconds and think about this, because my goal right now is to blow your mind. Are you currently living your ideal life? The most perfect, amazing, dream life you’ve ever imagined? If not, are you at least heading towards it? Do you even know what ‘it’—-your ideal, perfect lifestyle—is?

Most likely, you’ve grown up following a plan—not yours, but society’s. You went to middle school, high school, college, your friends started getting jobs so you got a job, because that’s the normal thing to do.

But here’s something you might have missed: there are other possibilities. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. The things you’ve joked about with friends, ‘what if we flew to Mexico tonight and partied? or ‘what if we started an online company and did whatever we want?’ That doesn’t have to be a dream. It can be real.

Have you ever wanted to become a DJ? Learn to speak a foreign language? Samba with beautiful Brazilians and ride a camel throughout India?

It’s possible.

Here it is. What I’ve been leading up to. The mission statement for

This is my blog’s main goal: I want you to achieve your dream lifestyle.

This isn’t going to happen overnight. Going from a regular college student to traveling the world, to dating the personal secretary of Argentina’s president, being featured on the cover of India’s largest tabloid, creating an online business that was fully outsourced and paid for all my expenses, creating an NGO in India to help children learn to use the computer, becoming a DJ in Berlin in just 90 days, living in the wilderness with no backpack or tent or sleeping bag for 28 days—this didn’t all happen overnight.

On the cover of India's biggest tabloid On the cover of India’s biggest tabloid, Sunday Mid Day

It all started with a little seed. One comment from a friend, where he tipped me off that he had studied abroad without Stanford, and it was cheap plus he got to live with young people rather than old crotchety host mothers.

That small seed grew into a vision. I could experience the world alone, without Stanford, and save money. Just a single conversation with a single random friend changed my life.

And then I booked a ticket to Buenos Aires, and started a small business while traveling in Brazil, and it grew and grew while I continued to travel and live my dreams. And then opportunities led to more opportunities, and so on.

I want to be that spark that propels you to achieve your ideal lifestyle.

Great fires start from small sparks. You can’t achieve your ideal lifestyle without starting small.

So I ask you today to think: What, in your wildest impossible dreams, do you think would the most AWESOME, AMAZING, ideal lifestyle that could possibly exist?

I’m going to get you there.

For the next few Wednesdays, we’re going to focus on finding your ideal lifestyle. Next Wednesday, we’ll talk about identifying the possibilities that exist outside of what you’re used to. We’ll talk about strategies and tactics to determine exactly what you want, and how to get there.

Until then, I want you to think about the invisible societal constraints that hold you down. What if you didn’t follow the lifestyle you’re leading—what if you did something new?

Just remember this quote:

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” –ALAN KEIGHTLEY

I help people find their muse. Want to earn passive income, anywhere in the world? Click the button below to be notified when my Online Marketing Master Class is open for sale.


Stephan October 22, 2012 at 1:29 am

Hello Maneesh,

I have stumbled over your you tube video and your energy is simply amazing. I am interested in enrolling to your Master Course but the link does not work. Could you help me, please?

Cheers ,



Annika S August 28, 2012 at 3:14 am

Hey Maneesh,
I was just browsing your site again, looking for inspiration from all the random cool stuff you do. I just wanted to tell you that I think it’s great that you want to be the spark that changes people’s lives – I’ve noticed exactly what you describe in many conversations with my friends, they don’t know what they want to do, so they go to uni and will soon go out and get a job… it makes me want to bang my head against the wall in frustration!!

I’ve definitely mentioned a few of the cool things you’ve done in the hope that it will inspire them, and Im on the way to achieving my own version of personal freedom & success as well (how’s “changing what people think is healthy” for an ambitious goal!).
I’m hoping that once my friends see me succeed, they’ll be more inspired – I think that seeing it happen to someone you know is infinitely more powerful than hearing stories about “someone on the Internet”.
Best of luck to you on your mission, stay awesome 🙂



Amelia February 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm

The most amazing moment in my life, when I had bombed out of a pointless PhD, felt horribly guilty about it, and was working a job I didn’t mind but it SUCKED the ENERGY out of me, was when I realised I could do anything I wanted in life. For a good while, I was frozen by the overwhelming possibilities of what I could do… Six months on, I’m on my new path, and completely rediscovering myself and the world around me. Money is tight but life is easy; I’ve never been so happy to donate my time to good people and good causes. This is what life is about! Looking forward to seeing what becomes of my newfound love of life in a world of boundless opportunity 🙂


maneesh February 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I’m glad you’re on the right path now 🙂


Brad November 18, 2011 at 6:07 am

Great post, Maneesh! I hope to start my own business so that I can reclaim my time and travel with my children so they can see the world. I will be following you to see the next steps!



Sam November 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Maneesh –

Could you shed some more light on how you were able to date the personal secretary to the President of Argentina? Thoroughly enjoying the blog.


maneesh November 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I got introduced to her by my Norwegian friend who knew her friend. The president’s daughter called us while we partying V.I.P. in a club. I broke a full wall mirror during our date. It all came down crashing when she realized I was 20 years old (she was 30) 🙁


My Workplace November 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Maneesh , great post and everyday I visualize such a manifestion of the life you are living for me, I will live vacariously through you until my dreams of nomadic abundant living come through, thanks for the chance to see it


maneesh November 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Thanks Gradle. But why live vicariously? Email me, and we can talk about how to achieve your lifestyle. I really want to get you there.


Michelle November 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Its been fun reading your blog over the past few weeks. Sounds like you have been having lots of fun these past few years. If you are still in Sacto you are welcome to visit Ted and I downtown. Though I must warn that we are crazy boring compared to you. 🙂


David November 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Yo, Maneesh! I hope you enjoyed the survival camp. Getting ready now for living on a desrted island with only a Swiss army knife? 🙂

For the ones interested in finding out more about Maneesh goes about living the life style he does, check out our ‘4 Hour Workweek Success Stories’ interview from May this year, while he was living in Berlin:

Regards from Greece,


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