On January 9th, 2017, I embarked on a 2-month journey to travel and trade Forex through China, Hong Kong & Vietnam. At the time of publishing this article (2 months later), I'm already on a flight back to Montreal, Canada. Can't wait to travel more!
The challenge was that I was going to need to adapt to trading while traveling (travel and trade Forex) for the first time, something that some consider as a challenge and others see as one of the best opportunity ever.
The goal of this article is to share some of the challenges I’ve faced so far by aiming to travel and trade Forex. Then, I’ll share some of the best things I’ve discovered by trading and traveling. Those are things you are almost certain to experience when you trade and travel.
Here's one of my vlogs (my very first one!) in Shanghai:
The first day I arrived in China, I felt like I didn’t know what to do. Trading wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind, although I knew I had to get back to it.
However, all the cues I had at my trading desk at home were gone. Not only that, but I had to adapt to a new time zone, which meant completely restructuring my day.
What’s funny is that I first was excited to be able to trade the Tokyo session in the Forex market while being in China. Soon enough, though, I found myself not having enough time to do everything I wanted to do.
That made me stick to what I’ve been doing over the past 3 years: swing trading. Even then the times at which I had to look at my charts were different.
How do you deal with that and adapt?
The best way I’ve found to put everything in order was to use my calendar ruthlessly. That meant scheduling everything and putting reminders until I’d start to implement new “travel and trade Forex” habits consistently.
Everything is on my calendar now (trading time, weekly review, preparation, etc.) and it makes my life on the road much easier.
After being clear on this idea of following my trading plan, the next thing I had to deal with was: Where am I going to trade?
At home, it’s easy. You go to your computer and open your trading platform…but when you travel it’s different.
While we can agree that all you need is “anywhere where there’s wifi”, I found finding a place to trade being somewhat harder than I expected.
As someone who travels and trade Forex, you might be stuck in a train or on a mountain. Swing trading becomes much more difficult at that point because you are likely to miss trades.
While I’m always searching for the optimal solution to this issue, the best way for me to deal with finding a place to trade has been to get a mobile data plan for my smartphone.
Those plans are very cheap in China, but my connection was sometimes very slow :)
The other thing I’ve done was to scale back on my trading timeframes. Instead of trading on a 1hr chart (which is quite time-consuming), I decided to stick to the 4hr or even daily chart to enter my trades. That allows me to place my trades in the comfort of my hotel/hostel fairly often.
After about a week of being in Shanghai, I was confused. I thought: “Wait a second! You are a traveling trader and haven’t entered any trade in the past two weeks.”
While I know for a fact that I won’t enter trades necessarily every week (even back at home in Canada), I felt different, because now I really had to trade. If not, I wouldn’t make any money.
Guess what followed this? A losing month.
That is because I forced things a bit too much and got a message from the market saying “don’t force it, you’ll be worse off”.
Interestingly enough, while I consider myself very disciplined at home, I forgot to enter trades from time-to-time while traveling. The clues I had at home were not present anymore.
Either I’d come home from a day of exploration completely exhausted and not be able to focus, or I’d be out with friends and completely forget about trading (like for a day almost).
While I haven’t found the optimal solution for this yet, I believe in the power of setting reminders on my phone (calendar) for when I need to check the charts. That has helped a lot!
While this isn’t necessarily trading-related, I thought essential to mention the fact that traveling usually allows you to meet amazing people.
Those people are rarely going to be traders, but they can nevertheless help you in your trading journey.
By all mean, try to connect with traders in the different cities you travel to, but also remain open to other people that might come your way.
As part of meeting great people, you get to see that those people either reduce or broaden your perspective of what’s possible in life and trading.
Generally, people who travel are quite ambitious and aren’t ready to settle for a boring job for too long.
When I’m thinking of cutting expenses to ensure the growth of my trading account, a trader I meet in Hong Kong is thinking of buying a house there (just in case you didn’t know…houses are very expensive in Hong Kong).
Seeing how some people are at different levels of their trading allows you to see how much you can progress. And trust me, there are no limits except the ones you place on yourself. That’s something you might miss out on when you stay focused on your day job or quite simply on your day-to-day trading.
While I have always been a big fan of simplicity in my Forex trading, being more on-the-go forced me to simplify my trading methodology even more.
The fact is, it’s not always possible to take out your computer and check your charts, nor it is to look at a big (or multiple) monitor(s).
That means you must find out ways to quickly identify whether your trade setup is there or not. You must have your plan written down, and if possible, be able to execute it from your smartphone.
As a conclusion to this article, the biggest opportunity in trading and traveling is that you get to discover whether you’re really made to trade.
Now, it’s now that you’re not made to trade if you have a few losing weeks as you travel. The question at this point is “Will you get back up? Will you find a solution to come back better?”
My first month of trading and traveling was a bit of a mess, but I was deeply excited to go back to the drawing board to improve my trading and work on my routines/reviews/analysis to ensure I’d show up better in my next month’s trading job.
Although this article shows the positive and the negative of trading and traveling, I want to make the message very clear. I would, without a single doubt, encourage you to travel and trade once you’ve set up your trading business and are clear on what you need to do. Challenges are inevitable, but you’re very likely to get out of it with massive growth.
The more challenges you take, the more you grow!