Hoi An Bridge of Lights — Image Credit: Matt Hallowes

Taken from the original post Things to do in Hoi An on cruisingvietnam.com.

Of all the places to visit in Vietnam, Hoi An is one of my favorites.

This old Vietnamese city has a magical aura that’ll leave you wanting more.

I first visited Hoi An in September 2018. I was only going to stay a week and ended up staying six! Since then, I have returned several times and still can’t get enough.

Most travelers I met only spent a few nights in Hoi An.

But to truly appreciate Hoi An, you need at least a week to soak…


Matt Hallowes drinking out of a watermelon in Melaka, Malaysia
Matt Hallowes drinking out of a watermelon in Melaka, Malaysia
Swapped the booze for watermelons — picture of myself enjoying watermelon in Melaka, Malaysia — Credit Martyna Kinga

On November 19, 2018, I stopped drinking alcohol. A year later, I celebrated with a few beers and a mojito. I was not surprised by the results.

For Xmas and New Year’s Eve 2018, I went on a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat.

The instructions sent beforehand asked that you give up any intoxicants a couple of weeks before the start of the course. I decided to stop a month before — no reason why I did the extra two weeks.

After the Vipassana retreat, I decided to continue the booze-free vibe for another month or so. …


Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

I’m always fascinated by how entrepreneurs and business people achieve such high levels of success.

Much of it has to do with luck — the right place at the right time in the right circumstances.

In a combined interview with Forbes, both Warren Buffett and Jay-Z admit luck plays some part in your success.

But luck is a small part. You still have to work to put yourself in the position to be a recipient of that luck.

One of my favorite quotes is:

Create your own luck.

Do everything you can to maximize the potential for luck to find…


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I remember when I found Medium. I was so stoked to finally have a social media platform where people could share their ideas in long-form discussions.

I am also really pleased to find many great writers have found a way to build an additional revenue stream with Medium.

One thing I have noticed, however, is that many Medium writers seem to have all of their eggs in one basket. They only write on Medium and do not have a blog for their work.

Many writers focus on building an email list but then don’t have their own real estate.

Get your own website up and running from day 1! Here is why…

Domain Authority

While any website can rank in Google, sites with high domain authority will find…


Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

I decided to give up drinking in preparation for a Vipassana 10-day silent retreat over Christmas and New Year 2018/2019.

I started the sabbatical in November 2018, one month before the retreat.

The idea was to go into the 10 days of meditation with a clear mind. Free from any influence booze might have over the experience.

At the end of the retreat, I decided to carry on with the no booze regime. See how long I could last and what the benefits of a booze-free lifestyle would bring.

Fears of being completely sober — social encounters and meeting people

I was a little apprehensive at the idea of not drinking…


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I’m in the process of writing an eBook for one of my regular clients. This is my first eBook collaboration, and I’ve found certainly made some mistakes along the way.

These are some strategies to make the writing process more manageable and tips I wish I had known before I started!

Get a Detailed Content Layout Before Quoting

Seems pretty straightforward and, I’m sure many writers do this. I didn’t!

While I did get a content layout, it wasn’t detailed enough.

Get your client to provide bullet points of exactly what they want to cover in each chapter.

For example; a chapter on Social Media is too…


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A few years ago, I came across Ghost, a javascript based blogging platform. Here’s what I’ve learned when comparing Ghost with WordPress…

When I first discovered Ghost in 2016, the platform didn’t offer much more than a minimalist blog. I’ve recently stumbled across the platform again and, I’m seriously impressed!

Ghost has made great strides in the last three years with feature updates to rival WordPress.

So, why would a writer choose Ghost over WordPress?

Setting Up

When it comes to setting up, WordPress and Ghost are very similar. …


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I’ve been developing an idea for the last couple of years around a fun sideline project.

I was thinking of going down the satirical path and wondered what this would mean for SEO.

How would my content be indexed and would I even be able to rank organically? Would I have to place less focus on SEO and more on social media for traffic?

I started doing some research and discovered satirical content is considered by search engines to be ‘fake news.’

This would make sense since satire isn’t entirely factual (sometimes not at all).

On a side note, I…


Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

As a South African currently overseas, I look in from the outside and worry about what’s playing out.

We have a troubled past. Apartheid is the worst part of our history, and I hope it remains in our past.

Our government would like to portray to the world that we’re the “Rainbow Nation.” A country of people from many cultures and races working together towards a common goal.

Sadly this is far from what’s really going on.

South Africa is currently being torn apart by widespread corruption with a rot so deep, it leaves citizens wondering who’s really telling the truth.

So far, nearly all of the ruling party’s (ANC) senior officials, including former president Jacob Zuma, have…


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As a freelancer, I use a combination of Payoneer and PayPal to get paid.

For the most part, this combination works well.

I get paid in PayPal and then transfer the money to my Payoneer account. I then use my Payoneer card to make payments and draw money where ever I am in the world.

Payoneer’s Limitations

There are some limitations to what you can do with Payoneer. As it’s a prepaid card and not a bank account, payment providers like Stripe don’t accept Payoneer as a payout method.

Without Stripe, you can’t get paid for your writing efforts on Medium or…

Matt Hallowes

South African traveling the world and writing nonsense. Geek about reading, photography, and travel. @matthallowes on the Gram.

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