Wanderink Exclusive: Interview with Marcello Arrambide, The Wandering Trader
The era of the freeloading traveller came to an end with that of the great emperors. The dawn of democracy meant the wayfarer earn for the road ahead – giving rise to the breed of the ‘physical’ nomad – those who laboured bodily to fund their trips. This breed might be waning today with skills like bartending, dancing or teaching English not rich enough to fund a visit visa and short stay. Out of the embers rose the new tribe – the ‘digital’ nomads. A genre probably rooted all the way to Ibn Battutah who chronicled his way across the world – sharing stories and good administrative practices with sultans, striking up rapport with princesses, recording generosities – and getting generously rewarded in return. Digital nomadism flourishes today thanks to the Internet and has many messiahs.
While writing and blogging continues to be the most popular means of money for this bunch of broadband backpackers, their earning potential have considerably dimmed over the years. Many reasons; the rise of travel and blogging as popular culture for one. Only so many can write books of which only so many enter re-print. Sustenance of this burgeoning tribe, the genre itself, called for drastic improvisations, out-of-the-bag adaptations and storming previously shunted lofty bastions of number crunching and left-brain supremacy. Like stock markets and day trading.
When he was 13 years old and going to school, Marcello Arrambide was working two jobs. By the time he was in high school, he was doing four. While his mother called him ‘stubborn’ Marcello says he was just being a ‘fanatical entrepreneur’. Finishing school – he promised his mother he wouldn’t drop out – he started off burning cds, importing Chinese wallets and dabbling in real estate. What drove him was just one thing – FREEDOM. “It was not for me to sit in a cubicle of some corporation from nine to five every day so that they could fire me at a moment’s notice,” Marcello says of his compelling obsession to be on his own. He took a $25,000 loan – the minimum required by the federal government to trade stocks – and started day trading. And its not like there was no looking back; he lost the entire money within a few months. Lesson learnt: the absolute, uncompromising need for discipline.
Marcello shares this lesson and a whole lot more for aspiring day traders through his Day Trading Academy. “Of course, the success in trading is instrumental to travelling more and seeing more places,” he tells Wanderink in an exclusive interview. “I am a traveller first and trader second.”
When I did my first – and last – spot of trading, I lost Rs 10,000 in a day. Does your Day Trading Academy have any balm for scalded cats?
I am very passionate about day trading because it has allowed me to live my dreams. Money for me is not as important as freedom is. What I have found is that most people that try to learn how to day trade are not disciplined enough to follow the rules. I just recently received an e-mail from someone who was very upset because of all of the money he lost. Upon further investigation I found that he was not disciplined enough and did not stick to the rules. The biggest problem with most people besides not having a good strategy is not being disciplined and following the rules. I try to incorporate that with all the traders I teach via my Trading Academy. Then as the saying goes, you can only lead a horse to the water…
While visiting a new country are you excited more about the tourism bit or are you caught up by anxiety about the trading?
It is definitely more enjoyable to experience a country from a tourism aspect. Being able to interact with people, seeing new things, and really experiencing the culture is something very unique. It is one of the reasons that I love what I do and continue to travel around the world.
Are you a backpacker or a luxury traveller? Or does it depend on how much money you make day trading?
I would not consider myself a backpacker nor a luxury traveller. Over the course of my life I have learnt that time is the most important thing not money. My travels have taught me that sometimes it is better to stay in an apartment or a luxury hotel in order to save time. The only thing that I need are a bath, a reliable Internet connection, and hot water.
In India for example I was plagued with unreliable Internet access even in three and four star hotels. I spent a fortune staying in five star resorts in order to ensure that I had reliable Internet access. When I travelled through countries such as Colombia, Brazil, or even Singapore, I will stay at a normal hotel or an apartment as long as it had those requirements.
I do pretty well in the stock market so for me money isn’t necessarily the issue. For me it is more about convenience and time.
What was the worst hit you have taken? How (fast) was the recovery?
I lost $80,000 each day trading crude while I was on a beach in Colombia. It was extremely difficult to realise how much money I lost but at the end of the day I knew I could make it back. Day trading is all about numbers and probabilities. With the way that we trade we generally win anywhere between 60 to 80 per cent of the time so we were able to recoup those funds rather quickly.
You were the first tourist into South Sudan. Now, how does a newly-formed country treat a traveller, better still a trader?
In any country that I have travelled there have not been any restriction in regard to me day trading. Since all I need is an Internet connection the only thing I am concerned with are the firewalls. I have only encountered one which was in London during a conference but other than that I have not had any issues.
The world economy is not exactly robust these days. Has this dented your itinerary?
Not at all. One of the things that I love about day trading is the fact that we can make money in an up market or down market. What’s ironic is that we actually make more money when the market is not doing well because there’s higher volatility and movement. It is one of the only professions in the world that I know of where you can actually do better in a recession or crisis than when things are doing well. This has definitely allowed me to continue traveling with ease.
If Jim Rogers is the ‘Indiana Jones of investors’ what would you be?
Although they come under the general purview of finance, day trading and investing and two drastically different things. Jim Rogers is an investor who has had his adventures in travel; I am different in that I am a traveller and day trader whose life revolves around both travel and day trading. I travel around the world and have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Well, you may call me then the ‘Indiana Jones of day traders.’ (Laughs)
Blogging, teaching… when is Marcello the TV guy coming up?
I have just signed a contract with someone for a television series based on my life and adventures. I am very lucky to say that I have experienced more things in the last six months alone than most people do in a lifetime. Will definitely keep you posted.
How many countries, across how many continents, on your last count?
I haven’t added up the list for quite some time but I am definitely over 70 countries. I have lived in 11 counties spanning five continents. I will be visiting my seventh continent in a few weeks when I visit Australia.
You have come and gone through India. How was it as a traveller, as a trader…
I have to admit that India is one of the most unique places in the world. The diversities the country offers are unmatched. Although I did travel through most parts of the country I cannot try to describe visiting the Taj Mahal. I know that this is what India is known for but seeing the World Wonder in person was an extremely unique experience. When I visited there was a bit of fog so when I saw it for the first time it seems that it was a drop from heaven. It is truly an indescribable experience.
Many people don’t realise that Mumbai is the headquarters for trading algorithms in the world. I was able to meet up with a few traders and also get to know traders that have visited Mumbai. It was quite an experience to see how something like day trading can bring so many people together.
Marcello Arrambide’s Day Trading Academy teaches aspiring day traders in the requisite skills to make money in the futures market. But one thing you need to bring is utmost discipline and the belief that rules are made NOT to be broken.