The end of the end is the beginning

I’m sitting on a sunny terrace overlooking the Gulf of Taranto in Italy’s southern Puglia region, and it’s absolutely spectacular. If the world goes to hell in 2010, this will be on my short list.

Puglia is Italy’s breadbasket– staple crops here grow like wild flowers due to the temperate climate and rich soil. It hardly rains here (this is a plus for me), yet ground water is abundant, so it’s fairly easy to yield quality crops.

Plus it’s cheap, especially by European standards… land costs, food costs, living costs, etc. are well below the Italian average, which is well below the Western European average.

The region also produces some of the strongest, most exquisite grapes in Europe. The better known Tuscan wines often fortify their blends with ‘Pugliese’ grapes, and I’m convinced that this area will become the next ‘it place’ in the wine industry.

History buffs will love it too; Puglia predates the Roman Empire as it was conquered and settled by the Greeks. Many of the Pyrrhic War’s major campaigns were fought here, so it’s an amateur archaeologist’s paradise.

Do yourself a favor– if you’re looking for an ‘off the beaten path’ Italian vacation, go take the picture at the Coliseum, then head south to Bari and Taranto.

In full disclosure, I may be a bit biased because I have local family here and have been coming for years. In fact, I’ve flown my parents here with me this week to spend some time relaxing and soaking up the flavors.

As such, this will be my last letter for the rest of the year barring a major catastrophe or financial cataclysm. Before I sign off, though, I wanted to tell you what we have in store for next year.  I think you’ll be pleased for what we have planned.

2010 will likely be a tumultuous year, full of ups and downs. Afghanistan will likely get worse, commercial real estate will burst, US state and municipal budget crises will come to a head, and there will probably be substantial rioting and political instability in many parts of the world.

On the other hand, the world will also witness the unleashing of the Asian consumer, increased wealth in emerging resource-rich nations, and, hopefully, a forcible restructuring of many political systems. 

With each passing change in the world, a host of new opportunities will arise from which we can benefit both personally and professionally. I remain committed to living a multiple flags lifestyle, finding as many of these opportunities as possible, and writing to you about them each day.

At its core, Sovereign Man is intended to provide real, actionable solutions to the growing problems faced by people who ‘get it.’ These solutions include things like investment opportunities, international banking, overseas business opportunities, tax strategies, networking, expatriation, better privacy, etc.

In 2010, you’ll be hearing much more from me about living a multiple flags lifestyle– specific second passport strategies, the best places to buy property, and detailed banking information that you won’t find anywhere else.

I also plan on making the site more interactive; I would like Sovereign Man to be a community so that subscribers have the opportunity to speak directly to each other and exchange personal insights. We’re working on a prototype right now and definitely plan on rolling it out in the first quarter.

Most importantly, the site, the subscription, and the new interactive service will remain absolutely free.

I’ve received a lot of emails from subscribers wondering why I give away such valuable information for free every day. Easy. Because I want to. After all, I’m not a ‘newsletter guy,’ I’m an investor and entrepreneur who writes about how I’m investing and what I learn as I travel.

Moreover, since its inception, this letter has proven to be a fantastic conduit to meeting very interesting, like-minded people. As you’ve heard me say before, it’s all about ‘who you know,’ and I have made some spectacular relationships through this letter so far. 

I look forward to making even more in 2010, and continuing our discussion then.

About the author

James Hickman (aka Simon Black) is an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter Notes from the Field is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom, make more money, keep more of it, and protect it all from bankrupt governments.

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