Eat the Elephant
— Fasten your seatbelts. There's no chance you won't encounter turbulence.
I'm Richard Nikoley and I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. Almost 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from lifestyle to philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income, and food. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panic-Demic squashed that. So, I became an American expat living in Thailand, where I've built a house and home for the long-term girl—less than half my age—and her two daughters and mom.
I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances.
Free the Animal really means to free yourself to reach your ideal potential in all areas of your life, learn from mistakes and successes, and move on.
It's not about making more money. You can already do that. It's about getting from a shitty lifestyle you hate to the one you desire and will love.
That doesn't require money, or even hard work. It requires 'eating the elephant.'
This can help. Things are never the same; nothing stands still. That's why the content is always evolving. What was easy a few years ago is hard now. Things that used to be hard are suddenly doable because of technology, tools, and even our perspectives that change.
Top Five Reasons Why I Pay Money to Read Nikoley
4. His writing style is enjoyable; sometimes it reminds me of reading Friedrich Nietzsche or Nassim Taleb (two of my favorite authors).
3. Richard’s take on current events is always unique and often unpredictable. He doesn’t tow any party lines or fit neatly into a certain ideological box.
2. Sometimes his posts challenge my worldview in uncomfortable ways. (If you don’t see that as a good thing, then this blog probably isn’t for you.)
1. He never publishes cheap and easy posts with lame titles like Top Ten This or Five Reasons That.
It’s what smart people do
I’m a paying member. I love reading Richard’s writing because he has a great writing style and writes about interesting stuff. Some of his stuff I may not agree with, but at least I can be educated from another point of view. Sometimes his writing ‘offends me’. That’s the writing I like best because I can do a true self evaluation of why. I can question my own self about whether I’m just being a little bitch, not fully educated on the subject, or have a more extensive knowledge and accept that it’s okay that it ‘offends me’. That’s what smart people do.
Naples Florida, paid member, honestly I like your writing better than the videos. I have been reading your shit for 10 years so maybe I am used to it. I really enjoy your take on politics because it is very in line with me. Hooray anarchy!
He will never lie to you
I’ve followed Richard’s writing and exploits for a number of years now. From paleo dieting to no-poo (to this day I only shampoo my hair a couple times a week thanks to that), to a crazy all milk diet and potato starch experimentation. Now to his adventures in Thailand. Never a dull moment with Richard.
Richard isn’t a “guru” and doesn’t aspire to be one, but if he says something you know it’s worth taking some time to think about it.
You know why?
He will do and say things you don’t agree with. Perhaps strongly. He may piss you off from time to time. But he will never lie to you or sell you down the river for a paycheck. How many people with any sizable audience in this day and age can you say that about?
I’ve read hundreds of Richard’s posts over the the last ten years, and they’ve always been interesting.
To be honest, I’ve been busy lately, so I haven’t read any posts since I’ve subscribed. I became a paid subscriber just to pay him back a bit for all the great free content he’s provided in the past.
From his recent post titles, it appears that he’s been dating some girl in Thailand and she broke up with him or he with her, or maybe they’re back together, or he’s dating her friend, or she scammed him and he caught her, or he’s dating her mom? Not really sure. I’ll have to give them a read once I free some time up. But they do look intresting. Anyway, I highly recommend.
Have enjoyed your writings ever since I first tuned in during the potato starch era. Get so tired of most people just regurgitating the crap from mainstream media and thinking themselves wise and informed. You actually make me think, even when I don’t agree with you at first I often end up considering your points valid. Great stuff on the Covid bullshit. That’s what turned me into a paid subscriber. As someone who’s been visiting Thailand since 1980 (married to a Thai lady since 1988), I can really relate to your writings on that amazing country. I’m one year younger than you and also into food and fitness so that’s another thing we have in common. Anyway, keep up the good work and keep exposing the bullshit artists that seem to be in plague proportions nowadays.
It’s a Simple Choice
As a paid member from down under, Richard’s writings are and have always been funny and offensive (to others), so how could I not cough up a few bucks a month? And it gives me extra ammo to keep winding up the local soy-boys as well!
Thanks for the enlightenment and entertainment!
A Smart, Interesting, & Big Hearted Jackass
I am a paid member from the heartland of the USA and have been reading Richard’s “Free The Animal” for over 10 years. Richard is the most genuine person you will ever interact with over the internet. If you are being a dumbass, Richard will let you know. If you need help, Richard will kindly help you. If you have a problem with your subscription Richard is on it & fixes it in a professional manner. He runs a tight ship & produces thought provoking content rivaled by none that I have come across as of yet.
If you are looking for content that will make you question the dogma of the mainstream then join Richard. Literally free your mind & free your inner animal.
Long time reader. I have a pretty conventional life – married 30 years, 3 adult kids, former small business owner. So I like that Richard defies convention, questions the narrative, and battles the dogma. Whether it’s questioning paleo, male/female relationships, shaving, obesity, global politics, etc. It was the boldness and DGAF attitude of Richard, and others, that helped motivate me to Vote with my Feet and move to Florida from a blue state during government lockdowns last year.
I pay more for shitty streaming subscriptions I never watch. Paying a few shekels for Free The Animal is cheap and always good information and entertainment!
Raw and Unfiltered
I became a paid member to continue reading Richard’s blog that I have enjoyed since 2010. Richard’s views on just about any topic stand apart from a lot of “conventional wisdom” and his delivery is always raw and unfiltered. Agree or disagree, honestly given viewpoints should be unfiltered.
Encouraging, defiant, brave, always honest
I was one of the quondam blog commenters who got pinged by Richard about 18 months ago and invited to re-join his blog, so I started reading it again for the first time in over a decade. I’d been a regular reader from around when he started with the health/diet blogging until the late 2000s when the ‘diet wars’ really took off (I knew what worked for me and lost interest in the back and forth of argument about the best approach).
To be honest, when I got those emails I was surprised and impressed that the blog was still going. I started reading again and signed up to paid originally because I wanted to read those paid member only posts about ‘International Living and Geoarbitrage’ and the ‘Prosper anyway series’ written by someone who was clearly doing just that. One criticism I will make is that these are not being updated often enough!! But, Richard does make up for it with lots of other interesting stuff produced in spurts of intense enthusiasm: the food posts, the travelogues and the videos adding immediacy as well as scenery.
I am that rare thing a paying female member. Why? I enjoy getting the honest male point of view with all the rawness and crudity that sometimes entails. Yes, sometimes it’s a bit rough to take in, sometimes I disagree or I’m shouting back ‘well, I don’t think that!’ or ‘it’s not all women’! But that’s the point – you do not have to agree with everything someone says – and it’s a great stimulus to be challenged by a different point of view. It’s a great thing to be offended sometimes and to realise that it does not matter, you can still like the guy and value his contribution.
Me Love You Long Time
I found your website at the beginning of the Paleo days and have followed you ever since, first because of all the Paleo stuff, including your great recipes and food pictures, then through the potato hack days, which was very interesting. I especially appreciated it when the Paleo thing got out of hand and you were there to make fun of all the processed low carb junk food and your rotation back to a middle ground dietary position. Then just as things seemed to be settling down, you moved to Thailand & I’ve been interested in how all that works, especially the various relationships that come and go and the related drama.
The essence of the experience has been change. You go from one thing to the next as the spirit moves you. I don’t want to miss out on what’s next. Hence my decision to become a paid subscriber so as to keep you going.
The video thing seems to be a work in progress. I am more text oriented because of time constraints and I appreciate how you are including more text with the videos.
So hang in there and keep it coming.
Awesome from a longtime reader
I’m guess I have been reading Free The Animal since 2008? It keeps getting better, I’m not really into videos. Prefer the text version to read.
He’s an arrogant prick
When I dared to suggest that mankind has never been to the moon, he went on full macho offensive as if I’d insulted his manhood. We all have wounds and problems but some are clearly more deep seated than others.
Did these fine pieces of engineering (held together with sticky tape, black paper and tin foil) really travel all 238,000 miles to the moon through the Van Allen radiation belt and back again?
And that the moon buggy travelled inside it:
[Richard’s note: I do seem to recall something like that, though not how “macho” I was or wasn’t. Well, looks like Mark has himself quite a hammer and it’s persistent in pounding this nail.]
A different point of view is helpful to know, regardless of disagreement. I’m not interested in being a person who locks themselves in their echo chamber. If I agreed with Rick, his content wouldn’t be helpful anymore.
Cuts through all the bull & pulls no punches
Richard doesn’t muck around, he’s not here for the lolz or to blow smoke up your arse, but to tell you how things really are. Whether it’s diet, exercise, health, crazy fucked up geopolitics or any other matter that grabs his fancy, he’ll dig deep and pull out the truth you need to hear, even if you don’t want to hear it. He’s been connecting the dots for years and got the track record to prove his cred; it’s why I’ve kept coming back not only to be enlightened and educated, but also to be entertained.
Always interesting, always informative, always teaching me something new, something beneficial. Always making me think. Been reading and learning for many years now.
Impossible to feel indifferent about Nikoley!
As a decade+ reader of Richard’s work, I am an unabashed fan. I put Richard into the same bucket as Vox Day, Karl Denninger, and Chris Langan. These guys are sometimes wrong but never in doubt. I appreciate their confidence and arrogance since so few people are willing to put themselves on display and take a stand. We need more of this “toxic” masculinity so I am here to support it even if it’s a mere testimonial.
Don’t let the bastards get you down, Richard. And don’t ever change (you can’t).
Straight info without channeling into product
I’ve been back and forth to a lot of sites over the years but this one is consistently good. He always finds his own questions and conclusions with solid reasoning and support. If he is interviewing someone else he lets them have their say.
So many sites jump on whatever is the hot subject at the moment to get hits and get you to to buy or subscribe whatever they happen to be monetizing today. Not so here. He is about the info first.
This Blog Is Not For You
Most of the world is in a trap. It lives according to the herd, lives according to the crowd – and the crowd means the lowest state of consciousness. To live according to the crowd means to live at the minimum. The crowd is not interested in honesty; its morality and its honesty is a social convenience, just a kind of lubrication; it helps people to be together. Its honesty is not true honesty, it cannot be.
Honesty is to live your life in freedom, in sincerity, Naked; never to be false and never to pretend – that is honesty. Whatsoever the consequences, whether one is hated or loved, whether one is respected or disrespected, it doesn’t matter. An honest person is one who lives in his utter nakedness as existence has created him.
He respects himself so much that he is ready to risk everything for it. His joy is tremendous; his bliss is infinite. If your morality, your honesty is a defense measure, to create a safe, secure life for yourself, this blog is not for you. If you refuse to be phony, false, plastic then your money will be well spent.
Remember, that a plastic rose cannot have any fragrance, only a real flower can. But the real flower needs to be rooted in the earth. The real flower has to take all the risks of being real.
I’ve been a free member and was not planning to obtain a paid acct. But your heartstrings post got to me. What you did for Yui and kids was great. The house and schooling especially, and then the car and help with the shop. (I contributed a little to that GoFundMe). Anyway, taking them on a vacation is a wonderful idea, and I’m willing to chip in. Show them a good time. I hope Yui’s next benefactor treats them as good as you have. I believe you said SS would kick in early next year so that will greatly help with your austerity lifestyle. And monetizing YouTube will certainly help. Who knows, maybe the vacation rental income will return. Good luck.
[Richard’s note: thank you, sir, and your expressions of recognition are the superlative long-term value, here. And…don’t write Yui off entirely just yet… All I can say right now…]
Robust intellect. Irreverent narrative. Decent writing. Good laughs.
Free The Animal came at a time I was fascinated about wild free humans through the ancestral health model. I very quickly learned that there was a fair bit more to that concept as a philosophy.
Richard’s writing intrigues me, some of the narratives make me cringe (intentionally) and gets me to examine my beliefs and knowledge base.
Not really a fan of his videos though. I’ll see if they improve.
More “Robust intellect. Irreverent narrative. Decent writing. Good laughs.”
Learn HOW to think, not what to think
I’ve been a fan/reader since 2011. I think the best thing I can say about Richard is “I don’t always agree with what he says, but I love the way he says it.” A compliment, perhaps, but also a confession: I’m not here for co-signing, circle jerk echo chamber nonsense. I’m here for the truth, and that is what Richard delivers. That, and a whole lotta good food and recipes.
Though I suspect he would loathe being called one (or he might at least mock me for it), I view Richard as somewhat of a celebrity. He certainly has celebrity friends. But how many celebrities actually answer in person? Hundreds of comments, nay, THOUSANDS…and thousands more responses by Richard himself. No team, no interns.
In a world where “telling your story” and “baring your soul” has become cliche and self absorbed (to the point where literally no one cares anymore), Richard does this and somehow still manages to keep it compelling and interesting. I suspect this is due to his aforementioned honesty, but I also suspect a large reason is his fuck all attitude, as in “I don’t give fuck all what you think”; about getting punched in the face, about getting death threats in Mexico, about his divorce from Bea, about his Thai girlfriends, about helping people, abut his political leanings, philosophy, food choices, dietary choices…you name it. But what has always been cool with Richard is, he gives it right back-I’ve seen people come on and disagree, and as long as they don’t cross a line of disrespect or base intelligence, you’re in-and as mentioned before, you may even get a response from Richard himself. At the very least, you’ll get my favorite line from him: “I’m not interested in what you think you think.”
Welcome to Free The Animal. Welcome to Richard Nikoley. Stay a while-the burgers and potato soup are delicious.
…unique and honest voices, based in reason
I’ve been following Richard for about 10 years, from his initial journey into Paleo/low carb to now, with a gap of a few years (not his fault).
I gravitate to unique and honest voices, based in reason, and this is Richard to a tee. Do I agree with all he says? No, especially not his views on women. They make me uncomfortable, sometimes quite viscerally. That said, he is a man’s man, and I think this is a vanishing species that sorely needs to make a comeback.
So why do I persist, and why did I become a paying member?
Because it amazes me how often he says what I’ve been thinking, and equally as often shows me a different way to view something. Whether I agree or not, this is what I seek in all the voices I allow into my life.
Lastly, he called the fiasco that was the pandemic response very early on and was right. He was one of the folks who helped me through the insanity that ensued. While I shed my so-called friends and increasingly felt isolated, his voice helped me remain grounded, holding out for a saner time. It was this that ultimately led me to pay.
Richard Makes Me Think
Found Richard 2012ish from Tom Naughton of Fathead fame. In short, came for the Paleo, stayed for the intellect. I believe Richard is honest. I admire that he is 100% true to himself, and he puts it all out there, take it or leave it. And, he’s really fine with either! He gives narratives/takes on subjects that, while entertaining, often makes me think and question how I view things. Unequivocally, Richard has given me more value than any other independent internet resource for a decade now. I’m happy to support his efforts of “one mind at a time,” as I have surely benefited from them.
Richard punches hard with a follow up hug.
Appreciate his honest comments.
I have been reading his blogs and watching his videos for many years now. Always honest and thought provoking.
Like a brother.
I’ve been reading Richard’s thoughts, ideas, provocations and revelations since 2010. I’m interested in male health and fitness. He’s opened my eyes to some interesting stuff and lead me to more reading.
I don’t agree with some of the politics and some stuff I don’t even understand. But I keep coming back.
He’s like a brother one meets every so often to catch up with about life and stuff. A brother who takes no shit ! Free The Animal has been a little part of my life these interesting years of keeping my body in one well functioning state; free and animal like !
When more and more of his stuff started going behind his paywall I decided it was definitely worth forking out to keep reading.
Onwards and upwards ! Thanks Richard.
Richard is great fun. Even if you don’t agree with his take, it’s always refreshingly different. I think Richard is a pretty big fan of Richard. But that’s not a bad thing – I’m a fan of Richard too! So there you go.
Want to watch MSM? Go ahead. That’ll rot your brain and get you lined up with whoever is pulling the strings. Richard will get you thinking instead.
(please re-emphasize writing over youtubing!)
Total Macho Arsehole
Just joking but wanted to get your attention! Richard is intelligent and thought provoking. So much better now he is off the piss lol. Definitely don’t always agree with him but love the straight honesty. He really puts a lot of effort in and even when he is down or stuffed up he will be honest about that too. Love the health advice as a similar aged male.
To me more than anything Richard is the king of synthesizing ideas, drawing across many different domains of knowledge to spin together a cohesive view on a topic. Whatever it is, a cultural event, war, global “pandemic”, health trends, Richard’s point of view is the first I seek to help orient my thinking, even if I don’t fully agree with everything. I am young, just started a family, and am incredibly focused on making money and securing my family’s future whilst living an unconventional expat geo-arbitraged lifestyle (which Richard himself does also), and so, for now, Richard is the shortcut to the 100’s of books and life experience I am yet get to.
Much better understanding the big picture
Hey man I love the recent article, I didn’t leave a comment as I spent too long trying to choose the right words like a wanker so thought fuck it I’ll email Rich. This article really helped me to clear up lots of random thoughts that float around in my big silly head and has brought me to a much better place of understanding the big picture. Also helped me feel better about my station in life and has given me some pride in what I do, instead of feel the usual frustration. Thanks again
Keep up the excellent work. Always have enjoyed your output.
A classic, Richard. Been following you off and on since pre-potato starch days, so I know a classic when I read it.
Grandma’s Life Revolutionized
Richard Nikoley’s Expert Guidance Unleashes Her Inner Techie!
Richard Nikoley’s guidance over the years has been nothing short of revolutionary for this old lady! Married for 34 years and a proud grandma of three, I’m not exactly a techie. But Richard’s insights over a wide range of topics from health to crypto to AI have broadened my horizons in ways I never imagined. In just two weeks, I’ve used AI to create a promising business plan for our church, developed educational materials for my granddaughters whom we’re homeschooling, successfully organized a fundraiser, acquired new video skills, and even launched a YouTube channel on the fly. I can’t thank Richard enough for his invaluable support and expertise!
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