“Anna you should write a book about all your crazy adventures,” she told me while we were sipping hot chocolate in a cute small cafe in Tirana, Albania.
May 23, 2015. I am at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia with my two suitcases and a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand.
I am scared but full of hope. I have no idea what the f*ck am I doing but I feel my heart pumping with blood and excitement so I’m doing it anyways. I have packed 3 years of my life in 2 suitcases (don’t ask me how. I guess it’s the “I am starting a new life” effect.)
And I passed through the border and jumped on the plane. (Of course, I had to buy a cup of Starbucks to make myself look cooler and like everything is under control.)
This is where my digital nomad journey begins.
First week was tough. I was in an immensely big and insane city by myself and in a Thai hotel. I might have started sexting with a friend as a desperate effort (that effort led to a very fruitful connection in the end.)
I was the girl who would never travel alone. I was the girl who was terrified to go to a bar and order a drink. But I did it and I loved every single part of it.
A year later, I find myself with an awesome job that pays really well and allows me to work from anywhere in the world. With a lifestyle of freedom and abundance, with some of the coolest people I’ve met…and with a man by my side.
Welcome to Wanderova’s Revelations: Part I — The Digital Nomad.
I’ve lived and worked in Malaysia for the last 3 years, which I loved, but it was time to spread my wings wide and fly. My last 2 weeks in Kuala Lumpur where real crazy. I have packed my life in 2 suitcases and hit the road…But first, I did my freedom tattoo.
And so in the last 12 months of my digital nomad journey I visited and lived in 11 countries including:
- living on a tropical island for 2.5 months
- getting a scuba diving certificate
- reconnecting with my communist father for 3 weeks in Asia
- being involved in 3 motorbike accidents
- getting sick with dengue fever for a week in a Thai hospital
- falling in and out of love
- having one of the best and worst sex experiences of my life
- meeting incredible people along the way who became my best friends
- trying mushrooms in a Thai hippie village (and other illegal stuff in Colombia)
- paragliding in Medellin, Colombia
- visiting the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza, Mexico
- attracting the man of my dreams (probably LOL)
And all of that, plus much more, while having a full time online marketing job and relaunching my podcast ManInside Show.
I say it was a good year for a virgin digital nomad 😉 I even got all the Instagram photos to prove it all.
I hope this will give you a perspective into this lifestyle where you’ll also get to know that it’s not all rainbows and tropical islands but also a lot of instability, emotional ups and downs and being by yourself. Wanderova’s lessons below (in order of importance, of course):
#1 Get Comfortable With Yourself.
This is a big one and, probably, the most important one.
At least, it was for me. There will be many times you’ll be on your own and if you don’t know what to do with yourself, you’re screwed. But in time, you’ll learn.
In fact, you’ll get to know yourself so well that you’ll prefer your own company to many people’s company.
Because spending time with yourself will become as important, if not more important, as spending it with other people. Not because of your ego and narcissism, but because you’ll need this time. Like air.
You’ll need your time and your space and your comfort because a lot of places, people, events and other noisy stuff will be happening around you and you will need your downtime.
When it’s quiet. When it’s just You and You. Where things stop and you sleep, read or just listen to music or your favourite podcast. Or you catch up with your friends. The point is that you get to spend quality time with yourself. A lot of people do not understand the importance of it, let alone practice it consciously.
So get comfortable with yourself. Get to know yourself well and what lights you up, excites you and makes you fell real peaceful.
#2 Cultivate Your Relationships
When you’re on this journey, relationships are everything.
Digital ones and real ones. You meet someone who knows someone who’s been somewhere who’s done something. That’s how the world works. It’s not different with nomadism.
There will be 2 groups of people on your journey: those who are with you permanently (mostly online, these are family and really close friends) and those who you’ll meet on the road (short-term, in-person experiences). Both are equally important because they both complement each other and because the short-term ones might transit into the long-term ones. Like Dylan and Paul, or Taner and Marius or my now BFF Lisa.
You’ll attract these people into your life and fall in love with them and you’d want to keep them.
You’ll also have the necessary occasional flings and short-term romance stories. These are the best because they are fleeting. You’ll learn to become non-attached and you’ll learn to let go. You’ll miss these people afterwards, but you know they have played their role and you will let them go.
So cherish everyone on your way and make sure you’re kind. Because you never know who’s going to be that nice person Leanne who will host you in her amazing apartment for 3 weeks. Or that cute boy Seb who’s going to offer you to stay with him in Amsterdam on the canal (and you’re going to take that offer, for sure ;-)
#3 You Create Your Own Life. Literally.
Freedom is real and it’s yours.
It just all depends on your definition of Freedom. This freedom hit me hard and fast.
“You wanted freedom? Here you go.” said the Universe without warning me about what’s about to come next. You now had to decide EVERYTHING.
It seems that this is true for everyone but it is not the case. It’s funny how when you get out of stability you crave stability. And when you get out of instability you crave a little bit of stability.
I literally was waking up asking myself: “Emmm…what shall I do today? Where shall I go today? How much time and money I want to spend on this today? Where do I want to be next week? What country shall I visit next month?” And guess what? Not only I have to ask myself these questions but I gotta answer them too! #lifeissohard
So then you realise that every single decision you take (read: every thought that crawls through your busy mind) directly influences your next decision and the next one and so on.
Therefore, every decision you make is a building block to your future life.
I was really stressed about this at one point and then I just let it go and started trusting my intuition and making decisions on the go. So this power and this freedom is powerful. And it is scary at the same time. Because you realise that you can do whatever the f*ck you want with your life, money, body, time, relationships, travel plans…everything! And that becomes so real when you don’t have stability to wrap all these decision around with.
So my advice is to go with the flow. But choose a smart and an efficient flow that works for you. Which brings you results. It’s all a trial and error thing anyways. No-one really knows what they’re doing anyways not matter how confident they look. Even the most confident people doubt themselves. So when people look at me on TV or whatever and then tell me “OMG, you’re so inspiring and amazing! I don’t know how you do it!” I often think back to myself “I don’t know either!” LOL
#4 Enjoy The Rollercoaster and Trust The Universe
Oh, the beloved rollercoaster. Up and down all the f*cking time.
Your moods, desires, thoughts, talks and conclusions about life will change frequently and unexpectedly.
Change will become the only constant.
Do not do what I did: dealing with it with the “Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” method. Try to deal with it by self control, self awareness and acceptance. But it’s hard. And there is no stop to it. And the wave height and aptitude of your rollercoaster really depends on how well you can manage all of it. The good news is that you will eventually learn to master your reaction to the rollercoaster but not the rollercoaster itself. Unless, of course, you’ve had years and years of practice.
So the only way to master it (because, honestly, there is no way out, life is just is that way) is to do some personal growth and deal with your demons and understand your patterns.
Take it day by day, you just need to know the next step.
That’s it. Breathe, exercise, meditate, know your purpose, know where you’re going, surround yourself with positive uplifting people and move forward. Always move forward.
P.S. And yeah, do yourself a favour and get travel insurance. WorldNomads saved my life. When you’re lying almost dead in a Thai hospital the last thing you want to worry about is where to get the money for your medical bills and expenses.
Anything you found interesting? Anything you resonated with? Got any questions? Comment below!
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