Mar Azul sunrise

A Year in the Life of a Nomad: 2013

January 7, 2014 | , ,

In my Nomadtopia, 2013 was a pretty big year.

After spending the first six months of 2013 in Argentina (with a quick trip to Peru to co-lead a retreat), Roberto and I visited friends and family in the U.S. and Canada before flying to Southeast Asia, where we spent the last five months of the year.

It was Roberto’s first time to Asia, my first time in the region since 2005, and our first time taking our businesses so far afield. I’m happy to report that our businesses survived the transition (and even thrived), and we’re planning to stay in the area until April or May 2014.

Here’s a little more about what I got up to in 2013. I’m sure I left out a lot, but it was fun to think back on the year to put this together.

Countries visited: 7

  • Argentina
  • Peru
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia

Countries transited: 4

  • Chile
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Thailand

Flights Taken: 21

Memorable Experiences

  • Super-steep gondola ride to highest point in Langkawi, Malaysia
  • Trying local food with new friends in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • The local night markets in Langkawi
  • Celebrating our first wedding anniversary at the beach in Mar Azul, Argentina
  • Giving my first in-person writing workshops (in Peru, no less!)
  • Getting stung by a jellyfish in Langkawi, Malaysia
  • Using up $18 of data in 2 minutes in Canada
  • Peeing underneath a freeway overpass on the way to July 4th fireworks in Portland, Oregon
  • Open-air living in Malaysia and Indonesia
  • Trying new things like sound healing, ecstatic dance, and chakra breath meditation in Bali, Indonesia
  • Completing a blogging challenge by publishing a post every day in October
  • Camping out in our friend’s backyard in Summerland, Canada
  • Hosting the Nomads Unite! meetup at the World Domination Summit in Portland
  • Watching the nightly frog commute at our place in Langkawi
  • Recording interviews for Internet radio and telesummits with turkeys and roosters causing a ruckus in the background
  • Watching the Celebration of Light fireworks in Vancouver, Canada, from our friend’s rooftop
  • Immersing myself in (and drinking!) the water at the Holy Springs Temple in Bali
  • Being inundated by the bug du jour almost every night in Malaysia and Indonesia
  • Riding bikes in a downpour in Langkawi
  • Having a monkey jump on my shoulder at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali
  • Hiking Incan ruins with an amazing group of women in the Sacred Valley, Peru
  • Meeting up with online friends and clients in Buenos Aires, Peru, Orlando, Tampa, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Bali


Bali rice terraces


Lessons Learned

  • Do what you want to do, not what you feel like you should do
  • Scheduling calls with clients in the U.S. while in Asia is tough but doable
  • Tweak your schedule to meet clients’ needs, but not too much (you need to sleep too!)
  • Malaysia is more expensive than other countries in SE Asia
  • Most homestays/guesthouses in Ubud, Bali, don’t have good enough Internet connections for downloading large files or doing anything super-important like hosting a webinar or telesummit
  • Take every opportunity to spend time with loved ones
  • Transportation in Bali is expensive (by SE Asia standards), and traffic is crazy
  • There’s much more English spoken/used in Malaysia than in Indonesia
  • Very few people speak English in the São Paulo, Brazil, airport terminal where I had a long layover, and my Spanish barely got me by
  • Unplugging now and then is essential

These last few I already knew, but they were strongly reinforced this year:

  • The more you move around, the more money you spend, the more time you spend making travel plans, and the more easily you get burned out
  • It’s essential to have more than one way to connect to the Internet if you’re working while traveling
  • Ask; you never know what you might receive
  • To focus on product creation or program delivery, it’s easier to stay in one place

After spending New Year’s Eve on the beach in Bali, on January 1, 2014, we flew to India for the next phase of our Nomadtopia.

I have lots of big plans for 2014. Stay tuned for more adventures, plus resources and inspiration to help you live your Nomadtopia, too!

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