Here are 12 experiences you'll have and 12 lessons you'll learn, as a digital nomad and lifestyle business owner, on the journey of selling your cleverness to buy awe.
1. Ham is not soap
I once arrived late at a boutique guesthouse in Antigua, Guatemala and ask for soap (jabón) while your host wonders why you need ham (jamón) in the middle of the night. You’ll recall all the Spanish dissertations you wrote in school until the windmills came home, and sigh at how utterly useless they now are. You'll vow to never turn to academia for life skills, wisdom or anything remotely practical.
2. The best love is forged in non-conformity
I once booked an Airbnb treehouse and pee in a bucket, and feel like the coolest person on the planet. You’ll wake up fully rebooted by nature and nourished by breakfast grown from your hosts' land. You’ll ask how they met and swoon at their epic bi-continental love story that started right here, on the island of Dominica, 20 years ago. You’ll believe in love again because it's custom-tailored.
3. Routines are sexy (And can save lives)
I once lived in a different country, every week for 16 weeks. You’ll fly on Mondays, sightsee in the city on Tuesdays, organize wifi to work Wednesdays and Thursdays, and adventure out of the city on Fridays and weekends. This will make your travels delightfully simple and stress free. One time, you’ll land in Istanbul, Turkey, at 9AM on a Monday and feel a strong urge to go sightseeing that day. Next day, a bomb will kill 10 people by the Blue Mosque right where you stood 18 hours ago... and where you would have stood if you followed your regular Tuesday sightseeing schedule. You’ll be blown away (pun intended) by the power of following your urges.
4. One person can affect the weather
Everywhere I went, people will say it was raining just before you arrived and unseasonably warm and sunny for the entire week that you're there. That's because you meticulously studied the region's historical weather patterns and optimized time/space points in a giant spreadsheet #geekyourheartout. It’ll also dawn on you that you are made of stardust and your joy CAN alter the weather. That’s right, you are THAT cool!
5. Synchrodestiny exists
I once dropped my brand new iPhone in the sea due to waterproof casing malfunction. Your family will be unable to reach you in the next 48hrs to tell you that your father died suddenly. Your best friend, booked on a flight months ago, will join you in Bali in 48hrs, with a brand new iPhone (free replacement) and two giant shoulders to cry on. "What were the chances?!?", you'll ask. "They were 100%.", you'll hear.
6. The little things count most
I once forgot my Patagonia winter coat in a hostel in Macedonia and they will take initiative to send it on the next bus to Bulgaria for you, at no charge! They will even call your hostel in Sofia to confirm the exact bus, driver and arrival time of your coat. You’ll experience love and oneness explosions from these small acts of kindness by strangers, and feel validated for paying it forward all these decades even when assholes take advantage of your kindness.
7. White lies are a-ok!
I once stood at the top of a former Haïtian palace, feeling like the king of the world, and be exquisitely delighted that you didn't tell ANYONE where you were going. So no one got a chance to poo poo all over your dreams. You’ll realize two things: 1. Statistically and bombing-wise Northern Haïti is safer than London’s Underground and 2. People (even those who "love" you) have so much power to destroy your dreams… if you give it to them.
8. Joy is amplified when shared
I once celebrated the perfect, beyond PERFECT New Year’s Day in Abu Dhabi with 2 introverted friends, each quietly on your own iPad, sat together in the peaceful living room. The silence will only be broken by laughter from the grabbing of your iPhone for a forced installation of Tinder, because they think you need to have more fun. Indeed, more fun was had at your next destination.
9. Hormones are hormones
I once once gazed into the night sky, watching shooting stars in the desert and Northern lights in the tundra with deliciously handsome Latin boys, which will cause you to misread 19:00 for 9PM and miss your flight. You’ll take out your big caveman bat from your carry-on suitcase and beat yourself to a pulp for such a rookie mistake. You’ll pause and remember their dreamy Latin eyes. Then return to beating self until you reach baby food consistency. When you finally accept that grown ass women with wisdom and foresight coursing through your veins ALSO have teenage hormones coursing in there too, you'll retire your bat.
10. Argentinians get around
I once ran into Argentinian boys everywhere, each trying harder than the next to make me miss my flight. You’ll heartachingly wish teleportation existed, so you can port your besties here to share in the feast. That wish will lead you down a dark corridor, questioning why the more successful you are, the drastically less likely you are to find a husband. Once enough tears have been shed, an aha moment will hit you: Latin boys are a rite of passage for every woman, ascending to goddess. Goddesses need Gods, not boys.
11. Angels whisper louder than you think
When a budget airline canceled my flight to Caracas and refused to give you a refund, but offers to re-book you to arrive in Venezuela AFTER you’re scheduled to depart said country, you'll notice how un-angry you are. You'll take it as a sign to let it go, the money, the country counting, the domino effect of rescheduling everything. Until this day, you'll refuse to google the events of that week because you know you'll read about a plane crash or some riot that ended in death. You'll know, once and for all, to listen when the Universe whispers.
12. Karma is a friend
I once got so done with Yangon, Myanmar, unexpectedly hop on a 10-hour overnight bus to Bagan, and accidentally discover one of the world’s top 3 hot-air ballooning sites. You’ll hover in beauty and serenity above 2,000+ temples... while two very yappy Japanese boys film their very yappy YouTube channel. They’ll drop their very expensive camera lens overboard and you’ll flash a big toothy “Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it?” grin. Yay! Now they're quiet.
In the end...
In the end, you will splish and splash with dolphins in St. Kitts, salsa with giant manta rays in Antigua and be a giant walking ball of disbelief that THIS is how it feels to do whatever YOU want, whenever YOU want, wherever YOU want, however YOU want, without anyone else interfering with their own 2 cents of fear or negativity.
Is this bliss? It this total liberation? After 110 countries, you'll know it's both.