Connecting the Dots

This post was actually inspired by my friend, Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend where he invites us to “Choose Adventure.”

connecting-dots-tangovagabond

Connecting the Dots – Steve Jobs

Like Scott, I’m a big fan of Paulo Coelho’s beloved classic, The Alchemist. In fact, I recently wrote a LinkedIn post via Pulse about why I consider it required reading for entrepreneurs and almost any business bookshelf.

As both Coelho and Dmitri Martin (see his sketch “What Success Really Looks Like”) each show in their own way, often the straight line success stories are actually full of twists and turns. One of the things I like to say is that “life is what happens while we’re making plans.”

what-success-really-looks-like

What Success Really Looks Like by Demetri Martin, This is a Book

When I look back on my tango journey, it’s definitely been full of unexpected twists and turns – but I’ve always been glad to have taken the “road less traveled.” Besides lessons in being more creative and dancing everywhere from Brisbane, Australia to Amsterdam and Nijmegen I’ve met incredible friends and enjoyed memorable moments like improvising tofu parmigiana in Berlin.

Recently, I came across the idea of the Hero’s Journey. Joseph Campbell said that “in the cave you fear to enter lies the treasure you seek.” That’s why myths and legends have always resonated with us as much as today’s blockbusters. Deep down we realize that from the moment the first cave man faced his fear of fire not only his life was made better but the lives of the rest of us as well.

I had no idea how far down the rabbit hole tango was going to take me. All I could do was follow my heart and see what happened. As I get ready for the next phase, I’m just doing my best to listen to the music and hear what it’s telling me to do.

 

Easy Healthy Living as a Digital Nomad

simple-healthy-living

Healthy Living Can Be Simple

We all want to live a life of freedom and passion. Sure, how we make a living and who we spend our time with are a big part of this. But first it’s important to take care of ourselves.

Without our health, there’s not much point to all the fun and adventure of the digital nomad life. It’s hard to enjoy even a good meal if you’re struggling to simply feel good.

So, this article is a little different from what I usually write about. I’m going to share some of my personal secrets to a simple but healthy lifestyle.

Rest is Essential

For me it all starts with getting enough rest. I know, this seems too simple for many reasons. There’s so much to do as an entrepreneur. And even when we’re not working, we just wanna stay up late. But getting enough sleep is just a piece of the bigger puzzle, and that is testing how things feel.

When I was a kid, I would eat and drink pretty mindlessly. Eventually, consuming junk food and sodas turned into alcohol and even cigarettes. Now I’m not going to preach about vices. Some folks may even argue that they enjoy how recreational drugs feel. No judgment here.

Check In with Yourself

All I suggest is to start gauging how what you consume feels overall. Does it make you sluggish for most of the day? Are you walking around in a cloudy haze for hours?

Don’t just go by what I’m telling you. Tune into yourself.

I like to believe that we’re here to really feel and experience things. Sure, there are parts that suck. But the point is to have clear minds and bright eyes in my book – to really experience what life has to offer.

Finding Balance & Calm in the Middle of Chaos

Recently, I came across the idea that balance is a myth. There’s probably some truth to this. Yet it doesn’t mean that we can’t find peace in the midst of everything. Taking time to reflect or meditate is just as important as doing.

When I trained for my first (and so far only) marathon, I learned that the rest days were just as important as putting in the miles. Likewise if we don’t “empty the cup,” eventually we’ll burn out – whether it’s doing work, learning or anything we want to achieve.

I share how I avoid writer’s block here.

Experiment and Explore but Keep It Simple

In general I love to try different foods. Although there are some fall back basics like pasta or soups, part of the fun is to not only eating out and trying different restaurants but learning new recipes at home (wherever home may be at the moment).

When I went camping along the coast of Oregon a couple of years ago, all we had to do was stock up on a few essentials like bread, cheese and lunch meats then buy some ingredients for interesting meals.

Fresh basil, mozzarella and tomatoes made awesome caprese salads with some virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and ground salt. Easy peasy!

Before I even knew it, I had already subscribed to the Julia Child approach towards that four letter word “diet” of trying different foods. Later on, I discovered Mireille Guiliano who wrote French Women Don’t Get Fat. She also advocates the same philosophy – all things in moderation.

julia-child-food-quote

Julia Child on Diet Food


Test and Evaluate

So, that’s my overall approach to health and fitness. Try different things but constantly tune into yourself and check how they feel. I’m still learning and experimenting. More recently, I’ve been more conscious of pro-biotics after a few nasty bouts of food poisoning on set. (But that’s another story for another day..)

Please share your own ideas and tips. I’d love to learn what works for you. Let me know how this helps you, and what you’d like me to write about in more detail.

My First Digital Nomad Sale While Watching a Movie

“Wow, I just made two hundred bucks!” I announced glancing at my phone.

“Really? That’s awesome!” replied Molly.

As we found our seats arms full of popcorn and drink, I read the message again. This was what I’ve dreamed of – the whole “making money while you sleep” thing or in this case while watching a summer flick.

Ironically, this was the tail end of a great three weeks camping along the Oregon coast – not the middle of some product launch.

Years ago I published my first Kindle ebook to “demonstrate my authority” and ultimately teach workshops. I saw the need for this training because when I got started, there was little to no information available.

Although I had tried all kinds of get rich quick schemes and even programs that sincerely wanted to help you make your first dollars on the internet, I just wanted to finally make some real money online.

As I finished writing my book, there was a section about mystery shopping that felt incomplete. A friend put me in contact with Pam of IMSC (Independent Mystery Shoppers Coalition – a group for mystery shoppers formed by mystery shoppers,) and that one call launched my speaking and teaching career.

Pam not only generously took the time to talk to me about her own mystery shopping experiences, but she shared her own book and invited me to speak at the next conference in Las Vegas.

There I shared my journey as a field inspector before pitching my book and training. Although I managed to sell only a few seats, it was the beginning of my teaching online. Since then, I’ve launched other books like Local Business Alchemy and courses like “Build a Business You Can Sell” (based on my experiences as a business broker / small business adviser) and even co-produced one on Instagram marketing with a friend.

I’d be lying if I said that now I have all the answers, and I’m sitting on a beach in Thailand sipping cool drinks. There’s still a lot of work ahead. At the moment I’m doing some mix of freelance work through eLanceGuru and Fiverr. Folks are starting to contact me for things like podcasts through my LinkedIn profile.

Recently, I share some of what freedom looks like to me as a creative entrepreneur.

How about you? What does success as a digital nomad look like to you?

 

Mosquito Sunset

Happy 4th of July!

Some folks know about my military service. This is a repost of an article from a previous blog where I share some of my Navy experiences.

Sometimes you’re the windshield.. sometimes you’re the bug” – lyrics, Mary Chapin Carpenter song

Standing in formation at dusk outside the hangar, I felt the rivulets of sweat pooling into the delta small of my back. Lines of dungarees – half powder-blue, half blue jean – lined up in neat rows behind me. As the sweltering heat finally gave way to limp stickiness clinging to our skin, the floodlights finally flickered on – and so did the mosquitoes’ taste for blood. Yet, at first everyone seemed to just “grin and bear it.”

The commanding officer (who reminded me of Ned Flanders from the Simpsons) droned on about something that seemed important enough at the time to announce in front of the entire squadron. Meanwhile these flying syringes poked through our starched poly-cotton uniforms to draw blood with their hydraulic pistons, punctuating the agonizing minutes.

What Happens on Deployment, Stays on Deployment

We were well beyond two TACAN’s away from our home base in San Diego. The “two TACAN rule” was that once you were outside of the range of two of these military navigation aids, anything goes.

Such was the “wink-wink, nudge-nudge, need I say more” behind the veneer of Navy “family values.” It was an excuse, of course, for guys to get away with whatever didn’t leave permanent traces that flowers or penicillin couldn’t cure stateside.

At the time all this only mattered a little to me. Only 3 or 4 months ago my marriage had begun to unravel in the middle of our squadron’s West Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment aboard the USS Constellation.

I vaguely remember thinking at the time how radically different my life was turning out from the wife / house / 2.5 kids “fast-track to the space program” life that I envisioned for myself.

Maybe the most surreal moment was seeing our ship on CNN, patrolling during the Chinese missile crisis with Taiwan. Yet, instead of being an ending, somehow it was the beginning – the beginning of how I came to understand that

..life is what happens while you make plans.

Somehow, in the midst of feeling utterly small and alone in a steel city of five thousand, I discovered at the same time a much bigger part of myself.

Funny how there in what Navy pilots describe as little bigger than a postage stamp when landing at night, I realized that in your darkest moments there is grace – a quiet connectedness, even as you lay in your bed wondering what you’re doing in the middle of nowhere. This must be how future travelers will feel shuttling among the stars.

Slowly, it became more and more evident that it was acceptable to break rank and swat your neighbor’s tormentors. Military standards dictated that in formation you were supposed to stand at attention, unyielding as the ceremonial guards keeping watch on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (be sure to watch what happens at 4:48 – VERY UNUSUAL!)

Yet, somehow by some unspoken consensus we all agreed that, while it was bad form to relieve yourself of the torture inflicted by these tiny Weapons of Mass Annoyance, it was acceptable to swat those around you.

One or two pats gradually mushroomed into what became a flurry of mercy beatings like the popping of bubble wrap at Christmas until at last we were dismissed. Sighs of relief mixed with bursts of laughter and disbelief, as we made our way back to the shelter of the hangar bay. It felt like a comic scene out of some old war movie, except this was no Hollywood fiction. No, we were far from some South Pacific island, fighting some epic battle for our lives.

End of an Era, Beginning of New

Instead, it was 1994 – the Cold War had ended with the crashing debris of the Berlin Wall, signaling the end of the Iron Curtain era. Reagan’s proud 600-ship navy had been reduced to maybe half of its former glory. To justify its piece of the budget pie, the Navy turned to unorthodox missions like the counter-narcotics operation that brought us here to Ciba, Puerto Rico.

Night after night, our squadron launched the E-2C Hawkeye, otherwise known as the Navy’s AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System,) on sorties to coordinate various agencies that in theory intercepted the drug runners as they landed their contraband on nearby shores. While occasionally we would hear about a successful bust, it seemed like only days later there would be another story about a bigger bust stateside.

Were we really making a dent on the war on drugs? Any more than the “Just Say No” campaign? Who knows.. Some days you believe you’re making a difference. Then there are others you wonder who is really doing the swatting and who is just buzzing around.

If you enjoyed this story, subscribe to my newsletter to get more or follow on Twitter @tangovagabond