Free to Roam About the World

digital-nomad-globe

“Free to Move About the World” Photo via Pixabay

There’s a Southwest Airlines tagline that goes “you’re now free to move about the country.” Ever since my MBA studies in Management of Global Information Technology, I’ve dreamed of being part of a worldwide network of talented professionals. So, when I came across a recommendation by Cup of TJ to check out Toptal, I knew I had to learn more.

If you don’t know them already, Toptal is a marketplace for top talent in different expertise, but they are currently focused around three core areas of expertise – developers, designers and finance experts. That’s no surprise because these are the most portable functions in most companies.

My first taste of remote work was managing projects with AT&T for Sun Microsystems. Often, I would be out of the office at various job sites across the Bay Area, logging in whenever / wherever and jumping on the occasional team conference calls.

Later, I would work as a semi-digital nomad, when I started to do consulting in commercial real estate and buying / selling businesses. Most of the time I bounced up and down the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. While this may sound glamorous, it gets old quick after you realize you spent more time on the road than in your own bed!

As Cup of TJ points out, there are pros and cons to the digital nomad lifestyle. It isn’t all unicorns and working on your laptop at beaches. Clients expect you to be available during certain times and to be professional when you show up on a Skype call.

But the bottomline, of course, is delivering results. They don’t care that you were ziplining on Monday, but you better have that prototype you promised for Tuesday ready.

Speaking of Monday, my next step with joining the Toptal design team is a Skype call with one of their team. Their screening process apparently only lets in the top 3% of applicants – wish me luck!

To learn more about Toptal click here.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

Happy Groundhog Day! If you haven’t watched this classic Bill Murray / Andie McDowell rom-com, it’s a great way to experience the time loop when you cross the international dateline!

Recently, I launched a new website, Thriving Vets, to help veterans to live a fulfilling life. Our men and women make a lot of personal sacrifices in serving our country, so this site is dedicated to serving them.

Meanwhile, I spoke with Heather Morrow of Aspen Tango about the immigration crisis that started when President Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from certain countries from entering this country. One unexpected repercussion was rejecting people with valid green cards. Here’s the replay for more –

On Sunday I will be chatting with Clay Nelson of Portland Tango about why dancers return to Portland year after year like some migratory birds –

Also, I’ve started to do a vlog of sorts to talk about the realities of freelancing and working my way into the digital nomad lifestyle –

Meanwhile, I’ve posted some food recipe videos and plan to write more about this.

Recently, I started to read Eddie Huang’s biography Fresh Off the Boat. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s nothing like the television story, which was watered down quite a bit for mass audiences, of course.eddie-huang-fresh-off-the-boat

Some of you probably know that I’m a big fan of audio books, especially when the author is the narrator. This is no exception, as Huang tells his own story in a way that no one else can.

Even though I grew up much further north, I can definitely to the harassment and bullying that Huang faced, as well as the identity crisis. Sometimes I felt too Chinese; other times, too American. We first generation immigrants often found ourselves trying to straddle both cultural worlds.

Here’s a videos series of Eddie Huang revisiting Taiwan. You can also check out his book through the links to the Amazon page. Enjoy!

Well, this post is a bit all over the place but thought it was the best way to share some of these! How about you? What are you working on these days?

Where to Find Digital Nomad Work

digital nomad work

Digital Nomad Work

First, my confession – I’m by no means a full-time “digital nomad.” But someone on Quora asked this question, and so I thought I’d answer here since this is longer than your typical Quoran response.

When Life Forces You to Change

Over the last year or so I was forced to switch almost completely to online work because my last car (an old beat up Toyota Corolla) finally died. Before that I would go back and forth between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area to do my main work in commercial property inspections. You can see me do a walk-thru in the video. [link]

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different things with varying degrees of success – everything from trying to make money through affiliate commissions to teaching online – both my own field inspection course to Udemy classes, even publishing a couple of Kindle books – Local Business Alchemy and Field Inspection 101 Home Business.

While there isn’t a remote / digital nomad site as comprehensive as Monster.com or networking quite like LinkedIn, here are some ways to find digital nomad work –

Who You Know vs What You Know

Often you can find opportunities through people they know – not so much by saying “do you know of any jobs where I can work remotely?”

No, it’s usually a bit more roundabout..

“Hey, I saw this posting – who should I contact in that company? Are you also looking for [your specialty]? ..would you consider hiring someone who works in [your location]? ”

Of course, although there are more companies today that would consider hiring remote workers, it’s still not the first choice of most businesses.

So, it may / may not be worth the time to “sell” them on the idea. To be honest it’s better to simply look for a company or hiring manager who is open to this.

Either that or your work specialty needs to be unique enough and still be portable, of course. This is why programming and other technical specialties are more common.

Some Recommended Sites for Digital Nomad Work

A few of the most popular freelancer sites include:
(links are to my profiles on these sites)

While it seems nearly impossible to make a living with microjob sites like Fiverr and more recently http://www.konker.io/, don’t write these off. Besides connecting with other sellers, this can be an opportunity (within the site rules) to get higher paying work.

There are specific niche sites like italki – where I teach English online through Skype calls.

You can even find some work on local sites like Craigslist

Be sure to check out social groups like Facebook groups geared towards digital nomads –
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DigitalNomadsAroundTheWorld/?fref=ts

People often look for specific tasks to be done or projects to be completed

There are now more and more “digital nomad” job specific sites, but most of the work for technical fields like programmers or other areas of software development. https://remoteok.io/

Like I’ve said, “your results may vary.” What works for one person in one area will probably work differently for someone else.

In general, until you get some ratings, aka “social proof,” are you willing to humble yourself and take a bit of a pay cut? If so, deliver the best work you can each time, and you’ll have no problems earning a solid reputation. Remember, often the best advertisement is a happy customer or client!

How Time is Fluid

Just as we settled into the hypnotic rocking of the gulf waters, the rod snapped to life. As the line whirred out, it was all-hands on deck. The Mexican crew yelled excitedly.

Although I had no idea what we had just snagged, my first thought was to offer my younger brother the chance to reel it in. This fishing trip to Baja was his graduation present from Dad and me for finishing medical school.

I remembered watching him busting his ass studying these past four years, and he had more long, intense hours to come for his residency. Still, my brother waved me off.

Shrugging, I settled into my seat at the rear of the boat. Calling it a “yacht” seems misleading. Seaworthy as it is, comparing this charter to something Trump wouldn’t be caught dead in is like comparing apples to Faberge eggs.

“Easy,” coaxed the deck hand. Alternately, encouragements like “mas” and “keep going” came at me in Spanish and Mandarin.

There! For a second or so the marlin jumped. “Oh, my god,” said dad with a mix of awe and excitement.

Eventually, reeling became easier and easier. Somehow I could tell that the fish was giving up. Slowly, we could finally see the magnificent creature – its brilliant blue and violet sheen breaking the dark gulf waters.

Finally, the 135 pound beast lay on the platform off the boat’s stern. Within minutes the light flashed out of its eyes. My elation at landing such a creature turned to sadness. I felt less like a victor than a murderer of something beautiful.

All in all, what took maybe twenty minutes felt like hours.

Later, we would catch a few blue bronze El Dorado, or what some call Mahi Mahi on their dinner plates. These had quite a bit of fight as well, but we would catch nothing else like that marlin. I was disappointed for my brother because he and my dad were much more fishermen than me.

I had gone on a few trips with them over the years, and only once or twice otherwise. Meanwhile, I know that they had gone on several other trips together and with other friends.

But one other trip we went on together was memorable for very different reasons.

This was a charter off the coast of our home state of New Jersey. Now the Atlantic Ocean is known to have rough seas. But this was summertime. So, usually that’s just a good time to catch bluefish because of weather and water conditions.

The initial chop caused the bow to go up and down like a roller coaster – as it went over its first hump over and over again. What started off as exhilaration soon turned to uneasiness and finally dread for my dad and brother.

At first the two turned quiet and still. Then, they both just turned a sickly pale, as if life had left them.

For some unknown reason the rocking motion had no effect on me. So, I proceeded to catch bluefish. My brother came up to see my first one, and promptly hit the side rail which only caused him to projectile vomit breakfast like something out of the Exorcist.

Later, we joked that he was chumming – the ritual spreading of bits of bait to attract the hungry fish.

This time hours of sea-sickness seemed to last forever.

 

Time can be elastic. Einstein talks, of course, about relativity in the world of physics. Jung discussed how we both perceive and create perceptions of what is. If God created us in His image, as the Bible says, then this is nowhere else this is more true.

Another way this comes out is how Marc Levy talks about the relative value of time..

“If you want to know the value of one year, just ask a student who failed a course.

If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

If you want to know the value of one hour, ask the lovers waiting to meet.

If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the bus.

If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident.

 

When have you had moments that you wished would last forever? or other times that you couldn’t wait to end?

Yellow Bucket of Rust

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Sunrise at Pala Near Temecula (Photo credit: pdpolena via Source / CC BY)

Whirrr-eell..WHIRRR-EELLL – WHIRRR-Eeelll.. The variometer squealed in rising & descending tones, alternating between barely audible and a screech as terrifying as crumpling styrofoam.

You might be wondering why I was strapped into a canary yellow rust bucket. Baking under that Southern California sun, as my flight instructor and I waited for our tow plane, I was was wondering the same thing.

Yet, once we were airborne at three thousand feet, where that cool, rarefied air streamed all around our fuselage, it all comes back – I remember what it feels like to almost be a creature of the sky. Not something struggling to get up in the air, but something that really “slipped those surly bonds” and soared.

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Photo credit: birdsaspoetry via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

“Look over there,” my instructor pointed out. A small circle of red hawks had gathered over a small hilltop. Lift – that sweet warm, rising air which extends our flight time.

Of course, I was still paying for every minute of my instructor. But at the same time, each minute we logged up in the air got me closer to my solo qualification, and the longer we stayed up, the less I needed to spend on another tow fee.

Soaring in a glider also finally forced me to get the feel of flying – something I never had developed in powered aircraft.

yellow-glider

Photo credit: The Library of Congress via Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

No, Schweizer 2-33’s aren’t much to look at – they don’t have the sexiness of the Grob, which is what movies typically used. But they do allow student pilots to cheaply fill up flight logs and get their glider certification, aka “ticket” – to take that dream date.

Over time I realized that something was missing – maybe I had numbed myself with one too many roller coaster rides back in college. In any case I didn’t get sea-sick or air-sick like my other buddies, because my inner ear just didn’t work as well.

Seasoned flight instructors tried unsuccessfully to get me sick.

On the one hand it was great to have this tolerance, or whatever it’s called. On the other maybe it made me less sensitive to the bumps and feel of flight that good pilots have.

Years later, I finally developed some sense of “feel” on the mat in aikido and on the dance floor in tango.

Here’s the thing. How we do one thing is how we do everything. And the sad part is that while we would rather not feel sadness, or those emotions we consider “negative,” people like Jenny Lawson, who deal with severe bouts of depression, pay a high price by becoming numb to other feelings like joy and happiness.

As much as I hate to admit it, that old yellow bucket of rust was more than a few cheap thrills. She taught me a thing or two about flying, but most of all, that I still had a lot to learn!

Best Restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga – Behind the Scenes

Recently, I decided to to make a short video on the best restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga. So, I asked my neighbors on Facebook what their favorites were.

After everyone gave their opinions with “Likes” and comments, I more or less added the most “votes” and compared these with Yelp reviews and comments. That gave me a working “shot list.”

Gathering a few pictures from reviews, I added some music and voila here’s the final result –

1) The Deli (16 likes + 5) – it surprised me with how much people raved about this little place. But it reminds me a bit of a hot dog shack in the New Jersey town, where I grew up. Sometimes we just have fond memories of places, and that’s that!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-deli-rancho-cucamonga

2) Fonda Don Chon (9 likes) – besides their Mexican lunch buffet they’ve got a massive molcajete that, even though I didn’t know what it was, I want to check out!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/fonda-don-chon-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://fondadonchon.com/

3) Corky’s (507 reviews) Open 24/7 – they offer breakfast all-day and is known for their fresh-made food.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/corkys-kitchen-and-bakery-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.corkyskitchenandbakery.com/

4) Vince’s Spaghetti (4 likes +3-4?) – popular local favorite from the Route 66 days of the town. Do we really need to talk about what they’re known for..?
https://www.yelp.com/biz/vinces-spaghetti-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.vincesspaghettiroute66.com/

5) Red Hill Coffee Shop – (also located in Fontana) 5 likes for this establishment know for their HUGE portions. Look at the size of that pancake!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/red-hill-coffee-shop-rancho-cucamonga

6) Ken’s Japanese ( – 273 reviews) – you wouldn’t think that an Inland Empire family restaurants would be known for fresh seafood or Japanese, but that’s what you have here.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/kens-japanese-restaurant-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.kensjapanese.com/

7) Salsita’s (5 likes) – if you want a BIG burrito, this is the place to get it. More sit down than fast food this Mexican restaurant has truly adult-sized portions.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/salsitas-mexican-grill-alta-loma
Their website – http://www.salsitasmexican.com/

8) China Point (3 likes?) – they have a sign that basically says “quality takes time.” Looks like that’s how they like to differentiate themselves from the typical Chinese food under heat lamps. They make your food when you order it.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/china-point-rancho-cucamonga

9) Kolya Indian Restaurant (3 Likes) – I’ve tried their lunch buffet and enjoyed it as a decent value. There’s also a new “kid in town” Rolls ‘n Wraps that opened a few months ago and now also offers a lunch buffet worth checking out.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/koyla-indian-restaurant-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://koylarestaurant.com/

10) Juanita’s (4 likes +4?) – your basic “hole in the wall” Mexican fast food that has quite a following, especially for their nachos.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/juanitas-iii-rancho-cucamonga

Honorable Mention:

Wok This Way
https://www.yelp.com/biz/wok-this-way-rancho-cucamonga

Sal’s Pizza (3 Likes +3?)
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sals-pizza-alta-loma

 

Incoming search terms:

  • Juanitas in Rancho Cucamonga

That Holiday in Berlin

When I finally got up late in the morning, it was still pretty dark with such a hint of daylight. Outside snow covered everything in the courtyard of a friend of a friend’s apartment where I stayed.

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Christmas Market Berlin (photo: Asatira via Pixabay)

Having just arrived late that night, I was still a little jet lagged. So I closed my eyes for a bit. When I opened them again a few hours later, it was dark again! How long had I slept?!

I’d forgotten that Berlin was far enough north to get some of the daylight distortion that comes with the seasons. The bleakness of its winter made me imagine why these Teutonic tribes constantly sought sunnier shores to conquer.

Holiday Fun and Games

Yet it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Once I finally met up with my friends Thomas and Erin, we moved my stuff over to their cozy apartment. They were in the middle of assembling a hanging star decoration.

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Lovely Holiday Stars

Later we met up with his brother and a friend to visit the holiday market at Gendarmenmarkt near Friedrichstraße. If you ever go, you can’t miss it. It’s all the best of past Christmases wrapped in a bow.

It brought back memories of ice skating at Rockefeller Center, munching on churros off State Street in Chicago, seeing the Marshall Fields window displays.

The Germans know how to celebrate the holidays. There’s nothing like warm mug of spiced Glühwein to brace against the chill, or munch on some currywurst. But, of course, there’s hot chocolate – and the German people know their chocolate!

A Taste of German Food

Now I know that like the county fair back in the States, this isn’t “real” German food any more than funnel cakes and roasted corn is American fare. But there’s still something uniquely different about their spin on celebrating the holidays.

Eventually, we made it to the countryside where we spent the new year’s eve. I sampled one of the traditional German dishes sauerbraten. Unfortunately for my vegetarian friend, it was like that bit out of Big Fat Greek Wedding. They offered him some boiled vegetables.

So when I finally cooked for my friends who hosted me, I improvised a vegetarian chicken parmesan but substituting tofu in place of the breast meat. It didn’t turn out half bad. When I get a chance, I’ll need to make a video.

A Bit of Dancing Tango in Berlin

While dancing tango in Berlin wasn’t much different than other parts of the world, you still definitely know you’re dancing there. The people there have a certain energy that is unique to them. It’s a combination of warmth and austere calm that’s all at once quick with a restrained laugh and politeness for keeping you at arm’s length until they know you better.

That’s probably one of the main reasons why I love to dance tango. Once you connect with someone on an emotional level that’s tangible as touch, there’s no going back to pretenses. The stereotype of the serious, uptight German gives way to another human being sharing a moment of play and self-expression.

So each Christmas holiday no matter where I am and what I’m doing with family and friends, there’s always a special place in my heart for that one time in Berlin.

Post Note: Here are some other places to check out Christmas markets in Europe.

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Photo: Christmas Market in Zagreb via European Best Destinations

Not Your Usual Travel Advice

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Quote by Anthony Bourdain from Kitchen Confidential

If you’re a fan of Anthony Bourdain like I am, you’ve got to respect someone who’s seen some miles, including some harrowing moments when suddenly he was trying to flee with his life.

Here’s the original article – http://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/news/a24932/anthony-bourdain-how-to-travel

..and you’ve got to figure that he knows what he’s talking about.

Having done the whole “it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure thing” with the Navy, I’ve had the blessing / curse of seeing the world both by choice and by circumstance.

So, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and own experiences with Uncle Tony’s travel advice –

Right away, Mr. Bourdain starts with advice to dress for the role. Getting through airports security is key to starting off your trip on a good note. Believe me, you don’t want to struggle with what you’re wearing – having to turn over that prized wedding gift pocket knife or losing that iPod in the security shuffle.

Oh, and yes, comfortable shoes are a big part of this, because never mind the need to put them in the security bin with your other items, your feet will swell. The longer the flight, the more you will wish you had clown shoes!

No matter how much you luggage you check in – what you put in your carry-on is essential, both for access during the fight, and let’s face it.. the more you travel, the more likely the airlines will lose your luggage. If you’re lucky it’ll be for a day or so; if not so much.. well, what you have in your carry-on may be all you have until they return your luggage or you buy replacements.

As Mr. Bourdain mentions, my iPad stays with me – between the audiobooks, Kindle app, music and videos.. oh, and a few offline games (let’s face it – wifi is great but not still available everywhere) – Angry Birds anyone? And as he points out, you may not care for the in-flight selection.

I don’t necessarily read fiction set in the location I’m headed but it’s a cool idea I’m sure I’ll try. But I do like to catch up on that pile of magazines that has built up since my last trip.

While he talks about people struggling with the overhead, here’s where I’m one of those guys who will only check in luggage only when I absolutely have no other choice.

As for food in the airport, there’s only been a few exceptions over the years where I’ve seen some improvement of value and quality. Overall, I still prefer to eat local outside the airport whenever possible. Even a food court in a shopping mall is usually a better option. Mr. Bourdain says that he’ll get ramen in Tokyo and something from the airport’s hawker center in Singapore.

It’s interesting that this Travel Channel celebrity says that he won’t try to weasel upgrades with his status. You’ve got to admire that. I think a lot of folks wouldn’t hesitate in his position.

Generally speaking, I will sleep a lot on long flights, but I avoid drinking myself like Mr. Bourdain, preferring lots of club sodas with lime and an occasional ginger ale for that anti-nausea effect. No sleeping pill needed for me!

Well, as you can imagine, Mr. Bourdain looks on airplane food with disdain. Me personally? I’ve been lucky to find most stuff edible. Maybe I’m easy that way. Heck, sometimes I’ve asked for seconds and gotten it because they often have extra!

Now I have to laugh at Uncle Tony’s fascination with inflight plumbing. Maybe the memories of multi-thousand dollar wasted on air force toilets still linger in my mind, but to me as long it flushes what it’s supposed to, that’s good enough for me.

Over the years I’ve stayed on four or five-star hotels as well as the $10 backpacker hostels. So I’m not afraid to rough it but I’m no stranger to luxury nor uncomfortable to rub shoulders with the rich and not-so-famous. If anything, I tend to splurge if I’m with someone special.

Like Mr. Bourdain, I avoid the knick knacks that people love to buy and bring home. But I’ll write postcards to family and friends who love when I share my latest destination instead of souvenirs. Sometimes I’ll bring back some fun snacks that I can get through customs or a bottle of some local beverage.

Now the meat of his advice has to be how Mr. Bourdain finds the best places to eat. I’ve got some of my tricks which I’ve shared from time to time. Sure, some of it is common sense – avoid the tourist-trap places. Going to the central market is something he’s done again and again on his shows, but getting up early will be my windmill to tilt.

As I travel more, I hope to connect with more locals around the world. Mr. Bourdain offers a fun, controversial way to stir the pot and find out what they say is “the best.”

So.. how about you? What are some of your travel tips?

Camping Along the Oregon Coast – Part 1

The woman looked on confused. Finally she asked “what are you guys doing?”

“It’s tango,” I replied, “Argentine tango.”

Molly and I had been dancing to a Calo vals (a waltzy classic) while waiting for our clothes to finish drying. Amazingly this laundry mat even had wifi so I got caught up on emails.

Because the dryers were so loud, we simply plugged ourselves into my ipod – each sharing an earbud. So it must’ve been quite an unusual sight. Two people dancing to the beat of some silent orchestra.

This was day 7 out in the “wilderness” of the Portland coast.

We’d stretched our fresh clothes as far as possible. Heck, I was proud that we’ve been surviving on cooking by camp fires and managing to entertain ourselves.

What was really nice with staying in one campsite for a few days was not needing to break down and set up camp each day. Although we’d gotten down our routine, it was still painful to go through that same routine day after day.

Probably the most unusual part was that we had barely known each other before this trip. Sure, we had seen and danced with each other at annual tango festivals in Portland but other than a few phone calls and online chats, Molly and I went from spending no time together to nearly every waking minute. Yet somehow things clicked, and it felt very natural.

Now I have to admit that other than running around with the Marines on a few field training exercises, the most time I had spent in the woods growing up was a couple of overnight canoe trips with friends. And even with the grunts we just plopped down our packs and slept in our sleeping bags on cement slabs inside a prepared tent.

So, the first day out involved quite a learning curve. I had to learn 1) how to build a fire 2) how to set up a tent.

Building a fire wasn’t too bad. We had picked up some fat wood and firewood. Because fat wood was soaked with dried sap it burned pretty quickly and pretty hot. So, you use it to get the firewood going and thus have your base.

It was already late in the day, because most of the day had been spent on getting supplies. There wasn’t much time to find a camping spot – much less to set up a tent before nature was going to turn off the lights out.. literally.

Luckily, we found a spot right across the Columbia River, and had the same thought ”hey, why don’t we stay here? It also helped that Molly was already familiar with the tent. (Talk about anti-sexism, right? I was the helpless one!) She walked me through what we needed to do, so I mostly just followed her lead.

Further reversing roles I made myself useful by preparing a Caprese salad with the tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar we picked up. Some ripe avocadoes added a nice twist to this classic.

We toasted our first night in the wilderness with a nice, crisp Riesling kept chilled in the cooler. (Hey, roughing it doesn’t mean living like savages in my book..) A bright moon covered the campsite as fell sound asleep.

camping-moonlight

The next morning we woke to passing barges in the misty morning before stopping by the office and paying for our camp spot. Soon we were off again with no idea what was next.

To read more visit Part 2 of my camping trip to Oregon.

Easy Healthy Living as a Digital Nomad

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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.