• 13 minute read •
To be honest, I wasn’t planning on writing about this, but since I’m back in Medellín, everyone asks the same… So, there will be time for my favourite subject: the healthy life. For now, in case you’re wondering, I will do a recap of almost nine months of travelling around the world, and what I’m going to do now that I’m back in my hometown.
WE WERE NOT JUST TRAVELLING
Although it might not seem like so, the idea of leaving Colombia after three years of stability was not that of a gap year. And even though we have travelled long-term for pleasure in the past, this time we were determined to travel and work at the same time, leaving the dream of many: to become digital nomads.
I actually never liked the term “nomad”. I love travelling, yes! Getting to know other cultures, tasting new flavours and seeing other places and people. However, I feel that I belong to certain places.
Nevertheless, this was not an obstacle to give this lifestyle a try. I became curious learning that this is becoming more and more popular amongst young professionals around the world, and for obvious reasons: no office hours, you get the chance to meet people pretty much every day, and every weekend can be a different adventure every time, or the mid-week can become the “weekend” and vice versa! But when you’re trying to focus on a new project (a life project), all of these things can be distracting or become second priorities… at least for me, that was the case.
I’m not complaining, I really enjoyed these months of travelling. To put it in numbers, it was nine countries, more than twenty places between cities and towns; plus many events, new friends, experiences and learnings! This was more than a trip around the world, it was a deep understanding of myself and a new look to my relationship.
SELF DISCOVERY & TRAINING
Meeting Simo – my husband and partner in life, after three months apart, was magic. The idea of a new beginning together, telling each other stories, and starting to imagine our near future, gave us the first sprint towards this new life.
After his travels through the silk road, I travelled from Colombia to meet him in Georgia. And after taking a few days of “vacation” we started to plan our new life projects.
We started by reading a couple of books: Business Model Generation and Business Model You – once we discussed our notes and did the proposed exercises together, we proceeded to take a 7-day writing challenge created by Scott & Chelsea Dinsmore, part of their Live Your Legend Program – which I highly recommend for everyone wanting to discover their purpose in life – this was really inspirational! And following the steps to “do work you love” as they praise, we continued to build the basis of our new life.
Additionally, we took a couple of personality tests, created surveys and interviewed people about the subjects we wanted to work on. We also had good conversations with our entrepreneur friends, who were willing to share their experience and give us some advice 🙂 All of that led us to work on our value propositions based on our passions and strengths. We decided we were going to be Coaches and started a course each. @justbehappier_ was born, and I continued to grow @thetasteoflife_ , which was my hobby Instagram account until then.
Greece was next. In Athens our old friends welcomed us, and others came to visit from London and Italy for Simo’s birthday. We went sightseeing with them and had a great time together. Simo and I also went camping in Agistri, one of the beautiful Greek Island, and later with our friends, we went to see Larissa, another region of Greece and Meteora, an incredible place! At the same time, we continued to follow our work routines. And even though this continues to be a trip together, here we started to take different roads. So, from now, I’ll tell you my part of the story 😉
MANAGING MY OWN PROJECT
Given all these changes: country, lifestyle and career, I decided to continue working with the routines I was already used to. So I kept exercising in the mornings, working Monday to Friday, and cooking my own meals (most of the time). With a little difference – now I had more time to actually cook and set beautiful dishes, not only because I like it but to take nice photos for Instagram! Double fun!
I’d used the rest of my time to keep studying for my Health & Nutrition Life Coach Certification, and I re-read the book from what I’ve learned much of what I now know about nutrition and health: How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger – this time I summarised and took my notes of every chapter. This book and Dr. Greger’s website nutritionfacts.org have become one of my most reliable sources of information.
At this point, we have already travelled to Italy to spend Christmas and New Years with my Italian family and friends. After spending the last three years in Colombia, this was a big event. And the first obstacle I faced as a digital nomad: trying to keep my routines and work schedule in a place where I’m used to be on vacation, where there’s a lovely grandma to whom I can not say no, and where the winter affects me heavily… plus, the multiple outings, dinners, wine, and the Christmassy mood! Someone please save me!
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time in Italy! It was just difficult to make the switch and try to be productive after all. A month and a half went by real quick and we have already decided to travel to Thailand in January. We arrived in Chiang Mai, one of the biggest digital nomad hubs in the world, and once I arrived there, it was like if a magic wand had touched me! I went back to my routines easily! Finally, I started to wake up early again, and I had already finished my course, read the book, and started to coach some people. I started to attend events, and connect with the digital nomad community in Chiang Mai. I also discovered really interesting and inspiring groups of women!
While in Chiang Mai, I also started to work with my sister on a recipe book (which you probably already know, if not click here) and on to re-design this blog – a project I had completely abandoned five years ago, and wanted to revamp to give it a new purpose: the healthy life.
As if I wasn’t already super busy, a new challenge was next: to become a Les Mills Certified Bodypump Instructor. I had already taken the initial modules in Medellín, before travelling, and I needed to pass the final assessment. My closest friends know that I love this fitness class and that I’ve been alumni for several years now, but to become an instructor was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. However, it was a lot more difficult than I ever imagined.
But like everything in life, with lots of practice, some sacrifices, passion, and determination, I finally got this international certification just in time before the biggest Les Mills Event in Asia Pacific: the Reebok Les Mills Live Singapore 2019. Where apart from training with the creators of Bodypump and other Les Mills programs, I met great people! Other instructors from all over Asia, people that love fitness and live by the motto of this organisation – making this a fitter planet. No wonder why I see myself in it!
So, after two months in Thailand, Simo and I had taken different roads once again. This time physically: He went to India and I went to Singapore. Where I also visited an old friend. After Singapore, I travelled to Malaysia to meet my best friend Caro, in Kuala Lumpur. Before she arrived, I had time to (apart from admiring the Petronas), pass the excitement of the Les Mills Event and finished setting up the blog – sometime in March, it was finally live! One more milestone during this trip.
After a few days, Simo met me in Kuala Lumpur and we continued our adventure. We travelled to Vietnam, where we stayed in a small, less touristy town near the sea, Nha Trang. We really enjoyed the local food, the quiet environment of our rented flat and our runs by the beach. All of these helped us to recharge energies and keep going with our projects. Together, but not in each other’s pockets.
Eight months had passed and we started to think about our return. At first, when we started this trip, it wasn’t clear for us which or where our future home was going to be. We wanted to live the digital nomad’s life and there was no specific place we wanted to stay. But after moving from one place to another, we realised we were missing a real connection with the people we already know and love. We love making new friends, but we felt the need to be closer to our old friends and family.
Researching a bit about this feeling that is now common between other ex-digital nomads (yes, that’s a thing), I’m convinced that what we really wanted was to be Location Independent (another new term) – doing what we love, but not attached to a specific place in the world. And this is different from being digital nomads.
The fact that we wanted to set up a way of living that can work online, and that we love travelling, doesn’t necessarily mean we want to be changing “houses” every month or two. We’d love to keep travelling, yes, but we want to be close to our family and friends, and in Medellín there is at least a part of them. Eventually, we will also visit Europe, where the other part is.
So in May, we traveled from Vietnam to Vancouver. Where apart from enjoying our time with a good friend, we also trekked the mountains of British Columbia in Garibaldi National Park – a challenging but very exciting adventure! We then moved to Mexico, where we spent a couple of weeks in San Miguel de Allende, to end up out travels with a 3-day Vipassana Meditation course near Mexico City, just before travelling back to Medellín.
SO HOW LONG AM I GOING TO STAY?
Maybe now it is more understandable that when faced with the question of how long am I going to stay, I’d prefer not to answer. We don’t have a plan long term, we’re enjoying the moment open to the possibilities and opportunities that might come our way.
Medellín is my hometown, and it has been our home for a few years now. We feel welcomed and warm.
THE NEW ME
All of these months of experiences, self-discovery and learning, have changed me. And although I feel that with every trip I’ve changed a bit, this time the change was intentional.
Now, I’m not only more self-aware and I accept myself more; while I got used to introducing myself as a Healthy Life Coach instead of a Project Manager, I’ve discovered that I’ve been doing this longer than I thought. So this new me has a lot of whom I’ve always been. Only more self-aware and with more International Certifications.
This is why, what follows is to keep guiding my coachees through their change processes, and I’m grateful for those who trusted me first.
I will keep cooking and posting my healthy recipes, training hard at the gym, and sharing my cooking tips, healthy eating, and knowledge on building habits. I’m also planning to develop new ideas and collaborate with other people on projects here and there.
In short, I will continue to discover, enjoy and share the taste of a healthier lifestyle! So I can motivate, connect and hopefully educate on healthy living. And I invite you to be part of this journey that still continues 😉