Category Archives: Meta

The Mexico trip thus far: dodging winter, tackling my social media habits, and more

Progress (professional, personal, or otherwise) often proceeds incrementally before going exponential.

Unfortunately, it seems I’m stuck in the former phase. Don’t get me wrong – taking a rain cheque on Canada’s never-ending winter of 2018 has been awesome (though, I am starting to get concerned the polar vortex might never leave the Prairies).

Two steps forward, one step back

Photo by qimono on Pixabay

Who knew running a business in paradise would be so hard? — Photo by qimono on Pixabay // CC0

Like going the wrong way on a moving sidewalk, I’m making progress, but not as quickly as I could be – this is mainly due to deeply ingrained habits I have yet to shake.

I have had success on some fronts – I have managed to raise rates on some clients, and bring others aboard at higher rates than in the past.

Other battlegrounds have been a slog – specifically, my use (abuse?) of social media. Despite initial efforts to harness them for business purposes four years ago, I have largely been a passive consumer of sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Being continually slammed with work in 2017 reinforced this, as I would retreat into these platforms for relief from the constant 12+ hour workdays which, depressingly, appeared to have no end in sight.

Moving in the right direction

Photo by Mediamodifier on Pixabay // CC0

Won’t be popping FB pills no more  — photo by Mediamodifier on Pixabay // CC0

Thankfully, as mentioned in a previous post, I summoned the courage to cut a high volume client loose late last year. This gave me the space I needed to recover from what had been an unsustainable workload. It also gave me time to reflect on the trajectory of my life and career.

Here’s one epiphany I’ve had lately: social media sites (apart from content created by family, close friends, and top-shelf brands) are little more than a time sink. If not actively managed, it can swallow up hours which could have been used to enrich your life, your career, or your business.

After dissecting my use of social media, I have stopped checking feeds first thing in the morning, I have imposed a 2x daily limit for checking accounts (apart from business use), and have slapped a five-minute time limit on scrolling through my Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram feeds.

Some people cut these platforms out of their lives entirely, and I understand why. As someone who makes their living online, though, maintaining a professional presence is a must.

As such, I have committed to re-establishing my presence on this site’s accounts – however, I’ll be doing my best to avoid falling down the social media rabbit hole – wish me luck 🙂

Mexico (and Guatemala) so far

All is quiet in San Cristobal DLC before the arrival of Semana Santa (Holy Week)

All is quiet in San Cristobal DLC before the arrival of Semana Santa (Holy Week)

Enough with the dry, boring stuff: over the past two months, I have been holed up in Mexico. Most of my time has been spent in Playa del Carmen – however, I am presently writing this from the mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas.

I’m on the return leg of a trip which took me to Guatemala. Initially, the journey was also slated to include Nicaragua, but a sudden foot injury ended those dreams. Let’s just say I will never go on a pub crawl in flip-flops again.

In the week ahead, I will be returning to Playa, as the seaweed invasion which engulfed its beaches back in early March has vanished. Stay tuned for posts detailing what I have been up to lately, as well ones telling from my year-long trek through Asia, Africa, and Europe, which went down throughout 2017.

How has the first quarter of 2018 gone for you? Tell me about it in the comments below!

My life over the past year + what lies ahead

A tall pint of Castle Lager ... the perfect way to end a day in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa in June 2017.

A tall pint of Castle Lager … the perfect way to end a day in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa in June 2017.

Guys!

It’s been a while since my last status update, but since I am back in Nova Scotia, Canada for the holidays, I managed to find the time needed to put my thoughts down on digital paper. Here we go…

What have I been up to?

A digital nomad meetup in a thatch cabana restaurant on a lake near Chiang Mai

A digital nomad meetup in a thatch cabana restaurant on a lake near Chiang Mai

Rewind to this time last year.

I began my latest odyssey the same way I had begun others: by setting foot in Thailand for the umpteenth time.

This time around, I had a number of goals in mind: to tick off two more continents off my list, to meet up with digital nomads in Chiang Mai and expose myself to a variety of disciplines, and to grow my business while travelling at the same time.

I nailed two out of the three. Over the past 13 months, I set foot in Africa (South Africa only – next time, I will notch more countries, I promise!), and Europe (travelling from Turkey to the UK overland).

In the Digital Nomad Capital of the World (TM), I hung out with everyone from drop shippers to graphic designers, broadening my horizons and adding a client in the process.

HOWEVER … I did NOT grow my bottom line. In fact, I elected to take a step back this fall in order to move forward in the long run.

The scariest decisions are often the most important ones

Cool view over downtown Khaosiung, Taiwan. However, when you're facing down an all-nighter to meet a deadline, it kinda sucks the joy out of it...

Cool view over downtown Khaosiung, Taiwan. However, when you’re facing down an all-nighter to meet a deadline, it kinda sucks the joy out of it…

I made the difficult (yet necessary) decision to release a client with whom I had done extensive business over the past four years.

The steady work they provided had made the money part of my life easy, but over the past year, its volume conspired to suck up almost every bit of free time I had.

To allow myself the time needed to grow as an entrepreneur and to restore my sanity, I had no choice but to part ways with them.

Don’t misunderstand me – they were professional, paid me promptly, and most interactions were cordial and pleasant. But, they had come to lean on me so heavily, it was affecting my quality of life, as well as my ability to run and grow my business.

I’ll be honest: this was one of the scariest business decisions I’ve ever made. But it needed to be done, as I had slowly but surely morphed into the overworked employee I once was – only with a nice view of the beach.

Where am I now?

Havre Boucher on a warm autumn day. As I write this, it's colder, wetter, and the leaves peaced out a long time ago.

Havre Boucher on a warm autumn day in 2015. As I write this in November 2017, it’s colder, wetter, and the leaves peaced out a long time ago.

As mentioned in the intro, I am back in Canada for the holidays and most of January. I get two months to enjoy the darkness and silence of my basement bedroom, family moments during Christmas and New Year’s, and a long-awaited college reunion in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Fam: the older your parents, siblings, relatives, and friends get, the more important it is to spend time with them. As such, I am looking forward to the hangouts coming up in the weeks ahead.

So … when are you hitting the trail again?

I foresee more than a few of these in my future...

I foresee more than a few of these in my future…

There are many quotes about travel out there that expound upon the importance of seizing every moment life gives you.

Accordingly, I won’t be lingering in Canada for long. Not long after my college reunion wraps up, I’ll be boarding a flight to Mexico!

I’ll be spending most of my winter in Playa del Carmen, a city on the Yucatan Peninsula. Populated enough to provide every creature comfort a person could need, but without the hectic nightlife of Cancun, it is the perfect hideaway from winter for someone like me.

While I will be mostly staying put to focus more intently on business development, I’ll head over to Nicaragua at some point to chill out for a few weeks on the Corn Islands.

A Caribbean paradise which remains unspoiled by mass tourism, it cast its spell over me last time I was there (2015), so I can’t wait to return.

Additionally, a good friend of mine gets to call this gorgeous place home. During my visit, I am sure there will be more than a few nights where we will get to share some Flor de Cana and cokes in person.

Main mission for 2018: trying out a new home base

Trying out Edmonton as a home base: I lived here once before when I had a 9-5 job. Loved leaving the daily grind, but I did miss this place.

Trying out Edmonton as a home base: I lived here once before when I had a 9-5 job. Loved leaving the daily grind, but I did miss this place.

Once May rolls around, I’ll be hopping on a plane back to Canada, but instead of heading back east, I’ll be Alberta bound – to Edmonton, specifically.

Thought I was setting up a base in Atlantic Canada? That was the plan initially, but as the test period unfolded, Fredericton turned out to be too small for someone who craves access to a wider range of urban delights.

Don’t get me wrong – it has plenty to offer those who love smaller towns (population ~60,000) – culture, tons of microbreweries, festivals, a scenic river, and more.

There are many advantages to settling there, but if you are seeking the advantages of settling in a city of a million people (wider access to services, restaurants, deeper dating pool, etc), you’ll be let down in the long run here.

Edmonton has many of the things that drew me to Fredericton, but with a deeper bench with regards to the latter city’s qualities.

What’s more, it is close by to the Canadian Rockies, a burgeoning food scene is emerging, and taxation is much lower here than in the east.

Because of this, I will be testing out as a home base for the remainder of 2018 and into 2019. Beyond then, I will be making plans to see the sixth continent – Oceania – but that’s too far off in the distance to discuss at length. Next year, things should be much clearer, so stay tuned!

Dear readers: what have you been up to recently? Let’s re-connect in the comments below!

My First Blogger to Blogger Interview: Speaking with the Couple behind KarolinaPatryk.com

Karolina and Patryk have had the honor of being part of my first blogger interview ... check it out!

While I have struggled to update and post on PoE in recent months (for the most part due to attempting to balance running a business with traveling and other aspects of my personal life), I have started to right the ship in recent weeks.

One of the things that has come out of the increased free time that I have had as a result has been my first blogger interview. Karolina and Patryk from karolinapatryk.com are a Polish couple who has been exploring the world for the past 18 months or so, and have also succeeded in making an income from the internet in the process.

Click here to read my thoughts on travel, life and work … hopefully this blogger interview is the first of a series of guest posts and such that will increase my site’s profile across the travel blogosphere … enjoy!

I’m Not Dead: Back After A Break

poe_hanoutinaham

Hey folks, sorry about the extended absence lately. Between spending time with family, getting buried under a ton of work, and getting settled in a new region in the world (hola from Mexico!), I took a bit of a break from the blog.

Coming soon: A continuation of content from Canada, Korea and Southeast Asia, PLUS new photos from where I’ll be over the next year or so: Mexico, Central and South America.  It’s been a blast being immersed in a new language (Espanol), and exploring new environments, and I can’t wait to share them with all of you!

Talk to you all again real soon, and pura vida! 🙂

Working Hard To Live The Dream

Working berry hard to live the dream. Photo by jdhancock on Flickr

So I’ve been conspicuously absent lately … to my dedicated following who has wondering where I went to these past two weeks, apologies! While I am committed to producing an excellent blog that spills the beans on how to enable and live a life of excitement, the enabling part has taken over in the recent few weeks.

In order to fund my playboy lifestyle of wandering exotic parts of the world, I have started up a freelance writing business (got content you need written? Talk to me.) With a little help from my friends in the travel blog community, I’ve inked a number of clients, and in the past couple of months, business has been booming.

While this has been great for the bottom line, it has caused my personal development activities/blog writing to suffer in the short term, which is a balance that I’m looking to redress presently.  As such, I will be doubling my efforts to keep PoE on schedule, to do the things that will improve my life, forward other business ideas that I have, and generally help me to live the dream in a manner that resonates with me.

Even if I post a text blog with a CC image because I’m squeezed for time and I’m in a country where bandwidth flows at the rate it did in 1999 back home (Indonesia)…

Or it could be because I’m downloading the latest episode of the Walking Dead.  Don’t judge … even the busiest of people need a fictional release of the rapid pace of the modern, online world…! 🙂

Are you working in a side hustle/lifestyle business right now? Share your experiences with our audience below! 

The Tangle Falls Area: The Most Underrated Part Of Jasper National Park

The Columbia Icefield, located across from Tangle Falls

As you approach the southern border of Jasper National Park, the mountain scenery begins to get more epic.  After crossing the flood plain of the Sunwapta River near Beauty Creek, the road begins to climb towards the Columbia Icefields.  Before reaching this national park’s best-attended attraction, nature puts on a spectacle on the side of the road.

I’m not sure if parts of this are even accessible (the pull off from where I took the photo above) anymore without paying an admission fee to the newly constructed Skywalk (opening Spring 2014), but the views are no less stunning in spite of that.  Observe as the ice sheet of the Columbia Icefield spills over the side of the mountain plateau on which it sits.  Trips out onto the ice are available from guides in Jasper, but don’t attempt this yourself: guides have intimate knowledge of the crevasses that crisscross this area, which if fallen into can cost you your life.

Tangle Falls area, Jasper National Park, Canada

Views of the mountains are quite stunning in this area, so don’t be in a rush to get to your destinations further south: stay a while and breathe in the pine needle scented air and relax!

Tangle Falls

A little further down the road lies the lesser known Tangle Falls, despite being stationed at the side of one of Canada’s busiest tourist drives.  This beauty is just hiding in plain sight, begging you to come closer and experience its wild nature close up…

Afterward, it was time to leave and carry on down the Icefields Parkway to the next point of natural interest.  It was with some reluctance, though, as I was graced with this view as I made my way back to my oversized Dodge Grand Caravan…

Tangle Falls area, Jasper National Park, Canada

Ever been to Tangle Falls on your journey up/down the Icefields Parkway? What did you think?

Coming Soon: The All New Pursuit Of Excitement, Version 2.0!

sunrisnewdaypoeA new day is dawning soon … the new site for The Pursuit Of Excitement is almost ready!

Hey there stranger!

James here. Perhaps you were looking for my well-established travel and adventure blog.  It exists, but not on this server.  At least not yet.  Instead of typing in pursuitofexcitement.com, go to pursuitofexcitement.wordpress.com for the time being.  In the ensuing weeks, I will be moving posts over to this server (check below for my most recent ones), and when I’m ready to launch this bad boy, you’ll hear all about it over on my current site.

In the meantime, feel free to bookmark this site if you wish, and keep checking this space as renovations progress! 🙂