Tag Archives: digital nomad

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!

Greetings from Chiang Mai!

Back in Chiang Mai, the digital nomad capital of the world

So … it’s been a while since I’ve updated the Pursuit of Excitement. You probably thought I’d given up on the digital nomad life? Wrong. I spent much of this year working harder than I ever have before, driving my freelance earnings to new heights. While I had to focus hard on that to make that happen, it made me realize how much I miss blogging.

And here we are.

What happened between January and now? I spent more than half a year in my old college town of Fredericton, re-connecting with friends, settling my tax situation (the CRA actually owed ME money … funny that), and restructuring my online banking to make offshore bill payments easy and simple.

Lonely Beach, Koh Chang. Paradise.

With those issues settled and my wanderlust returning, I flew out to Western Canada in October, saw more friends, and then left for Thailand in November. After spending some time in Bangkok and Koh Chang (my favourite Thai island), I’m back in Chiang Mai (whoo hoo!).

Over the next 5 weeks, I look forward to networking and meeting fellow digital nomads, and getting back into the habit of blogging again, along with putting the toe in the pool with regards to other projects (e-books, learning to code, exploring the idea of starting new websites, etc).

Let’s see what happens.