This week, I want to share how I'm incorporating the values of the Solo Trip Abroad Mission, and add an action step you can take to start for yourself.
Even though I’m not a full-time digital nomad, yet, I have started the process, and am working on routines which align with the lifestyle. Although many who've made the change are location independent, learning to manage your day, keep a lid on procrastination, taking effective action, incorporating fitness and building your efforts into something marketable takes practice, skill and time.
I have been writing Solo Trip Report since I started living in China, but it wasn’t until Viet Nam I really started expanding on it. Playing new with apps and services, making the content more professional, building an email campaign and expanding the list of people who receive updates. In fact, Solo Trip Report is delivered to people in more than a dozen countries, in four continents, around the world! Subscribe to Solo Trip Report updates here.
The shops around my apartment complex are owned and run by local families. This is their livelihood. To support them, I buy my snacks, coffee, and meals from different shops to help as many as I can. One shop I buy weasel poop coffee (yes you read that correctly, and it's delicious) and condensed milk from, another is a banh mi sandwich stand, fruit markets, and the most recent addition is a lady who sells vegetable smoothies in recycled water bottles. They cost $0.30US and taste pretty good when the sugar cane is added. I noticed after my first sample how my thirst was immediately quenched, so I started buying four at a time now.
In this market, you can purchase 1) 2L of vegetable smoothie, 2) 1kg of mango, 3) 1kg of avocado and 4) 2-3 sandwiches for ~100,000VND/$4.40US/$5.35CA/3.69£! In Canada, and presumably the other countries listed in the currency exchange, you likely couldn’t buy any single one of those four items for the same amount. It feels good to be supporting the locals here. To know I’m directly helping make their lives a little easier. Where they will start to see the most benefit is from my habitual tendencies. Once I figure out the shops, stands and foods I like most, I’ll just keep buying and buying the same stuff. To find out more about my life in Viet Nam, subscribe!
Action Step: Find a local farmers market, or community garden, and start buying as much of your food there as possible. To take this a step further, consider growing a little of your own food such as tomatoes, cucumbers, corn or herbs such as mint.
Living abroad is one of the best life changes I ever made. For one, having alone time is fantastic. So when I’m on the road, I get plenty. It also appears my level of self-awareness and reflection skyrockets. Imagine that?! When you’re a long way from your destination, it’s time to put in some personal development effort. I continually learn who I truly am, and that identity becomes much more willing to mould during these periods of exploration.
No matter where I am, there’s always interesting people to meet, converse with, go out with and learn from. Exploring solo offers a freedom that is unmatched. It’s hard adjusting to other peoples wants, schedules, constraints, budgets and differences when you have complete freedom, but learning to do so builds character and appreciation for where others are coming from.
Imagine you have a few thousand in the bank for your trip, your cellphone has a unlimited data, your passport is strong, there’s local currency in your wallet, and everything you need for shelter, clothing and hydration is in your backpack; while the next three months is a blank schedule! Do you have the courage to take on a country while not knowing anyone, the culture, the food, the language, what’s around or what’s popular?
In 2017, I lived in two countries, as defined by possessing a work visa: China and Viet Nam. I’ve visited five countries, as defined by tourist visa/visa on arrival/no visa needed: India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Viet Nam. I don’t know where I’ll be next, but I’m certain adventure is always around the corner, bring it!
Action Step: Plan and visit one country in the next 6 months (preferably in a different continent or one with a different language/culture). Even if it’s a short trip, the experience will teach you so much. The wanderlust deep inside you will get a jumpstart, and soon, you’ll be looking to repeat it over and over.
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