Nomadic 2017: What an incredible year!

Nomadic 2017: Sunset in Bocas Del Toro - Panama

2017 has been an insane year, my nomadic 2017 as I called it! So much has happened, split over 4 continents, including some 61,000 KM of travel and it’s just the beginning. To say I’ve been bitten by the nomadic lifestyle bug would be an understatement.

After the brutality that Brexit caused my business in 2016, I had an uphill struggle that lasted for about 6 months. During those months, grafting, working and killing myself trying to bring my business back from the abyss, I decided that 2017 was going to be different. You can read about that here; Why I plan to leave it all behind me in 2017!

I wanted to take a minute to look back over the year, which has seen me travel to South East Asia, cross the Atlantic on a cruise ship and travel almost the whole of Central America.

It really has been a ridiculous year for travel, work, new experiences and new friendships.

For the last couple of days, I’ve been trying to pull some of my favourite moments from the nomadic 2017 year and the truth is, it’s been really hard picking out what moments have left the strongest feelings.

I’m going to give it a go anyways. Here are the top 5 that stick out in my mind:

1. Sunrise in Angkor Wot

Nomadic 2017: Angkor Wat at Sunrise

Yes, it’s super “touristy”, but what the hell. It was an incredible experience, to be stood in the dark and watch these huge temples appear out of nowhere as the sun came up. Sharing the experience with about 3,000 people at the same time, all armed with selfie sticks and cameras isn’t ideal, but nonetheless, this had been on my unofficial “bucket list” since I was 17 and saw the Tomb Raider film.

2. Getting PADI Open Water Certified

Nomadic 2017: PADI Open Water Certified - Dos Tiburones Dive Shop - Big Corn Island - Nicaragua

After having probably 20 dives times around the world over the years, I finally got my first qualification for diving. This allows me to start exploring more of the underwater world and I can’t wait. In fact, I’m going for my Advanced very soon, so will be updating the blog about the diving spots. Also snuck in a dive in a volcanic lagoon, Laguna Apoyo in Nicaragua.

3. Canyoning in Uvita, Costa Rica

Nomadic 2017: Canyoning in Uvita - Costa Rica

With new friends and old friends, we managed to find a canyon to descend in Uvita, Costa Rica. It was incredible. I rocked up with a massive hangover, which I really don’t recommend. Having said that, by the time I was crossing under the second of five waterfalls, I had well and truly sobered up and felt great.

4. Sunset at the Conrad in Koh Samui

Nomadic 2017: Sunset in the Conrad Hotel - Koh Samui - Thailand

The Conrad Hotel in Koh Samui is situated on top of a cliff, facing West over the water. It’s incredible. Worth the long drive up windy hills to get there. Especially when you then find out cocktails are two-for-one. Sat there watching the sunset go down was one of the most peaceful experiences this year, truly enjoyed it.

5. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the Nomad Cruise

Nomadic 2017: Relaxing view from the cruise

The cruise across the Atlantic had mixed emotions for me. For one thing, I now know that cruises aren’t really for me. The best part though was the people I met. Some incredibly inspiring individuals, either trying to break out of the corporate world or already killing it in their own nomadic style. There was something about being in the Atlantic for days on end, only seeing water and the sun go up and down. Plus open bar, which made it more fun.

Too many to write about!

The truth is, these are just a few, but this list could easily have 30 or 40 items on it. Everything from finding a secret bar in Cambodia, visiting Ha Long Bay with new friends in Vietnam, partying for a night in Dubai, diving in a volcanic lake in Nicaragua, spending Thanksgiving with Americans in Costa Rica, rooftop restaurants in Bangkok, Songkran in Chiang Mai, tacos in San Juan Del Sur, walking to a waterfall in Koh Samui, kayaking through the mangroves near Krabi, helping baby turtles in to the sea, the list goes on and on and on. It really was a nomadic 2017, travelling as much as I could!

I guess this article is really just about looking at how my lifestyle developed and the design that I made for myself. It’s not a finished article, it’s a work in progress, but I’ve spent more than 18 months building the life that I really want. Now I get to live it and that’s the best part.

Nomadic 2017: A work in progress!

But it’s not all good. As I said, it’s definitely a work in progress and recently a friend I met on the Nomad Cruise posted something that inspired me for this next section.

Tomas Laurinavicius posted a review of his 2017. You can find it here; Life Designed No. 74. The bit that really got me was things he could do better and it made me think about it. Instead of spending time writing some rubbish set of resolutions for the new year, that will probably all get broken, I figure I would simply write down 10 things that I feel I could have done better last year.

So here we go:

  1. Journaling – not leaving weeks at a time between entries.
  2. Diet – paying a little more attention to what I eat on a daily basis.
  3. Reading – I’ve probably only read 7 books this year and listened to another 12 or so on Audible.
  4. Meditation – The Headspace app on my phone has only been used about 10 times all year.
  5. Podcasts – I used to live off podcasts, listening to interesting interviews, then suddenly stopped altogether.
  6. Side Projects – I’ve set up and built new projects, but not finished and launched them yet. Not good enough!
  7. Keeping in touch with friends and family – I try my best, but I’m pretty bad and can go weeks without talking to the important people in my life.
  8. Taking advantage of experiences – Being in new countries and having the chance to do new things.
  9. Relationships – I’m in a relationship with someone I truly care about and know I need to work harder on the relationship.
  10. Walking – I only walked on average 121 KM per month. This should be at least 150 KM a month.

Truth is there is a lot I could improve on, but starting the new year with these in mind, I feel like I have a realistic and achievable list I can work on going forward. Coming back to this article every now and again, to make sure I’m not repeating the same mistakes this year.

Looking forward to 2018!

2018 won’t be too different to this past nomadic 2017 year. I’m still in Central America as I write this and I’m not done in terms of travel. So far I’ve visited some 38 countries across the globe and this year I have a lot more to go to hit my goal of having visited 50% of all countries in the world by the end of this year.

Also published on Medium.