The years are flying by. Writing a post like this allows me to step back and reflect on what I’ve accomplished over the year.
This year has seen massive change for me.
Bye – bye Possessions
I knew at the start of 2016 that I’d be leaving New Zealand in May, with no return date in sight.
I’d been a digital nomad before but I’d always had a return date to New Zealand in mind. Why? Because I was part of a salsa performance team and needed to be in Wellington to be part of the training. There were many times while I was overseas when I wondered why on earth I was returning to New Zealand when I really wanted to be free.
I was already living minimally as I’d been housesitting for the past 9 months. Now it was time to really cut down my possessions. My mission was to reduce my stuff from 16 boxes down to 10 boxes and two backpacks.
I had my 16 boxes delivered to my house sit, from my storage unit. I then had 10 days to sort through everything, pack it back up again and move the remaining boxes to a smaller storage unit.
Friends got surprise gifts. Womens Refugee got my kitchen. Charities shops got the rest. A pregnant couple bought my super comfy bed and a mechanic took my trusty car.
Out of that experience I wrote an article for Tiny Buddha called “7 Decluttering Tips: How to Release Your Attachment to Your Stuff”, that stayed on their front page for many weeks. It looks like I wasn’t the only one looking at decluttering!
Let’s Go Dancing in Los Angeles
After an eternity of dance practices our salsa performance team, The Clave Collective, was finally off to perform in Los Angeles, at the world’s largest salsa festival. The team was breaking up after this performance with many of us off to travel and live overseas.
We’d been invited to perform in LA two years ago so it’s been a long road to get here. Many times I wondered if it was worth it!
The festival itself was an anti-climax for me, all that training and then it was over in a moment!
The Team Heads to Cuba
After the chaos of LA the team was taking our first holiday together. Mexico for a few days then onto the main event, Cuba!
Travelling in a large group (over 30 of us) was tough going for me. I’m used to travelling with a couple of friends or by myself. Having to deal with that many people over 3 weeks made me realise that people have VERY different ways of travelling.
A Solo Digital Nomad Begins Her Journey
I now travel with my business in my backpack, with home being wherever I am staying as I journey throughout Latin America.
When I left New Zealand in May my vague plan was to travel throughout Latin America, starting in Mexico and moving my way down the continent. I had an idea that I’d stay a month in each country.
After two months in Mexico and then three months by Lake Atitlan in Guatemala I knew my idea needed some serious rethinking!
What did I achieve in 2016?
I created my most successful welcome gift for my business so far – 3 Steps To Blog Post Ideas. If you struggle to come up with ideas for your blog posts then this system will work wonders for you.
I launched my first passive product – The Blogging Toolkit (I do laugh when I hear people talking about passive income, as if there is no work involved. Don’t be fooled!). The Toolkit is your guide to creating a blog that works for you. And not just works, but gives you clarity about the steps you need to take before and after you write, helps you write in a way that engages your readers, streamlines your writing and has you finally feeling that you are in control of your blog. Which means you’ll go from “What am I doing?” to “I know exactly how I’m going to make this work”.
I ran the pilot of my new Kickstart Your Business Blog course. I’m looking forward to developing this further in 2017.
I had a photo published in an on-line magazine for the first time (House Sitting Magazine).
I had a travel story and multiple photos published in two newspapers in New Zealand for the first time (The Press and The Dominion Post).
I was interviewed for a podcast for the first time (to be shared in February!).
I travelled solo to 6 countries, with all the highs and lows that comes with travelling alone.
I volunteered at two animals shelters as I travelled (Playa Animal Rescue and Mayan Families, Hope For The Animals Program).
I hit the milestone of having travelled to over 50 countries (Nicaragua was number 50). Counting countries isn’t one of my goals, still it feels good to acknowledge a milestone like this.
I completed my first international pet sit (3 bi-lingual cats in Guatemala). And then my second (a cat named Pumpkin in Argentina).
What worked best for me to achieve my goals?
I took imperfect action (this goes completely against the grain for me as I’m a perfectionist through and through).
Each Sunday, I wrote out my plan for the next week. I attempt to limit my daily actions three – I’ve not always been able to do this so my list sometimes looks like chicken scratching by the end of the week. All crossed out lines, arrows and squiggles.
Short deadlines to get jobs done. I am a natural planner, which definitely has its benefits. The problem is when I over plan and avoid taking action. Does anyone else do this? It really is a fancy form of procrastination.
Began using the Pomodoro Technique. If you’ve ever struggled with procrastination or a lack of productivity please give this a go. It is really simple (so simple I put off using it as I couldn’t see how something that simple gets good results. Boy was I a fool!).
Unleashed my creativity. Instead of following what I “should” be doing I got creative and had some fun.
- I asked myself “what is the quickest and simplest way I can achieve my goal? This saw me get great results! I registered my ideal number of participants for my pilot of the Kickstart Your Business Blog course . . . without writing a sales page!
- I created a series called The 12 Rescue Dogs of Christmas (where I shared photos of some of my favourite rescue dogs I’d photographed). This resulted in me being approached by the editor of House Sitting Magazine to be featured in their December issue and with another article under development for January.
What didn’t work?
Overplanning. Overthinking. Doubting myself. Choosing the wrong coach back in January. Not taking consistent action. Isolating myself. Getting overwhelmed by how big some tasks seemed. Not having clear business goals for the first half of the year.
Used AirBnB five times and tried out renting a private room for the first time (this worked out amazingly well as the people I stayed with were wonderful, friendly and really interesting). If you’re thinking of trying out AirBnB then use this link to get FREE credit
Travelled to 6 countries that I’ve never been to before (Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Argentina).
Stayed in 5 different hostels. Four of which reminded me why I don’t like staying in hostels anymore!
2017 saw me start the year in Buenos Aires in Argentina. I’m looking forward to many more adventures this year!