The above title should also have added, “+ the longest title in the world” but I didn’t want to overwhelm.
One the biggest (and really not an actual problem) issue that Jon and I hit up against each time we start to plan out our next move, is that we keep coming up with places to return to, but I inevitably whine, “But we have so many places we haven’t seen yet! The LIST! It’s long. We can’t do repeats!”
Which is ridiculous, because I love repeats and I love the familiarity you develop after having been to a place several times.
This has happened for us in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Pagnan (for Jon) Idyllwild (for sure), Ubud, Bali, and perhaps now too, Havana, Cuba (I have that whole airport nonsense down to a science in Cuba!)
Familiarity breeds a culture all it’s own. It gives us places we know we love, the exact places I KNOW I love working at and know I can find exactly what I’ve been craving before we got there. We also begin to develop acquaintances and friendships. It’s like returning to an actual home and you know how much my soul loves that.
For those of you who know us enough, you know we have been tied to Idyllwild for the entirety of our relationship. Jon’s family has had a family cabin here for almost 40 years now, and for a 4-5 year period, Jon and I lived here before heading off to Maui for a 5 year stint.
The Idyllwild cabin is a family home with at least 3 maybe 4 generations of furniture, storage and memories packed into it. It’s cozy, quiet and the perfect place to retreat.
After letting go of our Maui rental to go full time Digital Nomad, Jon and I still come back here as a quick home base check in and re packing station. Idyllwild is where the tropical suitcase gets changed out into a more cold weather packing situation.
It’s also where we hang out a little longer than anywhere else when we need to replenish and rest. So in many ways it’s still home, even though officially it isn’t.
The beauty of this place is that no matter where in town we go, we run into friends. The most for me was no less than 6 people on what was suppose to be a super quick grocery store run to get a head of lettuce.
We love it here. And when I want to have an actual Winter (though for the rest of the world, Idyllwild Winters are actually like a Winter Lite) this is where I like to hole up.
Idyllwild also allows us easy flexibility. We were suppose to be in Mexico now. In fact, the original plan was to head to Mexico in January and stay there until May when it was time to return to the cabin, change out the suitcases and then run off to Europe in June.
Things changed. Family needs arose, I decided to start two new businesses, and after a lot of running back and forth and emotional transitions, we both looked at each other and decided to just BE for a minute.
Sometimes the excitement and thrill of a new place with new sights, sounds, smells, culture and food can be draining when you’re already depleted. I need nothing new for my system to manage while I recovered a bit from the last few months.
Idyllwild has been good to us and we’re here until the end of May.
Entrepreneurship On The Road
This brings me to what has been going on for the last month or so.
I run a site that sells info products. I write, market digitally and sell online. No inventory needed and when I’m paring things down, it can really be handled from my iPad if I needed to do that for a while. But I started this long before Jon and I hit the road.
In the last couple of months, I’ve launched The Pampered Period Box with a business partner, and am about to launch another venture that for now… I’m keeping a bit hush.
Here are some questions and thoughts that have come up while preparing to launch both of these businesses:
- Because both business require a creative curation and I’m a control freak when it comes to anything creative, I find that doing a lot of the prototyping necessarily requires my presence. As such, being in Idyllwild where it’s the closest thing to home I have and I’m free to store inventory, receive countless packages and access retail resources on a moments notice has been easy. But I can’t help but think, “What if I was in Thailand? Or Bali where perhaps I didn’t have both storage spaces and easy to access shopping that allowed me to visually and tactile – ly (I know that isn’t’ a word… stay with me) for hours or days at a time all within easy driving distance? Would I have created this business model differently, or would my nomadic circumstances have frustrated my need to really create things as I need to? Or a better question: How can I get around this need or meet this need while in other countries where both product and accessibility might be different or limited? I think this is an important thing to answer, as I don’t want the answer to be, “Run back to the US every time I want to create a business that requires these things.”
- Both of these businesses have entailed face to face conversations that are both collaborative in nature. In the instance of The Pampered Period Box, my business partner is very rooted in the corporate world, and though she is creating for herself a path out in order to live a more location independent work lifestyle, it’s been interesting for me to note the initial dependence on actual face to face contact and meetings. On the one hand it reminded me how much meetings can waste time and are ultimately inefficient, but on the other hand, it lent itself to actual social contact where we got to spend time in the same space actually bonding over a variety of things. This is something that is equally of value, if not more so than the efficiency of paring a digital meeting down to 15 minutes or less. So now I wonder, do digital nomad serial start ups do so predominantly on their own? If there is a collaborator in the project do you prefer someone that is traveling with you, or is connecting over the internets enough? Is there a sense of collaborative loneliness when so much of the time you’re working and interacting through a computer?
- Jon is the developer in our family. All he needs is a laptop and an internet connection. I’m the artist. It’s a blessing in many ways that my art is predominantly written and photographic as it travels well and the internet allows me all the tools and storage space I need for both. But had my focus been on visual media, painting, sculpting, etc… how would I have traveled and managed to deal with the need for stuff? I realize this line of questioning is irrelevant to what is going on currently for me, but I think about it a lot, because there are times when I need or want my creative supplies to make something outside the digital realm and baring buying all new supplies in whatever country I’m in (which is cost prohibitive) the only alternative is to travel with an extra suitcase of stuff which can also be cost prohibitive and highly inconvenient. So… are there actual painters, sculptors and physical creators out there that are Digital Nomads? What do you do when you want and need ‘stuff’ to create with? Do you drag it all with you all over the planet? When you finish painting a larger canvas, do you just ship back ‘home’ to your main mailbox? #InquiringMinds
- My current solution works. Because I am in California, close to people and resources I know well, I’m just working it and reaching out to my amazing pool of creative and kick ass friends. So it works, and the above concerns are ultimately irrelevant. When I do leave the country in June, systems will already have been put into place to address any of the challenges I allude to here. I also don’t imagine starting anything new for at least another year.
All of these musings to say that though our time here in California was and has been about resting, it’s been fertile and busy and giving me much more to think about when it comes to our nomadic life.
I’d love to hear from those of you out there traveling and creating as you go. It’s a conversation I’m super interested in continuing.