The Slump [Vietnam]

So, I think I hit my slump.

That moment that I’ve heard about from all of those wise Digital Nomads out there, that time where the thought comes into you head that maybe, just maybe, home is better.

Last week was Thanksgiving.

I didn’t fully realize how much I would miss my favorite holiday of one of my home-lands.

Seeing the insta-feeds of pumpkin pie, friendsgivings, my family coming together was almost too much for me to bear. Then IT SNOWED IN ENGLAND [and DC].


That combined with the fact that I know I wont be home for Christmas as well left me feeling lost in a sea of non-festive motorbikes, smog and noise.

You may have guessed by now that Hanoi quickly lost its charm for me.

This week was made slightly harder by many of the tribe being off in beautiful Sapa while I made the [stupid] grown-up decision to stay in the city to make sure that I got more work done and to stick to budget.

So here are some lessons I’ve learned this week:

Lesson 1: if you’re not happy and rested then you’re not getting any work done. If you miss your tribe, you’re going to think about that more than how to best serve your clients.


I sat with a couple of others who had decided to stay as the grayness of the city swam around us and regretted my decision not to join in with the week’s festivities.

Lesson 2: if you feel unhealthy where you are you should make a change.

I am still not in a great sleep pattern. Although walking is a good way to get around Hanoi the heightened levels of anxiety from the constant near-death experiences on the non-pavements can’t be that good for heart health. I think I’m addicted to adrenaline now.

The food has been a challenge for me here too. Some of it’s supremely good, some of it’s terrible.

I should have gotten out of the city for a reprieve, I would have felt healthier for the change and would have probably been more productive than I was.

[Most important] Lesson 3: if you forget to be grateful you end up ungrateful and miserable.

This one seems obvious but I was definitely being a bit whiny this week [can you tell?!].

I forgot to remember the opportunities that I have been granted. I was focusing on the fact that I didn’t have EXACTLY what I wanted, instead of focusing on the freedom I’ve been given.

I had to catch myself as I cried at one of my friends that I wanted to go home.

He was very patient, but I suddenly realized that here I was moaning that “I had to stay in SE Asia for Christmas”…”that I had to say goodbye to my tribe”…”that I wasn’t at home for Thanksgiving”…

Instead, I realize that, I should have changed my thought processes to: “I get to be in SE Asia for Christmas, how lucky am I that I was able to start on this journey, how lucky I am that I can continue this journey”…”I have an amazing tribe that I have been privileged enough to grow with, learn from and love and I can look forward to the next time we’ll be together”…”That I have a home[s] to miss for Thanksgiving [and Christmas]”

After this little mind and heart shift I definitely felt better.

The slump didn’t seem so slumpy any more.

Now, as the tribe arrive home from Sapa I feel like I can go into our final weeks together with a renewed perspective and a concentration on the things that are important. I’m super thankful for that.


Digital Nomading [Thailand]

Coming back from the Islands was a hard switch to make.

We had a perfect 3 days and it was the first time I’d really felt like I was on a vacation rather than a life-changing-study-learning-growing program.

Before going back north we stopped in Krabi. I didn’t particularly enjoy Krabi. [I mean it’s great if you love party hostels and not remembering the night before but it felt like a jolt in the opposite direction of the peace and serenity of our private retreat to me].

Having said that, if you wanna have a great day on Krabi Beach go early, set up under the trees, enjoy the water and the beach for a few hours then head into the beach club where they will happily let you swim in the pool as long as you buy drinks or eat. There’s massage places set up poolside and it’s a slice of luxury after the hostel mayhem. We did this just before our flight home to Chiang Mai and it was a pretty nice ending to the whole trip.

Back into the ‘reality’ of Chiang Mai [when really we know that even Chiang Mai doesn’t feel like reality to many of us] was both comforting and difficult. This week was defined by trying to study and also establish business partners to support the nomad lifestyle that I now so clearly wanted.

The co-working space we’re using [Punspace] has an industrial feel to it.

It’s full of very productive people living out their work-life with seemingly seamless purpose and focus.

That can be intimidating for a newbie like me, I mean how does one break into the world of floating communities, new acronyms and ambiguous job descriptions exactly?

The thing is, as I began to speak to those who had trodden the path a little longer than I had, there was one message coming through over and over again: things just seem to work out. That no one really tried that hard to build their lives, they just took each step and took up opportunities that fit in with the vision that they wanted for their lives. Then suddenly they ended up where they were.

Of course, this wasn’t to say it was easy at all.

At a workshop hosted by The Nomad MBA 3 Digital Nomad veterans from different places and disciplines told stories of health-care nightmares, difficulty finding work and having enough money to keep going, loneliness and questioning every choice they had made. It wasn’t that the lifestyle doesn’t require perseverance and struggle at times.

Despite this they unanimously said it was worth it though and given some of their stories this was massive to me.

To that end – I am going to try and do the same thing.

Say yes to the things that will help me build this life I’m dreaming up and say no to the things that don’t fit in with it.

Choose my battles and try and love those in my community the best I can while I’m with them.

Just over halfway through this incredible adventure I’m beginning to realize how quickly this season will be over so I want to make the most of every minute [while trying to get over my life hangover from the Island of dreams and the weekend of perfection].