We celebrated THREE years of becoming digital nomads, last week (8th of October)!

Three years ago, we set out into the big, beautiful world… to travel; but more importantly, to see for ourselves if life…as we knew it in 2013, was really all there was to it.

{Short answer: no}

And we’re still going.

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Yay, us!

I wrote this post last year when we celebrated at the end of Year 2 and it was a good way to reflect on where we started and how far we’d come.

Read: From Desk Jockeys To Fulltime Nomads: Our Digital Nomad Story

I thought I’d do another update.

Here’s how Year 3 went down.

The Short Version: 

Where we are: Chiang Mai, Thailand

chiang mai

Where the year started: Guadalajara, Mexico

guadalajara

How’s work?

The marketing agency is going well. We scaled back significantly on work this year and actually aren’t currently taking on any new clients.

This is because….

…we’ve got something to announce.. VERY SOON. It’s been in the works for a long, LONG time now and we’re in the work-12-hours -a-day-in-zombie-mode phase now but it’s the last push.

Wish us luck!

What else is happening?

We’re going to Bali next Saturday!

Also, at the end of year, we’re heading to Dubai and plan to celebrate Christmas & New Year’s Eve with my parents and my sister. Super excited to finally see the show Dubai always puts on with its legendary NYE fireworks!

It’s been a year of good and bad but WOAH… it’s been 3 WHOLE YEARS of being digital nomads/ work from anywherers/ those people who fill up your Facebook feed with annoying travel photos!!!

Excessive exclamation marks totes required #dontjudgeme

Three years…and every day, we are grateful. 

And now…

The Long(er) Version: Digital Nomad Year 3

If you’re still reading, I’m guessing you’re curious and want all the goss. So here are some more deets on the year past.

Year 3 was a year of slow travel, lots of hard work and a bit of emotional turmoil.

This year really tested us mentally but I am happy to report that we have survived.

Slow travel got even slower.

We actually didn’t go anywhere new this year. Shock, horror!

You guys know we love to travel slow and this year was especially slow. We really enjoyed the living abroad experience much more than the short bouts of travel this year. We relished in setting down some (temporary) roots and forming connections with places.

We spent almost 6 months in Mexico this time (our second time). Yet it didn’t feel long enough. Never does.

guadalajara mexico

The International Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara, Mexico.

It was an amazing time as always. We made some new friends, got to see and do some incredible things and ate a LOT of tacos.

Mexico, we miss you.

But… life happens.

During our time in Mexico, I had an accident that required surgery (I’m ok, don’t worry. They took good care of me). We also lost a family member very dear to us. Both of these put together were a huge setback for us mentally.

Thankfully we were able to recognise it and decided to address it by going somewhere familiar, somewhere we didn’t have to think for a little while – Australia.

burleigh heads gold coast

Our home in Australia: Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

We were there for 5 months – the longest we’ve been home since leaving in 2013. It was perfect! Being away from home gives you a new appreciation for it when you go back. We’re glad to have that perspective now.

And wait, there’s more.

Soon after, we had another family health crisis and the anxiety levels rose again.

And in between all of those ups and downs through the year, we also managed to fit in a couple of trips to India and the UAE and I also had the privilege to be a bridesmaid for my high school BFF’s wedding.

indian weddings

And then…we found ourselves in a strange place (mentally, not an actual strange place).

We felt ready to travel (kind of) but weren’t entirely ready to go live somewhere brand new. Getting used to a new place takes a bit of work (and enthusiasm) and if you’re not in the right head space for it — it can be a mental challenge.

So we decided to keep it simple and head back to a place we’d been before… the mecca for our types (wandering nomads of the digital variety).

Hello, Chiang Mai!

We’re currently into our 3rd month in Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai never disappoints.

It’s been a simple life of hard work here at the moment; punctuated with lots of good food, good coffee, exercise, yoga and scooter drives.

chiang mai ristr8to

At one of our favourite coffee shops in Chiang Mai

It’s been a complex year in some ways but while our country list may not have increased, it definitely wasn’t lacking in incredible experiences and a LOT of personal growth.

What does lifestyle freedom really mean?

More importantly, this past year really gave us the opportunity to understand what lifestyle freedom really means in the grand scheme of things.

Sure, it’s the freedom to travel forever. But it’s also the freedom to slow down. The freedom to be able to be there for friends and family in happy and dark times.

Here’s the thing… life doesn’t stop happening just because you’re a digital nomad. Unexpected, unfortunate life events will still occur. As will happy things. Life will do what life does.

And running a flexible, location independent business has given us the freedom to travel; but it has also given us the freedom and ability to choose our priorities when required – something traditional work doesn’t always allow.

So while our daily motivation and number one life goal is always travel, travel, travel.

This lifestyle, it really means having the freedom and ability to live life on your own terms.

What’s in store for Year 4?

We’re notorious for not having any plans so… apart from Bali and visiting my parents in December, the only other thing we have planned is that Johnny is going to the Philippines to go scuba diving. Again!

Johnny scuba diving philippines

Johnny scuba diving in the Philippines in 2015

We’re not quite sure what else is happening. But we’ll keep you updated.

Our theme for Year 4 is: Purpose

Meaning, what exactly?

In the grander scheme of things, it is finding the purpose behind all of this.

What *is* the purpose behind living a free-er life?

What are we doing with this privilege of travel?

We have some big questions within us and hopefully this year will give us some answers.

In the day to day of our lives, it’s being mindful of the purpose behind or for, everything. From purpose-driven Instagramming to purpose-driven exercise – it’s all getting a bit of extra thought from us. A bit of mindfulness if you will.

Cue: motivational speech

You know it.

What’s your purpose?

You don’t have to want to become nomads like us – unless you want to of course. Then do it. Do it. Do it.

You don’t even have to want to travel.

But, I am betting there’s *something* you’ve been meaning to do/see/be.

WHY aren’t you doing it? What stories are you telling yourself to hold yourself back?

Life’s too short to be anything less than happy.

Roll your eyes all you want but it’s true.

So… your turn. Tell us what you’ve been up to in the comments. If you’ve got any (non-touristy) tips for Bali especially related to food or coffee – we’re all ears!

By the way, our “big announcement” is going to be for email subscribers only at this stage. So sign up here if you want in.

No spam, obvs. Friends don’t spam friends, duh!

Speak to you guys soon. I promise we’re going to be writing more from next month.

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