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Embracing Change and Continual Growth: My Journey as a Solo Digital Nomad

In Pursuit of Happiness: Why I Became a Digital Nomad – Part II

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Nine years ago, I stood at a pivotal crossroads, facing a choice that would redefine the trajectory of my life. I chose to step away from the familiar comforts of a conventional existence, embarking on an extraordinary journey that transformed me from a traditional professional into a globe-trotting digital nomad. This journey began as a shared dream with my then-husband, but as the tides of life shifted, it evolved into a deeply personal voyage of self-discovery and professional reinvention. Today, I find myself in the vibrant heart of Madrid, a city pulsating with culture and history, embodying the spirit of adventure and the pursuit of wellness.

As the founder of Root & Renew, a wellness CPG company and a passionate wellness blogger, my days are a fusion of creativity, entrepreneurship, and the exploration of new horizons. My journey is more than just a change in geographic location or relationship status. It’s a testament to the power of resilience, adaptability, and the relentless pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment.

A fashionable woman and wellness blogger Valerie Alvarez stands against a vibrant yellow wall on a street in Oaxaca, her casual chic style complementing the rustic charm of the city.

A kaleidoscope of experiences has fueled this evolution, each destination enriching my perspective and shaping my approach to life and work. From the sun-kissed beaches of Costa Rica to the historic streets of Berlin, from the bustling energy of Barcelona to the serene beauty of North Carolina, the bustling culinary streets of CDMX, and now, the captivating allure of Madrid – each place has woven its unique thread into the fabric of my story.

But this journey is about more than just physical travel. It’s a journey into the depths of my own potential, a continuous quest to balance the stability of a successful career with the unquenchable thirst for adventure. It’s about discovering the delicate harmony between planning and spontaneity and learning the invaluable skill of building community and connection, regardless of where I find myself in the world.

In this narrative, I hope to share not just the highlights of my travels but the deeper insights and lessons that have come with this unique way of life. From the challenges and triumphs to the moments of introspection and growth, this is a story of transformation, resilience, and the unyielding pursuit of happiness. As I continue to navigate this ever-changing landscape, I invite you to journey with me through the pages of my story, a tale of embracing change, celebrating growth, and living a life without boundaries.

The Nomadic Life: A Nine-Year Odyssey

1. Duration and Destinations: I’ve been a nomad for nearly a decade. My journey has taken me across continents – from the charming streets of Italy to the vibrant cultures of Southeast Asia, the serene landscapes of Australia, the culinary epicenter of CDMX, and now the lively atmosphere of Madrid. Each destination has been a unique chapter in my story, teaching me about the world and myself.

2. Inspiration for Nomadic Living: The decision to live and work around the world was born from a desire to break free from the conventional and to fully embrace life’s possibilities. Inspired by the idea of integrating work, passion, and exploration, I wanted to live in a way that every day offered a new learning experience, inspiration, and a feeling of fulfillment.

The realization that I could leverage technology to work remotely while satisfying my wanderlust was a pivotal moment. This epiphany, combined with a desire for personal growth and exploration, propelled me into this lifestyle.

3. Sustaining a Nomadic Lifestyle: My income streams are diverse. Craveable Social that files my love for social media, Root & Renew, my wellness CPG company, reflects my passion for health and sustainability, while my blog allows me to share insights and connect with a global audience. These ventures, along with occasional consulting, afford me the financial freedom to maintain this lifestyle.

brown and black concrete buildings at daytime

Deepening the Balance Between Stability and Adventure

The quest for equilibrium between a stable life and the allure of adventure is much like walking a tightrope. In my experience, maintaining a semblance of routine amidst the ever-changing backdrops of my travels has been crucial.

Each morning, no matter which part of the globe I wake up in, I start with a set of rituals – meditation, a brief exercise session or intentional movement, and healthy hydration–20 oz of water, AG1, LMNT electrolytes and ARMRA colostrum. These practices ground me, providing a sense of normalcy that is essential for mental and emotional well-being.

It’s these moments of predictability within my day that create a foundation, allowing me to embrace the new and unknown with confidence. This structured flexibility means I can plan my work around the time zones and still leave enough space for spontaneous exploration or relaxation, adapting to the rhythm of each new place while keeping a core part of my day consistent.

On the other hand, the thrill of adventure – discovering new cultures, cuisines, and landscapes – is what fuels my spirit. This aspect of my life is deliberately left open to spontaneity and chance encounters. I relish the unpredictability of not knowing what each new location will bring, be it a chance meeting with a local who shares insights into their culture, an unexpected natural wonder that takes my breath away, or simply the joy of stumbling upon a quaint café that becomes my workspace for the day.

This balance of stability and adventure isn’t just about geographical movement; it’s a mental and emotional journey. It teaches resilience, open-mindedness, and the ability to find comfort amidst uncertainty. Ultimately, this delicate balancing act is what makes the nomadic lifestyle both challenging and immensely rewarding, fostering a deep sense of fulfillment and personal growth.

Lessons Learned and Personal Growth

1. Wish I Knew Earlier: One thing I wish I knew when starting out is the importance of self-compassion. The nomadic lifestyle is not a continuous highlight reel; it has its ups and downs, and treating oneself with kindness is crucial.

2. Beneficial Personality Traits: Adaptability, resilience, and openness have been my greatest allies. The ability to embrace change, bounce back from challenges, and stay open to new experiences has enriched my journey immeasurably.

3. Unexpected Skills and Qualities: Being nomadic has honed my problem-solving, cultural sensitivity, and language acquisition skills. I’ve also become more proficient in networking and building relationships in diverse settings.

A peaceful street scene in Luang Prabang, Laos, with lush greenery on the sides, traditional architecture, and a mountain shrouded in mist in the background.

Maintaining Connections and Embracing Spontaneity

1. Community and Connection: Technology has been a vital tool in maintaining a sense of community. Regular video calls, social media, and my blog help me stay connected with loved ones and my reader community. Additionally, engaging with local communities and expat groups in each destination fosters a sense of belonging.

2. Planning vs. Serendipity: I’ve learned to strike a balance between being a planner and embracing serendipity. While I plan my destinations and work commitments, I leave ample room for spontaneous adventures and unexpected opportunities.

The Harmony of Planning and Embracing the Unexpected

In the dynamic dance of my nomadic life, the interplay between planning and serendipity plays a crucial role. I have learned the value of striking a balance – meticulously planning certain aspects while leaving enough space for the magic of unplanned experiences. This approach extends beyond just choosing destinations and scheduling work commitments. It involves thoughtful consideration of all facets of a nomadic lifestyle, including addressing the practicalities that ensure safety and peace of mind.

Safety Planning For The ‘What If’s’

An essential component of this planning is my partnership with SafetyWing, a service that provides the security net of travel medical insurance. Knowing that I have a reliable safety plan in place, covering everything from minor medical needs to emergency situations, greatly contributes to my peace of mind. This assurance allows me to delve into the unexpected aspects of travel with a lighter heart and greater confidence. Whether it’s deciding to extend my stay in a city that has captured my imagination or accepting a last-minute invitation to a local event, I can do so knowing that the practicalities of health and safety are well taken care of.

Moreover, this balance affords me the luxury of immersing myself in the spontaneity that each new place offers. It’s in these unscripted moments – whether it’s a serendipitous encounter with a fellow traveler, an impromptu exploration of a hidden neighborhood, or a sudden change in travel plans due to a local festival – that some of my most memorable experiences are born. These instances, unrestrained by rigid itineraries, often lead to profound connections and unexpected adventures, enriching my journey in ways I could never have anticipated.

In essence, the blend of careful planning and openness to serendipity has become a cornerstone of my nomadic lifestyle. It allows me to navigate the uncertainties of constant travel with a sense of security and ease, making the journey not just about the places I visit but also about embracing life’s unpredictability with enthusiasm and preparedness. This approach has not only enhanced my experiences but has also brought a deeper level of satisfaction and joy to my travels, creating a rich tapestry of stories and learnings that continue to shape my journey.

Final Thoughts

My journey as a digital nomad is an ongoing tapestry of self-discovery, personal growth, and thrilling adventures. Every destination I visit, with its distinct culture, challenges, and rewards, intricately weaves into the fabric of my life story, enriching it with diverse perspectives and experiences. This path is more than just physical travel; it’s a mental and emotional voyage that continuously shapes my understanding of the world and myself. Each new place brings its own set of lessons, sometimes challenging my beliefs and comfort zones and at other times affirming my values and aspirations.

As I navigate through different landscapes, from bustling cities to serene countryside, I find pieces of myself in each corner of the world. The beauty of this lifestyle lies in its unpredictability and the constant evolution it demands and fosters within me. By sharing my journey through blogs, stories, and interactions, I aim not only to document my experiences but also to inspire others to embrace their passions, step out of their comfort zones, and discover the transformative power of change and exploration. My adventure is a testament to the endless possibilities that life offers when we dare to chase our dreams and remain open to the world’s myriad lessons and joys.

Hi, I’m Valerie!

I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.