Leave the Worry Behind and TAKE ACTION!

I’ve had a lot of worries in my days, most of which have never happened.  Mark Twain

Do you ever find your mind drifting away, either projecting out into the far future or dwelling on some thought or experience from the past? 

It’s so easy to get caught up in our minds and spend the majority of our time focusing on everywhere except for where we are right now. The past and future can be amazing places to visit and excellent references in order to feel more inspired and motivated, but for most people, this is not the case.

Let’s think about the future for a moment…

If you look towards the future in a positive light, you can easily feel excited about your future possibilities, dreams, and all the amazing things that might come to pass one day. While thinking to the future can be helpful in order to get more inspired, it can equally be a place of extreme fear, uncertainty, and doubt, especially if you are not clear on what you want in life, or your dreams seem so big that you are overwhelmed with the question of “HOW am I ever going to reach my big end goal?” 

The future is often associated with feelings of stress and anxiety, given its nature of uncertainty.

Our minds are programmed to dwell and stress about future scenarios, related to health/safety of our family, national, financial and job security, disease, retirement, pandemics, and even afterlife.

….

Given this truth, it is key to do everything you can to center yourself in the NOW and not allow your mind to create a multitude of mental images of all the things that could possibly go wrong in the future. 

Now, let’s take a minute to explore the past…

The past can be an excellent place to look towards in order to feel a sense of gratification for all that you have lived until this very moment. As with the case of the future, it can equally be a dark and lonely place, full of shame and guilt for all the things that you did not do or could´ve done differently.

The present moment is truly the only moment that exists in time and we must plant ourselves there.  

In 2015, I decided to say my goodbyes to Spain and set off on my next adventure. I had already lived two amazing years there, reached my goal of fluently learning Spanish, and suddenly felt deep within my heart that it was time to move on to something bigger and better.

During that time of transition, I reflected on a lot of different ideas for my future, all of which would require me to step drastically out of my comfort zone into the world of the unknown. When it came down to making a final decision, I decided to do something that I had never tried in my life and travel full time during a 6-month time frame, completely alone.

…..

I can remember the sleepless nights building up to my first big trip like it was yesterday. While I tried to keep a peaceful state of mind, I could not resist the negativity and fear that came upon me on some days.

….

I had clear mental images of all the things that could possibly go wrong and found myself always programmed to think to the worst-case scenarios of what could happen to a solo female traveler, which never had a happy ending. I imagined thoughts of getting robbed, kidnapped, or lost in the night and as much as I tried to avoid the thoughts, they just came. This went on for weeks before leaving, to the point that I almost called it quits.

These fears restlessly filled my mind until I reached a breaking point, to where I literally screamed at the top of my lungs:

“Enough is ENOUGH! I am finished with letting my mind take control and lead me into a negative future! I choose today to take action and follow my dreams, despite the intense fear that I have.”

It was on that very day that I decided to walk out the door and start my extensive world trip, which was originally supposed to be only 6 months. One door after another opened as I followed my dreams and this small trip turned into one that has taken me alone to more than 120 + countries across the world, to some of the most dangerous and untraveled areas on Earth.

Was I afraid when I started? More than I can possibly express (keep in mind that I had NEVER traveled a day in my life before Spain, not did I have a passport). 

Do I still feel scared while on the road? Absolutely!

Our goal in this life is not to try and eliminate and avoid fear.
.

This experience taught me the importance of not allowing fear to paralyze and hold you back from what you desire to do.  The best remedy for dealing with fear is centering your life and thoughts in the now taking action towards the unknown path. 

 

Do not let fear hold you back another day from your dream life.

Leave the worry behind and take action today!

 

 

Don’t forget to also read: 

IS SOLO TRAVELING WEST AFRICA WORTH THE EXPERIENCE?

5 POSITIVE ACTIONS TO TAKE DURING QUARANTINE

WAYS TO SAVE ON ACCOMMODATION WHILE TRAVELING

 

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comLeave the Worry Behind and TAKE ACTION!
read more

My Experience Getting a Student Visa to Live in Spain

Living abroad has always been a life long dream of mine.
Honestly, I look at my family and wonder where in the world I actually came from. My desires and ambitions are so much different than theirs and not a SINGLE person in my family has ever ventured abroad or even had the slightest desire or courage to do so…
,,,
So, just imagine the conversation and looks I got when I looked at my family and said,
,,,,
“I just bought a one way ticket and I am leaving my job as a nurse and moving to across the world to Spain, completely alone!”
,
I had all the excitement in the world, but not a single person could understand and connect with me on why I wanted to leave my steady, well paid job in order to chase after my dream.
,
I was quickly discouraged by others by listening to conversations about how dangerous the world is and how I should go back and rewatch the movie “Taken,” where the beautiful blonde was taken out of her accommodation by scary men while traveling with her best friend in Europe.
,
To be honest, until that point, I had watched that movie multiple times.
,

Did I fear the thought of moving abroad or stay wide awake at night thinking about the worse case scenarios?

ABSOLUTELY!

,
I had NO experience traveling abroad, nor had I ever traveled extensively in the USA.
,
However, that fear slowly started to turn into excitement and I made a promise that no matter what happened, I would not allow anyone or anything to talk me out this once in a life time opportunity. 
,
My life kicked into fast gear when I made a set decision about leaving America. Changing cities or moving houses is difficult, but imagine moving your whole entire life over seas!
,

To be honest, when I first decided to move, I thought it was going to be simple.

,
In my naive mind, I just thought that I would buy a one way ticket, pack up my pink luggage and move there. I quickly realized that there would be many obstacles in my path, starting with:
,
“How in the WORLD am I going to obtain a visa?”
,
I did not even know what a visa was before applying. The ONLY visa that I had ever heard of before that moment was a credit card. I had to do a google search to find out what I was even going to apply for and why I actually needed it.
,

PREPARING TO MOVE TO SPAIN
….

If you plan on moving to Spain under 90 days, then you are in luck. You are able to travel anywhere in Europe as an American with just your passport. However, you will need to go through a long visa process if you plan on staying in Spain longer than that.

,
Many of you might be thinking, “I will move to Spain and just stay past the 90 days without a visa.”
,

There are lots of articles on the internet that will give you tips and tricks on how to do this, but I do not recommend it.
,

Yes, it is possible that you can get away with it, but there is also a higher change that you will get caught with hefty fines. I have seen this with my own personal experience, so just be careful!

My visa process was a bit long and complex….

This will NOT be the case for everyone and each consulate throughout the USA will have different requirements of what they need, so do your own research about your consulate and do not think that everything I write in this article applies to everyone.

When I applied for a visa, I was a resident of Arkansas. I was required to visit IN PERSON the embassy in Houston, Texas, which is over 12 hours one way from my house!

You must visit the consulate of the area in which you are a resident. You are not able to show just up to just any consulate and apply (at least this is what was true when I applied).

Important: It took me over a month to get an appointment to submit my papers, so keep that in mind when planning your travel or work arrangements. 

Before you even thinking about making an appointment for a future date, you must look online for an updated list of what your consulate requires.

The 3 things that took the most time for me to obtain were:

….

  • Federal Background Check: It took 7 weeks from the time I sent my request in, until I received it. I was required to have it translated to Spanish as well.
    ,
  • Apostille from my state capital: this is a document that is attached to your paperwork to prove its authenticity. I had to drive all the way to the other side of Arkansas to pick this up in person.
    ,
  • Full Health Check Up: You will need a full health check up and a note from a doctor saying that you are acceptable for work and study in a foreign country.

…..

Apart from these three things, everything else was pretty straight forward: 

……

  • Money order (no checks or credit/debit cards) to the consulate: $175 total (160 euros)
    ,
  • Updated official bank statements showing sufficient funds during the time you plan on staying in Spain. I only had to show a few thousands dollars, but you need to contact the embassy and find out how much they expect. You are able to show your parent’s bank account if you do not have enough money.
    ,
  • 2 passport sized photos with white background.
    ,
  • Copy of your driver’s license or some sort of ID that shows your permanent residence.
    ,
  • Copy of official birth certificate and social security card.
    ,
  • 2 Application forms printed from online and filled out in blue or black ink, with your passport photos glued in the corner.
    ,
  • Original letter showing full international health insurance with at a minimum of 30.000 euros and repatriation coverage (coverage if you die and they have to send your body back to the USA).
    ,
  • IF applying for a student visa: an official letter of acceptance and receipt of payment from the university or official language school for at least 20 hours/week of classes. You will not be able to take classes at an official language school in order to obtain a visa.
    ,
  • If studying and working as an Au Pair: letter of invitation from the family you will be staying with, working conditions, hours and a family picture.
    ,
  • Small prepaid UPS package: Luckily you are not expected to pick up your visa in person. If you give them prepaid package they will send it back to your home address. If you do not pay for the shipping, they will not send you anything and will expect you to pick it up yourself.
    ,

I submitted all the documents over a 3 day time frame—- Unfortunately I made many mistakes and had to return more than once because I was missing something or had to redo my papers.  Instead of them letting me fix the problem in the moment, they told me to come back the next day—UGGG!

,
All in all, it took me 45 days in order to obtain my visa in the mail.
,,,,,

This was a photo of when I was 23 when I first received my visa from Houston.

This was also my first passport ever! 

 

,dw

This is not a standard time, although they do tell you to wait AT LEAST 1 month. If you have anything suspicious on your background check it could take much longer. You just never know how long it will take, which is why it is so important to NOT book your flights before you get your visa.

,

It was a long process, but it was SO worth every minute.

,

In June 2013 I set off on a new adventure that totally changed my life forever. Spain is truly incredible and I HIGHLY recommend moving there to anyone!

.
,.
.
 

Don’t forget to check out: 

SUAN MOKKH: 10 DAY SILENT & MEDITATION RETREAT IN THAILAND

DISCOVERING THE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF SAO TOME & PRINCIPE, AFRICA

THE PERFECT DAY GONE WRONG: MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT IN KO SAMUI, THAILAND

….

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comMy Experience Getting a Student Visa to Live in Spain
read more

Ways to Save On Accommodation While Traveling

.

How in the world do you afford to travel the world full time?

This is a question that I get daily while on the road. While traveling can get expensive, especially the more high maintenance you are, there are many ways in which you can save while you are on the go.

If you break down the spending of a typical traveller, you will find that accommodation can easily be one of the highest costs. Even if you find a cheap hostel for $15 dollars a night, that is still $450 a month, which would be $5,400 for a year of travel.

There is an obvious amount of planning that you must do before going on your first long term trip, especially in regards working and saving.

Sorry to say it, but travel does not come for free (well, I guess some people find the way—where is my rich boyfriend?!—haha (joke)!

But seriously, many people look at my life on the road and see the amazing adventure that it is, but miss the story behind this exciting journey—the hard work, weekend shifts and gruelling overtime hours that I put in to make this dream become a reality.

If you make sacrifices while working and save, save, save, you can actually make it pretty far around the world on your savings if you just use your money wisely and try to save as much as you can on transportation, accommodation and entertainment.

And no, that does not mean sacrificing so much that you limit the amount of fun that you have…

Actually, it is the COMPLETE opposite… 

In this article I am going to share different ways of saving on accommodation, based on my own experience traveling extensively across more than half of the world (and still going).

Just a disclaimer: I have not tried out everything on this list (most, yes). However, I do have useful information from other travellers, which can be helpful for you if you decide to try them out.

….

COUCHSURFING

 

Traveling the world and staying in the house of a complete stranger?

COUNT ME OUT!

Those were my own words when I heard about Couch Surfing back in 2013 when I first moved to Europe for the first time.

The concept seemed absolutely absurd and unsafe, but the more I looked into it, the more I realized that it was much more reliable and secure than what I had imagined.

Couch Surfing, Saudi Arabia

Couch Surfing, Saudi Arabia

If you are looking for a way to have a complete cultural immersion while traveling across the globe, and are willing to (at times) sacrifice a comfortable bed and your own personal space, then look no further than Couch Surfing.

I have been hosted by more than 250+ hosts over my years of traveling and I can tell you from first hand experience, it can be life changing!

Couch Surfing is a website with millions of users from all over the world that connects local people with travellers. As a traveler, you are able to send out a request to meet up or stay in the home of a local person or family, with no cost.

I can already hear you saying—but that sounds WAY too risky!

Everything in life comes with a risk, but the good thing is that Couch Surfing gives the options of users to go through a verification process, and you can choose a host based on if they have gone through this process or not. It is very similar to the concept of staying in a shared space on Airbnb, but the difference is that there is no cost.

Having the option to choose hosts based on their references has been so helpful and it is the main way in which I go about choosing who I stay with. I can honestly say that with all of the safety measures that I have taken with Couch Surfing over the years, I have never had any dangerous situation happen to me while using it (and I am always alone).

Couch Surfing has truly changed the way in which I see the world and has introduced me to some of the most incredible and hospitable people.

AIRBNB

 

As an earlier traveler, I mostly used Couch Surfing, but that has gradually changed over the years and now my #1 pick is AIRNB.

While Couch Surfing is AMAZING, there is still an underlying obligation to hang out with your host and to organize yourself around his or her schedule.

My travels around the world have completely changed over the years. When I started I was living off my savings, doing some random odd jobs in between trips, but nothing while I was actually traveling. However, travel is now my lifestyle and I am doing everything that I would normally do at home, (like work full time) on the road from my computer.

View from my Airbnb in Colombia

View from my Airbnb in Colombia

Airbnb gives me that option of a cultural immersion and contact with local people, but obviously with a price. While it is nice to hang out with my host, I do not have those guilty feelings that I tend to have with my Couch Surfing host when I am not able to hang out.

There are many options with Airbnb, from renting a private room in a house (which is what I do most of the time in order to meet locals) or renting a full apartment or house.

There are some INCREDIBLE options available, from very affordable to extremely expensive.

Get up to $37 off your first AIRNNB experience if you are a new user by clicking here.

….

HOSTELS

 

Hostels are most young backpackers first option. Many popular hostels are generally centrally located, in areas in which hotels would be triple the price and it is an easy environment to meet other like minded travellers.

I must admit, I have not stayed in many hostels, although some of them that I have stayed in were quite neat.

The reason that I do not stay in hostels is because I work full time on the road and I absolutely need my space and privacy. I do not like sharing a space with a large amount of people and will stay wide awake at night to even the slightest sound of snoring.

Hostels are a great option for solo travellers, but if you need privacy like I do, then there are still options out there to meet people.

After comparing the prices, I have found in many places that a centrally located private room in a house with Airbnb is often the same price as a bed in a shared 8 person room in a hostel.

Yeah, that is nice, but I travel alone and I want to meet other people, I hear you saying….

If you decide to stay in a private room near a popular hostel, you still have the option of visiting there. Many established hostels have a small restaurant or area where you can have a coffee, which is a great option if you want to want to pay a visit and socialize, without actually staying there.

In many hostels they have the option to buy a private room for a higher price, which can be very useful, especially if you are traveling with your romantic partner. The price for one person will be much higher than some hotels or Airbnb options, but if you are traveling with another person, it will come out much more affordable.

BED & BREAKFAST

 

I really enjoy a nice bed & breakfast, especially when I travel to more rural places. From time to time, I like to look for a place that is a bit more cozy and traditional, further away from the city, with a nice chimney and views of the nature.

I love the idea of supporting the local community and the great part about this option is that they are private family homes. Some of them can be very nice and at a fraction of the price of a hotel.

This is a shared environment, so it is a good and friendly place to meet other people. You typically have a shared home made breakfasts with other travellers. It can be a very unique experience!

Highly recommended!

HOTELS

 

My favorite website to search for hotels is booking.com

I love the way in which I can filter exactly what I am looking for and organize it according to my budget and needs.

There are countless options available out there for reasonably priced hotels, ranging from very basic to higher end.

Staying in hotels gives you the complete flexibility to come and go as you want and the convenience of 24/7 front desk assistance to help you in case of an emergency.

 

HOUSE OR PET SITTING

 

How could a stranger ever trust a random stranger to watch over their home or pet while gone?

Many seasoned travellers like to leave their homes and go to another part of the world, especially during colder months, but often have no one to take care of their house, water their plants, feed the fish or take care of the yard. Others would love to travel with their animal, but the place they are visiting does not allow them.

In these situations, people are desperate to find someone to stay in their house and watch over things while they are gone.  It would give you that once in a life time opportunity to live and travel to a cool place, rent free!

Some websites that allow you to search for this kind of opportunity: 

https://www.trustedhousesitters.com ($60 annual fee)
https://www.housecarers.com ($55 annual fee)
https://www.mindmyhouse.com ($20 annual fee)

..

FRIENDS OR FRIENDS OF FRIENDS

 

Have you ever became good friends with a foreigner that came to visit or live for a period of time in your city? Or do you know a friend from school or college that has family or friends in another country?

Maybe you have no direct connection to people abroad, but if you look around, I am sure you can find someone that does.

Do not be afraid to ask others for their connections.

I am so grateful for all of the amazing people, especially through social media, that have connected me over the years with their friends and family around the world, which were obviously complete strangers to me at first.

You just never know what kind of connections people have.

There are so many eager people all around the world that would love to have you as a guest during a summer stay, or might even know of a job that you could do for a few months, giving you the opportunity to see a new culture and get some international work experience.

Facebook has SO many active groups and even by reaching out on there, you can find people that would love to help you out. When I travel to a country, I like to join different Facebook groups beforehand and connect with people living in that country in order to make new friends, get travel information and see the latest that everyone is saying in reference to news and updates there.

WORK AWAY / HELPX

 

This is an excellent option if you are looking to live abroad and stay and work in one set place. This option typically provides you with accommodation and food in exchange to working a certain amount of hours a day. However, I have met many people that have found paid jobs or a free job eventually turned into something paid. There are many opportunities available out there, so it is just a matter of doing some research.

Understand that not everything you find advertised is as good as it seems and like everything else, there are some obvious dangers.

Read the reviews people who have worked there, communicate by video before hand with the owners and share your plan, work address and any detail possible with your family members and friends.

Remember, you are going to do work in exchange for a place to stay and some food.

That DOES NOT mean that you are their slave and that you should be working all day, without free time. Before going, make an agreement (written if you can) on your working conditions, hours and what is included, so that there is no confusion when you arrive!

Some helpful websites: 

https://www.helpx.net
https://www.workaway.info

WOOFING

 

Woofing is an organization that helps to connect anyone who is interested in learning about organic farming and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

They offer free accommodation and food in order to stay and work on a farm and learn all there is to learn about organic farming from first hand experience. Although I have never done (or plan to) do this, I have heard from other travellers in my path that it is a neat experience that allows you to learn a new skill, sometime a language and gives you the opportunity to live in a new country.

Just like I mentioned on Workaway, you must be careful and selective with who you work for, have an agreement, check the references and understand that you have the right to your own free time after your set working hours are done.

WOOFING is available in all of the continents around the world, (well, except Antartica).

,,,

AU PAIR

 

This was my first gig when I moved abroad in 2013 to live in Spain. I had no idea what being an Au pair was when I first discovered it, but I quickly realized it was a job that suited me and was a perfect way to get my foot in the door to getting a visa and finally living my dream of moving to Europe.

If you are wondering what an Au pair is, it is basically like a really cool foreign babysitter (female or male) that typically teaches a foreign language.

When I moved to Spain, I moved in the home with a family with a 5 year old daughter named Laura in Zaragoza, Spain. I took her to and from school, played games with her, went on their family vacation and was basically like a big sister to her. The family wanted her to get get a culturally enriching experience as a young girl and also to have the opportunity to learn and practice English on a daily basis.

Every situation is different, but typically you will get an allowance ($300-600) a month, along with free food and accommodation.

Obviously, not every family will be a match for you, which is why it is important to talk and video call them as many times as possible before making a big move across the world.

However, if the situation ends up being a total disaster, you are not stuck (which is a fear that holds many people back from doing it).

If you find out after a period of time that the family is NOT a match, you can easily find something new once you are there, through word of mouth, local Facebook groups etc.

I mention this due to my own personal experience. I left my original family after 3 months to do something different. Sometimes things do not go the way you had originally planned and that is OK!

I highly recommend checking out reputable websites and reviewing all the different profiles available.

There are so many options to choose from.

Click here to visit the website that I used to find my first family in Spain: Au Pair World 

CAMPING

 

I will admit, I am not a traveler that tends to camp, especially if I am alone (well, unless it is in the desert or in an absolutely beautiful place).

The more I travel, the more I meet travellers that only camp on a daily basis. If you are traveling during warm months of the year and you love the outdoors, then camping is a great and affordable option.

Camping in the Desert in Oman

Camping in the Desert in Oman

Not only will you save money, but you will get the opportunity to have a unique experience outside of the busy, populated cities.

It is important to check the restrictions in each place because it is actually prohibited in many places around the world.

If you get caught, there are very hefty fines!

…..

OVERNIGHT TRANSPORTATION

 

Over night transportation is quite amazing, especially in places like South East Asia. If you are trying to see as much as possible in a short amount of time, without waisting a minute, this is your option.

In Asia, for example, many busses have beds with curtains, plug ins and blankets/pillows.

I was first introduced to this while traveling to Sapa in the north of Vietnam. It was unbelievably comfortable and I slept just as good there as I would in regular bed.

Over night trains are also an excellent option (and super comfortable). I did my first over night train in Thailand and it only cost me around $10!

Again, you have a full bed with a complementary blanket and a pillow.

Any chance I get to travel by night I do so. I love the feeling of arriving in a place and not losing a single hour time of day time.

RENTING A CAR OR VAN

..

If you will be traveling in one country for a long period of time, then renting a van or RV could be a good option. This will give you the flexibility to freely visit places and not have to deal with spending time looking for accommodation.

Keep in mind, if you cross the border into another country in a rental vehicle, there is often times an additional charge. If you forget to mention it to the company, they might charge you an additional $1.000 penalty- no exaggeration! 

If you are traveling for a short time and have a small budget, you could rent a bigger car and convert it into a place to sleep. I have met many travellers, especially in Europe, that are camping in their cars in order to save money.

This gives them the flexibility to sleep for a few hours and then keep driving, so they do not lose any of their precious time.

..

SILENT RETREATS

 

Can you believe that I spent 20 days of my life in complete silence, without any electronics or social media?!

Well, neither can I!

If you are looking for an option that will give you a break from the chaotic and loud world,  then a silent retreat is an option worth looking into.

I did my first 10 day Vipassana silent retreat back in 2016 in India.

You must register in advance because the spaces fill up FAST in most places. The retreat is free of charge (with food and accommodation included).

You are served the whole 10 days by volunteers that give up their lives in order to help you have a life changing experience. With that said, you SHOULD tip at the end. The amount you leave is up to you, but considering that you do not pay to be there, the least you can do is give a good tip.

I also did another 10 day silent retreat in Thailand, called Suan Mokkh.

It was very similar to Vipassana, but involves daily yoga, chanting and group meditation.

I highly recommend both of them, especially Suan Mokkh.

You must keep in mind that this is NOT for the weak of heart. It is very difficult and it will push you way past your limits.

Did I mention that there was no eating after 12 in the afternoon?

Yeah….

You might want to consider the living conditions before you commit.

  • No talking
  • No eye contact with others
  • No caffeine
  • Separation from males (obviously no sex)
  • No smoking or drugs
  • No electronics
  • No reading
  • No exercise (Vipassana)

It is a difficult experience, but if I can sit in silence for 20 days of my life with the active mind that I have, then anyone can!

MONASTERY STAYS

 

If you want a very unique experience, with direct communication and quality time with the nuns, then try staying at a monastery!

I truly enjoyed my experience staying with them. It was unlike any experience that I have had until now!

In each place that I stayed, the nuns did a nightly biblical lesson and sang songs. It is far from a luxurious stay, but the memories you will take away have no price tag.

Typically the accommodation comes with just a hard bed and desk, with simple meals prepared by the nuns.

The location depends on how much you will spend per night, but you can find anything from $5-50 in most places.

Helpful website: www.monasterystays.com

 

HOUSE SWAPPING

..

This may be WAY outside of your comfort zone, but this type of experience DOES exist (it is not just in the movies!)

While I have never done it, I think it is a fantastic opportunity!

It will give you the chance to share your life, home and resources with someone else, as well as give you a mutual experience in a distinct place around the world.

You just NEVER know, maybe you will find a new lifestyle that fits you better than your own in another place.

Useful website: www.homeexchange.com

….

BUS STATIONS OR AIRPORTS

I mention this as an option only for a one night stay if you arrive late to a destination or you have a very early morning flight the next day and it does not make much financial sense to get a room for just a few hours.

Many places (especially airports) have security and even free wifi. Bus stations can be a bit dangerous depending where you are, so do not let your guard down.

I have stayed in many airports (few bus stations) in my trips. This ensures me that I do not miss my flight or have to take a late night taxi to arrive to a 0400 am flight.

 

What ways do you save on accommodation?

Connect with me on Instagram: 1nomadicdreamer and share!

 

 

Don’t forget to also check out: 

5 IMPORTANT THINGS I HAVE LEARNED DURING SELF QUARANTINE

IS SOLO TRAVELING WEST AFRICA WORTH THE EXPERIENCE?

SURVIVING MALARIA COMPLETELY ALONE IN LIBERIA

 

.

.

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comWays to Save On Accommodation While Traveling
read more

5 Important Things I Have Learned During Self Quarantine

Life lessons come in many shapes and sizes and often in times in which we least expect it. On my own personal journey across the world, I am constantly faced with new lessons (some harder than others).

As I am traveling, my mind is constantly being exposed to new ideas and beliefs, which is why traveling is so addicting for me.

I have had many realizations throughout my travels, but what I have realized is that the BIGGEST and most transformational lessons that I have had until this moment have been when I consciously took time to “disconnect” a bit from the world and connect deeper within.

When I say “disconnect,” I refer to just a slight change in pattern from my normal digital nomadic life, where my computer and phone are always in hand, and my mind is constantly in motion, thinking of new ways to earn money while on the road so that I can continue to live my dreams of traveling the world.

As a digital nomad, the amount of time you spend connected to your computer, creating content and pitching ideas to companies, highly depends on the amount that you will make (or not make) at the end of the month.

Just a disclaimer: I would NOT trade my nomadic lifestyle for the world. Everything in life has its pros and cons.

I do admit, however, that a little disconnection from time to time is not only healthy but absolutely necessary.

Since 2015, I have traveled extensively across the world, trying to experience as much as humanly possible while I have no significant other or family to answer to.  Traveling is not a vacation for me, but rather a lifestyle. It has become my norm so much that even the thought of “settling down” or staying in one place for a short amount of time makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.

SO far from the normal right?

Most people my age, especially from where I am from in the USA, are looking for stability, a promising job, a good husband, and eager to start a family.

And me….

Well, I am an oddball and definitely the black sheep of the family, BUT that’s okay. We all have to live our own dreams, although it might be off the wall, right?

My life as a traveler is everything but isolated and quiet. However, in the midst of the world COVID crisis I am forced into solitude. All my travel and life plans have been completely turned upside down and we are all left to wait and see just what happens next.

In this article, I wanted to share 5 lessons that I have learned (or better said, just realized to a greater scale) during this isolated time in self-quarantine.

1. IMPORTANCE OF CONNECTION TO SELF

 

We are meant to connect and share with other human beings. For many people, these human physical/emotional connections are everything and without them, they feel completely empty and alone.

In a time of strict isolation, it is normal to feel disconnected, and even a slight feeling of loneliness. 

I think we have all felt it at some point or another, no?

Sure, we live in a technology age and in just a click of a button we can connect with our family and friends all the way across the globe, although it’s just not as good as human to human contact (in my opinion).  The crazy part is that many people say that this global crisis has actually caused them to connect more than they ever have in their lives with others.

I have to admit, this has not been my case.

You would think with a person that is constantly on the go and meeting and talking to new people every day, like myself, would be going a bit crazy and reaching out to as many people as possible.

But no…..

It has been very strange for me.

I am an extroverted person, but this quarantine has caused me to walk in the shoes of an introvert. I have spent hours a day reading books, going on long silent walks/runs, and just keeping to myself. I have been trying to fully engage myself in my own personal growth and development journey and just simply living in the moment.

While it is great to have a community and connect with others, it is even more important to first be truly connected with yourself, on a deep and unconditional level.

This sort of deep connection to self (where the mind is not at work) is hard to reach in the midst of chaos, noise, and constant motion. This is the still, calm part of us, that has no connection to time. Some people call it God, others call it pure energy or self.

But why try and put a label on something so deep and beyond our understanding?

Once you tap into this space, it does not matter if you are in complete isolation and quarantine, or you are in the worst moment of your life, you are still able to enter into this timeless space and find the infinite joy, peace and love that is there and accessible to everyone.

The easy thing to do is fill that quiet space with noise and the emptiness in your heart with excessive materialistic possessions, fancy houses, cars, and relationships, with the hope to find some sort of fulfillment in those things.

Unfortunately, those things will never truly satisfy you in the long run. 

Connecting with yourself in a deeper way and feeling a sense of peace and satisfaction with being alone is not something that comes overnight, but rather a journey that you can choose to take that will absolutely transform your life forever.

2. IMPORTANCE OF MAKING YOUR HEALTH AN ABSOLUTE PRIORITY

 

During quarantine, it is SO easy to fall into a love relationship with the couch or comfy bed. They are both so warm, cozy, and welcoming.

To be honest, it can be very hard to not say NO.

It brings great comfort to be all wrapped in your favorite blanket, watching Netflix, with some Oreos, brownies, and/or your favorite bag of potato chips and popcorn.

Sounds pretty magical no?

Now don’t get me wrong: I am absolutely a firm believer that it is absolutely necessary and healthy to set aside certain days to just splurge, chill out, and not take yourself too seriously.

However, some people turn those “occasional days” into a very frequent encounter, especially during a time in which they are stuck inside, with no set schedule.

During the first days of being trapped indoors in a small apartment in Ecuador, (where I was originally quarantined) I was totally relaxed. I just chilled in my pajamas, ate when I wanted, and allowed my schedule to be all over the place.

However, as soon as I realized how bad the crisis was becoming and fully grasped in my head that the quarantine would not be only a week or two long thing, I decided to get serious about taking control of my time and life.

It doesn’t matter if it is only 20 minutes, prioritizing your health is KEY, not only for your physical health but to your mental and spiritual.

 

Ideas for getting a jump start on your physical health:

  • A quick 20-minute exercise Youtube video (cardio, abs or strength training)
  • Guided yoga video
  • Simply putting on your favorite jam and moving your body in a hidden place (if you are a bad dancer, like me)
  • Jumping (with our without a jump rope)
  • Running in place
  • Strength exercises with a gallon of milk or some heavy product in your house.

There are millions of free resources online that you can use. If you do not take advantage of that, then you are making excuses.

Do not sacrifice your health during this time and allow yourself to come out of quarantine undisciplined, more out of shape and heavier than ever.

This is your chance to take control of your health. If you have not made good choices until now, it is never too late to start!

 

3. IMPORTANCE OF ONLINE JOBS AND STRIVING TO CONTINUALLY BECOME MORE DIGITAL & SELF RELIANT

 

While it seems like this is the polar opposite of what I mentioned in #1 about the importance of disconnection, it is really not.

There have been a tremendous amount of jobs lost during this COVID crisis, which has affected millions of people across the globe. While I feel empathy for everyone in an unfavorable situation, I feel equally a sense of gratification for having random online jobs during this time, which have not been affected by the crisis.

Sadly, most of the jobs that have been affected are the ones in which you physically have to go into an office, while many online businesses have skyrocketed.

This realization has helped me to see the importance of not putting all of my eggs into one basket, especially as a self-employed person. It is more important than ever to continue to explore the vast options that are available online, whether it be writing, teaching, translating, marketing, managing, coaching, or whatever it may be.

This also has wakened me up to see how much more I can do with my own client base with coaching, online courses, and projects. We are moving very quickly into a more digital world and the more onboard you are with that movement, the more you will be able to profit from this now and in the future.

 

4. POWER OF OPTIMISM

 

As a nation, now is the time to practice optimism. Not when things get better and the crisis passes.

No, NOW…

Everyone has their own story of how Corona has destroyed their plans and has left them to worry about how they will get by. Many have been forced to cancel their big travel plans, weddings, or even a honeymoon as well.

It is all VERY frustrating and disappointing.

If you would’ve asked me in January 2020, I would’ve told you that I was going to spend the whole 2020 year on the road traveling. In fact, I did get to spend from January-March in the Caribbean and South America, so I am thankful for that time that I did have.

All the big plans that I had for the rest of the year have been placed on hold, and no one knows what is going to happen in regards to future travel, especially international travel.

What kind of new restrictions will they have once the virus gets better?

When will we be able to travel again, without the high risk of getting sick?

As I mentioned, traveling is not just a vacation for me, like most people. It is my life and what I do year-round. Like everyone, I am not able to travel and at this moment I do not even have the option of going back to my home to Spain, where I have my residency and apartment.

With all of that said, it is so important that we do not sit around and focus on our own LOSS during this time.

If we dig deep enough, no matter how bad things may feel at this moment, we can all find something that we are grateful for and some way in which we can benefit from this extra time we have to stay home.

If you capable of shifting your focus and directing it towards what you ARE able to change, such as your health, keeping your inner peace, and strengthening your relationships, you can come out of this quarantine feeling more empowered than ever.

 

5. THE IMPORTANCE OF PRODUCTIVITY

 

I have woken up between 3:45 and 4:45 in the morning every single day of this quarantine.

Seems quite crazy right?

At this point, waking up early is such a normal habit that it does not even cross my mind. I love the sense of getting a head start on the day and finishing so many things before most people wake up. During this time of being forced to stay inside, I have realized just how many things you can do by waking up at an early hour and then going to bed around 10 or 11 o’clock at night.

That is a lot of hours of daylight, even if you do add a small nap in there.

Most of the successful notable people of today (and in history) all work with the same amount of hours as you and I do.

Your lack of productivity is not the fault of a lack of time, but rather how you structure and organize that time.

Do you hit the snooze button five times and then just roll out of bed?

What motivates (or discourages) you to start each day?

Do you wake up with a strong intention for the day?

What are the first thoughts that go through your mind when you wake up? Excitement, dread, fear, anxiety…..

How we start our mornings and the decisions we make first thing highly impact how the rest of our day will go.

Getting a head start on the day and setting strong intentions will energize and set you up to move closer to your goals, whether it be personally or professionally.

I have heard it more times than I can count…

But Sarah, I wake up, set good intentions, but shortly after something happens and I completely lose my motivation.

If I relied strictly on how motivated I am to get things done, I would probably never accomplish anything.

Emotions highly affect our motivation, which is why it’s key to set good habits and standards for yourself. This way you do not need to depend on your motivation in order to feel good enough to get moving and reach your goals. Your strong habits and standards will take over and dominate when you just don’t feel like doing what you know you need to do.

Other suggestions for productivity:

    • Write down any mental blocks and limited thoughts that stand in your way.
    • Take a shower and get dressed and pretty (even if you are at home in quarantine). This will make you feel much better and more productive!
    • Try setting aside blocks of undisruptive time (1-2 hours with small breaks) in order to take on a big task
    • Move your body and stretch first thing when you wake up (with a big glass of water).
    • Outsource any work that other people can do for less time. This will free you up for more creative things!

 

Don’t be a prisoner to time and let it take over your life.

Take advantage of this time that you have in quarantine to strengthen yourself: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

.

 

.

Don’t forget to also check out: 

5 POSITIVE ACTIONS TO TAKE DURING QUARANTINE

SURVIVING MALARIA COMPLETELY ALONE IN LIBERIA

IS SOLO TRAVELING WEST AFRICA WORTH THE EXPERIENCE?

 

.

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.com5 Important Things I Have Learned During Self Quarantine
read more

5 Positive Actions to Take During Quarantine

People are constantly complaining about being overworked and needing personal time for themselves.

In fact, if you ask the average person why they are not reaching their own life goals outside of work, you better bet that the excuse is a lack of time.

Why do you not exercise? Well, I have long work hours and I’m EXHAUSTED when I get home.

Why do you not learn another language, like you have always desired to do? I work 6 days a week and my mind is fried at the end of the day.

Why do you not spend time with your family? My boss asks me to stay late and I can’t say no….

We all have our excuses and reasons for not taking action towards our dreams and goals.

However, at some point in our life, it is important to stop and take time to reflect on WHY we are not achieving the results that we desire.

In the case of many, it takes something life-changing to get their attention and wake them up to the point that they take action. I am sure that you have met many people that are out of shape, consuming fast food on a daily basis, and told they should change their habits, but they ignore the advice. This person might be told this over and over again, but the real action takes place when something more serious happens, like a heart attack, or news from the doctor that they have a serious case of diabetes or high blood pressure.

Many of us wait for something huge to happen before we take action when we have the opportunity TODAY to be proactive and make changes in order to create the life we desire.

Right now, the whole world is in a state of panic with the Corona Virus. Thousands have lost their jobs and the price of this tragedy in our world is well over the billions. A large percentage of the world is being placed on strict home quarantine, unable to go to work, and with an unlimited amount of free time on their hands.

I want to first say that I am by no means trying to lighten the situation and tell everyone that all is okay and that we should all just be happy and positive during this time.

This crisis has been traumatic for many of us and getting motivated and proactive during this time is not exactly the highest on the priority list for lots of people. The easy thing is to lay in the bed, go deep under the covers, and just give up.

I think many of us have felt that way at one point or another during this time, especially ones that have lost family/friends, have had a reduction in their income, have lost their company, and simply have no idea how they are financially going to survive.

As much as we all hate it, there is nothing that we can do to change what is happening right now. We must all have patience and know that this will eventually pass. If we start to program our mind in a different way, we will actually be able to see this downtime as an opportunity to pause and reflect on all the things that we want to accomplish in our lives, the goals and dreams we have in our hearts and our personal life vision.

Being as sensitive as possible to people in all walks of life, I wanted to write this article to inspire you on 5 ways that you can raise your vibration and create positive changes in your time in quarantine so that you are able to take advantage of this time and feel more accomplished in your own life.

MAKE A POSITIVE MORNING ROUTINE

It is easy to lose your normal routine and fall into some bad habits, especially the more free time that you have on your hands.  If you are in quarantine and see that you are not being intentional about your time and actions, I really want to intervene and challenge you to try something different.

A few months ago, I came across a book that truly shaped my life, called “Morning Miracle” by Hal Erod. This book has been read by millions of people across the globe and the teachings in this book are used by many successful entrepreneurs and leaders.

This book talks about the importance of waking up early in the morning, setting positive intentions, which in return will give you a huge advantage on starting off your day and reaching your own personal and professional goals.

The book challenges readers to use the 6 SAVERS each morning to power their morning and get their mindset in the right place. How you wake up, the thoughts that you think, and the actions you take will set the foundation of your day, so we must be intentional about making our first minutes count.

S — Silence (meditation)

A — Affirmations

V —- Visualization

E —- Exercise

R —- Reading

S — Scribing (journaling)

If you start your morning off by just doing just 10 minutes of each of the SAVERS, that is equal to just one hour of your whole entire day–that is NOTHING, especially if you are home all day.

After the quarantine, if you want to implement the SAVERS in your routine, but you do not feel like an hour is humanly possible, even one minute of each of these can be a game-changer. Sometimes all it takes is just waking up with this intention, even if it’s only 6 minutes of your time. This will force you to break the “autopilot” mode and get you more conscious of what you are doing and feeling in the first part of your day.

GET INSPIRED

It is easy to get caught up in the negative talk about what is happening in the world right now, the financial crisis, the failing economy, and all the rising cases of the Corona Virus all over the world.

While it is important to be up-to-date on what is happening around the world, it is actually more important to take care of your mental health and to create a positive space for yourself.

As I always say, your mind is like a computer. If you’re constantly downloading junk into your computer, it will run slow and contract viruses. Along the same line, if you’re always absorbing the negativity of the world, your performance and energy will be hindered.

During this time of being locked inside, it is absolutely fundamental to take care of your mental health and stay motivated. There are so many resources out there that can help get us inspired, whether it’s an interesting self-help book or video on Youtube.

PRACTICE INTERMITTENT FASTING

There is no better time to practice intermittent fasting than during a time in quarantine, where you are stuck inside the house and less active. Some of the most common benefits of intermittent fasting include:

      1. Loss of body weight and belly fat.
      2. Reduction of the risk of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
      3. Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels.
      4. Increase in energy (from my personal experience).

There are many different options for the ones that want to practice intermittent fasting.

The fast that I LOVE and recommend to everyone is 16:8 fast.

I use an application called Zero in order to check in on my phone when it is time for me to fast (and when my time is over). This makes it easier to remember when I can eat again so that I get my full 16 hours in. In addition, this application keeps track of all my past fasts in order to measure my progress, which is extremely motivating. It is absolutely free and I could not recommend it enough!

During the 16:8 fast, one practices withholding food during a 16 hour time frame and only chooses to eat during the 8-hour window. I have to admit, I am not strict about this 8-hour window, as long as I am getting a full 16 hour fast each day. I like to stop eating between 1930-2030 and start eating the next day around noon.

Other fasting options out there include:

      • 18:6 Intermittent: 18 hour fast, with a 6-hour feeding window.
      • 36 Hour Fast (aka Monk Fast).
      • 20:4 Intermittent: 20 hour fast, with a 4-hour feeding window.
      • Custom Fast: creating a fast that suits your lifestyle and schedule. Get creative!

I absolutely SWEAR by intermittent fasting.

Without a doubt, the thing that I love the most about fasting is that fact it puts me in control of my health and habits, instead of giving full control over to my human desires and cravings.

When we are constantly eating throughout the day, without regards to the time of day, or what we are actually eating, we lose a sense of control. When you give yourself healthy restrictions and are more conscious about your eating habits, the life transformation can be HUGE (I am a witness to this statement).

Even if you do intermittent a couple of times a week, it is still better than nothing! If you do not feel like you could fast 16 hours a day, start with something small and then work up to more.

START TO LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE OR SKILL

If I could pick one lesson to share with others that I have learned traveling around the world and living all of my 20´s abroad, is the importance of taking time to learn a second language. I recommend this to all ages, but I LITERALLY cannot stress it enough for younger people.

We live in a world with so many free resources and online tools that can help give us a jumpstart to learning a new language from the comfort of our home. Being stuck in the house all day is a perfect opportunity to form a habit of dedicating time each day to learning the basics of a foreign language. Starting with the basics and memorizing some of the most common words and sentences is an excellent place to start.

I learned my first word of Spanish in 2013, so I know that feeling of learning a foreign language TOTALLY from scratch. I dedicated my 20´s to study Spanish each and every day and finally got to the point that I can comfortably speak on stage in front of thousands of people.

However, in order to get to that point, I had to start with the basics and create a consistent habit of studying Spanish each and every day.

The exciting part about learning a foreign language is that it is a life long process. I am fluent now, but I understand that there is so much more that I have to learn, even in my native language.

With that said, I still continue with the habit of sitting down each day to strictly read Spanish books, articles or listen to podcasts. I always have my phone on hand to write down words that I have never heard of before and different ways to structure my sentences.

Learning a language is SO much fun. Hands down, my Spanish learning time is one of my favorite times in the whole entire day!

MAKE A BUCKET LIST AND VISION BOARD

I am a huge fan of positive thinking and creating our own personal reality. There is no better time than being stuck inside for weeks on end to really sit down and think about your goals and take time to reevaluate your plans and the direction that you want to go in your life.

Do you have a written bucket list?

If not, this is a good place to start. Sit down in a quiet place and let your imagination run free about all the things that you would like to achieve in your future, both personally and professionally.

Do you want to travel the world?

Do you want to start your own company?

Do you want to create an inspiring blog?

A nonprofit organization?

Attend the university or a trade school in order to learn a new skill?

What exactly is it that you want to do?

Maybe you are like many people out there and simply have NO idea. That is totally fine as well. In fact, the more you dive into your bucket list and become absorbed in your dreams and desires, the more likely you will find a path or dream that is right and inspirational for you.

Once you create your bucket list, then you can start using that information to create a vision board. I have a full vision board on the wall of my house in America from years back. However, now that I am traveling the world, I use a digital one in order to have a visual of the goals that I would like to achieve in my future.

Visualization of your dream life is very important as you are working and striving to make that goal become a reality.

Get creative with your bucket list and do not put any limits to your imagination

Take advantage of this time in quarantine do not forget that no one is alone. We are ALL in this together.

.

.

.

.

Don’t forget to also check out:

SURVIVING MALARIA COMPLETELY ALONE IN LIBERIA

IS SOLO TRAVELING WEST AFRICA WORTH THE EXPERIENCE?

SUAN MOKKH: 10 DAY SILENT & MEDITATION RETREAT IN THAILAND

admin5 Positive Actions to Take During Quarantine
read more