Executive summary :
I’m lucky. I grew up in a great family, with good values, my friends are amazing people, there’s no drama in my life and my body and mind are working quite well. 80% of the job was done before I reached consciousness, I just got lucky !
The last 13 months changed me. It’s like all I dreamt for the past 5 years happened this year. Life is definitely non-linear.
During this time I :
Thank you all for being part of my life. Let’s crush 2018 by showing courage, being vulnerable, dreaming bigger and spreading kindness around us.
The story/year review and what I learned.
I got a hungover today, would like to spend all day long on the couch Netflixing my way through the day. Yet I saw years review from people I follow online popping up everywhere on my socials. I started thinking about it, about me and wrote my own story in my head.
I’m kind of frustrated today. By all standards, I’m way better off than 1 year ago. But I’m currently in a dip. I improved drastically this year. I took massive action. But my life is like Bitcoin. On a macro level, it goes up, on a micro-level, the ups are really sudden and fast and the rest of the time it’s down or flat.
Most of my accomplishments/improvements happened during a 4 months period. I would even say that out of these 4 months, 1 month was critical, the month I took action. The 3 following I reaped the easy rewards, the curve is exponential until I reached a dip and it’s flat. My baseline is way higher and it’s easy to forget where I came from and feel frustrated. But life is just not steady. A few moments of your life of your year, of your day, define it all, the rest is like water, still.
The truth, I’m nowhere near where I wanna be. I have actually no clue where I wanna go, but I kinda know the direction. But this year has been fucking amazing, mind-blowing. And I sometimes need to externalize my thinking to see it. I’m so grateful for all the people I met, the opportunities that were given to me, my friends and family and for myself, for the courage I showed and the action I took.
I don’t really believe in new year’s resolutions. You are what you do, eat, learn, consume and spend time with. And I don’t believe in the concept of new year, so I’m gonna cheat and start early December of 2016. It’s where my 2017 story began.
At this point I just spent 5 months traveling through Mexico, Cuba, Central America and the colombian northern coast. Truth being, I still don’t know if I loved it or no… I’m supposed to, that’s what people should do. Travel, enjoy life, see the world… I can’t say that I didn’t have fun, I sure did. But everything and most of the people were really shallow. I was thinking all the time about something else, I was not present ant I couldn’t endure it without booze and books.
I learned afterward that I’m an introvert. Backpacking, big groups, shallow relationships and discussions, alone but never really alone, no routines… Not really the environment that would help me thrive.
Would I backpack again ? Yes, a few weeks, more than a month probably not.
Was it worthwhile ? Definitely yes, it uncovered my introversion, my monkey mind couldn’t stop and made me do what you’re gonna read below.
Key Learning n°1 : I’m an introvert
At some point, I reached Medellin with the goal in mind to figure out what I wanna do with my life. A few years earlier, I read Tim Ferris «4hour Workweek» but I did not have the tools to handle it. I was miserable trying to play entrepreneur and working part time. I was not serious, I had no skin in the game, my mindset was crap and I was just not really trying.
I started to write down business ideas everyday, I worked out everyday, I took daily salsa lessons, I started journaling, meditating, read 2 hours a day, wrote down ten ideas a day and hit the tinder button heavily. Pretty much all at once.
4 weeks later, I had started my first business, could dance salsa, felt 3000x better in my head, was in really good shape, was going out on dates 2–3 times a week and basically cured 26 years of anxiety towards girls.
Key learning n°2 : You don’t have to make one small improvement at a time, take massive action, disrupt everything and go fast past the beginner gains
Key learning n°3 : You wanna change, decide who you wanna be and be this person, you can try a new personality right now
Key learning n°4 : I’m not great dancer, but I can dance (Big one haha)
Key learning n°5 : Just fucking do it, take action and build momentum, this shit is real
Key learning n°6: By going to probably 50 dates in Medellin, expats or locals, besides the hook up that obviously happened (numbers game), I know much more the kind of person that I like
Key learning n°7: Tinder is the most underrated language and city visiting hack.
I started pretty lonely though. I had this internal drive, but it could only last for so long. I knew Medellin was a digital nomad hub. Yet, where the hell were all these fascinating guy that I dreamt of meeting ?
At that point I was working from the University Public library. They closed for the public holidays (long long holidays in Colombia) so I decided to try a coworking, just not to have to go back to a Cafe.
I found there an environment of like-minded people, a perfect mix of expats, digital nomads and young Colombians who were all hustling their way into this world. We had read the same books, were pushing the boundaries in several aspect of our lives, we could talk for hours…
Very same day, during a tinder date with an american girl who was one of these cool digital nomads, I learned that they were using a Facebook group to organize meetups, events, … Welcome tot he 21st century you dummy…
For new year’s eve I was alone though, most of my friends were out or with their families. I saw online that a local Cafe/Bar were organizing something. A french couple owned the place, and I basically entered the french speaking hub of Medellin. We had a great night and it actually felt good to speak some french. They became very good friends and we helped each other afterwards. I also found the only Suze bottle of the country !
Key learning n° 8 : Just show up, half the work is done
Key learning n°9: Suze is still the perfect drink
Key learning n°10: Environment is key. I struggled during 4–5 years, alone, without speaking about any of my projects, without anyone pushing me. There was I around like minded people, and I thrived !
Key learning n°11 : People like us do things like this. It’s a marketing quote from Seth Godin, but it was so true there. We all had read some same books, and not only about entrepreneurship junk, but food (intermittent fasting, paleo), dating, stoicism, meditation, mindset, … Growth mindset in action
Key learning n°12 : Best hack, be around people who are like you want to be (internship, coworking, …)
I spent almost 6 months in Medellin. During this time, I started my blog, a business, got interviewed by french TV and a magazine, had a girlfriend, reached my lowest weight and was basically thriving.
We partied like rock stars, visited the country with a base in Medellin, found a home out of home. I finally enjoyed my travel, when I didn’t feel I was traveling but I was living the city.
I also reaped all the reward of the massive action I had been taking. These actions became habits, I had changed, I became someone different, I managed to trick myself into becoming someone else, someone better.
I still liked to party, to have drinks but late nights were not that appealing to me anymore. I had so much to do, to ship to the world, to learn the following day.
Key learning n°13 : Best way to travel is just to live in a place long enough to build routines, develop relationships, be part of the community. Backpacking is overrated.
Key learning n°14 : I still like to party and am not quite ready to stop drinking
Key learning n°15 : You build habits by being really intentional, taking massive action. You change by making theses changes habits. Systems beats goals every single time.
Key learning n°16: Big one for me, I change when I’m in a new environment, it happened 2 times, and every single time I was alone, out of « home » and without my friends.
During my time there, I had fun time and different group of friends. I was speaking on a daily basis in Spanish and english, and every other day in french. And I have a bit of a different personality in different languages. And I speak differently. I don’t read books/blog nor do business in Spanish while I do both in english. But my speaking is really good, I basically imitate the locals and it becomes the way I speak. I lack depth though.
Key learning n°17 : Best way to learn a language is to speak it daily, embrace it and imitate the locals.
At some point, a best friend came to visit me. We went to the the Carnival of Baranquilla, the coast and the Amazon Jungle.
We had great conversations and partied like rock stars. He also told me that he never saw me that well, happy, motivated, …
Key learning n°18 : Great friends, true friends with whom we have history are irreplaceable. Other friendships lack depth. Grateful to have him and a couple others
Key learning n°19 : The Amazon is scary huge. Just having the chance to land/take off from an airport in the middle is a blast
Soon enough about Medellin, but as my time there was soon to end, I had bought a flight back to Switzerland to start living a normal life again. I was not a digital Nomad, I didn’t want to, I just wanted my new world mixed with my old.
At this time, a lot of gringos had come to Medellin from the Nomad Cruise. A cruise that went from Spain to a Carribean Island with about 150 DN on it. And it was going back to Portugal from Colombia for about the price of a flight.
But I didn’t really feel part of the DN community, Me versus them…
One night out, a British girl talked me into doing the cruise, finding a way to bypass the visa issue (mi visa was due 2 weeks before the cruise) and booze talking, I said yes. The day after I booked my cabin and paid, spontaneously without over-thinking even if I was double spending.
Needless to say, it has been life changing… And i understood that I actually wanted to be part oft the digital nomad crew. Some of them were really my type of people. And when I came back, I missed something. I just don’t see myself 100% in Switzerland/Neuchâtel yet. I need like-minded people around me. And it’s not about being better, but different.
Key learning n°20: Less judging, more living it, understanding.
Key learning n°21 : Just do it, don’t follow the plan, try it, live it and be spontaneous
During the cruise, I met my kind of people. Besides the great talks, I got really inspired by a handful of people who tried to make the world a better place. I met people who pushed their own boundaries. I soon had really deep conversations with people I met a few days earlier, mind blowing. I saw a big difference between people who lived by first principles and people who where « just marketer ». I also saw the power of a community the way the cruise started. Basically people from a Facebook group saw a good deal and decided to go together !
After the cruise, I spent about 12 days in Lisbon. During this time, with « my crew » we decided to start a Mastermind group to help each other with business. I wanted to be part of one for a long time but never took action. Between 2 bottles of wine, we talked about it and I said ok tomorrow I start it. I took the lead, created it and it went strong for a while.
Key learning n°22: Just do it, create what you want
And I went back «home». I spent the second half of the year in my hometown of Neuchâtel. Back to my friends and family. I love them, I have great family and friends. I’m infinitely grateful fort hem. I’m lucky.
I made less progress the last 6 months. I lacked community, a good coworking and this magic I felt earlier this year. It’s not even about the weather, the costs or anything else.
Yet, I need to see what works for me. Not sure about Neuchâtel full time for now, and I don’t see the point in going to another Swiss city, I will have to start from zero anyway.
I’m glad I tried both, I need to see what I want exactly. 2018 is going to be about trying out.
Key learning n°23: Just try things, places, see what works and what not.
Key learning n°24: I’m just really lucky to have the choice
During the last 6 months, I’ve been trying things out with my business. It didn’t workout the way I planned. I was overconfident. Early success blinded me. But I showed creativity and reacted, hustled and these are traits that weren’t part of me before.
I invested in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. I went there for the quick money, and got to read a lot about it. I love the technology and the impact it might have on our future as a society. In 2018 I will continue to dig into that. I wanna start my own podcast as well. I just love the creative process.
Key learning n°25 : Don’t push a rock uphill, push it downhill. If you’re business, relationship doesn’t come easy, go for an easier path.
Key learning n°26 : GO where you’re interested. Mindset, crypto, nutrition, deep thinking, … Spend time geeking out, learn, exchange.
Key learning n°27 : Have courage, show your true self, try and fail, speak up, be vulnerable.