Isabelle Rizo , from United States

Diary of a Digital Nomad

It all started when I was 16 years old. I came across a book with an interesting title that caught my attention “Art of Non-Conformity” by Chris Guillebeau. I picked it up and started reading. As I went through the pages, I discovered that you can travel around the world and make a living however you want. I got inspired by Chris’s story and how he was able to reach thousands of people through his experiences. I said to myself, if he can do it, why can’t I? Only if it was that easy, at that time in my life I was in a negative emotional state, but I knew then that I wanted to travel and help people and make a positive difference to their lives. I had to break out of my current negative state and take a bold leap of faith — if you can call it that, and find myself through others, so I did.

I came to the decision of becoming a conscious singularity storyteller when I realized how technology was being used to manipulate people instead of empower them. I began teaching women how to use technology to align their business goals with their personal lifestyle. Leaders using technology must be aware of that and use technology consciously to empower human beings not manipulate them. I have always been involved in initiatives that were at the fringes of society, from being a Nerdfighter from The Vlogbrothers online community, to a punk zinester in the Chicago self-publishing community, to a digital nomad that does lifestyle design powered through the internet. I found my tribe amongst the different unique expressions that did not fit the mold.

I endured low times and high times in my trips, but they all taught me valuable lessons and the power to see things from a different perspective. I became acquainted with traveler’s diarrhea in Asia or what others might call it “traveler tummy”. It is a stomach and intestinal infection which is the most common illness than affects travelers. I was not quite used to Eastern bathroom style, but by time, I got really friendly with it. It did make me humble though and taught me the lesson of not being ashamed of asking for help whenever I needed. I can never forget the stories that I’ve collected during my trips, having a tough time understanding how the Laundromat works and being aided by an adorable Spanish speaking blind woman.

Discovering the joys of Speculoos cookies in Belgium and bringing back Speculoos spread in Germany and Romania. Connecting with my artistic self in the Dali museum. Viewing The Bund in Shanghai on the river. Looking outside of one of my English classrooms in China and seeing mist over the mountains instead of the usual hallways of lockers. It was on those moments where I found my treasure and my joy. Being able to say “No” was not something I expected to learn during my travel, but i was glad i did.

Loneliness was something I had to face during my traveling days, being away from home, from the things I was used to and familiar faces, it was hard but it gave me the opportunity to know myself better. What really kept me going in times of loneliness was the joy of travel — flying high above the clouds as time and seeing the world from above. I wish I enjoyed myself more and stressed out way less during my travels. I realized trying to control situations as a digital nomad is just not something you do. You learn to get in your flow state whether you like to or not. The only thing we have control over is the dialogue we have with ourselves. I believe personal responsibility is the only thing we have control — and even that is difficult from ages of cultural, familial, and societal conditioning.

My voyage ended when I started living in a Paris as a digital nomad. I arrived in Paris — without anything set just a few other nomads and clients that I kept in touch with along my travels, but starting my life all over set me up for one of the best experiences in my entire life I rented a beautiful flat in Montmartre, steps away from where my all time favorite film was set. Amelie. I took the Lamarck-Coulaincourt metro throughout Paris. I would hear church bells on Sunday morning; go to the grocery down the street- what beautiful times. I realized I had a choice on what I did with my life. My gift is storytelling and connecting. I am a futurist and early adopter so i got into intentional speaking, consulting and working with conscious brands.

I learnt a valuable life lesson when i was in China and this lesson has shaped my present self. I was at a Chinese tea ceremony. The custom is that you sip your tea slowly from a small glass, I felt ashamed to ask for more because I was very thirsty. When I did, I got scolded and was told, “What are you a cow?” Because only cow’s glug up their water so quickly, tea was to be sipped and savored and to bring you to the present moment. I’ve brought that lesson and that practice into my consultations with clients. Enjoy the journey, the end goal is not as epic as it seems. It’s only a mark for your destination. Patience and slowing down is beautiful. Do not take any action if you have not centered yourself first. The future is already here, let’s ride it.

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Written by: Isabelle Rizo, Edited by: Bayo Hassan Bello.