Launching the Digital Nomad Life

Recipe For Digital Nomading

  1. Can work digitally from anywhere in the world. #JustAddWiFi

  2. Has wanderlust.

  3. Is willing to take risks, can give up standard life comforts, and just go with the flow.

 The Route created using Google Maps. A combo of people to see, places to stay, and the start of my bucket list.

The Route created using Google Maps. A combo of people to see, places to stay, and the start of my bucket list.

First Thing is First

A lot went down in my personal life in the Summer of 2018 that jumpstarted my decision to pack my life into a car and road trip across the country. Here is some light reading (Facebook posts) to get you caught up to speed on what happened, including the emotional roller coaster along the way.

Please be kind. It has taken a lot of courage to open up my personal life to be so public, but I feel that to really get the true understanding of what digital nomad life is really like, I don’t want to sugar coat it or hide behind a glossy exterior. This is life, and sometimes it doesn’t go quite as you had planned! 😎

(Posts below open in Facebook)

The Route: Big Decisions

Where do I start? Do I go East or West? Do I cut through Canada or head straight into the United States? How much is this going to cost? What do you mean it’s already snowing in Alberta? Do I really know what I’m doing?? 😳How long am I going … 3 months, 3 years??

These are some of the questions I had when starting to seriously put pen to paper (ok, fingers to keyboard … let’s be real).

So what does a Social Media Aficionado do when looking for answers to all of life’s great questions? Post it on Facebook, naturally.

Originally I had planned on heading out West to Vancouver, then South down to Arizona where I need to be in late October for a girls weekend. Not just any girls weekend. A POWERHOUSE lineup of insanely talented Social Media Divas: Bella Vasta, Kelly Noble Mirabella, Jennifer Watson, Mia Voss, Jessika Phillips, Jenn Herman. Each are at the top of their game for their industry. They came to my rescue when they found out my relationship had dissolved knowing I need something both amazing and empowering to look forward to.

Too Cold

After sleeping in a tent in Ontario at the beginning of Fall at 🇨🇦3 degrees above freezing for a handful of days prior to launch, I decided that traveling North then West across Canada may not be the best idea.

Southward Bound!

So instead, I dropped some tentative points on a Google Map for places that I would like to see and tossed it out to the wild-wild-internet to see who I know along the way!

The responses were AMAZING! Thank you from the bottom of my digital geek heart to those who put their hand up 🤚and invited Small Dog and I to stay a night or two.

Tentative Route, 1st 30 days:

  • WINDSOR, Ontario

  • DAYTON, Ohio

  • LEXINGTON, Kentucky

  • NASHVILLE, Tennessee

  • NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana

  • HOUSTON, Texas

  • WHITE SANDS, New Mexico

  • SANTA FE, New Mexico

  • PETRIFIED FOREST, Arizona

  • SCOTTSDALE, Arizona

Support & Advice

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Advice from a seasoned digital nomad to a newbie.

Friends don’t let friends digital nomad alone.

Before launching on this adventure, Demian Ross and I jumped on Megan Powers’ Making A Marketer Podcast, Being a Digital Nomad — What is it & How Can You be One? - Episode 21.

Having another digital nomad & friend share his advice and experience has been so incredibly reassuring and positive as I embark on my great unknown journey. Even though RV nomad life is very different than car, camping & couch hopping nomad life, Demian has been behind the scenes every step of the way to help keep me on track and making smart decisions.

I really encourage you to check out Demian’s daily videos in his “Road to 300” series. Watching him nomad and still create one piece of video content each and every day is incredibly motivating.

Launch Day

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Haliburton, Ontario, Canada

Launch Day Chores List:

  • Storage Unit: Pack the car

  • Bank: to take out US cash

  • Post Office: to pick up mail for the last time and put mail on forwarding to my Mom’s

  • Give Mom a huge hug & don’t cry. I repeat. Don’t cry. 😭

Late Before I Even Got Started

Amanda Time. It’s a real thing. Definition: my inability to be on-time for anything in my life. #TrueStory. I planned on hitting the road by 1-2pm at the latest to launch from Haliburton County for the easy 5.5hr drive to Windsor. I left after 4:30pm, made LOTS of stops along the way, and got caught in TORNADO weather.

TORNADO!?

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Go big or go home, right? Well, apparently I choose BIG … but a TORNADO!?

This is my first time having a kayak strapped to my car on a highway. Before this I transported the kayak about 4 times, only short distances, and with my brand-spanking-new roof rack & j-mount system. As with anything new, I have the newbie nervousness of learning how to do my tie-down's properly.

I got the Tornado warning and didn’t think I’d end up right in the middle of the insane conditions, white knuckled, replaying visions of the uncharacteristically violent one that ripped apart houses in Ottawa a mere week earlier as wind whipped the car (and kayak) with a relentless force & blinding rain that had adrenaline and fear pumping through my body with nowhere to pull off the highway or find shelter for 18km. And again, what does a Social Media Aficionado do after driving through the most terrifying weather event of my life? Go LIVE on Facebook to talk about it, of course!

Needless to say, the kayak did not fly off the car in an epic Twister movie style drama like I imagined in my mind it could, no Small Dogs were hurt in the adventure, and we made it to our first stop (my Sister’s house) at nearly 1am. Clocking out an EPIC day 1 at a short 579km traveled.

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The Border Crossing

I survived the near Tornado. I survived packing my life into a car and leaving everything I know as familiar to me. Can I survive a question grilling and car search at the border? Much like imagining a tornado tossing my car and kayak like a piece of lego in the wind, I had imagined the worst case scenario for crossing the border.

I’ve crossed the border by land several times in the past without any issues. The most recent one was heading to Content Marketing World in Cleveland only a few weeks prior to this with Small Dog on board, complete with his up-to-date vaccination paperwork. No issues.

But this is my first time crossing with my life packed in a car which could easily be mistaken as me trying to move to the states and work illegally. Not the case. I made sure to have documents with me to prove my commitments to Canada. Everything from my property tax bill to my recently renewed health card and my voter registration for the upcoming municipal elections.

The Crossing

I crossed at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, zero traffic, and the border agent conversation went something like this:

AGENT: “Where are you going?"

AMANDA: “Arizona.”

AGENT: “Why are you going?”

AMANDA: “Girls weekend!”

AGENT: (See’s Small Dog in the back seat) “Look at how cute your dog is!! So adorable! Ok well enjoy your trip!” (hands back passport)

All of that prep, planning, and stress for NOTHING! HA! This experience sets the bar for how I need to approach the rest of this trip. No needless stressing. No more. Demian Ross ~ You were right.

Dayton, Ohio

Social Media Day Dayton #SMDayDayton

When your friends are speaking at Social Media Day Dayton, you GO! Jessika Phillips made it possible for me to be there, and this is not her first time being amazing, generous, and a connector. Thats why they call her @RelationshipMarketingJessika! This gal was a key person in kicking off our #RoadToSocial road trip in June across the US Midwest from Lima, Ohio —> Wichita, Kansas —> Denver, Colorado.

Cue Brian Fanzo. Also on #RoadToSocial, and my partner-in-crime for livestreaming our stand up paddleboarding adventures at South By Southwest #SXSW, and witness to my first ever Spectacles purchase.

Another familiar face and speaker in Dayton who has had a big impact on my personal trajectory: Amy Landino. Sometimes your life crosses paths with people who say the right thing at the right time and it changes everything. That’s what happened with Amy and I on #RoadToSocial.

Brian and Jessika introduced me to Sara Moore who is the super talented, energetic and amazing event organizer behind Social Media Day Dayton. Sara generously invited me to attend the conference and after party. I am so extremely grateful to Sarah, Jessika, Amy, and Brian for their generosity, embracing my digital nomad life, and providing me with epic experiences and memories. 💕

 KM’s traveled as of Dayton, Ohio.

KM’s traveled as of Dayton, Ohio.

Next Stops: Kentucky & Tennessee!

Next stop: Lexington, Kentucky & Nashville, Tennessee. Stay tuned for the next round of updates from Kentucky and Tennessee. Until then, enjoy this Lexington teaser of Small Dog’s first Starbucks “Puppuccino” with Ali McGee Kelly!


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