Just how much can one person grow in a year of nomadic working travel? Eddie Contento is proof that the answer is "more than you think."

Can putting yourself in moderately uncomfortable situations deliberately make you grow as an individual? Eddie Contento believes so. In this interview we’ll explore this question as well as what it’s like meeting the love of your life while on the road and maintaining that relationship long-distance.

Eddie is in the midst of a life transition leaving the world of freelance consulting to pursue the creation of his film art exclusively. Having completed a year of travel with remote year and a subsequent year of solo travel Eddie shares what it’s been like re-integrating back in the USA and how he finds inspiration seeking “just enough discomfort.”

Show Notes

Time Topic
0:02:13   Welcome and context
0:03:13   What were the circumstances that lead up to you doing RY?
0:08:30   Would you do RY again knowing what you know now?
0:09:35   How was the Remote Year experience different from what you anticipated?
0:12:35   2 min from Eddie’s “To my family” end of the year video and the importance of community and documenting the journey
0:17:48   “I feel most inspired with the right amount of discomfort” – what is the right amount of discomfort?
0:22:13   You met the love of your life on the program. How has that relationship been living remotely?
0:24:13   What prompted you to shed your cynacism and be open to love at that point?
0:25:21   How did you stay disciplined on Remote Year?
0:28:36   Do you think you would have arrived at this same level of personal growth without Remote Year?
0:30:31   We talked about high points. What about low points?
0:34:48   What were the specific challenges you experienced trying to reintegrate back into sedentary life after RY?
0:37:04   How do you continuously “reset the bar” and retain appreciation for things that become habituated?
0:38:34   You mentioned the importance of meditation. Talk about that
0:40:43   If you had a time machine to go back and tell your pre-RY self anything to get more out of the experience what would you say?
0:45:13   On staying in touch with old friends while traveling
0:51:56   Apps you can’t live without?
0:53:39   Anything you read on a regular basis?
0:54:35   Best travel hack?
0:55:35   Gear you can’t live without?
0:59:05   Any final advice for that person who is thinking of doing Remote Year?


Chop Dawg Studios – the digital agency for which Eddie has worked while abroad
Euston’s Thanksgiving Turkey Rap
Eddie’s “To my family” video recap of Remote Year
Headspace App for guided meditation
Habitshare App for motivation and accountability
And.co app software to streamline business management for freelancers
Zoom for screensharing
Project Fi Google’s international phone carrier solution
Zhiyun Crane 2 DSLR camera stabilizer gimble
TRX suspension trainer system


Eddie at a waterfall

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Intro – 00:00:00 – Nomad Podcast

Sean: 00:00:21 – Welcome to nomad podcast. I’m your host Sean Tierney. And today we’re talking with Eddie Contento. I traveled with Eddie for a year. He was in my group on remote year. We were the directions and Eddie is a master of visual storyteller. He’s a, he’s a very talented videographer out. We’re going to see some of his work in this interview. And he was a part of a digital agency called shop dog. He did client work while on remote year. He’s now in a life transition, moving out of the client work consulting business to pursue his art exclusively. So with Eddie, this is a wide ranging conversation. We go through high points, low points of the year, uh, how and why to document your journey effectively, the importance of keeping in touch with friends back home, a technique that he uses for establishing accountability in terms of making progress on personal and professional goals, how he stays disciplined, workwise on the road, avoids distraction and stays focused on what it was like meeting the love of his life.

Sean: 00:01:23 – And he met a girl that he’s still with and that was transformative for him. Uh, and the pursuit of what he calls just enough discomfort to keep that optimally creative zone. Uh, so talk about a ton of things in this. Uh, there’s a bunch of stuff I didn’t list, but this is a packed interview. Um, if I had to nominate one person in our group who had the most professional and personal growth, it would be eddie. So really excited to share this conversation with you and yeah, without further ado, here is my interview with Eddie Nomad. Podcast is supported in part by no math prep, an online academy that teaches you everything you need to know to take your job on the road and crush it abroad. Enroll today at nomad prep.com/podcast. And get your first four days of training completely free. Nomad prep. Take your job on the road and take on the world, right Eddie. Welcome to episode three. You order the third guest on the nomad podcast.

Eddie: 00:02:18 – Happy to be here.

Sean: 00:02:22 – Know we were going to do this interview while you were here in Lisbon, and then just like go into the sound booth around the corner. And then I realized that the phone was different, different patterns. So you guys weren’t actually together. I was like, are they sitting next to each other though? He was in Bali. Um. Alright. Well, so this is a tough one. I don’t even know where to start because like we traveled for a year together. So obviously we have a lot of history and context. I just figured let’s start with like, what were you doing? So you did remote year? We were in the same group. Darien? I’m like, context for the people that don’t know. Like I said in one of videos, Eddie was

Sean: 00:03:00 – like, everyone’s little brother. Like that’s kind of, I think that was my quarter above video, but uh, no really, like myself included. I just felt like you were like a. So um, but let’s, let’s, let’s roll back. Prior to remote year. So tell me what were the circumstances that led up to you doing.

Eddie: 00:03:17 – Yes, so I had been, I basically works remotely my entire working career. I started an agency when I was 18 with a few friends and it grew pretty quickly and I never really, I did like, I had like a three month stint working in serious just to make some extra money, but we were trying to build a product but that’s the only real experience that have not working or not working location independent. So, um, I would always just work for my parents’ place because I was like 18, 19 and I got into really having any experience anywhere else.

Eddie: 00:03:45 – I didn’t really have any, like definitive plans to go anywhere or my, my whole focus from like 18 to 22 was just work on the business and be close to my team. And I think in the beginning it definitely was necessary. And then we started to grow up and then I started to question things like why am I working for my mom’s couch when I could be literally doing this from anywhere. I started to make a little bit of money and save some money and I really wanted to explore that. Um, I was, I was dating a girl at the time who coincidentally or not coincidentally also got a remote job, um, so we were like, let’s just travel with the states or just travel and work. And we started this little thing called vagabond, which is such a stupid name but such a great idea.

Eddie: 00:04:33 – Um, and this was, I actually was unaware of this culture of remote workers. It just seemed like common sense to me that I would do this from anywhere else and I didn’t know that there was this like subset of, of, of employees or entrepreneurs do this all the time. So when I started researching about different things like, um, you know, different items I would need traveling and working in different ways to find, you know, solid Wifi or like places I could sleep for free in the car or whatever. I started finding out all of these other, these other things about digital nomadism. And then I guess facebook took note of that at Google. They started serving the ads for things. And uh, so along the way, um, I kind of fell in love with the law, the month to month lifestyle and I fell in love with the people that you meet and the places you get to see while you’re working and doing your thing.

Eddie: 00:05:26 – And I really wanted to continue doing it for as long as possible. And then so towards the end of my four months traveling with my ex girlfriend when we were going through this like tension period of like I wanted to keep traveling and she wanted to kind of post up somewhere. I got served this advert for remote year on facebook and I was like, wow, this is perfect timing. And that led me to doing some research and saying fuck it and just going for it. And that was, that was really the start of everything was that, that ad and perhaps the memorabilia for targeting. I was in the tech community pretty heavily and I was in the demographic and it’s actually not that surprising that they found me. I was in the right place and it worked out for me.

Sean: 00:06:09 – And this is the infamous ad with the suitcase and the diving on the boat

Eddie: 00:06:13 – and I didn’t actually see the video, I just saw the thumbnail and saw the headline and was like, a funny thing is I didn’t read it as we’ll pay you to travel. I read it as travel with us while you work, which is in the beginning a lot of what they struggled with the language and a lot of where those applications came from the drug, what am I doing for remote here? But I read it as like do your job and do it while you travel with people. And I was like, that sounds exactly like what I want to do. Let me find out what this is about. So I did that and it was a fantastic decision. The best decision I think I’ve ever made to this point.

Sean: 00:06:46 – That seems to be the theme with the people I talked to. When you, when you boil it all down, it’s like a really was like the one decision that was a complete crossroads for a lot of people.

Eddie: 00:06:55 – Yeah. Yeah. You need that. So like Kinda like what trevor was saying, an episode that you did with him, he needed to be there. That was the catalyst to get you to start and had it not been remote year for me, it probably would have been something else. I think I was getting to, I was reaching an apex where I needed to make a decision to do something to change my life. I didn’t know what that was going to be. Um, for me it was remote. We’re and for a lot of people it may be following a lot of lager or meeting a friend who travels and works where I’ve encouraged so many of my friends who just had like nine to fives or worked in offices to reconsider and it’s just becoming like the, it’s just becoming more, there’s more awareness around it now. And I think I’m remote year is definitely leading that space, but you know, if it’s a hive mind that is spreading, you know?

Sean: 00:07:42 – Yeah. Well we’ll get into later wifi trial was going to say Philipa, like you’re very connected to multiple spheres now in terms of the remote working stuff.

Eddie: 00:07:53 – Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah, so she’s, she’s working with Wifi tribe there. They’re growing really fast. Um, I, I had, I kind of connected to multiple communities like you said, and I’m just learning about all the, how fast this is spreading. It’s spreading so quickly and it’s not surprising. I mean the infrastructure and a lot of places is changing and encouraging this kind of lifestyle to and, and really making it possible and I mean that, that is fantastic to me. I wouldn’t want to live any other way. Yeah.

Sean: 00:08:29 – Well my next question for you is going to be, would you do it again? But I think that’s a pretty obvious. I’m not saying like what’d you do it again now, but did you make the right decision? It sounds like a sound. Yeah,

Eddie: 00:08:40 – yeah, absolutely. And I’m continuing to do it. I think I’m one of the handful of people in our industry and that continued traveling, consistency, consistency consistently after it ended. And I, I did get to a point where I was kind of exhausted and needed a just settle in and not be distracted.

Eddie: 00:08:55 – So I went back to New Jersey for a little while and just kinda like kept my head down and worked and that had a lot of other factors involved. But I would absolutely do it again. I do participate in them. And what your citizens program. I have traveled with other Wifi tribe. I do want to continue being a part of this community and it’s such, it’s actually a pretty small community like people that I know that no other people that I know but don’t know each other. Like there’s all these little connections and like, Oh yeah, I hung out with that person in that part of the world. Like that to me is really cool and this, this is a growing community, but like it still feels very intimate at the same time.

Sean: 00:09:32 – What? Okay. So there’s a question like how did it, you had a perception of it when you’re going into and you thought it was going to be one way and then it was presumably not exactly what you expected. How was it different than what you anticipated it being?

Eddie: 00:09:48 – I, when I started Darien, my honest to God first thought was I’m just going to have steady wifi and it’d be in different places. I didn’t anticipate the community being as powerful as it was to me, and that was the thing that really changed my life was that community. And in hindsight that seems so obvious. It’s like obvi-, obviously community is important and I’ve learned, I’ve learned so much over the last two years about how much I rely on the community, how much I thrive in the community and how much I need to be a part of that. But individually, you know what I mean. What you guys all brought to Darien is what made Darien special and what you brought to Darien is what made me feel comfortable in the lifestyle. And I wouldn’t do it. I probably wouldn’t travel solo. I mean, uh, have I have traveled solo in the last year after Darien ended. It’s not the same and I definitely appreciate what we had as a group while we were traveling together and I would 100 percent do that again. And I, I missed that. I missed that every day that I’m not traveling with you guys.

Eddie: 00:10:49 – Yeah, a hundred percent agree. To me, the community was one of the most under estimated aspects of it. Like I looked at it as a way to solve the logistical problems of like needing, like wanting to be able to travel around and not have to like book hotels and all that stuff.

Eddie: 00:11:06 – That’s the thing that blew my mind after being in it for just one week. Not Understanding how they could make that the selling point. Like why isn’t this the main point of sales for you guys? Why isn’t this the main point of marketing? Why isn’t it? Who cares about the logistics? I can do that by myself. Like trevor was saying, I could do all of that stuff. I’m totally capable or have a va do all my travel itineraries and booking for me or something like that, but you don’t get the community in other in other areas. It’s the same reason people go to Grad school or people joined fraternities and sororities and join cults and clothes and stuff, which is not far off from. I’m not gonna lie, like there’s definitely the, there’s definitely some aspects of that, but it is, it’s a community and that’s the most important thing and I don’t know why they’re doing a much better job of communicating that now, but in the beginning I was, how did I not see

Eddie: 00:11:06 – this coming?

Sean: 00:11:55 – I want to hear. I was going to save this for later, but actually this is good time. I want to play a clip. Um, let me see if I can share my screen here.

Eddie: 00:12:04 – Oh yeah. I guess you could share your screen.

Sean: 00:12:05 – Do we do this? OOPS, hold on. I may have to unplug this. Let’s do this right away because I’m not using headphones.

Sean: 00:12:15 – Uh, yeah, I know you’re clear. Let me kind of doing this ad hoc, but. Okay. So this is for the people watching the don’t know Eddie’s stuff. He is a master storyteller. This is two minutes from one of his videos. This was filmed at the end. Well, I don’t know. You film is over the course of the year and then

Eddie: 00:12:37 – the very last night we all talk about the backstory.

Audio Clip: – 00:12:44 – I always struggled to articulate how important it is to travel. Conversations with friends and family back home often come off as self righteous or insensitive, and in fact, it’s the opposite. Traveling offers you a perspective that simply cannot be described. We’re not talking about 10 days at an all inclusive resort or even a month in a city that you love. I’m talking about extended, undefined, unfamiliar adventure, seeking, exhausting traveling places, become visceral memories and not just points beneath the laminate and navety are welcomed treats. Serendipity becomes a recurring theme. For 12 months, I spoke of these lessons and I preached about how imperative it is that everyone’s sell their shit, see the world, but it wasn’t until I sat down to write these final words to you. Something occurred to me about traveling at all about uncertainty. It’s about uprooting, starting fresh. It’s about liberation. It’s about embracing the unknown, whether we were aware of it or not. It’s about the pursuit of discomfort because it’s that discomfort that results in an emotional vulnerability and it’s that vulnerability that forces us to open up to face our fears.

Audio Clip: – 00:14:21 – Inconstancy moved this year has been opening up to you to new cultures, new ideas, new experiences to my purpose and why it has been about 12 months. I’ve seen 21 cities.

Eddie: 00:14:42 – It’s crazy. I don’t really. I don’t really watch that video that often, but I know

Sean: 00:14:47 – That video to me, it still gives me goose bumps and I will never.

Sean: 00:14:52 – You turn the camera on the crowd that was watching the video when that happened and I just thought like that video of us watching the video was

Eddie: 00:15:04 – so happy that I have. Because I like how, how often am I ever going get a chance in my life to, to see how something I made impacts people live. Right. And like it was such a horribly like terrible video. But to see you guys react to watching your lives unfold over the course of a year in about five minutes was like I knew. I knew literally from the week before I left for remote year when I had recorded the first blog, what I was going to do. I just didn’t know how it was going to play out or how it was. How the story was going to unfold or I didn’t even know if I would make it through the whole year before I left. And um, I just had this vision in my head of this. I had this vision in my head from the week before we left of that moment where I had the camera on you guys, uh, from the very beginning and I kind of knew, uh, throughout the year it was going to be hard.

Eddie: 00:15:57 – People are going to be frustrated with me. I was with my camera, there was gonna be a lot of like struggle with editing for me because I’m so slow at it. Um, and it didn’t matter because it ultimately came to fruition in that last couple days. Like I remember was only minutes. You already, you were working on that. I was working on it, on the bus, on the way to the dinner. I was working on it throughout the dinner, what people were eating and mingling and enjoying their last moments together obviously. Yeah. I struggled so hard to get that video together so I could watch you guys watch that back. And it was so worth it and the all the moments that we have that is the most documented year of my life and it is the most important year of my life and it, and it just goes to show like what the, what, how important it is to document things, how important it is to look back at them and appreciate them and, and it gives you a, it gives you an understanding of how much you’ve grown, you know, and I in the end of the script I say like it’s not about traveling at all because when I started writing the script in the last couple of months I was working on, I had this basic idea in my mind like, yeah, traveling is very important.

Eddie: 00:17:09 – I’m going to tell people about how important it is to me, how much changed my life. And in the two days before that video was done and before our farewell party, I realized like it has nothing to do with traveling. It has nothing to do with remote years infrastructure. It has nothing to do with the places that I went to, has everything to do with being with you guys for a year and being part of that community and that was the most important thing to me. That was the lesson that I learned the most and being in that state of discomfort with a group of people that was experiencing it at the same time. That was the most important thing.

Sean: 00:17:42 – What you had said something in one of your interview like, so ask pre interview questions to help craft some fodder. A, you said I feel

Sean: 00:17:50 – most inspired with the right amount of discomfort. What is the right, I mean I love that phrase, but what is the right amount of discomfort? Where at what point are you just overwhelmed and it’s not productive anymore?

Eddie: 00:18:00 – Well, so there’s a couple of examples of both sides. So like being in New Jersey, not enough discomfort, like I wasn’t growing, I plateaued, I didn’t have anything pushing me to, to question myself or question my, my trajectory, uh, or the vector that I was on. Um, being in the young on remote year for the first month was kind of uncomfortable for me because that was my first time being part of a community like that because I didn’t go to college. I’ve never really been in a club of any sort. Um, that was my first experience being surrounded by people in being kind of on the same mission in a way, uh, and that, that was a little uncomfortable for me, but for the best, for the best reasons. And then just being in places like Rabat, Morocco were like, physically it’s uncomfortable. I’m mentally, it’s uncomfortable because the culture culturally, it’s so different.

Eddie: 00:18:54 – That pushed me to feel something, feel empathy for a group of people that I probably wouldn’t have had that same experience with otherwise and, and pushed me to just have empathy for, for people in general, just more so. And that discomfort was really, really important. Um, too much discomfort is when I can’t get my work done and there are things in my way, uh, that are, that are mentally ill pairing me from completing the things that I want to complete or making the things that I want to make and I, I only experienced that once or twice throughout the year. And that was because of relationship things or because of like losing family members or um, you know, it’s, it’s hard to be separated from the people you’re close to when something like that happens and that’s uncomfortable and that’s not something that you really, it’s not a, that’s not a discomfort that you really want or really want to learn the lessons about, you know, that that kind of discomfort is a little bit too much.

Eddie: 00:19:52 – But I’m just being an estate and I’m an estate state right now, dude, where I am so uncomfortable, but just at the, like the precipice of like the right amount of just comfort where I just decided to leave the agency. That basically afforded me all these opportunities that I started when I was 18. Uh, to pursue a new direction in my career and to take on storytelling full time and I’m so anxious and uncomfortable by that and because there’s so many uncertainties behind making that decision and what follows it that, um, I’m just, I’m, I’m kind of hoping that I’m right in that a little bit of discomfort will help promote growth and not just like, I don’t know, make me regret it. We’ll see

Sean: 00:20:40 – for what it’s worth when I look back. I try to live by like, have no regrets. And so I think if like, if ever I approach a decision,

Sean: 00:20:48 – I think the, one of the most useful lenses I can use to evaluate is what will I regret more like, will I regret not having tried this or will I regret having tried it in and made a mistake? And I think, I think you’re doing the right thing.

Eddie: 00:21:04 – That’s so much easier said than done. Like it’s easy to say like, don’t, you don’t want to regret it. So try it. And if you, if you don’t like it, then at least you won’t have regret. But I mean, when, when there’s so many factors involved, like relationships that I built up to for the last nine years, I’m a lifestyle that we become accustomed to an income level. I become accustomed to, um, people that when I leave this agency, people in my, in, in the other agency are kind of relying on me and it’s like my full time thing now and there’s a lot involved in doing that and feeling that level of discomfort. Um, but I, I do agree, like I, I did it, I made the decision to leave and I made it final because I felt like I needed that, like back against the ropes kind of pressure on me to make the decisions to do the work necessary to be successful in the new, the new venture.

Sean: 00:21:53 – Cool. Um, let’s, let’s change gears. So we’re talking about discomfort. Let’s talk about high points. I mean, you met the love of your life on this program. Yeah. But right of all the various learning and growth and crossroads and incredible stuff. I mean, that seems like a pretty incredible thing. How was it? How has it been? She’s still here in Lisbon. Is She with you? Where, where she at right now?

Eddie: 00:22:17 – She’s in Bali right now. She’s, she’s going to be there for awhile. She’s with the tribe doing her her thing. Um, yeah. And she’ll be continually traveling with them and I’ll probably be popping in and out throughout the, you know, indefinitely while she’s doing that. Yeah. That’s that whole dynamic and that whole relationship and this whole experience for me is, it’s a testament to who putting yourself in a state of discomfort because not only was I in a place that I’d never been before, but I was trying to push myself to meet people and to be friendly and to reach out and say like, you know, I want to get to know you and that, I mean there’s a lot of other things involved in my attraction to her obviously. But, uh, but that was like one of the things I was like, I have to pursue this.

Eddie: 00:23:04 – I can’t be shy or afraid of things. I need to make things happen. Go for it. And that was incredible and I would have never met her or pursued those things had I not been on remote year, had it not been traveling and had I not been kind of forced to question everything about myself beliefs in my life prior to remote year. So being in that state, I was very malleable, right? I was, I was in a state of like, why do I do these things or feel this way? And Love was one of those things that I was questioning at the moment where I met her and I felt like it was the right. It was a perfect timing because I needed to open up to those ideas again. I was very cynical and very closed off in a lot ways and part of being part of the community and experiencing other people’s relationships and the relationships that I was building. I was starting to question my cynicism and that is something that is. That is an incredible thing to, to go through is to question your sentence cynicism because like sometimes you get that and you don’t know where it comes from or have never really thought about it. And when I started to think about it, I started to wonder like, why do I need to feel this way about a certain, a certain thing. And

Sean: 00:24:12 – what did you, was there anything in particular that prompted you to that or did you just start kind of arrive at that on your own?

Eddie: 00:24:18 – Uh, well mostly. So when we started hanging out, she, she and I started walking around Lisbon just like randomly walking around every so often we spent like one or two days just straight up walking and talking and that, those questions started to pop up into my head while we were talking. They were just really, really deep, meaningful conversations to me and I have to say, you know, thank you to her over and over for, for making me question those things. But also at the same time, just because my life was in such a shakeup at the, like I was living in a completely different part of the world, doing a completely different thing every day. Uh, hanging out with a bunch of essential strangers that I don’t really know for a few months. Like I was already in a constant state of just questioning the norm and that those two things together kind of forced me to reconsider my position on certain things.

Sean: 00:25:12 – That’s awesome.

Eddie: 00:25:12 – Yeah.

Sean: 00:25:16 – Yeah. Alright. Um, so some other questions I have for you, like how did you stay disciplined on remote year? Like you, there’s a lot of opportunity to go off the rails and get distracted and you know, but you seem to like stay pretty productive throughout the whole year. What, if any, like tips or rituals or anything you use to keep focused, the whole time?

Eddie: 00:25:37 – Um talking to people is one of the most important things. And Lawrence and Lawrence is a who is, who travel with us for half a year. Um, he, he asked her to this accountability thing in November where we just meet up on zoom twice a week and we discuss goals short term, uh, for the weekend, for the month and like longterm goals and big picture stuff. And I had always kind of done some variation of that with people in our group, whether it was formal or informal and voicing my goals, which I did way too often. I like I’m a, I’m a professional or a, uh, what’s the word I’m going to overshare is what I am. And um, I, I would always share the things that I wanted to make or do with people and then I felt kind of obligated to do it. And if it came down to it, if I was given the choice, and this is just something in my personality I guess, but if it came down to it, if I was given the choice between a social event or a project that I was working on, I would usually pick the project and I would usually be the one in the workspace on a Saturday night until 3:00 AM.

Eddie: 00:26:34 – And that’s just how I am. That’s just where I get enjoyment out of making the things that I want to make. And um, I, I think part of the, I mean, a huge part of being productive is having the right environment. And the workspaces where were fantastic work in environments, being able to go there at any hour of being able to work whenever I wanted on my own terms. I love that. And I like being surrounded by other people who are also motivated and productive. That was a times,

Sean: 00:27:02 – yeah, you mentioned, I forget where it was now, but something about being like elevated, you know, having the people around you that elevated you to perform better.

Eddie: 00:27:13 – I don’t really like saying it this way when our hearing South Jersey where I was living for every day up until I left to travel in 2015, there are, there’s a tier that I was kind of at the top of, I think in terms of productivity in my age group, in my social circle. And I was always the one like motivating people. I felt I felt locally and just my, my network didn’t expand very far outside of the Philadelphia area. Right. And even in Philadelphia it was very, very small. Um, and then to be thrown into a group of so many different people, such a diverse group of people at different success levels, like people that were millionaires and people that had successful businesses and we’re starting, their next ones are people that were like, like number one employees in their companies like to be thrown into the mix there. I had no choice but to rise to their level and to, through the conversations, through the questions I was asking, uh, to understand what the possibilities were and not just understand it but like feel it, feel like where I belonged and, and that is what pushed me and motivated me to work harder and to do more in terms of my own craft in terms of my own creations.

Sean: 00:28:26 – Do you think you would have gotten there, let’s just pretend like let’s, let’s take a split and reality and say you hadn’t seen that facebook and hadn’t done remote year. Do you think you would have arrived at that same level of growth on your own? Or is it something that the circumstances of remote year helps?

Eddie: 00:28:43 – I think I was heading in that direction just by leaving New Jersey or originally I even along the a little road trip that I did, I was starting to meet people and I was really enjoying like connecting to new creatives and I was getting there. It may not have like I think remote you’re just acts like expedited that process and just threw me into the mix with a bunch of people that may have taken me years to meet otherwise and like some of them I would not have met John Ellison and I got really close in the first week or two. He was like one of my best friends, he let me borrow a shirt and the first day because I didn’t have any clothes, I would have never hung out with John Ellison outside of remote year. He’s 30 years older than me, which I didn’t even know.

Eddie: 00:29:19 – And so like we too. So like imagine me Nelson and a bar together. Like I’m not going to go up to that dude and hang out with them. Right. Like it doesn’t make any sense. So that to me like being in that environment with those people, and this is a, this is a thing that I talked about with you in the summer, it’s like that year long commitment breaks down so many barriers right off the bat because you’re like, we’re going to be together for a year, I’m going to want to get to know you and make this thing work. Because it’s a year, it’s a long time and when you don’t have that year long commitment, sometimes you’re not as inclined to want to break down those barriers as, as quickly at least.

Sean: 00:29:54 – Yeah. I mean well we were talking about that in the context of remote years now. Putting out some experimental form with programs and it’s not the same like burn your boats. We’re doing this for a year. Kind of like I’m all in. I don’t support it. But in some sense though, it makes it more accessible to people who wouldn’t have done it otherwise. So it’s like there’s got to be. I mean, if it’s a gateway drug to get them to try it to them to go do it for a full year, then I support it. But, uh, I tend to agree with you. It’s just a different. It’s a different ballgame. Um, so that was because it was talking about high points, low points. I think we’ve kind of shared the same low point. You’re years was Valencia, right?

Eddie: 00:30:34 – Uh, yeah, that was a really low point for me. That was probably the lowest point of my year and leading up to that, like the pride and lowest point I’ve felt in years, which is weird because I think it was so low at least relatively because of how high I was going into it. You know, you experienced like this, this is one of the lessons I learned was balanced. You experienced these highs and then you experienced the lows in contrast to them, they feel probably worse than they would in another environment. And it’s necessary. It’s necessary to help you appreciate the highs. I mean, you cannot appreciate the highest without the lows. And um, I had a really rough. It probably seems like so melodramatic now that I’m saying it back. I had a rough couple of weeks in Valencia. Um, I was going through some things personally.

Eddie: 00:31:19 – I just lost my grandfather the month before and wasn’t able to get home to like be there for them and uh, and then like the election was happening and the election had happened and the same day that trump was elected, I put out a video on youtube that received so much. It was my first dose of Internet hate and trolling that I’ve ever really experienced and I got so much hateful comments which affected me for like 24 hours until I snapped out of it and was like, I’m stupid for feeling this way. But in that same day I also fell off my skateboard riding home and shattered my camera screen, which is my livelihood. And I had a shoot coming up that weekend in Paris to shoot chance the rapper, who’s like one of my favorite artists. And I was like, oh, this is changing on this camera being in working condition.

Eddie: 00:32:00 – And here I am with trump as our president. My camera’s broken, my grandfather’s fucking miserable. I remember I wasn’t the only one in, in that time feeling that way because we had, we made like a slack channel called a I need a hug or something like that. I remember seeing that come up and being like, wow, I feel like I need this right now. And I like messaged the channels. Like guys, I think I need a hug. It was like a couple hours later I was just wandering around the city with a, just emory, just like talking and feeling like we just like wallow for a little while, but doing it with her felt way better than doing it alone, you know? And it, it definitely helped me get out of it a much quicker. And uh, yeah.

Sean: 00:32:43 – Well I think also what I remember, and I think this affected you too, is like we had made friends with like Muslim people in Morocco and all of a sudden there’s immediately this travel ban and it’s like they’re demonized. And like all of a sudden, like all these people would become friends with. How do you, what do you say to them? You’re like,

Eddie: 00:33:01 – and that was the huge, that was like with the election happening, I was, I was not convinced that trump was gonna win the election and I, which is why I didn’t vote, which is in hindsight a stupid thing to do. Um, but having just made so many friends in Morocco, uh, and have that happen literally after we left who was heartbreaking and I didn’t know how to handle it and I didn’t, I didn’t anticipate having to deal with it, which is what made it even worse. And we were back in Europe, which made it feel even even worse to me in some ways. Um, yeah. And on top of that I found out like a few people close to me may have voted for trump and supported the campaign. And like that was kind of a, that kind of blew my mind and a lot of ways. There’s a lot of things that just didn’t make any sense. Like there was a period in, in a week in November. We’re nothing made sense to me. And I was like, I just don’t understand what

Sean: 00:33:51 – well, and we were roommates at that time and it was just very odd situation.

Eddie: 00:33:59 – Definitely a weird weird month. And uh, but then like towards the end of the month we had Thanksgiving dinner with everyone and that was amazing. That was an awesome experience. I remember feeling like, you know, I had just gotten back from Paris and I love being there with you guys in that room celebrating an American holiday with a bunch of people who aren’t even American. And like, it just felt incredible. I felt like I would never get this experience otherwise. And this is such a wonderful piece of my life that I’m going to hang onto. And I still, I have that video of Houston’s rap is Turkey wrap. Like I have the whole thing. It’s such a great, a great memory.

Sean: 00:34:35 – So good. I’ll include that at the end here for anyone who wants to start by asking him first, he’ll be famous. So he’ll hit a big metal thing is I want to read. So I asked you a pre interview question, like what were the specific challenges after remote year that you experienced in trying to reintegrate back in Jersey? Went not said feeling comfortable in one place for extended periods of time, feeling like I’ve peaked and the rest is all downhill, have struggled with desensitization, which has become apparent to me what traveling with my younger sister talked to me about that.

Eddie: 00:35:08 – That is a like the biggest thing I’m struggling with currently is again cynicism that I have. I picked up so I’m kind of in the opposite direction where a, I hate the word digital nomad. I don’t like a lot of the stigmas around the culture. There’s things about the lifestyle that bothered me and I also got really tired of constantly meeting people, which is something I never thought I would have said at one point. I got so exhausted from moving around that I just want to stay in one place and have a routine and it was really hard to do that with new groups of people coming into Lisbon everyday and I did not participate in community things as much as I had in the past. And I turned it into this version of myself that I didn’t. I didn’t see coming and it just, I get grumpy old man and I think that’s just because you get, they got over saturated and it, I think also I got a, I don’t know, I was just fatigue or you know, I just felt like it was too much.

Eddie: 00:36:08 – Um, and on top of that I didn’t have my community. I didn’t have my, my people around me that I could just turn to and be like, guys, this is like what I’m feeling. I know you’re probably going through the same things because the people around me at that time, now we’re not going through the same things I was. I was with a lot of fresh people like my sister, this is her first experience into this and like being with her in Lisbon and getting experience Lisbon for the first time through her was like, what, how my views on things have changed so much because of how, how long I’ve been here or how much I’ve been doing this and like I sound like I sound like a grumpy old man and I don’t know why that’s happened. So that’s, that’s tough. I’m trying to be more conscious of that and trying to step back from that and be more open minded and not sound like a cynical traveler or a pessimistic. I’m not pessimistic at all. I just like, I am not as eager to do things, experience things as I used to be.

Sean: 00:37:03 – Well, I think like I find myself experiencing this where it’s like a, you anchor, like you the bar gets to wherever you were last and so it’s like when we first got to Lisbon is like, holy crap, this is an incredible, amazing, but as you become accustomed to it, you do. It’s hard to see it with fresh eyes again and reset to that Same Level and constantly be appreciative of what is around you.

Eddie: 00:37:27 – Yeah, and I was writing about this and my and like I’m trying to read a piece about this because I think taking things for granted is a really weird thing, right? It’s such a weird thing to have appreciation for something and then to lose it because you become desensitized and how important it is to not lose the curiosity and not lose that those fresh eyes because that is what helps you appreciate things and I think at some point it becomes. It has to be a conscious effort. You have to be looking for it. It doesn’t just happen easy and that’s starting to come to terms with that and I’m starting to do things on a daily basis that helped me maintain my appreciation for things, whether that’s going out and doing a new welcome down a new street and trying to experience a new part of the city that I’ve never been in. Or just saying hi to someone that I’ve never met before to try to listen to them and understand their story. Like those things become harder the more you do them or the become harder to want to do, the more you do them. And I don’t want to lose that. I know deep down that’s part of my values and I don’t want to lose that as hard as it may be come because so many good things have come from that. For me,

Sean: 00:38:32 – I know you mentioned meditation is, uh, I mean personally I’ve found that actually super useful. I do the headspace stuff. Um, and in terms of like resetting and like clearing your head and like shaking off a funk. Like, I found that invaluable in terms of it

Eddie: 00:38:48 – and I don’t want to make it sound like I, I’m like, I’m terrible at meditation. I’m actually like, my head is so clouded and so busy at all times that it’s very hard for me to meditate. So the, what I really do is, uh, the most important thing I’ve found for myself and the last few months is putting my phone on airplane mode at night, waking up with no notifications. That’s like the vital piece of this is like there are no notifications when I’m turning my alarm off that I’m like distracted by and immediately pulled into. Um, so then I get like my, the pace of my day starts off much slower and what I’ll do is I’ll put on a guided meditation video for like 10, 15 minutes and just kind of like wake up with that rather than jumping into my inbox and trying to answer things or messages on slack and all that stuff.

Eddie: 00:39:29 – Because it’s very fast paced and it’s very like in your face. And I don’t, I don’t like starting out my day that way. And it leads to me feeling like I crashed in the middle of the day much harder than if I kind of eased into it and I also handle clients and decisions much better if I ease into my day. And I’ve found that that’s something I never did before. That’s something I just started doing in the last four or five months. So that is very important to me now. And I in the last few days I’ve been so like in the weeds with this one big project that I haven’t done any of those things that it’s starting to take a toll on me and I need to get back to it.

Sean: 00:40:02 – Yeah, I can definitely. Like when I don’t start the day that way for a while, after a few days it just, I, I’m, I’m like what’s wrong when I’m out of sorts. And then like, usually it’s like, oh yeah, like, because I’ve been getting pulled into stuff and like the day’s driving me instead of me driving the day basically

Eddie: 00:40:19 – easiest things to sacrifice right off the bat when you’re in the middle of something more important. But one of the, like the most important things that raised to not feel like that, you know, to not feel like you need to sacrifice, it’s just a weird thing. You, you need it. And, and if you don’t have it, you know, it’s easy to forget that you need it.

Sean: 00:40:38 – Yeah. Oh alright. Well just a handful more questions here. So if you could go back and tell yourself like if you had a time machine to go back to, you know, on that plane ride to Prague and you could tell yourself something before remote, you’re started to help you get more out of it, what would you tell your former self?

Eddie: 00:40:58 – I think the thing that is going to maybe surprise you and doesn’t really make a lot of sense on the surface is to collaborate more. I mean I did a lot of collaboration but it took me some time to get to that point. So if I could have jumped right into it and it may, I may come it come up as a crazy person landing in progress and like let’s work on these things together, but I think collaborate more. And then also I have like in terms of social and professional balance, like I’m way more on the work side and less on the play side and I probably could have benefited a little bit more from being out with guys and traveling

Eddie: 00:41:34 – and experiencing the social life aspect of it. So maybe do that a little bit more.

Sean: 00:41:39 – I mean there’s just not enough hours in the day though at some point something’s going to give in.

Eddie: 00:41:45 – I got really good at saying no to social things and to a point where it was scary how little effected me. Like people were giving me shit for not doing things with them and it didn’t even bother me at all. And I was like, this is a good thing. Yeah. But then to a certain extent it’s a good thing. You need to still get your, your dose of like social experiences with the people that you’re traveling with and like you’re in these cities. Why are you in these cities? You can be doing this work. The amount of work you’re doing, you could be doing from anywhere. Why you’re doing it from here. So you can experience these places, but you’re not really getting that much experience in these places because you’re so caught up in your work.

Sean: 00:42:22 – Yeah. But if it took, like the irony is if it took being in those incredible places to get you that focus to them, want to do that work, then that’s what it took, you know? And Yeah,

Eddie: 00:42:30 – I know it is. It’s like a, it’s like this weird scale, like it taking advantage of it. Um, and experiencing it. I don’t know. I mean I’m still, I think I’ll always be kind of, it’s a fluid thing, you know, I’ll always be trying to figure out where, where it fits best. I’m actually, so my last official day at Chop Dawg, it’s June 21st and then I’ll be going to Norway and going off the grid for about a week and then I’ll be going to probably Bali and taking the for the first time in like nine years. Taking a break from all work, all work related things and just focusing on being in a routine in living and maybe writing. And it’s going to be an interesting experience for me for sure. And I think this will be the first test of um, not being in just entrenched in work

Sean: 00:43:23 – I’m very curious how that goes. Um, um, I can’t remember the last time you and I are the same in that with like, because like we’ve always got 6,000 things on our plate and so, uh, yeah, I’m very curious how that goes.

Eddie: 00:43:39 – Definitely. I’m almost positive when I land in Bali and get situated in that huge community over there. It’s gonna be like collaborations and things that I’m making right off the bat and I don’t have any doubts, but I do want to take some time to do nothing, which is weird for me.

Sean: 00:43:56 – I like that idea though, of not setting out to push one thing that you have in mind now, but write like create the void or a vacuum that will then, you know, once you truly unplug and unwind and just like write and be, that stuff will eventually flow back into that space. But you, it’s because you’ve created that vacuum at that point, not because you’re pushing something that you want to do.

Eddie: 00:44:18 – Yeah. Yeah. I hope that this whole like, uh, because I’m too, like two years, two and half years into this now, I hope that this isn’t information that scares people away from wanting to do this or experience this or like, I hope it’s still valuable information because like at a certain point, this could be, I don’t know exactly what your audience says, but at a certain point this is like a realistic, um, position to be in because I’m not forcing anything.

Sean: 00:44:47 – Yeah. I mean, honestly this is, you’re the third guest, so I don’t know who my audience is yet either. I hope that it’s people who are entertained this, it’s, you know, people that were like us two years ago that were on the fence thinking, can I do this? What’s it gonna be like? And I mean, my goal with this podcast is really just to like show it like it is. It’s not all roses, but it’s incredible. And you know, we encourage it. I think both of us.

Eddie: 00:45:12 – Yeah. I wanted to mention another lesson that I learned. Uh, it’s funny because I learned this lesson in two different ways. I’m there when I was traveling consistently with remote year, I was really, really bad at staying in touch with the people that were back here in the states where life for me was moving at a thousand miles an hour where it’s like 20 miles an hour here and New Jersey and where I was so caught up in the day to day and so busy and so distracted where there wasn’t enough hours to even sleep. I’m back here. It was like all the people were really doing was thinking about how I was doing and like life moves so much slower. It’s like so much time to focus on those things. And by not taking the time out of my busy schedule to just say hi. I was doing a really bad job of being considerate of their feelings in the life and the lives that go on when you leave and now things have turned.

Eddie: 00:46:07 – Or I’m here in New Jersey. My sister and my girlfriend are both out experiencing their remote lifestyles away from me and I’m here kind of just like, hey guys, how’s it going? So I’m on the opposite end of it now. I’m like, well, I would really appreciate just a message. They’ll be like, hey, things are great, uh, talk to you soon. Or something like that where it’s just like, I get it. I get it from both sides and it sucks from both sides. Yeah. That’s something to be aware of when you’re traveling for the first time. This is just try to make a conscious effort to stay in touch with people that you leave behind.

Sean: 00:46:39 – You did what I thought was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if you got it, having seen it elsewhere, but for the people watching Eddie went back home and was facetiming with your, with your parents or your dad and

Eddie: 00:46:52 – that. My mom and my sister and my dad, they were all upstairs. Yeah.

Sean: 00:46:56 – Yeah. And so he’s in the basement facetiming with them as if he’s still on remote year and then like walks up and they just about had a heart attack.

Eddie: 00:47:04 – I thought I was in London until the very moment when I was in the kitchen that it was awesome. But that’s exactly my point though, is that was only three months into me traveling. That was only three months into me being away from them and that’s how they felt like they were like, Holy Shit, he’s in our kitchen. Like this is amazing. They were so excited and like only three months. So it goes to show you how important it is to stay in touch and how much people probably miss you.

Sean: 00:47:31 – My, uh, my parents are coming in four days, so this will be first time I’ve seen them in awhile

Eddie: 00:47:31 – Have they been to (inaudible) before?

Sean: 00:47:37 – Uh, they have not.

Eddie: 00:47:37 – Oh, that’s going to be awesome. That’s good. How do you feel about that? Like when you, now that you’re settling into Lisbon, all these expectations that are on you to kind of show your city to them, right? Because if you consider it your city, like when my mom came in March and Janet came, it was a lot of pressure on me to like deliver for the city and I didn’t feel like it was my responsibility because it kind of just did that for me. Um, but uh, do you feel obligated to.

Sean: 00:48:01 – Yeah. You want to give. I mean because people are like, okay, you moved there, you love it. Like what? What do you love about it? Show us what you love. And so yeah, there is a little pressure.

Eddie: 00:48:09 – Love though, aren’t that exciting from a vacationing standpoint. Like the things that I love about Lisbon are not going to be exciting to someone who’s there for a week. You know what I mean? Like I can go to this cafe every day and work from it and it’s like these people know my name and like I love that I can go to this workspace that’s right down my road or I can take a run down this bike path or something like that’s not a reason to vacation, but no, I don’t know. It does have a lot to offer. It’s not hard for you to curate a great experience for someone. It’s just like,

Sean: 00:48:36 – yeah, but I find like, you’re right, you’re, you’re, you’re manufacturing some neat tourist attractions. But that’s not the real reason. Like why I moved here. I moved here because it’s the happiest I’ve been of any city that I’ve ever lived in. Like that’s literally it.

Eddie: 00:48:51 – My friend, my friend Steve, he was like, he messaged me, he was like, are you still in Lisbon? And I was like, no, but um, I was just there and I, you know, my, my favorite cities in the world. And he was like, okay, well my girlfriend and I are taking a trip to Spain and we were wondering if it makes sense to pop over to Lisbon, Portugal for like a week. And I was like, if it’s a weekend, don’t do it. And he was like, he wasn’t expecting that. I was like, well, I don’t think you can experience it in a week. And then I was like, pause at each step back because not everyone’s going to have to spend a month there and then to see it.

Sean: 00:49:17 – You can’t do a year travelling the world don’t even just don’t even go there.

Eddie: 00:49:22 – I realized I was being that way and I was like, I’ll give you a list of cool things that you want to go to. Try to hit all of the most popular things like short period of time. I felt like, you know, you need like a month there. You need not even three months there you need. I don’t know

Sean: 00:49:38 – as I’ve been here five months total and I’m still like. I feel like I’ve scratched the surface.

Eddie: 00:49:41 – Yeah, and there’s so much that that’s such a big city. There’s so much to do. There’s so many, so many things that you can experience that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise and it sucks to say like, I only have a weekend or only ever week because you’re not going to get the and that. To me, that’s where I feel responsible. Right. It’s like, okay, you go there for a week and you don’t get to experience the things that I think make great. Then you have this bad taste in your mouth around the city that I love and I don’t want you to have that experience. That’s why I told him right off the bat, I was like, don’t go because you’re not going to like it the way I love it and it’s not gonna make any sense to you and you’re gonna feel some type of way about it. I don’t want you to feel that way. But then I was like, all right, let me step back and let you experience things for yourself.

Sean: 00:50:18 – Are you. So I know at one point you had talked about relocating here and that’s maybe taken kind of a back seat for now or is that still like down the road or is that. Where does that stand?

Eddie: 00:50:26 – I think that’s definitely still in

Sean: 00:50:28 – my future. I just financially right now with leaving the agency, I don’t. I don’t really have a lot saved so it’s not realistic for me to want to move to Lisbon right now and one of the reasons I’m going to Bali is because I can just stretch my runway as long as possible. It’s just cheaper to live there. Um, and I have a lot of things that I want to do, a lot of things that I want to make right now that are not going to pay me. So the longer I can do that, the more I can make, do they have the most respect of people that make the hard decision and then live like you’re crafting your lifestyle to facility, being able to do your art, which I think is like super dedication and I have.

Eddie: 00:51:08 – It is definitely a big decision and it’s a hard decision to make. And I think like, I think everybody gets to that point in their careers where they’ve done what they’ve done for so long and they’ve gotten to where they’ve reached that ceiling or they’ve plateaued and they need to do the next thing. And the only way in my mind to break that plateau is a, do something drastic. And, and, and to do, to do the things that take me in the direction that I want to go. And it requires me to make the hard decisions. And I’m really relying on like just the intuition. My intuition and hoping it’s the right direction, there’s a chance that it’s not that, but there’s only one way to find out. Right?

Sean: 00:51:48 – Yeah, for sure. Alright. So last, just a couple of tactical, very tactical questions. Um, what was the name of that a habit forming up that you guys use? You Lawrence?

Eddie: 00:51:58 – Yeah, we use an APP called habit share, which is really easy. The reason we love it is because um, it’s just, it’s basically binary, like you set a goal and it’s you did it or you did not do it and then if you just share it with your people. So I’ve Arcs my accountability buddy. He checks in and if I don’t do something right, market not done and he’ll be like, what’s going on? Like why you need to re evaluate these goals. Like we’ve done that a couple times where I’ve had a goal set and I didn’t deliver on it any days and it’s like, do you even really want to, do you want to focus your energy on something else? And we’ve, we’ve done that. We’ve had that conversation. So yeah, habit share. It’s one word.

Sean: 00:51:58 – Got It.

Eddie: 00:52:32 – There’s other ones too that I would, I would, uh, look into that are very similar but depends on what kind of functionality you really need.

Sean: 00:52:39 – Okay. Well maybe get those links from you and we’ll include them in the notes. Any other mobile apps that you found that major life on the road easier?

Eddie: 00:52:47 – Um, I cannot speak highly enough of. This is a recent one of the and Co app for freelancers, like fantastic for managing clients, proposals, contracts, um, and free now. So it’s, it was acquired by fiber and it’s free apps and Co. Um, what else? Uh, I don’t, I don’t like kindle might ask that I use like I don’t, I’m not really dependent on my phone and the apps on them. I do think that habit shares great. Zoom is awesome. Um, yeah, that’s, that’s really it though. Okay. I think project five or not on project file and you’re traveling consistently. I would definitely recommend project side.

Sean: 00:53:32 – Got it. That’s the google?

Eddie: 00:53:34 – Yeah.

Sean: 00:53:37 – Got it. What about, are there anything that you read on a regular basis, like podcasts or blogs or news sites?

Eddie: 00:53:44 – Right now I’m jUst doing a ton of reading on story and storytelling, so not, not specific to traveling, um, or business or entrepreneurship or anything like that and I’m kind of getting away from that space and a lot of ways because it’s been my life for so long and I want to focus all my energy on storytelling. Um, so that’s where I am right now. I’m reading this book called the anatomy of story if you’re interested in storytelling and it’s a fantastic read about just like how to develop a really strong narrative and how to, how to wrIte characters that are a realistic. And I love it so far. Other than that there’s, you know, I’ve actually, so I’m not a huge reader to begin with, like I never read before our work week and I feel like that’s constantly being discussed around me and it’s just one of those things that I just never cared about. But um, I think, uh, yeah, no, nothing, nothing on my reading list that I would really want to share.

Sean: 00:54:35 – What about a best travel hack you put? I think you put like asked for the two drinks on the plane and it’s got a 100 percent success rate.

Eddie: 00:54:46 – I’ve never not gotten two drinks because I feel like even if it’s not part of their policy, they feel like they’re letting me down if they don’t. It’s funny. There’s a, there’s this kid who is flying from bogota to sao paolo and this kid was his first flight ever in his life. Yeah. And he thought like, this woman comes around with the cart and she’s like, do you want to drink? And he was like, no, no, no, because he thought he was gonna have to pay for It. And I was like, yeah, a lot of wine and a sprite and a water. It gives me all three. And he was like, how much does that? And I was like, dude, it’s free. He’s like, so tell hIm. I was like, ask for two drinks. Yes. For two glasses of wine. Right. He gets both of the glasses. I didn’t give someone to me. Now I have four drinks. It was awesome.

Sean: 00:55:27 – Doing good. Good, good. Last questIon, what about gear? Is there any piece of gear you can’t live without and if not, I know you answered no in your survey, but like what’s your setup with your camera set up?

Eddie: 00:55:40 – Okay. For, for my camera I try to keep things as lean as possible because I only travel with a backpack and carry on. Most of my stuff is camera gear. I think the gimbal is one of those things. For travel videos that’s really important because it really makes the footage usable. Like if you’re walking around with your camera and trying to get cinematic stuff that just doesn’t work. I’m having a zoom lens that lets him some, like a good amount of light is important. So my 24 to 70 gives me the flexibility of getting wide shots and getting tight shots outside of camera gear. I would say having a backup phone in case your phone is stolen or broken. Really important. Um, maybe getting a dual sim card, phone, sim, card, phone even if you can or if you’re not on fire. Like you can have the local sam manual, regular sim or whatever.

Eddie: 00:56:20 – What else do I usually bring with me? If you can get a hotspot, that’s really cool to have that around. I’ve got my. I’ve got a data sim only from my ipad so I can use that and yeah, that’s when you the question in your survey, I didn’t really know how to answer because I don’t have like one item that I definitely always needed with me and honestly I feel like people bring things that are unnecessary and swear that they need them. And lIke when I, when we first started traveling because if we weren’t guaranteed kitchens, I traveled for the first five months of remote year with a mini griddle in my bag in electric griddle. Dude, I swear to you at the end of every month I would find out wherever I started this thing back in my bag and it will be like this will be necessary next month. and then finally you got to Morocco and I was like, I’ve got a kitchen every month and there’s never any shortage of the kitchen space. So I just left it behind.

Sean: 00:57:09 – Meaning like a George Foreman grill?

Eddie: 00:57:11 – Not like holding like a flat one that had. It was like one pound maybe, but it fit really nicely in my bag, but it was

Eddie: 00:57:18 – necessary, like I never used it once, didn’t go there in apartment, in Morocco somewhere.

Sean: 00:57:26 – I still think like is vitamix, takes the cake in terms of the largest single item that

Eddie: 00:57:31 – I’ve never experienced that in my life and since I’ve never experienced someone he paid like the amount of money he paid the check that bag every, every month was insane.

Sean: 00:57:40 – Yeah. That he brought the transformer with this giant brick that he got questioned about. It would by tsa like repeatedly 30 top.

Eddie: 00:57:51 – Oh man. I mean, but people took advantage of it for the most part.

Sean: 00:57:56 – Yeah, I lived with them. Yeah, we, we, we smoothed it it up in Morocco for sure with the trx. Uh, I do. Yeah.

Eddie: 00:58:04 – I think that’s a good purchase. I actually bought some resistance bands and I brought them with me in the first month. Oh no, actually I left them behind before we left because I just, I was like, I’ll just do bodyweight stuff and there will be jim so I won’t bring the resistance bands because I was on a very limited space, but it wasn’t until months, months, seven months, six or seven where I’d left behind my, uh, my checked bag. I no longer care to check bag and I think that’s like, I don’t need to check back anymore. I haven’t needed him for awhile.

Sean: 00:58:31 – I think I’ll get there. I’m still like I was to check bags to start than uh, just the,

Eddie: 00:58:36 – well, I mean you’re closer or bigger than mine to begin with, but it also depends on where you’re going. If you’re going somewhere cold, you’re going to need heavier clothing. And I’ve heard the track, the time that we traveled on remote year and a year after I traveled basically chasing summer, so I needed anything other than t shirts and I had like one pair of jeans that I wear every day because that’s just my, that’s what I do. I don’t know. Yeah.

Sean: 00:59:00 – Cool. Alright, well what about just any last thoughts for someone who’s thinking about doing remote year or something like it? Like what are you, what do you say to that person who’s like, you know, where you were at two years ago?

Eddie: 00:59:11 – Um, I usually just say do it. Um, but I, I want, I want to say like do it and document it because you’re going to see a lot of growth happened in the time that you do it and you’re going to want the documentation, whether it’s a daily journal or weekly journal of blog, just recording your phone calls to family members. You’re going to see a lot of things change and it’s easier to look back. Like it’s easier to, to appreciate when you have some form of documentation and some way to compare and contrast the way you were before.

Sean: 00:59:44 – Yeah, I actually, uh, so the, the course that I ended up making, the nomad prep course, I actually devoted a whole day to what it is called memories preservation and it sounded silly like memories, preservation and just take photos but like strategies around journaling and tracking your activities and all that stuff. Like you want to know how you progressed and what.

Eddie: 01:00:05 – So jenna and my little sister, she’s just getting into this now, like she’s traveling for the first time alone in Peru for a month and before sending her off I made her take the course. I made her do it and a lot of great content on there and she really appreciated the uh, just being exposed to things even if even if like the information didn’t pertain to her, just being exposed to those elements of the lifestyle are really important. And I think the course content, you’ve done a really awesome job of curating the most essential stuff and then so

Sean: 01:00:33 – awesome. Yeah. Cool man. Well, how do people that are watching, like if they wanted to get in touch with you or like subscribe to your videos, like what’s the best, where do you send people at this point?

Eddie: 01:00:43 – Uh, right now I would say just check out my youtube channel. It’s not, there hasn’t been any activity on it for a long time, but that is about to change. Um, youtube is probably going to be the platform or stick with. And then eventually once I start building up a little bit of an audience and like some supporters I’m going to start a patriot and account or I’m going to crowdfund a short film. So that’s, that’s a big thing coming out, which I haven’t really talked too much about, but I have this script that I’m working on and I have a team around me that wants to help me make it. So I just need the funds to do it. And I think within the remote your community and within the other people that I’ve interacted with, I have enough of a support system that I can make it happen. But youtube for now slash eddie contento.

Sean: 01:01:21 – All right, good deal. Thanks so much for being on a. I will put all the links in the show notes here. Uh, and yeah man, safe, safe trip to bali. Good luck on the unplugging and can’t wait to see what you come up with on the next.

Eddie: 01:01:34 – It’s been a pleasure and I’m sure I’ll see you in september. I’ll be coming around to lisbon. So.

Sean: 01:01:34 – Cool man.

Eddie: 01:01:40 – Good talking to you.

Sean: 01:01:41 – All right, bye. Alright, that was my interview with eddie. Uh, hope you found it useful. If you have a question for eddie, you can leave a comment underneath this video. You can also now leave a video question so you can use your webcam, ask anything up to a minute long and video and it makes it super easy to submit that. And then we take the best of those questions, round them up and we’re going to do a followup episode with eddie. Um, if you’re considering doing remote year or one of the other travel programs like it, you can get up to $300 off select programs by just applying through our referral link. So that link can be found in the footer a, it’s also, you can just go to nomad podcast.com/discounts and then complete that referral form. And note, if you do apply directly to these programs, it does make you ineligible for that discount.

Sean: 01:02:30 – So you’ll want to be sure to use our referral form. No matter podcast is supported in part by nomad prep, an online academy that teaches you everything you need to know to take your job on the road and crush it abroad. And you heard eddie mentioned nomad prep in that last part there. His sister just went through it and she has found a ton of value from it. So enroll today, nomad prep.com/podcasts. And you get your first four days of training. Totally free nomad prep. Take your job on the road and take on the world. Now we have a couple solid guests lined up. I don’t know who’s going to be next at this point. Um, there’s one guy in particular, a good friend of mine, he actually founded a startup weekend and he has since written a book called. This book is about travel, uh, and so he will be hopefully the next guest.

Sean: 01:03:15 – I’m not sure if he’s going to be next or if someone else will be a, but definitely stay tuned. I want to be able to tell you when our new episodes are coming out. So if you haven’t already done this, I’ll be sure to add your email at the bottom of the website in the footer there. Uh, just enter your email and I will keep you posted. As new episodes are released, you can also subscribe via the various channels, the different syndication channels. And that link is in the header, right? So until next time, it’s a big world out there. Get out there and explore it. We’ll see you on the road.

Outro – 01:03:15 – Nomad Podcast

Pre-interview Questions

Blog or Personal Site
United States of America
Countries Visited
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Czechia
  • Ecuador
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Serbia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Where in the world are you now?
Where were you living when you decided to start a nomadic life?
What were the initial set of circumstances or motive(s) that led you to experiment with a nomadic life?
A breakup and a feeling of discontent.
Was there something specifically you were looking to gain or escape from that you’re willing/able to share?
What was it and did that play out as you were hoping?
I was hoping to change my perspective and gain wisdom by means of experiences and I did exactly that.
What did you do for income/work while traveling?
Entrepreneur / Designer
Did that situation change at all during the course of your travels?
What happened?
Started a new agency.
Are you still doing the same work today as when you started RY?
Did you find it challenging to do your work from abroad?
What type of personal or business growth did you expect to experience and how did that turn out in actuality?
I expected to challenge my productivity. I learned how to be more efficient and effective with my. I learned how important my environment is in that. I did not expect how inspired I would actually become. I did not expect how much I would be motivated by my community.
What was the highest high-point and lowest low-point of your travels?
There were so many high points, from forming incredibly influential bonds, to finding the love of my life, to starting 2 new businesses, all of which have altered the course of my life.

The lowest had to be November 2016 when Trump was elected, my phone bricked, my camera broke and I discovered the wrath of the internet.

Was there ever a point at which you gave serious consideration to quitting the nomadic journey?
What made you stick it out?
Taking a short break.
What did you learn from your nomadic existence that was unintuitive or unexpected but obvious now in retrospect?
I didn’t anticipate how important it would be to continuously be surrounded by foreign stimuli (ie people, cultures, art, sports, religions, etc). It’s counter-productive because new stimuli requires a constant change of environment, which makes having a routine incredibly difficult. Routine is important for efficiency. But I feel most inspired with the right amount of discomfort.
Was it hard to re-integrate back into society after your travels?
What specific challenges have you faced following your journey?
Feeling comfortable in one place for extended periods of time. Feeling like I’ve peaked and the rest is all downhill. I’ve struggled with desensitization which has become apparent to be while traveling with my younger sister.
What can you not “un-see” at this point?
I can’t unsee how prominent ignorance and fear mongering is.
How and to what extent has your group kept in touch after the experience ended?
Our group has, for the most part, gone their separate ways with small groups congregating in various parts of the world, or meeting up intermittently for a week here and there. I’ve stayed in touch with a handful of people regularly.
How do you think you’ve changed as a person from the experience?
I’m more motivated. Simply put, the people I’ve met have elevated me professionally and personally.
What would you say to someone considering doing Remote Year or a program like it?
Do it. You’ll learn so much about yourself.
How (if at all) has your idea of work changed from the experience?
My experience has caused me to work harder.
What’s your best travel hack?
Ask for 2 drinks on flights. “Can I have a Sprite and a glass of wine?” I’ve had a 100% success rate.
Is there a piece of gear you could you not live without at this point?
Any particular routines or rituals that kept you fit/healthy/sane throughout the year?
I’ve been journaling before bed and then putting my phone on airplane mode before I fall asleep. This way, I don’t wake up to 600 notifications and I can ease into my day. I’ve been meditating or reading before turning airplane mode off.
What resources (if any) did you use in preparing to go abroad?
YouTube, nomadlist
If you were to do it again, what would you go back and tell your former self to do differently in order to get more out of the experience?
Be even more open, try even more things, participate in more social activities, and stay in touch with your friends and family back home more.
Any ideas for a product or service to solve a pain point for nomadic travelers you believe should exist?
Are you open to answering listener-submitted video questions here if someone has a question?


Sean is host of Nomad Podcast, author of the Nomad Prep eCourse to help others successfully transition to the nomadic lifestyle. Sean is also founder of Problemattic, a global movement to mobilize knowledge workers for good. Read more from Sean on his personal blog or his business blog.

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Nomad Podcast is a series of conversations with nomads, founders and domain experts to help get more people unstuck through transitioning to a nomadic lifestyle. Add your email to get special access to private AMA sessions, pre-release products and other VIP shiz.