Stairway to Freedom (Vlog Ep. 1)

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Somebody once said “Happiness is like an orgasm. Think about it too much, and it goes away”. I’m beginning to think Freedom works the same way.

This post was originally published in 2016. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

I recently did Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge. Because, although I embody the lifestyle many people would associate with freedom, after 10 years of being proverbially homeless, and after a recent life shakeup, I’m feeling a wee bit lost.

Freedom means something different to every person, and I’ve come to realize our definition of freedom can change as we progress through our lives.

And right now, I’m kind of looking for the next “big thing” for me to sink my teeth into, and to give me that extra dose of inspiration to get out of bed each morning.

Although the blog challenge didn’t give me my next “big thing” on a silver platter, it did help me clarify what’s important to me, what elements I’d like to have in my life in terms of location and daily rhythm/activities, and how to be more productive.

One of the blog challenge requirements was to share my daily posts. I published them in a separate personal online journal (since I was nervous to clutter this site with my overly random ramblings), and I shared them on Twitter and my personal Facebook account.

Honestly, I really didn’t want to.

But I’m glad I did, because the conversations that my raw self-observations inspired were surprising and amazing. Apparently I’m not the only person who feels disconnected, uninspired, and a bit lost! And, I’m not the only location independent entrepreneur who is reevaluating my business and lifestyle – which, to me, seemed like sacrilege (I mean, everybody wants this lifestyle right? Why on earth might I want to change it?).

One of the suggestions given to me through the blog challenge was to start a vlog. My Youtube channel has about 65 videos that I’ve produced and uploaded since I started traveling full-time in 2007. Some of them, in retrospect, are despicably amateur, despite a distant former life in the tv business. About four years ago, I gave up on the video thing, since the time and effort to produce and edit them was too onerous.

But vlogging is a bit different, and chewing on the idea alone put a new pep in my step.

So, I’m giving it a shot!

Once a month (for now), I’ll upload and publish a new video with some random musing by yours truly. I have lots of ideas of what to discuss, including stories (like what really happened in Peru), philosophical musings (like what is home to a Professional Hobo), lifestyle wonderings (like is a location independent career limiting or liberating), and more, including whatever crazy adventures I’m up to at the moment.

So without further ado, please enjoy my first ever vlog(!), introducing how I started my venture into this new media format, what “Freedom” really means, and what I’ve been up to for the last few months.

To be honest, I’m already a bit embarrassed by this video. So I promise….they will get better.

Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube.

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31 thoughts on “Stairway to Freedom (Vlog Ep. 1)”

  1. Nora,
    I am jealous young lady! I love Cuenca and have friends there. Thinking possibly of retiring in that beautiful city. Interesting podcast. I really want to discuss your adventures in Peru. I am really happy your accident pain, etc was aided by Ayahuasco! I have had 5 back surgeries, as I think you know and nothing helps. Plus there are some personal issues you may be aware of or not. I want to discuss these issues with you sometime. Hope you find what you are looking for and it turns into a positive experience. Maybe we can touch base on a PM on Facebook. Whatever happens take care of yourself!

    • Thank you so much Mike!
      Cuenca is indeed treating me quite well. Although the particular place I’m staying in is a bit too noisy and close to exhaust-chugging buses for my long-term liking. There are other apartments in El Centro that are a bit more secluded, and others yet south of the river that are out of the fray (for better or worse).

      I hope you manage with your back issues…hey, who knows – maybe plant medicine could help! I’ve seen some amazing things happen with the aid of plant medicine (and a sincere desire to do what it takes to heal – which is sometimes more than meets the eye).

      I’ll keep an eye out for you on FB!

  2. I wasn’t expecting our home life to make it onto your first podcast (Blush,lol). I feel like a celebrity :-). Great first podcast, you look great. Glad you’re keeping busy and working towards new goals. Can’t wait to you come back to your home base until you find a home, and fill me in on all your adventures in person. Got an idea for a podcast, I’ll message you about it.

  3. Hi Nora, it is great to meet you finally. I feel like I know you for a long time now. I love your blog. You have been an inspiration and a living proof of what I thought was impossible – a female full time traveler with a logical financial plan. You broke all my excuses :). For that I owe you a big Thank You. I am not a full time traveler yet but I am living more authenticly everyday. I am looking forward to your next vlog. If you don’t mind sharing, I would love to know what drives you? What is your inspiration when choosing your next destination? Best of luck.

    • Hi Ece,
      Thank you! What drives me? That’s an excellent question….I guess it depends on what we’re talking about. But in general, I’m driven by connection, learning, and most of all, having fun.
      As for choosing destinations, generally speaking I don’t choose them – they choose me, in the form of some cool opportunity, such as staying with/visiting somebody, collaborating, volunteering, house-sitting, etc. To that end, I’m still on the fence about what 2017 will look like, but there are lots of interesting options to weigh. It’s just a matter of feeling out which one speaks to me the most.

  4. As a fellow Freedom Plan participant, it was possible for me to relate to what you said – finding “the next big thing” – for you to tackle.

    My life has been in disarray for a while now, but like you, used the Challenges in the Freedom Plan (which you recommended, BTW) to help determine what my next steps could (and should) be. Incredibly, I’m also looking at starting a vlog in the next month or so as soon as I solve some technical issues!

    Looking forward to your next entry.

    • Hey John,
      Ha ha – great minds “vlog” alike! I must admit, I kind of like this whole vlogging thing, and I have lots of ideas for what I can do with it. I’m starting these off at once a month, but I’m already looking at getting some higher quality gear and increasing my vlog frequency. I hope you enjoy your foray into vlogging as well!
      And of course…I hope you find your next “big thing” too.

      • Well, the extra equipment I needed arrived today. Everything assembled properly, and I’ll be doing test shoots over the weekend. Things look promising!

        I’ll let you know when my first effort goes live.

          • I already owned it. I’m putting a Blackberry Playbook to use for both video and still work, and I may also be doing the same with my Samsung Tablet. What I’ve done is obtain an adapter that allows me to place the unit on a tripod – a means to allow me to shoot one-handed and compensate for my stroke weakness on one side.

            There’s some other gear that I may be able to repurpose as well as time goes on; it should work above as well as it did below the water. Looking forward to see what I come up with, since I’ve been fighting my way to this stage for almost two years now. Just watch me!

  5. Nora,
    I think you are terrific. I’ve had a crush on you for a few years now, and watching you in the vlog made me want you even more. Unfortunately, I am a happily married vagabond wannabe who gets his kicks dreaming about hanging out with women like you.
    Keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing and hearing more from you!

  6. Hi Nora, I always enjoy your blogs and this was even more fun. You have a great writing and speaking style and well done on being open and expressing your experiences so authentically, it was uplifting to watch. I’m looking forward to the next one.

    • Thanks, Jolene! It’s one thing to write in a brutally honest way – it’s another to put myself out there in video form. I’m glad you found it enjoyable!

    • Thanks, Tiffany! Soon enough, I’ll be in a warmer climate again and posting in tank tops, so yep, I’m enjoying the extra layers for the moment! 😉

  7. You are a natural, FH!! I love what you’re doing here!!! (Is that being nice enough?) And I do mean it. You have a personal quality that is delightful to be a part of – keep going, please…

  8. Nora! This is an awesome next adventure for you! Your writing is always entertaining, but having you do a vlog about some of the adventures you’ve had will be great to watch! Even just having you reminisce about your adventures verbally, will bring up memories to share that you didn’t remember when writing about them at the time. Just your time with Miki was fun to hear about.

    Regardless of “updating” your video kit, it’s the content not the production that counts. But I do get it. Very excited about your next video. Having a bit of “in front of the camera” background makes your videos engaging and entertaining. We’re all looking forward to hearing (and seeing!) more of your vlogs.

    Still reading everything you put out there. 🙂 Love it. Live authentically.


    • Thanks, Mark!
      The video thing is certainly a new (or rather, new-again) adventure….and I’m committed to making them more professional. Because although true fans like yourself will persevere despite bad sound (for example), word on the street is that other people will click away right away if their attention isn’t caught – and held – in like, a million different ways.
      Let’s see what happens! Your advice to love it and live authentically is what these vlogs are all about. So first and foremost….that’s the goal. I figure the rest will fall into place from there. 🙂

  9. Hi Nora. I’ve followed you on your blog for years, although I think this is the first time I’ve left a comment. I’m traveling full-time now and was very appreciative of all the useful information on your website to help me get there. Thank you for that.
    You asked for feedback, so here you go. I like this new direction you’re taking with your website, both the vlog and your personal stories. Although it takes a tremendous amount of courage to publically admit your fears, anxieties, confusion, and mistakes, I think your readers and viewers appreciate it. I certainly do. It makes us feel like we aren’t alone. You write very well and I’m glad you aren’t giving up that part of your website because it’s easier to read a paragraph and ponder than it is to keep pausing a video to do the same thing.
    I realize the vlog is a hell of a lot more work than writing, but I think it will serve you (and your viewers) well. You have a wonderful sense of humour (a charming self-deprecating Canadian humour that, as a Canadian myself, I particularly enjoy), you’re non-judgemental, and you have natural charisma. You tell a good story, keeping us enthralled, for which we happily wait with bated breath to see how it will end. You are a joy to watch and listen to. And although you apologize for the quality of the video and promise that future ones will be better, I don’t think you need to worry too much about it. It’s your stories, your humorous delivery of them, your authenticity, and your charisma that will keep us coming back.
    Hope this feedback helps.

    • Wowee, Dave – Thanks!
      I really appreciate your feedback (and compliments, of course!).
      You’ve certainly given me the oomph to keep on with it…..and if I can find more hours in a day, to even potentially increase my vlog frequency! Ha. One step at a time. Nice n easy….
      Glad you’re enjoying the full-time travel lifestyle yourself now, and I’m honoured to have helped out in my own wee way. (PS – Love your random facts page!)

  10. Brilliant! I love this. Please keep going. It is a brilliant first vlog! And how wonderful to get to a place where you seem so at peace with not knowing what comes next. It’s great inspiration for everyone—ESPECIALLY ME!

    While your life was breaking apart, mine was too. It was weird. And I have no idea what to do now. I was pushing and pushing for an answer there for a while, telling myself not to waste time and get it together and push forward and do All The Things. Until I realized, uh, maybe I needed to recover and rejuvenate from the trauma first… and if I did, maybe inspiration would start coming my way in the form of new curiosities to follow.

    Which is sorta what you are doing here. And it turned out so masterfully great, I’ve decided it’s a sign that I am right to be patient and let things come.

    So, thanks.

    • Hey Ellen,
      You know what? It was so liberating for me to realize that there were no deadlines on how quickly I had to get my new plan together after Peru. I could spend the rest of my life faffing about and that’s okay! (I won’t, but just knowing I have permission to not have to do anything “big” again if I don’t want to, is very freeing).
      So I encourage you to do the same! Don’t worry about trying to figure it all out right away…..I’m a big believer in action, and plans, and all that – but I’m also coming to be a big believer in being kind and forgiving to ourselves, and sometimes that means not trying to do too much too quickly.

      • Indeed. I’ve actually stumbled on a bunch of philosophical writing, a lot of it inspired by Book of Life website, and “discovered” that throughout history, all the way back to Plato, philosophers, artists, writers, and in general all the great thinkers over time valued stillness and quiet introspection if one wanted to get to the truth.

        Quite remarkable how I’ve read a lot of these works before and totally missed the point. When the student is ready…

  11. I love this. Please keep going. It is a brilliant first vlog! And how wonderful to get to a place where you seem so at peace with not knowing what comes next. It’s great inspiration for everyone—ESPECIALLY ME! Thanks!!!

  12. Haha.. have followed your blog for a while, will be interested to see what you do next as I can relate to your situation. I’m in a similar dilemma having spent 3 years abroad now, half living in London and half nomadic traveling across Europe. I’m now at a point where the money’s about to run out so am in a rut thinking ‘what do I do next’. My ‘spiritual advice’ said no to return to Australia but that my travels have also come to an end…lol But I’m off to Croatia next week so we’ll see…

    • Hey Leo,
      I’m as curious as the next person as to what will happen for any of us next! I’m drawn back down to Australia and New Zealand as well, but not enough to buy a ticket…yet! I’m weighing out my options and not committing to anything for the moment.
      Maybe you’re also being drawn there…to live….
      Happy travels!


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