A letter.

“We have two lives. The second begins when we realize we have only one.” – Confucius

Looking back at the last 29 years I’ve seen, accomplished and learned a whole lot. I’ve also been a rigid planner, my life always needed to be planned and I needed to know where I was going. As I’ve grown throughout the years, I realized life is not meant to be lived like that.

Leaving Luxury Retreats/Airbnb has been bittersweet. When I got hired in 2016, HR sent me my welcome package and the first thing I noticed was “a great opportunity to make some fantastic friends.” That line did not disappoint. I have met some of the most amazing individuals and have created quite a few good friendships.

Was everything perfect? No, but in any company, it is not especially one who is going through growing pains and acquisition transition.

But, Luxury Retreats/Airbnb what you have given me is the ability to adapt to change, share my passion with the team, confidence but most of all the most amazing human beings.  Individuals who supported me through difficult times in my life and through the amazing times. When I gave in my resignation, I did not expect everybody to be so excited and proud of me. Because of that, my fear and anxiety of leaving have turned into excitement and joy. I am forever grateful to all of you at Luxury Retreats/Airbnb. My heart is full and you will not be forgotten.

Now it is time to live by my own mission statement when I came up with it one day in the fall. I booked a private room with Breather for two hours. I brainstormed with a whiteboard and recorded myself talking and played it back. What came up was: inspire and motivate people to create their own adventure and live a life they want. When I said it out loud I started to cry, then laughed because I was crying.  That was powerful.

Here’s to creating my own adventure and living a life I want. The trunk of my car is filled with my personal belongings. I am driving from East to West of my own home country, Canada. I have no idea what happens next.

And off I go into the open road.

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie

Solo Journey in Morocco // Many Faces Many Places

Nando takes solo, spontaneous trips, with little to no planning and will often find a way to specifically challenge himself in a new and exciting way. In his first trip to Morocco, he vowed to go completely on his own and figure out his journey, one step at a time.

Arriving late at night, he decided that there would be no harm in sleeping on a park bench. He met a local who informed him that it would not be a good idea.

The local took him to the city center in order for Nando to find a guesthouse to sleep in.  The moment, he stepped out of the car he understood why the local said he needed to find a place to sleep. There were homeless men, following him, asking him for money and he noticed it was odd that he did not notice a single woman on the street. He finally found a guesthouse and stayed the night.

The next day, he was exploring the city with only a camera and a backpack. Eventually, he noticed that someone was following him. He felt uneasy, a sense of danger and knew that he had to get himself out of this situation fast. Based on his past experiences from traveling to dangerous countries, he adapted quickly. He crossed the street and took a taxi back to his hostel.

The locals at the hostel said that given his camera and backpack he was an obvious tourist – an easy target. It was then that he realized that this challenge was not the greatest idea. He went out a bought a SIM card for his phone, switched to speaking French and learned a few Arabic words and began mingling with local people. The situation turned around completely.

He met locals and expats living in Morocco. He started going out and discovering the local culture.

He learned to rely on his past experience and was able to recognize a dangerous situation.  He adapted and turned the situation from negative to positive. He also learned that maybe Morocco was not the best country to travel to without a local guide.

When I was speaking with Nando, he was back home in Aruba but now he has officially moved to Barcelona! You can follow his journey – @Smulldiaz & @mundusurfer that is a platform for young international talent to share their content with the world!