The Happy Nomad Tour - Best Failure Ever

The Happy Nomad Tour – Best Failure Ever

The Happy Nomad Tour is over. When I started on August 10, 2011 I envisioned a one-year journey. I never would have believed it if someone told me it would last 2.5 years.

And that kind of sums everything up. Everything about my journey far exceeded my expectations except for one thing… money. I learned how to travel on the slimmest of budgets, spending less than $900 in 918 days of travel on accommodation, for example. But my theory hasn’t held up very well.. going into this trip I had a firm belief that if you pursue your passions the money will follow.

As much as I don’t care about money, it’s a sad fact of life. Money is the primary reason I ended The Happy Nomad Tour. It was getting low and I had to withdraw to the comforts of home to reload. Perhaps the money will follow in some way, so maybe I was partially right. But on the whole, I failed miserably at earning money on this trip. I earned a total of $900 on the road. I guess that covered my accommodation costs on the road, but it was far from sustainable.

Life is all about trade-offs. I could have worked those 2.5 years and earned lots of money at the reputable company I was working for before undertaking this journey. Instead, I pursued my dream and learned more about myself and humanity than I ever could have imagined – perhaps more than I would have learned in a lifetime otherwise. I found doors I never knew existed, opened them, and found more and more unknown doors to walk through. I changed the software in my head and I’ll never approach life the same way again.

I think this journey helped solidify in my mind that failure is not something bad. Failure is part of life. If you’re going to fail, fail awesomely. Fail upward. Fail so that you learn something and/or experience something you wouldn’t have otherwise. Fail so spectacularly that what you learn more than makes up for the negative aspect of failing. Most of all, don’t be afraid to fail. You never know, that failure may take you to over 40 countries in 2.5 years and facilitate friendships literally all over the world. Failure can be the best thing to ever happen to you.

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Montreal To Cleveland – The End

September 22, 2014

2 Generations, A Special February 13th

Getting out of Montreal proved relatively easy despite what was going on at the time. I booked a flight home using my British Airways miles on American Airlines flights. The route was Montreal-New York-Cleveland. It was clear that most flights to/from New York were going to be canceled. I found a small text link on […]

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Paying It Forward – Suspended Coffee In Montreal

September 17, 2014

Coffee

Have you heard of suspended coffee? I had heard of it before, but never got to participate until I got to Montreal. Started in Naples, Italy, a suspended coffee is a pre-paid coffee for homeless people when available. That is, someone who can afford it pays for a suspended coffee and later on, someone who […]

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Last Stop: Montreal

September 15, 2014

Sunset In Montreal

When the bus arrived in downtown Montreal I knew this would be the last time I’d arrive in a new city for a while. As much as I wanted to take it all in, I was rushing since the bus was nearly 2 hours late and I had to meet my friend. Oh, and it […]

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Toronto – My City For Transitions

September 8, 2014

Toronto's CN Tower In The Distance

As I made my way to Toronto with only two weeks of The Happy Nomad Tour left, it reminded me of many similar experiences I had on this journey. I would stay with someone I went to business school with in Spain. I don’t think we ever had a conversation in Spain though. As I […]

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Speaking At Ivey Business School In London, Ontario, Canada

September 1, 2014

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I had the privilege and honor to speak at Ivey Business School in London, Ontario, Canada in January 2014. I was invited to speak to three classes studying corporate social responsibility. The talk was left relatively wide open, allowing me to explore how my experiences could benefit them as Canadian students. I decided to focus […]

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Returning To North America

August 25, 2014

Heading 'Home'

I thought it would be more dramatic, but my final days in Tanzania came to a close rather unceremoniously. I saw a dentist on my second to last day, I went to a café with my couchsurfing host and her daughter, I saw the ocean one last time and took in as much warmth as […]

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Goodbye Africa

August 18, 2014

Goodbye Tanzania, Goodbye Africa

It was with a heavy heart that I spent my last week in Africa. What could be more typical of this journey than feeling sad to leave a place I hadn’t planned on visiting in the first place? Originally I planned on going to southeast Europe before returning to North America. I wanted to visit […]

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A Day With Investours In Tanzania

August 13, 2014

William Carving An Elephant

While in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania I spent the day with Investours. As their website states: Investours is a non-profit organization bridging the gap between international tourism and local development. Our mission is to provide travelers to Mexico and Tanzania with meaningful cross-cultural interactions that empower micro‐entrepreneurs and directly stimulate economic growth. Simply put: we […]

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A Transformational Tanzanian Safari

August 11, 2014

A Male Lion Approaching

There are many reasons why safaris are such an amazing experience. I just completed a safari in Northern Tanzania and met couples on their honeymoon, families exploring scenes only accessible previously on the Discovery Channel and friends on a mission to create unforgettable memories together. All of these have one thing in common: they make […]

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The African Fund For Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Center!

August 6, 2014

Kissing The Giraffe

In Nairobi I got to visit the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). It’s an education and conservation center on the edge of Nairobi National Park. It was started in 1979 to repopulate the Rothschild giraffe population. Long victimized by humans who have encroached on their territory in western Kenya, the population fell precipitously. If […]

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The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

August 4, 2014

Feeding The Elephants

While in Nairobi I paid a visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. They are a non-profit dedicated to helping orphaned elephants live on despite the death of their mother. You may wonder why the elephants become orphans. There is disease and there are accidents that leave elephants injured or dead. But there is also […]

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African Hubs Of Innovation And Empowerment

July 30, 2014

iHub Kenya

I had heard of “The Hub” while doing my MBA at IE Business School. A hub is a shared workspace where entrepreneurs can have an “office” to work from with varying amenities. Some offer conference rooms. Most hold events somewhat related to entrepreneurship/technology as well as social and fun events. The professional events may be […]

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Visiting Eldoret, Kenya On A Whim

July 28, 2014

Bumping Into 2003 Boston Marathon Runner-up Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai

I hadn’t planned on visiting Eldoret. I thought I’d go from Kampala, Uganda straight to Nairobi, Kenya, then on to Mombasa, Kenya and then on to Tanzania. Well, two reasons made me change my plans. As I mentioned in my post about Christmas in Burundi, a wonderful Kenyan named Carole let me stay at her […]

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Spending A Night At The Uganda-Kenya Border

July 23, 2014

I Was The First Person On The Bus

My very cool yet very different Christmas experience in Burundi left me hoping I’d get to meet Carole! She was so nice to let me stay in her place while she was at home in Eldoret, Kenya celebrating the holidays with her family. Originally she planned to come back to Burundi, via Uganda, when I […]

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Celebrating The New Year In Uganda

July 21, 2014

Celebrating New Year's!

I wasn’t sure if I’d be celebrating New Year’s Eve in Rwanda or Uganda. I was trying to arrange an expedition into the mountains to see the gorillas in either Rwanda or Uganda, but it was just way too expensive. So I stayed a few days in Rwanda and then headed to Kampala, Uganda on […]

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Yet Another Genocide

July 16, 2014

Kigali Memorial Center

You might say an undercurrent of The Happy Nomad Tour has been hitting all the genocide spots of the 20th century. First there was Cambodia, then Ukraine (though it’s usually not mentioned, arguably it’s the worst of them all), Armenia, Slovakia/Israel (representative of the holocaust), and now Rwanda. Rwanda is a peculiar one though. In […]

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