On August 25th 2021 we left our comfy, safe world and hit the road. Just like that, we became digital nomads. The first year passed quickly, the second even faster… Since the beginning we’ve lived in 5 countries and 16 cities, seen many beautiful places, and learned some useful skills and life lessons. In this post, we’ll share with you our retrospective of the second year #season2 of our digital nomads journey. What has changed, what we liked, learned, lacked, and longed for. Ready? Let’s go!
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Retrospective on the second year of living as digital nomads
Let’s get to know some numbers first
We like numbers, so let’s take a quick look at them before we move to nitty-gritty details. During last year we:
- drove 14567km by car
- walked about 1491km
- lived in 3 countries: Spain, France, Poland
- visited 4 countries: Spain, France, Monaco, Poland
- lived in 7 different cities: Villeneuve-Loubet, Saint-Cyprien, Llanes, Aguadulce, La Manga, Salou, Wrocław
- spent on average €1450 per month for 2 people
- took many photos & videos – around 800GB photos & 650GB videos
How did our traveling look like for the past year? How did we travel?
Nothing has changed in that matter compared to #season1. We were still driving through Europe by car, our reliable Honda Civic VIII. For us, it’s a very convenient way of traveling. We love the fact that the car gives us the freedom to travel whenever and wherever we want, without worrying about any public transport timetables and delays.
For how long did we stay in one place?
During our second season of digital nomad life, we spent 5 months in Spain, 5.5 months in France, and 1.5 months in Poland. In most places, we stayed for 6-7 weeks, but in one town we stayed 17 weeks in total – yes, we really loved it there.
What did our daily schedule look like?
We combined remote working with slow traveling. Wojtek was still working remotely in his “9-5” job and after that he took care of our website and created YT videos. Sonia was focusing full-time on Happy Little Traveler. From Monday to Friday, we worked extensively on that. During the weekends and free days, we explored the area we were living in, creating future blog content. We always try to keep a fixed schedule for the day, we try to not distract ourselves in any way and to not ruin our work-life habits.
What has changed most since year one?
We slowed down even more as in year two we experienced more moments of exhaustion. After an intense ~9 months we stayed for 10 weeks in one place in France. We were just relaxing, working, and not thinking about creating content all the time. Very refreshing! Oh, and thanks to not-so-great northern Spanish weather we came back to working out and doing that until today! We even have cute toe socks haha.
Second year of living as digital nomads – retrospective
Because we work/worked in IT, we know plenty of techniques that help us to learn from the experience. One of them is the 4Ls retrospective technique. 4Ls stands for Liked, Learned, Lacked, Longed for. We thought that it would be great to show those four areas in a simple and clean way. So let’s take a closer look at our second year as digital nomads through those 4 lenses.
Liked – all the things that we liked
- Finding a place that truly feels like home, where we would like to settle down one day.
- Having well-deserved holidays at the end of the second year which we spent in a place we love, giving our heads and minds a rest.
- Working together towards a common goal.
- Having remote jobs/business that allows us to work from anywhere.
- Spending autumn & winter in sunny and warm places (works wonders on well-being!).
- Having mini holidays each weekend, visiting a lot of places in just one year.
- Living by our own rules, freedom in choosing places to live in.
- Having the opportunity to get to know other cultures and customs, and tasting various foods from different countries and regions.
- Lacking huge travel fatigue thanks to slow travel.
- Taking part in various celebrations and fiestas, experiencing local customs.
- Meeting and petting so many cute cats.
Places we liked most in…
- France: Cote d’Azur (area from Cannes to Menton)
- Spain: Asturias and Cantabria in the north & Almeria in the south
- Poland: Wrocław (always!)
Food we liked most:
- baguettes, cheese, wine, and flan in France
- Italian food like pasta, pizza, ice creams on Cote d’Azur, in towns near the Italian border
- French speciality – crepes
- Horchata in Spain – perfect for hot summer days
- Ciders in North Spain
- Sweets like turrons, panettons, macaroons, palmiers…
- Pizza, pasta, sushi, Korean food… in various restaurants in Wrocław
Learned – all the things that we’ve learned
- To slow down even more, to have more time for exploring and relaxing.
- That everyone before moving permanently to some country should spend there at least a few months. Only after this time excitement is gone and we start to notice all the pros and cons. For example, we discovered that we wouldn’t make Spain (our “dream country”) our permanent home, and only a nice holiday base, as it isn’t compatible with us, our needs and preferences.
- We became even more convinced that we didn’t want to make our home in Poland. We knew we didn’t feel good there, but with each visit we dislike it even more.
- We finally found our routine, we found ourselves fully in this digital nomads lifestyle.
- We learned more about ourselves, what we want, how we want our life to look like.
- That reality is often very different from what we can see on the news or what we believe from stereotypes.
- We improved our various skills even more. Skills like photography, videography, creating videos, photo editing, new languages, marketing, problem-solving, thinking outside the box, etc.
- How to take good care of our website, improve and evolve SEO, create better posts, etc.
- Talk to each other on tough business-related topics without trying to kill each other 😛
- We discovered what equipment we need most, what we can get rid of, and what we need to upgrade because of its limits.
- Knowing even just a few words is super important. Smiles and gestures sometimes mean more than a thousand words and open many doors.
Lacked – all the things that we were missing but given the nature of things we couldn’t have:
- Sometimes we missed the home office with a proper desk and office chair.
- Polish foods like crispy bread and rolls (although here baguettes are an excellent substitute), and a wide choice of vege food (both in supermarkets and restaurants).
- Allegro (Polish shopping website) & inPost parcel lockers. Sorry Amazon, we still don’t understand you!
- In Spain, we missed good cinemas with movies in VO (Version Original), a wide choice of tea, and normal eating hours (for us).
Longed for – all the things we were missing, would like to see improved and we have influence on:
- Having our own home, a place where we can come even for a moment and rest, leave some of our stuff, etc.
- Having our own independent, self-sustaining business, not dependent on anyone else (halfway there!).
- Eating in our favorite restaurants in Poland. Our bar is set high and only on Cote d’Azur we found restaurants that might be a worthy opponent.
- Having more free time during weekdays. We are still mostly selling our time by the hour and growing our own “things” in spare time.
- Having a vacuum cleaner in apartments. Seriously, why people in Spain and France don’t use them (or at least put them in rental apartments)?!
Retrospective on the second year of living as digital nomads – Summing up
So yeah, there is that. Looks like in most areas not much has changed, but for us it’s ok! We definitely lacked/longed for fewer things than during year one, we finally settled into our routine, discovered what we want and where we want to head to. We’re grateful for all the things that happened, things we’ve experienced over the past 12 months.
What are we planning to do next?
Well… We are not stopping just yet and we can confirm that season 3 is going to happen! We love being digital nomads and so far we aren’t tired of that lifestyle. To follow our adventures you can follow us on Twitter/X. What’s more, we’re working hard to monetize this way of living (and this blog) so we can continue to do it full-time without relying on a “normal 9 to 5” job. If you want to help, be sure to visit our blog often, make some noise by sharing posts with your friends and social media channels, use our affiliate links, leave comments, etc. Thank you – everything above is important. 🙂
Want to know more about slow traveling?You may also be interested in these posts:
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- How to work remotely and travel long-term?
- Best Well-Paid Remote Jobs For Digital Nomads
- Travel Slow Or Travel Fast - Which One Is Better?
- How To Prepare For Full Time Travel As A Digital Nomad?
- Retrospective On The First Year Of Living As Digital Nomads
- 20 Reasons Why You Should Experience Slow Travel
- Slow Travels With Remote Work: Challenges, Myths, Pros, Cons
- What Is Slow Travel? - 101 For Beginners