Covid Killed Our Travel Dreams, but Ignited a Love for Portugal

Are we still digital nomads? Sure, we can work from wherever because of our remote jobs, but we didn’t leave Portugal in 2020. Can we still call ourselves digital nomads in the new Covid-19 reality? 🤔

Lisbon (or Lisboa, as we need to call it) was our first stop in a trip around the world. 2020 was our personal amazing race. 

We had big plans. Plans to experience the beautiful country of Georgia, to revisit our old stomping grounds in Thailand, and to see the countryside of Canada by train. None of this happened. Obviously. It was meant to be, but it wasn’t. 

I woke with a start on the morning of the 14th of March 2020. If you remember, this is the weekend the COVID-19 Pandemic “tipped,” to steal a term from Malcolm Gladwell. I quickly checked my phone and looked up our Sunday flights to Georgia for the 100th time in the last few days. To my relief and other mixed emotions, they had cancelled our flights. 

One big decision was made, we weren’t going to Georgia. But should we go home? Should we stay and embrace Lisbon for an indefinite period, or head back to the US?

What should we do? 😭😶👍

Sometimes the logical answer right isn’t. Trust your gut. Our defining decision in 2020 was staying put in Portugal. We didn’t get to travel anywhere else, but we got to experience the country deeply. We had to adjust, but we found new goals within this alternative path. We had to be adaptable and make tough decisions along the way.

After the cancelled flights, Miranda and I jumped into go mode. For two J’s on the Myers-Briggs, nothing beats the feeling of getting things done and having control. We hunkered down, got a great deal to extend our Airbnb, ordered tons of healthy food (read: cookies and other fun lockdown treats), updated our goals, and went into hibernation. 

This picture of me below sums up our hibernation. Look familiar? 🤦‍♂️

Our visas were extended for the first of three times, and they cleared us to stay as long as we needed. And what a year it’s been. I wouldn’t trade 2020 for anything, even though it came with trials. Ultimately, we don’t get to control what happens to us, we can only control our response. We adapted and kicked as much butt as we could. This is all any of us can do. 

It’s hard to sum up this tumultuous year interestingly, but here goes. 

Things That Worked Wonders

  • We did the Borderless Retreat in February 2020, and it was incredible. We met amazing new friends and were forced to be super social. It stretched us and was a catalyst for growth. 
  • Having a big goal during lockdown was crucial. I signed up to run the Batumi night race in Georgia. This didn’t happen, but I ran my first ever 1/2 marathon, anyway. Miranda made it a special moment with ribbon, a medal, and her overwhelming support. It was cool. 
  • Playing video games. Sometimes it’s okay to embrace pointless games to pass the time. I have a hard time with guilt over this, but Miranda was very supportive and cultivated a better mindset for me. During times of crisis, it’s okay to do something you truly enjoy. 
  • Reading! I read 62 books in 2020. Reading helps my mind see the big picture and keeps me motivated to make progress. 
  • I started writing a new book, I created a self-discovery course called the School of You, and I became an award-winning author when Volcanic Momentum won the Pinnacle Award Achievement. 
  • Uber Eats. We supported the local economy with a smattering of Uber Eats orders. You’re welcome, Lisboa.

Things That Didn’t Work at All

  • I tried creating a program called Inbox Buddy during lockdown. Notice the lack of a TM there… It failed so fast it’s not even funny. But some of our biggest successes come on the backs of our greatest failures. Sigh. I wish this wasn’t the case. 
  • Planning. Every time we tried to plan something or make a decision, things changed. We had a hard time staying true to our get-it-done strengths when adaptability and going with the flow worked better for 2020. 
  • Staying connected and social. Everyone had this problem in 2020, but it was especially painful for us. We’re two introverts who were getting much better (read: passable) at interacting with others. We love people, but too many people and we just get confused at what to do next. It feels like we are now starting from scratch now, and that’s tough. 

Our Future

The future is uncertain, but we are doing a couple fun things:

  • Set a simple 2021 motto: Do Good Things. 
  • Picking a word of the year for 2021. We’ve done this the past three years and absolutely recommend it for having an overarching yearly focus. It will give you a lens into every major decision and help you make the right choice.
  • We are pursuing residency in Portugal. This is good because it will allow us to travel back and forth even amidst Covid restrictions, and it will gear us up to achieve dual citizenship, enabling us to travel anywhere in the US and EU. 
  • I’m writing a book called Catalyze Your Destiny which will release in early 2021. Stay tuned for covers and all the fun news surrounding a book launch. You’re not going to want to miss this one. 
  • MIranda is learning Portuguese, crocheting her socks on, and may even take up surfing. Stay tuned for videos of her crushing waves!

Our Lofty Hopes

I’m throwing these out into the world to remind myself and you of bigger goals. The world can be a better place, and it starts with us. It starts with standing up for what we believe and not giving in. It starts with grace and love, but it does not end there. We can accept how we are right now, but growth demands progress. 

  • That cancel culture would die a quick death. This is the product of extremism and is dangerous on so many levels. 
  • That we could come together as a nation, but also as a people. 
  • That we would strive for balance and understanding over being right or condemning others. 
  • That we would all eat a slice of humble pie and chill the heck out. 
  • That you and I would both work our purpose, or get busy discovering our purpose. It means everything. 
  • That you would read this and feel encouraged and ready to take on the world. 

Your Two Next Steps

To continue following our journey and for your own inspiration and growth:

  1. Download our updated and free Personal Destiny Guide here. In 31 pages you’ll learn from our mistakes, discover new tools for personal growth, and get inspired to tackle the year ahead and give it everything you have. You’ll also be first in line for updates on the upcoming book release! 😮
  2. Follow Miranda on YouTube and Instagram for the latest sensory overloads of pure awesomeness. She catalogues our adventures in video and story form, and even during the lockdown of 2020 there’s a ton of interesting content. 😎

Thanks for reading this update and stay tuned for a great 2021. No matter what happens, pursuing growth reigns supreme. Let’s forge ahead. 

-Jordan and Miranda

PS: What Do Miranda and Jordan Do? (ie: How Do Pay for a Place to Sleep?)

I thought it would be fun to answer a question we get asked a ton, but inevitably have a hard time answering; what do we do for work?

I wrote a post about how to become a digital nomad here, but I’ll give you a secret… It’s NOT easy, and you have to put in time and effort. I firmly believe that anyone can find work online and travel the world, but you have to do what needs to be done. 

Are you up for it?   

Miranda: Teamup Support and Content

Jordan: Book Award Pro Marketing Manager and Authorpreneur

Miranda’s primary focus is with Teamup. Recently, in October 2020, I started with Book Award Pro. 

Besides our primary focuses, we have multiple other income streams (like my author business, Amazon affiliates, courses on Udemy, freelance gigs, etc.) to help keep things diverse and cover ourselves. We’re busy, and work a lot, but the work we enjoy lets us maintain the freedom of working wherever and whenever. 

This means we often take a slow morning in the middle of the week, but work weekends too.