Before last year, whenever I thought about music festivals my mind conjured up images of muddy fields and welly boots, tiny tents and burly security guards, partying post-A-level teens and glow-sticks, huge crowds of drunken dancers and expensive stodgy food. And rain, lots of rain…
But that was before I went to the Worldwide Festival in Sète.
Now, when you mention the word festival to me, I’m transported to a world of rosé wine and seafood, long days dancing in the sea and along the water’s edge, magical nights in the Théâtre de la Mer, and the friendliest crowd of people you’ll ever meet. People united by a single thing – a love of Gilles Peterson and his unique brand of eclectic music.
Worldwide 2015 was the 10th anniversary of this special little festival. It was also my first visit, after years of listening wistfully from a distance. And it was one of my undisputed highlights of last year. Could Worldwide 2016 live up to that? You know, if possible I think it was even better…
I intended to start this blog a year ago when I set off as a nomad, but life and work got in the way, so I’m starting on my year’s anniversary (or thereabouts). And what better way to begin than with a look back to my first year on the road. I realise it’s a little silly to post a review of 2015 at the start of February. But what the hell… I started my nomad journey on 27 January 2015, so it covers my first year on the road.
2015 was my third year in business and my first year as a digital nomad, and it was all about me learning how to run a successful business while travelling. I choose to stay in Europe, dividing my time between six countries (plus the UK). I had visited most of the countries before, with the exception of Croatia – a place I’ll definitely be returning to – although most of the cities I lived in were new to me.
In numbers, I slept in 24 different beds in 16 cities across 7 countries, and I took 13 flights and 5 train rides. That’s fairly modest by many people’s standards, but I learned that I prefer to spend at least a month in each location, partly because it makes things cheaper on Airbnb, my preferred method of accommodation, and partly because I was working full-time. By the end of the year, I realised that a month was too little because I didn’t really spend much time growing my business or working on this blog, something I plan to change this year.
Highlights of my year include celebrating Fallas in Valencia, dancing on the beach and in the magical Théâtre de la Mer at the Worldwide Festival in Sète, skydiving in Berlin, attending DNX Global with my tribe – 450 digital nomads – also in Berlin, and the magnificent view from my loft apartment in Split.
There were also some tough times. An ill-advised fling turned into a stalker and left me feeling very vulnerable in my first few days in Seville, and I didn’t research my accommodation in Catania, Sicily, properly, which left me living in the middle of a rundown mafia district where I was repeatedly warned by locals not to wander around unaccompanied. Thankfully, neither situation had a serious outcome, but I learned a couple of valuable lessons there!