Monthly Update September 2019

Maybe I should be writing October’s already?

(You can read last month’s update here; next month’s here.)

Family

If you’re just joining in, my beautiful wife and I took our (then) 4 month old daughter ‘on the road’ in August. She spent the whole of September outside of Australia, turning 6 months old on the Cinque Terre in Italy.

Our routine is now fairly well-run, though the challenges noted last month remain: we’re moving too often, which is tiring on us all (we also have Harmony’s parent travelling with us), and we are having to make choices about how baby Flash spends her time.

The medical advice was to support, though not necessarily encourage or fast-track, crawling. Flash is now doing all the right things, but it’s been a long time since we saw a clean, carpeted floor to let her loose on – and it’s hard to learn to crawl on a bed! She continues to be calm and happy, enjoying her daily cuddles and being vocal when she needs to. We’re also getting better at finding some quality solid food for her to try – again, not as easy as if we were home.

September also marked my first Fathers Day! Harmony prepared a onesie that proclaimed the milestone, which she and Flash gave to me (and Flash wore of course) at Lake Como in Italy. This was also the first destination on our 2008 Honeymoon, so it was a nice (and coincidental) connection.

Speaking of weddings and anniversaries, we celebrated 11 years married this month, this year in Santorini. We’ve actually had anniversaries in St Tropez, Sydney, and now Santorini – sensationally special sample, surely?

The View from our Santorini Villa

October will also be spent entirely on the road. Stay tuned!

Travel

In addition to the family travels, I had a detour in September to Toronto, Canada, where I spoke at a conference. Undoubtedly one of the best client conferences I’ve ever attended, though I ate FAR too much. In hindsight, it would have been good to take Harmony and Flash with me rather than leaving them with the parents in Rome.

Highlights from September 2019!

  • I’ll mention Lake Como again, since it is my favourite place in the world. We had a bad experience with Booking.com there so had to book separate hotel rooms at the last minute [October 21 Update: Still no reply from Booking.com despite 4 emails.] In September there, we did the funicular up to Brunate for the spectacular views back into the Swiss Alps, which is always delightful (and a lot cooler than Lake level!)
  • From there, we went to Venice, retracing the steps from our Luna di Miele. I didn’t particularly like Venice in 2008, and having had the chance to experience it again … my opinion hasn’t changed. Sick parents also meant the itinerary was a bit of a bust, though we did eat some amazing food
  • Flew to Santorini and enjoyed our caldera views. A great backdrop for working. While the proper highlight was lunch in Armeni Bay (accessible by boat!), I also loved the night I strapped Flash to me and we went for a cliff walk to try and put her to sleep. Beats pacing the living room!
  • We then flew back to Italy, landing in Napoli but rapidly taking a car down to our apartment in Amalfi. Also with the benefit of hindsight, this was not the best location – too hilly for my mum to walk, and our main itinerary items weren’t easily accessible from this part of the coast. I made the trek with dad to climb Mount Vesuvius, having missed that on our honeymoon, so that was great.
  • I had a brief stop in Rome, before flying out to Canada. Threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain of course!
  • Toronto was my first taste of Canada, and was brilliant. My actual parents were at this conference also, so going to Niagra Falls with them (and being paid to attend!) was an incredible experience
  • Back to Italy and family, we reconnected in the countryside of Tuscany. Having ticked off most of the Florence/Pisa/etc sights on previous visits, the top priority was returning to Siena which is home to (imho) the world’s best stracciatella gelati
  • Our Italian month ended in Riomaggiore on the Cinque Terre. In 2012, Harmony and I walked the five lands which took us 10 hours. Another seaside path has since closed, making the whole walk even harder (not that we were inclined to try it again anyway). As a consequence, the trains were jammed, but we still got to most of the towns and enjoyed some final Italian gelati (prickly pear in Vernazza) and pizza (in Monterosso).
  • September ended in Nice, on the French Riviera. The best days crossed into October, so the September highlight would be … having an apartment day! That’s right, I didn’t leave our apartment at all on September 30 – just needed a day of rest!
Sunset over Rome and the Vatican City

October sees us leave the Mediterranean for the cooler climes of Germany, Austria, Czechia, and Hungary, before our 3 month odyssey concludes in Spain.

Income and Equity

I was right! I predicted last month that our ’round number milestone’ would be temporary, and with all the travel expenses we did indeed go backwards in regards our Equity / Net Worth in September (ending at 44.52% of our Financial Independence target).

Most years we do have a month like this (and it’s usually because of spending our travel savings). So no cause for panic or change – most years we also have a big month upwards when we get our properties revalued, which I have scheduled to do back in Australia in November.

Income-wise, September was the last month of a big client project I’ve had, so I billed $16,500. I’m on track to do just over $200,000 gross revenue for the year – not the most meaningful number, given some of my expenses back to businessDEPOT and also my training investment. Still, if I can land there it will feel nice.

Something something metaphor about making it rain

Activity: Clients / Marketing / Businesses

Long-time addicts for my transparent monthly report will recall I started this travel adventure with 8 regular clients.

One made it clear immediately they weren’t going to work with me remotely, so I thought I was hitting the road with 7 clients.

Two more then decided not to keep going while I was away. Another didn’t so much decide, as fail to schedule, which is the same thing and a reason why you never count an engagement until there’s a date in the diary.

A fifth client tried, and then gave me the honest feedback that the value they had received in person wasn’t quite there via Zoom, so have rescheduled our sessions for later in the year.

So many lessons for me, and this trip was primarily about testing the idea of location independent business coaching. I look forward to unpacking those fully at some future point. For now, it means that October will be my worst month (measured solely by income) in several years.

November, when I’m back in Brisbane, already has a few irregular client sessions scheduled and I’ll be filling my diary with meetings and sales calls to end the year strongly.

Learnings

There have been many. So many in fact, that I’m going to create a separate post detailing them for my benefit – and to help future digital nomads and location independent workers. I will link from here when that’s done.

In the meantime … this post has been delayed too long. See you next month!

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