Surfing in Lacanau, France with UCPA
Blogging, France, Germany, Roundups, Spain, Sweden

Month in Review: July 2016

Greetings from Fuerteventura, Spain, otherwise known as La Isla del Viento (the island of wind).  I’d heard rumors of its windy-ness before arriving and BOY is it living up to the hype.

Anywho, I’ll tell you more about this special place and exactly how I ended up here a little further on.  We’ve got a lot of ground to cover this month, so I’ll try not to mince words.  Here we go!

In July of 2016…

I learned how to surf!

The month kicked off with a splash–literally!  I traveled to a little city on the coast of France called Lacanau to participate in a weeklong surf camp with the Swede.  UCPA is a French association that hosts outdoor sport camps of all varieties all over Europe.  You can try out one sport for a whole week or alternate between a few, and food and accommodation are included in the price.  It’s a great value for a week of instruction, food, a bed, and lots of new friendships.Surfing in Lacanau, France with UCPA

It was a really amazing experience, and one I was totally terrified of right up until our first surf lesson.  And, let’s be real, it wasn’t always pretty.  Ahem.Learning to surf in Lacanau, France with UCPA

By the end of the week, though, I was more confident on a surfboard than ever before and even looking forward to seeking out other surfing opportunities down the road.  Our surf instructors, Martin and Clement, were fabulous, supportive, and hilarious to boot.  For me, they really made the experience what it was.Surfing in Lacanau, France with UCPA

Most of the camp’s participants were French, but there were small pockets of other nationalities (and a pretty big group of Swedes which comprised most of our group); I’m fairly certain I was the only American, and possibly the first they’ve ever had?  I can’t verify that, but everybody seemed pretty perplexed as to how I ended up there!Surfing in Lacanau, France with UCPA

If you find yourself in Europe for the summer, check out UCPA’s various offerings.  It might just be the best week of your whole trip!

I attended my 3rd TBEX conference

Buying a last-minute ticket to my third TBEX conference, this time in Stockholm, Sweden, turned out to be an excellent decision.  Since my rebrand, which only happened about two months ago, I’ve been working hard to get my blog’s new name and new mission out there as much as possible, and I knew that in-person networking would be a great addition to that effort.  Not to mention TBEX conferences are always a blast, I get to see people I love and make tons of new blogger buddies, and I learn a metric crapload about blogging as a business.Stockhom, Sweden

I didn’t have time to register for any pre-BEX trips or FAM trips this year, but in a way, I was grateful for the downtime following a fairly hectic three weeks in France leading up to the conference.  I still got to explore parts of Stockholm that were new to me and have a few fun nights out on the town, which you might be shocked to learn I had actually never done before!Stockhom, Sweden

I feel like I say this every time TBEX comes up in a blog post, but really, if you’re a travel blogger and you’re looking to make some connections in the industry, you need to start attending these conferences.  Partnering with brands is icing on cake for me–what I really enjoy the most is networking with my peers and forming long-term relationships with people that are so accomplished and inspirational and have so much valuable knowledge to share.  And this year’s closing keynote on using life transitions as opportunities given by Stockholm local Lola Akinmade Åkerström was particularly moving; click here to watch in its entirety.

I finished and released my ebook!!!

!!!!!!  Anyone who’s been following this process from start to finish knows how much it meant to me to finally release my eBook this month.  This photo pretty nicely sums up how happy I felt: Shooting in Chelan with Megan Kathleen Photography

I will admit that I completely f*@$d up the promotion leading up to the launch–i.e. I pretty much didn’t do any!  As I mentioned, those weeks traveling in France were a little bit hectic and probably, if I’m being really honest here, couldn’t have come at a worse time.  With all of the things I had on my plate, taking a break from blogging was the LAST thing I should have been doing, but so many cogs were already in motion and there was really no stopping those plans.

Somehow, I had a lot of pre-orders anyway and so far I’ve received OVERWHELMINGLY positive feedback from the people who’ve gotten their hands on it, and I’m just glowing with pride that people are finding it useful and informative.  Here are just a few of the positive reactions Take Your Life Back: Finding Freedom Through Location Independence has earned so far:

Leah has created a useful guide full of information to help you along the path to creating your own remote lifestyle where you can earn from the road. I like the real life examples Leah uses as well as other experts offering their thoughts on the subject too. It’s all golden information without any fluff, just real practical advice you can gather a lot of takeaways from. This is a blueprint inspiration guide for anyone looking to kick start their own lifestyle.

-Dave Brett, Travel Dave UK

What I appreciated most was this book was so much more than fluffy quotes and the cry to ‘Quit your job to travel whoo!’ I found real, practical advice about how to run an online business, useful and diverse examples alongside very clear, supportive information and resources. The amount of research and support materials makes it useful for anyone looking to take control of their career and lifestyle balance, not only through location independence. An extremely valuable resource that has given me a sound kicking to shift my work habits! 

-Carly Hulls, Austrian Adaptation

Of course, I can’t forget to thank the woman who helped make this book UTTERLY GORGEOUS with her incredible photography.  I talk about my friend Megan all the time because I greatly admire her work and she’s just one of the kindest souls I know.  Shooting in Chelan with Megan Kathleen Photography

She has taken photos for my blog in the past, and once again she made time for me in her crazy summer schedule to take the photos that are featured throughout this eBook, and I am just beyond enamored with how it all came together in the end.Shooting in Chelan with Megan Kathleen Photography

I visited SO MANY NEW PLACES!

Summer always seems to be the busiest travel time for me, no matter what I do!  I guess I just get too excited about all the possibilities and how beautiful EVERY city seems to be at this time of year.  I started the month off with a few days in Paris, then it was Lacanau for surf camp, Bordeaux because BorDUHHH!  WINE!  Then it was a quick jaunt back to Paris, then Stockholm for TBEX, then Berlin, then finally Fuerteventura, where I am now!Paris, France Paris, France

France and Germany were both new countries for me which is always exciting, although it reminded me how nice it is to be able to communicate in the local language even a little bit!  I floundered a bit less in France just because of the similarities to Spanish, but Germany left me feeling pretty dumb!  I should clarify, though, that me feeling dumb doesn’t say anything about the ease of getting around in those countries; I found plenty of people in both who were happy to speak English, and despite the rumors I’d heard about Paris, no one ever treated me poorly simply for not speaking French.  I just pride myself on learning some language basics before landing in a new country, and I’ve really failed at that recently!Bordeaux, FranceBerlin, Germany

Anyway, so you know what took me to most of those places, but what about Spain?  Well, during my research for my eBook, I learned a lot about this new phenomenon called co-living that’s becoming quite popular in the digital nomad scene.  Co-working I was quite familiar with, of course, but co-living was a new concept to me and it sounded like something I could really benefit from, what with my need for real human connections and a real-life community and all.

One of these co-living spaces I discovered really stuck with me for reasons I still can’t explain, but long story short, that place is here in Fuerteventura!  For the majority of August, I’ll be here in Corralejo on the island’s northern tip co-living and co-working with Hub Fuerteventura.  I’ve been here less than a week but I can already tell you it’s an experience worth having if you’re location independent like me and are tired of the same old hostel scene or spending way too much money on hotels.  It’s a really sweet deal for long-term stays–I have a private room (all I’ve ever wanted in life) in a beautiful shared apartment and access to the co-working space down the street that’s available for our use 24/7.  I’m meeting cool people and discovering a new place that I might not have visited otherwise, and I’m working on my own terms not only guilt-free but with lots of encouragement from my new friends.Fuerteventura, Spain

I’ll be sharing lots more of this experience on social media in the next few weeks, so be sure to follow along if co-living is something you’re curious to know more about!

Reader Survey

Alright, guys, it’s time for me to ask a small favor of you!  In an effort to create the kind of content YOU want most, I’ve created a short reader survey to help me figure out exactly what that content looks like.  I’m fairly certain the whole thing will take you about 30 seconds to complete (it’s only 8 questions!) and will help me immensely to craft the perfect blog posts for you in the coming months.  Thanks in advance for your time and for being AWESOME!  🙂

Click here to complete the short survey.

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You know that feeling…that feeling when you accomplish something you never thought you’d actually accomplish?? That’s pretty much how I’m feeling right now, because guys…I’ve FINALLY FINISHED MY EBOOK!!! It’s SUCH an amazing feeling, like two sacks of bricks have just been lifted from my shoulders. I can breathe again! I can practically fly if you want me to! And it feels this good because writing that ebook was a very scary proposition to me in the beginning. I knew I’d have a lot to learn and be putting in a LOT of hours to get it done. And I fucking did it. I’ve been challenging all my readers to think of that one thing that scares them the most right now in life, and go out and do it. Just fucking do it. Because it’ll never get any less scary until you face it head on. My ebook will be officially released tomorrow, meaning you have one day left to grab it at the pre-sale price. Your support means the absolute WORLD to me, and a very special thank you to those who’ve already bought a copy and put their faith in me to create something valuable. You guys are keeping my dream alive! ??? #faceyourfears #youcandoit #locationindependence #digitalnomadlife ? by @omegankathleen

A photo posted by Leah Davis (@thesweetestway) on

A Few Things I’m Loving

Understanding Hillary: Why the Clinton America Sees Isn’t the Clinton Colleagues Know – I know who I’ll be voting for come this November, but I also understand the reservations a lot of others have.  I enjoyed this piece on Hillary Clinton; it’s less about her political campaign and more about her character as a person, and I think it’s well worth reading if the idea of voting Trump OR Clinton makes you want to light yourself on fire.

Take a Moment, Say Your Goodbyes: Bachelorette Obits, Vol. 7 – This old friend of mine from college and now a Harvard Law grad is not only obnoxiously smart, he just so happens to write the BEST BACHELORETTE RECAPS EVER and I think they need to be shared.  I seriously can’t wait for the season finale!

10 Swedish Sandwich Cake Recipes – I just learned that Sweden has these delicacies called smörgåstårta, which literally translates to “sandwich cake.”  Whether you think it sounds delicious or roughly on par with pickled herring, you need to see these monstrosities delightful treats.

That’s all for July!  Onward and upward!

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