Month in Review: May 2016
Europe, Mexico, New York, Roundups

Month in Review: May 2016

May is over!  Summer is almost here!

The last month was all about hanging out with friends and family, recuperating from my month of travel in New York and Mexico, and getting ready for my upcoming travels to Europe.

Needless to say, exciting things are happening and I can hardly contain myself!  May was also a pretty productive month, and I can’t wait to share my insights and lessons with you.

Read on for exactly what I got up to in the month of May, and stick around ’til the end for some great links and resources from around the web.

In May of 2016…

I found myself (alone) in Mexico.

Solo travel is good for the soul, guys.  Even when you don’t want to be alone, even when it downright sucks, it’s good in unexpected ways.  It pushes you further outside of your comfort zone than you ever thought you could go.  And it never fails to teach you some pretty profound lessons, even if you don’t know it at the time.  My two weeks in Tulum did just that.

I had some experiences in my final few days that I just don’t know how to put into words.  In fact, I may never–they might remain entirely my own for the rest of eternity.  Do you have a secret that you’ve never told another soul?  In a way, though, keeping it to myself feels selfish, so hopefully someday I’ll open up about it. Let’s just say that I’m not the same person I was before Tulum, and I mean that in the best way possible.Tulum, Mexico

I rebranded my site!

Yay, change!  Saying goodbye to The Mochilera Diaries was gut-wrenching, but so necessary.  You know something is going to be good when it scares the living crap out of you, and that’s exactly how rebranding my website felt.  I feel so fortunate to have received so much positive feedback from my readers since the big switch–everyone seems 100% onboard with the evolution and new direction of this site, so a big thank you to all of YOU!  If you missed the post announcing the changes, find it here.

Oh, and I also said goodbye to my longest-running series, Friday Snapshots, by looking back at its evolution over time.Welcome to The Sweetest Way Travel & Lifestyle Design

I decided to give up meat.

This was another one of those things that was a long time coming.  I may very well have gotten the final push while still in Mexico when all those strange and wonderful things were happening.

To be clear, I haven’t gone full veg–I still eat eggs and dairy, and while I’m not a big fish person, if a plate of salmon came my way I probably wouldn’t say no just yet.  I figure this is a process just like any other, and it will take time to adjust and figure out exactly what I want to achieve with this new lifestyle.  Not only that, but I’m realizing how inadequately prepared I am to cook vegetarian meals.  I’ve always relied on meat as my main source of protein, and suddenly find myself staring blankly into my cupboard thinking “Well, shit. ”

That said, if anyone has some great vegetarian recipes to share with me, feel free to link to them in the comments below!  I’m also curious to see how this impacts my travels; I’ll definitely be seeking out my vegetarian blogger friends for tips!Tulum, Mexico

Meat-free in Mexico

I’ve made some major progress on my location independence eBook!

My eBook is really starting to take shape, and while I’m thrilled for its release later this summer, I’m also so nervous I could vomit!  It’s easily the biggest resource I’ve ever put together and I want so badly for it to measure up to everyone’s expectations.  I’ve carved out a little bit of time every day to work on it (even on airplanes!) which has really made all the difference; it doesn’t feel like such a daunting task when broken down into small pieces.

This book will include my own story and lessons from becoming location independent, interviews and tips from other successful digital nomads, resources for finding freelance work and so much more!  If you’re not already on my email list, sign up now to gain access to early bird discounts and exclusive material that won’t make the cut!Location Independence

I bought a ticket…

To TBEX Europe!  I remember the palpable excitement that filled the room at TBEX Costa Brava last year when they announced Stockholm as the host city for 2016.  At the time, I hadn’t been there yet, but even after spending several months in the “Venice of the North” I am ecstatic to be returning!  Winter was beautiful, but I’ve heard that summer in Sweden is absolutely stunning!  I won’t be joining any pre- or post-BEX tours as I registered pretty late in the game, but I’ll have plenty of time to explore on my own since I’ll be posted up there most of the summer.

I figured that following the rebrand, the best way to start getting my new name and new message out there was to do some in-person networking, and TBEX is always a great opportunity to catch up with my favorite blogging buddies and meet new ones!  Anyone else attending this conference?  Can’t wait to see you all there!Stockholm, Sweden

My Most Popular Posts

Welcome to the Sweetest Way!

Stay Safe on the Go with the Allianz TravelSmart App

Why Everyone You Know is Ditching the 9-5

5 of the Greatest Lesson I’ve Learned While Pursuing Location Independence

My Best Instagrams

A Few Things I’m Loving

Johnny FD’s monthly income reports – If you’re looking for a location independent role model, you need to get on the Johnny FD train!  This guy is more passionate about this lifestyle than anyone I know, amazing at what he does, and incredibly generous with his knowledge.  Every month he breaks down exactly what he earned and how, and it’s inspirational to the max.

Why You Can’t Trust Yourself – Ufff, this article by Mark Manson hit me RIGHT in the gut!  I’ve been thinking a lot about so many of the themes he talks about–how we’re much more fluid as individuals than we think we are, how much our emotions dictate our actions, and how the world we experience is actually just a tiny sliver of reality.  An eye-opening read, fully backed by research and scientific fact.

#Girlboss Radio – I’ve discovered my podcast soulmate in Sophia Amoruso’s #Girlboss Radio (founder of Nasty Gal and author of #Girlboss).  In every episode, she interviews one incredible woman about her path to success, whether it was starting her own business or becoming a powerful CEO.  These podcasts are full of so many gold nuggets of business and life advice, and they’re hilarious to boot.  They have me seriously considering buying [easyazon_link identifier=”1591847931″ locale=”US” tag=”themochdiar-20″ cart=”y”]the eponymous book[/easyazon_link].  I like to put them on while I’m working (or working out) and just absorb the greatness.

That’s it for May…onward and upward!

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  • Reply Kiara Gallop June 3, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Regarding vegetarian recipes, follow lucy_and_lentils on Instagram. Her creations look beautiful and taste delicious!

    • Reply Leah Davis June 3, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Awesome, thanks for the tip! I hadn’t thought to look on Instagram. Checking out her profile now 🙂

  • Reply Norm Gilbert June 3, 2016 at 5:45 pm


    I did it! Took the first small tiny little step. Booked a flight to Medellin in September for $538 RT from SFO (Thank you Hopper).

    I’ll have to go back and review your posts on Colombia but the purpose of the trip is just to see if I will like retiring there and using that as a base for traveling, since my Social Security income will be 3X higher than my total cost of living.

    Still plenty to learn and think about. Can’t pull the plug until November 2017 . . . But the journey of 1,000 steps starts with one step.

    • Reply Leah Davis June 5, 2016 at 11:45 pm

      NORM! That’s such wonderful news!! Congratulations! I think you’re doing it wisely by sussing out the situation first without totally committing to the move. I can’t wait to see how it all goes for you, and thanks so much for letting me be a part of your journey! I’m honored 🙂

  • Reply Justine June 3, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    First, I am really excited for your ebook. I know it’s going to be great! And second, yay another vegetarian(ish)!! I use the Happy Cow app constantly when I travel. It’s honestly amazing and it has always been my go-to resource when trying to find veg and veg friendly restaurants abroad. I imagine you’ll do just fine in Europe 🙂
    Justine recently posted…9 Things to Know Before Traveling to BeijingMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis June 5, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      You are going to probably end up being my go-to resource for vegetarian travel tips! I’ve never even heard of Happy Cow so we’re off to a good start! There’s definitely a lot of meat in Europe that I will probably miss at first, but you’re right, it’s totally manageable. Will be interesting to see how it goes!

  • Reply Silvia June 4, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Seriously, where did May go? Reading about everything you accomplished this month is giving me a good kick to get some stuff done too! That or I’ll just lie outside in the sun all day everyday – Scandinavia really is magic in the summer 🙂

    • Reply Leah Davis June 5, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Hahaha I cannot WAIT for Scandinavian summer! Will you be at TBEX? I mean, it’s so close, you kind of have to… 😉

  • Reply Natasha Amar June 5, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Can’t wait for your ebook, I’d love to read it. I’ll be in Stockholm from the end of June for an entire month, catching up on work and will attend TBEX Europe as well. I’d love to meet up if you’re around so let me know, I have nothing planned at the moment and I imagine working a lot (so if you have any suggestions for good cafes to work in please let me know) and a few short trips close to Stockholm before TBEX.

    • Reply Leah Davis June 5, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      Oh fabulous, it will be great to have some blogger friends in Stockholm! I won’t be back in the city until like the day before the conference (definitely planning to make it for the opening night party) but then afterwards I will be there…and working a LOT as well. We can check out the cafe scene together–when I was there in the winter I almost never left the apartment!

      • Reply Natasha Amar June 13, 2016 at 1:12 am

        That sounds great Leah! See you soon in Stockholm 🙂

  • Reply Kate June 5, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    I gave up meat when I was 11 years old, I think mainly because doing so made my Mom so annoyed. I put fish/seafood back in my diet when I moved to Seattle in 2008. It was a great decision that made me so much healthier. I haven’t had any issues traveling. Sometimes it’s carb city for awhile, but eventually I’ll find fish somewhere and load up on protein…or just beans! It’s been part of my life for more than half my life I don’t even think about it anymore. I love Field Roast when I’m at home as a supplement, as well as salmon burgers, tuna salad, quinoa, fried eggs, chickpea everything, and you can find really amazing tofu recipes. And when I’m not, I just make it work! I know that I have chicken stock sometimes in soups…and I try not to get worked up about it. Peru was hard at times, Japan as well…but I’m used to finding SOMETHING to eat and I never get upset if I’m at a place that seems perfect for everyone else (BBQ in Austin, Kobe in Japan, for example). I plan ahead and make sure to find one place on the trip that has something amazing for me. You get used to it!

    • Reply Leah Davis June 5, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Wow that’s so wonderful to hear! I hadn’t really considered something like salmon burgers–I definitely think I’d enjoy that. It sounds like you and I might be on a similar level commitment-wise as I pretty much never plan to give up eggs, and I would hate to be that wet blanket who doesn’t go somewhere everyone else wants to eat. Thanks so much for the tips!

  • Reply Erica June 7, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Congrats on a great month, and on taking the leap with vegetarianism 🙂 I know there are six bajillion veg resources on the internet, but for recipe inspiration I have to recommend Vegetaristan ( When I was living in Central Asia it was THE resource for vegetarians because they created most of their recipes with ingredients that were easily available in that region. Lately they seem to have expanded their repertoire and a lot of the recipes are vegan too, if you’re looking to push yourself with finding protein alternatives. I make this one all the time:
    Erica recently posted…The Holy Island Of LindisfarneMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis June 7, 2016 at 8:40 am

      Thanks for the tip, Erica! I’m definitely interested in vegan recipes too, I’m trying to stay open-minded and see what happens. Will definitely check out that website! 🙂

  • Reply Emily June 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Give Deliciously Ella a try – her recipes are actually more or less vegan but they all look so yummy! And she has loads of treat recipes in there like choco energy balls which look like they’d be great for busy days! I think she has an app too but not sure.

    • Reply Leah Davis June 9, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Awesome, thanks for the tip Emily! I just watched her video on making those energy balls, they look amazing! But I don’t have ANY of that stuff on hand haha so it looks like a trip to the grocery store is necessary first! 🙂

  • Reply Kat July 15, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    To add to the vegetarian recipes: I love for delicious salads (and also photos of her adorable dog).

    • Reply Leah Davis July 18, 2016 at 12:39 am

      Thanks for the tip, Kat! I’ll check her out 🙂

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