Life as a Traveling Entrepreneur isn’t All Unicorns and Rainbows
But Mostly it is!
Originally posted August 2017.
It’s been a little while since I’ve got a post out so apologies for this one being so long! I’ve somehow managed to write way less, despite making a big effort to not do ALL the fun things ALL the time.
This post gives a run down of the fun and struggles I had in Budapest whilst I was there for a month this July!
Why you may want to bother reading this:
- You want an insight into the reality of life traveling and running your own business.
- You’re a clever marketer and want to know which of your new Instagram growth hacks is going to kill your account (I don’t know anyone who’s aware of this, and I know LOTS of Instagram big ballers).
- You hate your work and want to put off getting starting it today for as long as possible 😉
So here, we, go!
Travel Day + Week One
The first week was somewhat of work blur, as I’ll explain shortly, but here are the main bits!
We leave Split on a Saturday on a chartered flight to Budapest. Our flight is delayed by hours, and we maaaaaaay have gotten a little drunk whilst waiting, and turned Splits tiny airport into some rave / casino combo.
In Budapest we meet out awesome city team, Zsofi and Niki!
Zsofi tries to teach us Hungarian (one of the world’s most difficult languages). We also try Unicum, a local liquor and “delicacy”, for the first, and the last time.
I’d visited this gorgeous city about 18 months prior, and had got most touristy stuff out of the way.
This meant whilst everyone was going berserk, especially my American friends, who were very taken by “old stuff”, I was able to start getting some work done.
Luckily, I had some extra motivation. About 3 days before leaving Croatia, my website kept crashing every time 10+ people were on it (I regularly have 10,000+ people a day on it, so it was pretty fucking dead).
To make this even more fun, no one could figure out what the issue was.
Was it a DDoS attack?
A plugin or theme bug?
Or, worst case scenario, a core WordPress bug (yup, guess which it was…. 😑)?
To make this even EVEN more fun, everyone was having ALL THE FUN as it was our last few days in Croatia. So with the FOMO in full force, I decided it would be best to just not think about my dead AF website and party party party.
This, it turns out, is a recipe for some very unpleasant anxiety (the only time I’ve had my travel fam say I seemed stressed!).
Come my first Monday in Budapest when everyone was exploring and having fun, I was settling in for a week of 15 hour work days, completely rebuilding my website from scratch as the issue was, you guessed it, a core WordPress bug.
And they say I struggle with work-life balance…
Anyway, this was pretty fun, I’d take having 15 hour days working on a problem I know I can solve, than having zero fucking clue what’s broken.
So that was my exciting first week in Budapest.
We go out for a lovely Indian dinner — find some actual spicy food. I’m pleased.
Head into town and meet up with the gang. Me, Taryn and Flick start touring the bars, we get a little krunk… Taryn get’s hiccups, it’s adorable.
The sun comes up. Fuck everything. I walk the girls home and pick up 7am McDonalds for Amelia.
This will be my chill day. I snooze in until the early afternoon and then head out to find somewhere interesting.
I bump into Kat and Janet and we head to the river for drinks.
We chill by the river at some cute Italian restaurant, knock back a few bottles of vino and then Mark and Dario join us to keep the festivities rolling.
Having not eaten all day, at ~9pm we decide to hit up Hard Rock for some mad burgers and boozy shakes.
We head to Kiwi’s for more drinks and then out with the crew to Instant.
Photo from Mel @mdoesthings
Dina’s a mother fucking badass and convinces the door staff to let us all skip the queue.
I’m beyond impressed by this.
Party party party. Aaaand the sun comes up, again,
Yeah, not today.
Today is my first stand-out experience in Budapest, we delve into the Labyrinth of caves below the city. We’re 30 meters underground, it’s pitch black, you can’t see your hands in front of your face.
The whole experience is just thrilling. It’s a completely new environment to me. The hair on the back of my neck stands up and I feel as I would walking through any jungle or over any mountain range.
We crawl through 2 feet wide tunnels on our stomachs. At first this seems like a terrible idea, and a distance voice in my head quietly reminds me that I could FREAK THE FUCK OUT at any point.
I decide to ignore that voice.
After the first 10–15ft crawl, the adrenaline hits me. I need more.
So the best part of the caves? I discover small spaces excite me.
Which may require further exploration…😏
Meet a Russian Segway gang.
Coincidentally (I hope), Russians steal my Uber details and enjoy joy rides in and around Moscow on my dolla.
And the rest of this week?
I’m burned out from working like a mad man and then partying like a mad man.
I’m feeling anxious and blanket hate everyone.
So I chill at home for the week, do some work, watch some Netflix.
This is my first big crash of my travel journey, and I know it’ll not be my last.
I make an effort to journal about the various factors and events leading to it, and endeavor to keep an eye on them in the future!
Yep. More fun.
We take a bus out to an outdoor thermal bath beside Lake Balaton, a beautifully, azure blue lake in Western Hungary.
The outdoor thermal bath is, interesting…
Firstly, after having such an easy time swimming in the oh-so salty Adriatic Sea off Croatia, I’m quickly aware of how buoyant I am not, in the warm, fresh water of the thermal bath.
And this isn’t water you want to be sinking in to.
The bottom of the thermal pool is coated in a slimy, thick, pond weed. I also can’t help but think that the toasty, weedy waters are a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of nasties.
So I’m sure the amount of pool I swallow gives my immune system a fun work day.
Anyway, like I said, interesting experience.
After that we head over to Tihany, a picturesque village, with adorable thatched roof cottages on a peninsula on the lake. We visit a monastery some 1000 years old, with beautiful views over the lake.
Left picture from Little T @theremoteyogi
After the views over the lake, I’ve seen all I need to make up my mind: I need to get on this lake.
A group of us grab a bus down to the waterside and rent a yacht to sail out onto the lake for an hour or two.
Kara and Janet buy us some wine(vinegar) to drink.
It’s not good.
Being someone not particularly motivated by possessions, I must admit, a small yacht is now somewhat appealing…
We head back to Budapest, grab some very average, very spongy taco’s and head over to party it up for Melissa’s birthday at the Széchenyi thermal baths.
These beautiful, Roman era baths are, for one night a week, completely obliterated by drunk, obnoxious tourists.
And I’m one of them 😉
People are constantly throwing drink cups around, creating a sea of artificial jellyfish to wade through.
And the drinks that aren’t finished? Don’t worry, people are busy splashing hot, syphilitic water around into all of those, so you’ll spend some time pondering:
“how long will it take for the booze in my drink to sterilize that…?”
Whilst a massive, crazy pool party seems like an awesome idea, as everyone is all sexy, pretty much running around in their underwear, the reality isn’t quite as practical.
Get into the party pit and you find that being chest (or neck) deep in water isn’t the most conducive for having fun and dancing..
But that’s fine, you can just hop out and dance at the sides.
Oh wait, you’re just in swim wear.
And it’s wet.
And it’s 2am.
So this lasts the whole of about 30 seconds before you get cold and just wading into the chaos again.
Anyway, it’s my second thermal bath of the day, and my second “interesting” experience. At the very least, I’m sure my skin is hella sexy after all of it.
So, back on a work hype.
Head out to a coffee shop and start pounding through Pinterest work.
Converting all of my standard workout pins into GIF versions, to double up my pin content 🔥!
Ready to smash the day. Pump out all the work. Hit the gym. Move on to beer work (one of my favorite kinds of work).
Game of Thrones is back on 😁!
I explode with excitement.
Watch that with the fam and head back to work to finish off my 15 hours of work.
Work game strong.
Decide to go to an event — Rubik’s cube master in the garden of philosophy-first part sounds shit, second part interests me enough to go.
I was wrong.
We go to a lovely garden on top of a hill on the Buda side of the city and one of Hungary’s best Rubik’s speed solvers walks us through solving the first face of a cube.
It gives me an itch.
I NEED to learn how to solve this puzzle.
In the evening about 15 of us head over to Matheus’ house for “Deep chats”, an informal event arranged by Trish, who’s basically in charge of making sure everyone on Remote Year has a dope ass time.
This is my second stand out experience in Budapest.
I get such a kick out of peeling back the layers on people and getting to know them on a deeper level. What make’s them tick? What are they passionate about? What are they insecure about? What do they want to do with their lives?
So to get the opportunity to peel back 2–3 layers with 15+ people just blew my little feels brain to pieces.
All the happy feels
In fact, loved it so much I’m going to write up a post with the activities we went through in order to get people to open up, as I think it’s such a valuable thing to do.
Need to make this a monthly event!
So hyped up for work that I think I just do 16 hours and then sleep.
Make all the workout pin GIFs 🔥🔥.
Still have the fucking itch.. Google the nearest toy shop and march over to buy a Rubik’s cube. Proceed to sit on Youtube for hours figuring out how to solve one and practicing until I can do it without help.
The itch disappears.
Side note; mentor gives me a super flattering shout out on his Growth Hacking Facebook group (Traffic & Copy), putting me in a top 10 with some REALLY IMPRESSIVE mo fuckers:
“Connor McCreesh — Dangerously close to being my favourite person I’ve ever mentored, like Justin, learned growth hacking by sitting in his bedroom and trying shit out.
No reading blogs, no networking, just grinding and iterating.
He finds content that gets high engagement, puts it on his Instagram page, and has a link on his bio leading to an info product, and makes bags of ca$h.
Encouraged by those results, he then went away and worked out Pinterest (again, on his own) and is doing even better on that. Like everyone else on this list, he is using that baseline to work on new things.”
So that was awesome 🔥
Pop over to Pisa for the weekend to attend a “Nation House”, a meet up of people from different RY travel groups to exchange expertise, experiences and in general just have loads of fun.
Our house revolved around “Goal Setting and Habit Forming”.
And I’m ALL ABOUT DAT SHIT. So this was right up my alley, and I’m also going to whip up a post about the various techniques and activities we ran through, as they were really helpful.
Anyway — I turn up Friday afternoon, wonder through the tight, cute streets of Pisa towards Filter Coffee Lab where I meet up with many of the awesome people I’m about to spend the next few days with.
Travis and Michelle rock up with a van each and we take off far out of Pisa and deep into the Italian country side.
We stop off for groceries and continue onward to traverse tiny, winding roads up through the hills.
We climb and climb, with no sight of another car until we pull into our home for the weekend; the adorable hamlet (I guess?) of Tavella.
A tiny settlement of eight, YES EIGHT, people up in a tiny little collection of interconnected houses and alleyways high in the hills of Tuscany.
It’s somewhat amusing that the 12 of us have more than doubled the population of this “town”.
We’re greeted by the MOST adorable German couple anyone’s ever met. When Airbnb gets it right, it gets it RIGHT!
We’re taken on a tour of the house and Jesus, sets about whipping up some tasty AF Mexican cuisine for us all to chow down on.
We ease into the first evening with a kick-ass visioning workshop from Marina, and everyone enjoys the ludicrously cheap wine that Italy has to offer.
It’s 8.30, my door swings open and:
Travis wakes me up in the best way possible to this sound track!
Side note — Travis is the most positive, cheery, energetic human I think I’ve ever met. He’s amazing. I need to spend more time with him.
Everyone’s whipping up a breakfast storm. Bacon, eggs, cereal, all the foods.
I fuel my body with nutritious, caffeinated espresso goodness instead.
If time doesn’t slow down, you’re not drinking enough…
We whip through another round of energizing, empowering goal and habit forming talks. I’m getting very ready to get shit done.
I smash out some speed carbonara for the group. They seem to like it.
We head out to Cinque Terre, a beautiful, quaint collection of towns spread out along the coast.
Yes I know. EVERYTHING is beautiful.. Well, it fucking is.
We sit in a gorgeous harbor, sipping some Aperol Spritz’s / orange goop, and one of my best friends calls me whilst balls deep in a trip. So that was a pretty fun, and nice to catch up.
We hit up a pizza joint that’s hundreds of years old, unsurprisingly, it’s damn good.
Then we head back to our adorable hamlet for yet more wine, goop 🍹, and general fun whilst getting to know each other better. We made rounds of the table cheersing to people, locations and experiences close to our hearts.
If you’re looking to get a little krunk, having a drink every time one of 12 people makes a toast, and going round and round the group isn’t a bad way….
8.30am. Lion King, again 😍.
I’m convinced that no day can be started poorly with this to wake you up. Hello new alarm…
We smash another three learning sessions finishing up with yours truly and my amazing partner Stevie (who you may remember from my last post)!
I basically try to convince the group that they should want to create astronaut dinosaurs that will save the world..
I think they buy it.
We bounce to see the Tower of Pisa, which is in a beautiful courtyard with a few other amazing old building.
We take some dumb (awesome) perspective photos, as you do.
Then we grab a final lunch before most of the group takes off.
The remaining crew head to a hostel, I drool sleep for a little bit (the best sleep) and then we head out into Pisa to drink til stupid am again.
It was loads of fun.
In fact, one of my big highlights from this weekend is meeting this new group of people. It feels like my first week in Croatia again, but the vibe is different. Everyone here has already been on this journey, some have even finished it, so it’s crazy interesting to pick their brains on the experience.
Advice on locations I was yet to visit.
Funny stories to share.
Horror stories to learn nothing from and repeat!
The whole weekend really was great fun. I’ll be looking to get involved with more of these in the future.
I AM THE FIRE 🔥!
Ready to pull some change from this weekend, I dive straight into meditating again, having got a lot out of it when I did it for ~4 months, a year ago.
Check the Calm app — lots of zen background tracks.
Schedule in a business class “Make All the Internet Money” for the following Tuesday.
In Split roughly half of my group (20–25 people) had said they had goals that should be easily achievable with my business / marketing help in 3–6 months.
It only took me 6 weeks and a super motivational weekend to get to it, but now it’s on!
Work like a badass for the rest of the day!
Up at 8am (I don’t do this). Meditate. Work out.
Work like a madman, again!
Hit a new Pinterest traffic milestone — 13,000 unique hits in a day.
Also, get a Pinterest consulting gig.
It’s takes an hour, zero prep and I get paid big bucks. I’m considering giving this a little more thought….
Thursday fun day. After neglecting Instagram in favor of Pinterest for months, as Pinterest is less prone to shafting your entire business with algorithm changes, I dive back into Instagram!
Figuring shit out 😍!
Especially if that shit can be turned into Internet money..
So I dive back into Instagram, start to push my follower count up after weeks of stagnation, but best of all, I figure out something new, something that no one else knows 😏.
This is a topic for a whole post, but basically even the best in the business (who I’m regularly connected with), aren’t getting something big right.
But for most people, not only aren’t they getting this right, they’re completely fucking their accounts long term growth by getting this wrong.
Don’t use boost groups / engagement groups / telegram groups, whatever you want to call them. Your account will die before you can make good money from it.
So if you’re in any of these groups, get out. You’ll likely struggle to cover the cost of pulling your account out of the algorithmic pile of shit you bury it in!
In the evening we head over to a bar to finish up our “Collective” for the month — the same event series that had me jumping from a four story cliff in Split. This month’s topic is communication and Kiwi and Dina, the masters for the month, have arranged a Shark Tank pitch for us.
Now this is the kind of stuff I do all the time, so having the balls to talk in front of a crowd, especially one comprised of my close friends, isn’t something difficult for me.
What I really enjoyed about this event was that friends that struggled with communication, who weren’t interested in taking part when I pressed them before the session, got up to talk after 3–4 of us started it off.
I also got yet another kick that I need to really spend some time working on my storytelling skills. Several of the short pitches were just lessons wrapped up in vivid stories. They were enthralling. Need to work on that shit!
We continue to keep the communication skills building with a trip to an Escape Room — a problem solving game room that you try to get out of.
These rooms completely set my nerd brain on fire. They’re AMAZING! 🤓🔥
We escape from the most difficult room before the time runs out 😎
We head to a Tikki (Native American?) bar, grab some tasty cocktails and this seems to be all I need to decide going HARD tonight is for me.
We head over to Instant, the massive, 3 ruin bar complex.
I proceed to, for some reason, drink my own body weight in beer.
I get KRUNK.
The sun starts to come up (fml fml fml 😑).
Niki, being the world’s biggest sweetie, gets a taxi home with me to make sure I’m not dead.
It seems she didn’t succeed..
Wake up at 10am.
Wake up at 3pm.
Go for a McDonalds date with LD. Eat an ambitious amount of burgers.
Wake up at 6.30pm.
Somehow, manage to have one of the most interesting / fun experiences of my whole time in Budapest!
I get up, resuscitate my face with a gallon of water, and catch a bus up the road to Marks to meet everyone for a blind dinner (ooo, interesting).
Kelly (who is visiting Budapest from another Remote Year group, and is awesome) has organised this amazing evening experience.
So here is my third and final stand out experience whilst in Budapest:
We have a blind hostess (who’s a complete sweetheart), and she leads us through a crazy sensory experience and dinner, IN COMPLETE DARKNESS.
Can’t see your hand in front of your face darkness.
We start off walking through a flat in complete darkness. We’re forced to getting very touchy, bumping into everyone and getting stuck as a group in corners of the room.
It’s completely hilarious how much we rely on our vision.
I’m reminded how much fun I have when every day experiences are made challenging: Figuring out a menu in another language, crossing the road (in Asia), navigating metro systems, and, it seems, trying to paw my way around a flat with zero vision.
Gives a great adrenaline kick.
Such a junkie.
So we paw our way around this flat before exiting to cross a busy road.
In complete fucking darkness. Very fun.
We cross the road to a log cabin before ending up in a museum filled with famous statues.
Being competitive, I’m pawing at all of them madly. I NEED TO KNOW.
Atlas supporting the world.
A person. Athletic, male chest. Seems to have something thrown over his shoulder.
Yep, it’s Michelangelo’s David!
Sphinx. Atlas. David.
So after rabidly working through the statues, we head into the dinner hall.
This is a crazy experience in itself. There are 3–4 tables of people already in there, talking and laughing. We sit down and it takes a while to zero in on the people around me, their voices, where they’re located, but when I have, it’s amazing.
What your brain does to fill in the blanks when your vision is gone is absolutely amazing.
My nerd brain has the biggest boner for the whole experience 🤓.
My “vision” passes through shades of red, blue and purple.
I sit with my jaw on the floor for the whole experience, staring at the galaxy of stars I can “see” wherever I assume the ceiling is.
I wave my hands around in front of my face, I can see them! Except I clearly can’t.
To test this, I hold Kelly’s hand in front of my face, and I can see it! Except I can’t, because she’s already moved it seconds ago, and as soon as she tells me this, her hand and arm evaporate from my “vision”.
I can see Dario and Kara sitting across the table from me. Except I can’t.
I’m terrible company for most of the experience as I sit in amazement at the workings of my brain.
We (I) also eat food, like animals, as no one can see us doing so 🙃
Anyway, in short, spend some time in the dark, it’s crazy cool.
Me by the end of the dinner.
After this we head to Pontoon, a rooftop bar on the Danube to grab drinks. After saying farewell to Niki the previous night, I go to see Zsofi to say bye.
My heart weeps 😔.
As fun as all the travel is; meeting sweet, awesome, magic new people, saying bye to them, especially after getting to know them for a month, isn’t something I look forward to!
I smother her in hugs for an hour and take one last stroll home, as tomorrow, I leave for a new adventure in Lisbon, Portugal!
So, useful shit from that monster read?
Well, hopefully it was at least fun! But what I want to convey is it’s not all balls to the wall fun (I mean, it mostly is, but not ALL).
Work life balance is HARD. There’s so many interesting, fun opportunities to throw myself into and picking the ones that are actually meaningful to me isn’t as obvious as it may sound.
I can’t do everything!
- I’ve got a business(es) to run.
- I like working, it motivates me, ignites my passion for problem solving and makes me feel dope.
So there needs to be a balance! Believe me when I say, the FOMO is REAL!
You need to really rein in your schedule.
Next point — It sucks leaving awesome people behind. Beautiful, wonderful people that you connect with, and then they’re gone.
How do you balance being open and wanting to get deeper with people, against becoming somewhat jaded at doing so because it sucks so much when you leave?
I’ve no idea, tell me please haha!
Final point — for my business peeps 😉, stop using mass engagement groups (the Telegram type, usually). They’re going to kill your account.
So that’s that, like the post?
Want more travel experience stuff?
More business stuff?
Know how to make leaving cool people less crushing?
Yo, I’m Connor!
I’m a smart person. I don’t do smart things.