I bought a one-way ticket to Switzerland to take care of goats, and it was the best decision of my life

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It's OK if plans change

It's OK if plans change

Initially, I thought I'd return to LA after the goats, but I realized it was OK if my plans changed. Since my jobs were remote, I had the freedom to explore new cities, going to castles and churches by day and working in cafés and coworking spaces by night. Soon, I also started a travel blog, Nomadic Natalia, about being a digital nomad.

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I learned that getting out of my comfort zone is critical to growing as a person

I learned that getting out of my comfort zone is critical to growing as a person

The more I traveled and lived as a digital nomad, the more I did things out of my comfort zone, which helped me grow as a person. In Dubrovnik, Croatia, I went sea kayaking at sunset with a dozen other people, all strangers to me. It was windy and the water was choppy, and all kayak tours were cancelled — except for mine.

I looked at the rough waves and told my guide I'd go another day. "No," he said. "I have faith that you can brave the choppy water. You just have to get from one side to the other." He was right; the water was choppy, but the challenge of kayaking through it made the sunset at the end all the more worthwhile.

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I learned that the best part of a new experience is the people

I learned that the best part of a new experience is the people

The best thing about moving a lot is all the different people you meet — they can make (or break) an experience. In Venice, Italy, I stayed in a convent (with a curfew!) right on the canals, befriended my nun housemates, and learned to live in silence.

On the island of Murano, Italy, I was reminded of the passion people put into their work when a jewelry designer taught me how to melt glass, and I ended up leaving his shop with a Murano glass flower necklace we'd both made.

In Bologna, Italy, I attended an impromptu tortellini-making class with a handful of female chefs who spoke no English, and I learned that cooking and camaraderie require no verbal communication.

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I learned that traveling is about experiences, not material possessions

I learned that traveling is about experiences, not material possessions

Of course, being a digital nomad is not all fun and trying to find good WiFi signals. Last year in Croatia, I woke up with about 100 bed-bug bites. When you get bed bugs, the way to decontaminate everything is via the high cycle on a dryer. Well, Croatia is known for its clotheslines, not dryers, which meant tossing most of my belongings and carrying the rest around in sealed garbage bags until I found a dryer.

But, at the end of the day, it was a great reminder that all I need to live and work remotely is my laptop, not all the material possessions I lost.

It’s now been a year-and-a-half since that one-way flight to Switzerland. I've taken many flights since, but to new destinations. All in all, though my relationship with the goats didn't last, it strengthened the relationship I had with myself. I realized that the goats got me to where I needed to go. Plus, I'm constantly reminded that taking risks is a necessary part of life; otherwise, what is life all about?

In an unexpected way, my grandma dying ended up becoming a lesson in living.

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