This is the true story of twelve strangers picked to live in Selina, work together, and have their lives taped to find out what happens when nomads stop being polite… and start getting real.
For two weeks in October, I was part of a group of fellow digital nomads that traveled across Mexico to all seven Selina locations.
It seemed to flash by in the blink of an eye, and yet it also seemed to last forever. Such is life on a hectic adventure with a jam-packed itinerary, which is exactly what you get on the Selina Roadtrip!
While there have been previous Selina Roadtrips, this was the first one that was open to the public. For the 3rd installment, digital nomads from all corners of the globe were invited to apply.
Over 500 did, yet only 12 made the cut in the end.
There were challenges involved, such as partnering with a charitable organization and referring friends to job openings at Selina. Pretty early on, it seemed clear who was determined to earn a spot on the roadtrip.
The herd thinned out from week to week, until there were only a dozen nomads left standing triumphantly.
We traveled from near and far to reach our first destination of Puerto Escondido. Oddly enough, my journey was probably the shortest as I call Mexico home for half of the year. Even the lone Mexican traveled farther than me!
The longest distance traveled definitely goes to the guys who flew all the way from South Africa to join the roadtrip. That’s nearly 9,000 miles!
The group of a dozen nomads was most definitely a mixed bag.
There were bloggers, digital marketers, fashion designers, yoga teachers, remote job coaches, and videographers. Some were veteran digital nomads, while others were just beginning their location independent journey.
We represented four different continents and seven countries in total.
Leading us across the land of tacos and tequila was the one and only Marcela, who will likely be the first employee inducted into the Selina Hall of Fame along with her trusty nomad dog, Fito.
Altogether, we made up one big, semi-functional nomad family.
Traveling with a group of strangers, sharing dorm rooms, cramming into vans for long rides, and basically spending every waking moment together is no easy task. It’s quite intense, especially when you’re far from home and your comfort zone.
Despite the obvious challenges, this year’s second Selina Roadtrip was a resounding success.
From the moment our group assembled on the beach in Puerto Escondido to the final goodbye in Cancun, we shared a life-changing, eye-opening experience that’s hard to put down on paper.
We started out as strangers (most of us, at least) and ended up as a family.
Along the way, we shared some pretty incredible moments.
We released baby turtles back into the ocean, soaked in a natural infinity pool in the mountains, ran through the pouring rain on a jungle art walk, and so much more.
It’s hard to believe just how much we packed into a 15-day trip.
In addition to all the activities, we learned a lot from each other.
I shared my expertise in teaching and learning languages, while my fellow nomads gave workshops on topics as diverse as Buddhism, networking, beach volleyball, breathwork, and running a successful Instagram channel.
I feel like I learned more on the roadtrip than I did in four years of college, and that’s not a critique of my university. Rather, it’s a testament to just how meaningful this trip was.
Of course, with all the highs also came a few lows.
Montezuma exacted his revenge on many of the road trippers, who weren’t quite used to Mexican cuisine. Things were lost and found along the way – computer chargers, tripods, rings.
Through it all, we looked out and cared for our fellow nomads just as we would a loved one.
Because despite being strangers just a few weeks ago, there is now so much love between this group.
Check out some highlights of Puerto Escondido in this short video.
As my dad told me on the phone after the trip, “99% of people will never get to experience something like that.”
And he’s absolutely right.
The roadtrip moved so quickly and emotions were running so high that it was hard to take it all in as we moved along.
As I sit here now and look back through my photos and share stories with Rachel, my parents, and siblings, it’s becoming clear that this trip will leave an indelible mark on all of us that were fortunate enough to be on it.
If you look at social media, the digital nomad life is portrayed as being rather glamorous.
A well-edited photo shows a nomad sitting by the pool with their laptop, usually in a unicorn floatie with a tropical drink in hand.
What it doesn’t show you is the inevitable struggle and loneliness that accompanies this “dream lifestyle.”
Indeed, there have been times in my 5-year digital nomad journey that I’ve considered throwing in the towel, getting a “real job,” and settling down.
The Selina Nomads Roadtrip has provided me with the inspiration and affirmation I needed to keep going, to face those challenges head-on, and to push myself to craft the life I truly want.
Connecting on such a deep level with a dozen other nomads and sharing this experience together was exactly what I needed, and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity.
Huge thanks to Marcela and the entire Selina organization for inviting me on the roadtrip and to all the other nomads for making it the trip of a lifetime. Let’s start planning that reunion for 2020!
Editor’s Note: While the trip was sponsored, the views expressed in this post are entirely my own. If you’re interested to learn more about Selina, check out their website.