Episode #
026

Routine Meets Fitness for a Freedom Lifestyle With Eric LaShun | TNN26

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Episode Summary

How many of you travelers can attest that staying fit during your globe-trotting journey is challenging? When you hear "digital nomad", the first thing that comes to your mind is a person enjoying the sun on a tropical beach somewhere, maybe sipping on a delicious cocktail. The reality is digital nomad is a lifestyle that takes time (and tears, sweat, and blood) to achieve. Besides the usual grinding on our laptops, our weapon of choice, it takes discipline and routines to stay healthy living this lifestyle. Eric Lashun, the curator of The Freedom Lifestyle blog, can attest to that.

Our hosts, Andrew Jernigan and Allen Koski, together with Eric, talked about the perks and the challenges of being a digital nomad. They discussed how important your body’s nutritional needs are, especially when you’re travelling and in a foreign country. All three of them can definitely say that it’s not just about sunshine and good food, it’s also about the discipline and the cultural experience you gain in your travels. So if you’re into fitness and healthy living, digital nomad or not, listening to this episode is a must.

From the episode

The Freedom Lifestyle - check out Eric's writings, podcast and resources

Join Eric on Facebook

What You'll Learn

Ethiopian food and culture should be one of your considerations for adventure and exposure to spice up your life.

Turmeric and sea moss are worth a bit of research and addition to your consumption.

Timestamps

[6:02] Digital nomads: the laptop-wielding warriors

[11:18] Routines are your day’s map

[13:35] Good food, good you

[16:16] Your body’s input is your body’s output

[18:17] Japan: an introvert’s haven

[21:53] Bring a travel partner or not?

Show Transcript

Allen  

Welcome to The New Nomad. We have an interesting guest today. Eric LaShawn will join us he'll talk about the freedom lifestyle. He's been a digital nomad. He's a digital creative person. He's got, somebody who's got a really interesting background. I was intrigued earlier, when I was learning more about Eric at Stoic Thoughts: Traveling Reflections of an Introvert. Really interesting, also routine and fitness go together. So we've got some interesting topics to cover today. But before we do, we'd love to bring in my co host, Andrew Jernigan, who himself has been a new nomad. Andrew, how you doing today? And what is on your mind? 

Andrew  

Doing well it's been a fun day and in the life of those preparing for those traveling around the world. You know, I kind of hear my puppy in the background. And that's, that's one of my therapy toys right now as a new puppy. So that's, you may hear him squealing in the background. So that's that's what's on my mind at the moment, because I can hear that sweet teddy bear.

Allen  

Well, you know, it's interesting, you know, do you remember when we all first started with Zoom and Microsoft Teams world, how horrified we worried were whenever there was a little noise that intervene, you know, a dog bark, a leaf blower, some noise in the background. And now here we are like a year later. Unless it's a jet plane, right over the top. It's kind of like, ah, we've all we've all been there. I mean, to our, to our location, independent lifestyle, people, I think we've all gotten a lot more flexible, and understanding of the background noises and the things that many of us have to do. I mean, somebody's doing conference calls from a cubby hole in a house, because it's the only spot that they get some privacy. You know, Andrew, it's been quite a change.

Andrew  

It really has and it it makes you get your (at least when I think about it) it makes me get my inner world organized, even more so that I can have the outer world these conversations flow well, because there are things you can't control, but the things you can control is what's in your mind and how you operate on a daily basis. So I really think Eric's gonna bring some perspective into that today. Well, one or two having him join us.

Allen  

Me too. Me too. And one of the things we can control is bringing Eric into the conversation. Eric, welcome. First of all, where are you at today and we'd love to hear about how you started on this freedom lifestyle path and maybe share some thoughts with others.

Eric  

What today guys thank you for having me here. I'm glad to be here um, I'm in Denver, Colorado right now in the US of A, the good old USA. And my journey started probably in 2013, it was kind of random because I was going into college at the time to be a personal trainer. And at the time, you know, I was just I was a DJ and I was a security guard so I was kind of doing that thing and I decided to get a job at the airport and it was working for an airline. And out of 200 people I got the job and then I'm when I started using these travel benefits you know I hadn't been to many places before I mean I was traveling since I was a kid but I had opportunity to go overseas, you know, that to see the all the world you know on a dime of an airline and that's where pretty much started. Now worked for this airline for about eight years and that was where the seed was planted for me.

Allen  

So that's really interesting, let me ask you this you know we have a lot of people who've traveled a bit and then they you went It sounds like you went on a real traveling extravaganza on that. So in that eight years I mean, you must have gone from kind of a traveler like what what do I kind of bring in my suitcase to probably by the end of it you knew exactly what you were bringing, what you were doing except you did the research. You know, you would show up in a new place you know prepare. Share little bit about that i mean how would you make sure you stayed healthy and then you knew what were what you wanted to do when you got there.

Eric  

Well that's where the routine it started. Pretty much it's like with anything, repetitions. The more I travel, the more I started to discover and start to figure out tips and but that's where I figured out that routine is probably needed because when you're traveling all the time, it's hard to stay in a routine, you know. And honestly, I met up there digital nomads and that's where I kind of discovered the lifestyle and then you know, I wanted to progress this thing like how could I travel more you know without using the airline and that's how I got into being a digital nomad. But obviously got burnt out from the fast traveling. Then I was like you know what I think every digital nomad goes through this. I'm gonna slow down a little bit. And I want to just kind of just give them more a little bit more experience and that's when I decided you need routine. And the way fitness comes in is like a lot of the times you know, on a digital nomad journey people are always constantly working, working, working, but they needed just to fund the lifestyle. You know, without the funds you can't. You can't live the dream of traveling.

Andrew  

You know, when you when you refer to digital nomads some people listening today have no clue what that means. They are they have they joined this podcast because they are new to remote work. They've joined it because there's like, Okay, I'm an expat. But what is this digital nomad thing they keep talking about? And they probably they may be hearing it thinking I should google it. When you say you decided to become a digital nomad and you you've got some great writings on it on Medium and other places. Can you tell us how you personally think that is defined?

Eric  

My personal definition of being a digital nomad is anybody who's nomadic, but a lot of their income comes from the digital world. Pretty much like the laptop now you see a lot of domains with people working on a beach, you know, 100 laptops, it's not possible. But it looks cool. You know, it's kind of like a lifestyle thing. They're trying to sell people the dream. But to me, that's my personal definition of a digital nomad, anybody who's able to make income digitally.

Andrew  

You can be in Denver, Colorado and from Florida, and you're a digital nomad, because you can be working from your computer, but decide to live in the mountains.

Eric  

Correct. And that's where the freedom comes in. Right?

Andrew  

It is not necessarily leaving your own country. It's about making money using the laptop, your smartphone and having the choice to go whether or not you go or not.

Eric  

Exactly. See, that's where the freedom comes in the freedom to spend time with loved ones, the freedom to create your own schedule. And that's something that's where the freedom comes in as far as being a digital nomad. And like that term is becoming more popular, especially with the pandemic, because people are staying home. So people are googling and this term probably comes up. But like I said earlier, that image of somebody on a beach is usually what's in people's minds. Now, I had a I got a funny story. So I was talking to this 21 year old, I guess they will be considered millennials. Yep. And I had thrown around the term the digital nomad. And they verbatim said to me, oh, yeah, those are the people who sit on their butts all day and don't do anything. So that that told me that's the perception of a digital nomad. You know, and I didn't go into it anymore because I knew they didn't know any better. But I think that is the perception that's kind of floating out there for digital nomad.

Allen  

Well, it's interesting because the digital nomads the remote workers, the location independent people that we run into, are very industrious. I mean, it takes a lot of energy to do something different. And you actually had a really interesting blog post, that you talked about creative ways to make money online, and you had writing drop shipping, on forex, royalties, and, and really kind of went into a couple different areas there. And, I mean, I was really interested in like, for instance, drop shipping was something I hadn't really, really gotten into. Do you have any tips for people who want to make money? You know, obviously, by using their computer, so they have that type of flexibility? And to your point, it's not like you can sit on the beach and just have funds roll in.

Eric  

If it were that easy, right? Everybody's doing it. 

Allen  

Exactly. 

Eric  

Yeah, my I would tell anybody who wants to live this lifestyle. Don't quit your nine to five just yet. The goal is to develop some skills. And but the thing is, people that have this limited perception of what you can do online is they think all of the like the tech world, or something similar like that, but the options are limitless. Like I've made money, or still making money on Twitter, or because of a 16 year old told me how to make money on Twitter through affiliate marketing, like I had no idea you can make money on Twitter. You know, and those are just one of the examples that you can make money but you have to do you I would say first do your research to find out what you're good at. And then three you have to be really, really creative. Because the options are limitless. Don't just think you can do this one way to make money, but it will take time.

Andrew  

So tell me, you've done this and you coach other people in doing it. What are some of the ways that you can keep your body and your mind in check when living this lifestyle because I know it's it's a temptation to just go from seven in the morning to nine at night working away getting one more Upwork client, getting one more blog post written. Whatever it is that that, you know, as people listening thinking, that's how I've got to keep my income coming in. You can, you can waste it all away, being in a great city, a new country and be tearing your body and your mind apart. What do you say to that, because I've seen some writings of, of yours that really gives some good good insights.

Eric  

You know, it's happened to me, a lot of this is through trial and error, obviously, you know, like you said, you go to a great city, you know, and you spend so much time seeing the city and all of a sudden, you start going out every weekend, and it's like, you're living like, you're in college again, like, it's your big part of some fraternity, like a frat house that like lifestyle. So I would say to that is, start slow, developing a routine, because like, you can't just go cold turkey all of a sudden, and just start, you have to start developing slowly, like just, I would say, implement daily routines every day, and then build on him just one thing at a time, because it's really, really hard to just do something right away, because you'll be motivated the first three, four days and other that, that motivation is gonna go away, and all of a sudden, you're gonna, I guess, you will say you will relapse again. So I would say just start slowly, just implement something. 

Eric  

The fitness side of it, like, you're not going to maintain this lifestyle, if you don't take care of yourself, you know, and who wants to get unhealthy, especially if you're traveling overseas a lot. So I recommend people to take care of their body. And the good thing is, when we're not in the US, like they had their food is so much better. Like, I can't tell you how many times that I feel so much better than when I'm outside of the US eating another country's food. And I come back to the US and all of a sudden, my stomach is like, What are you feeding me? and all of a sudden I might get sick. So you know, we have the ability and opportunity to better our health or nutrition when we're traveling overseas.

Allen  

You know, Eric brings up a story that that I had is I visited Ukraine many years back and was with a an ex patriot who had moved from the United States there. And he mentioned to me that in the US, he had a lot of issues with food disorder and you know of digestion, etc. And then once he got to Ukraine, that never happened again. And we kind of you know, discussed You know, there's no preservatives in the food in Ukraine. You buy you buy a loaf of bread, it's gonna be moldy in about three days. But you know, you know, people don't let it sit three days or even the beer is not mass produced. It's more like a microbrewery here that and he said it's been it was an incredible change for him. And I think that's really a unique thing that you said about is the food outside the United States tends not to have a lot of the extra additives that we seem to put into our food and I just thought it was really unique because he had Crohn's disease, which is not an easy thing and he said it really abated when he started to eat nutritious and healthy foods and left an environment where the foods are overproduced. Which kind of leads me to the next question that you know you you suggest some supplements and you do some things and obviously you were at a personal trainer in the past. Obviously we've heard so much about anti inflammatory foods and things that keep you healthy. Do you have a couple go to foods and we could share some some thoughts on that?

Eric  

One of my go to is turmeric and sea moss. Now that the sea moss you know it's probably one of the healthiest things you can take like our bodies, no matter how much food we eat, we don't get enough nutrients and the sea moss tends to supplement that a lot, you know. And but I think you have to get it online you can't just go into a store and buy it from what I've know of you making get it overseas but from personal experience you can get it online. And the turmeric like for me I'm 40 years old but you know sometimes I feel like I'm 60 because of my all of the I used to be a former athlete and I can feel like my shoulders my bones and my tendons start to hurt sometimes for all the weightlifting and all of the you know the things I did in high school as far as sports but that usually supplements in hurt you know it makes the pain go away sometimes.

Allen  

Well, it's it's it's interesting that because I do love tumeric and ginger. Yeah, and I'm in blueberries and, you know, anti inflammatory foods and I play a lot of competitive sports and mountain bike and CBD has been something I've added to the collection recently also that to help out. But overseas, it tends not to be that aggressive. It tends to be slow travel, but with tons of walking. You know I mean like Yeah, dude, you know, 30,000 steps and You really want to follow that. So sea moss, I will look into that, you'll go Yeah, it's something that seems really interesting to check online. And then some of the unique foods that you might get out there like ice or other things, I mean, some of the fruits and vegetables that you see overseas that you don't get here, perhaps,

Eric  

Yeah, I saw a lot of that Ethiopia, like, when I was in Africa, like a lot of their foods, like their meat is some of like the best meat in the world. It's not like the meat back in the States, like our meat in the US, obviously has all the chemicals in it. And like I said, your digestive system recognizes this, when you eat, like real food, without the GMOs and the food with the GMOs, it's like night and day.

Andrew  

It is, you know, and so many times where we're not aware of the processed foods we're getting, we're not aware of how we need to be listening to our body. And so you're, you're saying some things that may be, you know, those wake up calls for the listeners right now, whether you're traveling or not, we need to be listening to our body, need to be getting up moving more, we need to be watching what we put in. And I think an easy way of watching what we put into our body is watching what we can put out, you know, our outtake, our efficiency, our, our path, you know, and looking at, you know, just how we live our lives in this this world is is crucial to what we take in what we take in our mind, what we take in our mouth. And what we take in that motivates us.

Allen  

Deep thoughts, Andrew, you I think you've rendered both of us speechless here, I'll try to bring a little bit of closure to that. That thought is, I've when I deal with a lot of people who travel a lot, the issue that they run into, is, you know, you flown on a long flight. You You had coffee, tea, alcohol, and you're very dehydrated, and, you know, a dehydrated environment continues and that that saps some energy to things. And certainly you as somebody who's worked out, you know that the familiar I, I'm just amazed how often I hear from people that they got off a plane, and they just don't feel good for 48 hours. And I'm like, Well, how many drinks Did you have right in that dehydrating environment. 

Allen  

So maybe a quick conversation about what you brought up earlier, I thought was great. You mentioned, you know, people hit the ground kind of running. But you were alluding to now that you're doing a little more slow travel. And I know this is something that Andrew and I very much indoors to go to a place and experience it for a while. So you've traveled about. Are there are some places that you would highly recommend that people can explore deeper that are cities, places that you felt, were just tremendous for, you know, slow travel between food and history, and all the wonderful things that you can learn.

Eric  

I would say Japan, you know, we can't traveled at the moment, but when they open up, I would definitely recommend Japan and only because we're introverts and for me as an introvert, it was a place or a city that I could be an introvert. Like America, you know, they reward extroverted behavior is rewarded. You know, if you're this person who talks a lot, you know, it's always mistaken for being confident. And if you don't talk a lot, you're not confident. But in Japan, it's almost rude just to have a random conversation. But in America, it's endorsed in Japan is one of those places where you could actually be into your thoughts. And that's where I get the idea of traveling reflections of an introvert because you actually get to be in your thoughts and kind of just get clarity on things. And I think a lot of Nomad sometimes even though they are by themselves, they can get caught up in the work and the lifestyle without just kind of just go put some roots down, get clarity on your life and what your next move is. And I think I think everybody can improve on that, especially for mental health.

Andrew  

That's, you know, I love traveling with an introvert because it's they point out things that I wouldn't see. Yeah, way down to actually enjoy a whole lot more than racing around to conquer as much as I can see. I've got to be slow, slowed down quite a bit usually because it's it's my nature is to go too fast. How about you Allen?

Allen  

I think it's really interesting. I think if you travel with a diverse group, like I when I did my best traveling, there was two other gentlemen that I traveled with this in the corporate world we work together we try to do our trips together. I was the history guy, extrovert. Then there was an introvert who was the always got the best took us to the best restaurants. And then we add somebody who's kind of in the middle, who planned out a wonderful like day of seeing, you know, what has is in that city. And I always appreciated not only the extrovert versus the introvert, but also the people that have different interests. But we all, you know, bring something to the table. And one of the places we did that, I remember, we went to Krakow, Poland, and had the best Perogies I've ever had, that was found by one, you went to the castle, who was found by another, and then we explored the Jewish Quarter, which was by a different one, and we said to each other, this was one of the greatest days we've ever had. So Eric, to your point about being people recognizing different things, as most of your travels been by yourself or with others. And when it's by yourself, is it natural, to explore differently?

Eric  

Yeah, I've had a few trips where I brought some friends along, a lot of the time, people are scared to come, you know, because they hear horror stories about a particular country. But majority of my travels have been so low, but I noticed when I did bring some friends along, I had to adjust, you know, some things because they were the complete opposite of my personality, and I didn't take in consideration of what their experience would be, you know, because you spend so much time traveling by yourself, you almost forget what it's like to travel with other people, and you kind of forget, or tend to forget about other people's needs sometimes. So it was a it was a learning experience, that, you know, maybe so while traveling is fine, it is cool, but it's good to you know, bring other people along, and especially for that human connection.

Allen  

I agree. And I think it's, it's the thing that I had trouble when I traveled with people, you can kind of know right away if you're with a good travel partner, or this is going to be a long trip. For me, the big indicator was just people who that I knew it was gonna be a good trip, if they were just willing to put themselves out there. You know what, let's not stay in the hotel to 10am in the morning, have a big breakfast, and then run back to the hotel at 6:30. Let's see everything. But let's do it in a nice easy pace, stop for a cup of coffee, go to a museum. I mean, you can kind of tell right away who's on it, but but if they aren't, you still change right? A little bit. As an introvert, did that mean that you also did a lot more research? I mean, some of us extroverts, frankly, come off, we were ready, fire, aim instead of ready, aim, fire sometimes. You must have done extra research and know where you're headed before he got there.

Eric  

Oh, yeah, I that's all I did was research. And, you know, a lot of my friends, they were extroverts, you know, but a lot of times, they didn't necessarily, trust me, it's not they didn't trust in me, they just didn't trust, you know, the, the newness to traveling or whatever country they ran. And you know, and I went to a particular country that we go to numerous times, so I would have everything planned out. And I would tell them, you know, we have to catch this train, or, you know, we have to go to this area. And you can see they would kind of just terrified about it. And then it would be followed by like 30 questions. Well, what about this? How do you know if this is going to be there? But what if this happens?

Andrew  

I've got a question for you, Eric. You you've seen a lot, and I heard you talk about Ethiopia, you know, you've got Dubai, you've got all these different places that you've hit, you've got some some great experiences. What is one of the this is the broad question, we ask it to everybody that comes on our show. So I'm eager to hear your response. What's the one overlooked person, place, or experience that you feel like the listeners should should know about?

Eric  

You know, I think, you know, I will bring up Ethiopia, Ethiopia, Africa, I think that's a place that should be visited. It's a booming economy. You know, the thing thing is, the thing is with Africa, it has this negative perception that it's a bunch of poor children, you know, and there's like, no booming economy, but that's far from the truth. You know, you see these things on TV, but once you get over there, it's like night and day. They're actually, if he was actually building one of the biggest towers in the world right now, I think it's called the Mesob Tower. You know, and it's kind of a shrine, a cultural thing to the Ethiopian culture, but they're actually in talks to build it because they want to boost the tourism. Because I think they're they're aware that the perception from the world is probably the greatest because of the media. But I think that's the place people should probably definitely visit it's overlooked. I think a lot of nomads should definitely check it out.

Allen  

And what a place within a credible history that follow. Eric, this has been great. We covered a lot. Where can people learn more about you, tell us a little bit about your blog, as people try to explore more and get more advice, counsel and reach out to you.

Eric  

Everyone can go to my blog, EricLashun.com and I'll spell the Lashun, L-a-s-h-u-n dot com you can go there to check out my blog. You can also contact me on Instagram, Twitter just at EricLashun.com or just @EricLashun

Allen  

fantastic well we appreciate you taking the time to join us today. I've certainly learned a lot and and frankly I will search out the sea moss I get

Eric  

Let me know how that works.

Allen  

I trust it will work we're very well. Andrew you know like I said ways we tie things together learned a lot today. what's what's your reflections on today's conversation?

Andrew  

I want to go to Ethiopia.

Eric  

Check it out man.

Andrew  

I have had some great Ethiopian food

Eric  

and it's delicious. 

Andrew  

Yes, it's healthy too because a lot of it is vegetarian. Yep. eliminate a lot of meat from our life even though I'm I'm traditionally a meat eater even though I shouldn't be. So I'm Ethiopian needs needs to hit the top of my list. And it's a it's a really safe place. Yes to travel. So just for those who are thinking Ethiopia, should that go on your list? Yes, it should. It's a very friendly culture. And so get it on your list folks.

Eric  

Yeah, check it out man and you trust me you love it!

Allen  

Well, it's interesting Andrew and we've we've had a common theme through our podcast is you know, I believe a lot of people are afraid of visiting Africa just like they were afraid of visiting Asia. And when we talk to our you know, in location independent lifestyle folks, you hear many great places. And, you know, with the right understanding people should explore these places. And that's why I really love that we always ask the overlooked person, place or experience question. thing. So great conversation today. Just want to thank you for listening. The New Nomads now just a podcast. It's a community of people, ideas and spirits, helping you take advantage of the location independent lifestyle. We look forward to hearing from you again, travel well and stay safe. Thanks again for joining us.

Routine Meets Fitness for a Freedom Lifestyle With Eric LaShun | TNN26

About the Guest

Eric LaShun

Eric Lashun, a seasoned digital nomad, has lived in over 30 countries and is obsessed with his nomadic lifestyle. Back in 2013, he got a job with an airline. He discovered the world of traveling and is determined to continue this life after the airline business. He writes about his journey of being a digital nomad to help others like himself.