New Business Partner and Promising Leads in the Pipeline

As promised in my last blog post, I’m changing gears on this blog to document my entrepreneurial journey as I build an online marketing company from the ground up.

I’m currently typing this on a flight from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Ottawa, Ontario. I’m returning to the real world following a two-month digital nomad hiatus consisting of an adventure to India and a visit home (my hometown is St. John’s) with family. I’ll be spending two days in Ottawa to pack up my apartment and then moving to Toronto with my girlfriend on September 1st! I’m looking forward to digging my heels into the soil when we get to Toronto.

New Business Partner:

So it’s been an exciting couple of weeks for business! A friend of mine approached me and asked to become my business partner as he’s also taking this year to quit his job and pursue his entrepreneurial journey. He’s from Newfoundand too and is currently based in Toronto, so it was a great fit. He came to the table with leads and potential key connections, not to mention an infectious ambition and vision for how we could grow our business.

This being my first attempt at a startup, I was eager to find a trustworthy and reliable partner – so I’m thrilled about this development. Having another person to share the workload, bounce ideas off, and hold you accountable is incredibly valuable. And starting a business can be a lonely journey at times, so it’ll be nice to have someone in it with me.

Before embarking on my trip to India, I had a small initial client base that was paying me to manage their social media accounts. I serviced these clients throughout my travels in India and continue to service them today. These clients have been invaluable in taking a chance on me in the early days – I refined my service offering, pricing structure, developed systems and internal document templates, learned key sales skills and gathered crucial feedback to validate or disprove my assumptions early on. I am so grateful for this initial batch of clients (and all future clients, of course!)

Here are some things I’ve learned from landing and servicing this first set of clients:

– In-person networking is extremely powerful. The temptation to sit behind a computer screen and solicit leads is strong in today’s digital age (particularly if you’re starting a tech or digital-based company), but people are still instinctual creatures and meeting prospects in a face-to-face environment helps to build trust.

– Digital marketing is a saturated market. I don’t like typing that sentence but it is what it is. I’m competing in a crowded playing field, but there are always ways to differentiate yourself. In a service-based business, YOU can be the unique selling proposition. People like to do business with people, not companies, so your personality can help you stand out.

– Ask customers questions and listen to their response – assume nothing! When I first started this business, I made a lot of assumptions about what my potential customers wanted. I figured they obviously wanted this service at that price and that service at this price… but then I realized that they didn’t want some services at all, forget about the price! By asking frank questions to people in the industry, you can learn where the demand is and how much money people would be willing to pay you for such services. Talking with people is the best market research of all, in my humble opinion.

– Don’t undervalue your services. While there’s nothing wrong with charging cheap rates to establish a portfolio in the early stages of your business, it’s important not to undervalue your services. Doing so communicates a perceived lower value to your clients and this is probably not a smart positioning to establish for yourself, unless you have the resources to scale extremely quickly and make up for small profit margins with large volumes. Do yourself and your industry a favor and offer pricing that is reasonably in line with the market rate.

– I could go on and on (I didn’t realize how much I’ve already learned before I started writing this bulleted list!) but I’ll move on in the interest of your reading time.

New Projects in the Pipeline:

We currently have at least 4 promising social media marketing and blog content creation projects in the pipeline. If these deals all get signed on the dotted line, my partner and I will be able to soften our sales efforts for at least a few months and focus on providing an incredible service to these clients.

These projects span the following industries: food service, education, software development and real estate. These clients are headquartered in the United States, Canada and India. It’ll be a super exciting challenge working with international clients.

I won’t get into details for confidentiality reasons and to avoid getting my hopes up in case the negotiations fall through. But I’m so excited, happy and humbled that things seem to be trending in the right direction.

I’ll continue to ramble about my business progress and challenges on this blog. Thanks for stopping by, you’re always welcome here!

If you have any questions or if I can be of help to you in any way, shape or form, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or to send me an email! I’m always stoked to connect with my readers!!

Okay, plane is landing now.




Day 33 (and Final Thoughts): Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar (again) & Delhi (again)

This draft has been sitting dormant and unpublished on my WordPress screen for a couple of weeks. I wrote it on my stopover in Mumbai on my way back to Canada. Now I’m home and I’ve been distracted so I’m just getting around to publishing it now.

Here it is:

So I guess this is the last blog post of my India trip.

That’s a bittersweet thought. It’s been one hell of a journey, but I think I’m ready to go home!

I’m currently sitting in the Mumbai airport on a stopover. It’s 5:00am here and I haven’t slept and I’m not tired and I’ve kind of lost track of what day it is.

I’m going to brush over the details of the final week of our travels as it was not particularly eventful and I’d rather just summarize my overall experience instead. I also got a bit complacent towards the end of the trip… I stopped taking as many photos, stopped doing as much sightseeing, etc.

Anyways, picking up from where I left off in my last blog post, we left Pushkar and visited Jodhpur (“the Blue City”). It was definitely blue!

And beautiful.

Take a look for yourself:


The people in Jodhpur were exceptionally friendly and outgoing. The city itself was a bit quiet; there were very few active businesses, the streets were empty and the stray dogs seemed oddly territorial when humans crossed their path.

Avi and I met a really cool guy that owned a guest house by stumbling into his rooftop restaurant one afternoon. He invited us in for chai and proceeded to have a long, genuine conversation with us about all things India, spirituality, and art.

We also met a cute kid who asked us to take photos of him doing some modeling moves (Blue Steel) and subsequently asked us for 100 rupees. We gave him some money and took a photo of him.

Here he is:


We stayed at an awesome hostel called Stops and didn’t do much during our two nights in the city because Monsoon weather struck pretty hard.

We took a bus to Udaipur (the city in which the James Bond Octopussy movie was filmed). It was a sleeper bus whereby passengers were required to lie down on bunks. Avi, Matt and I had bunks on the top level of the bus and it was a novel experience.

Here we are, all cuddled up:


We arrived in Udaipur and soaked up the city’s Venice-like scenery. There was a beautiful lake in the center of town. It was a very romantic city with endless rooftop patios and a bustling urban vibe. The sunsets were amazing and cloaked the entire city’s horizon.

We ended up linking up with two Canadian friends that we had met in Leh, Ladakh earlier in the trip. We all went out for a fancy dinner right on the lake and it was tasty.

I went for an early morning yoga session on a rooftop with a friend we had met from Germany and it was great! My hamstrings are as flexible as tight-ropes but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

We ultimately said goodbye to Matt in Udaipur. He left on the same day that Avi and I left to travel back to Pushkar. It was strange parting ways from Matt as we had spent the previous 30 days together.

Avi and I didn’t do much in Pushkar this time around (can you tell that we were getting lazy at this point in the trip?) We opted to stay in a hotel for a change of pace which was nice. Fast-forward three days and we were on our way back to Delhi again as our final destination!

We stayed in the Jugaad Hostel in Dehi and it was fantastic. We met a bunch of cool people from around the world and had some interesting conversations.

Avi and I decided to have a bougie day and went shopping at a Western-style mall. It had all the major American brands and, unfortunately, retailed at American prices. We did have a great meal at Hard Rock Café though (lol).


We checked out from our hostel today and said our goodbyes at the Delhi airport (we were unable to get on the same flight back to Canada). No biggie, though, because we’re both headed to St. John’s together now for a few weeks.

I think now is when the real culture shock will present itself to me. I’ve become relatively acclimatized to the culture and pace of things here in India so I’m looking forward to returning to Canada with a fresh lens.

So what have I taken away from my trip to India?

A lot of things. More than I can list. But here are a few of the key takeaways from my first trip outside of North America:

  • The extent of poverty in India is unlike anything I have ever seen in Canada. We take so much for granted and I will forever be reminded of how relatively petty most all of my issues are. I will forever be grateful for every material comfort I have in Canada.
  • Further to this point, one’s happiness is not necessarily tied to one’s financial standing. The people of India who were less fortunate were so incredibly nice and generous and caring despite their poverty. Many of them seemed happier than rich people I’ve met in North America and elsewhere.
  • I now understand why education is so heavily valued in Indian culture. When living in a country with many uneducated and poor individuals, it makes sense that education would be viewed as critically important.
  • There is a beautiful connection between wildlife and humans in India! From cows to monkeys (although they are viewed as pests in some places…) to stray dogs, the people of India, based on my humble and limited observations, demonstrate a love and genuine concern for animal welfare. It was nice to see cows and dogs wandering the streets among humans.
  • The music is India is simply amazing. The instruments, the chants, the rhythms, the melodies… as a musician, I loved every minute of it!
  • The food in India was unbelievably tasty. Everything tasted homemade and healthy. Vegetarian food was the default and “non-veg” was the alternative option. And food was so, so cheap.

My trip to India was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so grateful that I did it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure!

Thanks for following along on my blog. I hope my posts were interesting to you!

As of today, this blog will change gears and morph into an entrepreneurship blog highlighting my entrepreneurial journey as I grow my digital marketing company. Hopefully you’ll keep coming back and stay in touch!

Take care,





Day 23: Agra, Jaipur and Pushkar

So Agra wasn’t quite as nice as I made it out to be in my last blog post.

The Taj Mahal was absolutely stunning but the city was pretty unappealing as a tourist. The haggling was out of control versus other cities and it felt a bit unsafe in general.

But, it was worth the visit for this view:


I was unaware of the history behind the Taj Mahal until I visited it. Its construction was commissioned by Moghul emperor Shahjahan following the death of his wife. He wanted to build her something breathtaking. He became fairly obsessive about the building during its construction.

Apparently he had cut off the thumbs of his construction workers after they built it to make sure they couldn’t recreate the architecture elsewhere.

Within the Taj Mahal, there were two tombs cemented next to each other – those of Moghul emperor Shahjahan and his wife. Aside from the thumb amputations, it was a pretty romantic historical sight.

We returned to our hostel after the Taj Mahal and discovered that we had cockroaches in our room. “I love Agra,” I thought.

This discovery prompted us to evacuate the city earlier than planned. It was about 9:00pm and we decided to hop on a bus at 3:00am. (In retrospect, bad decision – I wouldn’t recommend anyone to loiter around a bus station in Agra at this hour of the morning.)

Just when we thought Agra couldn’t possibly treat us any better, our bus failed to show up. We waited 20 minutes beyond its scheduled arrival time – no luck.

Finally, we cut our losses and hired a driver to take us to Jaipur.


After an uneventful 4-hour drive, we arrived safely in Jaipur.

We were staying in a hostel called Zostel. It was super welcoming and clean.

Jaipur is known as “the pink city” for its pink-colored buildings. Spoiler alert: it ain’t very pink. I’d argue it should be called “the orange city” but I’ll be generous and give it “the salmon city”.

In any case, it was quite beautiful. We visited a palace that had a lovely garden attached. Check it out below.


We also visited a monkey temple and met two English guys who fed the monkeys peanuts. They had a lot of nerve. Take a look at the photo below.


We stayed one night in Jaipur and went to the train station the following day to catch our train to Pushkar at 4:00pm. We learned that our train was delayed by 4 hours. No biggie.

We killed time at a nearby café and returned to the station to find that our train had been delayed by yet another 4 hours. At this point it was scheduled to leave at about midnight.

Time for a drink, we decided.

We splurged and took an uber to a nearby fancy bar called Jaipour (clever branding). Our priority was safety so we didn’t mind spending a premium to lounge in a nice establishment for a few hours.

We got back to the station and it was looking good: our train hadn’t been further delayed. We eagerly boarded the train and settled in to our sleeper bunks. The wheels started gliding along the tracks. We were on our way. Nothing could stop us now…

And then we fell asleep and missed our stop.

At this point, our bad luck was just comical. We all laughed and shook our heads and got out at the next stop. Luckily, there was a train arriving in 10 minutes that could bring us back to the city that we had overshot. We booked it and arrived once and for all in Pushkar.



Pushkar turned out to be one of my favorite cities of the entire trip. It’s tied with Amritsar for my favorite city in India.

It was a relatively small town with few tourists and a calming ambiance. It felt rural. The city featured a beautiful lake in the center of town which was comprised of holy water.

We relaxed for our first night in town.  We woke up the next day and took a cable car up a hill to visit a Hindu temple. Unfortunately, the temple was locked so we didn’t go inside it. We did, however, have the honor of getting hissed away by a pack of monkeys perched in front of the temple!

We were scheduled to leave our hostel at 5:00pm for an overnight camel trek into the desert. A friend of ours named Alex that we had met at the Madpacker’s Hostel in Delhi was also in Pushkar so we invited him along for the trek.

We had a few hours to spare before our camel trek departure. Avi and I visited a local music store selling traditional Indian instruments. I wanted to try playing a certain bowed 2-string instrument that I had seen many local buskers playing (I can’t remember the name of it).

I tried it out and the shop owner went on to show me a bunch of Indian drums. He demonstrated how to play each drum and explained the traditional rhythm patterns. I was pretty hopeless at the hand-drumming techniques but it was an amazing cultural experience.

I plan on returning to this music shop for a formal drum lesson when Avi and I return to Pushkar later in our journey (we decided that two days wasn’t enough!)

The four of us left our hostel at 5:00pm for the camel trek. Two tour guides brought us to the camel pick-up station and helped us onto our camels. The camels were elegantly decorated with vibrant-colored saddles and flowers on their heads.

One camel wore bracelets on his two front legs that jingled with every step. We nicknamed him Arnold Schwarzenegger after “Jingle All The Way”.

A team of four young men led us and the camels into the desert. This was not your average desert; due to the monsoon season, it was lush with greenery. And thorn trees. Damn, those hurt a lot when you brushed past them.

We rode through picturesque landscapes for 2.5 hours and finally arrived at our campsite. Take a look at the site below.


There were about 8 local gentlemen waiting for us at the camp grounds. These men were friends of our tour guides. They went out to fetch us firewood and proceeded to make a couple of bonfires.

Within moments, the whole entourage of men started preparing pots, pans, spices and vegetables for cooking. They worked tirelessly for what felt like about two hours to prepare our food. I caught peripheral glimpses of curry powder being poured onto pieces of paper and funneled into vats of all different sizes.

Finally, the men plated our meals and presented each of us with a hefty serving of dal, mixed vegetable curry, rice and bread. It was ridiculously good. We savored every bite of our meals.

I would have been impressed if this meal had been cooked in a professional restaurant, let alone in the middle of the desert!

We placed a large blanket on the desert sand and fell asleep under the stars. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The memory will be etched in my mind forever!

Fortunately, I don’t need to rely on memory because we captured a flattering shot of the sleeping arrangement:


We rode back to town the following morning and checked out of our hostel. We went to the train station as we were departing for Jodhpur and luckily our train was right on time.

I’m currently writing this blog post on the train. We should be in Jodhpur in about an hour or so. Jodhpur is dubbed “the blue city”… let’s hope it indeed turns out to be blue.

Life is good overall. I’m excited to get back to Canada soon. This trip has put many things into perspective for me. But that’s a subject for a separate blog post.

Thanks for checking in. Have a great weekend!


Day 18: Delhi and Agra

I have a relatively short blog post today!

Thanks to an upset tummy, I don’t have much to write about other than rolling around in bed and, well…. I’ll leave it at that.

I’m feeling better now.

At the end of my last blog post, we were leaving Chandigarh and heading to Delhi. We arrived in Delhi and checked into The Madpackers Hostel in Delhi’s posh neighborhood, hauz khas.

This neighborhood was very fancy. Its commercial plazas contained high-end western brand names and glitzy hotels. There were Audis and BMWs on almost every street.

It was quite different from the Delhi I had seen during my previous stay in the city.

The Madpackers Hostel was a hip backpackers’ destination in the heart of this neighborhood. We arrived at the hostel’s main lounge to find its guests lying around, chatting, surfing the web, drawing, drinking chai and strumming acoustic guitars.

The guests were almost entirely white people.

The walls in the hallways were covered with hand-drawn art, signatures, and philosophical quotes from past guests. Some of the artwork was pretty incredible.

We dropped off our bags in our 10-bed dorm and went out to grab a bite to eat. After dinner, we picked up a few beers and a bottle of wine. It was Vini’s last night before her return to Canada, so we figured we’d have a bit of fun. It had been a dry trip up until this point.

The liquor store was on wheels. It was madness! People were doing everything short of trampling one another to be served. I managed to make my way to the front counter and order two 4-packs of King Fischer and one bottle of white wine for Avi.

Because our exact liquor store order is relevant information for this blog post.

We got back to the hostel and made our way to the rooftop patio. There was a crew of people having drinks around the table so we joined them.

There were tourists from England, Israel, and New Zealand at the table. We met some colorful characters, one of whom was a journalist from New Zealand who was responsible for writing that viral article about an octopuss escaping from an aquarium. Remember that news story?

Avi nearly asked for her autograph.

We finished up our drinks and went to bed. On the following day, Avi and I stayed in bed until about 4pm due to stomach sickness. Matt and Vini explored the city in the meantime.

We finally mustered the strength to leave the hostel at about 5pm. We did some shopping and I ordered some more Domino’s Pizza. A riveting outing.

We returned to the hostel and said goodbye to Vini, who was flying back to Canada. And now there are three of us.

We took the train from Delhi to Agra early this morning. We booked the air-conditioned, seated car and it was very comfortable. A group of Québecois travellers were seated behind us. Small world.

Now we’re relaxing in our hostel in Agra, a cool spot called the Backpacker Panda. We have our own 3-bed private room which is nice.

We’re about to go grab lunch at what is apparently the cheapest restaurant in all of India. It’s called Joney’s Place. I’ll update you with how cheap it ends up being and how stomach sick I subsequently become.

Tonight we’re going to see the Taj Mahal. And we’ll check it out again in the morning, likely at sunrise.

I’ll include photos of the Taj Mahal in my next blog post. We’ll be leaving Agra and heading to Jaipur tomorrow!

Thanks for stopping by.


Day 15: Chandigarh, Shimla, and Amritsar

We departed from Leh and landed in Delhi on July 13th. Upon arrival in Delhi, we had an hour to kill before Avi and her mom were picking us up.

We ate samosas in the airport and milked our free 45 minutes of wi-fi. (The Delhi airport only authorizes 45 minutes of free wi-fi at a time.)

We left the airport to greet Avi and her mom. We waited for a few minutes at the car pick-up point when, to my delight, a smiling Avi came running toward us and gave me a big hug.

“I cannot believe we are greeting each other here,” said Avi’s mom.

It was a lovely reunion but cars were honking their horns at our driver so we hopped in the car and proceeded on our path.

Within no more than 10 minutes of driving, we were pulled over by some gentlemen in uniforms. The driver rolled down his window and exchanged a few words in Hindi with the officers, and eventually got out of the car to go talk with the uniformed men behind a tree. It was shady and weird and to this day we’re still not sure what it was all about, but we’re still alive so there’s that!

We were en route to Chandigarh and the drive ahead was 5 hours long. We stopped off at a highway-side restaurant called Haveli (a popular local franchise) at the recommendation of Avi’s mom. The food was cooked in classic Punjabi style, and it was downright delicious.

After about 5 hours of driving through agricultural landscapes peppered with Gurudwaras and turbaned men riding motorcycles, we finally arrived in Chandigarh.


Chandigarh was different than every other city I had seen so far in India.

It was very clean and very developed. The landscaping on the roundabouts was gorgeous. It felt richer than other cities. It was less chaotic.

It was modern. And it is, in fact, a very young city – Chandigarh was completed in 1960.

I had once heard someone say that Chandigarh is to India what Ottawa is to Canada, and I definitely agree with this comparison.

We had the luxury of being able to stay in Avi’s grandparents’ condo in Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, a suburb just outside of Chandigarh. The condo building was called the Soul Space Mayfair, very chic.

We took an auto-rickshaw into one of Chandigarh’s markets. The market was different than other cities we had visited as it was contained indoors and there were no white tourists to be seen. I met a funny Punjabi guy who was trying to sell me a pair of knock-off Yeezy shoes for 2200 rupees ($44 CAD).

We ate street food on our way home. The food was called panipuri and it was essentially a crunchy ball of dough filled with spicy liquid. It instantly turned my stomach but Matt and Avi’s mom competed against each other to finish about 10 each. It was impressive!

Here’s a photo of us at the street food stand:


The next day we visited the zoo. I won’t bore you with the details but we saw a bunch of animals including hippos, monkeys, zebras, jaguars, lions, and peacocks.

Here’s a photo of us on the lion safari:


After the zoo, we went to a restaurant called Sindhi Sweets (another local Punjabi staple). It was so delicious that Avi, Vini and Avi’s mom literally cried after taking a bite of the dessert.

After dinner, I went to a custom-tailored suit shop and ordered a suit for $125 CAD. I hope it turns out okay, I’ll be going to pick it up later this evening. I also bought two Modi jackets.


We left for Shimla at 8:30am the following morning. It was a slow, beautiful drive up the mountainside. The towns along the hillsides resembled Cinque Terre, Italy.

Shimla was scenic and picturesque but unfortunately it was pretty foggy during our stay. At points I wondered whether we were in India or St. John’s, Newfoundland.

We shopped around in the market and fed the monkeys bananas (which we immediately learned that we should not be doing). It was a fairly uneventful evening but worthwhile nonetheless.

The next day, we took a “toy train” ride back to Chandigarh. The name is misleading – it was basically just a regular train. It took us down the mountain very slowly.

The train let us out in Kalka and we took a cab the remainder of the way to Chandigarh. The cabbie lied to us about having A/C in his van and, upon calling him out on it, he threatened to throw us out on the side of the highway if we mentioned it again. He would later bribe a cop who pulled him over in Chandigarh to verify his taxi licence.

We went to bed early as we were leaving for Amritsar the following morning.


Amritsar was hands-down the highlight of my trip thus far.

Our plan was to leave Chandigarh and travel directly to the Wagah border ceremony, a daily tradition at the India-Pakistan border. We had to stop in at Lovely Professional University along the way as Avi’s mom had a meeting with some faculty members there. We had little expectation for this short detour, but it turned out to be a memorable experience in and of itself.

Lovely Professional University is a private university located in Jalandhar. We were escorted into the administrative building by a guard at the front gate. The campus was lush with green space and it contained every amenity a student could possibly ask for: a mall, restaurants, athletic facilities, housing accommodations, etc.

We were brought into the administrative building and led to Avi’s mom’s meeting room. Matt, Vini, Avi and I sat around twiddling our thumbs, not sure exactly how this meeting would unravel with us just sitting there.

Within moments, Avi’s mom’s colleagues entered the room and we were all immediately disarmed – as they started hugging each other and cracking jokes, it became clear that this meeting was going to be very casual.

We left the university and arrived at the Wagah border ceremony just in time. It was about 6:00pm and it felt like 50 degrees Celsius outside. And it was really humid. I had never experienced all-consuming heat like that ever before.

The ceremony was an impressive display of patriotism and culture. For context, this ceremony occurs on a daily basis and signifies the closure of the India-Pakistan border. Given the turbulent history between these two countries, this ceremony is intended to be a civilized expression of healthy competition. Each side of the border gets its chance to show off its pride and fortitude.

Each country’s army members performed what looked like a marching synchronized dance. It was nice to see that India’s ceremony was kicked off with two female officers marching strongly towards the border gate.

The crowds cheered hysterically and music blared from the loud speakers. Guards with sniper rifles monitored the venue from an elevated platform surrounding the India side of the border.

It was an incredible sight.

Following the ceremony, we made our way back to our hotel in Amritsar, just steps away from the Golden Temple.

Amritsar is a really cool city. It looked gritty and smoggy and urban. There was a certain vibe in the air, a spiritual frequency, brought upon by the presence of the Golden Temple.

We checked into a guesthouse for people who go on a pilgrimage to Harmandir Sahib, which turned out to be quite beautiful. After dropping off our bags, we went to see the Golden Temple at night.

I truly can’t describe how spectacular it was.

The first thing I saw was a vast, marble entranceway leading to a majestic, illuminated arch-shaped opening. Hundreds of people were scattered along the marble floor of the entrance, sleeping and meditating and resting from the heat. You could hear tablas and traditional Punjabi instruments droning from the other side of the archway, getting louder with every step towards the sacred establishment, gradually escalating the intensity of the experience.

We walked to the shoe station, where we handed over our shoes and washed our hands. Finally, we cleansed our feet in water as we stepped through the arch-shaped illuminated opening and into the view of the Golden Temple itself.

The temple emitted beautifully warm golden light into the air and surrounding holy water. It was such a peaceful sight. People were perched along the perimeter of the holy water, meditating and enjoying the view.

Here’s a photo:


We arrived at the perfect time, as the volunteers were preparing to carry the holy scripture from the temple back into the adjacent building where it rests every night. The scripture gets carried on a golden carriage, decorated with flowers. The volunteers sang a chant while carrying the carriage into the temple and back.

Here’s another photo:


We left the Golden Temple and finished off the night with the biggest treat of all: Domino’s Pizza. Large cheese pizza. Tasted identical to back home. It was amazing.

The next day, we went back to the Golden Temple to see it during daylight and, this time, we actually entered the temple itself. Every millimeter of the inner lining of the building was plated with highly-detailed, golden art. A group of men played music on the floor and community members threw cash donations in front of them. On the second floor balcony, people sat around and meditated along the walls.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t permitted to take photos on the inside so I have no photos to show you!

We proceeded to eat lunch at the langar hall. Serving the needy is a fundamental value in Sikhism so this meal provides food for anyone, regardless of age, gender, race or class, on a daily basis for free. The food was absolutely exquisite.

We sat on the floor in long rows and volunteers walked down the rows carrying vats of curries and rotis, dispersing portions on every plate with a spatula. If you wanted more roti, the convention was to hold out your hands so as to show a sign of humility.

Last but not least, just before leaving Amritsar we stopped into Jalian Wala Bagh. This monument recognizes the grizzly slaying of thousands of innocent Sikh people by the British soldiers upon their gathering for a peaceful cultural celebration when they were ordered not to gather in large groups.

In the following photo, the outlined holes in the brick wall were bullet holes from British guns.


It was a heavy note on which to leave the city, but an important and disturbing historical reminder.

Now we are back in Chandigarh, laying low for a couple of days before heading to Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan. This trip continues to get more and more interesting. We’re all having fun, despite some minor tummy upsets…

Thanks for reading. Chat soon!


Day 7: New Delhi and Ladakh

I regret not publishing a blog post every day up till now on my trip, but I failed to account for the lack of reliable Wi-Fi in certain regions of India so today’s post will have to capture about 7 days worth of adventuring!

I could write a novel about what I’ve seen and experienced so far but I’ll start from the top and keep it as brief as possible.

New Delhi:

I landed in Delhi on July 5th at about 10:30am. My plan was to commute to my hotel near Connaught Place where I was to meet my friend Vini and make plans from there.

I hopped on the metro at the airport and took it all the way to New Delhi station. I was impressed by how modern and clean was the metro system itself. The train glided along the tracks smoothly and the seats were very comfortable and spacious.

When I got out at New Delhi station, the culture shock kicked in instantly. And intensely.

This being my first time traveling outside of North America, my sheltered perspective amplified every small observation into overdrive.

The first thing I saw was a long row of homeless people lying on the ground in the blazing heat. There were children, adults, seniors and a number of them were missing limbs. I crossed the street and nearly got hit by about 10 vehicles.

I was immediately targeted and approached by auto-rickshaw drivers trying to solicit my business. Thankfully, Vini had forewarned me about this and suggested that a rickshaw from New Delhi station to our hotel shouldn’t cost more than about 50 rupees.

I was offered a ride for 350 rupees.

I managed to haggle the price down to 150 rupees. When the driver stepped on the accelerator, I instantly went into a state of simultaneous panic and amusement. I had heard about the driving in India but I could not comprehend how a flow of traffic could be that chaotic and yet so orderly. Every square inch of the roads were consumed by a vehicle, a cow, or a person jumping aside from a honking vehicle.

I loved the city immediately.

The driver took me for a bit of a ride and dropped me off somewhere that wasn’t my hotel. He said he couldn’t drop me straight at the hotel as the street was inaccessible by car. To make matters better, my phone was completely dead so I couldn’t navigate myself with a map. Here goes nothing, I thought.

I managed to make it to the hotel with the help of a few locals on the street. When I finally arrived to the hotel and saw Vini’s familiar face, it was like finding an oasis of water in a dessert! (In retrospect, I have no idea why I felt so overwhelmed on the way to the hotel… I guess it was a combination of thirst, culture shock and the persistent soliciting on the street.)

Vini and I went out for a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant called Krishna Café. It was a rooftop restaurant and provided a great view of the market area. The food was delicious and cheap. So, so cheap. About $3 CAD for a filling and homemade vegetarian feast. Here’s a photo I snapped from the restaurant:



After lunch, we went on to explore New Delhi by foot. We only had 2 days in the city before we had to fly out to Leh, so we figured we’d hit up all of the main tourist attractions.

We visited Jantar Mantar, an 18th-century astronomy complex. It was pretty cool, take a look at the photo below:


We walked around the markets and I pondered how businesses operate in this environment. There were countless merchants selling the exact same things, at the exact same price points, in virtually identical facilities.

How much does rent cost for a storefront in a New Delhi market? How much do these stores do in sales? What makes a competitor win in this marketplace?

We proceeded to check out India Gate. It was an impressive sight. Take a look at the photo below.


Vini and I returned to the hotel and fell asleep early. Surprisingly I didn’t experience any jetlag whatsoever.

The next day, we visited Old Delhi. I had thought New Delhi, near our hotel, felt crowded…. well, Old Delhi made New Delhi feel like farmland in comparison.

We visited the Red Fort. It wasn’t just a clever name — the attraction was a vast, red-colored army fort. It was beautiful.

On our way into the fort, we stopped into an art shop where a friendly man was selling meticulously detailed original paintings. These paintings featured Indian imagery and they were painted on postcards and the backs of book pages, such that you could see the Hindi calligraphy on the backside of the piece.

The shop owner sat us down and told us that his family had been in business in this location for about 150 years.

“With art, it’s the expression that counts,” he repeatedly told us.

He was a good salesman. We were sold. We each bought a piece of art to bring back to our families.

After leaving Red Fort, we took a bicycle-rickshaw (not sure what the technical term is..?) around Old Delhi. We passed by a gorgeous Mosque but unfortunately I was wearing shorts and forgot to bring full-length pants and thus we couldn’t enter for a tour.

We decided to grab lunch at a nearby hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Karim’s. I ordered a chicken curry dish and it burned my mouth off but it was friggin’ delicious. The meat fell right off the bone.

After lunch, we hopped on a rickshaw back to the hotel. We passed by a street that was peppered with liquor stores and people drinking on the sidewalks.

By now it was probably around 7:00pm on July 6th and we had to be at the Delhi airport by 9:30pm to greet our friend, Matt, who was joining us for our 5:00am flight to Leh the following morning. Our plan was to meet him and take turns sleeping in the airport rather than renting a hotel room for a few hours of sleep.

Vini and I took a cab to the arrivals terminal and tried to enter the airport only to be met with a sobering “No” by the guards holding AK-47’s when we asked if we could enter the terminal to find our friend.

Luckily, Matt stepped outside just moments later so everything was okay.

We stepped to the information kiosk to ask how we should proceed to the departures terminal to check in and rest up. Naturally, the kiosk attendant promptly told us that this was not allowed and that he knew a really nice hotel just a few minutes away… and he had the hotel owner on speed dial…. and the hotel was quite expensive……

We sensed that we were about to get ripped off so we said “no thanks” and proceeded to take a shuttle bus to the domestic departures terminal.

We walked into the terminal with ease and saw numerous travelers sleeping on the lobby seats. We found a corner of the lobby and I passed out for an hour or two while Matt somehow stayed awake following a direct flight from Toronto to New Delhi (this is the trip of no jetlag, apparently…)

After a few hours, we boarded our flight to Leh. I had absolutely no idea what to expect as it was Vini’s initiative (thank you, Vini!!) to visit Leh before my girlfriend’s arrival in India.

Little did I know I was about to step into the most scenic and culturally interesting regionthat I could possibly imagine…

Leh, Ladakh:

On the airplane, I was seated next to a white German man who went on to tell me that he lives in Delhi and operates a coffee shop in Leh. I could have probed him on that for the full duration of the flight but I left it at that because I was still sleepy.

I asked Vini to wake me up when we could see mountains from the plane (this would be my first time ever seeing mountains in my memory) and dosed off for another hour or so.

Vini nudged me awake and I looked out the window.

“Ho-ly shit,” I muttered.

Words truly can’t describe the breathtaking sensation of seeing the Himalayas spanning as far as the eye can see. The snowy caps on the high mountains, the infinitely unique formations in the rock faces, the vegetation and rivers….

I was a big city brat before coming on this trip but I think I might be converted to an outdoorsy guy.

We landed and were greeted by a driver who was to take us to our home stay about 15 minutes from the airport. He grabbed our 3 backpacks, tossed them on the top of his van, didn’t strap them on, and we were off to the races.

We stayed at a quaint guest house called Tsetan Guest House (named after the place’s manager, Tsetan). This place had rave reviews on Hostel World and I can now see why.

The guest house consisted of a central dining room and kitchen area with traditional decor and padded floors along the inside perimeter of the dining room walls. There were a few guest rooms in this central building, and there were a few adjacent buildings containing more guest rooms.

Tying the whole complex together was a delightful courtyard area with seating and tables in front of the central building. In this courtyard we met people from South Africa, Israel, England, United States, New Zealand, and everywhere else you could think of.

Surrounding the guest house were mountainous landscapes and trees. This place was paradise.

But these romantic descriptions wouldn’t be felt on my arrival day in the city – I had to pay my dues by getting altitude sickness first!

Fast-forward 24 hours of tossing and turning and nausea and headaches and I woke up to this view out of our room’s window:



The photo doesn’t do it justice.

On our second day in Leh, I was feeling much better so we decided to do a tour of 3 nearby Bhuddist monasteries.

I wish I had taken specific notes of each monastery’s distinct features because the day trip has already melded into a slightly vague blur.

Here are some of the key points to hopefully paint a picture of the experience:

  • In each of the temples, there were highly-detailed “prayer wheels” painted beautifully that were to be rotated clockwise as a spiritual practice
  • There were Bhuddist monks meditating and playing traditional percussion instruments inside the temples
  • Humongous statues of Bhudda had been constructed in each of the temples and these were multiple floor levels in height. These statues were immaculately crafted and maintained.
  • Local cars drove along the streets with bumper stickers along the lines of: “Alone but happy”.
  • In general, these establishments conveyed the fascinating influence of Tibetan culture on the northern Indian communities. I don’t know much about either of these cultures or histories but I am VERY eager to learn more after this trip.

We came home and fell asleep pretty early as our plan for the next day was to drive to Nubra Valley and Turtek to explore the culture and, equally as importantly, to ride camels in the sand dunes.

This drive turned out to be long. Like, really long. But it was absolutely incredible and a must-do for any tourists in this part of India. The drive was a total of about 9 hours or so from Leh to the northernmost village in India, Turtuk. It involved us passing the highest motorable road in the world, which was pretty neat!

We drove around winding, narrow mountain roads that could barely accommodate two cars’ width. The car’s horn was king on this mountain. Around every blind turn, cars were expected to honk their horns to let their presence be known.

Our driver was a humble man who turned on a variety of Bhuddist chants in the car. The music was terrific and featured traditional instrumentation and intriguingly long phrasings. Some of these traditional chants would drone on for what felt like a half an hour or more.

Within a 9 hour drive, we experienced a huge variety of landscapes. Forests, rivers, rocky versus sandy mountain faces, dark brown rivers, sand dunes…

And we saw a lot of wildlife. Mostly cows, stray dogs, and donkeys. We exhausted every “ass” pun you could possibly conceive of during that drive.

We stopped off at a village for lunch. The menu offered fried rice plates, chow mein, and “momo’s” (these are basically deep fried dumplings as far as I understand… they were tasty!)

We eventually made it to Nubra Valley where we stopped off to see the most amazing Bhudda statue I had seen to date:


We continued driving for another few hours and eventually arrived in Turtek, at the northern tip of India. It was already pretty late, maybe around 8:00pm or so, so we had resigned to taking it easy near our home stay which we had stumbled across.

The owners of the home stay offered to take us for a brief tour around the area including a visit to the museum. They could speak very little English so we were lucky to have our newfound backpacker friend, Ani, along for the ride to help with translation.

We walked through the paths of the village and saw young Muslim children everywhere. Women were carrying heavy loads of grass and bagged products all over the place. Families were filling water buckets from streams and carrying them back to their homes.

This village, we were told, was firmly resistant to modernization and capitalism. Its residents valued sustainable living with a passion. Technological developments, such as Wi-Fi access, were met with suspicion and avoided.

We were brought to the museum which was hosted in a history-rich royal home. Our museum tour guide was a member of the royal family. He taught us all about the history and religious conflicts in the area with a heavily detailed family tree style diagram painted on the wall.

We returned back to our home stay, had a late dinner and went to bed. We had to be on the road again at 7:00am the next morning if we wanted to leave enough time to ride camels in the sand dunes!

The following day can be summarized with just that: we rode on camels in the sand dunes.

It was so fun. Camels are adorable creatures. We paid 200 rupees ($4 CAD) for a 15-minute ride on the camels. My camel tripped up slightly while I was riding it. Too much butter paneer, I guess.

Here’s a view of the sand dunes:


 And a cute photo of the camels for good measure:


We got home at a reasonable hour and spent the afternoon in the market. Matt and Vini splurged on pashmina scarves and their process of finding a trustworthy pashmina vendor was hilarious in itself.

Since 100% pashmina scarves are apparently only produced in the Ladakh region, the market was filled with pushy salesmen trying to hustle pashminas.

We stopped into a bunch of shops and each merchant would show off their unique gimmick for demonstrating their pashminas’ purity. Some merchants would perform a “water test” whereby they drop a bead of water on the scarf and state that if it doesn’t soak into the material, then it must be pure pashmina. Others would engage us with a “fire test” where they would quite literally light their garments on fire to show how quickly the flame stops burning…. which apparently means pure pashmina?

We eventually found this sweet, kind soul of a shop owner and proceeded to buy a bunch of products from him. Here we are with him in his shop:


The next day was not too exciting. We went on a brief hike just outside of Leh and each did our own thing in the afternoon (catching up on emails, shopping, sightseeing, etc.)

It’s now midnight and we’re leaving for the Leh airport at 5:30am tomorrow morning to head back to Delhi to meet my girlfriend, Avi, and her mom. We’ll be congregating in Delhi airport and taking a drive up to Chandigarh to visit Avi’s mom’s hometown.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a very special experience to witness her family’s hometown first-hand. I can’t wait to continue this eye-opening journey!

But for now I should get some shut-eye.

Thanks for reading and I’ll make an effort to update this blog more regularly going forward!



And the trip begins… My 10-hour layover in London, England

So Canada Day weekend came and went in what felt like an instant and now I’m sitting at a bar in London, England!

I had the pleasure of spending Canada 150 weekend with my friends as my sublet guest moved into my apartment on June 29th. My girlfriend and I crashed at our friend’s place for the weekend and they had a house party to celebrate the nation’s birthday. Overall it was a fun and busy weekend with last minute chores and client work before leaving the country.

I’m already slightly disoriented with my sense of time and date.

I hopped on my outgoing flight from Ottawa to London at about 11pm on July 3rd, and luckily I managed to sleep through most of the flight. When I arrived in London at ~10am local time on July 4th, I was more or less rested from a night of sleep on the plane.

I had a 10-hour layover ahead so I decided to take the tube downtown and explore a few of the low-hanging touristy sightseeing fruits. I took a tube to Westminster station.

I had a pretty quick glance at Buckingham Palace and flowed with a wave of people in an unknown direction. Spoiler alert: I didn’t do much in the way of activities so excuse my potentially unnecessary descriptive language to compensate for my lack of content.

I walked across the bridge and veered onto a side street as the mass of tourists taking selfies was overwhelming me. My immediate impression of London was: this place looks expensive.

Every retail sign looked so swanky and the architecture screamed class. Very nice looking city – it almost reminds me a bit of Old Montreal.

I needed a coffee so I stepped into a random coffee shop in a strip next to a bunch of restaurants and tourist souvenir shops. I asked the barista for a coffee, to which she responded:

“Black or white?”

I gave no response and probably looked like a deer caught in headlights.

She tried again: “With or without milk?”

“Oh, with milk, please…,” I scurried away with my tail between my legs and my face blushing maple-leaf red.

Cool slang though. I dig it!

Upon leaving the coffee shop, I continued walking in a mysterious direction.

I was on a quest for some intangible “London-esque” vibes and I just so happen to know nothing about London, which made that quest a bit tricky.

I stumbled upon a cool-looking street market with a ton of street food vendors, coffee shops and book stores. Given my time constraints and desire to write this blog post before heading back to the airport, I decided that this street market would be sufficiently “London” for my brief visit.

(To any London locals reading this: I can only imagine how much you’re cringing!)

I stepped into a second hand bookstore and overheard the cashier flirting with a Brazilian customer. I hope she comes back to the store and they fall in love and get married. Some lucky mutual friend deserves to hear that musical blend of accents for the rest of time.

I proceeded to check out all of the street food trucks outside. What a diverse selection! Unfortunately, none of the trucks accepted credit card so I couldn’t indulge (wow, did I just type that..?) I grabbed a Turkish sausage sandwich with fried egg, tomato and hummus at a nearby restaurant instead. It was delicious!

Fast-forward to now. I’m sitting in a bar and hostel called The Walrus. I’m sipping on a pint of Foster’s blond beer. I’m listening to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” album. I can certainly say that I’ve been more stressed than this in the past.

Quick observation: Is tipping for drinks not a thing in London? Or am I just being terribly rude? I ordered a pint and the bartender took my credit card and tapped it on the pin pad on my behalf, without giving me the option to tip… I vaguely recall having heard about this standard in the past, but had forgotten what was the proper etiquette.

I need to hop on the tube again within the next hour or so. My flight for Delhi departs at 9:31pm tonight. I’ll arrive in Delhi at about 10:30am local time on July 5th.

I’m too impressionable for all this: I left Ottawa at 11pm on July 3rd and I’m due to arrive in Delhi at 10am on July 5th. Or, as my brother so astutely joked: “I leave Canada this evening and get to India yesterday morning.”

I’m already feeling tickles of culture shock… I can’t imagine what’s in store for me in India.

I’m so excited.

Anyways, time to go navigate my way back to Heathrow. Wish me luck!



Living a Transient Life: Packing Up My Apartment (Again)

I just finished packing up my belongings to move out of my apartment in Ottawa, Canada.

I feel like I repeat this same process every year…

Ever since I moved away from St. John’s, Newfoundland in 2010, I’ve been moving city-to-city on a regular basis. All within a fairly small radius of distance, mind you.

I moved to Montreal for college in 2010 and lived there for four years, with occasional summer stints in St. John’s. What a blur.

Upon graduation in 2014, I moved to Toronto for five months to be trained for my full-time job.

After five months had passed, my employer shipped me back to Montreal for an assignment.

Nine months later, just after I started feeling at home again in Montreal, work sent me to Ottawa to replace a colleague of mine who had been promoted.

And I’ve been living in Ottawa ever since that latter relocation in September 2015.

I’ve enjoyed my time here! Ottawa is a fantastic city for young (or old) professionals looking to live and work and relax and get some thinking done. People are nice and laid back here and it’s a very sensible city.

People care about things here – the political vibes are more apparent than I would have expected before moving here. I guess it makes perfect sense in retrospect.

Anyways, now I’m moving again.

Can you guess where to?

Berlin…? Hong Kong……? New York City………?

*Drum Roll*

Nope — Toronto!

Back to the center of the universe:

I’m actually quite excited.

My girlfriend got accepted into a prestigious Masters program in her field of Law. She’s waiting to hear back on a few interviews as well so it looks like she’s going to have options. I’m so proud of and excited for her.

Now that my office is my laptop, my mobility allows me to move freely with her to Toronto. We’ll be moving there together effective September 1st.

As for the next two months, we’ll be traveling to India and St. John’s, Newfoundland. I’m excited and mentally unprepared and unbelievably grateful at the same time.

Stay tuned here for regular updates on our travels to India!

The effects of frequently moving to a new city

As with many other lifestyle decisions, there are pros and cons to frequently moving to new cities.

Here are some of the potential pros:

  • You’re constantly meeting new people
  • You’re faced with regular “checkpoints” in your life – moving to a new city could be viewed as a fresh start or opportunity to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in a specific amount of time
  • You’re provided with a regular opportunity to assess what material belongings you own and what you should probably consider giving away. I’m biased on this point because I personally dislike hoarding and tend to believe that if I haven’t used an item in a year or more, then I’ll likely never need to use it. I like being forced to review my inventory of possessions every so often.
  • Depending on where you are moving, you might be able to experience a totally new culture. If you are moving from Chicago to Beijing, for example, the cultural learning curve will obviously be a huge pro in and of itself.
  • Your willingness to be mobile could accelerate your career progression.
  • And more…

On the other hand, here are some of the potential cons of moving to new cities too often:

  • Moving is invariably an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Whether you opt for the cheapest of the IKEA lamps or not, that U-Haul is still costing you a pretty penny. And packing up your apartment or home is either going to cost you a significant amount of time or money.
  • You run the risk of potentially losing contact with good friends or family members in your former city.
  • You have to change addresses with all of your major services, such as banks, government revenue agencies, etc. (I’m lazy, I know)
  • Your fleeting presence might cause you to hold back on commitments or relationships in your current city due to the expectation of an upcoming relocation.
  • You might be stuck renting apartments or buying and selling houses in a less-than-financially-optimal way to accommodate your lifestyle.
  • And more…

At the end of the day, everyone has different priorities in their lifestyle. To some, moving cities every year sounds exciting and fun, and to others it sounds like a nightmare.

Personally, I was anxious to move around and live in various cities as recently as a couple of years ago. I’m finding myself increasingly attracted to the idea of settling down in a city for a little while at this point though.

(Has Ottawa changed me…?)

The idea of calling somewhere my home for more than 2 years is sounding great to me right about now.

Or maybe this is just my physical exhaustion from having packed up my apartment today speaking.

Who knows.

Anyways, I’m going to bed.

Thanks for reading. Night!






8 Days Away from Travelling to India… Hectic Week Ahead!

I can’t believe I’m travelling to India in 8 days.

I’m so excited but also a bit nervous and stressed about all of the details and logistics I need to take care of between now and then. I’ve been procrastinating a bit.

The time crunch just hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s time to get my s*%t together!

I’m cluing up all of my last minute employment details with my employer this week. This includes handing over my company car, which I’m pretty bummed about.

I also need to prepare my apartment for the sublet guests who will be moving in for the months of July and August (as I’ll be spending August in St. John’s, Newfoundland). I’m extremely thankful for these sublet guests as they’ll be offsetting my rent while I’m away.

Lots of tedious details to juggle carefully over the next week to ensure I’ve taken care of everything before skipping town!

First Week in India:

I still haven’t hammered down an exact plan for my first week in India.

I specify “first week” in India because I’ll be travelling there alone for a few days and will then be greeted by my friend, Matt. My girlfriend, Avi, and her mom will arrive on July 12th.

I want to leave the first portion of the trip somewhat unplanned and fluid because we will be following a fairly rigid schedule when Avi and her mom join us.

I’ll be landing in New Delhi on July 4th. I’ve never traveled alone. I’ve never left North America. I don’t speak Hindi (besides a few expressions I learned from an app).

It’s going to be interesting!

I honestly can’t wait for the culture shock. I love learning about and experiencing other cultures and traveling has been a desire of mine for a long time.

My girlfriend’s mother is from India so it will be awesome to gain a more thorough understanding of their culture and history.

I was supposed to plan out my first few days in New Delhi a bit today but I didn’t get around to it. I’m thinking I’ll just explore the city itself for a few days and then perhaps take a day trip or short overnight excursion to a nearby town when Matt joins me.

I definitely want to explore some of the spiritual aspects of Indian culture when I get there. The temples, meditation, music, etc.

And of course I can’t WAIT for the food. I adore Indian food and I’ve heard the cuisine in India is absolutely incredible. You can expect frequent updates on the food I eat during my travels. Don’t visit my blog on an empty stomach as of July 4th!

Anyways, I didn’t have much to say in this post today. I hope I gave you a riveting look into my mundane Sunday thoughts.

If any of you have traveled to India before, I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below! We’ll be hitting up a bunch of cities in the country, from Punjab all the way down to Goa.

Wishing everyone a happy and productive week ahead!



One easy trick to reduce your fear of any scary decision

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I’m a fairly risk-averse person.

I’m scared of things. I get nervous when I think about stepping out of my comfort zone.

But, as of recently, I’ve thankfully realized with full emotional conviction that these statements don’t necessarily need to be true. In fact, you have the power to will them NOT to be true.

You have the potential to completely liberate yourself from fear.

That’s a scary thought in itself, eh?

Don’t be scared! The world is your oyster. You are completely limitless.

If your intention is to be the greatest painter on the planet, you can do it. If you want to be a millionaire, you can do it. If you want to be the best mother in the world, you can do it.

There’s only one (extremely fickle) obstacle standing between you and your wildest dreams: fear.

Fear of judgment. Fear of poverty. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of…….

But here’s the good news: you can overcome any of your fears easier than you might have thought.

Believe me – if I can do it, you can too.

An intimate look at one of my fears:

I’ve always been afraid of not being employed. Societal pressures, cookie-cutter middle-class schooling, ignorance to alternative options, etc. are a few root causes of this fear.

I’ve been told my entire life that my only option was to go to university, graduate and get a stable job that pays well, and squeeze in time for my hobbies and passions on the side. This was the ideal model of success.

And I believed it. For 24 years. And I went over and above to take every necessary action to ensure I was positioned for this model of success.

Until I realized that I wasn’t fulfilled doing so. This was not success to me. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t excited and I wasn’t a good fit.

And guess what: that’s totally fine! In fact, I would argue that it’s beautiful.

For what it’s worth, if you feel like a black sheep in whatever situation you’re currently in, I think you’re amazing and I’m confident that you will do incredible things in your life.

Embrace your uniqueness.

How I got over my fear quickly:

Okay, so you’re probably skimming this article to find the one easy trick that I so facetiously promised in the headline to bait you in to reading my blog (kidding, I love you for being here).

My apologies in advance if this easy trick is underwhelming. I wasn’t kidding when I used the qualifier “easy”.

Here’s the easy trick to reduce your fear of any scary decision: tell someone that you’re planning on choosing the scary option of your scary decision.

Just say it. Or text it. Or email it.

Just let it be known to another human being. And then listen to their response.

You’re going to be surprised with how they respond (depending on how objectively “scary” or drastic your decision actually is, of course.)

You’re likely going to be shocked at how casually they respond: “Yeah, go for it!”

Or how supportively they respond: “I think this is the best decision you’ve ever made in your life.”

The point is: your fear is probably less scary than you are making it out to be in your mind.

So ditch your fear and just go ahead. In fact, I’m inclined to say you should use your fear as a compass. If you’re scared of something, it probably means it’s worthwhile pursuing.

One of my mentors once told me that fear and excitement are opposite sides of the same coin. And I believe this wholeheartedly.

When I spoke with my former boss to formally announce my resignation, I was amazed at how little difference I felt before and after the conversation. It served as an interesting manifestation of how fickle is your perception of fear.


I realize that this post is by no means an all-encompassing solution to everyone’s particular situation. I’m just scratching the surface of a very complex and universally-experienced emotion.

And I’m speaking from a position of privilege on a number of measures.

My goal with this post was simply to share a tip that helped me, and could hopefully help you too. I intend to elaborate on this theme in future blog posts.

Thanks for checking out The Millenial Merchant and, at the risk of sounding tacky and jeopardizing the integrity of this entire post, I think it’s only appropriate to end this article with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s infamous quote: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”