Even Paradise Has Cockroaches

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

“You follow your heart and do what you yearn.
Finally feeling alive, no more stress to churn.
But even amidst the perfect life,
still exists a degree of strife.”

Heather Markel, June 2019.


A month ago I was on Easter Island. Let me take that in. A MONTH AGO, I WAS ON EASTER ISLAND!!! So damn cool to be able to say that. As I wrote previously, Easter Island is amazing! (Here is my first post, and here is my second post about the experience, in case you missed them.) To me, that place is one example of paradise on earth. Life is slow, there are cows roaming freely that you can encounter  anywhere, there are beaches, there are walks, there is nature, it’s just perfect. But amidst all that perfection, they still have cockroaches. Big ones – the kind that look like, if they stood up, would be as tall as you, and you can’t comprehend how they fit through the small holes of the water drain they must have crawled through to get into your shower. And why the shower? It’s the place you’re going to have to get naked which can trigger fearful visions of accidental procreation if one crawls up your leg. Actually, more unfair is a friend I met there encountered a roach on the toilet, and it bit his ass. No kidding. He had a big welt that he showed us. He’s ok, thankfully. Didn’t even turn into a hybrid roach superhero or anything.

A lonely scene near Salta, Argentina

Photograph by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019

This anaology got me thinking about my own journey, and the idea of freedom. In another post I wrote some time ago, I realized that so many clients I have worked with, and even myself for a long time, seem to want financial freedom. But, of course, it’s not about the money, it’s about being spiritually free. But then, what happens when you actually have that spiritual freedom? Whether, for you, that’s about long term travel, or something else, the reality is, you will find your own version of big cockroaches even when you have everything you thought you wanted.

“Those personal confrontations are still difficult.”

For me, I equate those cockroaches to the experience of meeting myself as I travel. I think this journey I have chosen along with many others, requires a lot of strength because you will confront your own self during so much of it. My biggest battle has been that of self-respect, up to now. The other cockroaches of my existence that are showing up now and again are boredom and loneliness.

A mystical church near Cachi, Argentina.

Photograph by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019

I think boredom is an epidemic, at least in the American culture. I think kids are bored at school, adults are bored at work, and the result, well, I think it leads to a lot of unhealthy behavior. At it’s best, it’s about the need to DO as much as possilbe to avoid being bored, and at it’s worst, I’m sure it’s a contributor to the many kinds of bad behavior you read about in the news. 
The gift of the cockroaches of boredom and loneliness that periodically show up in the naked and vulnerable shower of my life is they allow me to contemplate what I really want. Loneliness, for me, is more about the lack of romantic partner because I’m so blessed to have wonderful friends in my life, and meet new ones every week I travel. Boredom sets in at various times. As of late, it’s kicking me in the work sector of my brain. Since starting The Inspired Nomads video series I feel like I have some amazing direction. It feels like something that can take root and lead someplace, like the direction I  have wanted for my whole life, and the reason I started this journey in the first place. It’s just that, like anything, it’s got a fairly slow start and I’m eager to grow it. So, in the moments where I determine my next path and my next attempt to grow the series, there is where the boredom and even impatience creep in.
There are many, many days where I don’t do anything touristy, and sometimes I have a need to feel like I’ve settled for a time, so I’ll spend my day writing or reading, or just walking around. Those days are both a welcome respite, and, of course, slightly boring. But when these vermon feelings crawl around to the forefront of my self-awareness, they allow me to understand, just a bit further, what I want. And the blessing in all of this is that every time I figure out what I want, and get really clear about it, that very thing shows up in my life. So, maybe those cockroaches aren’t so bad, after all.

Most of what’s keeping you from what you want – full-time travel, a new business idea, a radical career shift – are your excuses. After one session with Heather, you’ll understand which excuses are holding you back the most, how to get them out of the way, and you’ll leave with an action plan that helps you set the foundation to pivot into the life you want.

You know you don’t like your job, but you can’t figure out how to survive without it. Designed for frustrated professionals the program focuses on teaching you the key steps to shifting your work and money mindsets, and giving you the money and work strategies to pursue, leaving you empowered to quit with confidence and see that it really is possible to live happily without a stable job.

Whether traveling full time was your dream before the pandemic, or after, this session will help you understand how to prepare, what you need to know, and how to get your finances in order to make it happen. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the “How To Afford The Travel Life” eBook. You’ll also get an understanding of both what’s great about full-time travel and some of the challenges. You can also discuss planning help, and how to get the most out of your experience.

It’s always been essential to understand your money, but if you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic, now it’s even more important that you create financial empowerment. In this session, Heather will work with you to first understand your gaps in managing your money, then she’ll help you with the framework on how to ensure you can afford the life you dream of. You’ll get tips to save and budget, and also discuss ways to earn money that will shift you out of feeling like a victim of the times, to seeing the opportunities in front of you to begin making money in a different way.

You want to quit and travel full time, but when can you go? This eBook gives you all the formulas you need to calculate when you can quit and afford the travel lifestyle you want, in under and hour.

Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve all had a chance to ask the question, “what now?” If you’ve decided it’s time to quit your 9-to-5 to travel full time (or take it with you while you live nomadically), this program will help you address the core mindset, money, and planning gaps you have. This is the program that will help you acknowledge and overcome your fears about what’s next, figure out how to afford and sustain your travels, and feel confident about planning your adventure. Book your free session to see if you’re a fit!

You’re finally serious about traveling full time, but you cannot figure out how you’ll afford it. Or, you’re just curious whether it’s really even possible to afford the lifestyle. Bootcamp is for you! We’ll go dive deep into savings strategies before you go, how to save on the road, and how to sustain your travels, as well as look at lots of work opportunities if you want to work while you travel! Includes a 3-day build your budget challenge to get you thinking about how to replace dreams with real logical steps to make it happen.

You’ve dreamed about traveling full time for as long as you can remember, and now you’ve learned that it’s a little more challenging than you thought. Get help getting through the initial shock and changes when you realize you’re not on vacation. Learn how to manage those experiences where you meet parts of yourself long forgotten, and create a plan to help you have the best experience with your journey.

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

If you need some tips on getting started, traveling safe, and saving money while traveling full time, go here! 

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.







Costa Rica


New Zealand









Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.