Last updated on November 4th, 2019 at 09:48 pm

COURAGE FREEDOM HAPPINESS: Life Hacks from a Digital Nomad

Janet Rouss

[Innovation Network Inc., 200 pages]

Courage Freedom Happiness: Life Hacks from a Digital Nomad is a book about a digital nomad’s 12-month journey across 22 countries, as a member of the Remote Year group travel/work program.

The program provides accommodation, in-transit travel arrangements, social networking events and co-working office space at each destination. Comprised of about 70 digital nomads at a time, this program is a way to travel the world with a support structure, which is especially useful for those who are new to extended travel.

The author, Janet Rouss, is a brand strategy consultant by trade and a passionate traveller by nature. Having been studying spiritual laws for more than 18 years, she’s also a graduate of the International Institute for Transformation as a Spiritual Transformation Guide.

Given her background, Rouss offers an interesting behind-the-scenes view of what it was like for to travel with Remote Year, how the group dynamics and demographics affected her experience, and the life hacks she recommends for others who are considering the digital nomad lifestyle.

   A memoir-style account

Blurry metro station in London, England - Courage freedom happiness

Courage Freedom Happiness is the first book of its kind to offer a memoir-style account of what life is like on a journey around the world with the Remote Year program. Although the majority of Remotes in Rouss’s cohort were Millennials, she offers insights from a more mature demographic.

Being a full-time traveller of the Gen X generation, I found her guidance very relevant to my own journey. Looking at the digital nomad landscape, the hype often seems largely geared towards a younger demographic; however, the number of people aged 40-plus who are pursuing extended travel is growing exponentially.

The beauty of Courage Freedom Happiness is that by using courage, freedom and happiness as the three pillars of its theme, it contains helpful information for everyone, regardless of your age or stage of life.


Extended travel can be daunting, and there are times when we may feel like returning to the comfort zone of home. Having the courage to stick to our plans to achieve our goals, despite being outside of our comfort zone, is one important aspect of a long-term trip.

Rouss recommends that we listen to our emotions, but instead of letting them rule us, let them go. She also reminds the reader to consider what is actually real about our fears by using the acronym F.E.A.R.: False Evidence Appearing Real.

There are times on our travels when we’ll have moments of stress and uncertainty—it’s almost impossible to go on such a journey without being faced with our own breaking point. Breathing through these moments and drawing on our courage is what can get us through.


Virtually all of us have obligations related to family, finances, career and/or home, and these responsibilities often take priority over our personal growth. Giving ourselves permission to follow our hearts by travelling and making our dreams a priority can be challenging, especially if we come from a society of “shoulds” and traditional definitions of success.

It’s important to live the life you want without letting excuses or other people’s opinions stand in your way, but this takes practice. Rouss recommends that we start with small goals and build up to making our bigger dreams of freedom a reality, step by step.


Finding happiness while travelling for extended periods of time can sometimes feel difficult, as there’s so much to do and see. This difficulty is exaggerated when you’re spending a lot of time with a large group of people, as this inevitably leads to more activities to do than you have time for.

Sometimes referred to as “the fear of missing out,” moments in which we have to make trade-offs can cause us to lose sight of enjoying what we’re doing presently, while we focus on what we may be missing.

Rouss suggests that we should try to be confident in our decisions and enjoy the moment. We create our own reality—happiness is a choice. Recognizing our emotions while being grateful for what we have is key, according to the author, and happiness comes from inside.

Life hacks for travellers

Throughout Courage Freedom Happiness, Janet Rouss offers useful life hacks for just about every situation she’s encountered on the road, such as preparing mentally for the curveballs travel throws, dealing with being outside your comfort zone and (significantly, to me) capturing the story of your travel experiences through photos, journals or blogs, so you don’t lose sight of all that you’ve learned on the journey.

Stories are the heart of your experience. A good story has a beginning, a middle and an end. It has a conflict or a challenge you have to overcome. The best stories get people emotionally involved and teach a lesson or two in the process. You never know where your stories will take you.

I found Courage Freedom Happiness: Life Hacks from a Digital Nomad to be an interesting glimpse into the life of a digital nomad travelling for a year in a group, and the author’s insights are valuable ones for anyone who’s considering a similar journey.

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image 1: Pexels; image 2: Wikimedia Commons

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