“I truly, in my heart of hearts, believe I can do anything I want to do.”
Jessica Nabongo is a writer, entrepreneur, public speaker, and travel influencer based in Detroit and Los Angeles. In October 2019, Jessica became the first documented Black woman to visit every UN-recognized country (195!) in the world. She currently runs global lifestyle shop The Catch and travel membership site The Nabongo List, and is working on her first book, The Catch Me If You Can, due out on 6/14.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
| Kickoff: “I start my days early. I’m usually up in the 4 o’clock hour, sometimes 5, but I definitely start my days early…and slowly. So even though I’m awake, I may stay in bed for two hours, because I like to just let my body have a moment to wake up. I often read in the morning, or journal, or meditate.” |
The not-so average, average day: “I do my emails largely from my bed from 7 to 9. And then 9 to 11 is kind of me time: I’ll do my Peloton, I’ll make juice, I’ll do my smoothie. And then typically, I start actually working with other people around 11. And so then I work from 11 to four-ish. There’s usually calls during that time; I might break to make lunch. And then 4 to 6 is just me [thinking]: ‘Okay, is there anything I really, really have to do?’ I’m at the point where I’m just taking all of life really slowly and just recognizing that there are no emergencies, because I’m not a medical health professional.”
Wrapping up: “I go to bed early…my friends think it’s a joke. But people know—even if I’m out or people are at my house—they know at 8:30 I’m like a little robot. And I’m just powering down. So yeah, usually it’s rare that I’m awake after 9 o’clock. In her toolkit: “WhatsApp is my lifeline. I mean, that’s how I communicate with my team…I don’t know what life is without Evernote. I use Evernote every single day.”
Setting goals: “I believe in writing it down and manifestation, and I think the biggest part of it is feeling it and seeing it. And then you have to figure out how to make it happen. It’s not like it’s magic. But there is something magical about dreaming big and feeling it and manifesting it.” Finding balance: “I take every Wednesday off. I have therapy, and I’ve just decided that that’s my day off because I want to be calm going in, and I want to be calm going out. Worse comes to worst, I’ll have a meeting. But I don’t work on that day. I’ve been an entrepreneur for six years now, and it can be consuming and super overwhelming. So I’m really grateful that I’m at a point in my career where I can say, I’m taking Wednesdays off. “I love the good life. And one thing I’ve realized is my leisure and enjoyment is more important to me than money and work.” Room for improvement: “I want to meditate every day. That is something that would make me happy. And I would like to work out five times a week…that is on my list of things to do every year.”
She just gave me permission to try out this schedule. I’m awake by 4 a.m. too, but usually i toss and turn and try to go back to sleep. I will try her ROUTINE instead.