From Mexico, to Bulgaria, France, Peru, Colorado, U.S.A., Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada’s north including the Yukon and Northwest Territories, I traveled to over ten countries in 2017.

This year has been the busiest and best of my life. From welcoming my first daughter into the world, to traveling across the globe, it was unforgettable. But, as I’ve realized in business and life, when things go well, they go fast. Not having enough time in the day can make it difficult to accomplish certain tasks. Furthermore, sometimes the fear of missing opportunities can creep into your subconscious and impact the ones right in front of you…

To avoid this, I believe the successful path forward is through prioritization and streamlined research and investment practices. There is an expression in the mining industry that is thrown around a lot, and is relatable to many businesses: nothing beats “boots on the ground” knowledge. To attain it, one often must travel to the project or business to see it first hand. And while anyone can fly to a location and walk an exploration site or production facility, it’s the nuances that count. The various subtleties one picks up in person at an operations site can be invaluable prior to making investment decisions. It’s the nuances that usually make or save me money…

That’s why at Pinnacle we don’t often feature companies/investments we haven’t visited; even more, on top of physically seeing the operations, it’s the quality time we spend with management that counts.

Traveling Business Life | 5 Countries & 3 Continents in 10 Days

There was a period in November when I traveled to five countries (through 3 continents) in 10 days. While some would shudder at the thought of another airport or dirty hotel room, I have learned to embrace life on the road. For starters, it’s proven to have made me a smarter, more informed investor – and by extension Pinnacle’s tens of thousands of subscribers. And, it’s worth it to see and feel the confidence of management. While I’m certainly no geologist, I can tell when one is genuinely excited and if they believe in what they’re working to accomplish. ‘Hunger’ is another quality I seek out when visiting companies. If management isn’t hungry (and operating with a sense of urgency), I can feel it right away.

In late November, I headed to Toronto to learn more about an Internet of Things company and to produce this video. From there it was on to Switzerland for meetings and a bit of recuperation, before heading to Bulgaria to look at some exploration mining projects. I flew back through London, landed in Vancouver, and within six days was standing in Peru. I want to tell you about a specific evening in Peru, which made the entire trip worthwhile for me.

Peru and the Developing World | Lessons to Learn

My journey in Peru took me to Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon on earth, where the last remaining healthy wild population of Condors live. From there I headed to a desolate town in the Andes, 4,000 meters above sea level, just before another site visit. As I was adjusting to the altitude (4,000 meters is more than 13,000 feet above sea level) we went to a local restaurant. Walking near the main square, I noticed a group of kids and a few adults performing some kind of street dancing/group routine. Only about 15-20 people were dancing away to a loudspeaker on a dirt road surrounded by crumbling buildings. I noticed them, but continued on my way as I was hungry, and it was getting late.

At the restaurant, which employed a few kids under the age of 10, I ordered some white fish that was incredibly moist and tasty. Walking back to the hostel we were staying at (which existed in the back of a convenience store, as there were no hotels in this town) I nervously crossed the street to avoid getting swept up in another wild dogfight. Wild dogs roam the streets of almost every town and city in Peru; and, while most are friendly and mind their own business, vicious fights can erupt at a moment’s notice.

It was now that I heard the music about six blocks away. So, by the time I was within eyesight I could feel the ground vibrating beneath me. There were at least 100 dancers now, men, women and kids all dancing to their own beat it seemed; but, they were all together, facing the main square and dancing their hearts out. I had to get a closer look.

Upon further inspection, I realized I was witnessing the real Peru, not some tourist town, but people living their lives in a small town on the way to nowhere. The genuine happiness in their faces was contagious…

Finding Perspective in Peru for 2018

These people have spirit. They have a zest for life. They were a part of something bigger than themselves – a community. I couldn’t help but smile. Having felt sorry for the townspeople not more than 30 minutes prior, eating in their best restaurant that wouldn’t pass a single Health Canada food safety inspection, I realized they were happier than most North Americans…

If you have the real human spirit with you, one of good intentions and happiness, not only is anything possible, but you will walk through life in a protective shield, infallible to negativity and so many first world problems that drag us down. Real happiness has nothing to do with whats in your bank account. It’s the connection, love and kindness we share with those closest to us. And, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Often in life, I find it comes back to perspective. The Peruvian people shared their perspective and happiness with me that evening. I wish we all find a better perspective in life and business in 2018. Always step forward with positive eyes, looking to leave this world better than when you found it.

Finally, as 2017 winds down, I can’t help but look to 2018 with unbridled confidence and enthusiasm.

Let’s make ourselves and the world better in 2018,