Today, I came across a blog entry I drafted in June of 2008. I was a month out of a five-month trip to Asia and Europe, and feeling overwhelmed by the desperation and drudgery of “real life.” Instead of being in a foreign country, I was stuck behind a desk imagining it, looking wistfully at Google Image results for Nepal and Finland.
And today, less than nine months later, I’m sitting in my Guatemala guesthouse, chatting with co-workers online and looking forward to an evening of hiking on a live volcano. I still have my job, and I still work regular hours–but I’m traveling, too. My to-do list includes stopping by the local market to pick up cheap, freshly-picked fruit. Spanish is flowing around me, and my vocabulary increases by the day. My major concern is picking the next city to visit–not a worry about car payments or insurance or rent. Working while traveling isn’t perfect, but it’s the best of both worlds. Most importantly, that dread of going into the office each day is gone.
A lot can change in a year! If you’re contemplating a shift to the digital nomad lifestyle, I hope that the misery apparent in the post below compared to my current happiness will be of some reassurance.
Today, I committed to my job until the end of December. (If you listen closely, you can hear my mother rejoicing.)
Then, I came home and cried. Not a single tear to mark the temporary pause in my nomadic existence, but full-out sobbing to the general tune of “my life sucks.”
Now, if you ask me, this is an unreasonable reaction. I like my colleagues, love my clients, and add to my writing portfolio by the week. I don’t have a commute. I spent Jan-May backpacking around in Asia and Europe, so my bank balance can definitely use the bolstering. And it’s only 6 months!
And yet, it felt like I was selling my soul to a lifetime of corporate drudgery.
I blame the quarter-life crisis–that point where you’re several years out of college, have a job, and are forced to consider your next major career/life move. Grad school? (in a year) Move up the career ladder? Change jobs? Quit and become a freelancer so you can travel whenever, wherever? (yes, please) It’s just like the last semester of college, when everything is wide open to you and you’re forced to narrow it down…only this time, the decision will have greater ramifications. I’m no longer a “recent graduate,” after all.
What to do?