Have I grown out of Digital Nomad life?
What happens when you realise “Oh, shit maybe I’m over this lifestyle?” 🌴
The last 3 years have been epic.
I have met the most amazing souls and travelled to some awesome countries. I have personally grown from a carefree spirited girl, to a woman (?) who now wants to build something for herself (whatever that is).
When I started my 'digital-nomad' journey, I wanted to be a nomad forever. But after almost 3 years, 'suitcase lifestyle' is something I'm ready to move on from.
I know right, "WTF. How can you not want to work and travel the world anymore?!!!"
Don't get me wrong, I still have the desire to explore the world and all its beauty. But at this point of my life, travelling is not my no. 1 priority.
At 25, I wanted to quit my job as a marketing strategist and travel. So I built up some clients as a freelance social media manager and hit the road!
Today at 27 (well, 28 by next week), I have other professional goals I want to achieve.
I've missed having a home and being in a proper relationship. I've also missed doing stimulating work. Anyways, here's 3 insights on why I'm ready to move on:
1. The Work/Travel Co-Dependency.
When you're a digital nomad, you have to either REALLY LOVE to travel or the type of work you do.
Sometimes you're on a date and you get food poisoning in an unfamiliar country, or you spend 12 hours at an airport because you didn't research the visa situation, or some days the only word you say is 'thank you' and nod because you're struggling to learn the local language... all these things are just the beauty and nature of travel.
The other side of the coin, is work. It can be really isolating if you don't join a co-working space. You're constantly by yourself working from home or at a cafe. It can be really productive, but if you're an extrovert (yours truly), it's SUPER LONELY. So you have to be committed or passionate about your work, because somedays it's just you and your laptop.
The tension is born when you start drifting from one of the two. It's this weird work/ travel co-dependency, you have to ensure you still love doing one or the other.
If you're losing interest in either the work or travel, the digital nomad lifestyle looses its value.
You also have to consider where you're going to get more bang for your buck. Geoarbitrage is when you earn in a higher value currency and spend in a lower one eg. Dollars vs Pesos. Whilst you might only earn 50 - 70% of your full time 9-5 wage, you can still live like royalty in places like Thailand. I loved being an island rugrat, drinking, surfing and just chilling out... but I also missed brushing my hair and going to a restaurant with some gfs after a long week at work. Sure shitty mojito buckets for $2 are fun, but after a month, you kinda want a non-life-threatening cocktail!
2. Goals Change.
Three years ago, becoming a digital nomad was on the top of my list.
Today, I want to explore other professional goals. I don't feel like I'm completely done with my work as a Strategist. I also have no desire to build my own agency with other social media managers just so I can travel. Perhaps it's because I'm on the other side of my 20s, and my 30s are around the corner... urging me to build something more than just my 'nomad-life.'
There will be some cynics who will say 'oh I told you so, this lifestyle of yours is not sustainable,' ergh but f*ck that negativity. We all need to accept that sometimes, people change and grow. We need to evolve, you can't be the same person you are at 25 at 35!
I think of my 20s as a series of sprints.
I've just finished my sprint as a digital nomad and now I'm ready for the next one.
3. You Don't Want to be Peter Pan Anymore.
I was 38, living in Bali, hooking up with a 19 year old Swedish backpacker. That was the glimpse I had of the future me lol. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact it's kinda hot. But for me, I knew I didn't really want to be doing that at 38.
As a digital nomad, you have this sense of childlike wonder about you. There is no time, no sense of urgency, you're just cruising and enjoying life (nb. BTW this is all a general statement and purely based off my own experience).
So I just felt something in me say:
'Hey it's been a fun ride, but if you want a grow up and have a family one day... maybe you should consider staying put for a while.
Maybe, it's time you date for real and evolve from holiday boyfriends.
Maybe, you should consider what your next professional career goal is.
Maybe it's time to bear the responsibility of what adulthood is all about.
I think it's time to step up. I think it's time you live up to your potential, because you weren't put here on Earth to just chill the fuck out all day everyday at the beach.
This is a feeling I've honestly had for the last 3-4 months. It pained me to think I had to say goodbye to a life of carefree travel. I also didn't want to go back to a 'boring' 9-5. It felt like limbo for a while, but I now know it's time for me to move on from my Neverland life. I don't exactly know what that is yet, but I know it's more than chilling out.
Life is meant to be lived with passion, growth and love. If a lifestyle of yours isn't serving you anymore, it's time to switch it up. Well, that's what the little Lizzie on my shoulder has been whispering to me haha.
So join me as I map out my next chapter! There are a few opportunities and options I'm exploring... whatever happens, I know it will be exactly where I need to be : ) xx