What happens after traveling starts sucking?

The other day one of my favorite bloggers (and people) in the world sent a newsletter saying they were going home after 2 straight years on the road.

Two years!

Think about that for a second and marvel at their bravery.

I met this blogger about a year ago in Vietnam. I really had fun with them and we talked for a while about what it’s like to constantly live in Airbnb’s 7,000 miles away from home.

All seemed well, but then I got their email shortly ago, saying they were ready to come home. They said they needed a little break from the nomad lifestyle. They wanted to come home and feel comfortable in their own country. They wanted to do different things — like garden and cook a little bit more.

Many times we think of traveling like some one-off romantic fling we had with someone one summer. It’s passionate, beautiful, intoxicating, but, like all of them do, it ends too soon.

The question I want to ask here is, what if the traveling never ended? What if we could continue the dream forever, for as long as we wanted, and go down a path very few on this planet have ever been before?

The answer is not as glamorous as you might think. Take it from me, a digital nomad going on 5 years remote.

The Problem Is, We’re Writing This History As We Go

I think there’s a lot of good that can come from being a digital nomad, but for now, let’s talk about a big problem.

We don’t know the lifespan of the average digital nomad.

I don’t mean their age, I mean their metamorphosis. We get so many stories of digital nomads jumping off into the unknown, and we’re always inspired by their courage, but what about what happens afterward?

What are some of the digital nomads who have been at this for five years thinking? What about the 10-year nomads? 

I love that play “Into The Woods” because the whole first half shows the typical fairy tale story of the princess falling in love, etc. , but the second part of the play shows the “after,” and it’s not pretty.

The same is true for nonstop travel.

The problem is, digital nomadism is a new thing. The internet just started having a massive effect on earth about 10–15 years ago. Some people, I’m sure, went nomadic in the early years, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I heard the term “digital nomad” for the first time. That’s four years ago.

A year later I was interviewed by Now This for becoming a digital nomad myself. That video went viral on Facebook. Recent College Grad Quit Job To Become Digital Nomad
Watch Recent College Grad Quit Job To Become Digital Nomad, a Money video from NowThis.nowthisnews.com

But now, well, now if I hear the term digital nomad too much I sort of want to lock myself in a closet.

The point is, we’re starting to see the maturation process of folks who were digital nomads now that it has been a few years. It was all the rage in 2015–2016, but now, well, where are they now?

My friend’s email to me was just a reminder of something I went through, too. 

For Digital Nomads, It’s Either Complete Transformation Or.. 😧

To me, digital nomadism leads to one of two outcomes..

It either leads to massive transformation or a radical revert back to where you were before.

I love the Philippines. I see myself living there for the next 2–3 years at the very least. Who knows what will happen between me and my current girlfriend. What if we eventually get married? Will we move back to the states? I don’t really want to to be honest. I’d be happy to split time between Manila and Maryland, but you see, here’s my point.

I’m transformed. 

In a lot of ways, I can’t go back to my life in the States. I know how to get around and talk to people and generally live, but I like the Philippines better. 

On the other hand, I’ve seen a few friends of mine try the digital nomad lifestyle but end up moving back home after 3–6 months. 

Sometimes it takes longer.

Sometimes you miss home so much and feel completely lost out there and then something happens that changes everything for you.

Trust me when I say that I had doubts, too. Lots of them.

My main point is, many think digital nomadism is like a mistress or something that will always be tantalizing but the reality is digital nomadism is a lot like marriage. It’s nice, then it gets tough, then you either divorce or stick with it.

That’s a terribly condensed view of marriage, but you get my point. Bash me in the comments later.

And whichever option you choose is completely okay. Here’s why.

Digital Nomadism Is Always Worth It

To me, pretty much everything you do in life is worth it — even if it sucks.

My Mom told me she went on a cruise for the first time the other day and hated it. 

I didn’t see that as a waste of time or money. In that experience my Mom probably had a few cool moments, a few moments that sucked, and she probably learned a little bit, too. 

The bad moments have already made for a few great stories, so she has that going for her.

Even if there is no “happier ever after” 12 months into your digital nomad journey, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it. You may be able to converse in light Vietnamese with someone back home. You may know how to cook a few great dishes from Indonesia.

You might look back on your trip years from now and long to go back with new eyes, even though it may have been hard.

The thing is, you lived a dream life. You may not have known it in the midst of of living in a different country but, you did.

But even a dream life can get boring; even a dream life cannot be what you expected. That doesn’t signal anything wrong with you, it’s just hopefully helping you realize what you want and don’t want. 

And that’s all you can ask for anyway: a little more clarity on where and how you want to live your life.

I promise you that going “Nomad” will always help you get more clarity on that.

Sign up for my newsletter, maybe?

The Mission Contributor. 25. Published on Thought Catalog. YouTuber. Travel blogger. Visit Tom on HisYouTubeChannel.
The Mission Contributor. 25. Published on Thought Catalog. YouTuber. Travel blogger. Visit Tom on HisYouTubeChannel.
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