The Secret's Out
Introducing Sam, the Modern Nomad:
The brief backstory of a resignation notice and a one-way flight
I'm excited to formally announce something I've been working on and planning for the past five months or so: This New Year's Eve, I'm beginning a year-long, multi-continent trip as a modern nomad.
What is a modern nomad?
A modern nomad is someone who has a lot of the same goals as a nomad, meaning they don't have one place they call home. A nomad prefers to roam about at their leisure and travel with a flexible itinerary searching more a more authentic experience and genuine connections. They want to be surprised, enchanted by the spontaneity of existence and enjoy the journey versus the destination.
Modern nomads keep the open and adventurous spirit but utilize technology to make nomadic travel easier. They research each country beforehand to learn as much as they can, book plane tickets and hotel rooms through an app when they're on the go, use steripens to make the water safe to drink anywhere they are, and share their experiences with loved ones back home in real time. Modern nomads know that with these tools at their disposal, they're enabled to do anything and go anywhere they please.
Most people I've told naturally have a lot of questions for me, some of which I've answered in the video below. The rest I'll take on right now.
The simple answer? It was time. I've learned a lot about timing in the past couple years, namely that it can be kind of a cop-out. Have you ever denied yourself something because the timing didn't seem quite right? You will never know whether or not it's the right time to do something. Nothing divinely inspired is going to tap you on the shoulder and make itself obvious to you; if you really want something, you have to make it the right time.
The timing will never, ever be perfect. Work will always be there, so will the rest of the world. As with most decisions, you'll always leave something on the table. You have to decide what's right for you and what will make you happiest, which sounds much simpler than it is.
Over these months of planning, I've changed my mind a thousand times about what I thought I wanted. I stressed about spending so much money, living without a paycheck, leaving a job where I liked the people I work with and have experienced a lot of success. A funny thing happens when you finally give into your dreams and push that "purchase" button on Air China's website- you start thinking of a million excuses why you shouldn't have.
"What would make you happy?" is a question you should really unpack and digest for a while. Likely, you'll start off with the usual suspects: a good job, lots of money, a significant other, power, success. If you open yourself to the possibility that these values aren't necessary nor inherent to universal happiness, you'll start focusing on what you want. If you're quiet enough, you'll notice the thought bouncing into your head. Somehow, that thought fought through all the noise and doubt parading around my mind and knew that I needed to give myself the time to travel.
There are many ways to improve yourself. You can learn new skills, study, help others, create. I've developed myself academically and learned how to function professionally, but it's time for me to focus on developing myself in less tangible ways. I'm so excited for the chance to focus more on writing, the byproduct of which is sharing my experiences through this blog. I'm excited to do thing I've never done before in places I never thought I'd see with people I never would have met otherwise. I'm excited for the newness, the relaxation, the wonder, the fresh perspective, the challenges.
Choosing to leave was difficult- I love my job, my apartment, my boyfriend and cat, my friends in the city, my flexible work schedule, and the eternally intoxicating San Francisco. I'm not leaving because I'm trying to escape; in fact, I'm pretty upset. Knowing that I can always come back makes me so much more at peace with my decision, but at the end of the day, denying myself such a great experience because of an apartment sounds a little ridiculous. It's certainly a curious thing that happens when you step outside the steps you've been pacing for most of your life, the floorboards worn raw with repetition and expectation; it's like seeing the world from a hot air balloon.
I'm choosing to travel for many different reasons, but only one matters: I want to. It sounds like fun, and it would make me happy. I'm confident in and at peace with my decision, and I've been blessed to have the support of my boyfriend, our families, my colleagues, and my friends throughout the year I've been planning for this trip. I can honestly say I could not have done this without all of you!
In the days leading up to our trip, I'll be sharing my packing list as well as some tips and resources to use when planning a trip of your own. Stay tuned!