I live a very different lifestyle from many people I know, especially those who are around my age. Most friends and family are very supportive of what could easily be seen as craziness, flakiness, or a hippied-out lifestyle, and most are happy to see me bounce around the planet and the country (although I’m no where near as adventurous as say….Wandering Earl, my new favorite travel blog!
But I do often get some interesting reactions to when I say stuff like: “I just bought a one-way ticket to Asia!” or “I’m moving to Boulder for a couple months with no plan and no contacts!” Usually, if it’s not said outright, there’s an implied message of:
“Easy for you! You’re lucky! You don’t have kids!”
“Must be nice! I have to WORK!”
“I could never do that, because of ___________________________________!”
I don’t mind any of the reactions. I expect that most people can’t truly relate to “mobile business” or “location independent entrepreneurship” or “digital nomadic lifestyle”. I think to anyone over about 45, hearing those words probably sounds like “bum that likes to bum around and be a bum” or something.
I would never say that “I have the best lifestyle and everyone should copy me!” But I’m sure it can, from the outside, look pretty desirable to some that dreamed of “traveling the world” at some point (although, the reality is that “traveling the world” is impossible, even Chris Guillebeau who has traveled to almost every coutnry in the world has not actually seen most of the world!).
My philosophy is that nothing needs to wait. You put everything off in life and pretty soon you’re 80 years old and looking back on all the “should haves” instead of the great memories you created. Life is wayyyyyy too short to wait. Wait for what? Often it is permission from someone to say “it’s okay!”. Society will never give you that. The rules state that you must go to college, get a job at a company, get married, buy a house, “settle down”, and save for retirement when you can relax and enjoy life. Haha.
Not that I have a problem with people that have traditional jobs. That’s most people I know. And I have to admit, I am sometimes jealous of them. A steady paycheck hasn’t been something in my world for over 12 years! Sometimes the entrepreneur path can be very stressful, (especially if you bought 10 houses in the real estate boom in 2004-06 and only managed to sell 6 of them before the crash…like me!). I actually like the idea of knowing that I have a check coming every 2 weeks.
But work didn’t work for me. Bosses, cubicles, 8-5, commutes, office politics…I couldn’t hack it. I didn’t really choose to get out of the corporate world at the time, it chose not to have me as a part of it!
As far as travel and the “easy for you!” attitude….it’s all an illusion. We all struggle with stuff. Sometimes I can’t understand how people can be in relationships. It takes so much time! And then there’s those who have kids on top of that. I can’t imagine it, even living solo now, I feel like time zips by most of the time (unless I am traveling to a new place, then it slows down).
People choose to get married, have kids, live in the burbs…and for some this lifestyle works very well. But for others, they still want a life of adventure even though they’ve found their soulmate and maybe even spawned a young one or two! I recently discover this blog by a married couple who are traveling the US and the world. What an inspiration! And how about The Family Without Borders? Covering lots of ground with two little ones in tow…I love this!
These are just a few examples. It’s not easy for them. It’s not actually easy for me (although the other path to me would be much harder!). No one really has it easy, even those “born with a silver spoon in their mouth”.
I choose adventure. I love the city where I spend the most time. But I’m restless….need to rome. The next adventure to Boulder will require uprooting, moving stuff into storage, leaving the beach, driving like 1200 miles or something, and knowing nobody, in a brand new place for a couple of months or maybe longer? My choices are not “instead of kids” or “instead of settling down”. No matter what happens in my life, this is the path I choose- and it is not the path of least resistance by any stretch, but definitely the path of the most unknown.