So this has been brewing for quite a while now, but I feel like it’s finally time to make a confession:
I don’t want to stop travelling!! To spend the year getting to do things like stealthily visiting Cuba, climbing Machu Picchu, doing a homestay on Lake Titicaca, playing with perspective in the Uyuni salt flats, exploring Easter Island, hiking New Zealand, roaming in a camper van in Australia, mountaineering in Bhutan, snow festivaling in Japan, and bikini bootcamping in Thailand has been a dream that’s flown all too fast, as my return date to London is all-too-rapidly approaching.
Of course, you’re thinking. Who would want to go back to the real world, where you have work and responsibilities? Who wouldn’t want to travel the world full-time? But you’re an adult, Kelly, and unless you have won the lottery and not told anyone (did you??), you’re going to need to take a job again, eventually. (Maybe you could become a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, but those jobs are hard to come by, and let’s be real – you’re just a humble travel blogger…)
Thank you, sage voice of Collective Wisdom. What you say is absolutely true. (For the record, I sadly haven’t won the lottery…)
Here’s the thing: it’s not just about traveling. What I really want is to become location-independent. To own my own time, and be where I want to be when I want to be.
- I want to be able to summer in the UK, when the days stretch out into the balmy evenings and all you want to do is sit outside with a glass of wine and soak up the sun because you know it will be missing in equal measure when winter comes.
- I want to be able to winter in Texas with my wonderful family, where Christmas can sometimes be as warm as the hottest day in the UK.
- I want to spend the temperate seasons wherever my fancy takes me – the Antipodes one Autumn, kicking it with Aussies and Kiwis; followed by Spring in Japan, with all the cherry blossoms in fragrant bloom.
This is the life I want to lead. And for the longest time, I’ve allowed myself to believe that it was out of my reach. Other people could manage it, sure. But not me.
Today, I make a declaration to you, dear reader:
I WILL become location-independent. I will become a Digital Nomad.
What’s a digital nomad, you ask? It sounds so…Millennial. And you do realize that you’re over 40, right Kelly?
Righty-o once again, Collective Wisdom! I am a bit long in the tooth for all this ‘digital’ stuff. But I’m determined, and you should just ask my family about trying to come between me and something I’ve set my mind on.
Why the declaration then?
Because come next month, I am going to leave the road behind and return to London to my old life. I have a very responsible job lined up with an excellent company, and I am excited about it.
Sounds good, no? Why the need for change then? And why declare it to us?
I feel that I need to get this out and have it on paper to keep me true to my goals. If there’s one thing that I’ve felt while on the road, it’s that life is short and we should treat it like the opportunity to collect experiences that we want to have.
I’ve already had the experience of working at some wonderful companies, building teams and bringing in clients. It’s been a challenge and a learning curve and a lot of fun to boot. But if I spend the rest of my life only collecting more of this same existence, when I look back at (hopefully) age 80, I will know that I missed out on many other experiences that I wanted to have. Experiences that would have helped make me more of who I really am.
And so, the declaration. Of course I’m going to give the job my all, because I owe it to my employers, colleagues and clients.
But I am also going to be pursuing digital opportunities on the side (don’t worry – I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve) so that I will eventually be able to support myself without a job. Hopefully that will happen right around the time I’m ready to leave the company.
I will share my journey here on my blog to keep me honest, and so that you can learn from my (mis)adventures. Because after my Belated Gap Year, I am more than ever determined to create a Gap Life for myself.
Who knows – maybe you too, dear reader, might be inspired to create a Gap Life of your own, whatever form that takes for you. 😊