This post is part confession and part announcement. I need to come clean about a decision I’ve been wrestling with for months and decided weeks ago but have yet to share:
I’m extending my trip indefinitely.
For some of you this may not be much of a surprise, but I’ve decided to transition to a permanent traveling (nomadic, if you will) lifestyle. This trip to Ecuador is not a vacation or an after-graduation treat, rather it is the first step in a journey that will take me (I hope) around the world. It is the next stage in my life.
There are few professions that are location independent and can support perpetual travel. The traditional professions of nomads have been musicians, writers, teachers, and volunteers (i.e., those who exchange work for food/accommodation). However, the widespread adoption of the Internet and computing technology in general has given rise to another profession suited to a nomadic lifestyle: the high-tech hobo.
I am incredibly fortunate to have developed the necessary passion and skills necessary to support my wandering lifestyle, because I certainly don’t have what it takes to be a professional musician or writer. Teaching and volunteering are two occupations I plan to try someday, in fact sooner than you might think, but that is for another post. Whether I can succeed at this lifestyle is another question, one I’ve spent the last month trying to answer.
The past 6 weeks I used as a trial period to determine if I could actually work while traveling. I had serious doubts as to whether I could perform my duties with just a tiny netbook and random wifi hotspots. As a programmer you come to expect (and take for granted) certain luxuries, such as the workstation below I used for the last year until I graduated.
If you asked me a year ago if I could work full-time with a 10 inch monitor instead of two 24 inch screens, I would have laughed you out of town.
Just several months ago I was shopping around for a fancy “programmer’s chair”. These ergonomic chairs are designed to serve the ‘eccentric’ needs of programmers and other working professionals who sit in front of a computer desk for hours and hours at a time. They cost upwards of a $1000! Not too long ago I was certain I had to have one of these chairs; I thought I couldn’t work fulltime without one.
Yet, for the past month I’ve been spending my working hours on couches, benches, bar stools, and bunk-beds. Yes, my backside hurts, my spine isn’t too happy, and my hands are cramped from using such a tiny keyboard, but I’m not trapped in an office or a cubicle. That alone is worth the pain.
Phew! There. It’s out. This was a difficult decision that has been long in the making. It involved sacrificing some other dreams, and in future posts I might discuss how I got to this point.
I’m not quite sure what I am going to do once I tire of traveling, for I know it is not realistic to believe I’ll always be consumed with this wanderlust. Though, at this point I’m not planning that far ahead. I’ve been planning my whole life since I was 13 years old. Right now my plans extend as far the end of August when my Ecuador visa expires. After that, who knows? Colombia? Peru? Africa? I’ll worry about that when I get there.
Enough planning. Enough thinking. It’s time to live in the moment.
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