Hi Nicholas!
Adina Dincă

I am digging for cliches but the grass is always greener on the other side. What’s sad about liking being at home and enjoying the occasional holiday? What makes the “digital nomad” life better than that?

I find it odd that people feel this level of conflict. As far as I can tell, based on all available evidence, we have one life to live. That means that if you are in a position where you are fortunate enough to have choices, you should choose what makes you happy and feel very little urge to explain yourself to others.

I love my life on the road but I am all too aware it’s not for everyone. I speed up and slow down in my travels. I haven’t set foot in my own country for more than a decade. I haven’t put down roots anywhere. However, I am also quite aware that this makes me odd.

Most people are culturally attuned to their own culture — for a Christian (or someone from a Christian nation) Ramadan or Songkran may be interesting to experience but neither will ever hold the same place in their heart as the family gathering to eat turkey or beef and swap presents.

The vast majority of people have families they are close to and friends that they hold dear who do not travel. It takes an odd person to abandon those things to forever wander the earth.

In my observation most of the long-timers are like me. They are rootless, I never lived anywhere for very long as a child, was sent away to school and then my first real jobs sent me all over the place too.

The people I meet who’ve been out here as long as me are expat brats, army (or military) brats, public school (private school if you’re not English) brats, etc. That’s because their lives have always been nomadic (to a large extent) and it’s really easy for them to adjust to it in adulthood.

But… importantly most slow travel 6 months — 2 years in a place not a week — 3 months. Most of them carry far more than 1 bag because they’ve reached a point in life where creature comforts are important. They know instinctively to hunt out expats not tourists for companionship. They have worked out how to introduce themselves pretty much anywhere. They don’t turn up with a list of things they expect other people to conform to (it’s fine to be a non-drinking vegan but if you only want to hang out with people like that — your options are a touch limited in much of the world). And so on… and mostly they do this because it’s natural to them, their parents and friends do the same.

People with roots and without the experience tend to find the whole nomadic thing like being thrown into a bath full of cold water. It might look like a good idea when you’re a little hot but the reality is often quite unpleasant.

Travel while they work is too different to travel taken as vacation. The people they love are too far away. The joy of other cultures is quickly supplanted by frustration at those cultures. And so on… it’s a natural consequence of “nurture” (from the whole nature vs nurture thing). And this is all OK. It takes many different people to make up a world (and it’s a good thing, otherwise every city on earth would just be a bunch of tourists and digital nomads and everything would quickly become utterly homogeneous) and people should be proud of who they are and not apologetic for not being something else. Enjoy your choices. Life is nothing but a series of trade offs. One kind of joy for another. If you’ve found something that works for you — stick with it.

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