In a few short weeks, Shane and I are leaving Canada with a one-way ticket in hand. If you have been following us, you already know this. We will be housesitting around the world, starting in Thailand, and I will be working remotely.
When we stop to think about what we are doing, our nerves do a little jig. Then, we remember what motivated this change of pace in the first place and the stress subsides. For a little while. For the first time in our life, we do not have a plan other than “We will figure it out as we go!”. Something we have never said before!
We have spent the last few weeks selling the things that we can and giving the rest away. From furniture to kitchenware to sports equipment, everything has to go. Surprisingly, the entire process is turning out to be a lot more enjoyable than we ever thought it would be!
As we share our travel plans with friends, family (and strangers buying our things!), we keep hearing the same refrain: “Wonderful! You are so lucky to be able to do this!” At which point, I go from excited to uncomfortable…
We are not lucky.
We are taking a big risk. We are selling everything and jumping off a cliff without a parachute. Shane quit his job and I will be working remotely, adjusting my schedule to compensate for the time difference separating me from my clients. We have no idea if this will end up being a “crash-and-burn” situation that will see us back in Montreal, looking for jobs, in a month or two, or if it will turn out to be our best decision ever.
Either way, there is no luck involved.
For the last several years, we have been saving money. We have bought cheap furniture. We have cancelled our cable subscription. Since 2010, I have invested countless evenings and weekends into my business, so I could enjoy the flexibility I now have. I have gone back to school for a year; Shane did the same a few years before that. We have not bought a lot of new clothes. We have only gone on one (real) vacation in five years. We have borrowed things or done without, whenever possible.
We have chosen to put people as priority, to collect experiences rather than things. And we are not alone: millenials (and older people) are increasingly choosing to live the digital nomad life. Although there are some downsides, the rewards make it worthwhile: flexibility, creativity, meaning, and adventure. And a feeling that you own your life, instead of it owning you.
In the end, it comes down to priorities. It always does. You can share as many Instagram quotes about taking risks and living to the fullest (YOLO, anyone?) as you want, the real question is whether you will ever actually act on it. We have chosen to do so.
Luck has nothing to do with it.
“Living a meaningful, happy life is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences that span the spectrum of life’s opportunities.” - Harris, in a study funded by Eventbrite.