So, 2020 has been quite a piss against the wind, isn’t it? However, there was also good news.
For example: it turns out that the job you’ve been told couldn’t be done remotely, can be done remotely. Nice!
But before you pack your bags and tell your managers that you’re off to a tropical paradise forever… hold on a second. There are poisonous snakes here and everything!
Picture this: a full moon shining brightly between skyscrapers in downtown Seoul. It’s cold, it’s dry, but there isn’t much of the usual buzz. And there she shines…
But big-city life isn’t always that beautiful.
In fact, I realized that night that I hadn’t seen the moon in months.
It felt similar when I left my hometown Berlin and embarked on to what I told myself would be a “half-a-year-or-so trip to Korea”. Ten years later, I’m still in Asia – happier than ever.
But it was quite a bumpy ride with no clear direction and not really a plan. All I knew back then was, I was bored and annoyed by that awful grey that colours both the weather and people of Berlin. From about October to May.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t give up, stick to your work-routine and put on that sexy long underwear made of hand-shaved wool. Sure, you could just go to your boss and ask if you can work remotely. Тhey will say no anyway, right?
Don’t believe me? Here a few more things that could go wrong:
- If you think you can simply plan all your visa/banking/insurance essentials and then sit back and enjoy beach mojitos with a stupid grin on your face, you’re mistaken. Things will go sideways. A Bulgarian ATM could swallow your last credit card for example… It’s a sad day when you realize that TransferWise and an obscure Indonesian e-Wallet are your best friends.
- Apropos friends – how can you find them so far from home? You don’t know anyone here, you don’t understand the local dialects, and WTF is “body language”??
(We Germans are physically incapable of engaging our face muscles).
- Also, imagine what happens if that nomad life just isn’t for you. Some Thai curries are incredibly spicy! Oh, the humiliation when you return home – defeated.You’ll have WASTED so much time, and you’ll have to start…… pretty much exactly where you left. 🤷♂️
- Did I mention the poisonous snakes? The wild monkeys, the sharks and the spiders?They are e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.We went to a beautiful hidden waterfall the other day where a friendly local girl, about six years old, greeted us with the words “somebody died here”. Lovely!
- Whatever you do, don’t start surfing. Totally ruined my life.
- Finally, what if you have kids?
Okay, I have to break character here because children can actually be a challenge. I’m not an expert, but I would suggest that especially before school, travelling will be awesome for your little PITAs.
The kids in our village here in Siargao can ride motorbikes when they are six.
They know which herbs heal their scratches, they can read stars, they smile and sing and play all day. At eight, they know how to kill and feather chicken, decorate your Halloween costume with it and make a soup out of it.
Climbing large coconut trees? Waya problema!
Not sure about you, but I had to learn a lot of that stuff well into my thirties, and I have to unlearn even more.
That’s why, sometimes, it’s liberating to get rid of your clutter and stick to a simple backpack. There’s a little snake charmer in all of us, I’m sure, and there are certainly better ways to learn than being dragged to a private piano class after eight hours pre-school.
Especially when you’re four.
So if you choose to ignore my earlier warnings and want a casual chat with a fellow vagabond, hit me up on LinkedIn.
Or see you someday somewhere on this planet. ✌️
P.S. Just to be clear for the people who don’t speak sarcasm: I don’t know what’s important to you and there are a million paths to walk your life. Personally, I love vagabonding, but it’s often a struggle and – in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past months – we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.
But I also think that this crisis forces us to pause and reflect on what we are doing in our lives, in our relationships and with the world that we’re only borrowing it for a while.
For me, there’s something beautiful in this and I hope my article emboldens just one person to reflect on these bigger questions.
P.P.S. Oh, and if you need time for this and can’t be arsed to contact dozens of freelancers in Asia for every single project, please DO NOT message me.
Cause I can’t be arsed either!
You can get in touch with Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org