The Digital Nomad

Imagine a life spent traveling country to country, working from home, spending long afternoons walking down sandy beaches sipping a margarita…

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, it’s’ more and more possible these days to work remotely. And frankly, if you’re an American, you are better off not living in our piece of shit country. There are a lot of shitholes in the world, and we live in the stinkiest shithole of them all, baby. We’re number one god damn it.

So starting fairly soon I’m going to be leaving my home state once again to begin a new adventure in Asia. I’ll be doing the job I do now, which is teaching online, but instead of living in one shitty apartment in Texas, I’ll live in several shitty apartments in various countries.

There’s something magical about the feel of those places out there… The people, the food, the raw life you can feel in the air… Walking through the night markets in Taipei, hearing all the hustle and bustle of a thousand shops trying to sell a thousand amazing delicacies all at once along a tiny strip of cordoned off street… It’s intoxicating. You know you’re alive and you know you could go out into the night 50 times and find something you’ve never experienced before.

I never thought I would be lucky enough to live that kind of life. Somehow, things have (so far) worked out for me. I have a job that I love, and a lot of interesting prospects. I’m a “digital nomad”.

We’re all weird people. That’s why we go out into the world and live in our shitty apartments. We like our shitty apartments, because the shitty apartment represents freedom. It represents the ability to roam a world that we hear calling to us every day of our lives. We trade comfort for a feeling of aliveness that is impossible to get anywhere else.

One of the happiest moment during my 8 months in Japan was during my third week while I was hitchhiking. I had camped out for the night in a little village on the coast somewhere. I didn’t have a good spot to pitch my rain tarp, and I was exhausted, so I  rolled out my sleeping bag and went to bed on a quiet patch of grass.

I fell asleep, and a few hours later I woke up to a quite vigorous rainstorm. I was wet, dirty, alone, and uncertain of what I could possibly do. I couldn’t get up and lose what little warmth I had preserved, at least not until the sun was out. So I sat there in my increasingly wet sleeping bag, for an hour or so, cold, alone, and miserable, and at one point I just started cracking up. I laughed and laughed like I was in on the best joke ever and it had been right in front of me the whole time.

At that moment I realized that no matter what happened to me, I would always be able to do this. I am capable of sleeping outside, hitching through the countryside, eating food off of trees and at hole-in-the-wall diners where the menu hangs scribbled on wooden boards on the wall in a language you cannot decipher. I did all of that and came out the other side unharmed.   I slept through a rainstorm, and then I got up at sunrise, shook off the rain, and hiked until I found a convenience store where a dead-eyed cashier spared my dirty mountain goat visage only half a glance. I cleaned up in the bathroom, had a bit of a snack, and I was on my way.

During that one moment, laughing like a crazy person amid the rain and the mud and the cold… I just knew that I would be OK. I knew that I could handle whatever shit life threw at me.  Those are the moments I’m looking for. The moments are always different, but I always know they’re special. Those are the moments we torture ourselves for.

That’s why we’re here.

 

-Jack

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