I’m not sure I want to be a digital nomad anymore.
Photo by Lucas Sankey on Unsplash
Okay, it’s time to face reality. I thought that perhaps this would just be a phase. Turns out it wasn’t.
This morning when I woke up, this was the very first thought I had. The very first emotion I felt. I hate myself for writing this, but after three months of having the life I dreamed of, I want to go home.
I wanted to be a digital nomad. I was. Lisbon, Playa del Carmen in Mexico, Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica… I’ve had some wonderful adventures, but I think I’ve reached the end of my experience.
I’m discovering what homesickness means. And I’m trying to live according to the latest update of my inner self.
It crept up on me slyly
It was only three weeks after landing in Mexico that I felt the first hint of homesickness. At that point, I had been traveling for a month and a half. One month and a half of living this dream that I was obsessed with for more than a year.
It was after a call with my family. They were all having dinner together, and I felt a craving to be with them. But then, I went on with my day and that longing vanished.
Over the past few weeks, however, it appeared more and more frequently, and more and more intensely. Until I felt it every day. Until I checked the plane tickets “just to see.” Until I woke up this morning feeling homesick.
Today I don’t know what to do anymore.
Should I go back home, draw a line on what I have left to live in this adventure — I had planned to go to the Dominican Republic after Costa Rica, where I had rented a beautiful apartment on the beach — and take the risk of regretting my choice once back in my daily life? Or hang on and finish what I have started, for once in my life?
I would have preferred to plan my trip more in the short term so that I could adapt along the way, but Covid didn’t allow me to do so. Plus I had to make sure that all the comfortable Airbnbs with good wifi and workspace weren’t rented.
I just feel like it doesn’t make sense anymore. I found my answers. I’ve had some really cool times. I’ve tried this lifestyle I was curious about. Now all I want to do is get back to simplicity, back home, back to my family, and get to work on my new projects that have emerged while I was away. Moving forward in my life, instead of staying stuck in projects that were mine before.
Yes, I am unstable. Or maybe not
There are three reasons why I’m hesitant to buy my return ticket. I have to admit that I am afraid of what people will think of me. Even though I brag about not caring, everyone around me knows about this project. And quitting will only give them another reason to call me unstable. Which, of course, I am. I feel like I’m coming across as a capricious person who wanted their trip and once they have it, want something else.
But at the same time, this is my life. I didn’t ask anyone for permission to come here, I shouldn’t ask anyone to go home. This was my time. My money. My decisions.
I am aware that I currently have what some people would love to have, and I no longer enjoy it. I no longer feel the desire to connect with people. To visit. To go out. I’m even tired in advance about all the cabs and planes I’ll have to take to get from one destination to another until June. Those days I mostly stayed home, worked long days, and spent the rest of the time reading.
The third reason is that I’m afraid I’ll miss out on what these extra two months have in store for me. And at the same time, if it doesn’t fit my person anymore, if it doesn’t make sense to me, what’s the point? Shouldn’t I go towards my new projects? Toward the important things in my life that this trip has highlighted?
I have always advocated following your inner voice because it knows better than you. The problem here is that mine is completely clouded by my desire to return home. I can’t hear it anymore.
So, yes, I’m maybe unstable. Because I can’t stay in something that doesn’t fit me anymore. But if I’m honest, I feel like I’ve evolved as a person, and got what I came for.
Lesson one: when you don’t know what to do, pour out your heart onto a screen or paper. You might be surprised at what you will see appear before your eyes. Writing has a magical power to make your deepest thoughts visible.
Whatever dilemma you face today, you have the right to doubt, to hesitate, to feel lost. Listen to your emotions, and be honest with yourself before you feel accountable to anyone else. It’s your life, and you shouldn’t care what people think of you, as long as you don’t hurt them.
I may be confused right now and not feeling my best, but at least I know I am in tune with my emotions. I live by my heart, and that’s more important than living by your brain because joy, passion, love, happiness, and intensity are where the heart is. Not the brain.
Life is trial and error. There is no destination. There is nowhere to go. It’s perfectly normal to change your mind. It’s perfectly normal to act on how you feel.
I could feel it coming. It was becoming more and more present. Now that it’s pervasive, I have to make the right decision. The right decision for ME.
Try to listen to your inner voice. Mine is garbled by the incessant inner chatter, but I try anyway. And act on the latest version of your updated self. If you don’t, you’re only slowing down your growth process.
Note: I’m going home. I am editing these words from the Paris airport. And I absolutely do not regret my choice. I am happy to have done this project, happy to have experienced all that these three months have brought me, and happy to move on.