Thursday, June 18, 2015

I’m Going On the Road For A Year As a Digital Nomad

This post is to serve as a sort of introduction to me, my journey, and why I decided to take up nomadic living. 

So let’s get the necessities out of the way: Hi, I’m Erin. I work as a freelance writer and social media strategist. I currently live in Columbus Ohio and will soon not have any home to call my own other than my childhood bedroom at my mom’s house for at least a year.

I decided to embark on this lifestyle because of some general boredom and the work I’ve been doing with my life coach, Krystal Brandt. For the record, she’s really awesome and if you’re looking for a life coach, she’s a pretty damn great one. 

I graduated college in December of 2014 with a BA from Ohio University, where I studied for a whopping year-and-a-half. No, I didn’t drop out, I just did college really, really quickly because in high-school, I managed to rack up over 60 college credits by doing community college courses in addition to and eventually instead of high-school. I graduated 3 days after my 20th birthday and honestly…was freaking out.

I was proud of my accomplishments, because getting through school so quickly is something to be proud of. I also didn’t slack in terms of work and did many internships and worked many jobs throughout my college career and even started doing some freelance work before graduating. But I couldn’t help feeling lost. Stuck. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but nothing I was coming up with felt quite right.

My boyfriend and I had broken up a few weeks before I graduated too, which left me feeling sad and confused. I hated being alone after being in such an intimate partnership with someone I loved and trusted. It only added salt to the wound.

Now, you might be thinking that with a solid GPA and a good work track record, I’d be on my way to finding a suitable full-time job. Well, you’d be wrong. Despite seeing a career coach, redoing my resume, and practically begging everyone in my network to help me find employment, I came up empty handed. I graduated without one job offer in place. 

I was definitely panicking and for once in my life, without a plan. I had no stability and didn’t have the slightest clue as to what my next move was. It was also December to top it all off, which meant everyone was more focused on holidays and vacation time than hiring new employees, meaning that I would have to spend the month living at home, the place I swore I’d never go back to after college. What was happening to my life? It seemed like everything I’d worked so hard for was for nothing and I was back at square one.

What I didn’t realize was that my plans didn’t work out because there was something better on the horizon. The life I thought I wanted was in fact one that wouldn’t have suited me at all. 

While I was living at home, I was still working part-time for an organization I’d been interning with since the start of the Fall semester and very soon, picked up another job writing for Bustle. While my work wasn’t exactly steady and my paychecks a lot lower than I’d have liked them to be, I had enough money to make moving out work. Luckily, I’d also built up a nice nest egg of savings for myself during college that I could dip into also for moving expenses. 

I quickly found a place in Columbus I could move into with no security deposit. I would have to have roommates since I couldn’t quite afford a place on my own if I wanted to have any sort of extra money left to ,you know, buy food, but I was confident that I could make it work. It was not the way I’d pictured my life turning out but I was optimistic- this felt right. 

I was still trying to find full-time work at that point and even had a couple of job interviews present themselves. I found that I just didn’t have my heart in these companies though and that I didn’t want to have to spend 40+ hours a week sitting in an office in casual business attire. My heart just wasn’t in it. So, I walked away from those opportunities and trusted that I was on the right path.

I am so glad I trusted my gut, because I ended up being right. As soon as I decided to go in business for myself and dedicate my career to freelancing, it was like the floodgates opened up. In a couple of months, I’d have more than a full-time schedule of clients and couldn’t have been more thrilled about it. I was making more than enough money to live comfortably and was doing it all on my own terms.

In terms of Columbus, my love affair with the city was short lived. When I first moved here, I had a lot of fun exploring and getting to know the city but I soon found that the decent parts of town were pretty limiting. I also don’t have a car and rely on public transit which at first seemed like it would be fine, but I soon learned that the bus system was less than stellar. I also hardly knew anyone here and was having trouble establishing myself socially and finding good friends who I knew that lived here. I wasn’t finding my groove in the place I was living and I soon found myself longing to move.

I toyed with the idea of moving to a different place in the city once my lease was up, but realized that this wasn’t a place I really wanted to stay in long-term. If I wanted to get out, now would be the time to do so. 

I developed a curiosity about living nomadically; it was a very gradual process and I stayed curious but tried not to jump into too quickly. I wanted to make sure if was really the right decision for me before I committed. I researched, talked to people I knew who were or had lived nomadically, and evaluated weather or not I could make it work personally and financially. I found that happily, I could.

So I committed and started the process of transitioning to the nomadic lifestyle about a month ago.

I reached out to family and also looked at where I might want to travel. I scored a lot of Southwest airline tickets during their annual Summer sale and now have an itinerary for the first two and half months of my trip. 

I’m really excited to embark on this adventure of nomadic living and do something unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I’m going to live free! I’m really looking forward to sharing this journey with you all.

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