I had a crisis of conviction today. In my previous post, I wrote about overcoming the temptation of money and status. Today, I faced the flip side of that rusty old coin: the fear of losing it all.
It hit me when I looked at my map of tasks for leaving London.
Am I making a mistake? I am about to throw away a well paid job, a comfortable life, great friends and stability for some dream that might dissipate the moment I reach for it. Have I lost my mind? Perhaps I should leave my job so that I can be institutionalised.
Seriously, why do I think that this will even work? Surely, if a life of freedom and travel was possible then I would have heard about it long ago. There would have been a section on ‘Nomadic Work’ in the brochures my career counsellor at school gave me. Isn’t it likely that I will look back on this as the time I threw it all away? I’ve worked my whole life to create what I now have, and I am about to leave it all behind.
Everyone must surely be as concerned with their lives as I am about mine, and the vast majority come to the same conclusion on how a good life is meant to be lived: job, stability, money, friends (Volvo, dog, kids) etc. Who the hell do I think I am to go against that collective wisdom? Perhaps I am deluding myself when I think that I can create my own life, contrary to the patterns of society, without suffering a massive backlash when reality finally catches up with me.
How fitting that I chose the Fool as the tarot card to represent my new endeavour: the hapless traveller who is always drawn walking dangerously close to a precipice.
The chilling breath of a Dementor on the back of my neck turned my thoughts against me. My mind thrashed with twisted dark fantasies featuring a life of complete failure and regret. These dark thoughts fed on themselves and grew ever larger and unrealistic, but since they grew to their ridiculous proportions gradually, I didn’t even notice. The Dementor whispered a thousand reasons why my dream of a nomadic life would fail, horribly, and I listened.
Where did this fear come from? Why did it hit me now?
As I said, it hit me as I looked at my to-do list for leaving London. I had just seen that my bank had paid me my bonus. That doesn’t sound so bad, but this was the last thing that stood between me and handing in my resignation at work.
Since I decided to become a modern nomad, I haven’t done anything irreversible. It was easy to be brave and dream big when I was not risking anything. Subconsciously, I probably reassured myself that I could always change my mind. However, my next step was a serious one with serious consequences. This was no longer a game; it was cold hard reality. It had been a long time since I felt so anxious that it turned my stomach. I was at the point of no return. I stood on the bank of Rubicon, feeling the weight of the die in my hand, and I was afraid.
Despite my little panic attack, I had a dinner to go to that evening with a dear friend of mine, Mike. I told him my plans of living like a nomad, and he showered me with positive encouragement. That helped a bit of course, but just then, a co-worker of his, Riccardo, walked into the restaurant and joined us. Mike excused himself to the bathroom and commanded me to share my plans with Riccardo, and I promptly obeyed.
“Wow, that is amazing,” said Riccardo. “Yes, it sounds great, but what is really weird is that I tracked you down at the restaurant to talk to Mike about my future at our company. You see, I want to work remotely so that I can travel and live in different places, just like you!”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I don’t believe in signs from the universe, but this one was difficult to miss.
Amazingly, this chance encounter drained the fear right out of me. The Dementor faded into the shadows and disappeared. It was like a veil lifted from my mind and I could think clearly again. Riccardo was a reminder of what I already knew; of course I am not alone in striving for a life of freedom and self-direction! If they can, so can I. If they dare, so do I.
This is partly why I am putting so much energy into this blog. If remembering that others have successfully created nomadic lives for themselves helped me overcome my fear of taking the leap into the unknown, then perhaps this blog can help somebody else in the same position.
In conclusion, I am happy that I have faced both temptation and fear. Now I know that my conviction is strong enough to overcome both obstacles. I trust my decision more now because it survived these two trials. And trust in myself must surely come in handy on the road.
Becoming a nomad is a big deal, and it deserves careful consideration. Just remember that everyone must occasionally take risks to progress. Fear can sneak up on you and infect your mind such that you never dare to risk anything for what you desire. Your fear then becomes your prison, an Azkaban of your own making, guarded by your very own Dementor.