A dear friend sent me a picture of an ornament that hung in my Christmas tree last year. The picture brought back, with superb clarity, my life as it looked back then. I was in love, I had a great job, I lived in a beautiful flat in central London and my many friends kept me happy. I didn’t know then that only a few weeks later, I would be working towards tearing it all down.
On New Year’s Day, I took a hard look at myself and understood that my comfortable life had lulled me into a state of stagnation (New Year, New Life). I was proud of the life I had built, but I didn’t want to live it anymore. Instead, I wondered what other interesting lives I could create, and what I would learn along the way. And so I decided to take on the challenge of building a nomadic life.
A year has passed, and it is time to evaluate the journey so far.
Tearing down the old life
I was surprised at how easy it was to walk away from my old life. I drew a map of my roots to London (The Map), and once identified, it took only a few months to sever them all. I quit my job, I told my landlord I was leaving and I gave away all my stuff (Give-Away Party).
The biggest obstacle I had to overcome wasn’t practical but mental. I was terrified of making the biggest mistake of my life (Fear). Some of that fear still remains.
The Honeymoon (USA)
I thought that it might take some time to get accustomed to living out of a backpack and with no fixed address. I decided to ease myself into it by picking an easy first destination. I spent my first three months as a nomad in USA living with friends and going from one fun adventure to another. I revelled in my new freedom without worrying about the future.
Facing Reality (Mexico)
I arrived in Mexico City without knowing anyone and with no real plans for what to do. It was time to lay the foundation for a sustainable nomadic life (i.e. work) but I felt demotivated and lost (Purpose).
I have many good memories from Mexico, but this was also the toughest time for me this year. I still feel lost as to what I am going to do for a living and what exactly I am trying to accomplish with my new life, but I try not to stress out over it any more.
I left my old life because I wanted to expose myself to new situations and hopefully find new passions in life. Apart from my wild desire for <censored>, I’ve also found that I am a sucker for country western culture. I love the honest, genuine, salt-of-the-earth cowboys and cowgirls that I met. I had a great time competing at the Rodeo and I’m chuffed that I wrestled a steer to the ground in 5.8 seconds! But most of all, I loved learning how to dance two-stepping and the shadow.
What I miss
I miss my weekly role-playing games. My cocktail-fuelled board game nights come a good second.
This was my first year as a blogger, so my two new skills are both related to The Modern Nomad.
Firstly, I’ve realized that I’m a decent writer. I still find writing about as painful as a trip to the dentist, but the encouragement I’ve received from you readers keeps me from giving up, and I even consider writing a possible career option.
Secondly, I’ve really pushed my skills in website design. My hard work paid off when I was awarded Site of the Month by my web host. I’ve even been offered a few website design jobs, and I’m now seriously considering this a possible career option.
I also dabbled in Carpet Cleaning, but I don’t think I’m cut out for the job.
Year in numbers
- 43591 words written and 668 comments received in 46 blog posts.
- 32 new friends (Yes, friends. Not just Facebook fodder.)
- 26 books read.
- 17 cities visited and lived in 6 of them.
- 14 planes, 5 trains, 1 boat, 1 buss.
- 7 countries visited and lived in 4 of them.
- 1 mobile phone stolen and 4 mobile numbers used.
- 0 moneys earned (disregarding my old bank job).
2011 has been the most life-changing year of my life. I might not be as carefree and happy as I was in London, but I can’t remember ever being so excited about my life either. I once again feel like my life is an adventure! The path is clear for either a fantastic fortune or a flamboyant fail!
Tomorrow begins a year of breath-taking potential, and I can’t wait to see what will happen!