My journey began as far from the “full time digital nomad” lifestyle as possible.
Before the plunge
For many people, their 20s are crazy years: years of traveling and exploring. This wasn’t the case for me. I graduated high school, became an officer in the army for 3 years, and went to architecture school for the next 5. I had everything figured out and was on track to achieve everything I wanted — a good career, marriage, 2.5 kids, and a house with a white picket fence. Oooh and a dog in the backyard.
So I graduated, got an apartment in the city, and landed a great job as an architect at a nice firm which even allowed me to travel a bit (safe inside my comfort zone and within the constraints of my vacation days). Things were definitely going according to the “plan”. I did everything “right” and my life was good. Actually, it was even kind of great. It’s the life everyone told me I should be living, but something always felt a bit off, like…’Is this it?’
Spoiler alert: the plan changed
And then one day I woke up and I was 30 (GASP!). The clock was ticking louder and louder with every moment. Life felt like it was passing me by as I sat in an office for 10 hours a day. Don’t get me wrong — work was good, and life after work was fine, but I had this undeniable desire for something more, something greater.
Living in the same city for all my life – I decided that I wanted to travel, to see the world. I had all the reasons why NOT to: I wasn’t sure how I could take so much time off work, I was a bit scared to do it on my own and in general it felt like it might be “too late”. Almost everybody around me had settled down already, were married and had children (like “proper adults” in their 30…). There was also the thought that “middle of life” travel was crazy or impossible. But if I were to do it, how would I. I had a career and life goals that I wasn’t ready to compromise on.
Being an architect was my dream since I was very young – planning buildings, concrete, shop-drawings, you name it. But with modern technology, the concept of 9 to 5 was (and still is) becoming less and less relevant. We take our work home with us on computers and phones — sometimes we even bring it on vacation. There is no longer a total separation between work and “life”. So, I thought, why not blur the lines even further?
The pivot from in office to remote work
I’d seen full-time travelers on Instagram and travel blogs before but had never thought this lifestyle could be for me… until one day I saw an ad pop up on my screen and it was like all the dots finally connected: an organized group of travelers, my age (and older), with a passion for traveling, living their best life in exotic locations around the world. AND the kicker: they did this while still maintaining their careers. Bingo!
So I convinced my boss to give it a try, just for a couple of weeks, and packed my bags for Brazil. I spent a month in Brazil with 20 other like-minded remote working professionals. Working, living and traveling together. It was an unbelievable experience. A definite mental switch from “vacation mode”. It was a month of finding the balance between working and resting; between traveling and living like a local (doing groceries, laundry, etc) and of course a month filled with new places, adventures, sunshine, beaches, sunsets, amazing people, Caipirinhas, creativity, deep meaningful conversations, discovery, and re-discovery.
And then I got hooked on being a digital nomad
Once I came back I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I take off again. The desire to live my life to its fullest was now greater and more important than any other goal. While in Brazil, I started working on a blog founded on an understanding of how busy we are, and knowing that leisure usually goes to the bottom of our list and budget. The Leisure Hacker was created to inspire people to cultivate more leisure in their lives and to find creative and easy ways to do so. I want to share inspiration on how to easily sprinkle some happiness on top of different aspects of daily life.
I found my travel family with Hacker Paradise
Knowing I wanted to create the best life possible for myself, it wasn’t long before I quit my 8-6 job and was traveling again, this time with Hacker Paradise to Mexico, working on my blog and starting a business that will allow me to combine my passion for architecture and the desire to be location independent.
Travel opens your eyes and your heart. It enriches your world with new sights, smells, sounds, memories, and life-long friendships. Travel makes you step outside your comfort zone in the best way possible. It challenges you and teaches you so much, especially about yourself.
The best part of it all? Being a part of a group of like-minded individuals. Part of a true community. Sharing stories, worries, and experiences with others makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger. You get to meet open-minded, friendly, fun, amazing people from all over the world, forge meaningful connections and travel-friends for life. In these groups – nothing matters – not how old you are, who you once were, what you do or where you came from. Everybody is there for the same reason.
And I haven’t looked back
Being a part of a group helps you to be productive, accountable and to develop personally and professionally. Being understood, supported and encouraged while traveling is the next best thing to a feeling of home.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all beaches and butterflies. Travel can be hard at times, it can be lonely and frustrating and overall an emotional roller-coaster. And although it may not seems like it from all the sunset and waterfall pictures, it’s not a holiday. There is real work involved.
If your heart desires to travel. Do it… No matter how old you are or what’s your work/personal status – if you really want it, you can find a way that works for you.
You only get one life to live so might as well live it the best way you can.