kuala lumpur metro stop

You can’t travel with a desk literally hovering over your lap but don’t have to swear off your career to visit the places you want. There are countless ways to see the world, if you’re one of the privileged few who can, as there are endless ways to earn a living. Traveling the world doesn’t have to be the antithesis of a job you hate despite a popular narrative which can be discouraging, especially if you love your profession.

Living On The Fringes

People often assume I left to travel 6 years ago to free myself from a cubicle I was metaphorically chained to. Ironically, leaving my job was the hardest part of a journey that began as a subtle series of circumstance, one that has lead me to a unique lifestyle with its own limits. Being a digital nomad isn’t freeing yourself from society, it’s simply repositioning yourself within it.

You can’t have one without the other – you need pilots to fly planes, network engineers to maintain Internet connections, and Palermo’s a good example of happens when there’s nobody around for regular garbage collection. Most professions aren’t portable but they don’t need to be, so long as you are from time to time.

Freedom Is Sitting Between Your Ears

Traveling has a profound effect on the human brain, reducing stress up to 4 weeks after a vacation and can even result you earning a higher income. However those benefits don’t exist in a vacuum – people who like their jobs have been shown to be physically healthier with few better indicators of mental health than job satisfaction. So, doesn’t it make most sense to try and do both – travel and have a job you love – whatever the specific ingredients of that blend happen to be?

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man taking photo at beach

For some of us, that’s writing while living in various cities throughout the year. Picking apart computer code for clients who don’t care where we are physically so long as we’re available digitally. For most, the line between home and office is more clear cut, if you work in an office at all.

Judge You On Your Terms

Our DNA leads us to believe we’re better than everyone else so it’s not completely surprising that many digital nomads, location-independents, whatever you want to call them, think ours is the superior way to vacation with vocation. It’s important to remember that most of life’s limits aren’t physical, so if you see traveling and work as a multiple choice dilemma, you’re missing the point of both.