Deze tekst heb ik in 2018 geschreven, toen ik nog aan het zoeken was naar hoe ik invulling wilde geven in mijn nieuwe leven als nomade en freelancer. De tekst is in het Engels geschreven, maar met Google Translate gemakkelijk te vertalen.
Becoming a nomad is not something you decide in just a day. For me the process has been a long one. As a child I wandered through the pastures near our farm, climbed trees, jumped over ditches, feeling free without having to follow any rules or regulations except for being at home by 1700 for diner.
After I obtained my Masters at the university, I felt that I had to live an adult life. It gave me stomach pains just, but I went for it. My free life as a student and learner would end, and I would enter a new phase in life. Just like everybody else..
I thought though that having a solid and high earning job was the adult way of living. I became scared to show my free spirit, because that could mean I would not blend in anymore at work or with friends. So I adapted to what I thought people were expecting from me.
I still traveled as much as I could. Working in higher education gave me the opportunity for at least five holidays per year. Every time when I returned from one holiday, I calculated how many weeks I had to work before I could leave for the next
After 7 years of working in 6 different jobs, and being unsuccessful in finding a partner, I was unconsciously looking for an escape. I found it when I went on holiday to Suriname. With quite a large saving deposit in place, I took the opportunity and explored living in Suriname.
Living there taught me that I could deal well with new situations, that I love to plan but accept that things don’t go according to plan. I wrote, taught and ran a successful B&B in my own house. My life was fulfilling and yet I became restless again. While I was planning to move to Brazil, I met my husband. Another free spirit searching for a like minded partner.
After 6 months in New York, I decided to return to the Netherlands in the hope that I could live there in the same way as in Suriname. That turned out to be a fantasy. Before I knew it, I was working four days a week as a teacher again and felt responsible for providing an income for my husband and me. I told myself that I was working four days per week, so my husband could come and live with me in the Netherlands, after that I continued working to save money so I could quit my job and go out and travel again. My plan was to stay and work in the Netherlands for three years in total, but after two years I already knew I would not do so. In the end, I quit my job and life in the Netherlands after 2,5 years.
Since then, I am not connected to one place or one job anymore. It scared me. I often heard an inner voice telling me ‘you have to make money’. That voice became stronger when I was playing tennis with a friend, had a luxurious diner or saw pictures of great but expensive destinations.
Reading books like the Four amendments, the 4-hour work week and meeting people who live like I would like to live, inspired me to stay true to myself. Those luxurious diners or destinations are nice, but not worth it if it would mean I had to work more then forty hours per week for it.
It remains a challenge though, because people close to me are also wondering why I am not working. Should I not have an income? I could not live of my husband’s income all the time, right? Luckily, I had some savings allocated for my time off. As long as the bottom of that savings account is not in sight, I do not have to look for work. This promise that I made to myself, gave me strength to withstand the voices pushing me back to work. I decided to see myself as a warrior. I don’t have to win, but will fight as long as I can.
Being free, without a fixed place to stay or having a fixed income, means I have to find new ways of living. I had no examples of others who lived this way, except for some digital nomads. Over time house sitting became one of the ways to decrease my expenses. Travel writing gives me a purpose when I am in a new environment. And slowly I am returning to what I like the most, writing en editing texts. I am still not making any money, but I am beginning to see options as a small publishing company, to do some copy writing and participate in creative projects with my husband.
But it remains a challenge, because every now and again, I think about working for a company again, just for a while. Long enough to supplement my savings account so I can roam the world again, carefree. Luckily another voice has popped up in my head after two years of nomadic living. It reminds me that time will tell, that I have to be patient and focus on what I like to do the most and just do that.