Getting scared: on becoming a nomad

Okay, I’ll admit it. Sometimes, I get terrified. Tomorrow morning, I hop on a plane bound for San Diego. From there, I’ll walk across the border and take a bus from Tijuana to Ensenada, where I’ll be living for the next couple of months (assuming I find somewhere to live). After that, I’ll head up to LA, and fly over to Hong Kong for New Years’. I’ll spend a few months flitting around Southeast Asia, living mostly in Thailand and Vietnam, depending on how the visas all play out. Come spring, I’ll hop over to Spain, and finally get to tour around—ideally visiting Morocco, Portugal, and France while I’m there. By September, I’ll be heading back home, with a brief stopover in Iceland to hang out in the lagoon.

I’m really, really, really excited—but I’m also utterly terrified.

Apparently Google Maps can’t calculate the directions between Halifax, NS and Halifax NS if you take the insane route.

I’ve been planning this for a while, but of course I’m nowhere near to ready. I haven’t even so much as looked at my suitcase yet, in spite of best intentions, and I leave in around fourteen hours. I have a couple of leads on apartments in Ensenada, but nothing concrete. Everyone and their dog wants to see me or send me emails, so I’m running about like a headless chicken and prioritizing based on fleeting feelings. I probably won’t sleep at all tonight, and I’m guessing I’ll be hung over on my plane.

And of course my brain is just going crazy. What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m miserable? What if my phone is stolen and I spill scotch on my computer again? What if I can’t find anywhere to live? What if I get sick? What if all my clients abandon me for being a wild vagabond? It’s hard to turn off the paranoid questions once they get started, and sometimes the uncertainty of it all is enough to drive me batty.

And of course I just realized that in all the excitement of learning more language-bits and plotting out maps, I’ve forgotten to tell most everyone I’m going across the world for nine or so months. Whoops! My five-month tour of South America last year went by so smoothly (well, mostly) that it doesn’t seem all that important anymore—my clients know now, that even if I’m in a different continent I’m available and working. Most of them only communicate with me via email anyway. I did just get an email from a client asking me if I could meet up on Thursday, which obviously won’t be happening unless they meant “in Mexico”, but I’m hoping that everyone realizes I’m just as reliable, if not more so, when I’m working from a cafe in Croatia than I am when working from my couch in Canada.

What I’m most scared of is not having a business anymore when I finally get back.

But ultimately, I think if I’m not scared, I’m doing something wrong. I’ve always made it a rule to do all the things that scare me—sometimes because they scare me—and as a result I get to be stronger and have a life that’s full of crazy adventures. I make my own rules and determine how I want to experience the world, rather than following a preordained set of steps. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to travel the world, and I’ve been testing the waters with trips that get progressively longer and more involved.

And now, I will literally be going across the world. Sometimes I forget how wildly lucky I am, but today, on the cusp of a new adventure, absolutely petrified, I remember.