Growing up in the medium-sized city of Winnipeg, Canada, I was sandwiched between cornfields and wheat fields.
My mom and dad had me at the tender ages of 17 & 20, respectively, so saying they weren’t prepared would be an understatement.
My parents were still figuring out who they were, and all of a sudden they were responsible for a child. They chose to put their own dreams and ambitions on hold and make me and my siblings the priority.
While I love them for it, I could always feel that there was something missing from their lives. They never had the adventurous part of their youth where they were free to take advantage of everything the world has to offer.
While I will always love and appreciate them for the sacrifices that they made, I grew up knowing that I didn’t want the same life for myself.
I wanted to see the world. I wanted adventure. I didn’t want to be tied down to a single location — especially the mediocre city of Winnipeg, where temperatures can dip as low as -40C for several months of the year.
Winnipeg is basically in the middle of nowhere. You can drive for 12 hours in any direction, and you won’t find any cities that are bigger or more interesting. It’s isolated, and this isolation always made me feel a bit claustrophobic.
Throughout high school, I planned my escape. At first, I wanted to go abroad for university and dreamt of becoming a beach bum while studying at UCLA. Lo and behold, my grades did not afford me that quality of opportunity, so I settled for studying on the sunny west coast of Canada in Victoria, BC.
My time at the University of Victoria was enjoyable, but it dragged on a bit longer than expected. Between my studies, working part-time, and a few degree changes, my Bachelor of Commerce ended up taking 6 years — at least a year and a half longer than it’s supposed to.
During this time, I dreamt of working from my laptop while I traveled to exotic locations. My dream was to build a portfolio of online businesses that could not only provide me with financial freedom but also afford me the ability to travel while doing it.
My last semester was supposed to be May-August of 2020. And, yes, we all know what happened in 2020.
When the pandemic broke out, I was let go from my internship. I proceeded to spend a month and a half social-distancing from my apartment with no classes, no job, and certainly no travel.
With no end to the pandemic in sight, I decided to move back to my parent’s place in Winnipeg for my last semester of school. Between the pandemic restrictions and the quietness of Winnipeg, it was a very uneventful summer. I graduated and began to work full-time remotely.
Throughout this time, I was 100% sure that I was going to go work abroad as soon as I could. It was nearly all I talked about. It was my light at the end of the tunnel. For the past few years before this, nearly every big decision that I made was made with the intention of improving my chances of being able to sustainably work while traveling.
After a year and 5 months, I decided to take the leap. I bought myself a one-way ticket to Colombia, and haven’t looked back.
As I’m writing this, I’ve been traveling for about 7 months. The first 6 months were spent in Colombia, and I’ve been in Mexico for a few weeks now.
Sometimes, when you end up getting what you want after an extended period of longing for it, the payoff isn’t what you expected. You realize you’re disappointed with how things have turned out, and you become disillusioned with your goals for the future.
This certainly didn’t happen to me. My trip has been everything I could have asked for, and more. I’ve met awesome people, had amazing experiences, and gotten to know a side of myself that simply didn’t exist in my old life.
Better yet — there’s an entire world of other countries to explore, and I have no obligation to return home any time soon.
When it comes to the question of why I became a digital nomad and left my home to travel the world while working, I think a better question would be: why haven’t you?
Guadalajara — April 22, 2022