Reflections on how to be or not to be or what to be at all
Some people just know what they want to do in life. They have to be a doctor, a lawyer, a parent, a nomad, a hippie, a soldier. There is no other way to live their life, they wouldn’t be happy any other way. I am not like that. I am a chameleon and could potentially execute a lot of different professions, live a variety of lifestyles in different countries. Having options is great, but challenging if you can’t make a decision. What do I really want? I always thought I had to figure this out before I could be happy. I also thought that what I want was a nice job, a husband, couple of kids, a house with a nice garden with a willow tree in it. I wanted ‘huisje, boompje, beestje’ as we would say in Dutch, a domestic life. Family dinners every weekend, two nice vacation trips a year and maybe a dog who could join me on my weekly runs. This was my dream to happiness that I was chasing and I was pretty sure that it was the way to go. My parents were happy and they did it this way, my friends seem happy and they settled down, my big sister got married at age 26 and her wedding was magical.
But somehow I wasn’t reaching my goal.
After sadly ending yet another relationship and turning 29 – knowing that, according to the original plan, I just had one more year to get married and have my first kid before my thirties – I started reflecting on the things I’ve been chasing during my twenties. Yes, it actually took me this long to reflect on it, or at least look at it from different perspectives. It made me remember that growing up, I was the kid who always wanted to do things differently. Where my sisters turned right, I had to go left. It also made me see that ever since I’ve moved out of my parents house at age 17, I have moved to a different place once a year on average. That is 12 times of packing, moving and unloading my shit into a new house. So why was I convinced that settling down and living my life by taken the beaten path would lead me to a happy and fulfilling life?
I needed to take a break from myself, or at least the person who I tried to become this last decade.
Time for some proper reflection, time to change things up and just be amazed by all the wonderful places, views and cultures that this world has to offer. Time to get out of the comfort zone, repetitive weeks and set life expectations. Time to explore.
At this day and age, Facebook knows you the best. Hence it showed me the add of a concept of working and traveling the world for 12 months. This sounded like the perfect turnaround. And so, I started to do research into these programs. There aren’t a lot of options, as an organized digital nomad lifestyle is pretty new. I found this startup, called We Roam, that focuses on making this lifestyle possible for professionals who wanted to travel between 3 and 12 months, but also maintain their career. Having a startup company myself, and being really serious about it, a sabbatical was never an option but a ‘workation’ perhaps was. I took the leap of faith and signed up. It was both scary and super exciting at the same time and I remembered that the mix those two feelings of are actually my sweet spot for happiness. Growing up, my dad would laugh at me (although I’m pretty sure that frustration was also a recurring emotion) for always wanting to do things differently and choosing the hard way just because the easy way was already taken by one of my sisters or friends. This approach to life however, got me to the highest highs. It also got me into serious trouble, but that trouble made me wiser, stronger and more competent to do new crazy stuff.
Maybe I will still have my ‘huisje, boompje, beestje’ settled life one day. But right now, I’m roaming. Letting things go and being open to new experiences, meeting the most interesting people, making friends and finding new opportunities. Don’t get me wrong, I did not turn into a careless, fearless and always content person. But I am definitely more at ease with who I am, who I was and the attitude towards life suits me best, which is an ever adaptive and exploring one.
PS: We Roam is the best. I simply love traveling with likeminded and very interesting people, love the team, the roamers, the program and the whole digital nomad experience. Just sayin’…