2018 Wrap Up and the Future of the Blog
2018 Wrap Up : Intro
Hey Readers! It is now 2019, and what a year 2018 has been. A lot has happened in 2018 for me personally, and there’s really too much for me to explain in details the year I have went through. However, let’s just say that it’s been one roller-coaster ride, and I have been through tremendous self growth over the past year. So to wrap up 2018, I feel like you guys deserve some of my honest, unfiltered thoughts on long-term traveling and living my life as an expat and digital nomad.
Most of my other posts only brush the surface level of what I have seen during my life abroad. I would only mentioned the best things to do in places I have visited, but this isn’t something you cannot find on other travel websites. What you do not see are the daily struggles that I go through personally as an Asian-American expat.
People get jealous and envious of the fact that I get to travel and take off to different countries whenever I want, and don’t get me wrong, having this freedom is great, but you are only seeing the surface level of everything.
So to wrap up 2018, I will let you in to a deeper part of mind, so prepare for a long post.
💻 Life as a Digital Nomad: The Pros and the Cons
🛬 Extended Stays in a Place of My Choice
One of the best things about being a Digital Nomad is being able to spend extended periods of time living in a new country of my choice. I get to spend time to meet new people and form new relationships. I get to fully dive in to a new culture, language, and life only locals know about.
The downside of all this is giving up that new life that I have just settled into once I take off to a new country or city. So everything I have worked so hard to gain is temporary and given up the instance I leave, that is unless I decide to settle down long-term in the country.
↩️ Starting Over
Being in a new country gives me the option to start over, and this can be good and bad.
The good thing about starting over is being able to challenge myself and grow as a person in completely foreign and uncomfortable situations. I can redo past life mistakes and face my insecurities. The only way to survive out there is to rely on the ability to adapt to different situations.
So you may ask, why is starting over so bad?
Well, this really depends on how you look at it. If you are traveling to “run away” from your old life and problems, then long-term travel can be more detrimental than beneficial. You should not travel to “run away” and avoid your problems and insecurities. Rather, you should take traveling as an opportunity to work on those insecurities and face your fears. Being out of your comfort zone allows you to take different approaches to get good at what you are not confident in.
💭 Developing Different Mindsets
After living in different countries for extended periods of time (usually a month or longer), I start to develop a different mindset. Seeing and experiencing different cultures allows me to not only understand the different habits and traditions, but also start to understand why certain people are the way they are.
Why do people hold different traditions that other cultures do not follow? How do peoples’ beliefs and religion make up their characters and morals?
For example, Japanese culture and Korean culture are so unique and distinct because they limit their interactions and influences from international cultures. This is also why a majority of the population do not speak English, the most widely used language in the world.
In order to fully understand the local people, I have to put myself into other people’s shoes. This means learning the language, hanging out more with locals, participating in different festivals and traditions, and more!
Curiosity also has its pros and cons.
✅ PROS: Having the curiosity and open-mindedness to embrace other cultures allows me to view life from a different perspective and improve my empathetic skills.
❌ CONS: This curiosity for the new and different means I can always be “wandering.”
WANDERLUST: The strong desire or impulse to wander and explore the world.
Always being in that wandering mode can delay career growth.
Again, this is only an issue if travel is viewed from a one-sided perspective. It is entirely possible to completely live the rest of your life traveling the world and develop your career at the same time, but at a cost of giving up other things in life, such as material possessions, a long-term place called “Home,” stability, family bonding time, etc. This brings me to my next point…
👪 Settling Down
When it comes time to settle down, there will be some tough decisions to make, such as which country to settle down in and live the rest of your life? I mean, don’t get me wrong, if you don’t want kids or don’t mind taking off once every few years, then you can continue hopping around for the rest of your life, but for the majority of the people, there will be a time when you want to get married and have some sort of stability. I know for myself, this is the case, and if you want kids, it will also be tough for them to constantly relocate.
When choosing a country to settle down in, there are so many other factors to consider:
💱 Standard of Living
How far will your money go in the country? Are you going to be spending all your earnings on living expenses? Can you afford to splurge on a nice meal or a night out without emptying your wallet?
How safe is the country you will be living in long-term? How are the government policies? Will the government be able to do its job protecting its residents? What’s the crime rate?
What if you are a foreigner? Do the laws protect expats in case you get into trouble?
📚 Education System
How is education system in the prospective country? Do children tend to get overworked with school work? How competitive is it to get into your school of choice? Will your children be attending public school or private school? If you choose the latter, how much will that cost?
🏘️ Real Estate
Another major factor are the housing prices. Can you afford to purchase a house in the future? Can a foreigner purchase or invest in real estate?
Is there universal public healthcare in the country? A lot of countries around the world offer great healthcare benefits for its citizens and permanent residents. Unfortunately, the United States doesn’t have a great healthcare system in place.
Will you go broke during retirement if you get sick? How much would hospital bills cost?
I have written about the “Things Solo Travelers Feel During Their Travels.“ One of those things is loneliness. As a solo-traveler, I get the freedom to explore different countries at my own time and pace, but when it comes down to creating meaningful relationships, those all become short-term.
Don’t get me wrong, I have met so many great people that I gladly call my friends and stay connected with no matter where I am in the world. But how meaningful are those relationships if I am never physically there to constantly develop them? The only way for this to happen is if either I relocate (which I am already doing) or the people I want to be close to relocate to a place that I am in.
When the going gets tough, I will start craving the comforts of home. How badly do I miss my own bed sometimes, my close friends, family, and my dog.
But I have given up on the life in the States for the opportunity to pursue something better. I have decided to use my time for something I am more passionate about. Many people will not agree with me here. Many friends have told me that the United States has the best chances and opportunities, and though I agree that the United States has a lot of good opportunities, I also see the downside of a lot of things–that I will not mention in this post. Every person has different goals and opinions, and you just have to choose the ones that are right for you.
🔜 2019: The Future of this Blog
I have been a Digital Nomad for almost a 1.5 years now. Though I took a 5-month hiatus in between, I still lived a majority of this time abroad in different countries, and I do not regret it one bit. If anything, during my 5-month hiatus, I have come to realize even more than I need to follow my dreams and my heart. Because at the end of the day, life is too short to waste.
You only live once, so you better use that time wisely to your heart’s content.
For the future of this blog, I will continue to write about my travels and create travel guides for all my readers. But I will focus a bit more on the every day life living aspect as an expat and digital nomad. I want to focus more on giving people the true picture of traveling long-term and living a life on the road, because to be honest, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. There will be difficulties and challenges, and you have to be mentally prepared to live an entirely different life than what you are used to. You have to be able to face your fears and insecurities. You have to be willing to push yourself to improve and grow, and most of all, you need to be very open-minded and empathetic to new culture.
Living a life on the road is a spiritual journey of self-growth. The world is so big. I will wrap up with a few questions for you to think about:
- Where do you want to spend your time?
- What makes life meaningful for you?
- If you only had one day left to live, are you going to look back with regrets?
➡️ Let me know your thoughts! Do you agree or disagree? Is there anything you would do differently?
With that said, I wish everyone a Happy 2019. No matter what troubled you in 2018 or how you started 2019, live a life with a positive mindset. Let go of all your self-doubts and past traumas and make strides to live the life of your dreams. Trust me, it is not as hard as you think. 🙂