Last night I spent the evening with two close friends, Jamie and Geno. I’ve known them for ten years. We all met while we were in college and now, they’re married with kids. We don’t see each other often because they stay in one place and I never do but last night I went down to catch up with them and see their new twins.
Over dinner, we caught up, talked about life, went down memory lane, and talked about work. My friends were quite impressed about my line of work. They fired away questions and were amazed (and very happy) I could make a living doing what I love while having the flexibility to do what I want.
When Jamie was in school, she was a tutor. Now she runs one of the largest educational services companies in Massachusetts. Geno quit a sales job to go into IT. He then quit an IT job because of a lack of flexibility. He moved into another IT job that gave him more flexibility and responsibility. My friend Chris went back to school to work with kids because he didn’t like his corporate job. My friend Mike is off to Alaska to brave many cold winter nights because of a great opportunity to be a public defender.
I tell you these stories because one thing I’ve noticed about being back in “the real world” as opposed to “travel world” is that people keep being wowed at my job like I figured out how to put a man on the moon. A lot of people can’t seem to fathom a non-office life. They repeat to me “Wow! I would love to do that!” to which I ask “why don’t you?” And people respond “Well, I wouldn’t know where to start.”
Whatever we want to do – from digital nomad, to lawyer, to gardener, to world traveler – we all want the flexibility and freedom to do what you want…to have a good work life balance. Maybe it’s the economy or people finally rebelling against the matrix but it’s been good to hear people asking how they can change and seeing many of my friends making that change. I remember back when I graduated college (which actually was a long time ago) and everyone was trying to follow that typical American dream. Now, everyone wants to find a bit more of a life outside the office. Down with the 9 to 5!!
I never think of my job as a good example. I never went from “corporate drone” to “nomad.” I was a traveler before I was a travel blogger. But Christine from Almost Fearless was a corporate bee before she became a digital nomad now roaming Colombia with her family. She not so recently published a book on how to work wirelessly. What I enjoy about the book is not that it tells you how to be a digital nomad, it tells you how to transition out of your office to have more time to do what you want to do, even if it means keeping your old job. Some people love their job and don’t want to leave it. My friend Sean loved his job but hated the commute. He convinced his boss to let him work from home. I point people like my friends to Christine’s new book because it’s a good place to start when trying to figure out how to move from 9 to 5 to 9 to never 5.
The idea of working digitally is still new. However, it seems to become more mainstream every time I come home. More and more people are trying to break out of the normal work routine. Coming home and being involved in conversations with people who want to know how to get out of the office makes me happy this trend is going mainstream, even if it’s still only slowly.