The Life of a Digital Nomad When Not Abroad or Traveling
Social media might lead you to believe I'm just going from country to country, but there's "in between" time too. Don't let the 'Gram fool you.
I've been living abroad since January 2019, but I've spent time back home in the States too. Whether I'm home for a season or a couple weeks, there is always going to be that "in between" time.
After coming home from Italy my daily phrase was: "Welcome to the bookstore. Can I help you find anything today?"
I had just graduated from college, spent three amazing months in Italy and was now a bookstore sales associate at a community college right in my home state of Connecticut.
That was not on my life bingo card, but there I was. Making minimum wage and (im)patiently waiting for my next opportunity to go abroad.
Then, I went to Senegal and had a blast for five months. When I came home, I was right back at the same bookstore.
Coming home was not exactly planned. I left Senegal after five months when I had originally planned to stay for at least a year. Again, this shit was not my life bingo card.
Before leaving, I began interviewing and job hunting to find my next country, school, and adventure. I looked online on countless job boards and reached out to various other recruitment agencies.
I live life by the seat of my pants, but sometimes I do have to put a plan in place. My parents don’t want to take care of me forever... I know I can't believe it either 🙄
Sometimes, a lot of time can go into finding the next job because it's not something to take lightly. Figuring out where to relocate your entire life to work and live can take some time.
Before leaving Senegal, I began applying and interviewing for jobs all around the world... literally. I'm talking the Maldives, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan, Thailand, and more! I said it once and I'll say it again, I follow the opportunity and I'm always open to new experiences.
Luckily, I was able to return to my temp position at the bookstore in my home state. After a few weeks back in Connecticut, I accepted a full time PAID position teaching English in South Korea.
Now, it was time to start the visa process. Working at the bookstore gave me something to do and put some cash in my pocket to help me with the visa process. The visa process was definitely much easier to do from the comfort of my home with reliable Wi-Fi and cellular connection. I also had all the resources I needed readily available.
Fast forward to 2022 and I was back in that awkward "in between" time again.
This time I decided to take my talents to Chili's Grill & Bar. Now, I was making even less than minimum wage as a To Go Specialist (cries in tip position). Put some respect on my name though cause I was a whole specialist on day one, lol.
At this point, am I moving in the right direction or not cause wtf 🤣 Even less than minimum wage this time.
Working at a restaurant had always been something I wanted to try because I love eating out, but this isn't exactly how I saw it happening. But there I was answering the phones at Chili's and making to go drinks.
This experience gave me perspective and a look behind the curtain. Working a service job is no joke and is not for the weak. Luckily, ya girl is strong and I thrive in fast paced, chaotic environments so I was having a blast 💪🏾
Plus, I was taking home hella free food at the end of every shift. My diet consisted primarily of leftovers or food that never got picked up, lol.
I spent more than three months at Chili's. During the day I was applying for jobs, interviewing, building my portfolio to make myself a better candidate for the positions I wanted, and preparing to continue my journey as a full time digital nomad. At night and on weekends, I was boxing up ribs and making to go drinks.
That "in between" time allowed me to prepare for the next chapter of my life. It allowed me to regroup in the comfort of home. Plus, it gave me a little break from being outside of my comfort zone 24/7 in a foreign country navigating language barriers, cultural differences, and everything in between.
The last and most important thing I did while at home was spend time with my family and friends. I'm rarely home so it’s important I spend time with my people. From inside jokes to Ebonics to sarcasm, being able to speak my first language all the time without having to think about it is something you don’t realize you miss until you come back home. Reconnecting with my folks and just kicking it is always the best part of coming back to the States. I can't stay for long, but I do enjoy those moments together.
Traveling and living abroad are both huge parts of my life, but, contrary to what it may look like on social media, I'm not just teleporting from one country to the next. There is, in fact, "in between" time.
I'm here to tell you all about this lifestyle, not just the fun parts.
Did I spend nine months traveling Mexico and Costa Rica? Yes.
Did I come home afterwards and get a minimum wage job at Chili's? Also yes.
There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that doesn't make it to social media and ends up giving a false illusion of what's really going on. That's why I want to be as transparent as possible about my journey. I'll be the first to tell you it's not all flowers and rainbows, okay?
Living this lifestyle has ups and downs... At times it's definitely not the most conventional or stable way of living, but I'd still choose this life no hesitation.
So, when you're scrolling on the timeline and your FOMO is kicking in just remember there is always "in between" time and a lot more going on behind the scenes.