When you're young it's hard to identify as any one thing. I cringe every time someone asks me what I do for a living because my answer changes on a daily basis. I’m the type of person who has three separate resumes for different industries, and I rarely stay in one place longer than a few months at a time.
I made a goal for myself to live abroad for a year in my twenties. My window of opportunity opened when I was 24, so I took a leap of faith and left the United States, not knowing what the world had in store for me. I set this goal to challenge to myself to reach out of my comfort zone, learn something new and establish myself as an individual.
When I left America, I was excited not to have to answer the question “what do you do for a living?” It’s not something travellers ask each other when they first meet. It’s completely different to my old way of life, where I would introduce myself as my job title, rather than by my name.
But as I began my journey, I realized that there are a different set of labels in the travel world that I didn’t quite understand. Labels that you might not introduce yourself as, but rather give others the assumption that this is who you are. Am I a free-spirited backpacker? A tech-savvy digital nomad? A fearless explorer? A not-so-lost wanderer? Or an envied Instagram influencer? Does it matter?
Now that I’m on the road, I wonder where I fit in among the current stereotypes of travellers. At times, I consider myself a backpacker because I travel from place to place, fairly quickly, with nothing but a backpack and an open mind.
But being a backpacker also comes with the stereotype that I’m on a super strict budget, washing down two-minute noodles with a beer every night and probably haven’t had a proper shower in some-odd days. That's not really my style.
Other times, I consider myself a digital nomad because I’ll settle into one place and work online as a freelance writer. Yet, there’s a stereotype that digital nomads move to an island, drink from a coconut, sit in a hammock and work from their laptops all day. Personally, I haven’t found a hammock with good enough wifi to do that. So my version of being a digital nomad looks more like me sitting in a small room typing away while the sun shines in the foreign place outside my window. Not so glamorous.
I’ve been writing for a lot of different publications recently, with completely different audiences. But one thing I really enjoy is teaching foreigners about America! ?? After living abroad for almost a year, tipping is one of those things I don’t have to worry about anymore. But one of my foreign friends asked me what’s the deal with tipping in America? So I wrote a guide on it for @theurbanlisttravel ? LINK IN BIO ? *** Remembering to tip the taxi driver after always taking Uber ✔️ #marinasmilestones
Now that I’ve been travelling for almost a year, I’ve found that I’m not limited to a certain ‘travel style’ because travel is so much more fluid than that. You become the freest version of yourself when you travel. And that doesn’t come with a label.
So now, when people ask me what I do, I say, I’m just living. And that’s good enough for all of us.
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