“I’d love to lead your life”. I hear that all the time. And I think about that sentence a lot. A casual remark made by so many. But do they really know what it means to live my life?
Before I go into detail, I want to state once and for all – I love my life. I make my own decisions and I lead the life I want to. With all its advantages and disadvantages. What? There’s a down side to my life? I’m on holiday 24/7, 365 days a year and travel to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Yes, but you can’t have everything in life, so today I want to write about the trade offs of travelling and living a nomadic life.
1. You can’t always get what you want – I live in a different world.
As you may have noticed, I don’t lead a conventional lifestyle like the remaining 80% of humanity. I don’t have a 9 to 5 job and I see my flat as often as I see the beach. I am a digital half-nomad. If I have wifi and electricity, I can work from anywhere in the world. And when people ask me what I do for a living, I start to stutter. Am I an author? Am I a presenter? Am I a camera woman and editor? I work in marketing and in social media and I have my blog. I hestitate even more when the question comes up how I actually earn a living, because it’s a bit of a combination of various jobs. I’ve never been very good at explaining what I do. My conversation partner usually just looks at me confused and ends the discussion with “I see”. I also think that my family, my friends and my parents fail to fully comprehend my life and my job(s). I write something online, I’m not around most of the time and if I’m visiting I stare at this tiny screen, my smartphone, and feel scared they might think I don’t want to talk to them. But that’s my job. I’m unattached, I can visit any time and longer than for just a weekend but I have to check my phone constantly. I have to answer emails, write pieces, edit and post them and just be online. Of course I could just say I’ll turn this thing off for three days, but afterwards, when I turn it on again it would hit me –thousands of unread emails in my inbox is stressful! And I like it, too. I like being online, I like sharing and seeing what is happening on Facebook and elsewhere. But I also notice that this is often met with incomprehension and that some people take it personally that I’m always online. It can be a point of contention because I’m not a teacher or a doctor but something different, something unique that I built for myself.
2. You can’t always get what you want – Do you still recognize me?
I was in Ibiza last week, with all the girls from school. We passed our final exams together and meet at least twice a year. It was a great week, we all got along really well and were so proud that we had all managed to make time for our trip to Ibiza together. But it also made me sad that I can’t make it to more than two of these meet ups a year. I am the worst person to talk to on the phone, I don’t even manage to write one email a month or send a short message on WhatsApp. It makes me sad that I can’t keep up and miss out on certain things just because I am not around. I have to be honest and say that I have good friends but we are not nearly as close as I wish we were. There’s no one I see two or three times a week. I’m proud of myself if I see my good friends in Berlin once a month. Apart from all the travelling, I go to a lot of networking events that take up so much time but are super important for me. I have often said I’ll change things. Call someone every day who I wouldn’t speak to otherwise. But, to be honest, I think they’d be taken aback a bit. It’s normal for me not to be around. It’s sad, but it’s great that my friends love me how I am.
3. You can’t always get what you want – Sorry, I’m not around.
Sorry I’m not around, a sentence that bugs me from time to time. Often I am not around when I am needed. I have missed so many birthdays, weddings, family get-togethers because I simply wasn’t around. Because a job at the other end of the world was waiting for me – a job I had to take because who knows how things will continue. That’s a big disadvantage of being self-employed – the constant fear of not knowing what my situation will be like in a couple of months. So I take on jobs that come my way, even if that means missing the umpteenth birthday, wedding and family get-together. The worst type of ‘not being around’ though is when bad things happen. When people need you, consolation, someone to listen to them or a shoulder to lean on and you’re not around. That really takes a toll on me.
4. You can’t always get what you want – Routine – what does that even mean?
Sometimes I wish I had a hobby. Having a hobby is almost impossible when you’ve made your hobby your job. Sometimes I wish I had a bit more routine in my life. Going to Yoga on Tuesday. Meeting for coffee and cake on Sundays. Sometimes I wish I had more routine because I tend to feel so lost in my own world. I live without time and space, I don’t know which month it is or which country I just woke up in. At the same time, I love it because every day is a new adventure. But being on the road all the time also means that I have to use every day when I am in Berlin to work and there’s no Saturday or Sunday for me, no weekend. When other people spend a lazy day at the lake, I edit videos and photos. I draft texts and plan new trips. Being self-employed means relying only on yourself. When I travel, I live off of the endorphins and when I am home I work. I am starting to notice though that some calm and routine wouldn’t do me any harm.
5. You can’t always get what you want
Sometimes life gives you lemons. You can’t travel the world and have a routine. You can’t be out and about all the time and be there for everyone. You can’t live the life of your dreams and think that no one will talk about you behind your back or be jealous. That happens a lot when people don’t get what I do. When they don’t know that I don’t have a rich husband or a large inheritance but that I work my butt off for all this. I hope this article didn’t come across as whiny. I just wanted to show a side of me that most people don’t get to see. I love my life, I chose it and I know that if I’m ever unhappy, I can change it. What a lot of people tend to forget is that you can take your life into your own hands and change it. You can’t always have everything but you can choose how to live your life.