TRAVEL JOBS is a series dedicated to sharing stories of people with unique jobs that allow them to travel. There are so many jobs out there that allow you the freedom to see the world. This post comes to you from Kristin Simon. She has a career in digital & social media marketing. Make sure to follow her on her journey! Links will be at the bottom of this article. Enjoy!
I’ve never been one for sitting in an office all day. Actually, I’ve never been one to want the path in life that society tells us we “should” take. You know that path. The one where you go to college, get a job in your major, get married, buy a house and then have kids. All by the time you’re 30. I always felt like I should want that stuff and I even tried taking that route in life. But I always felt unfulfilled chasing those dreams that I was told I needed to have. I thought I was one of the only people who felt left out, like this path wasn’t for me, but it turns out I’m not. And maybe since you’re reading this, you’re one of those people too.
I used to work in marketing for cosmetics and as much as I like the beauty industry, the job felt like it drained my soul a little bit each day. Each time that I had to hop on that train out to Queens, head into a dark cubicle, sit on my computer, then tread home after it was dark out, it hurt. I knew I needed out, but I didn’t know how or what else I should do. I lived this life for six years, until I decided I couldn’t do the routine anymore. The only way I could see out of it was to move. So I decided to move from the grimy and gritty New York City to the chill and sunny city of Los Angeles. In fact, I was so fed up with my current life, that I made a pact to myself. I told myself that no matter what, in six months, I was moving to LA. Job or no job. Apartment or no apartment. I was doing it. You know, sometimes it’s a good thing when you reach that peak moment of unhappiness and dissatisfaction because that is exactly the place where change happens.
I told everyone I knew that I was moving, reached out to my LA friends, applied for jobs there, started to find a replacement roommate and did everything I could to make sure I was moving. It was in this frenzy of reaching out to contacts and making this happen, that I came across the company I work for now, Multibrain. It’s a social media management platform that helps entrepreneurs grow their business’ on social media. I loved what they were doing in the social media space and I loved the fact that everyone worked from the comfort of their own homes. In fact, it had never even occurred to me that I could be one of those people that don’t work in an office. How had it never occurred to me? I HATED working in an office. Of course I didn’t have to work in one. Why would I? Why would anyone subject themselves to something that makes them so unhappy? Well, I know exactly why. Because we think that’s all there is for us.
I pitched myself to work for Multibrain. I came to them with what I could bring to the table and how I could help them grow their business. A couple weeks later, I had the job! I was thrilled, screaming and jumping up and down. No joke. At this point I still hadn’t considered anything other than finding an apartment in LA and working from home. Then, as fate would have it, I was sick with a cold and was going into work late. As I was laying on the couch that morning, the murmur of the tv in the background, I heard something that immediately caught my attention. It was a millionaire entrepreneur, telling the story of how he grew sick of owning all of these things, these possessions, including his home. In fact, he got rid of it and started living in Airbnbs. That was his new lifestyle. Isn’t today’s world amazing that something like this is even possible?
That was my a-ha moment. Funny how you can look back to those few defining moments in your life and be able to pinpoint exactly when something inside of you changed. The more I told my colleagues and my friends and my parents about my idea to live as a “nomad,” the crazier I felt.“You won’t have a real home?” everyone asked me, their voices filled with concern.
It started to make me doubt that it could possibly be a good idea. How crazy. Just not having a lease and a place to put all of my stuff. But that’s because we are conditioned to think that’s a crazy thing to do. And in today’s society, it kind of is since it fits outside of the “norm”. To me though, it sounded so completely freeing. Here I was, always complaining that I hated being chained down, and now I had the opportunity to be free of all of the things I didn’t want or need anymore. I decided I was going to try it out. I was going to sell everything and live out of Airbnbs. At least for a little bit. And so began my journey as living as a digital nomad.
I’m about seven months in, living this digital nomad lifestyle and people are constantly asking me when I’m going to finally settle down. The truth is I don’t know when. So far, I have decided to tackle Europe, since my only constraint is that I have clients and need to work when my colleagues do, which is in the New York time zone. Anything beyond Europe and I’d be working through the whole night, which is not something I could do. I have visited Iceland, The U.K., Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Italy (Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre), France (Paris, Cannes, Nice, Antibes, Monaco) and of course, New York and LA. I have had friends come stay with me along the way, which makes it a little easier since I’m on my own a lot. Plus, I speak with my colleagues on Google Hangouts all day long so I do always feel a sense of connection.
Another common question I get asked is how I can afford to travel so much, but there’s an easy answer. I don’t have home or car payments. All I kept was my clothing and mementos, which I’m lucky enough to be able to leave at my parents home in New York. It’s also a lot easier considering I don’t have a husband or children. All of my money goes towards my transportation, lodging, food, gym classes and my personal favorite, clothing. I only travel with a carry-on suitcase, containing the basics, so it’s easy to get around when I am constantly moving from place to place. I mostly stay in Airbnbs because I like living in a home and it’s usually the best price. One week I’ll stay in a not-so-nice place, another I’ll treat myself to a better one. It’s all about balance. When I want to save some money, I stay with my parents or a friend. My salary isn’t as high as it used to be at my old job, but I don’t care. At all. There is no price tag that can be put on freedom and travel for me.
This journey has already helped me realize my priorities in life. It’s made me see just how independent, strong and brave I truly am. I don’t think there is any self-growth stronger than the self-growth that comes from solo travel and lots of it. Yes, I have had my problems and a couple of panic attacks along the way, but each experience has made me better at handling tough situations, pushing through uncomfortable moments, and controlling my emotions.
If you also want to experience this rapid change in yourself or have a nomadic lifestyle, here are a couple suggestions. There are plenty of remote positions available that you can apply for. Besides a salaried remote job, you can always freelance or consult. Anything from graphic design to social media management to coding. Don’t have any of these skills? You can take courses online to build some. You may not be able to make as much money as you do now, but it all depends on what your priorities are and that’s something you have to decide that for yourself. Even if you don’t want a completely nomadic way of life, I hope that I have at least inspired you to go out and travel or do something outside of your comfort zone. It’s a bigger risk to stay complacent and bored in your life than to go out and experience something new or crazy.
All in all, I love my job and the fact that it offers me the opportunity to constantly see the world. It’s not a life meant for everyone, but it’s the life I always wanted and never even knew. I’m sure one day I will want to have a steadier, more settled life, but in the meantime, I am at the happiest, most fulfilled place I have ever been with myself. My biggest suggestion to you is if you’re not happy with where you are or what you are doing today, just know that you have the power to change it.
Written by: Kristin Simon
You can get to know her here:
Personal IG: @kristinsimonsays
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