GGB Challenge Day 1 – Reasons Why

GGB Challenge Day 1 – Reasons Why

GGB Challenge Day 1 – Reasons Why

It’s so serendipitous how this worked out – yesterday I listed all my obstacles to becoming a digital nomad. Today, Globetrotting Girl Bosses¬†(update: now Bucketlist Bombshells Tribe) started their 7-day challenge asking us to write down the reasons why we want to work online! So I am sharing that with you here! (Also, the order suits my personality – I always want to get the bad stuff out of the way first so I can focus on the positive! So you might think I’m a pessimist if you only talk to me for a few minutes or read the first part of a blog post, but I’m really not!)

Freedom to Travel

This is the biggest reason why I want to become a digital nomad – I got bit by the travel bug 2 1/2 years ago, and one trip a year is not enough! I used to think that I need to wait to travel until I was married, or had a lot of money, or had a big group of friends going. Now I know I can figure out most curveballs travel throws my way, and in fall 2017 I’ll get the chance to try a new challenge – solo travel in a country where English is not the primary language! I always try to see far too much in my limited time traveling – I want the freedom to linger. I want to spend 1-2 weeks (or more) in a city, not 1-2 days.

Freedom to Set My Own Schedule

I am not a morning person. My brain just doesn’t work well in the mornings – no matter how much sleep I’ve had the night before. I hate working 8-5 (though I know others have even earlier schedules), and I live for Friday and Saturday nights where I can stay up being creative (if I haven’t deprived myself of too much sleep during the week). My ideal schedule would be staying up till 4am and sleeping in till noon (I’ve even worked second shift before and done this). But I also want to be able to spend time with family and friends some evenings.

Freedom to Be Creative

While my job does allow for some creativity now that I’ve studied FileMaker and can do some development work, most of my tasks are boring and repetitive. I do know that there will still be some repetition in any job, but if I am my own boss I can outsource and automate any tasks I don’t want to do over and over. I can say no to projects. I can set things aside and come back to them fresh. I can figure out new and better ways of doing things.

Freedom of Unlimited Earning Potential

As a solopreneur, I will be in charge of how much money I make. I won’t be at the mercy of working a year or more before I get a couple more cents an hour. If I don’t have enough clients, I can hustle and find some. If I have too much work, I can raise my rates. I can develop products that earn me money while I’m out exploring castles and dreaming of ways to expand my business. And I can help others earn money as well – whether cross-promotion, team-ups, long-term partnerships, or even employees.

Freedom to Foster Community

I love how supportive people can be in the tech/design community and in the travel community. I want to have more time to build and grow that community. I’m the type of person who sees a request for help or advice, and if I know anything related to the topic, it’s like catnip and I can’t help but try to assist them! I’ve spent hours researching problems and solutions for others for free. I want that to be part of my day-to-day workflow without feeling guilty about not doing “real work”. It will be my real work.

Freedom to Be Me – Confidently

I’m not the most confident person. I am always second-guessing myself and thinking that others are better than me. Building a business will give me something to look and say, “I did that!” whenever doubts come in. And I can create it my way, building on my strengths and eliminating the things that tear me down. I can spend my time working with and for the people who bring out the best in me. I can wander through new cities and build new friendships based on who I am at that moment and find more to like about myself every single day.

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New York City and a Smartphone

New York City and a Smartphone

New York City and a Smartphone

That’s how my travel journey began – with NYC and a Samsung phone that had seen better days.

Growing up, I had always wanted to travel. It seemed so romantic and glamorous, and I longed to visit the places that hosted so many stories I loved. But it seemed impossibly out of reach for a Western Pennsylvania girl who was barely making ends meet, didn’t drive until her late 20s, and got nervous at the thought of talking to strangers.

My parents did occasionally load all nine of us kids into a van and take us to visit friends and relatives. We went to Gettysburg twice, stopped by Niagara Falls for 15 minutes on the way back from our cousins’, and visited beaches near friends in Florida and Texas. But I was simply along for the ride.

Several years ago, my best friend mentioned a possibility of going to New York City rather inexpensively, since her family had a connection with someone who lived there. Things fell through, but we still talked about going, even though it would be more expensive. In early summer 2014, she told me her mom was planning a trip to NYC with her and her sister, and I was welcome to come along!

After lots of indecision¬†and schedule changes, we were actually able to set up the trip for August, and I dived into research mode. As an introvert, new situations are always easier to handle when I know what I’m getting myself into. Since I also love possibilities (as a Myers-Briggs intuitive) and keeping my options open (as a perceiver), all plans have dozens of potential variations, that I also like to make sure are researched. But I knew since we also had a very limited 2 1/2 days in the city I needed to make the most of every hour.

My friend and I bounced suggestions off each other on the days leading up the trip, and I tried out a bunch of travel apps and loaded everything good I found onto my phone. I didn’t realize until we got to the city that everyone else didn’t have smartphones. I had also done more research than anyone on transportation. Even though everyone else had been to NYC before and I hadn’t, I became the group’s guide more and more often as the trip progressed.

I discovered I loved it. I could figure out the best way from point a to point b (thanks to Google Maps) and know whether we should take a bus, the subway, or walk. I easily grouped attractions into an optimal order based on location and opening times. People with more experience relied on my advice and things turned out well!

That was one of the most empowering experiences of my life. I realized if I could plan small pieces of this trip for others, I could easily plan large pieces of more extensive trips for myself! I didn’t have to wait to travel with a still-not-materializing husband, or book only prepackaged tours that skipped half the places I wanted to see (along with being super pricey). With the internet to do research and a smartphone to navigate, I could travel anywhere I pleased!

Now all I needed was time and money.

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