So Nerd Travels is over three years old, and what a whirlwind three years it has been. I would never have thought when I launched this blog and my first ever post Building up From Rock Bottom what a crazy journey adventure I had ahead of me. It feels like only yesterday I was sitting back in my hostel dorm bed in Edinburgh Scotland writing my two-year blogaversary post.
The Good Times
I’ve travelled over five continents and close to 30 countries. From Riding camels through the Morrocan desert, paddled a canoe through the Amazon jungle, overcome my fear of heights by bridge jumping for less than $10. Volcano boarded down the side of an active volcano and explored my spiritual side living amongst 200 hippies in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle; that is just a handful of the many travel highlights this last few years has brought.
From the work side of things I got to work at two video game studios doing game testing, one of which was working on Grand Theft Auto V. I volunteered in a hostel in Belfast Northern Ireland for a month changing bed sheets and cleaning bathrooms, did a few weeks as event staff for Morrocan themed Christmas parties in London where I was promoted to assistant bar management within a few days despite having no previous bar experience (I still barely knew what I was doing haha) I also spent 8 months perfecting my chicken grilling skills by working 8 months at Nandos as a griller and evne got to wor during the busy Edinburgh Fringe festival (I was mostly hungover). I certainly have tried on many hats over the last few years.
From the travel blogger side of things I have attended over 6 travel & travel blogging conferences, from Ireland, Spain, Italy to Thailand, been on numerous press trips, Gotten a few paid writing gigs and managed to make a little bit of money from Amazon affiliate marketing which you will find in various posts on this site. Not bad for a part time blogger
On the digital nomad side of things, I got live my dream of living and working for three months as a digital nomad in the digital nomad capital of the world Chiang Mai Thailand as a freelance content writer and social media guru.
Wow! it really is surreal looking back at this list of adventures and achievements. It’s sometimes so easy to forget how far you have come and what you have achieved until you take a chance to stop, take a breath and reflect.
The Bad Times
But although there were lots of good times there have certainly been lots of not so good times along the way. So often when reading travel blogs and articles online as readers we see glamorous stories of how X person left their 9-5 job to travel free around the world experiencing all the amazing things in life with no real struggles or negative aspects. As great as these positive stories are and while they are motivational, most of them don’t feel don’t feel real and a lot of the time only show the positive side of travel with no reflection of the sacrifices made, or both the external and internal struggles people face and have had to overcome on these journeys.
When I started this blog, I always said that I would be honest with my readers and not only post about my victories but post about my defeats as well. Because for me going through and dealing with the bad times has helped me discover more about myself and grow more as a person than any of the good times.
One of the biggest persistent struggles I have faced since I embarked on a journey of constant travel and nomadism is not having a consistent group of close friends or one true place that really feels at home, resulting in my fair share of loneliness.
While it’s true that I have made countless friends in my travels around the world, all of which I hold very dear to me and am grateful for. However, the reality is that most people you meet while traveling you will only get to know them on a surface level before having to part ways on your own separate paths. Sure you stay in touch over Facebook, and you catch up when your path’s cross. But it’s still not the same as having that close-knit group of close friends that know you well like you are used to having when you are based in one place.
Money and lack thereof. Over the last few years, money has been an ever constant worry and obstacle. While travelling on a budget definitely does help your money stretch further the reality is when you’re travelling for an extended period of time and even living a nomadic working lifestyle money really becomes your biggest obstacle. On more than a few occasions in the past few years, I have been down less than $50 USD to my name. While these have mostly been as a result of taking more chances and trusting that things would work out. However it can be hard to enjoy your travels and amazing people around you when your concerned how you are going to eat next week.
The path towards digital nomadism and a non-conventional travel lifestyle is a hard one. As appealing as it sounds to live the life of working remotely from your laptop in an exotic location while you get to lounge on the beach and sip cocktails. While this is true to a certain extent in that being a digital nomad does grant you the freedom to travel to many amazing locations. But the reality for a digital nomad especially starting out, at least in my case is that you will be spending ALOT of time stuck in your room or a coffee shop in front of a laptop. During my first three months as a digital nomad in Chiang Mai I was struggling for money and having a real internal struggle trying to find out what digital path I wanted to pursue. This resulted in me spending between 50-60 hours most weeks on my laptop working for very little pay or actively seeking work.
More freedom = more choices = paralyzing indecision
Anyone who know’s me will know that I am possibly one of the most indecisive people you will ever meet; this is intensified when travelling on a completely open schedule. While having the freedom to travel almost anywhere and follow whatever career pursuit you so desire is an amazing thing. It certainly makes’s the whole decision-making the process a lot harder. Especially when posed with the frequent decision on where to live, where to travel to next and what to do career wise. While this certainly is a very #FirstWorldProblem, it’s something I have been constantly wrestling with on my adventures.
What I’ve learnt
Good and bad times aside what I’ve learnt and come to appreciate about the last few years is that through all those amazing destinations I have visited and experiences I have had (even the bad ones). They wouldn’t have meant anything if it wasn’t for all the truly amazing people I have met along the way and have been by my side. From the hundreds of fun, adventurous backpacker friends I have met in hostels. To the fellow travel bloggers and digital nomads I have met at conference’s and through this blog, who not only have helped guide me on my path towards my dreams of a life of digital nomadism. But also been there for me as friends through some of the rougher times.
And lastly, of course, all of the amazing followers and people who have followed and visited my blog over the years. I know I have not been the most consistent travel blog writer, but I feel so blessed to have you all along for this crazy journey, Thank You
What comes next
So what come’s next for Nerd Travels and me? Well after three month’s dipping my toes into the world of digital nomadism in Chiang Mai and the TBEX travel conference in Bangkok Thailand I have returned to Australia for a few month’s to have some long overdue catch up with friend’s and family. As well as a little bit of a top up on the savings over the Christmas period while I gear up to hit the online freelance scene strong early next year and hopefully launch into full-time travelling and working as a digital nomad. While I try to focus more on self development and improving and growing so not only can I become a better person but also provide better support and give more to those around me.
I look forward to bringing you more exciting updates and travel tales on the blog as well as getting a bunch of backlogged posts about some of the amazing adventures I had in Europe and Morocco which I have been yet to write about.