What is Happiness & Other Musings From a Digital Nomad

People from back home still don’t understand why I chose this life ten years ago. I’m even starting to second guess why I chose to live this way. It’s because the freedom outweighs what waits for me in Chicago. I was never a “good employee.” I told people to go fuck themselves and got fired. Told one manager at this media company to stop calling me “girl” and was told by Spherion Technology they didn’t want me back. Poured a drink over a guy at a bar in Miami Beach because he grabbed me. At least I can say, I’ve had the privilege of being a cocktail waitress for three hours. ahahahahahahaah

In 2011, I was an administrative assistant at a thankless company in Chicago. I had to take two buses to get to work. Sometimes in freezing cold weather.

I had to gulp half a pot of coffee just to leave my shared apartment in Edgewater.

Then later, my Zoloft so everything would be numb otherwise I’d try to take my life again.

I was the walking dead.

Coworkers tried their best to get me fired because I didn’t gossip and chose to stay to myself because I saw how conniving they were. Plus, I’ve never faired well with basic bitches.

Basic suburban bitches.

Basic Aurora Suburban Bitches.

When we got another Black woman in the office, they tried to play her against me. I’ll never forget that and f**k that b**tch too.

I’m not sure who said it, but “A salary is what they give you to make you forget your aspirations.” This was certainly the case with me. I thought about what my life could be…during the commercials.

I’d dream of being a stage actress in Chicago. Or a pirate (yes, a pirate). Or having the balls to hitchhike across South America or travel with a campervan around the world.

Yet, I’d get home from work.

Order a pizza from Lou Malnati’s.

Go across the street to buy a six pack of Stella.

And then plop on the couch and tease my sweet Thai (my beloved cat) with some string.

I’d watch Skins or some other TV series and drink the whole six pack then fall alseep drunk.

Repeat the process the next day.

This is why I had to make a choice. I was clearly miserable in Chicago. I had only one true friend and she was from Hong Kong. We’d walk the streets of Chicago, go to musuems, and check out the music festivals.

An opportunity came up through the North American Language & Cultural Assistant Program (NALCAP) to be a language assistant in Spain. That’s when my location-independent journey began.

When you’re young, you don’t think about the future. The idea of happiness and security is constantly changing.

My energy is being spent in trying to answer some pressing questions, not only for myself, for all digital nomads. In particular, the U.S. nomads.

  1. How are you balancing student loan payments and a retirement fund as a digital nomad OUTSIDE your country? I don’t know about you, but my biggest fear is being some crazy bag lady from Chicago living on the streets of Phnom Penh.
  2. Let’s say you left the USA and started your location-independent lifestyle abroad. Do you have to constantly explain (a-hem lie) to your bank about why you’ve been outside the USA for so long? Were you able to open a bank account in your country while living OUTSIDE your country? It’s impossible with U.S. banks because they do background checks to check where you are.
  3. Again, you’ve left the USA and haven’t had a stable U.S. address for about five years. What address do you use on job applications? Seriously? This is what I’m struggling with. The address I use will be deemed my tax home. What if I’m only going to be in that country for five months and have no idea where I’m going yet? The USA is still my tax home, but I haven’t lived in Chicago for ten years. Ugh, this is so difficult. This is why I’m working with companies outside the USA, but the pay isn’t as good.
  4. U.S. Digital Nomads: Let’s say you forgot to open a Roth IRA, ETF or index fund before starting your journey. Did you manage to open one while living outside the USA? If so, how did you do it? I’m very curious about this because I should have a right to take advantage of the daily, weekly, or monthly compound interest these types of funds give you. It’s a question I’m very desperate for an answer to. Unless being location-independent means I have no ability to save money unless I’m physically present FOREVER in the country.

Will happiness be achieved once these questions are solved? Probably not. However if I’m investing my money into funds that are making money for me then my future may not seem so bleak. Money = Freedom.

There you go. I asked the questions a lot of digital nomads want the answers to, but give up finding them. Please share your thoughts and help us out!

Thanks, Turkey. It’s been…yeah. Next stop…Tbilisi, Georgia!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s