Just out here trying to thrive: the adventure begins
Updated: Jun 10, 2022
Hi friends! My name is Cass and I'm about to go on an adventure of a lifetime. In just a few weeks I'll be getting on a plane to Paris and after three months of all the croissants and des olives I can eat, I'll be continuing on. I'm keeping my plans as flexible as possible but I hope to continue to travel east* and make my way from France all the way around the world to South America by the Spring of 2023. At that point, I'll be meeting up with my cousin for several months in South America exploring several countries.
And I'll be documenting it all here for you to read along! It's important for me to document this adventure because I'm really just an average person. I don't have a lot of money and I certainly don't have any safety net back home to catch me if I fall. I'm just a risk-tolerant Sagittarius with a bad habit of wanting to run away. And I want to be as open as possible regarding my finances and plans so that I can hopefully inspire you to take your own personal journey.
So how did this all come about?
My friend MD (short for Monsieur Daddy - his chosen alias) and I still don't know whose "fault" this all is. He says that I asked him if he wanted to move to France with me, I say that he's the one that first introduced the idea and asked me to move with him.
But the point is, when the opportunity arose, I was ready for it. In fact, in a lot of ways, I was waiting for it.
I was at a point where I wasn't happy at my job, just lived through two years of a global pandemic, and was feeling antsy. I was ready for a big change and new challenges - so I just said yes.
But it's not all kittens and rainbows.
There are some things that keep me up at night. As I mentioned, I don't have a lot of money and I don't have parents with a safety net. I have a modest amount of savings (around $10k) but I also have a modest amount of credit card debt (around $5k) and a large amount of student loans (around $65k - whew! don't remind me). My plan for money when I move abroad is to continue to work part-time for a startup called Radious and continue to do freelance marketing as much as necessary.
The big thing keeping me up right now is actually just balancing any sort of normal life before my departure. Luckily I just had my last day at my full-time job, but before then I was working full-time, doing work for three freelance clients, trying to learn french, keeping up on my workout routine, spending time with friends before I leave, and selling literally everything I own (heads up, selling everything is a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be!).
I'm hoping the next few weeks before I leave I will be able to stay level-headed and not stress too much about all the things I need to get done.
And when I'm looking ahead toward my travels, I worry most about being able to balance working and traveling. I've been listening to a lot of digital nomad podcasts and appreciate the advice to stay longer in places so I don't feel pressured to get in all the touristy things quickly. So I plan to stay about three weeks in every location so I can work about 5-6 hours a day and sightsee the rest. But I do worry about my ability to stay focused while also having a ton of fun.
Surprisingly I have a weird calmness around finding freelance work. I know Fiverr is really popular and I know I have a wide range of skills (from brand strategy to social media creation) so I feel fairly confident in being able to find work if I need it. But because I grew up in poverty, I also know not to count your chickens before they hatch. I'm trying to strike an emotional balance between trusting optimism and realism.
Staying excited - 3 things I'm looking forward to most:
When the stress gets to me or an inner voice pops up and asks me "what tf do you think you're doing???" I focus on these things to stay excited:
1. Pushing my boundaries and getting out of my comfort zone
There is a certain type of magic and growth that occurs when I push my boundaries. When I travel I challenge myself to experience things I never would have, start conversations with random people, eat new things, and so much more! Growth and exploration is what life is all about, and I'm excited to continue to live life this way.
2. Relaxing into an easy way of life
When I lived in Prague in 2019 I was introduced to a slower pace of life. I worked several hours a day on my own business (and even took folks on some beer tours!) but those working hours were bookended with walks to a coffee shop or tourist attraction, and long sunny hours in different parks reading. In America, life is driven by work. But elsewhere, it feels a lot more natural and okay to sit around doing nothing. I'm looking forward to living life like this again.
3. Seeing all of the things
This probably goes without saying but there is just so much to see. Becoming a digital nomad enables me to explore and discover new things every single day.
I know this transition isn't going to be super easy. But I know it will be worth it. Stay tuned for more updates!
*I would be remiss if I didn't mention the horrible, unjustified, and disgusting invasion happening to Ukraine. I will be keeping my eyes on the situation and avoiding dangerous areas, but I'm still nervous. But I am incredibly privileged to be from the U.S. and to not be going through the atrocities that Ukrainians are being objected to right now. I hope to help financially or through volunteer work as I travel - I encourage you to help where you can as well.