There’s something so romantic about going off to a foreign country or place by yourself. Or at least I always thought so???
Cue movies/books like Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, Wild, and the like.
I am such a sucker for that shit. As a hopeless romantic, nostalgic-obsessed introvert/INFP, I eat. It. Up.
I took my first solo travel trip to Europe three years ago, when I was 23. I went to Greece, Ireland, and Belgium over the course of 1.5 months and ate my weight in crepes. I met a ton of other travelers by staying in hostels, which was perfect at the time, but these days I’m not as keen to share a room with 10 other travelers and pray that none of them snore.
I also purposely wanted solitude and reflection time during this trip (and hostels aren’t necessarily the BEST place for that LOL). My goal wasn’t to make a ton of friends and see ALL THE THINGS like it was before – I really just wanted to meet other digital nomads (in real life/online), work on myself, reinforce healthy habits like meditation and journaling, establish myself as an online English teacher, and get my shit together with this blog.
And so, I traded in people for pets and was house sitting in various locations around England from mid-June to mid-August. I spent 2 weeks in Welling (near London), 1 month in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, 1 week in Chichester, and 2 days in London.
My time alone was and wasn’t exactly what I thought. Here are my main takeaways:
So I never ever thought I’d make it to this point? Like being a ‘digital nomad’ has always been a kind of crazy dream of mine, but here we are (#living and #thriving, bby) and only having about one mental breakdown per day!!!!
Lol just kidding, although not gonna lie, anytime you go against the grain I think mental breakdowns are inevitable. Actually, I also had them when I was working a normal 9-5…so maybe that’s just #life?
But ANYWAYS. Curious about what being a traveling house sitter/online english teacher/rainbow unicorn is all about? Here’s what I do to keep busy every day (and FYI, it’s not sitting at the beach drinking margaritas all day and pretending to work! And while I am actually near the beach right now, it’s in England so it’s far from the tropical destination you’re probably picturing…)
Every day is different obviously (that’s kinda why I chose this life? I get bored real quick) but here’s a kind of typical hodgepodge type day:
Fair warning, this is going to be kind of a rambly post…Lots of thoughts bouncing around in my brain. I feel a little scrambled eggs-esque about having been in Europe for the last 3 months and now heading home. There’s just A LOT to process and I’m also going through major chocolate withdrawals (I WAY overdid it on German chocolate and I’m trying to cut out sugar for a bit – wish me luck) so excuse my brain at the moment.
Here’s where I’m at, and how I’ve changed, after 3 months of travel!
I ACTUALLY (KIND OF) MISS HAVING A HOME BASE
Our three months of travel was a little busier than I would have liked – we spent 2 days in London, then a week in Glasgow, a few days in Amsterdam, a week in Switzerland, a week in Prague, 2 weeks in Norway, and then the rest of our time in Germany (but we moved around pretty frequently while there).
When I first set out on my 3 month digital nomad/travel excursion we had just planned on staying in Germany for about 3 weeks, but that turned into 2 months! Whoops. And during that time I really fell in love with Germany – it’s such a lovely country!
I’d been before – to Berlin for a couple of days and then Starnberg and Munich for Oktoberfest. But this visit was the first time I’d really spent an extended amount of time in one country, and in one city no less!
We were in Hamburg the bulk of the time and Berlin for 10 days, but I was also able to squeeze in some day trips and visit the Saxony region for a weekend, too. Here’s what surprised me most about the country itself:
So contrary to what you may believe from my last post about why I WON’T miss living in the Bay Area, there are actually plenty of things I love about the Bay, too. I lived there for about 23 years in total, so of course there are things I really appreciate about the Bay!
Ahh the Bay Area – land of start ups, the word “hella”, giant tech companies, the best burritos (yeah I said it), the Golden Gate, and so much more that I could never fit it all into one sentence without violating all kinds of grammar rules. It’s a wonderful melting pot of a place.
I grew up in San Jose and was living in Fremont the past 2 years. I will always love the Bay (and there are plenty of reasons I’ll miss it, too), but I’m also very ready to leave. It was a good run, but here’s why I’m not looking to return:
I work as an Education Programs Coordinator for an environmental nonprofit that promotes the education and conservation of birds. I never ever expected to be working in the job that I am, never expected to become passionate about birds (before this I was more of a mammals person – but I think that’s how many people in the wildlife field start out lol), and never expected what it’d actually be like to work at an environmental nonprofit.
I really really enjoy it (for the most part). But – before I get into what it’s like in the next article, here’s some background info to ~set the scene~