Digital Nomad

“We’re going to travel the world.”

It sounds like such a glamorous affair. Opulent, even. But for us, the decision was profoundly practical.

See, my wife and I love to travel. Our wanderlust has long exceeded our vacation time, and it seemed like the only way we’d make any headway was to someday travel for an extended period. But the idea was just a dream, until a few months ago. In July, my wife got word the company she worked for was closing up shop; she’d only have a job through the end of the year at best.

We started discussing our options. My day job prohibited me from working on my own projects (which is why Rumor Games has been on hiatus for the last year-and-a-half), and I had already been looking for an opportunity to make a change. Our lease would be up for renewal soon. We’d recently paid off the last of our student loans and saved up a reasonable safety net, and even a decent runway to cover our expenses should I decide to go full-time indie.

We’d never had as much freedom, and might never again. It was clear, if we wanted to do something drastic, this was the time to do it. But the real kicker, the thing that sealed the deal, was this realization:

It was actually more affordable to travel full-time than to live at home in Seattle.

Now, we’re far from the first to come to this conclusion. There’s an entire culture of digital nomads, people who work remotely from anywhere in the world. And with Seattle’s high cost of living, the moon is probably more affordable. But the idea was a sea-change for us. We could travel to all sorts of interesting places, not just visit but really live abroad, enjoy a similar standard of living to what we were used to (modest, but comfortable), and save money?

So we started the long and arduous process of disentangling ourselves from all the trappings of permanent residence. We secured a storage space for our most treasured belongings (Danielle’s books, mainly), and sold or gave away everything else. Transferred our physical presence to an online mail-forwarding service. Researched which credit cards and banks to use, what health insurance to buy, where to stay and how to get around.

And finally, we packed up what little we really needed into a handful of bags, boarded a plane, and said goodbye to our home. We’ll be back someday, Seattle. But first, we’ve got a world to travel.

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