COULD I GET TIRED OF PARADISE?
I woke up this morning to the sun shining through my window and the sound of the ocean waves crashing at 5AM. I drank coffee with beans that were grown at the base of a Central American volcano. I sat on my porch and watched surfers rise and fall with the sea while I turned on my laptop to start my work day.
Every evening I have a free ticket to the best show in town: the sunset. The sky looks like a watercolor painting, and the colors are reflected in pools of water in the sand dunes along the beach. I sip a drink with an umbrella in it at a local beach bar filled with tourists that just got off a sunset cruise in the bay. I sit here and wonder, “Could I get tired of paradise?”
My Remote Working Fantasy
Today marks my 20th country on my 4th continent in my 9 months since I started working remotely full time with NetSuite and traveling the world with Remote Year. So many experiences feel “unreal” and outside of a reality I had come to know as routine in my life back in Boston. Living on tropical islands and beach towns in Central and South America the past few months has felt like a never ending vacation.
Over the past few weeks a fantasy has been forming in my mind: I fall in love with a handsome surfer, we buy a restaurant on the beach, we go fishing a couple days a week and sell what we catch in the restaurant. Then one day a beach dog will stumble upon our slice of paradise, and we will name him Senior Si Claro and he will be the bouncer of the bar but will nap on the job a lot. We’ll start to brew our own beer and cider, we’ll book tours for customers for snorkeling and horseback riding and surf lessons, we’ll save up to buy a boat and do sunset cruises ourselves that dock back at our restaurant. One day we’ll build a tree house style hotel next to our restaurant, I’ll be tan and never wear shoes again, and my surfer boy, Si Claro, and I will live happily ever after. I don’t think I’m alone in my fantasy, and now that I have had a taste, it seems possible.
The Realities of Life as a Digital Nomad
I’ve met many travelers on my trip who went on vacation and then never came home. They have opened restaurants and hotels and realty agencies and tour companies and surf schools and have brought entrepreneurship, capital, and technology to new parts of the world. I’ve also met many nomads who still work for their US employers fulltime or freelance but do so remotely with a visa run every few months to a bordering country. This lifestyle is so much more attainable than I ever could have imagined. One such entrepreneur told me his worst case scenario if he failed was he would live in a tent on the beach for a few days and teach surf lessons or sell shell necklaces. The lines between poverty and spring break blur here.
Everyday I wrestle with feelings of gratitude and guilt. I’m so grateful to have this experience and to be able to see the world with the flexibility of remote work. Then I get tinges of guilt wondering if I deserve this. The future of work is remote work, the solution to the work life balance debate is remote work.
Will I eventually get tired of paradise? I don’t know yet, but I’m happy to keep going till I find out!