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Three Months of Nomading: Retrospective

Three months ago, I left Indonesia for my journey. It was a big decision, and I felt afraid and uncertain when I first boarded the plane to the foreign land. Have it changed? Or am I still feeling that? Do I regret my choice? Am I a fool to leave my very comfortable cushion? A lot of question to be answered. I certainly want to know the answer, to understand my feeling better.

Hence the retrospective.

Am I still feeling afraid and uncertain, I ask myself. My mind answers that with a big “NO” instantaneously. Sure the first week was a bit hard adjusting with the surrounding and new environment. But, soon, I met a lot of people, had fun with them, did a lot of interesting activities, explored a whole new city, learned a lot of things, and most importantly, did a lot more first-time experiences than I did for the last 3-5 years.

These three months have also been a great epiphany for me. I realized a lot of things. And as wise men said, that knowledge is a power, those realizations gave me power to identify my fault and correct it accordingly. That’s my objective: to be my better self by removing my festering wounds and swallowing the truth while doing self improvement like a maniac.

What's Working

Traveling while working demands balance. I couldn’t just neglect the work and let it go as a man has to provide for himself. The opposite side is also true. I couldn’t just neglect the travel because if I did, I might as well don’t travel.

Balance demands discipline. I set myself time for work from the morning until afternoon in weekdays. By working, I mean a real work, not checking Facebook or watching Youtube like I did when I was still working 9-to-5. I could feel that I do more in that short hour, compared to when I still have to work 9-to-5. It’s true, the most important thing is quality, not the quantity. But, without discipline, quality won’t be achieved.

In the evening, it’s the time to go social. That’s one of the best thing of traveling: you meet a lot of interesting people everyday. I’m an introvert, but I hate when people use their introvertness trait to make an excuse to not to be socially active. Being introvert doesn’t mean that way. It just means that they’re afraid to leave their comfort zone.

What will I do differently

My original plan was to be in one country for a month before I leave for another country. While I did somewhat stick to it, it wasn’t really the way I like. Generally I stayed two weeks in each cities I’ve been so far to make sure I could settle down and do my work optimally. However, two weeks time in one place is really too much for me.

Traveling for me is about thrill. Going to a new place gives me chill every single time. It could be mistaken as fear of uncertainty, but I know that it’s an excitement. So, if I’m going to change the way I travel, definitely I will make sure that I don’t linger too long in one place. A week is more than enough in a city for me.

This past month, I was in Ho Chi Minh City for the whole month. I tried to live like a local. I learned the language. Even at the end, I could enter a restaurant, order something, and pay up without them noticing that I’m not a Vietnamese. However, it’s not working for me. I yearn to travel, I seek the excitements by being in a new place and do new things.

How about being a third world nomad?

Well, I haven’t feel it yet, as these past three months, I was still in the “easy” places. I was in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam. All of them, I don’t need visa to get into. So far, it’s really easy.

However, in this second leg, I will start to go outside the SEA region. It’s where myself being is being truly tested. I’m really looking forward for it.

Traveling alone that long has been a great lesson. People who don’t travel or travel for the sake of vacation maybe can’t relate. But, after having a lot of conversations with a lot of people from many parts of the world, while seeing the first hand how people from other countries live, I could tell that I want to go out from my motherland.

That being said, after three months, the fire hasn’t began to dim. Contrary, it’s been glowing stronger and stronger, I could feel the heat burning. I’m sure I want to continue to travel.