The package wasn’t supposed to come for another few weeks. When I saw it was addressed to me, I knew it was finally here. Another piece of the puzzle. A brick removed from the wall blocking my path.
My Passport arrived. I could now go anywhere on the planet without hiding in a suitcase.
The statistics say that only 20% of the 308 million Americans have passports (though it’s going up as high as 30% since you need them to go to Mexico and Canada now). There are many reasons for this. Nomadic Matt wrote a good article on Huffington Post about it a couple of months ago. When he asked what we thought the reasons for this were, my answer was, “I think you covered them pretty well in this article. Institutional fear, arrogance and ignorance if you want a short answer.”
Life in the 300-Mile Circle
I grew up and lived most of my life in a 300-mile circle centered around Los Angeles. I have lived as far north as Fresno, as far west as Vegas, and as far south as Orange County. While I’ve never had the same address for more than 4 years, I didn’t leave that circle for more than quick trips around the U.S. for the first 35 years of my life.
I was one of those Americans who never had a passport. There were always places I wanted to see, but I had never actively pursued overseas trips. I’d been to Baja California a few times, crossing the border on foot. Drove down to Ensenada for a weekend once to spend the single night I’d ever spent in a foreign country in three decades.
For 35 years, I only left the Pacific Time Zone a handful of times. I had always wanted to see more, but something always got in the way. No matter the different scenarios then, the something was always related to fear.
Getting Free of Convention
When I started to free myself of the self-imposed constraints I’d lived with for most of my life, I started getting out more. I stopped watching the news and watching much tv, and the world seemed to start opening up. We can blame the media and culture here (I can hear the scoffing from non-Americans at my use of the term “culture” ), but it really rests with you to get out and do whatever it is that makes you happy.
I moved to another time zone since then and have gotten out more in the past few years than I had ever done before. I still haven’t gone anywhere that required a passport. A past trip to Puerto Rico and the upcoming St. John Island trip don’t need a passport as U.S. Territories, though they are technically different countries. I’m playing catch up on all that time I didn’t get out-of-town to explore what I can.
My answer to Matt’s question got me thinking more about it, and I realized I didn’t want that limitation any longer.
Do you have to travel to live your life?
Being a Digital Nomad is not necessarily about traveling around the world. It is something that can be done, but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Hopefully you aren’t staying at home out of fear like so many do, but there is more than one way to live life.
In this community, you see every manner of traveler, wanderer and Nomad. But this isn’t just about travel. This is about happy.
You don’t have to go live on a beach in Thailand like Cody McKibben, or move to Chile like Ashley Ambirge to live your best life. Not everyone wants to travel constantly out of a backpack like Matt. Not everyone wants to wander in a tiny RV like Cherie & Chris, or even in a luxury bus like Louise & Sean. You don’t have to ever leave your country, or even the small town where you were born if that’s what makes you happy. Hell if you’ve got a Ted Nugent-sized ranch you never have to leave, then more power to you!
But please don’t spend your life in fear.
So am I the only one who has hardly traveled the world here? Tell me if you’ve got things holding you back in the comments.