This is post #3 in the “How to Become a Nomad” series. If you missed the previous posts, click here and here to catch up.
I had just returned to Canada after three and a half months of working and travelling in Europe. I was out for a morning walk with my childhood friend and her dog, and we were discussing what I’d be doing next.
“So, it’s the end of August, and you still don’t know if you have a teaching job in September?” my friend asked incredulously.
“Nope.” I responded.
“So you have no idea what you’ll be doing in a week’s time? Where you’ll get money? How you’ll be filling your days?”
“Nope. Nope. Nope,” I replied again.
“And you’re OK with this?”
My mouth started to form another “nope”, but then I reconsidered. “I have to be,” I said with a shrug. “What can I do?”
“Huh.” My friend snuck a sidelong glance at me as her dog ran up ahead of us. “Well, you don’t seem that worried.”
“I’m not.” It was true. My application was in at a school I’d worked at before. I just had to wait until they sorted out their staffing situation. If I didn’t get the job, I’d find something else. I knew I had a trip to plan for mid-December, but hadn’t really started, so that was all up in the air as well, somewhat depending on my work situation and how much moolah I made between September and December. “Like I said, what can I do?”
I was even a bit surprised by my nonchalance. A bit. What surprised me more was that it wasn’t an act. I really felt fine with all possible outcomes. Cool as a cucumber.
It was the moment I realized I’d learned to embrace uncertainty.
It’s a freeing feeling, really, being OK with many of the possible options of what could happen in your life, feeling like you can handle most any turn of events, as long as they don’t involve some harm to someone you love. It’s wonderful.
Get the job, not get the job. Travel now, travel later.
And it’s sort of the way you’ve got to be if you want to be a nomad, moving around all the time, new places, new faces, new challenges, new problems.
Make the train, miss the train. Make the flight, miss the flight.
You don’t know what’s coming next and you’ve probably got very limited control over it. You’ve got to work to not let that keep you up at night.
Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.
I’ll admit that I still think about the future and wonder what lies ahead. Like I said, I work contract jobs and never know until the last minute if I’m hired or not. I’m waiting on Italian working papers so I can’t plan much if I don’t know which country I’ll be in… But do I fret?
Does it keep me up at night?
Only the excitement of it all.
That said, embracing the uncertainty of the future is a lot easier to do when you’re standing on a solid foundation. Read more about that in my next post, “How to Become a Nomad: It Takes a Lot of Planning to Be Carefree.”