The digital nomad journey is lonely, and hindsight is 20/20. I constantly find myself thinking about things that I am doing right now or reading about new ideas and think, "Why didn't I do this earlier?" Why didn't I rent out my apartment to AirBnb when I was away for summers during college? Why didn't I quit my stressful job earlier? Why didn't I try online teaching earlier?
In senior year of college, my roommates told me that my freshman self had called and asked my parents for permission for my roommate to ask her gay guy friend over. I was like...what? I did that? Was I that much of a good girl? I wasn't a homophobe -- was I? I had absolutely no memory of that event. But then again, I do remember joining the Catholic club briefly for my first semester at Berkeley and singing along to Catholic songs. I must have been a different person then. I'm probably a different person now. Things that would have seemed crazy to my just-out-of-high school self are my daily life now. Hell, I've traveled to more than ten countries across Europe and Asia, some of them solo, and now I virtually teach kids in China from home while wearing pajamas. This from a teen who was so shy and awkward she sometimes took a full day to come up with a response to the small amount of people who did actually talk to her.
Even back then I wanted adventure though. I just didn't know how to get it. Some overprotected Catholic girls go to college and run wild. Me, I finally embraced the wild notion that I would write. I also embraced a member of the opposite sex for the first time. That was nice.
I keep wondering when this crazy journey crashes and falls, and I have to go home and be "responsible" again. Neil Gaiman has the same fear, so in a way, I already have something in common with a famous writer. Which will also lead me to becoming a famous writer.
Gaiman has a speech on Youtube where he talks about goals being like a mountain. Imagine the mountain as your goal, and whatever decision takes you closer to the mountain at the moment, you take it. I feel like I'm climbing that mountain, and when I look back I start to see parts that could have been climbed easier and with less effort. On one hand, it makes me smack my forehead. On the other hand, does that mean I'm growing? I hope so. I'm a 26-year-old American with the hopes and dreams of a young, idealistic boy. Also with the financial savings of such a boy. Gotta keep climbing.
Five minutes after I close the laptop, I get a ping and look down at my phone. "VIPKID here you cooooome!" says a first email in bold, followed by "Mock Class Passed!" in a second email. That's all I have a chance to read before I'm jumping up and down like a frat boy on coke, smiling wide. I run down and tell my friend's landlord's four-month-old puppy, "I did it!" and dance around with him, his paws in my hands, his smile enthusiastic as my own (this was the case before and after my mock class). The mock class was a one-hour online interview in which I taught English to an interviewer in Michigan pretending to be a Chinese kid who didn't know English. I prepped hard the week before and felt like I was in Berkeley again with the amount of time I prepped. I watched many mock classes on Youtube and practiced in front of the mirror. I was anxious because the alternative to getting this job was that I would have to apply for a physical teaching job. This would mean I would once again spend most of my hours in a conventional teaching environment, trapped in one location yet again in the good old 9-5. But I did it! I passed Mock 1 without having to do Mock 2 which is the common route for most applicants, and I managed this despite being late about one minute to the interview and pissing off my interviewer. My past years as a behavior therapist paid off. I've spent two years practicing calm and patience in the midst of temper tantrums while working with clients with autism. Hence, even when my interviewer was pissed, I was able to mask my stress and behave friendly and apologetic enough to win her over to my side. I don't recommend being late though; my lateness was due to a tech issue which I will make sure to resolve for next time. Wi-Fi in Vietnam sucks. Yay, my first online job! Tomorrow I print materials and start working on getting bookings. Since I'm considered an independent contractor, I'm responsible for building a client base and opening up my available hours. One hurdle passed. Stay tuned in the life of Princess Chicken, Conqueror of Chicken-Eaters. I'm going back to Europe next month.