My Exhausting Life

2 minute read

Look at my social media feeds and you’ll see photos of me smiling! We all do it. Smiling at the airport, smiling on a boat, smiling in Europe, smiling in South America, smiling skydiving, smiling BASE jumping, smiling at a restaurant with friends!

This is why FOMO exists. We hide the bad parts of our life from the world and promote the good times and that’s all our friends and family see. This phenomenon is why it is so hard to know when people are experiencing depression or loneliness.

So allow me to let you in on a secret:

My life is exhausting just like yours.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “this dude has it made! He works from his laptop anywhere in the world! He’s living the dream! He has total freedom!” But I can tell you that it’s not completely true. Being a “digital nomad” isn’t ice cream and monster trucks all the time. I’ve made a conscious choice to trade one set of problems for another.

Before and after an 18 hour bus trip in Peru

So here’s some anti-FOMO for anyone considering the nomadic life.

It’s exhausting being in airports, train stations, and bus terminals all the time.
It’s exhausting constantly feeling like an outsider… switching cultures and not knowing if what you’re doing is acceptable there.
It’s exhausting not knowing what’s going on all the time because I don’t speak the language.
It’s exhausting dealing with complicated travel logistics.
It’s exhausting trying to find decent internet speeds to work efficiently.
It’s exhausting finding a camping spot for the night after hours of driving, not quite knowing if I’m allowed to sleep there.
It’s exhausting having to constantly watch my stuff in unfamiliar locations.
It’s exhausting meeting new people all the time and having the same exact conversation about my unique lifestyle.
It’s exhausting having to find a new place to stay every time I move.
It’s exhausting trying to keep up with family and friends and dealing with time zone differences.
It’s exhausting trying to get my mail shipped to wherever I am.
It’s exhausting living out of a carry-on size suitcase.
It’s exhausting having to get new sim cards everywhere and constantly having my phone number change.
It’s exhausting going to the grocery store and having to re-learn what to buy because the packaging is unfamiliar and in another language.
It’s exhausting meeting amazing people and having to say goodbye all the time.

That last one is the hardest. I meet so many amazing souls in my travels and constantly have to say goodbye. I’ve hardened myself to it and I find that I close myself off because saying goodbye has become so commonplace. I’ve tried to turn it into “see you next time” because “goodbye” seems so final. It’s exhausting leaving people I care about in my travels.

Backpack: work. Carry-on: clothes. Duffel: sporting equipment.

So how do I deal with it? The same way you deal with paying rent, or a mortgage, or mowing the lawn, or the PTA meetings, or being a month overdue for that oil change. I put on my big boy pants and just do it. Because I’ve chosen this lifestyle and I’ve chosen this set of problems that most people don’t have.

…but I don’t have to mow the lawn 😉

Mark Rickert is a skydiver, wingsuit flyer, BASE jumper, and world traveler


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