This is a difficult post for me to write. I’m going to be incredibly honest. Sometimes uncomfortably honest. But I need to get these things out of my head and off my heart. As part of my healing process and as an opportunity for you to get to the more vulnerable side of me. Not the sassy, funny or witty side. The part of me that’s flawed and fearful but willing to look at those things and grow.
Lately, I’ve been feeling scared and anxious. My summer job is coming to an end which signifies the official beginning of my life as a Digital Nomad. I returned the keys to my apartment over 4 months ago, but I’ve been living and working from a place of comfort. This is my third summer working at this summer camp so the people, my cabin, even the food is familiar. After camp is over everything will be different. It’s exhilarating and frightening AS FUCK!
I’m a self-professed planner. I like to have all my ducks in a row and plan things out ahead of time. But I’m quickly learning, that’s not always possible as a Digital Nomad. My original plan after camp was to do some housesitting in New York for a month. So I could attend New York Fashion Week and live out my dream of being the Black Carrie Bradshaw, minus Mr. Big and the designer wardrobe. I’ve not been able to find any housesitting opportunities in NYC so I’ve resorted to plan B. Visiting a friend in Miami for a week and then spending Fashion Week in New York.
Empire State of Mind: View from the Empire State Building.
I have to be extremely budget conscious because I’ll be traveling through South East Asia for nearly a year afterward. And although I have an incredible remote job as a Senior Fashion Stylist. I want the money from my summer job to last as long as possible. I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, the Digital Nomad Lifestyle will center around where I can get the most affordable living accommodations.
Not having a home to call my own and constantly searching for affordable housing is bringing up some childhood issues. Specifically homelessness. I was homeless as a child. I remember sleeping on couches and in cars. I remember panhandling and selling my toys on the street for money. I remember promising myself that as an adult, I would NEVER be homeless.
Baby Netty Circa 1987.
My mother has been sober for over 20 years. But while she was in the streets I was being raised by my grandmother. My grandmother was also an addict. She died from her addiction. While living with her I moved from hotel to motel. From apartment to couch to car. I didn’t always have a place to call my own and having my own room was something I dreamed about. Eventually, my mom got her shit together and was able to regain custody of me and my younger brother. But during some of the most impressionable years of my life, I didn’t know where I’d be sleeping. So as you can imagine, voluntarily going into a similar situation 25 years later could bring up some unresolved issues.
I’m currently feeling like being a Digital Nomad is a glamorized way of technically being homeless. But I know that’s just my fear and insecurities talking. I know that I need to allow myself to live a more carefree and spontaneous life. Especially since I’m currently single and don’t have kids. I feel like I’m constantly fighting against the societal norms that tell me that at my age (32) I should be thinking about settling down, starting a family, buying a house and contributing to a retirement plan. And for years that’s what I did because that’s what I thought I wanted. Now I realize, I felt trapped and pressured into that cookie cutter life. Because of my unstable childhood, I wanted nothing more than to create stability for myself. But I refuse to live inside that bubble. My ambitions have changed. While many of my friends are getting married, starting families and buying homes. My goals now revolve around seeing the world and sharing those experiences with others.
Always a Bridesmaid. Not ready to be a Bride.
I feel like I just spilled a family secret. But you’re only as sick as your secrets, right? I’m ready to be open and honest about this. The Crack Epidemic took a toll on my family as it did many other Black and low-income families in the 80’s and 90’s. But I’m proof that you don’t have to be a product of your environment. You can dream big, you can set goals and you can reach every single one of them. As long as you don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back.
Words to live by.
To hear even more of my story read My Most Personal Post Ever and listen to the podcast.