Seeking growth without changing Zip Codes
I am an expert at comparing myself with people I don’t know. As if the insecurities I already have are not enough, I collect a few more each week, given to me for free by strangers. This time, Instagram delivered them.
There he was, one of my favorite YouTubers, standing in an empty room with two suitcases, announcing he was getting rid of all his stuff and going on a digital nomad adventure around the world.
But what about your posting schedule? And the cool desk setup you showed two weeks ago? And the tools you can’t live without? And what about me, uh?
The packed bags of someone I’ve never spoken to added weight to the idea that I can’t maintain a fulfilling life if I stay in one place.
The fear of missing out on life by staying home took a spot on my list of worries when my sister moved to Bali and adopted the digital nomad lifestyle. During the sixteen months that her life fit into a suitcase, I felt the wanderer's life thrown at me as the most promising alternative while feeling reluctance at the mere thought of giving it a try. So, I worked daily on reassuring myself that being home was a good thing for me.
I realized that my generation underestimates the lives of those who stay on familiar grounds as if personal growth is only attained after a twelve-hour flight.
But so much can be achieved from home.
I learned earlier in the year that William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet without visiting Verona or many of the locations featured in his plays. He spent his whole life between Stratford Upon Avon and London. This fact I seared into my mind so I could remember the road to success can be navigated without changing zip codes.
As a teenager, my sole desire in life was to live abroad. I got a taste of it through a year-long student exchange in Germany, where I experienced first-hand the bittersweet feeling of being away from the country that raised me and trying to call someplace else home. I cherish that experience and learned many things during those months living as a foreigner, but the biggest one is that there’s no place like home. Cliché as it is.
I’ve been living for ten years in the same city, and as time passes, I feel my body being pressed into the concrete of Santiago and becoming part of it. As the clocks tick, it’s harder to leave. But I like being trapped by familiarity. It’s comforting.
Having a place to call home is beautiful. And as my generation aspires to dance through existence from the other side of the world, I want to cherish setting roots and staying put.
I believe the world isn’t revealed only based on the latitudes we reach but also on the human connections we make. I like to think that a good conversation can make you reach farther than a plane could. I’ve questioned the way I see the world and even changed some of my perceptions while sitting at home on a video call. Those kinds of experiences have made my world expand. Location be damned.
It’s true that the familiar routines of home make it harder to self-identify flaws or potential points for self-development; you can point to those easier when you move through unknown territory. But I like to believe that the solution is to face what’s familiar with a high level of self-awareness.
Writing about the mundane helps me with that challenge without taking a spot in my passport.