Returning home after a trip like I just took, you're bound to come into a whole host of questions.
You're back?! Well, obviously.
For how long? Not long.
How was it? It was fantastic. You should read about it on my blog.
I've become quite good at reading into just how much someone wants to hear about your trip. Yes, I may have fallen into the trap of talking about my travels a little too indulgently. I mean, to be frank, I've capitalised on it through my travel writing.
But there are always the telltale signs of whether someone is asking about your trip to be polite; or if they're genuinely interested to hear about an experience you try time and time again to properly put into words. And even that's not easy.
But the one question I still struggle to answer is:
what are you doing now?
In reality, the question is asking two things - what are you doing now in Sydney and what the hell are you doing with your life?
It's not that I don't have an answer for this. It's not even that it's a bit long-winded to explain. No, it's more the fact that I get the feeling it may not the answer that people want to hear - that I might have chosen to be exactly where I am.
So where did these two months go?
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. Between catching up with friends, Netflix series and sleep, I haven't achieved an awful lot in the past two months. Sure, it's been nice to take a break and recharge after what was an intense experience with the Nomad MBA. But in truth, it has actually been quite a struggle being home.
The last time I had this much free time in Sydney, I was on a uni break. And from my last year of uni till I quit my job six months ago, I've barely had a moment to stop and break. (It was why I felt like I finally needed a break.) Sydney feels synonymous with the life I had led here - work, friends, work, sleep. Without the work, I felt lost and confused as to what I was supposed to do.
Going out felt like a waste of the money I was supposed to be saving because I was back at home. Being at home felt like I was spending time with my family or the dog, though we probably actively engaged with each other better when I was away. The days quickly slipped away in idleness and monotony.
It took a while to finally set some routine and realise that Sydney no longer had to feel like a home to be stuck in. I had to treat it like another stop on the road - a place to discover, to build routines and to craft it into a place I could feel at home. My parent's place might now be my only permanent address; but it did not have to be a permanent state of mind.
And what am I doing with my Life?
Well, I'm still on this great #NotHomeYetMum adventure. I'm not quite done indulging in why I went on this sabbatical in the first place. I have a new purpose in pursuing a digital nomad lifestyle that I need to explore. Besides, there is still a lot of the world I still have to see.
Because in truth, the idea of returning back to my 'normalcy' is a scary thought.
On the one hand, I don't want the past six months to have been in vain. I don't want to undo the changes I felt during the Nomad MBA. I don't want this to just be a mini break from a life I constantly want to escape.
On the other hand, my eyes have been opened to a new world of how work can be. It's not just about being able to lie on the beach and work or the exoticism of digital nomad hubs like Thailand or Bali. Digital nomadism is the manifestation of this modern world for these crucial reasons.
For one, it uses digital technology to its fullest potential.
The apps available to constantly stay connected and manage projects enable work to be done from wherever. Skype, email, the ever-elusive Cloud have enabled teamwork to not only improve but also, independent of physical files or boundaries. To ignore the way in which technology can facilitate a remote team would be counterintuitive.
Secondly, it embraces the idea of diversity and worldwide collaboration.
Walk into any coworking space and you're immediately struck by the diversity of people congregated. From where they're from to what they're working on, you're bound to find someone interesting any time you pull up to your hotdesk. The open, non-judgemental culture that this creates is an inspiration to how workplaces can be. It's not about being united under a company mission that some faceless corporate heads put together. It's about the shared values of collaboration in its people that makes such spaces thrive.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it puts you first.
The greatest thing I've been able to get from being a digital nomad is understanding my way of work and the environment in which I flourish. It just so happens that my ideal environment of poolside hangs in Bali and drinking coconuts on my lunch break is also the pinnacle image of a millennial girl bludging her way through Southeast Asia.
Regardless, it is the self awareness of one's productivity that is most important to remote workers and corporations alike. It's why companies are more mindful about agile working or mental health days. We're just taking it one step further.
it is perfectly natural if not beneficial that I have my truly productive days where I can smash out my work for 12 hours straight without breaking a sweat. Other days I'm going to be useless and mindlessly push paper around, not giving it my best. Having a schedule and a work mindset that is more tailored to when I can deliver my best seems like just common sense.
It hasn't been easy to remind myself why this seemed like a good idea when I was in Bali. The reality of rejection and constant hustling hasn't made the transition back to Sydney any easier. I don't really have a plan beyond doing this until the magic - or money - completely runs out. In fact, I barely even have a plan for Europe besides the flight tickets I impulsively bought. But if the past few months have been anything to go by, something good must come out of it somehow.
So what am I doing?
In short, I'm still on my adventure to pursue a life that I design - one that is currently defined by travel and remote work. An even shorter answer would be - I still don't really know.