This Is Not The End

Photo credit to Chayce Solchaga

So somehow, we are at the end of this whirlwind trip with the Nomad MBA and the reality of it all is becoming abundantly clear.

To begin, it’s still taking a little time to adjust to this whole idea and realize that after the months of half-planning on top of years of dreaming, I actually went ahead and became one of those people who “quit their job to go travelling.” Maybe it’s because for some innate reason, I didn’t believe I’d be able to do this, even during these past three months and had always accepted that I’d be back to my old life before you or even I knew it.

Ho Chi Minh with old friends from Australia. 

Ho Chi Minh with old friends from Australia. 

Meeting up with old Aussie friends here in Vietnam really brought that home for me. In some ways, so much has changed. I’m so used to feeling like nothing has changed once I’ve returned home that it has surprised me that some major things have. My friends are in new relationships, other people have moved on from their jobs, people are going through good times and bad just as I have while overseas.

But at the same time, some things remain fundamentally the same – and it’s all the things that had pushed me to leave in the first place. Feeling stuck and uninspired requires real and radical change and taking that step is still crazy and scary. Yet, it’s paying off.

This is not to say that everything has been fixed and I’ve completely found myself and my purpose again. These three months have been hard – I’ve felt lost for much of the time and have questioned my choices daily.

Now, I’m not naïve to think that it would be all hippie rainbows and our tribe sitting around singing koombaya.

The Nomad MBA 2017 tribe

The Nomad MBA 2017 tribe

I even set my intentions for the trip, unwilling to put too much pressure or expectation on where I’d be at exactly this time. But I can’t help but feel a slight disappointment that the euphoric epiphany did not happen; that I didn’t find a completely different direction or find out something new.

Instead, it’s been gradual. We’ve gone back and forth a million times. I’ve reaffirmed a lot of what I already knew and have known for all this time.

So, what exactly have I gotten out of these three months?

Besides a bunch of new memories and photos of me looking out at things, frankly, I’m not coming back as a whole new me. That was never the point. 

If I’m honest with myself, this trip was never about finding myself. I found myself long before, on a beach in Halong Bay, wondering where the past few years had gone and whether I was ready for that to be the rest of my life.

No, this trip was about finding validation, a test of myself, a trial run for this dream of mine. It is still my dream to go work overseas, to jump around on working holiday visas and roll with the punches when an opportunity comes up to settle, or to move on. It may look different and I may have gotten so used to denying it or wishing that it was something more obvious or easy. But no. This is it. And it’s still scary to admit that this is what I want, scary to finally let go and go for it, accepting failure and all.

Even this week has been me dabbling in doing this alone. I left behind the security blanket of the tribe to meet new people again and redefine my own story in terms as a “digital nomad” outside of what it meant to be a tribe member. It was nice to have people meet the outcome of this trip, and not just the girl going through it.

Looking out at nature - Sapa edition

What does that actually look like? What have I accomplished?

I’m a little more confident. I think I can back myself a little more, or at least I want to.

I talk a big game about being a boss ass bitch who don’t take no shit. I hide behind sexual rhetoric or feminist rhetoric. I use big words and the occasional quick google in the bathroom to look like I know what I’m talking about.

But for the first time, I feel I am those things. Having no ties, a backup plan I was not ready to go back to has actually made me need to stand on my two feet. For once in my life, I not only knew who I was not, but who I assertively am.

I owned my brand. @anytiffng.

It’s a logo, it’s a website, It’s a purchased domain name. But more than that, it’s a way of knowing what I stand for and making that known to others.

I did not stand for misogyny.

I called people out, didn’t care if they rolled my eyes. If they wanted to scoff and say “here she goes again” and went again in a different way until they heard me right. People know that I am a feminist.

I’m not going home. I mean, in a figurative sense.

I’m getting a little excited to actually return, knowing that it is temporary. It will feel as much like home as my places in Bali, Thailand and Vietnam have felt in these past few months. But it will not feel as though I’m back – not really. I’m not going back to the rut, to the routine, to that mindset. I’ve come too far from that. Not just in these three months with the challenges and the introspection that I’ve done.

But in the very fact that these three months have proven to me that this project of self-improvement – albeit through travel – was never about this one trip but every one I’ve taken in my life. It’s been every time I pushed through to get back in the office the next day, driven by gumption or ambition. It’s been there when I took the leap to quit my job or fight for something more. It’s been from who I am – my fear of settling; of mediocrity.

I’ve just been able to find any reason not to do it – the main one, being that I felt stuck in a life I felt I hadn’t chosen. So now I chose this life. I chose to do things on my own terms, to never forget my values and fight for what I believe in. I choose to be a master of my own story, to have adventures, to live a glorious life, surrounded by awesome people that I chose to have in my life.

Our trip to Sapa

So it came as a scary surprise that I read my horoscope the other day, and it was staggeringly true.

Don’t repress your feels – it said. The better you know yourself, the better able you’ll be to leverage opportunities…Create space in your life to hone in on your instincts and intuition becase your inner voice has something to say, and it’s on you to get present and listen.

The biggest thing that these three months have taught me that is that this is all possible and well within my grasp from wherever I am – even if it means back in Australia.

Graduated - with the founders of  the Nomad MBA

Graduated - with the founders of the Nomad MBA

Read more about the Nomad MBA Graduation here