The Next Phase Of The Nomadic Journey. From Turbulent To On Track.
Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist
Logic sometimes has no place.
Now underway with year three of my nomadic journey, I can say I got off to a rough start. I went back home to see friends and family, which was lovely. Thank you to my many great friends that made time to see me while I was home! For those I missed, catch you later this year! 🙂 Being home for a while made a few things happen. First, I got complacent and comfortable. Second, familiar judgments and doubts came in. The question on the minds of many that care for me is, “are you making lots of money yet?” You see, back in the US, it’s not culturally normal to quit your job midlife to do what you love. It’s ok to quit your job for another job, or to take a break between jobs (knowing that job #2 is lined up before you go) but to just plunge into the unknown with no landing pad pre-arranged can seem crazy. Other cultures have gap years and some companies enforce sabbaticals, but it’s a rare thing to experience, at least it has been for me.
A beautiful view from a hilltop in Cashmere, New Zealand.
Copyright, 2020. Heather Markel.
While home I felt a lot of pressure to explain what I’m doing as some sort of logical, goal-oriented plan I have for myself and my life. Year one was a deep struggle of letting go of all the mindsets and work perspectives I’ve been culturally conditioned with. In year two I began to embrace that the journey, itself, is the destiation. The steps become clear as I take them, not as some pre-planned sequence of things I’m executing as I go. This has started to work really well for me. It takes deep trust in myself and in the universe, and it’s not easy. I realize, now, that I’m creating work around what I love – my desire for a long time has been to simply do what I love doing, and find other people show up who love doing it too, and from me just doing my thing, a community and work are born. This is completely different than updating a resume, networking for an existing job, and having an interview. So, there isn’t a direct, logical path from start to finish.
This combination of being comfortable staying in one place much longer than a few days, living out of a closet instead of a suitcase, and seeing wonderful family and friends did make me wonder, at times, if I shouldn’t give “a normal life” a try again. Struggling with whether or not to continue onward, I decided to ask the universe for a sign. What happened reminded me so completely of why I’m doing this that there was no more doubt.
A bee at work in Akaroa, New Zealand. Copyright 2020, Heather Markel.
The first thing that happened is I pitched an editor I met at The New York Times with a couple of travel article ideas. A day later, a New York Times reporter contacted me. I thought it was in response to my pitches. Nope, she was writing a story about expats and nomads and my name apparently kept coming up. So, I got featured in The New York Times about my nomadic life!
The night before departing New York, I ate Chinese food for dinner. My meal came with a fortune cookie. The fortune read, “The time to live your life is now.” No joke.
Next, I watched the movie “Jojo Rabbit” on the airplane. For some reason, I watched the credits and so forth at the end, and my eye was drawn to a quote at the very end.
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.”
And that, as they say, made it very clear that the universe sends very clear signs when I ask for them and when I need them, which I tend to heed and see better when I travel.
Ironically, I did a tarot card reading for myself before leaving. The message I saw was that the beginning would be a little turbulent and emotional but then things would shift and align me in a very clear direction. So many people wore masks at JFK (less in other places) that it was a bit frightful. People with hacking coughs provided sound effects for all of my flights, and I ended up in a lovely B&B in Christchurch with a cat I was so allergic to I’m still recovering! On the flip side, I met a lovely woman at dinner who invited me to stay with her, and whose daughter travels the country for work and offered me a ride should I be heading the same way at the same time.
As my third year kicks off, I remind myself to allow things to happen, to step away from situations that cause me stress (like too much pre-planning to visit a country because it’s high tourist season and everything is booked up) and put faith in the universe that I’ll receive messages, direction and companionship as I need it. This is not a logical journey that fits into common thinking of how life should be lived. This is me, making my own life and discovering the steps as I go. So, I cannot give logical seeking minds an explanation that will make sense. But, for those of you on this same journey, I salute you. And for those of you willing to let go of how you’ve lived your life up to now so you can create a life that better suits you, I’m here cheering you on!
Landing into a rainbow in Christchurch, New Zealand. Copyright 2020, Heather Markel.