I’d decided to quit my job and take a sabbatical in February 2017. I was sick of squeezing in holidays into two-week blocks. I was exhausted, burnt out and unsure of what else I could do to snap out of it. I decided to give myself six months to make the decision.
It was a thought stuck in my head for months but as I got into the swing of things at work, things were getting busier and I fell into a comfortable routine, it was hard to imagine that I could leave at this point. I felt the familiar state of bargaining with myself - maybe I waited for a couple of months, maybe I could stick it out, maybe I was overreacting.
I still have that exact ad saved on my Instagram from when I first saw it.
Travel, learn, and connect with people just like me? Had I somehow manifested this in my dreams and imagined this ad before me? I applied immediately, never really expecting to hear anything back.
They asked me about my vision for my life, my purpose that drove me in my work. I started to surprise myself with some of the revelations I was talking about, the things I wanted to achieve, what I saw in the future for me and for the world.
What had started as a whimsical idea to quit my job nine months prior became my sole focus and a way of finally pursuing this vision. I realised that whether or not I got into this program, it was something I needed to do.
It’s hard to really put The Nomad MBA experience onto a page. From the elevator pitch, it sounds like a dream. But you never really know unless you go through it yourself.
And even in retrospect - over a year since I started this journey - I don’t really know how to explain it; maybe because I still can’t believe it.
When ‘working from anywhere’ meant ‘working from my bed in Barcelona after a siesta at the beach’. Taken in June 2018.
Right now, I work remotely - able to combine my love of spontaneous adventures around the world with work that I enjoy.
“I’ve found the confidence to take charge of my own decisions and start building a company around my own passions. I’ve come to embrace this new ‘digital nomad’ landscape that is changing the way we see work in our lives”
And maybe I could’ve eaten, prayed and loved my own way through Southeast Asia to come to these same revelations. Digital nomads are popping up all over the world, drawn to the lifestyle through so many reasons.
A lifestyle I can get used to: working from our favourite brewery in Hanoi Vietnam during the first Southeast Asia tribe.
The biggest barrier to becoming a digital nomad is believing in it. It doesn't seem in the same realm of possibility. It’s hard to see yourself in that life.
To be honest, I barely knew what it was. I, too, had disregarded it as a life that was relegated to a special group of people who got paid to travel. But that wasn’t me. I was the straight-edge kid who never got these opportunities. But then again, who are we not to be that person?
Put simply, The Nomad MBA helped me manifest a life I hadn’t even dreamed for myself. By the sheer inconsequential application that I put in, my acceptance into the program suddenly put me into what I thought was an exclusive club. I became that girl who quit her job to go travelling.
“I took this as an opportunity to open myself up to the possibilities. I chose to let go of the expectations of what this may be and live in the moment, embracing the fear of not knowing what was coming next”
In doing so, I started to see myself in this environment I was put in. I could see myself thriving as a digital nomad. Being in such creatively inspiring places with people to hold me accountable and push my dreams further, I was never more productive, creative or passionate. I was less afraid to share my story, empowered that it might be able to make a difference. I could see myself as a creator, possibly even an entrepreneur.
I had a front-row seat to the thriving digital nomad community in every co-working space we visited. I couldn’t believe this was a reality and through the networking events and workshops and just the casual conversations across the table, I started to see that this was a place that I understood and could belong.
Here you can see the digital nomads in their natural habitat, tapping away at their laptops in the hotspot, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Being able to also give time to meditation, fitness and cultural immersion completed the whole journey. This wasn’t just about making one big career move, but about carrying it into a lifestyle that I continue to live today.
But most importantly, I was given the love and support to make it all happen. It’s a terrifying thing to change your whole life around. And yet, you’re in this unique club of people who’ve gone through exactly that same thing and make you feel a little less crazy. They validate what you’re doing and make you realise that you’re not wrong to think that you belong on this path.
There’s nothing quite like finding people crazy enough to ride for an hour on scooters in the dark and rain to hike the volcano, Mount Batur for over 2 hours, just to catch the sight of the most spectacular sunrise.
Leaving the comfort of that community over the past year has been terrifying. I feel like I’m questioning my choices at every turn. I think about throwing in the towel at least once a month.
But thinking about where I was before The Nomad MBA, I know that I could never turn back. It was like I was struck by a radioactive spider and suddenly given the power to choose. I choose a life that serves me and pushes me towards my goals. I priorities living moments, using work to fill in the gaps, rather than the other way round. Once having a taste of this agency, it’s hard to ever let it go.
To truly understand what The Nomad MBA can do for you means committing to the journey that comes. But that’s really just a lesson in life. Be open to what you may discover about the world and yourself. Allow yourself to make the most out of every experience. Soak up the incredible support and magic of the people around you.
Who knows what could happen? You probably haven’t even dreamed it yet.
Click here to learn more about Tiff’s digital nomad journey.