I sat in the stairwell of the hostel, listening to my sister cry on the other end of the telephone.
“Why don’t you want to be with me?” she asked. “Do you know how shitty that feels?”
It was December 2017. I was in Chefchaouen, Morocco, nestled in the Rif mountains. The bite of winter was encroaching. I was cold, and filled with self-loathing.
“There is some part of me that feels like it really needs to go see about this woman,” I said. “I can’t stop thinking about her.”
Five years of planning, interminable delays, and the trip my sister and I had planned to take together around Africa would never occur.
I had fallen in love.
The phone call ended without resolution.
She needed to do something, or I did. I sat on the stairs and felt a blackness in my heart. I was blazing a selfish path of destruction, I knew. I had burnt a hole in the middle of my oldest, strongest relationship — to go see about a person I’d known for only three days. Que romantico. ¿No?
I shot a message to a friend back home: I contribute nothing, M. My lifestyle is so selfish. I only hurt people. What’s wrong with me?
I felt lower than I had in a very long time, But I couldn’t stop. One has to follow one’s heart. No matter the risk, no matter the damage — love is the only force of meaning in this world.
Or so I thought.
This is youth, after all.
One month has passed here in Chefchaouen.
I remember when a month felt like a long time.
You would not believe how quickly time elapses on the road.
If you are a traveler, perhaps you know.
2016 was a busy year for me. And beyond the calendar year, the last 18 months have taken me to 20 countries—that’s a lot of travel! It’s gotten to the point where my friends at home just automatically assume I’m abroad. When we do happen to cross paths, their first question is inevitably: where next?
The life of a digital nomad is enviable, in a lot of ways. Everyone I meet is curious about how I do it, what my advice is. Here, in no particular order, are 20 lessons I learned from visiting 20 countries:
Airplane Tickets Are Cheaper than You Think
When I took my first trip, I paid something like $800 for a one-way ticket from Denver to Thailand. Now, years later, I would never pay that much for a plane ticket—and definitely not a one-way ticket. If you’re paying attention to deals, you can pretty easily get a roundtrip ticket for less than that.
And travel from the U.S. to Europe?
The stairs to Ulleri were never-ending.
We were off the dirt trail now, and climbing steep stone steps up, up, up. I had no idea who had made these stairs, or when; but whoever it was, they were clearly a sadist. Our guide remained silent on the topic, breathing steadily as we ascended slowly, slowly, towards our goal: the trekking lodges in the settlement of Ulleri.
Apologies for the lack of content lately. I made a major mistake in traveling to Las Vegas the week before I had a trip booked for Amsterdam and Iceland.