A Digital Nomad’s Search for Belonging
Blogging can be a very lonely profession. I spend hours behind a computer screen telling you all of the things I learn and feel, but I don’t often have the opportunity to do the same with a physical person. Working from a cafe might seem like a dream to some…but in reality, I spend more time observing other conversations than I do engaging in one.
Traveling too takes a toll on my sense of belonging. I find myself often missing this space of “home”. Though I have the opportunity to learn about cultures all over the world, it’s often not from a locals’ perspective. I’m just a tourist showing other tourists how to have a great time in the fringe of a community. Even though I spend months in a destination, I still lack the roots that hold community members in place.
Where Do I Belong?
This sense of community, a sense of “belonging” that someone like me- a digital nomad- has a hard time piecing together. “Home” is a word that means ‘the place from which I came‘…but it doesn’t mean ‘the place that I belong to‘ anymore. For a Digital Nomad, home is where I lay my head to rest.
“Seattle” used to mean home, back when I lived for the smell of autumn leaves in burn piles and spiced ciders on burnt tongues. Somewhere along the way, it stopped meaning this wonderful place in the upper-left USA, and started to feel like savory rice tea and tatami mats in Tokyo. But by the time my contracts ended in Japan, I was shoving the remainder of my belongings into a bright-blue backpack and calling cold airport floors and hostel bunks my home. During a moment of homesickness, I realized I wasn’t yearning for my birthplace, but for the comfort I found in the quiet countryside trains of Japan. There was a craving in my life I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
The Soul Wants To Fulfill her Purpose
Where do I belong? I’ve struggled with this idea for a long time. I know it’s not behind a desk in a corporate 9-5. My soul cringes at the idea of wasting my potential working for someone elses’ purpose. I know it’s not in my home town, or even in the Seattle area (or so I thought?). My soul felt the need to expand, explore, and hunt for this sense of purpose. I’ve searched the world looking for the ambition that I’m finally filled with now.
So, where do I belong?
In each place I’ve explored, I have been searching for a deeper understanding of my existence. In the process, I became attached to being unattached. Unattached from possessions, as I purchased and traveled with less. Unattached to ideas that used to fill me with fear. And unattached to people. I began to feel very disconnected to communities and felt as if I didn’t belong anywhere in particular. I was avoiding people.
Avoidance is so much easier than connection. To connect with someone deeply means that I’d eventually face a mirror, and challenge the things that I’ve been running from. Until recently, I’ve thought that the answer to my internal turmoil lie beyond myself. The more I looked, the more beauty I find around me, but finally I realized I was looking for distraction from the avoidance within myself. I faced the idea that I wasn’t living up to my full potential.
I felt like an enigma, and began to discover that my purpose was less about exploration, and more about creating change. I might not fit into any one geographical community, but I’m able to reach out and create my own tribe as they explore their outer and inner worlds.
Purposeful living as community involvement
The reason why I state that I thought I didn’t belong in Seattle is because I’m slowly starting to get comfortable with a new idea. Perhaps I’m not meant to settle down, but to be a missionary of education. It might be that my sense of belonging was lacking because I’m the driver of my own community, who’s residents I create through advocacy. Could it be that my purpose is to awaken others’ minds to find ways to love our earth, and love each other (including yourself)? Id like to think so.
A digital nomad’s purpose
I believe now that I was looking at the my communal craving wrong. My sense of community involvement lacked because I wasn’t sure where I fit in, but I was focusing on it as a problem rather than a symptom. What I should have been paying attention to was my familial offering, rather than how I was able to relate to others.
I can forge a sense of involvement by living my purpose. Offering service fosters belonging in itself. Providing inspiration towards a greener life, a more gentle intra-personal relationship, and a positive outlook in our collective futures can affect everyone. By living my truth, I’m making the world a bit smaller, and more homey. I’m creating my home.