Why we aren't 'brave' (or, check your privilege)

Throughout our wonderful two months home, visiting friends and family and having merriment in general, we had the opportunity to tell people about our future adventures over and over again.

Most people were generally encouraging, even if they didn’t have any reference frame in which to put this new life of ours. My favorite example of a conversation typifying this sentiment was between my mother and her former colleague. The colleague said (paraphrasing), “Going to work in Asia on the computer huh? That’s so cool! Gosh, we would have never even thought to travel at their age. We were just proud we had good jobs.” And this is true, absolutely true. Not only were there no internets back then, but the cost of travel was prohibitive. And, it is always hard to be the first to do something if no one you know has done something like it.

Every once in awhile someone would tell us, “You are so brave to be doing this.”

I would usually respond with an attempt at humor and say something like, “Yeah, brave. In a month I am going to send you a picture of me on the beach drinking a fancy cocktail without a care in the world with a caption underneath it that says ‘Bravery.’”

I found this stock photo of this woman being very brave.
But here is the most honest and full response:

We aren’t brave, we are lucky. Plain and simple.

We luckily made enough money to put some into savings.

We luckily were both of the same mind about the plans to move to Southeast Asia.

We luckily both had parents that taught us to be independent and adventurous.

We luckily knew someone who was already doing this sort of thing so we didn’t have to be the first.

We luckily don’t have huge financial responsibilities at home (kids, infirm parents, etc.).

Yeah, we did some stuff to help the process, like not buying new cars every two years, not getting into a mortgage, trying to keep living costs low. But most of that was because, luckily, we both have sort of an allergy to crap. Our programming was to not want to have this stuff and to feel trapped and weighed down by it. There are people who love their new car, and great for them. But they are not us and we are not them. The security of a house seemed a lot like a prison sentence to us.

So, if you are reading this, wondering if you are capable of quitting your job and attempting to work as a digital nomad, *dons a Clint Eastwood voice, perfectly* “Just ask yourself, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya? Punk?


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