When Are You Coming Back?

What if I told you never?

It’s official. I am the proud owner of a one-way ticket to my favorite city in the world, Roma. In less than a month I will be hitting the road and putting this crazy dream to the test. I am standing on the edge of the kind of adventure that goes down in the books, the kind my grandkids will beg to hear stories about, the kind that I’ll carry scars and laughter lines from. I am at the beginning of something beautiful.

So why does everyone keep asking me for the end?

The other night I was out with some family friends and as I am a recent college grad, they of course wanted to know how I planned on using my newly acquired college degree. Apparently my self-appointed title of “digital nomad” was not what they expected to hear. Sure, they knew I was a travel addict at heart, but they figured I would take some gap time after graduation, probably go back to Europe for a spell to satisfy the itch, and then return to the States to settle into a comfy desk position. No one expected me to shrug my shoulders when asked what my end date on my time abroad was.

“Ok, but seriously what’s your timeline? You have to come back sometime right?”

Do I though?

Where is the law written saying I have to carve the end date out of stone and live this adventure with the weight of that rock always holding me down?

I’m not naive, I know this will be hard and there will be plenty of days that I’ll want to give up and come back. But I’m also stubborn and determined and ever so slightly crazy with the will to make this work.

I’ve fallen in love with my open ended timeline. There’s something exhilarating and terrifying and wonderful about having absolutely no clue what the future has in store for me.

And honestly, even if this all goes to hell in a hand basket,

it was still worth it.

The lessons learned, the confidence gained, the life lived will always be worth it. The regret that would accompany my abandonment of this dream would eat me alive otherwise.

So when someone asks when I’m coming back, that to me implies the underlying question, when are you coming back to the normal track of life?

The answer is I can’t.

I can’t go back to the mindset that my life must move in a linear path, that I have to pursue comfort over passion, that work is something I have to do in order to save enough money to do what I actually enjoy. I can’t go back to how things were before I decided to take this risk. Everything will change the second I step foot on the plane with my one-way ticket in hand.

My uncertainty about what the future holds for me scares most people, but I love it because all I see is opportunity. And I can’t go back to running from opportunity just because I’m afraid of the uncertainty.

So, when am I coming back?

Never. It’s only forward from here.


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