I have dreamed of traveling the world full time since my 20s but I got busy with my corporate career and post grad studies. I didn't realize a decade has passed since that dream was planted.
And when I reached my 30s, I told myself to be content with working, saving, traveling for a few weeks and then going back to my life as a corporate employee.
Too Old to be a Digital Nomad?
Search for the term digital nomad and you're most likely to see a fresh graduate flexing their Instagrammable life in Canggu, Bali.
I have read several stories of travel influencers who left their 9 to 5 to become a digital nomad in their 20s.
All their bio would start with something like "At 21, I quit my corporate job..." or "I left my 9 to 5 at age 23...".
Everyone seems to be in their early 20s so I felt I was too old to change my career, or even more extreme, leave everything behind to be nomadic.
Every time I come back to my so-called home, I feel an emptiness and a longing to be somewhere else. I just know that this isn't my home.
The longer I stayed in my job, the clearer it was to me that I corporate life wasn't for me.
The sadness was lingering and I felt my life was depressing.
(I am not exaggerating with the "d" word, while I was not clinically diagnosed, I did experience an mental crisis during this time that wasn't related to the topic in this article)
I just know that I am not where I want to be. And in one of my trips in the Philippines, my life was changed.
Before the year 2018 ended, I decided that I needed a retreat to give myself a break.
It was just another domestic trip but this time I decided to join a yoga and detox program at Bahay Kalipay Retreat Center in Palawan.
In this week-long retreat, I met travelers from other parts of the world who are facing the same dilemma as I do – to leave an old comfortable life to pursue the unknown.
Above: Went to Bahay Kalipay for a detox retreat never expecting that it would change the direction of my life. Follow my Instagram for travel inspiration.
No Right Age to Start All Over
While in this retreat, I met people that inspired me and made me realize that you are never too old to start your life again
...a Swedish girl in her mid 20s just left her luxurious life to live a minimalist life of volunteering abroad. The only expensive thing she kept was her favorite designer sunglasses.
...a French girl in her 30s just ended a relationship and is now rediscovering her life through travel
...two German CEO's of huge pharma companies, both in their 40s, were in the transition of leaving their top executive positions for a start up and the other for his own practice
and other stories of endings and beginning inspired me.
I wasn’t the only one and I realized I wasn’t crazy for leaving my stable job for something I am uncertain at an age where society says you should be doing something else!
I got back home now knowing what I don’t want but I continued working everyday.
I stayed in my old life for the next months, saving more money and preparing for a new chapter in my life.
In August 2019, I filed my resignation letter after almost 8 years of service in the company.
Everyone was shocked because I wasn’t quitting my job for a competitor.
I was leaving my job to be jobless and to pursue the dream I had for years.
(I was literally jobless at that time as I was completing my Masters degree but I have since learned more about jobs you can do as a digital nomad)
It was also an unusual move for someone like me in my early 30’s to leave my career when everyone else is fighting for a promotion.
At age 30, my friends and colleagues are either getting married or planning to have kids.
On the other hand, I was single and have just ended a career I have worked on for years.
One thing I know for sure... I am not like them and I already knew a long time ago that I didn’t belong here.
Thirty years of age is considered old to start a new life, at least in my country, but I don’t want to waste another decade of a life that wasn’t for me.
It was the perfect time to leave.
I sold, donated my belongings and left everything in the Philippines. I kept two bags of necessities, my passport, savings and started a journey with no return ticket nor end date.
I hope for it not to end until I have experienced the world as I should, not following any bucket lists, but only experiencing life to the fullest with each new destination.
“But I have a weak passport, it's difficult to get a visa, it will be expensive...” These were my doubts which I erased, otherwise, I wouldn’t set off on this big journey.
I have no idea how things will turn out but I trusted that life is good.
I began my journey on the mountains and rice terraces of the Philippines and then flew to Thailand, hitchhiked my way to Laos, got stranded in India during the lockdown and got repatriated to the Philippines.
I am back in the Philippines and although I have the option to return to corporate, I decided to remain a freelancer.
Oh and I also met my partner during my digital nomad journey. That was a cool surprise from the universe since I trusted the unknown.
Digital Nomad Age According to Statistics
While the popular digital nomads are in their 20s, there are actually more digital nomads in their 40s and beyond.
According to MBO partners, 54% of digital nomads are over 38 years of age.
In my experience, I have met more digital nomads in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
Why do we only know of the younger digital nomads?
The younger ones are popular in social media but being a travel influencer is not the only way to travel full time.
Most digital nomads have thriving careers that doesn't require them to be insta-famous.
They are established entrepreneurs, people who left their corporate job, retirees and people who have more life experience to finally realize their true calling.
And you don't hear of them because they enjoy their freedom in privacy.
Sadly, I always see a common question in forums:
Am I tool old to be a digital nomad at X years old?
(just replace X with whatever age society think is too old)
We're in an ageist society where people keep saying that you should be at your prime at age 25.
I was still figuring out my life at age 25!
And it is an on-going process that has no age limit.