Coming Home And How To Survive Reverse Culture Shock

Machines beep. Green and yellow lines wiggle up and down on monitors. My father’s glazy gaze meets us from where he’s nestled in a web of tubes filled with bodily fluids that run the same red, green and yellow. When we ask him how he’s feeling he gives a waxen grin. “No more pain. But the colors keep changing.” The painkillers seem to be working, then.

Even though it’s weird to hear my 70-year-old father giggle like a schoolgirl, it’s better than last night. Then he’d told us it hurt so much he wished he could kill himself. That’s not something you want to hear anybody say; let alone your father.

It was good we came. Even if you do feel absolutely powerless as you sit there, your presence does make a difference. I know. He told me so. That’s quite something for my dad, who showed affection in my younger years with a leg pat or a hair tussle and a smile. To have him take your hand and voice his appreciation means something.

Yes, even if he’s high as a kite.
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Why It Is So Important To Be Part Of A Community

We don’t understand ourselves that well. The more time the behavioral sciences spend studying us, the more judgement errors they find. For example, Daniel Gilbert spends a whole book on how bad we are at figuring out what makes us happy.

At the heart of the digital nomad life resides a similar misconception. We have an inborn need to belong and be part of a community. And yet many people seek out this life to be free and unattached. They don’t seem to realize that when a need goes unfulfilled it ends up dominating your mental landscape. (Try locking yourself in a room without seeing anybody for a week if you don’t believe me). And when a need goes unfulfilled it ends up leeching the color and enjoyment out of everything else.

Yes, I did cover this at length in why most digital nomads fail. Don’t worry. I’m not going to get into that side of it again. Instead, today I’d like to discuss the other side of the coin. If we have an evolved need to belong what advantage does our community give us? To paraphrase Mont Python, what has the community ever done for us? And why if it is so meaningful, do so many of us fail to recognize it for being as important as it is?
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What You Need To Know To Avoid Digital Nomad Scams

Hey, I get it. You want to get in on the digital nomad life. Who doesn’t? Travel the world, see some beautiful places, wake up to the sound of waves and make money all the while. It’s living the dream (and yes, that’s still true even if you disregard the myths or the disconnect). But that can soon turn into a nightmare if you can’t avoid digital nomad scams.

I even get why that happens. People get so excited they lead with their heart instead of their head and end up leaping before they’ve looked. That’s dangerous. There are sharks in these waters.

I talked to Pieter Levels from Nomad List about this. “Getting a digital skill is ruthlessly hard,” he told me, while “building a business takes years.” In our instant gratification society, many don’t want to wait that long. “So they try to find a shortcut.” And that’s where the scammers come in.

In effect, it’s another version of the get rich quick scheme, but this time with swaying palm trees in the background.
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The Judgment Fairy

Picture by Etienne Koch.

This is the Judgment Fairy! Isn’t he pretty? Yes, he does have green hair, but don’t judge. It isn’t some statement of rebellion. He was born that way.

His whole family is a bit different. They’re all in the fairy trade. Like his sister the tooth fairy and his mom, who you might know from the Cinderella stories, he does his job at the edge of sight. But where his sis loves enamel and his mom has a thing for pumpkins, his interest lies elsewhere.

His obsession is those who judge.
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How to Get Better at Reading People

The lift of an eyebrow, the twitch of a lip, the wrinkling of the nose bridge. All speak volumes about a person’s intentions. For many, however, those volumes might as well be written in Latin for all the good it does them. That is a shame.

For unless you’re a hermit living alone in the woods, people are the gateway to your wants and desires.

Therefore getting a better grasp on people’s fears, needs and motivations are key to unlocking a whole host of possibilities. This, as I previously explained, goes double on the road.

After all, while at home you generally have a safety net of people you know and trust to back your play, when you’re out in the world they aren’t there, however. And so, you’ve got to rely on your own abilities and the strangers you meet.
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