Iterating on life

Something isn't right. Something isn't working.

I don't need a vacation from work. I don't feel burned out and I'm genuinely happy to log on every weekday. That isn't it (though I am taking a few days off soon to hang out in Ireland with Amanda).

I don't need to be single. My relationship is great, definitely not the problem.

I don't need different (long-term) friends. I have found great people with whom to share my life.

But something isn't right. Something is really, really wrong.

Here's the truth: I'm happy in moments, but not in the aggregate.

The even worse truth is that I felt happier in Durham, in my life right before RY. I loved living with Jeff in a little apartment, going to the gym regularly, cooking all the time and watching food documentaries while we ate. 

That life wasn't quite right, either, because I desperately wanted change. I was antsy and itchy to try another way to live, to be somewhere else, to live somewhere other than Durham.

But needing to be somewhere else and joining a program like Remote Year aren't necessarily congruous. 

Something isn't right. I iterated, and perhaps I made the wrong choice.

It might be South America. Maybe I just need to get the hell out of this continent and get to Europe. I think that's part of it. I have a suspicion that it's not all of it.

It might be traveling with Remote Year. That's likely. I'm not exactly silent on my critique of the program, at least in regards to fit for a person like me.

It might be full-time travel. Maybe nomadism isn't the life I want. Maybe I don't like to work while I travel, at least internationally. Maybe I want to separate the two - work at home, and travel often. I do miss having a home. 

Maybe I needed to live in a different city.

Maybe I just needed a different job (which I now have). That's entirely possible. The happiest I've been, in recent memory, is working for Tortuga from Durham. 

Agile marketing, full of testing and iterating and learning, is what I do. We do something, we watch what happens, and we tweak the strategy (or change it altogether) based on results. Of course I've applied the same concepts to life.

I iterated in a major way, when I felt itchy.

I learned a lot - a hell of a lot.

I learned that remote work is exactly how I want to spend my career. I learned that I felt trapped for reasons that didn't hold weight. I learned what I value in a travel destination. I learned that yes, Jeff and I can actually get through anything (travel, especially like this, really challenges a relationship). I learned that I really love Durham, but I don't want to live there right now. I learned that a city like NYC might be a place that I could find happiness, much to my surprise (I wouldn't have said the same before coming on RY).

But something is not right, not yet, and it's time to iterate again. This test gave me lots of information, but I wouldn't call the results exactly optimal.

Learning from something and getting great results from something are not the same thing. 

So what now?

Iteration number next: change continents. Get to Europe, and see what I learn. And go from there.

Header image: Ales Krivec via Unsplash


Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email or read more from the blog.