I’ve been on the road again since January. That makes it 4 and a half months as I write today, rocking on a light blue metal chair in the central yard of a guest house in Masaya, Nicaragua.
It’s been a good 4 and a half months. I started off in Colombia, fell in love with it – its diversity and its people. I moved from the coffee regions, slowly towards the coast and up to Cartagena. There I got the chance to cross by sea to Panama and jumped on board without a second thought. And now here I am in Nicaragua, after making my way up by land across Costa Rica and Panamá.
There’s no doubt I love travelling. I’ve chosen to be a nomad. This is my lifestyle – not a gap year trip, or a long holiday I’ve saved up for. I’ve been out of an office and on the road since January 2016. Click here to see what I was up to last year.
I freelance to earn money, so don’t be fooled into thinking I have it easy. I work too. I’m grateful I can do my job from anywhere, but still – I work. I work even on projects that are not giving me any money yet. Like my novel and The 3-word Project.
What I love most about my lifestyle is that I wake up every day and decide if I’m staying in the place I’m in, or if I’m moving on. I love the no-routine of it all. I love getting to new places and changing scenery every few days.
Choosing every day if I’m staying or if I’m moving, makes me feel like I’m in control of my life and that if I’m somewhere it’s because I want to, and that to me, is freedom and freedom is happiness.
Again, I’m not saying this to make you feel bad as you sit in the office you’ve worked in for years. I’m saying it’s what I chose for myself and as in every other lifestyle, there are down sides to it. Long rides on chicken buses, for example. Walking around a new town, looking for a place to stay in within my budget, with my backpack on and sweat trickling down from my hairline, to my upper lip and down to my chin.
But most of all, what bores me most in this lifestyle, is this blessed question: “Where are you from?”
Simple right? Why does it bother me so much? Well, I’m 10,000 kilometres away from home and my country is tiny. What that means is that about 2 to 3 times a day this happens to me.
“Where are you from?” someone asks.
“Malta,” I say.
[Insert blank face here.]
“Don’t worry, no one knows about it,” I say to make them feel better. “It’s a small island in between Italy and Africa.”
“Ah, yes, yes, wait. I remember something at school. Who do you belong to? Greece? Italy? Spain?”
“We’re independent,” I say.
“And what do you speak? Italian?”
“No,” I say, “Maltese. It’s a mix.”
That’s when I put my proud hat on and start my now highly-practiced monologue, trying to explain how my mother tongue is made up and that we have our own literature and grammar too. People are astonished at how an island of 316 square kilometres, with a population of just 440,000 can be its own country and have its own language.
I’m no linguist though and my history isn’t brilliant, so here, I’ll let LangFocus Paul explain it better to you all: