Back in September 2015, I took the leap and quit my editor job to travel to Japan and turn full-time freelancer. Yet it wasn't until I'd arrived in the Land Responsible for My Nerdy Childhood and piled up enough dollar sushi plates to astonish the locals that it dawned on me: I could build a career while traveling anywhere in the world.
I had the means and the chutzpah to do it. Better yet, I had 21st-century technology on my side.
As long as I have internet, my laptop, a phone, and a meticulously planned out Google calendar, I can work with my clients online and, of course, set up temporary homes anywhere through Airbnb. I was able to sleep, work, and Netflix-binge in a dozen temporary homes in eight different countries -- France, South Korea, Japan, wherever.
I love the freedom of making makeshift homes wherever I go, without being tied down by rental agreements. For almost a year, the heaviest things holding me down were a backpack and a rolling suitcase.
Sometimes the home would feel truly like a home, where I'd sit in blissful silence at the dinner table with a sweet, straight-out-of-a-Korean-drama grandma who spoke no English but prepared nightly dinners and made sure to give me ample helpings of kkakdugi (my favorite). Or the time my host in Taipei brought me to a basketball game with his friends, but not before we had stopped by a store to score a bag of Taiwanese weiners on wooden skewers.
There was that one time in Barcelona I booked a place for my mom's visit and the Airbnb host turned out to be a pot-smoking health freak who'd spend 20 minutes cutting his apples into 2-millimeter-wide slices. Thankfully, my mom couldn't identify the lingering, pervasive scent from the ganj, or if she did, she never said anything to me. (It wasn't long before we were out of there anyway.) Some hosts were so blasé about the arrangement they walked around in their underwear. But other than a few "wow, I'm glad this is temporary" moments, my experience was positive.
Mostly, I was surprised at how cheap it all was.