These days I meet a lot of guys who are living the digital nomad dream, who are in open relationships, dating multiple women, flying off to cities on different continents on a moment’s notice, on a whim, because they forgot their luggage, because they wanted another excuse to see that girl they met, because the food is excellent, because the nightlife is amazing, or the fashion, or whatever.
It all seems so… pointless. What are they doing all that running around for? What’s the point? Everything feels so special, when you talk to them, so amazingly cool: that gorgeous alluring exotic perfect girl, that hip-yet-timeless city, that club, oh my god it was the coolest thing, finding that secret nightclub hidden behind a vending machine and miles of abandoned hallways. It’s easy to get pulled into their tales of their crazy wild life, be in awe of how cool they are.
It took me a while to figure it out. These people (not only guys, I guess I just talk to guys more), they’re insatiable. They just follow their appetite wherever it will lead them. And their appetites are never satisfied. They’re always taken in by the next thing, anything that will make a good story later, or seems appealing in the moment. And especially in chasing women, always the image, never the reality. They chase the high, but nothing substantial.
Compare to a different guy I met, many years ago. He was on his way to New Zealand for the summer. I asked him, why New Zealand?
He said, “For the snowboarding. I’ll go to New Zealand for the summer, work at a ski lift, and come back north for the winter, and just keep chasing snow for as long as I possibly can.”
He never told me any “cool” stories. The only story he told me in our brief acquaintanceship was a rather humiliating story about how he was so broke this winter he couldn’t afford a pass to the mountain, and tried to sneak onto the lift, and got caught and had to talk the workers down from banning him, buying them all rounds of beers.
Yeah, snowboarding is a high, like any other. But everything in this guy’s life was aimed at that one singular purpose. That’s not a “high” anymore. That’s passion.
Living abroad these past few years (and actually making a decent living) has opened my life up to incredible possibilities. There are so many paths I could explore. Having been broke my whole life, it’s been tricky having extra money, and deciding what’s meaningful to spend it on.
“The universe is so abundant,” one of my digital nomad acquaintances waxed poetic, “It’s absolutely limitless. There’s never any end to the things you can do.”
Well, yes and no- there’s incredible abundance, yes, but there’s an incredible limit, too: your time, your youth, your life (not to mention money, for those of us less solvent).
Yes, of course, there are so many places I want to travel, so many things I want to see. Of course the list is endless.
But there’s a difference between chasing cool, and chasing snow.
Because in the end, flitting around from one thing to another, you’re not listening to your own voice, you’re just chasing what others have deemed cool. How can you tell? The cool-chasers are all exactly alike. The passion chasers? Each totally different, with a unique story, their life a unique fabric that feels different from everyone else- unique and authentic.
I don’t want to be taken in by every beautiful-looking place, idea or person. I want only the things that I hunger for deeply- the things that haunt me year after year. I want to chase the dreams that have waited for me, all this time. The dreams that pull me wholeheartedly into my future.
In other words, I want to chase snow.