Week 23: Hacker Paradise
Completing my first ‘digital nomad’ trip with the organization Hacker Paradise (HP) has been a long-standing dream of mine, ever since I saw a Facebook ad in 2016 and learned that there exist organizations that create trips for remote workers.
By arranging these 1-3 month trips all over the world, they provide digital nomads (DNs) with 1. The logistics largely prearranged, and 2. A community of other digital nomads to network with, and more importantly, befriend (or not).
There are several of these organizations by now, Remote Year and Hacker Paradise (HP) being forerunners. There are also organizations like Unsettled, which allow for DNs to come and go to a coworking-oriented fixed location as they please.
I have always gravitated towards HP, perhaps because they ran the initial ad I saw, but also because they made the most sense in terms of flexibility: a digitali can join for as little as two weeks at a time. HP also felt more personal to me, with around 20 participants per trip.
This Friday will be the last day of my first trip. In March, when I made my final decision to come for the May-June trip, I had initially signed up for Guatemala. With political unrest in the region and not enough interest from other participants, that location was cancelled by April, and I had two other options available for the same time period: Greece and Thailand.
I choose Greece, partly because of time zone issues, but also because I was intrigued by the particularly island HP had decided upon: Lesvos.
Being in a relationship with someone of the same sex for the past two years has fostered more of an affection for and identification with the LGBT+ community, and so I was also curious about this little island responsible for the word lesbian.
The word as most people understand it originated with Sappho, an ancient poet who often mused over other women. Originating from Lesvos, she was not the original Lesbian, but is in fact known as the original ‘lesbian.’
Now, rounding out the last curve of this trip, I have explored an ancient roman aqueduct, bathed in the healing hot springs of Eftalou, learned the basics of sailing, and wandering the streets of Agiassos. I have met souls who also prioritize growth - some of whom I hope to call friends for my entire life.
I have learnt traditional pottery methods, and crafted two pots from start to finish. In encountering an incredible trainer with an unfamiliar teaching style, I have improved my horseback riding in subtle, but deeply significant, ways. I have connected seven other participants with the wonders of riding.
More than anything, the little moments of connection with people (and horses) have created tiny sparks that, in sum, illuminate this entire trip.
This trip has reinforced my notion that the concept of ‘unattainable’ is often a mental construction created when we are afraid to risk. When I first chanced upon that Facebook ad, I felt stuck in a city I needed to leave with a job that never challenged me, and the idea of living this life I’m now living seemed highly improbable.
I thought that having a remote job meant being a techie, something that seemed as unattainable to me as the idea of having an online job outside the tech realm.
I eventually took small steps towards the latter and went that route, but I could have equally learned coding, etc., as many people do in order to have an online job. The point is that both are attainable, as is creating any kind of intentional life, location-independent or not.
It does involve something that many are averse to: a shift in mindset, to destroy the shrine we have built in our minds dedicated to ‘The Impossible.’ The Impossible has god-like status in the lives of most humans living with fear (which is most humans), and it is with reason. Fear has its brilliance in keeping us safe; it’s not the enemy.
I’ve found that for myself, I do not need to destroy it, but to destroy the importance I give to its dictations in some areas of my existence. To learn how and when to reign in it, and how and when to heed its council, is a far more valuable skill than attempting to wage war with it.