By Brad Good
As I wandered further from the traditional bivouac camp in the Moroccan Sahara Desert, the sound of silence struck me full force. I look up — it’s almost midnight and I am completely alone on the dunes. The stars, the moon, the Milky Way opened up engulfing my senses and reminding me of why I took this journey around the world. The vastness of space had me in awe of my place in the world, personally and most importantly of a promise I made to my mother.
For the past year and a half, I’ve been working as a digital nomad and traveling around the world. I started to find that the more months I traveled while working, the more I considered it a way of life rather than just a “trip” or even an experience. Being a digital nomad has now become part of who I am and who I plan on being for a while.
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My greatest motivation to travel the world was my mother.
She passed away after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer in March, 2016 — she was more than a mom, she was my best friend and roommate of several years, so the loss of her in my life was devastating. I decided by October it was time to quit my full-time job and move on professionally and relocate. Once the concept of becoming a digital nomad was presented to me, I jumped at it and became a freelance admissions support to the company I had just quit but was still passionate about — Up with People. I sold almost all my belongings and set off into the unknown.
The experience, for me, has been about moving on and moving forward. I made wonderful friends from all different walks of life. I was pushed to hike the Andes Mountains in Chile and Guatape in Colombia. I learned the subway system of Tokyo by myself. I wandered the fairy tale towns of Prague and Lisbon. And then, I was able to spend my Christmas holiday in the Sahara Desert and New Year’s Eve on a rooftop in Cambodia.
Through it all, I brought my mother with me — in my heart and mind. Her favorite song of all time included the lyrics “It’s my life. It’s now or never.” I decided to live…for her and for me. She told me the week before she passed to look for her in the stars. That is where I found her at midnight on Christmas in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
My best advice for anyone grieving a loss, looking for transformation and connection, is to go see the world. It’ll change your life and most of all give you hope and inspiration.