Hello and welcome! If the name of the site didn’t tip you off, I’m James, and you’ve found the blog of my gay digital nomad adventure.
I am excited to be re-starting my life as an expat and embarking on a new chapter in my career as a digital nomad on May 29, 2018. In a blending of old and new, I will be heading off to Tokyo for three weeks to work on projects and catch up with old friends from the undergraduate years.
If you’re interested in hiring me for a project, look here.
At this point, it’s difficult to say whether I chose the wanderer’s life or it chose me. The proverbial B.C./A.D. split happened in 2008 when I left my small Long Island, NY town to study International Relations at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. I am indelibly grateful for all that I learned. Independence & self-efficacy, having my “kawfee and baaaagel” LI accent mocked into oblivion (thank heavens!), various cool foreign affairs stuff, and an intimate familiarity with London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on my connections between the domestic London-Edinburgh and JFK-London flights.
By 2010, I began involving myself at Flyertalk, a frequent flyer community. My goal was primarily scraping together enough Avios to do something useful, like upgrade my BA tickets. I finally got my wish just-in-time at the end of senior year (2012). There’s nothing like a glass of free champagne (Taittinger, back then) to contemplate one of those tangible epochal shifts in life – a petite fin du monde.
By this time, I was neither content academically nor personally. In an effort to sate the two, I continued my studies in Australia – working towards a MA at the U of Queensland in Brisbane. I picked up the nickname Saladfingers (don’t delve into it) and began my relationship with Asia.
It turns out that being in Australia or New Zealand is a great place to study Asia-Pacific foreign and economic affairs due to a sense of geographic and “material” proximity. There’s a sense of “this stuff really matters” in a way that hasn’t been evident in my lifetime. Chinese breakneck development and subsequent demand for raw materials had a perceptibly invigorating effect on the Aussie economy. By comparison, China’s breakneck development elicits a shrug or various ramblings back home.
As soon as I got dates confirmed for end-of-semester assignments, I began planning a trip. Where should I go? I had a big old pile of British Airways miles (by now, Avios) that had been substantially augmented by the Qantas flight from New York to Brisbane via LA and Melbourne. Conveniently, Brisbane had decent international options via BA’s Oneworld partners. I borrowed an idea from my grandfather’s business travels. I booked myself a business class redemption ticket to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. My inner travel hacker emerged from its chrysalis.
While I didn’t get to fully re-do my grandfather’s trip from 30 years before (he stayed at the Peninsula, but got food poisoning), I did embark on a series of travels around South and Southeast Asia. I was fascinated by the new cultures, politics, and development that you could feel. Oh, and the food, dear reader, the food!
This continued on as I continued graduate studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. However, it came to an abrupt halt in Feb 2016 when I came back to the US. I hadn’t spent much time in the US as an adult, so it was interesting to warp from experiencing it as a high school senior living at home to an untethered 26 year old. I fell into a life of being a peripatetic freelance writer within North America. I washed up in places such as Revelstoke BC, Honolulu HI, Coronado CA, and lately, Gainsville FL.
I missed the life abroad and winced paying ten times the Bangkok or Chiang Mai price for Thai food here in the US. So, after working the magic, I’ve decided to go abroad again. You can find a rough itinerary for the future here.
For the foreseeable future, I will be bouncing around East and Southeast Asia with the odd sojourn to Australia or NZ. If I pass through your city, feel free to shout! See you around!