- Katie Lockhart
- After eight years in New York City, I quit my corporate job and bought a one-way plane ticket.
- I’ve been traveling around Asia with my partner for the past five months.
- We’ve had to fine-tune our travels and adapt to changing circumstances.
Mt. Fuji from above was my first glimpse of Japan. A few weeks earlier I quit my corporate job in television, packed up my apartment after eight years in New York City, and sold pretty much everything I owned in a giant stoop sale.
Throughout the past year, I put my insanely expensive journalism degree to good use and started freelance writing on the side as a second source of income. After building up a good portfolio and trusted relationships with my editors, my partner and I decided to take the plunge and book one-way tickets to Japan.
Traveling around Asia
- Katie Lockhart
For the past five months, we’ve been traveling around Asia with two suitcases and our laptops. We’re part of the millennial trend of digital nomads (commence eye-roll). We’ve been to five different countries, and the experience has exceeded all of our expectations. Much to my parent’s chagrin, we see no end in sight.
Before leaving, I was concerned I would miss New York, one of my favorite cities in the world and the place that taught me what real pizza was and how to navigate the world’s worst public transport system. I had built up a close network of friends, and worried that spending 24/7 with my partner would eventually get on my nerves. But to be honest, no offense friends, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I knew New York would always be there when and if I decided to come back and now my friends are all planning their vacations around our next destination.
Of course, my friends and family think I’m on one long vacation, but I work every day. Working remotely and working for yourself especially takes levels of discipline I wasn’t sure I had. I was also worried that I’d immediately jump into vacation mode and not want to do anything. But I’ve been able to pitch editors, get assignments, sit down and write. It doesn’t hurt, when your office views are of a volcano in Japan or a perfect white sand beach in the Maldives.
Having to fine-tune our plans
One thing that’s been more difficult than I expected is planning everything and keeping track of all the information. We spend at least a month in every country and move around every other week to get a feel for the different cities and islands. So my partner and I use a Google Doc that includes dates, city, country, hotel, and the flight info. There have been multiple times I’ve gone into my emails to confirm my flight time and date, and it’s been wrong. So we’ve had to fine-tune the way we keep track of all our plans.
And don’t forget visas. I’m American, and my partner is Australian, so we each have to check the official government sites for our own countries because they’re not always the same.
We’re lucky we haven’t had any major issues like losing our passports or getting into a motorbike accident. One of our biggest mistakes has been with luggage. It’s hard to fit everything you own into a checked bag and a carry-on, so mine is always bursting at the seams – literally. We made the mistake of booking with Air Asia, a budget airline, and not reading the fine print. It turns out they only allow 7 kgs of carry-on luggage. We each had about 20 kgs. So instead of paying a $600 fee, we had to get rid of our carry-on suitcases. So we were down to one. We learned our lesson and started buying extra kilograms of space in advance from then on.
But we don’t regret our decision to book a one-way ticket. I won’t be one of those annoying people who say they wished they done it sooner, because I don’t. I needed time to secure another means of income for myself and live out my final days in the city that I love surrounded by the people that I love. There may come a day where we want a real closet to store our clothes, but until then it’s off to our next destination: the Philippines.