The Nomad Experiment Lessons of a Digital nomad losing a loved one mortality article part 3
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Part 3: Year 1 As a Digital Nomad – Life Lessons Learned While Bedside as My Grandpa Passed On

This Article Is One In A Series Of Articles About Life Lessons Learned During My First Full Year Of Slow Travel As A Full-Time Digital Nomad

If you want to read from the beginning or need to catch up, follow the links below! Thanks for following along! I hope you get some tips, inspiration, and life lessons, especially if you’re looking to go nomad or just continue to track towards more travel in your life. Please share the articles with a friend and join the conversation over at Facebook or subscribe on Youtube. Cheers!

Articles- Life Lessons Learned During My First Year As A Digital Nomad:

Part 1: The Backstory & Getting Up To Speed
Part 2: 2 Months On The Great U.S. National Parks Road Trip
Part 3: Lessons Learned While Saying Goodbye To My Grandpa
Part 4: 2 Months Solo Backpacking Travel Across Europe
Part 5: Lessons Learned During 2 Months Living as a Digital Nomad in Queretaro, Mexico
Part 6: Life Lessons From 2 Months In The U.S. at the Start of the Covid-19 Pandemic (Coming soon- subscribe!)

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Life Lessons Learned During 2 Months In The U.S. & Being With My GrandFather As He Passed Away

I then spent about two months after the big road trip hunkered down working on editing video and writing. Mostly in Michigan and then back in Charlotte, where my previous home was. The nice thing about being a nomad is that you can still choose to Nomad where you once planted roots.

While I was in Michigan my dad texted me and said I probably need to get back south since my Grandfather had taken a turn for the worse.

An hour later I was packed up, in the Jeep and driving; another benefit of traveling light with little strings. My grandfather passed away about a week later with my dad and me at his side. I learned a lot of life lessons that weren’t part of the plan. Guess maybe that’s one of the first lessons; death doesn’t listen to your plans. It kind of makes its own terms.

The Nomad Experiment Lessons of a Digital nomad losing a loved one mortality article part 3

Biggest Lessons Learned While Being With My Grandfather As He Passed Away

3. Priorities friends and family, but make sure you elevate time and experiences—especially travel.

It may seem cliche, but something my dad has mentioned in the time since my grandfather’s passing keeps popping in my head. My dad tells me often how happy he is that I am doing what I’m doing with my life; exploring alternatives and traveling.

It’s usually right about the time that he mentions that “your grandfather always wanted to travel and he never got around to it.”

When he mentioned it, I don’t think he was talking about travel for travel’s sake. I think it’s about the growth and opportunity that traveling stands for or the opportunity it affords. My grandfather was an absolutely amazing man who embodied so many positive traits that were passed down. I can only imagine how exponential those qualities might have multiplied had he been able to travel the way he always wanted to.

Grandpa did mention it to me once or twice, but it was well beyond the time where he would be able to travel. I also noticed that because he hadn’t, he had come to somehow fear the world the way I think a lot of people do. Skewed by the news and politics and propaganda. If your mind is not expanding it’s contracting. Do the work, travel, and make sure you keep growing.

2. As a person who likes words, I realized that sometimes words aren’t necessary. Just being present is.

My Grandpa was my dad’s best friend, and obviously a huge part of my life. I had never been bedside for anything like this and didn’t really know how to be or act or help. I’m also kind of a fixer and a helper, and this was a time when there wasn’t really a way to fix or help.

But just “being there” was probably the best support I could give both my grandfather and my dad.

While my dad and I were just kind of “being,” others picked up our slack. Even as Grandpa decided to hang up his hat for the last time, it was clear just how strong his magnetism was. Those that were lifelong friends to those that only recently cared for him dropped in to give back, to my dad and me, some of the hugs my Grandpa had lent to them along the way. The man knew how to give a hug…

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3. On a whole, I think most Americans are overwhelmingly unready for the complications that come with their death or the death of a loved one.

I understand that the thought of losing a loved one is an emotional one. But understand that the moment a loved one passes, to nearly everyone outside of the family, it’s all business.

The funeral home needs to prepare “the deceased.” The retirement home might already have another tenant ready to move into the newly “vacant” room ASAP. Loved ones and family need to be notified and many more details need to be dealt with. It’s all just a very sad and difficult reality.

Watching my dad get my grandfather’s life in order for many years before he passed was exhausting. Because my grandfather had lost the ability to handle his personal and financial matters many years earlier, my dad had to get it all in order.

It literally took him years, since he had his own life to juggle, but I’m so glad that he was able to do that. Because the moment grandpa passed, it immediately turned into a process driven by necessity overloaded with decision-making in a time when most people have no capacity for making decisions.

My dad and I had just spent a week watching, with little ability to “do” anything. It was numbing. We were both zombies, but I can’t even begin to understand how rough it was on my pops. Someone who is normally wicked systematic and razor-sharp was more like a zombie with glazed eyes and disconnected thoughts.

Please talk to your family about keeping affairs in order and planning for death.

It’s probably the kindest thing you could do for others for when you’re gone, as it will allow them an easier time to grieve and reflect if a lot of decisions have been taken care of beforehand. And if you’re the one left behind, it will also make your life easier, which will give you the proper space to grieve and get through. 

Sorry Such A Somber Subject, But It Needed To Be Discussed

And these lessons learned, no matter how difficult to recollect, were something I needed to get out.

Connect & Share

Cheers Friend.
— Jason

Click here to read Part 4

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, Travel Guard, or TravelEx. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. 

Need more resources? Click here!

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