Millennial Nomads Aren’t All Running Away, Mr. Cardone

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Millennial Nomads Feature

An article, written by a man named Grant Cardone, ricocheted through the world of travel bloggers and digital nomads this week. I’ll be honest, I didn’t hear about it until my friend (and fellow blogger) Kellie at Nomadic Nymph wrote a very inspired piece on behalf of millennial nomads about it.  I started to comment on her post, and it got so long that I thought ‘Screw it, I’ll just write a post about it too.’

Since you probably haven’t read the article, and probably won’t, here’s a video that sums it up. What follows is my response to Mr. Cardone’s piece.


Self-made millionaire: Millennials, don’t travel—yet

Traveling won’t magically help you “find” yourself, explains self-made millionaire Grant Cardone.

Posted by CNBC Make It on Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Dear Mr. Cardone,

I Tried It Your Way — It Doesn’t Always Work

Eight years of cubicle land… woo hoo

I suppose I kind of understand where you come from, Mr. Cardone. Taking off directly after college and wandering from place to place may seem self-indulgent. It may seem like millennials are running away — from responsibility, from their ‘hustle’, from anything resembling the ‘normal’ life their Baby Boomer parents pursued.

Here’s the thing: I did it your way. I graduated from college and got the impressive corporate job. I slaved away at that job for nearly eight years, through late nights, loads of stress, impossible deadlines, horrible managers, fantastic colleagues, and awesome parties. I did the time that you suggest Millennials do — I worked until midnight some nights, I worked on weekends many times, I gave it everything. And I was successful! I made a fantastic salary, I was regularly promoted and given raises.

But even if I had continued that for twenty more years, I NEVER would have been jetting around on a private plane. I would have been financially comfortable, able to pay the exorbitant rent in one of the cities my industry required that I live in, and able to stay in swanky resorts for the few weeks I had off each year. But I certainly wouldn’t be a millionaire.

Hustle Doesn’t Always Equal a Private Jet, Bro

Here’s where you get it wrong Mr. Cardone (Can I call you Grant? It’s a Millennial thing): Focusing on a corporate career is no guarantee of financial success. Every Millennial is NOT going to become the next hotshot entrepreneur. There are just too many of us for that to be realistic. So most of us who pursue our careers will settle for a mid-management job at a large and stable company. A place where, even if you save your pennies, one unfortunate ‘downsizing’ will completely deplete your financial reserves while you try to pay all those bills that a stationary life requires without an income.

I think Millennials are a lot less self indulgent than other generations give us credit for. Yes, we don’t want to be tied to one place. Yes, we don’t want to dress in a suit and sit under soul-crushing fluorescent lights for 10+ hours per day. But we do still want to work, we still want to have purpose, and we recognize that we still need to make money.

Also, Who Says a Private Jet is the Goal?

Millennial Nomads
Frankly, this looks pretty good to me.

The fundamental flaw in your argument is the assumption that Millennials want to be like you, Grant. Guess what? I’d much rather be happy and just getting by than sitting under those fluorescent lights, miserable and sedentary. Does that mean I don’t have a purpose? Hell no! It just means that my purpose focuses more on the intangible qualities of human existence rather than the tangible. My goals for myself aren’t financial milestones, they’re spiritual ones.

I’ve found that the universe has a beautiful way of pointing me on my path without my excessive intervention. Every time my bank account said, “Suck it up, time to get back into that office,” a new opportunity came along that kept me away from it (and paid me well enough to live). And those opportunities pointed onward to other opportunities, until this daisy chain of fate put me right where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there. All of this is leading me toward something, I know. I don’t know what that is, but I don’t need to spend 90 hours a week trying to make it happen. It’s gonna happen anyway, if I stay open to it. 

Yes, I do still need to work. I’ve got three different hustles going on as we speak. But I’m listening to life instead of trying to tell it what to do.

But Here’s What You Did Get Right, Sorta

Millennial Nomads
Getting one step closer to my purpose… but what’s the rush?

Focus on finding your purpose, you say. That is fantastic advice. But you’re arrogantly assuming that travelers aren’t doing exactly that. That they aren’t out there meeting people, making connections, getting inspired to create something. That, by not putting on those pinstripes and knocking on glass doors in high rise towers, they’re wasting their time.

Kellie made an excellent point, that nomads and travelers need to work on their marketable skills. I couldn’t agree more. Who says that marketable skills only come from the corporate world? Who says that those boardrooms are the only place opportunity exists? Who says that you need to get all those skills right this very second?

Comfort is the enemy of abundance, you say. You got that right! Have you ever tried to navigate a Filipino bus station on your own? Have you ever been the guest of a family who couldn’t speak a word of your native language, nor you theirs? Traveling is all about getting out of your comfort zone.

Maybe those private islands you visit on your private jet made you forget that crashing into other cultures is what traveling is all about. It’s not supposed to be comfortable. We don’t want to ‘do it in style,’ as you say. I like my travel gritty, authentic, and covered in mosquito bites. I like to get the unadulterated soul of a place, not the polished and pretty version from the brochure. We’re not out here resort-hopping, trying to ‘take a break.’ That’s not the purpose of travel for us, though it clearly is for you.

I Ain’t Mad at Ya, Though

Grant, I bet you’d be a pretty awesome person to chat with over beers. Your success is impressive, and I’m sure you learned so many incredible lessons as you traveled on your journey there.

I think that when one person finds material success, they mistakenly assume that there is only one way to live a fulfilled life. That their fulfillment surely must equate to general human fulfillment. That’s the beautiful thing about humanity, though. That the person who devotes themselves to orphans in Nepal is no less fulfilled than you are in your private jet. We get to define our lives exactly as we choose, we get to define success, and we have the unfettered freedom and awesome responsibility to uncover our own paths.

And some of us just don’t want to choose yours.


A Millennial Nomads

PS — sorry I bro-ed ya. It’s also a Millennial thing. 

Millennial Nomads Cardone Rebuttal
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  1. Loved your article and your take on the video. Goals, aspirations, all these things are personal and different for each person. Traveling has made me a lot more observant and self-confident. It is just what you want to do in your life and also to set your priorities straight. Once again loved the article.
  2. I love this!! There is no one way to success - and success is personal. It's not the same for everyone. I love traveling too, but I also enjoy the career that is not travel-related. It's a tough balancing act, and I bet millenials could relate. :) Also, couldn't help but laugh at this 'Have you ever tried to navigate a Filipino bus station on your own?' - I'm from the Philippines and it's true!!!
    1. Yes, balance is sooo important in life. You're too right -- there is no right or wrong when it comes to what's right for each of us. And I can only testify to Filipino bus stations because I've had to do it! :-) I adore the Philippines, you're so lucky to be from there!
  3. TRUE THAT! I really dislike people who judge others and assume they what it RIGHT! How does anyone know another persons goals and dreams. I am a mom of a millennial and while education is something I support finding his passion and living out his dream is right at the top of how we taught him to live! Everyone has a different way to go about there life and in my opinion none of them wrong. Super article thank you for sharing!
    1. Thank you Stacey! You sound like a FANTASTIC parent. While I'm not a mom, I do realize how difficult it might be for some parents to accept that their kids may take a path that isn't "safe" or "conventional." My parents are fantastic and supportive, but sometimes I think they don't understand my lifestyle completely. But they still back me up and are my biggest cheerleaders! Thanks for reading and for the positive comments!
  4. This is a great tread. I think millenials catch such a bad rap. My daughter is in this category and certainly not persueign what we believe to be a typical lifestyle and why should she? The world is meant to be explored and no point grinding away doing something you don't love until you are too old to enjoy what life is really all about. Kudos to you!
    1. I love that I'm getting Millennial parents commenting! Such a unique and awesome perspective to hear from! Go you, for giving your daughter the freedom, support, and positive example to chase her dreams. :-)
  5. Oh wow. This went right past me, but, OH WOW. Yikes. I've also done the hustle thing and that did nothing good for me. I am not after a big career or a private plane. I make just enough money to get by and travel modestly. Geez, Grant.
    1. I KNOW -- material wealth can only do so much for your happiness. You can't take it with you when you die! Selling all my possessions and hitting the road was one of the most liberating things I've ever done... I now get anxiety when I have too much stuff! ;-) Glad to know I'm not alone on this one.
  6. An honest article. Each point hit the nail hard on the end at the perfect point. I could not agree more with you! Taking hold over your own decisions without being influenced by the over hyped experiences is bold and brave! Go girl!
  7. We could probably all leave a comment that amounts to a post of our own on this topic. I think you make really good and solid points here. Not everyone wants the same thing, and sitting behind a desk just to make loads of money that you can't enjoy spending because you're working too hard just isn't for everyone. I feel that in so many choices I've made in my life. How about you live yours and I'll live mine and we stop being judgmental about it all.
    1. I know right? Those of us who choose an alternative lifestyle are constantly having to defend it -- from family, friends, even our own inner voices of doubt! There are thousand of different ways to do this "life" thing, and there is no right answer. Thanks for commenting! :-)
  8. I agree that millennials aren't necessarily self indulgent. In London it's so hard for people to get on the property ladder that they tend to give up and focus on other things instead but no fault of their own
    1. I know, I used to work in the advertising world and whenever we targeted millennials I'd do audience research. Half of it said we are spoiled brats who want a trophy for showing up, the other half said we're more involved with charitable causes than any other generation. And all of them said we're in the most difficult economic situation of any generation. Well... which is it?! I've heard that about London, and renting is such a brutal waste of cash. Hence why I try to not have a home at all!
  9. My girl! Well said. It's nice to hear the same feel from someone who has done the corporate thing and then dipped! Can't wait to swap stories with you in Alaska! Xo Oh, and subscribing now because I don't know why I wasn't already? <3

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