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