Go Wander (Abroad, Ideally)

The case for living abroad and detaching from your default scripts

Paul Millerd


Six years ago this week, I took the 7 train from midtown Manhattan one stop to my apartment in Long Island City. It was the final commute home from the office. I haven’t done anything like that in 2,190 days since.

When I was making that final trip home I had little to no vision of what might come next. I was running away. I had spent my final year of that last full-time job dealing with the frustrating bureaucracy and failure of grown men to make decisions and my own inability to put up with it. It nearly broke me.

It’s funny how naive I was about what might come next. I had done the tactical things one might do like registering an LLC and creating a website for my consulting brand but I had somehow overlooked the fact that my entire mental model for how the world worked might get burned to the ground and need to be rebuilt.

My writing has been the main tool I’ve used to rebuild. It’s a slow process but each week I learn a bit more. I look back and try to increase the resolution of what happened in the past and then look forward, trying to experiment with new recipes that might enable me to stay energized, creative, and inspired.

The reason I orient around these things is because of a decision I made a year after that final commute. I had just returned from a month-long trip to Asia and I felt a deep force telling me to return. It wasn’t rational. It was a deep feeling in my gut and nothing else. It’s easy to look back and say fate was pulling me to Taiwan but I sense there are 100 alternate scripts of places I might have ended up.

The most important feeling I had was that I needed to go somewhere. It really didn’t matter but the most important thing was that I needed to leave the US.

On September 3rd, 2018 I headed to Taiwan with two carry-on suitcases, and in the first five weeks, I had already met my soon-to-be wife Angie, and found a deeper connection with writing.

That first month was magical and it changed my life.

It was a month of wandering without a plan. For the first time in adulthood starting with the beginning of college, I existed for a month solely…