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Home is where I let my toes touch the shower floor.

I’m not sure why that is, or how I even noticed, but whenever I take a shower in a new place, my toes never touch the ground. A new apartment, a hotel, a friend’s place, for whatever reason scares my toes and they flee the ground as far as they can.

The Mongolian Countryside

You could easily attribute it to germophobia, but I’m not sure lifted toes would make anyone any less susceptible to hordes of fungal and bacterial armies on a strange shower floor. If you have at all been paying attention to the places I stay and the things I eat, you would realize “germophobe” is not a title that applies to me anyway.

Yet so it goes, showering with my toes raised from the wet ground day after day as I settle into a new place. Eventually, given enough time and comfort, they will gently rest to the ground as they are intended. Each place is different. In Japan I found many friends quickly and immersed myself in the culture and they settled in after about two weeks. India took over a month before they trusted the tile there. Most places never see the day.

Like now, in Mongolia. I’ve lived here for over a month now and I realized this morning that my toes have yet to touch the floor. I’ve climbed several mountains, ridden horseback through the countryside, and eaten lots of local cuisine, yet my toes still tell me that this is not home.

The locals don’t speak English, and my Mongolian is still atrocious. I have met plenty of expats here, but so far I haven’t clicked with anyone. They all seem to be biding their time until it’s their turn to leave, and bonding is generally done over complaining about the food and culture, neither of which is my style.

I’m not giving up yet, though. There’s still more country to see and more people to meet, and I’m not ready to let my toes win yet.

Mongolian Sunset


  1. Sorry for the off-topic comment, but any chance you could post some tips for people wanting to work remotely while traveling? (I assume you’re working remotely? Or do you pick up gigs in the places you want to go / go to places where you can pick up gigs?)

    I’d be really interested to hear how you’re able to keep working in your professional field while you roam the world; how you were able to pick up work, convince clients it would be fine, anything you’ve picked up about getting work done on the move, that sort of thing.

    (I did search for something like this and didn’t find it; but apologies if there’s already something like it on here that I couldn’t find.)

  2. Chris Dame says:

    I have brushed on the topic lightly, but I haven’t really discussed it much. Honestly, “my professional field” involves a roster of constantly growing and changing things that I feel lucky to have been involved in. I recently started up a toy company in India (, I’ve had a clothing company and been a voiceover actor, I’ve been an interaction designer for everything from banks to cell phones to Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, I’ve helped out nonprofits around the world, and I’ve been an innovation consultant for a bunch of ridiculously big corporations who needed new direction. Odds are you have seen or used my work, and probably are right now. And yes, I’ve also been a writer, photographer, and I’m currently learning to play poker well enough to consider it a side income.

    Unfortunately, none of this has made me rich, but it does keep building on itself, letting me work on bigger and more interesting projects all the time. My path is less about finding work in my field and more about finding work that excites me so I can dedicate myself to it fully. Sometimes I move for work, and sometimes I just work on things wherever I am.

    I would be happy to write a post about what I do, though I doubt it would be of any use to people beyond being a fun, chaotic read. Great question, though!

  3. Well, I’d love to read that post, for one… and I’m sure you’ve learned at least one thing over the years, that would be useful to other people who’d like to take their talents on the road instead of working in the same stale office all the time… 😉

    And those toys are really cool, btw!

  4. Sarah Tupman says:

    I never occured to me that this was something anyone else did! I can probably count on one hand the number of times my toes have touched the shower floor 🙂 I’ve never been much of a traveller! Enjoying your writing mister.

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