It’s no secret. Between this website and our social media channels, Micki and I get a lot of questions from people all around world. My favorites though, are the ones from aspiring nomads.
These are questions from readers who have seen a bit of the world or have never even left their home country. The ones who sit in front of their computer screens for hours each day poring over travel sites and travel blogs and wondering why they’re still doing the 9 to 5 thing. The ones who deep down know there’s more to life than what they’ve experienced, and are just trying to find a way out of the box that they call everyday life.
These messages get me stoked because deep down they further my belief that there are others who share our passion to explore the world. To live outside the norm of society. Who question the validity of what it means to follow their dream.
First off, I want to say that living a nomadic lifestyle isn’t for everyone. It’s not even always for us. However it’s always an option for those willing to make it a priority.
Yup, I said it. Nomadic lifestyles aren’t for everyone.
This brings me to the point of this post. You see, a few months back, I got an email from a fellow asking for a few tips on beginning a nomadic lifestyle with his wife and daughter. They had already gotten a glimpse of what’s behind the nomadic curtain and had decided that their current life wasn’t cutting it anymore.
They had come to a crossroad. They were about to sell their house and leave everything they knew behind to see what the world could offer them. The problem was they were starting to get a little nervous about their decision. You see, it still wasn’t too late to call off their nomadic dreams.
I think they just wanted confirmation that they weren’t about to make the biggest mistake of their lives.
Months later, after re-reading my reply to them, I feel that there are probably a few others that need that same encouragement.
That inspired me to share this letter with any other would be nomadic travelers who wonder if it’s the right choice to forgo a traditional 9 to 5 for a life on the road. In truth, this letter is geared more towards older nomads with kids, but most of it can apply to anyone tired of the daily 9 to 5 grind.
A message and a few tips to those dreaming of becoming a nomad.
Congrats on taking a big step towards changing how you view life. Bet you’re starting to get a little nervous right about now. Maybe even doubting your choice occasionally…
I only have one thing to say, don’t worry about it!
Being a nomad is awesome and rewarding and I’ll let you know a little known secret. Just don’t tell anyone else…. You can always settle down someplace new or go back to your old life any time you want. 😉
I can’t guarantee that everything will always be sunshine and roses for you, but I can guarantee you 100% that you will never view life the same way again.
You’ll realize that you have options. That there are other ways to live your life contrary to what most of your friends and family think. That you don’t have to get on the pathway of bigger house, nicer car, more expensive toys and work, work, work until you’ve climbed that golden corporate ladder.
100% Guaranteed you will never view life the same way again.
You’ll realize that there are other paths. Other more rewarding pursuits. It will help broaden your mind and your soul to all the possibilities the world has to offer.
That’s not to say there won’t be pitfalls and hard times but at least you’re seeing the world while you’re doing it. 🙂
The best advice I can give you, especially when you have a child with you, is go slow.
A nomadic lifestyle is as much about the journey as it is the destination and not the speed in which you go about it.
If you’re traveling as a family, then living out of a tiny backpack in an even tinier backbacker dorm probably won’t cut it for long as well. Things like couchsurfing also gets really hard when there’s a group of you.
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If you can cook for yourselves most of the time you’ll save heaps. Stay away from expensive anything unless it’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing and you feel like splurging.
Chances are you’ll have more time than money so seek out free museum or discount travel days. Check out the local papers for any deals or discounts and remember that parades and most outdoor festivals are free entertainment.
Walk and take the metro whenever you can! Search out discount airlines and get a train pass only if it totals less than airfare or includes an overnight stay to save money. It sounds simple but accommodation, getting from point a to b and food will be your biggest expenses.
If you can, always have your first night after a long travel day pre-booked. You can check out other places the next day once you have the energy and patience.
Read next: How to save money for travel.
Taking your time
The best advice I can give is to go slow and don’t push you or your family to their breaking point. With children, you’ll always need to have a little extra energy in reserve in case they need to lean on you. If you manage your time right, travel with kids can be amazing.
Remember if your family isn’t happy, you won’t be either so spend a little extra time in the pool or the park and a little less checking out another once-in-a-lifetime, can’t believe I’m actually seeing it with my own eyes, monument/temple/church/waterfall/peak/sunrise/sunset/view, etc.
Remember if your family isn’t happy, you won’t be either.
Also remember that you have nothing to prove. How long, how far you go and what you see is up to you. You can stop any time, whether it’s a few months or a few decades. By leaving it all behind you’ve already proven that you can pack up your life and make your dreams of a better one a reality.
Don’t trash your friends’ lifestyle
At first, it’s hard to break away from traditional living, and your family and friends might even resent you a little for it, but don’t trash their way of living unless you want to alienate them. Make sure they know that your choices are what you feel are right for you, not necessarily what’s good for them.
Chances are that they’ll eventually realize that they have more options as well and you might be surprised who you see on your doorstep in the middle of wherever one day.
Lastly, being a nomad isn’t about just packing up your things and constantly moving. New destinations are exciting and thrilling but the most important aspect is just enjoying where you are and what you’re doing while you’re doing it.
Hope this message finds you well. Good luck on your new life and take it one day at a time.
Like most nomads, one day you might wake up in the city you want to call home for a while and when that happens, don’t fight it, just realize that you can always move on again if the mood strikes.
To me, being a nomad is about choices, not necessarily destinations and becoming one is the first step to choosing how and where you want to live your life.
Congrats on making that choice and enjoy the freedoms that come with it!
Read next: 31 Tips for Better Family Travel.