Going Nomad – Should or shouldn’t I?
As an aspiring nomad, I’ve come across quite a few individuals who discredit this lifestyle, and also say that it’s difficult and amounts to no good. To counter this thinking, and to provide inspiration to myself and other aspiring nomads, I’ve started this Going Nomad : Inspiration Series, where every week we invite a nomad or an aspiring nomad to talk about the challenges they faced and the mountains they’ve climbed en route to achieving their nomad dreams. Today we welcome a few nomads to the blog floor, who prove that a life of travel should never be boring.
Maegan – Remember your ‘Why’
I have been a registered dietitian for 6 years and I am ditching the 9-5 lifestyle. I am leaving Corporate America behind, to travel fully! The truth and reality is that my desires have shifted and grown but my daily regimen has not. I am burned out at the ripe age of 28.
My husband, 2 spaniels, and I are buying an RV to gallivant throughout the UK and Europe. I want experiences that open my eyes and transform my thoughts from the shelter of my Southern upbringing. I want to inspire others to listen to their hearts and seek their adventure, too!
This life change comes with heavy baggage, though. There are naysayers among our friends and family who are full of doubts, anger, jealousy, and harsh responses to our “We’re moving abroad” statements. I have been looked down upon for leaving a career. I am “less responsible” for following my heart instead of listening to my head. My job has become less desirable because my boss hounds me over everything, now. We are 8 months from our move and have less support than when we started.
However, when doubts set in and people become hateful, remember your “why”. I have been successfully blogging for 10 months and have received free travel perks, already. I have nearly 1K followers across all my social media channels. (More on some). I am also freelancing in the evenings and on weekends to bring in extra cash and build my “nomad” portfolio. I am happier than I have been in years!
Do you want to live your life your way or how someone else wants it to look? You are capable and deserving of the life you desire.
Maegan, is an adventurous Southerner who shares her world journey and approach to living the travel lifestyle with her husband Michael. Follow Maegan, The Wanderlust Dietitian for inspiration at The Wanderlust Dietitian and on Instagram at @thewanderlust_dietitian
Elise – Don’t follow the crowd
After university and extensive travelling I decided that this 9-5 life wasn’t for me. I had experience and qualifications that meant I could at least partly support myself abroad and I decided to take the plunge in 2015. I had totally fallen in love with Cambodia and decided to travel again for a few months before settling in Siem Reap. Despite our skills, there were many people in our lives who thought we should stay in the UK and get ‘real jobs’, as if there is some list of ‘not real’ jobs that we would be applying for!
Moving abroad turned out to be one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. While a nomad, I worked as a freelance writer, researching and creating articles on the Middle East and Africa for a news distributor. I also wrote for my own blog and worked on my photography which made a huge difference to the quality of my articles and the content I was producing. To supplement my income, I taught part time, and I also worked with an NGO during the week in fundraising and marketing. I was teaching in person so perhaps not strictly a digital nomad, but there are plenty of online sites that you could use to help stabilise a writing income.
Phew! I was busy, but my life was full and enjoyable. I was working easily as hard as the UK, but the work I was doing was far more meaningful and has contributed to a great portfolio of writing and marketing experience. It’s also a lot easier to write creatively and inspire yourself to work hard if you’re living next to the ocean or sitting in the shade of palm fronds, I can assure you! Growing social media channels and effectively marketing your website is a really valued skill ‘in the real world’ and doing work like this only helps you to get employed should you want to move back home afterwards.
Since leaving Cambodia I’ve made another move to Vancouver where my portfolio of work has secured me my dream job basically full time travel writing for a living! I cannot stress enough that this would not be possible had we ‘moved to London’ and joined the graduate ladder in the corporate world. Becoming a nomad is about being adaptable and resourceful, and it actually teaches you skills that you wouldn’t get at home. Try cycling around at 1 am to find Wi-Fi for a deadline in the middle of a power cut!
Providing you have some kind of plan, and an intention to work hard – don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
Chris – Take up the Challenge
Set the time machine for late 2012. After 4 1/2 years of teaching English in South Korea and a year or so of dating a wonderful Canadian lady, we’ve decided it’s time for a change. In the span of a few months, I proposed, we got married… and left South Korea to start a life of travel together. Neither of us wanted to return to our home countries or continue teaching English (it’s a fun job and all, but it was time for something new).
We realized we both wanted to see more of the world and were willing to be more entrepreneurial to make that lifestyle work. My wife had spent four semesters learning Korean while living in Korea, and decided to look for translating jobs online. I opted to keep blogging about travel, write books, and also started to look into web development and other ways of making money.
We left South Korea in March 2013, set to embark on a nomadic adventure, and have been nomads ever since. We’ve lived in Thailand, extensively traveled around Eastern Europe, lived in a few South American countries, and taken a 15,000+km road trip across North America.
So, should you become a digital nomad? If you’re ready for an adventure and a challenge, YES! Seeing the world broadens perspectives and opens you up to any number of experiences. Becoming a digital nomad is a way of making your life your own instead of simply accepting whatever options life may offer you.
Hilayre – Go see the World
Two years ago we decided it was time to buy a bigger house. We were living in a property we purchased as a foreclosure with the intention to fix it up and rent it out. The walls felt like they were caving in on us. But as we went out looking at all these new and beautiful houses it made us sick inside. That’s when we realized it’s not what we really wanted after all. We craved freedom and we craved adventure. From there we decided we were going to do the opposite of what we had planned and sell all of our possessions, buy an RV, homeschool our children and see the world. Truthfully our family thought we were nuts at first. We second guessed ourselves quite a bit during those months leading to the lifestyle change. But a year later we have no regrets. We have loved every second of it (well almost every second of it). We have been to over 30 states in the United States, and five countries so far. People keep asking us when and if we are going to settle down and the truth is we have considered it, but it doesn’t feel right to do so yet. Until then we will keep trading things for memories and loving the freedom this lifestyle offers our family.
Hilarye Fuller has been a family travel blogger for 11 years. She has four small children and both her and her husband enjoy seeing the world and the entrepreneurial digital nomad lifestyle. Find Hilarye at Dotting the Map and on Instagram at @dottingthemap
Jessica – Why Wait?
The decision to become a ‘nomad’ was one of the best ones my fiance and I could have ever made. Our number one reason for building our business online was simple, we don’t like being told what to do! We didn’t enjoy having bosses over our heads constantly telling us when we could and when we couldn’t use the bathroom. On the other hand, we also really didn’t like conforming to the idea of “this is just what you do.” We didn’t want to get married right away, we definitely didn’t want to have kids right away, and no, we didn’t want to buy a house right away either! We also didn’t want to wait to see the world! We are huge advocates of the phrase “why wait” and feel that waiting until you’re old with bad knees and wrinkly skin is not the time to see the world. We also didn’t want to bank on the fact that we could retire early and see the world then. We are young, we are happy, and we are super eager to see new things and have experiences we have never had before. Being a nomad does come with its fair share of things that are not so fun too. You never really get the chance to have that feeling of “home.” We have found though that we are pretty good at making our temporary places feel like home by bringing some photos of family to hang up around the place and bringing a few extra things like our favorite pillow. Being a nomad and developing meaning connections with friends can be difficult too. Although, we have found that people we meet while traveling usually have a different mindset than people at home. We feel like people are usually up for and are excited to meet new people and develop new, different relationships! Overall, we are so incredibly happy with our decision to become nomads, and we wouldn’t change it for a house with a picket fence any day!
We are a digital nomad couple living life on the road! We enjoy having authentic experiences and visiting off the beaten path destinations. Find Jessica at Unearth the Voyage and on Facebook at Unearththevoyage
Maureen – Take the Lead
For most of my adult life I did everything right. I played the American Dream game, thinking I was smart enough to win at it. Then within one month, in my early 50’s, I lost my mom, my job, & my relationship. Clearly not winning at this game anymore.
Not willing to throw in the towel and concede defeat, I decided it was time to change the game. Not just the rules, but the entire game.
First step, quit the job. Yes, in the middle of a recession I quit my corporate job. I decided my sanity was worth more. (Some friends suspected it was too late)
Second, dump the albatross of the failed real estate experience. Get rid of it all.
Third, pursue a passion I’d been denying myself for years… learn to dance.
As the Nomad Dancer, I work part time from my computer, have absolutely no overhead (no home, no car, no debt), live in a new country every few months, learn about cultures through volunteering, meet fascinating people & make new friends… and laugh more than I ever have twirling around the dance floor.
If you’re curious about my nomad life & maybe even thinking of changing your game, follow me. I’ll share insights, adventures, and advice based on my own experiences.
You can take the lead in changing your game, one move at a time, whatever your passion is!
So many people tell me they would like to pursue a life similar to mine but don’t know how. They want to travel with total freedom, but don’t know how. My hope is to encourage people to give themselves the freedom to follow their passions while traveling the world. Find Maureen at Nomad Dancer and on Twitter at SeeItWriteIt.
Wendy – Don’t Stop
When I first left my home country a few months after graduating from college, I didn’t realize that I was beginning a permanent nomadic lifestyle. I had a job lined up at Disneyland Paris, and my plan was to work there for six months, see a bit of Europe, and come back home to a normal life.
But once I started traveling, I couldn’t stop. When my work contract ended, I bought a Eurail Pass and saw as much of Europe as I possibly could in three months. Still not satisfied, I continued to wander around Europe aimlessly, picking up odd jobs along the way.
I became a tour guide in Rome, Italy, and that’s where I met the man who would become my husband. For the next few years, we slipped into a pattern of working in Rome as tour guides in the summer and saving up to travel in other parts of the world during the winter.
In the next phase of our lives, we worked short contracts providing media services at sporting events around the world. Each time a contract finished, we headed off on another big adventure for three, six or even nine months at a time. Now, as a vegan travel blogger and entrepreneur, I’ve transitioned to life as a digital nomad.
Or rather, technically my husband and I are now semi-nomads. A couple of years ago we bought an apartment in Lisbon, Portugal, which we use as our home base. We are in Lisbon roughly half the year, and the other half we spend traveling.
Running a business from a laptop is hard work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We have created the life of our dreams and are so blessed to be able to explore every corner of the planet.
Wendy Werneth is an intrepid world traveler, vegan foodie and animal lover. She is the author of the book Veggie Planet and the creator of the award-winning vegan travel blog The Nomadic Vegan, where she uncovers vegan treasures across the globe. Find Wendy on Facebook at Nomadic.Vegan
Ania – Give Yourself Time
Ten years ago, we were career expats. That was how we met in Kazakhstan. Then our careers took us around the world via San Francisco, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Dubai before settling in Oman for six years. With time we gathered belongings and when our girls were born we seemed to collect more and more. Meanwhile as a mother, I started a new direction in freelance photography which allowed me to control my own work schedule and to spend time travelling. I started travelling with my girls and realised travelling with children is much more fun than travelling alone.
What came as a surprise and a revelation was that the travelling life showed us how little clutter we needed. Without two careers and a school run, we didn’t need three cars (this was the Middle East!) And we didn’t need a playroom full of plastic clutter or two wardrobes full of suits and dresses. We were happy with just a travel bag of stuff. We slowly started reducing our junk, spent less on owning things and more on experiencing things. How could we convert this into a living?
We had a transition period when I quit wedding photography and started travelling and working on the blog while Nick was still working a regular job and started putting together his drawing portfolio. Then Nick quit his job too and now does what he loves – illustrating stories – while I will be masterminding the next trip, writing the Travelling Twins blog and showcasing my photos.
So far, the digital nomad career is not yet earning enough to sustain us, but we gave ourselves two years to achieve this. We are now in a month No 8 and on track.
Our twin daughters – the Travelling Twins are worldschooled, and we believe that the travelling lifestyle teaches them how to be good open-minded tolerant people. They love exploring the world from the great adventures to the tiniest thing, and they are fast becoming the kind of people who will one day change the world for the better.
Ania James is a person who is not afraid of changes. She loves planning and executing new trips, Blogging is her fifth career after being an architect, project manager, photographer and mother. Her motto is never stop exploring.
Chris – Add Leisure Time to Business Travel
There are various ways of being / becoming a digital nomad and one can be bleisure travel. That works if you have your own business that needs travel or if you work for an employer that lets you travel. The idea behind bleisure travel is to add leisure time to business travel in such a way that you keep being away and become a nomad in an extreme case.
I (Chris) did exactly that as I own a non-travel related business which I can do from behind a computer. Although there is some physical work to be done at my base in the Netherlands it doesn’t requires me to be there. I have an employee for that. When my business started to demand more long-haul travel, I decided that I can add to each trip extra time to explore the area. At the same time, I could keep track of my business as long as I was connected. This does mean that destinations with lack of internet are not favorable.
After many trips and a year or two later I had a lot of experience, memories, and photos. At first, I didn’t know what to do with that but then a friend said why not put it online. I started CTB Global (Chris Travel Blog) shortly after. This is now my second business which allows me to travel even more. This combination now allows me to be a digital nomad for approximate 8 months of the year. I don’t want to be fully on the road as that means that I must unregister myself on my address in the Netherlands and that simply has to many disadvantages.
Bleisure travel is just one way of becoming a nomad and I hope my story will inspire you to do the same.
Chris combines business and leisure travel in an efficient luxury way. His stories he shares on CTB Global® (Chris Travel Blog). These include itineraries, in depth day trip articles and a bit on food, craft beer and other related stories. Find him on Facebook at Chris Travel Blog.