Final week I spent all day packing up a small U-haul trailer with my belongings, making ready to maneuver to Los Angeles, California. It felt a bit surreal after 7 years dwelling as a digital nomad.
A mattress. A sofa. A TV. A desk. Cat toys. A cat (no, he’s not going within the U-haul). Pulling all of it behind a brand new Jeep. I haven’t owned this a lot stuff in years!
What the hell occurred? When did I cease being a full-time vagabond, touring the world whereas dwelling out of a backpack?
Properly, it’s an extended story. And it’s about time I shared it with you.
Changing into A Digital Nomad
So for those who’ve been following my journey for some time, you’ll know that again in 2010 I decided to save some money, stop my job, bought most of my belongings, and began backpacking around the globe, blogging about it as I went.
It was an excellent scary resolution on the time, and I had no thought what the longer term would deliver. My guess was that I’d journey for a yr, run out of cash, then transfer again to the US and get a “actual” job once more.
What really occurred? I managed to build a successful business from my travel blog, and continued to journey virtually continuous for the subsequent 7 years.
Working as a digital nomad from my pc wherever there was a wifi connection. It was a comparatively new type of way of life on the time, and everybody thought I used to be loopy for making an attempt it.
Throughout these 7 years with out a house, I visited over 50 nations. I lived for months at a time in locations like Thailand, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Nicaragua, and South Africa.
All the things I owned fit into a pair of backpacks — I used to be utterly nomadic. Working for myself. An professional vagabond (therefore the identify).
I used to be dwelling the digital nomad dream!
However then my desires started to alter. As they typically do over time.
Digital Nomad Burnout
I began noticing a change after about 5 years into my absolutely nomadic way of life. Consistently shifting from place to position got here with it’s personal set of issues that turned more and more annoying because the years glided by.
Touring around the globe and making a living on-line sounds unimaginable, I do know. And it’s in some ways! I’m not complaining. This way of life has been excellent to me.
Nonetheless there are additionally downsides to being a digital nomad.
THIS LIFESTYLE IS EXHAUSTING
Many digital nomads hand around in a rustic or metropolis for just a few weeks earlier than shifting on to the subsequent. However you possibly can’t earn cash for those who’re not working, so now you’re making an attempt to cram work & trip into a brief time frame.
Simply once you get into a snug routine, it’s time to maneuver and begin another time. Packing up, navigating your means round a brand new metropolis, a brand new tradition, and all of the challenges that go together with these issues. It will get tiring!
THIS LIFESTYLE IS LONELY
Sure, you get to fulfill every kind of cool individuals around the globe once you’re continually touring. However as a result of everyone seems to be at all times coming or going, it’s robust to kind a significant reference to anybody.
I missed having a daily group of pals to hang around with. I missed being so distant from household. And except you intend so far fellow digital nomads, relationships are sophisticated when solely one among you possibly can journey freely.
THIS LIFESTYLE IS UNPRODUCTIVE
Properly, I ought to say much less productive than it could possibly be. Certain I managed to construct a enterprise whereas touring, nevertheless it wasn’t simple, and I feel I may have grown sooner if I labored from a home-base as a substitute of hostels & espresso retailers.
Making an attempt to juggle a traditional work routine once you’re additionally making an attempt to determine the place to sleep subsequent week simply isn’t preferrred. Typically, I by no means wrote a lot concerning the locations I used to be dwelling as a result of I used to be too busy catching up with work after months of touring.
Nothing Is Good
Mainly, there isn’t any excellent technique to dwell. By changing into a digital nomad, you merely commerce one set of issues for a very completely different form.
Possibly, like me, you gained’t be bothered by this stuff for just a few years — it was nonetheless way more thrilling than my earlier life within the rat race! However finally the issues amplify over time… and also you’ll have a option to make.
Transferring Again To America
Because the negatives piled up, I started renting residences for Three months at a time. Finally I signed a year-long lease in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I used to be slowing down, taking journeys that lasted 1-Three weeks, and having fun with them extra.
It was good having a base, a spot to name “house” for some time.
Nonetheless as a lot as I beloved dwelling in Mexico, I quickly felt an urge to return to the USA. To spend extra time with household & pals. To pursue extra profitable enterprise alternatives there.
And, to take part extra absolutely in my very own nation’s democratic course of, not content material watching from the sidelines as the USA appeared to spiral right into a miserable (harmful?) abyss of ignorance & hate.
However the place to go? Transferring from Mexico with my girlfriend Anna, we determined to attempt Boulder, Colorado for the summer season. We’ve been dwelling there with our new cat Poofy (sure, he’s on Instagram!) for the previous 5 months.
Boulder was fairly, however not precisely what we have been searching for. It was kinda small, very homogeneous, and filled with households & college students. With our unconventional life, we felt a bit misplaced there.
So now we’re off to California to offer Los Angeles a attempt.
Plus We Bought Married!
Shock! It’s been a busy yr. I first met Anna in 2015 at a journey running a blog convention referred to as TBEX in Florida, the place journey personalities and firms come collectively to community.
We hit it off straight away, with a standard love of journey, cats, and dealing on-line. Town lady and the journey man, each taking dangers & working laborious to pursue our desires.
Anna is a exceptional girl. Initially from Poland, she’s been touring the world for longer than I’ve. She holds levels in Worldwide Legislation, Journalism, and Style Advertising from a number of universities (together with Harvard). She’s fluent in 5 languages, and has lived in locations like Mexico Metropolis, Cape City, London, Miami, and LA.
Quickly after we met in Florida, Anna got here all the way down to Mexico, the place we started relationship. Finally we moved in collectively, utilizing Mexico as a base to journey from. It was one of many happiest intervals of my life, and I fell in love.
After a yr and a half of relationship, dwelling, working, and touring collectively, I proposed early one morning at a distant mountain cabin in Colorado. We eloped in Las Vegas just a few weeks later on the well-known Graceland Chapel!
It was spontaneous, non-traditional, and enjoyable, identical to our lives up thus far.
Are You Giving Up Vagabonding?
Sure and no. Sure, I’m giving up on the pipe-dream of continually shifting from place to position, dwelling out of a bag for the remainder of my life. What initially sounded romantic, adventurous, and free has turn out to be a burden over time.
My aim for this wild experiment has at all times been to expertise as a lot of our massive & various world as doable NOW, whereas I’m comparatively younger. Not caught behind a desk working to make another person wealthy.
Sharing my journey experiences to assist and encourage others, whereas incomes a dwelling alone phrases.
The liberty to do as I please. No approval wanted. No bosses to report back to. Following my ardour and making a dwelling by means of journey journey & pictures.
Properly, I’ve achieved these objectives. I’m utterly location unbiased. I work for myself, setting my very own hours, touring when and the place I need to. I’ve additionally been lucky to make a terrific dwelling doing what I like.
Am I simply getting older and feeling a must decelerate? I’m 36 now. Have I merely turn out to be financially unbiased sufficient that I’m not compelled to dwell in low cost backpacker locations as a way to get by?
I feel these might have been components in my resolution too.
Selecting Location Independence
I wouldn’t commerce the final 7 years of my life working as a touring digital nomad for the rest. It’s been a wild journey, and the expertise has taught me a lot about myself and the world basically.
Nonetheless I now understand that I want location independence over absolutely nomadic dwelling. As a result of there’s a distinction.
Location independence merely means you might be free to decide on the place you reside, not caught dwelling someplace you hate due to a selected job. Being a digital nomad means you’re at all times touring, with no actual house.
We spent the summer season in Colorado. We’re planning to spend 2018 in Los Angeles. Possibly after that, we’ll determine to maneuver someplace else. Italy? Spain? Iceland? Kansas?
With location independence, all our choices are open!
The vital half, is the liberty to decide on my location, and the power to replace that alternative at any time.
For these of you who’re fascinated with changing into digital nomads, I don’t need to utterly discourage you. The life-style does have loads of advantages, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t give it a shot.
Nonetheless after 7 years dwelling as a homeless digital nomad, I personally not assume it’s sustainable (or wholesome) on a long-term foundation.
I’m not the one one who thinks this manner both — it appears to be a standard alternative for a lot of after just a few years on the street:
- The Beginning Of The End – Nomadic Matt
- 9 Years Of Legal Nomads – Authorized Nomads
- Leaving Is Easy, Fighting Is Harder – Adventurous Kate
- The Dark Side Of The Digital Nomad – Mark Manson
- My Nomadic Lifestyle Comes To An End – Ottsworld
- After 70 Countries, Why I Moved To Portugal – Neverending Footsteps
Actually, not a lot is altering. I’m nonetheless planning to journey a ton, about 6 months yearly. The one distinction is now I’ve a spouse, a house, and a cat to return again to as soon as my journeys are over!
Generally Anna & I’ll journey collectively, typically I’ll be alone. I’ll proceed sharing my wild journey adventures with you from around the globe by means of blog posts, YouTube videos, and travel photography.
Having a home-base merely means I’ll be extra productive, creating helpful journey guides, sharing enjoyable journey tales, and educating suggestions & methods I’ve discovered after 7 years working as knowledgeable journey blogger & photographer.
After shifting to Los Angeles this week, Anna & I are researching the potential for TV and media appearances whereas persevering with to construct our companies right here in the USA.
Having LAX airport as our journey hub will hold flight prices low, permitting us each to journey typically. Now we have pals right here, and extra cross by means of on a regular basis.
There’s all kinds of epic shoreline, mountains, deserts, canyons, and forests inside a day’s driving distance from the town if I need to get exterior into nature for some time.
I do know some readers could also be disenchanted on this change. These of you who romanticize dwelling on the street out of a backpack. It’s one of many causes I’ve been laying aside publishing this weblog publish for thus lengthy… I used to be scared.
I constructed my model as a vagabond, what occurs as soon as I’ve a house once more?
Sadly there’s not a lot I can do about what different individuals assume. I’ve lived as a vagabond for years, and don’t remorse my alternative, however my ardour for continually shifting started to fade.
Whenever you cease loving one thing utterly, it’s time for a change.
I don’t spend my life making an attempt to make everybody else pleased with my decisions, if I did that, I’d by no means be the place I’m now.
So onwards! To the subsequent chapter of my life — I hope you’ll proceed to comply with alongside on my future journey adventures, wherever they might lead. ★
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Have any questions concerning the digital nomad way of life? Might you reside this manner? Drop me a message within the feedback under!
It is a publish from The Expert Vagabond journey weblog.