It seems I was destined for nomadism (or at least a fair stint of it), and there were a lot of clues that should have told me so a long time ago – I just didn’t know it at the time. Have a look at the signs below that suggested the possibility of my future travels – maybe you will recognize them in yourself.
Over the span of a decade I moved house no less than once a year. And within that time also moved countries twice. Not that I particularly disliked a lot of the places that I lived, but there always just came a time when I would get this itching to move on. I always came to a point where the grass was greener on the other side – and so off I would go, to the next place.
My career path was sporadic. I’d get to a point where I’d feel like I was proficient in the job that I had. And once I reached that point it was the same story. So what’s next? I used to think this was perhaps a failing. Afterall, it doesn’t feel good to become disgruntled with your situation every few months and have to start all over again. But that is what would happen. And it made me yearn for the day that I would find “what made me happy”.
My Time Was Not My Own
It became an increasing sore point for me how much my time was not my own. I was almost constantly disenfranchised with my job and yet I had to spend so much time on it. While I could perhaps cope with that, the fact that I was always stuck in someone else’s schedule became intolerable for me. I couldn’t work when I wanted. I couldn’t take off time when I wanted. It was all decided for me. And that just grated on me.
I have always been interested in other cultures. In so many ways. I always have felt that we all have so much to learn from other societies and their histories, cuisines, fashions and ways of solving problems. I have never proscribed to one societies way of doing things – but always loved to pick and choose from here, there and everywhere.
I Like to Feel like I’m Growing
In my mid-twenties, I realized certain things about myself. One of them was that I am a curious person who feels most alive when I’m growing, learning and exploring new ideas, places and concepts. And at this time I was also shown that in order to feel satisfied, the trick was to put myself in situations where growth and learning were always available to me.
For a time, this meant conventional study and other hobbies and interests. But nomadism (and all the constant learning and experience that comes with it) provided the next logical step.
Possessions Are Less Important Than Experiences
‘You don’t own things, things own you’, it is said. And that always rang true in my books.
While I have an affinity to many little trinkets and things I have picked up along the years, more than once I have cleansed myself of all my possessions – but for what I could carry. I know of many many people who could not conceive of dispensing with their possessions, but for me freedom and experiences began, evermore, to become far more important to me than ‘things’. To the point where, when the ‘things’ started to get in the way, they had to go – and that was O.K.
A Bit of A Loner
I’ve always been more of an introvert, and perfectly happy with my own company most of the time. This meant that I never had a really strong and lasting social circle because I was always withdrawing to do my own thing. Nomadism is not a team endeavour – you don’t exactly take your friends and family with you (well, you can, but this is the exception – not the rule). And while nomads find themselves perhaps even more social on the road than in their home countries, it remains true that a lot of the time you are on your own and responsible for yourself.
So those things all worked together for me to eventually clue me into pursuing the life I now live. So, what do you think? Any of those things sound lie you too? Having an epiphany right now?
If so – and you are currently staring at your screen trying to come to terms with the fact that your future might involve living out of a backpack – check out my immediately actionable tips below so you can start setting yourself up right for your nomadic future…
‘Preparing For A Nomadic Future’ To-Do list
Identify the aspects of you life that aren’t in line with your values.
When I realised that I valued experiences more than possessions it helped me to become conscious of all the ‘stuff’ I had been accumulating – possessions as well as habits and practices.
We spend a lot of time doing things that those around us do, even though they may not really be in line with what we want. This can apply to the career path you choose, the people you socialise with, the hobbies that you have and your standards of success in life – just to start.
It’s important to self-asses – and act on that. If you have the wanderlust, maybe think twice before you take out that mortgage and resign yourself to one location for the foreseeable future – even if that is something that society, or your peer group and family may expect of you.
If you have passions you just aren’t pursuing because you are tied into a lifestyle that you don’t really enjoy, it’s time to acknowledge that to yourself and identify exactly what they are.
What does this have to do with being nomadic? Well, being nomadic isn’t a career, it is a way of life. It affects every aspect of you – where you live, how you earn, the belongings you have and the company you can keep. So preparing to become nomadic requires you to assess most areas of your life. It causes you to make a clear decision about what is important to you, and makes you strip back on what isn’t.
Now that you realise who you are and what is important to you, it is time to match your actions to that. You may feel like your life is currently diametrically opposed to the person you are. And while it can take a while to shuffle things around your life to be more in line with your values and passions, you can still start making changes, however small.
Maybe it could be as simple as finally taking that course in photography that you always wanted to do, or actually writing that book you always said you would write.
Whatever it is, do it. Even if it is not something that obviously contributes to your nomadic future, just the practice of doing something that is important to you is good to get you motivated to pursuing a life more focussed on your values.
Once you do this, begin to think about ways it might be possible to make money from your passion or even simply use it to give you more freedom and flexibility in your lifestyle. Most passions and hobbies can actually be turned into location independent businesses – even if they don’t seem at first to be obviously location independent-friendly.
Make a commitment to a new way of life
You may be destined for nomadism, but if you are like most people you have spent most of your life living according to more conventional ideas. In all likelihood, changing your path will not be an easy task. Yet it is important to remember that if this path is truly for you, it will all be worth it.
You are important, and worth working hard for. You deserve to have a truly fulfilling life, so do not delay to make a commitment to yourself to ‘do what it takes’.
This is something that a lot of people fail to do. But when you follow your true path and strive for your passions, you inspire others to do so too. Following your purpose makes you a happier, more inspirational and productive person – the best version of you.
Make a commitment to become this person.
Stop Investing In the Old and Start Investing in The New
Where you put your focus and your energy, you get results. Stop putting your energy into things you used to value in the past, but instead put them into the things that your future is made of. Stop buying things you don’t need, stop putting all your energy into working at a job that you hate – unless you are doing it to save for your travels, and not just more ‘stuff’.
Do what you have to to invest in yourself. Maybe work only part-time at that job you hate so you can invest more time into learning new skills, or creating a business that you can build on the road. Start making connections with people who have the same values as you now realise you have. Remember, you are influenced by the people you surround yourself with.
Listen to inspirational audiobooks, work on self-development, value the intangible, and research the way of life you are aspiring to. These are things that can’t be taken away from you.
Pat YourSelf On The Back
Hell, get other people to pat you on the back too. Then again that isn’t always a good idea. Most people will suspect you are going through a midlife crisis if you tell them your plans (yup, I’ll be honest, it can be lonely), so maybe just wear your Cheshire Cat grin and feel good about yourself. Not everyone takes the brave step to hone in on their purpose, seek self-realisation, or make a commitment to change their life for the better – so it can be hard for people to see where you are coming from. But that’s O.K, you are doing what is right for you.
Now go get to it, good things are coming.
Are you planning to change your life in dramatic ways for the better? Have you just embarked on your own nomadic debut, or gone against the grain to follow your passion? Tell me all about it . I would love to be inspired by the real changes you are making in your life to take ownership of your journey.
If you haven’t done so yet, but felt inspired to commit to do so through this post, please let me know (and share this with people who might value from it!). It will make me feel great to know it has helped you – and will give other readers even more motivation to change their own lives for the better.