Am I going nomadic? I have been tossing around the idea of turning my lifestyle nomadic for the past couple of years and now. I am taking some steps towards turning my dream of becoming location independent into a reality. Will I have the confidence to follow through?
This whole idea of going nomadic started to take shape after my trip to Colombia in December 2012. I met several people who were long-term travelers – a year or more roaming the globe. Most were young people in their late teens or early twenties and they were getting by staying in dorm style accommodations and working a little along the way. The idea of always staying in dorms and just getting by while traveling the globe does not appeal to me. It reminded me of my first solo trip to southeast Asia and my desire for more travel immediately upon my return. In recent years I have worked hard to improve my lifestyle and I am not willing to give up my cushy life just yet.
What if I could maintain my comfortable lifestyle AND enjoy a nomadic lifestyle? Best of both worlds while traveling around the world? I think I should give it a shot.
Going nomadic – what does it take to live a nomadic lifestyle?
Returning to Austin after my trip to Colombia I kept in touch with several people via Facebook. The idea of the nomadic lifestyle kept rolling around in my subconscious. I found myself exploring the idea while I was researching how to start this travel blog. The blogs that I found most interesting were not entirely about travel. I most enjoyed reading the stories about how people created their travel lifestyle. How do you balance work, personal life, and go traveling around the world?
The short list of what it takes to live a nomadic lifestyle:
- Less stuff
Money – My current client base is around 50% on-site work and 50% remote. I will need to shift all my clients to remote. I was starting to do this already due to the traffic in Austin. I am no longer willing to spend anymore than 5 minutes commuting to a client office. The lost productivity is not worth it to me anymore. When I started my business I would take any and all clients that inquired about my bookkeeping services. Now I have the luxury of choosing what is most beneficial to me and my lifestyle.
Speaking of lifestyle, there are cheap places to live and one can be be frugal while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. I do not want to be limited to the cheap places to live. There is a reason so many travel bloggers are living in SE Asia. Initially I think I would like to live and travel around the USA and Canada while I become accustomed to the nomadic lifestyle. I estimate my cost of living will be somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 per month depending on how many extras I splurge on such as concert tickets or expensive meals.
Confidence – Some people thrive when they have new situations and challenges tossed into their world. Starting my bookkeeping business and my earlier travel experiences have been the biggest contributors to increasing my level of confidence.
Less stuff – I have been renting a 2-bedroom townhouse in Austin TX for over 6 years now. I used to make fused glass and enamel jewelry as my creative outlet and I sold the work to galleries around the USA. When the world economy crashed in 2008 – the same year I started my bookkeeping business – my budding jewelry business collapsed along with it. I still have some of the tools and supplies that I accumulated for the business so I need to get rid of those.
Besides the jewelry supplies I do not have a lot of excess things and stuff to purge. I created a spreadsheet listing what I would sell or give away and the items I plan to keep – clothing, technology, photos, maybe some art work or travel mementos. Read more on getting rid of stuff here…
Technology – Access to the internet is the biggest factor when it comes to working while traveling or living a nomadic lifestyle. I have several clients that I work with remotely already and so long as I have internet access I am in business. I upgraded my mobile phone from a Blackberry Tour to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. I dumped Sprint for T-Mobile so I now have a better service plan and a lower monthly bill.
I utilize various file sharing programs via the internet such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Since QuickBooks Online (QBO) updated their service in 2014 I have a growing list of bookkeeping clients that are now switching to QBO. My current travel laptops are an 11″ MacBook Air and an 11″ Acer. I have clients that use QuickBooks Mac as well as PC so I do need both. Working from home the big plus to having two laptops is that I have an extra screen to view files via internet while working on QuickBooks with the other laptop.
Going nomadic – what are the pros and cons?
The pros and cons of going nomadic will vary depending on who you ask. Some people would struggle with the idea of eliminating the vast majority of their possessions. For many people their home is part of what defines them. I am more of a home is where your heart is kind of person. Possessions do not carry a lot of weight in my world. I am not particularly sentimental when it comes to things and stuff. Although I do treasure the memories that material things can trigger in my mind. Still, I do not need to keep those material things, just the memories and the ability to revisit them. The memories and life experiences are what count the most to me.
- Less stuff – the idea of owning only what I can carry with me is appealing
- More freedom – LOVE the idea of more freedom to roam the globe
- Variety is the spice of life – spending a few months in each place appeals to me
- Spending time with my aging parents – this is a BIG plus
- No set home base – not have one place to go “home” to will be a challenge
- More uncertainty – all those “what if’s” rolling around in my brain
- Leaving Austin – home for the past 16 years – it will be tough to leave
Looks like the Pros beat the Cons – so far. These are the most important factors to me. I know there are other pros and cons to living a nomadic lifestyle. My only experience dabbling with a nomadic lifestyle was more than twenty years ago and I will have to actually live as a nomad to truly know what the pros and cons are for me. Besides I was not working while traveling around SE Asia for 7 months, I was just a vagabond beach bum.
For now I will have to rely on the information from others who live a nomadic lifestyle to help guide me. Going location independent is not for everyone and perhaps it won’t be my cup of tea but I will never know unless I give it a try.
Any advice or tips or questions about living a nomadic lifestyle or planning and preparing for a location independent lifestyle are most welcome!