Why I’m Going Nomad

going nomad

photo: Heather Nilson

Wanderlust has me in its grip. I’ve been thinking about this, off and on, for a long time. This year, I’m going nomad. I’ll be homeless by choice, traveling and working in different places, with “no fixed address”.

I used to do scientific research. I must have decided, despite a fascination with photography, that science was a “real person’s” career. I’ve always loved it and always will. But, once I started working a regular lab job, I also started traveling. A few days here, a week there. And as soon as I came back, I’d have to start planning my next trip, or I’d get restless and depressed.

It finally dawned on me that, if traveling was what I really wanted to do, I’d better do it. Science could be a hobby or side interest. Photography and writing really can be my “day job”. So I started writing part time, and then took the leap to full-time. That was three years ago. I’ve been navigating the freelance lifestyle for a while, but told myself that I would get “established” before starting to travel.

Once piece of the puzzle fell into place last year with the end of relationship. I was suddenly unattached, and  wanderlust reared its beautiful head again.  My job isn’t location-dependent anymore. Have internet connection, will travel. I decided on one more year in Denver, to wrap up financial concerns and prepare. But I can’t wait that long. It’s time to start.

The plan: I’ll try house-sitting.  There are people who travel all the time, from one house sitting gig to the next. That way, the far-too-expensive problem of accommodations is solved. The catch: I have a dog. Most nomads don’t have pets, or arrange for them to be taken care of. But where I go, she goes. I’m not leaving her behind. This will restrict my choices. But I suspect that, like most things, I can make it work if I’m determined.

I’ll start in the States. However, I want to be traveling outside the contiguous US by the end of the year. I will need to be flexible with this. That’s part of the charm, as well. I don’t have to pre-plan my whole itinerary. All I really need to figure out is where to go next.

How will I afford it? This isn’t what most people consider travel. I won’t be leaving my home to spend time in hotels. So I won’t be maintaining the typical fixed expenses at home and trying to budget for expensive accommodations somewhere else. I’ll be living on the road. With some ingenuity, it shouln’t cost me any more than living in one place. In fact, it might end up being cheaper.

This is going to be all about slow travel. I don’t want to hop from place to place, trying to get around the world in one year. I want to spend a long time in each destination. Ideally, three months would be a minimum. I’ll obviously have to adjust my preferences to my living situations. I’ll take opportunities as they arise. But I’ll work things to be as close as possible to my dream life.

Slow travel is ideal for this. I can’t remember where I’ve been and what I’ve done on trips when I jump around. That’s “tourist travel”. Lifestyle travel demands a slower pace. The fact is, it’s not a “permanent vacation”. Just location independent living. I’ll have to work. I’ll have to deal with the same daily worries as I would living here. In fact, the demands of travel will have their own set of regular inconveniences. I can’t just head out every day with sightseeing in mind. I’ll have to be extra vigilant about my self-discipline.

However, I’m going to do it, no matter what obstacles arise. I’m looking for my first house sitting gig now. Here I go.

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Written by Heather Nilson

Heather Nilson

Heather is a constantly-traveling writer and photographer. She left her job as a research scientist in order to travel, take pictures, and write. Freelancing lets her pursue many interests at once, which is exactly what she likes to do.

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2 thoughts on “Why I’m Going Nomad

  1. Pingback: Why Going Nomad will be Good For My Business - Retire Like Me

  2. Pingback: Road Trip to Oregon: Going Nomad - Retire Like Me

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