What is it like to live as a nomad? It’s been two months since we left home. We have been travelling full-time for just long enough that this can’t be mistaken for a holiday anymore.
This post is just one in a series entitled My Life as a Nomad. The series aims to document our journey from corporate sell-outs, to fully fledged nomads. You can also read it from the beginning.
How does it feel two months into life on the road?
In the last two months, I have slept in 16 different beds, in four different countries, across 15 unique cities. This brings with it its own joys and frustrations.
The excitement is palpable each time we arrive in a new country, that’s for sure.
When we got to Singapore, it was completely different to Indonesia, where we had just been. Upon arrival in Malaysia, we had to figure out how we were going to work with the locals and get grocery shopping done for the next few weeks.
Arriving in Thailand, we were greeted with a completely different alphabet, language and currency. Not to mention a brand new culture to the Malaysian one we had just got used to over our three weeks of volunteer work there.
Every day is an adventure
No two days are completely alike. If it’s adventure you crave, if the monotony of routine is getting you down, then nomadic life will certainly get you out of that funk.
Before we left, I could never have imagined what we would be doing today. I could never have told the stories in my heart at this moment.
Oh, the people we have met…
If you think I am unique, that I am brave, that I am special… think again.
This world is filling up a bit more each day with people living this dream. We have met some of the most amazing and inspiring people on the road.
Sam traveled from the UK to Malaysia, where we met him, over a period of ten months. He did it all by bicycle. He had not been on one aeroplane getting there.
Veronika spends about 5 months working hard at home in Austria every year, so that for the other 7 months of the year she can travel the world.
A 64 year old man, whose name escapes me, told us the tale of his 6 years around Asia over a game of pool and a beer.
New ways to celebrate
I celebrated my 29th birthday this month. It was my best birthday yet.
I am not a big birthday person. For a few reasons, I have never really loved the occasion.
This one was celebrated in true style. I was surprised with a hostel room filled with balloons when I got out the shower. I got to share a cake, baked in Malaysia with my name on it, with a hostel full of new friends!
Most of all, I had just arrived in another new city. It was a day of exploration!
It was our first full day in George Town, Malaysia. The oldest British settlement in Southeast Asia. We walked the streets and explored the vibrant, old city and all the street art it had to offer.
At Holy Guacamole, a Mexican restaurant on the bustling Love Lane, a local sang me Happy Birthday on the guitar, while new friends made me down a tequila shot.
The things you learn
I can greet and thank people in three new languages, and I am able to order food off of the menu in most Asian restaurants with much more confidence than I ever could before.
I have learnt that in Indonesia you have to declare your religion on your identity documents. That publicly declaring you are an atheist is grounds for arrest on charges of blasphemy.
I have learnt that hot water is a luxury in many countries.
Working a city map, or underground train network, is a piece of cake.
The things you learn to get used to
When we left Langkawi, after three weeks of volunteer work on the island, it felt like ages since we had to pack our bags. You grow accustomed to having to pack up and move on.
You get used to working out time differences and checking if tap water is safe drinking water. These checks become normal in each country you visit.
I ride a bike or scooter a lot. If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever ride one regularly on busy streets. I would have never said yes.
In addition, using websites like Airbnb, hostelworld or Flightscanner start to become daily chores.
Learning about new cultures and having to try break through a language barrier becomes second nature.
Walking. We walk. A lot.
Eating new foods. We do this. A lot.
Having very little stuff is no longer weird. It is part of who we are.
It’s easy to get rid of stuff now, too. Consuming isn’t part of what we do anymore. And it is pretty scary when we think of how much stuff the world consumes. How much we used to consume.
I have left behind clothes (intentionally) in hostels, without shedding even one tear or having to think too hard about it. I did so because I didn’t want to carry something around i have only worn once this month.
The pitfalls of nomadic life
I am definitely not tired of life on the road just yet. Sorry mom ;)
But, there are certain aspects of this life that will take some getting used to. Just like any lifestyle choice, it comes with its own pros and cons. Two months in, these are the ones I have started to notice.
The comforts are gone
Naturally, you start to miss having certain comforts around you. For example, I hated doing washing at home. But now, I miss having my own washing machine at my disposal.
You start to miss being able to phone your mom or friends, without having to worry about time zones or WiFi speeds.
The people from home. Some days are harder than others. Being home sick comes and goes.
My mother-in-law’s cooking.
Just as I mentioned how honoured I am to get to meet some of the most amazing people, it means you also have to get used to saying goodbye to them, too.
This one is a blessing, and a curse. We meet so many incredible humans along the way. I am richer for having known them.
But then, you go your separate ways. You leave with a business card or a pack of pasta they couldn’t finish. But more importantly, you leave with a new friend.
I am still over-the-moon excited every time I think about my life. The excitement and gratitude for each day. It’s real!
We head north on a night train in two days time. We will probably be spending Christmas and New Year in Thailand. This may change, and that is what is so great about this lifestyle… If we do not like a place, we move on.
New and exciting opportunities
I cannot explain to you how excited I am about this one. I am going to be doing social media, videography and photography work for a company whose mission I believe in so much. Stay tuned for more details.