I travel a lot, but Ive never been a nomad. So while traveling for the past few weeks the old way before I transition to my new fully-remote job, Ive been thinking a lot about the type of nomad lifestyle Id like to build for myself.
I dont believe in making a concrete plan (see quote above), but I do like having a compass for making decisions as I travel. Here is my direction so far (subject to change of course!)
One of the perils of remote work is isolation. I want to make sure that Im put into a position where I have access to socializing / working with others. Also, its not as fun to go to a foreign country and not know anyone / not have anyone to help you with the cultural differences.
While Id love to be one of those people who makes friends with strangers, I know thats not exactly me. Im not the type of person who will talk to a stranger and immediately turn them into my best friend (I really wish I was that person sometimes, but I know myself enough to know that its just not who I am). And frankly, talking to a random person in a random country while traveling alone as a woman seems a bit dangerous to me.
Luckily, one thing Ive realized in these last few weeks of travel, is that I already have a global network of friends! And sometimes I do connect with others immediately (just not everyone).
For example, a few weeks ago, I met someone whos already doing remote travel, is in my professional field, and is an overall amazing person I look up to. We clicked, and Im going to go to either Thailand or Columbia with her and a few other people for December.
I also have a few friends in Berlin, so Ill stop by there maybe in the Spring. And I have a friend whos moving to Barcelona, so thats an option in the future. Im also being increasingly invited to International conferences, so I can stay in the location of the conference with professionals in my field to connect with.
I also have a co-worker I absolutely loved traveling to Japan with, so maybe shell come with me somewhere for a month. And Im getting introductions in my professional field with others who are doing the nomad lifeI can meet up with them somewhere.
Anyway, hopefully you get the idea. But for me its a bit of a surprise. Ive been making friends around the world without even realizing it! And now I can travel and visit them, as well as make new friends :)
So while Im not a go somewhere random and make friends with whoever I meet type of person, I tend to make friends and connections along the way, and its exciting to know that Ill have friends and connections in the places I go to!
While I admire those who travel on the cheap, Ive worked hard to be in a position where I make a good living, and I love my job. One of the things I love about my new job is that they value paying everyone really well regardless of location. I actually turned down a remote position in the past because they paid too little.
I like to experience the best of the world, and I like to stay in nice places that inspire me. After all, I have to work there every day, I want to be in a comfortable apartment or hotel that I have all to myself that feels good being in.
So this is definitely not the typical I will scrub toilets or teach English around the world so I can travel kind of story.
Of course I will have a budget, but its not going to be a small one like other nomad blogs.
As I mentioned several times already, I LOVE what I do. The nomad life is just that for me life. Its just now I get a bit more freedom to change my scenery. My job is my top priority.
Again, this is not one of those nomad blogs where they do odd jobs theyre not passionate about just so they can make enough money to travel.
Im passionate both about my job and travel, and I will make them both work. In fact, my career will empower a lot of my travel. A lot of conferences I go to pay for my plane tickets / accommodations, so its even more important for me to keep being an influencer in my field than ever. My professional network is also my community as I travel the world as I mentioned in the People section!
Im not really a big believer in the work / life separation. I need to love my work it is my life, and my life involves travel. Both are part of who I am. Both make me happy. Travel is not my escape from a life I hate I love my life, and I believe travel will enhance it both personally and professionally.
One of the hardest parts of traveling for me is keeping healthy. I took this summer off from travel to get back into my good routineeat healthy, exercise, reduce unexpected stress that comes with travel, etc. It worked. I felt great.
And now, Im back not the road for 3 weeks. While I was able to be healthy in northern Virginia, since I know the area well already, being healthy in a place like Logroo felt almost impossible. The tapas there are all fried and unhealthy.
I did go to the grocery store the first day and got fruit, smoked salmon, pistachios, etc to snack on, but staying in a hotel means no place I can cook my own eggs or anything. It was definitely a challenge to eat yogurt without a spoon! And since the yogurt label was in Spanish, it had a lot more sugar than I thought it would.
Another big issue Ive run into is getting water. Conferences are not great for healthy food or water, so Im not drinking as much as I usually do.
So as I travel, Ill have to make sure I stay in places with a kitchen. Im happy to go out and experience the fun cultural food once in a while, but having unhealthy food every day is going to make me feel horrible and unproductive in the long term. So thats a priority.
I also want to make sure to exercise. Although I havent been going to official exercise classes while in the UK and Spain on this trip, I have been walking A LOT. So thats been nice.
Another aspect I like to mention that is often ignored is mental health. Traveling / being in a completely foreign environment can be very stressful initially.
For example, when I was in UK, I needed a band-aid. I walked into a convenience store and found the layout to be confusing / different than what Im used to. And the bandaid packaging was completely different! It sounds like a super stupid thing, but not having the bandaids I usually use and having to ask to find them was stressful. Being in a foreign environment means that things I normally take for granted like knowing where things are location in a supermarket are suddenly things I have to think a lot about.
So to mitigate this type of extra stress load, I believe in making sure to take care of myself. For example, when I got to Logroo after carrying my big suitcase from train to travel and having an intense full-on travel day that included a bus, train, plane, bus, train, I got myself a massage. As I travel back, Im taking it a lot easier. Im taking a 4 hour bus ride back to Barcelona, sleeping there overnight, taking a plane to London in the afternoon, sleeping there, then taking my flight back to San Francisco.
Taking care of myself means Ill have to stay in to sleep or just have a day to myself on the weekend instead of going out to see something new. Or leaving a fun tapas hopping experience early to work. And that is fine by me.
Im also planning to stay in one place between 13 months, definitely stay at least a full week if Im in between places, so I can get some type of routine going. I find that I adapt to a new place after only a few days. I also plan to travel on the weekends between places so as not to disrupt my work and have time to scope out the new location and figure things out (like where the best Internet is) so Im fully ready for the week.
If I dont have my health both physical and mental I cant really do everything I want to do, so that is honestly my #1 priority out of everything.
For those who know me in my professional life, it will come no surprise that one of my favorite things to do as a traveler is to learn new things. I love learning about the culture, history, people, food, etc in the places I travel.
So as I travel the world, my goal is to learn as much as possible about all of these things!
So thats all the things I can think of right now. Im sure there will be more and modifications to these, but I love these as a starting compass for my new nomad life :)