The other night I was asked how I was able to live a nomadic life? Truth be told, our lives were more semi-nomadic. We lived as expats in various countries, having a base for a year/two years and then travelling from there. Aside from Hawaii, all of out-of-Africa living happened in Asia. Here are some of our tips for becoming a nomad:
1. Start Now
Not tomorrow, not next year, not in five years time now. Leaving your hometown and country never gets easier and you’re not getting any younger. And you’ll always find excuses for why you should settle at home- mortgages, cars, things, people, your job. For the most part these things will all still be there when you return (probably not your job) So if you’re lucky enough to own a house, rent it out. Sell your car, sell or store your things and go.
The older you get, the more responsibility tends to follow you and latch on such as taxes, loans, bonds and kids so go now. Travelling with kids is more than possible and I suggest it but travelling in your twenties sans kids is the easiest and most carefree travel will be for you, so don’t waste time. Pack your luggage, book your ticket, and go.
2. Put in the prep.
While some people can just get on a plane and land wherever they may, many people cannot. Especially if you’re from South Africa, travelling with a weak currency or if you’re a forward planner. So unless you have a trust fund you’ll want to do some research and make tentative plans for the places where you’ll find temporary shelter.
Start with a country, what opportunities it provides for you working and earning money. Before you quit your job and tell your boss to stick it, explore the option of your job being location independent. If yours is a job that can be done successfully online, ask if you can continue to do it from anywhere in the world even if it’s for the first three months. This will prolong you going broke and having to beg people to let you sleep on their couch.
3. Find ways to make money on the go.
I’m a planner and before moving to South Korea, I found a job, got my visa and had my place of accommodation sorted before I even left the country. But after Vaughan and I got married, two weeks later we up and left to honeymoon and live in Thailand. We had no jobs lined up and had no idea where we would end of living. So fresh off the boat on Koh Samui island, we instantly decided this was a place we wanted to live. Island life was and still is very appealing to us so we looked for ways to make money.
We prepared cvs and drove around the island on scooters handing them in to every English language school available. Instead of the usual bikini and sarong attire foreigners always wear, we got dressed in our business best to make a good impression. Vaughan got a job at a English Language school and I taught a year 2 homeroom class at a British school.
So even if you’re heading for beach paradise pack work clothes, research what the professional dress code is in each country as it will differ e.g Korea and Thailand your shoulders always have to be covered, but in Malaysia your elbows and ankles have to be covered in certain towns and work places. If you’re not keen on teaching english there are other options such as working on cruise ships, becoming a dive instructor ( lots of money and courses to get there) or working on yachts.
Read more on how to find a job teaching English in Asia.
4. Live lightly
I’ve never been one of those carry-your-life-on-your-back people; but if you are this is a great way to keep your load light and not have to worry about lugging tons of bags. You’re choosing to be semi-nomadic, travel long-term and therefore choosing to place more importance on experiences and not things. As difficult as it is not buying beautiful wood crafts from Bali, lanterns from Thailand and hats from Vietnam, try.
That being said, I’ve bought all of these things but only at a later stage along my travels when I knew I was ready to have one home and a base from which to move from. That hut on the beachfront will have no space for your collectibles, airlines will not protect your fragile goodies and taking trains, buses and ferries are that much easier without millions of bags and souvenirs.
5. A place to rest your weary head.
If you’re wanting to mission around Europe which is crazy expensive and where your cash won’t get you near as far as in Asia. Then options like couch surfing and housesitting may work for you. Sure there’s options like staying on friends couches but if you sign up with trusted websites like trustedhoussitters.com you can stay at spectacular places for up to a few months at a time and not have to pay a cent ( except to have membership on the website). There are also options for free accommodation and meals like working at backpackers or working on farms (hard slog).
To read more on some of the countries we’ve lived in, click here: Malaysia.
6. Document your travels and start a blog.
While every Tom, Dick and Harry have started a travel blog, you may have a very niche market which would love to read your articles. e.g You may be volunteering in marine conservation and take great underwater photography. If you do something that most people don’t or can’t do everyday, share your knowledge, experience and photography with them.
Along with an audience and traffic may come advertisers who wish to pay for the eyeballs you’ve accumulated. If you need help starting a blog/running social media channels, email me as our Digital Agency offers all of these epic services.( firstname.lastname@example.org)