I happened to come across a news article about someone that gave up their life to pursue ‘van life’ and they claimed that it was glorified homelessness. I don’t think that there should be any shame in people being free to base themselves in different locations as long as it aligns with the lifestyle and the value that they want to get out of their life.
For me, the idea of travelling full-time is a dream. But in reality, you don’t get to spend your time travelling if you have to trade your time, efforts, and resources to make money.
The only times in my life where I really felt like I was traveling for fun was when I didn’t have to do any work and I was living off my savings.
As a digital nomad, I had been developing different income streams mainly through business and investment ventures to help me pay for my lifestyle. However, as you develop these ventures, they really start to demand more of your attention. And it also shifts your priorities with what you want to achieve in life.
Even if you think about the other things such as having a social circle, forming meaningful relationships, building a solid base for your foundation in life, and more.
Full-time travel is exhausting.
I found that it became really tiring depending on how fast, far, and frequently you had to move to your next destination. If you are travelling internationally, you will feel exhausted from the trip and also any jetlag or timezone adjustments that you need to make.
Travelling on short holiday is different from long-term travel.
You can’t really have fun if work is a part of your travel.
Working whilst you are travelling isn’t fun. Most of the time, you end up between 4 walls or a space where you are working with invisible walls. It’s a false sense of the travel reality. And it is more of a hot spotting working experience rather than travelling.
False sense of value
The reality is that nobody cares about your travel experiences. It is only you. And if you are doing this to impress others, it may raise some eyebrows initially, but people have their own things going on in their lives.
I liked the sense of adventure and experiencing new cultures. But mainly on short holidays. I lived in England for 8 years and became British.
Your space is what you make it.
One of the biggest things that I learned from my travels and also where I am based now is that the space and the activities that you opt to do are what you make it. If you are trying to find a ‘sense of happiness elsewhere’, I think for a lot of people they won’t find it.
I thought that I would be happy going from place to place to take videos, photos, and have new experiences with local people as a tourist. But everywhere around the world, people are living their own lives. And if you go to a resort, the staff are paid to maximize the pleasurable experience that you will have there.
In my case, I had to ask myself what I really, really wanted?
What are the things that I really enjoy?
Below is a list of some of the things that I’ve identified for myself.
An excellent gym.
I now go to World Gym. The way the gym space and environment has been developed and curated makes me want to spend a good portion of my day there. It aligns with my active lifestyle goals.
Having the option to create memories and enjoy moments with people with whom I have a valuable relationship with.
My siblings, mother, father, friends, acquaintances, and new people that I meet are important to me in my life. I would rather have 5 excellent relationships that I can interact with and enjoy moments with rather than jet set around the world trying to meet random people to create a temporary and invaluable relationship.
The option to enjoy outdoor activities.
I’d noticed a pattern in my holidays and travels where I was always seeking outdoor activities that were fun. Booking a walking or cycling tour and discovering and learning history always fascinated me.
Rather than focus on just buying a ticket to travel, it made more sense for me to travel with the intention to do activities that I enjoyed. Whether this was local or international. Since I started doing this, I gained much more fulfillment as I was able to satisfy what I truly desired, which was enjoying certain activities and experiences at a destination. And not just relying on travel to find out how I might satisfy my craving for a new adventure or experience.
A couple of things that I try to do is:
- Carry a frisbee
- Carry some playing cards
- Carry a towel
I was able to immerse myself in the unique experiences that I desired.
Some things such as going abroad to learn a language or to enjoy the food are nice, but you can do a lot of this locally; especially with the internet. Travelling still has its value, but you can also immerse yourself in a language or cultural space locally.
On the flip side, you might travel abroad only to be in environments where the people you are around are exactly like you.
I do think if you are after a true cultural experience, opting for a homestay or something with the locals will give you the rich cultural experience that you are looking for.
A stable environment to make money and build a valuable lifestyle.
There are people that can do this on the road, but I found that having a stable base allows me to be more productive. The right space can give you the energy that you need to build your financial value, that will allow you to fund your lifestyle and future travels.
Productivity is important. And I found this challenge whilst being a digital nomad for short stays of less than 3 months.
I’ve seen at least a 20-30% increase in wealth from being in a stable environment compared to full-time travel.
What is my preferred travel option these days?
I prefer to do short-term travel with a specific intention. I won’t bundle everything into the digital nomad lifestyle because it is like being a Jack of all trades and master of none.
- If I travel for business, then I go for business.
- If I travel for a holiday, I go on holiday and do no work.
- If I travel to go on an adventure, that is what I will do.
Ask yourself, why are you travelling?
I started traveling back in 2004 to discover the world and get a new sense of adventure. But I didn’t give myself any direction and let the wind blow me to stumble upon experiences.
I think it is more important to curate the experiences that you want to have in your life. And let that shape your travels.
Where am I based now?
I’m currently based in Brisbane, Australia. This has served me well as it is where I grew up and the city and town actually have everything that I desire. Lisbon in Portugal is very similar to my city, but I think it is cheaper to live in Lisbon. And I’ve often thought about whether I should base myself there for part of the year and enjoy city breaks from there.
The other city that I really liked was Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, which is the city that I felt the most productive in before returning to Brisbane.
I’m still on the lookout for other good options. (Even the thought of Dubai is tempting!)
Whichever city it may be, it will be a long-term base for sure.
Start your digital nomad journey today!