On the primary of December, 2023, I celebrated six years as a full-time traveler. For over six years now, I haven’t had a hard and fast handle or a house within the conventional sense. I spent most of these years dwelling in a Ford Transit campervan, a journey I share in my newest ebook, Life Accomplished Otherwise. Since promoting the van, I lived in a tiny home for 2 months, been a home sitter in numerous locations, stayed with pals, and sometimes booked an Airbnb.
I really like being a nomad. I really like the liberty and adaptability. I really like exploring new locations and assembly cool folks. Nonetheless, it’s most likely honest to say that, ten years in the past, I wouldn’t have been voted probably to finish up as a nomad. So, how did I get right here?
The making of a nomad
It began again in 2017. I had simply turned 33, and although life was nice, I started to have doubts concerning the course I used to be heading in. I used to be very career-focused, working lengthy hours because the Head of Advertising and marketing for a tech startup. I loved it, however I wished extra from life than only a profitable profession. In some ways, it appeared apparent what my subsequent steps in my life ought to be: Get married, purchase a home and have children. It was what all of my pals had been doing.
Nonetheless, whereas I used to be excited for my pals and will see the sweetness within the lives they had been creating, I wasn’t certain it was the appropriate path for me. In some way, I simply couldn’t image myself strolling down an aisle in a white costume or elevating a bunch of little ones – not less than not but.
What do you do whenever you really feel misplaced and uncertain about what to do together with your life? You go touring! And whenever you dwell in a tremendous nation like New Zealand, it is smart to discover your yard as an alternative of hopping on a airplane to faraway locations. So I made a decision to purchase a campervan, give up my job, and take a while to determine who I’m and what I need from life.
It was imagined to be for one summer season. One summer season of journey, freedom, exploration, and escaping my busy metropolis life. That summer season was nearly 5 years on the highway in my camper and life as a touring home sitter after that.
Alongside the way in which, I met unimaginable folks, overcame challenges, admired and explored the beautiful surroundings of New Zealand, challenged society’s norms and expectations about what a girl in her 30s ought to be centered on, and located the solutions I used to be searching for.
Making a dwelling as a nomad
From the very starting, I beloved the approach to life, particularly the sense of freedom. Stepping away from my busy, career-focused life in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest metropolis, made me understand how a lot the stress had impacted me and the way a lot better I felt dwelling a slower, extra intentional life. Nonetheless, most likely the primary purpose I saved touring past that first summer season – the primary purpose I used to be in a position to – is that I found I may work remotely.
Till then, I had labored in numerous advertising and marketing roles that every one required me to be within the workplace, not less than more often than not. This was a number of years earlier than Covid made distant working extra widespread. On the time, I didn’t know anybody with a distant job, so I hadn’t thought-about it an possibility.
Once I advised the corporate I used to be working for again in 2017 about my plans, meaning to resign, they requested if I’d take into account working part-time and remotely whereas I journey. To my shock, inside a number of months on the highway, I secured one other new shopper and one other one shortly after. Within the six years since, I’ve labored for dozens of corporations as a digital advertising and marketing guide. As well as, I began writing for a journey journal and in addition wrote three books, together with the journey memoir Life Accomplished Otherwise.
Due to community and wonderful fame, I get a number of work by means of phrase of mouth and referrals. In consequence, thus far, I’ve at all times had sufficient work, which is without doubt one of the foremost causes I’ve been in a position to journey full-time for so long as I’ve. The opposite massive purpose is that I dwell a easy, low-cost life.
Low-cost methods to journey
Journey is usually deemed costly, but it surely doesn’t must be. Certain, if you wish to keep in luxurious resorts or do a number of excursions and actions, the prices add up rapidly. Nonetheless, there are methods to journey for much less. Dwelling in my van for nearly 5 years saved me some huge cash. I needed to pay for campgrounds and van upkeep and repairs, however that was loads lower than what I used to pay for lease in Auckland. Since promoting my camper in 2022, I’ve been a full-time housesitter, which is one other manner to save cash whereas touring.
I’m additionally very selective about what excursions and actions I pay for, typically choosing a free hike or bike experience as an alternative of a paid exercise. I don’t spend a lot on going out or vogue, and whereas most of my hobbies, like paddleboarding, kitesurfing, and biking, require pricy gear, now that I’ve it, doing them is free.
Touring primarily in New Zealand additionally means I don’t must fork out for costly airfares. This may sound boring to some, however belief me after I say that New Zealand is the type of place the place you may journey for a few years with out losing interest, particularly if you happen to love nature and adventuring within the nice outside.
The one massive draw back
There have, after all, been challenges through the years. I needed to write off my first campervan. Selecting a life so completely different from most of my pals generally made me really feel lonely and disconnected. Often, I doubted my decisions. Generally, the fixed change was overwhelming. The pandemic introduced its personal set of challenges. Nonetheless, wanting again, all these obstacles really feel like minor blips – little pace bumps I needed to overcome to get to the place I wished to be.
There’s one important draw back to this life-style that’s greater than slightly speedbump, and that’s the dearth of group. The actual-life type of group. The sense of consolation that comes with belonging someplace, with realizing your neighborhood. The sensation of connection and belonging that, not less than for me, solely comes from spending a number of time with somebody.
There’s a thriving worldwide nomad group, and connecting with like-minded folks from all around the world on-line has been superb. However it’s not the identical as having a real-life group.
So, if you happen to’d ask me if there’s something I genuinely miss, that might be it — a real-life group.
Up to now, all of the issues I really like about this life-style have outweighed the downsides. I’ve no need to return to the standard life I had seven years in the past. Nonetheless, the longer I dwell this fashion, the stronger the urge to remain put someplace – even only for some time – and to construct up a group and have extra stability appears to get.
I do know I’m not alone on this. The lack of group appears to be the primary reply you get whenever you ask long-term nomads what they miss. So perhaps that’s the value you pay for the liberty, journey, and adaptability. It’s as much as every of us to resolve for ourselves if that value is ever not value it anymore. Fortunately, whereas life is brief, it’s lengthy sufficient to change between staying put and touring a number of instances.
Lisa Jansen is a author and digital nomad primarily based in New Zealand. She is the creator of the journey memoir Life Accomplished Otherwise: One Lady’s Journey on the Street Much less Travelled, in addition to two different books. To attach with Lisa, go to her web site or observe her journey on Instagram or Fb.