*GASP!* You’ve been traveling for over three years straight?! I’m so jealous of your life! I wish I could do that!
These are the words that I’m sick to death of hearing. If I’m in a good mood I’ll give you a smile in response. If I’m in a realistic mood I’ll straight up tell you that while sometimes it rocks, sometimes it downright sucks. Some days I fucking hate being a nomad. But I simply am one. I can’t turn myself into a person who is perfectly content in a sedentary life, so I have to just put up with it, suck it up, and keep on moving.
Cause that’s what I do; I move.
A few month trip is a glorious adventure filled with highs and lows, new friends from around the world who you’re just positive you’ll stay in touch with forever. Then you return home, perhaps with a twinge of sadness, only to be reunited with all your favourite humans, rejoicing at your return. You regale them with tales of your travels, and while you may miss the road, you’re also pretty happy to be home.
That’s a trip.
I, on the other hand, have no choice but to live a complete nomadic existence. I have no place I identify as home. I have few very close friends, and they certainly can’t all be found in one town – hell, they’re spread across the entire damn globe. My home is my backpack, my tent, myself.
Some of you are thinking how utterly freeing that must be…
Driven by the irony that only being shackled to the road may ever I be free. -Frank Turner
And it is freeing. But it’s also fucking hard as hell. Do you have any idea how lonely I get? There aren’t always people around that you connect with (in fact there rarely are) and when you’re as antisocial as me you cringe at the thought of making small talk for an hour with someone you have nothing in common with (and who will almost certainly say the opening line of this article).
And bored. I get so bored without anyone to talk to. Oh sure, I could go see some museum or climb that hill for a stunning view. I could go for a swim or a hike or whatever the hell is around. I’ve done it all and I’ve done none of it; sometimes doing these things alone, especially when I’ve done similar things before anyways, just feels empty.
Then there are the times I run out of money and I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do for food or shelter until I am forced to figure it out. Shall I be trying dumpster diving today? I’m inexperienced at it so it may prove difficult. I’m excellent at finding a place to stash my tent, but being a chick on her own, some spots can be sketchier than others. Is that the wind outside my tent or someone about to rob and murder me? (It’s always the wind, but that never stops me from staying awake terrified.)
Being a nomad has transformed me from someone who loved chatting with anyone and everyone to preferring to listen to music over making small talk with idiots (or non-idiots I just don’t connect with). It has shown me my own resourcefulness in the face of supposed disasters. I have found out that I can do absolutely anything I want with my life, and I can go anywhere. Making decisions has become increasingly more difficult with this realization, but I’ll still choose my freedom over a lack thereof which would provide for easier decision making.
I have no idea what I’m doing nor where I’m headed. This is just my life. I’m a nomad and some days it’s the coolest lifestyle ever, while others it’s just bloody awful. Much like any other life.
This is just who I am.
Perhaps next time I receive the typical response of excitement towards my lifestyle I shall respond:
*GASP!* You’ve been sedentary for over three years?! I’m so jealous of your lifestyle!
Cause I’d love to feel satisfaction in a so-called normal life, but that just isn’t me.
So if you’re a nomad, go be a nomad, but know you’ve got a hell of a lot of sacrifices ahead. And if you aren’t, for god sake enjoy your little trips and don’t be jealous of me, cause we’re entirely different types of people, and long term travel ain’t what you think it is.
Thinking of taking a long trip? Check out this long term travel planning post, a balanced view from a fellow experienced traveller!