Nomad Life: What It’s Really Like
Five years ago I decided to quit the grind and become what I am today – a nomad. I didn’t really expect it to go that way, however. I mean, I knew I was done for good, and I’d be a full time traveler for the foreseeable future. But a nomad? I hadn’t even considered myself one. Nah, I was but a traveler, on an endless journey to… something. I mean, I wasn’t even smart enough at the time to get International Insurance. I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
The Journey of a Nomad Begins
It all started most strangely. I was extremely depressed, and quite honestly, suicidal. My life at university was unfulfilling, and all that mattered between brief backpacking trips was saving for the next one. One day, beneath a tree in a beautiful park next to a pond, I was on LSD. I decided, and it was painfully obvious. It was time to kill myself.
The Death of my Past
What I didn’t realize at the time was how accurate this acid trip was. For I did have to kill myself indeed – only not in the literal sense. No, I had to chop the tree from the roots, and begin a different life – a life of travel. How, though? I had no money to my name, and $6,000 in credit card debt. Not a great start for a nomad. I told my best friend I was moving out of our apartment together, and I hit the road.
And So It Began
First I went to the States, albeit briefly, before hopping a plane to Australia. There I could do a working holiday visa, earning money on the road to pay off my debt without being stuck in my apartment in a city I loved but could no longer inhabit. My life was the open road. I soon learned to hitchhike and got comfortable with wild camping, as I traveled from one end of Australia to the other in search of different work. It was then off to New Zealand with me. And I just kept wandering from place to place.
A Shift Occurred
But by the time I’d reached New Zealand, I was so sick of talking to other travelers. They’d riddle me with the same questions on repeat, making me want to print and laminate a document with the answers to their questions before they even spoke. “How long have you been traveling?” “Where are you from?” “Where have you been?” And on it went. I was so sick of the same characters I met repeatedly, all on the same path. I was no longer one of them. But if I traveled, but was not a traveler, what was I?
A Nomad is Born
No, I wasn’t like them. I wasn’t on a three month or one year trip. I wasn’t taking a gap year. I had left the sedentary life for good, and was now a nomad. Slowly this became apparent with my lack of desire to ever return home. Sure, I had my moments where I longed for the ease of life back in Victoria, but I knew I could never return. I had become someone different altogether, and knew returning “home” was the end of my life.
And So It Goes
I continued on my path, ending my year long relationship with my boyfriend at the time, only to return to Canada, but just for a visit. I hitchhiked all the way from Victoria to Newfoundland – a journey that brought me 7,000 km across the country. Eventually my boyfriend and I got back together, and we headed south, south, south, all the way from Vancouver to Mexico, where we would inevitably break up again, this time for good.
A Lost Nomad
What the hell was I to do next? I was now a nomad, with no connection to anywhere in particular, and no one to turn to in this breakup. Where would I go? I decided to head down to Zipolite, as I had a friend that had headed there. It was the only legal nude beach in Mexico, and though I’d never gone fully nude in public, I was intrigued.
The Nomad Spins, Spins, Spins
The next couple of years I was out of control, with no one, nothing, and nowhere to grasp onto. I had no idea what I wanted, where I wanted to be, or what I was seemingly searching for. Eventually I had to return to Edmonton, the land from whence I came, to deal with severe depression. I hated nowhere on earth more than I detested Edmonton, but I needed to see a psychiatrist. I was in a dark place, suicidal and unknowing how I’d get by. After all, it was travel that had allowed me to escape my last depression. What now, if I’d been traveling when it befell me?
The Escape From Depression and Immersion Into the Nomad Life
Of course, eventually the depression passed, thanks to good medications and time. Time really does heal all. I headed back to Mexico armed with two of my closest friends, this time to travel with partners in crime. It was exactly what I needed. And when they left after two months, I was sad, and a bit lonely, but I was no longer lost. Suddenly I knew what I had been seeking for all these years: home.
The Nomad Finds Home
Though it still took me quite some time to realize it fully, I knew where home was – just what to do with that knowledge was the question. I still had my wandering nomad ways, and wasn’t quite sure how having a home factored into all of that. I continued my travels, until finally returning to Zipolite for the fifth time in three years. This time, I would stay all winter.
A Nomad Turned Expat?
While at this time I still wander, I am staying put in Zipolite, my home, for the next four to five months. It feels right here, and I love my lazy days swinging from a hammock. Will this nomad become an expat in Zipolite, Mexico? Perhaps. For the time, I will stay here all winter, and enjoy visiting friends and family all spring and summer, before my inevitable return in the fall. Within the next few years, I do see myself becoming a temporary resident of Mexico, allowing me to come and go as I please for four years. After this, I am even able to become a permanent resident. Will this nomad become an expat?
You’ll just have to stay tuned.