In Summer 2016 we started traveling. 2017 we spent the whole year on the road. What a year it has been. We have been in many new countries, have had incredible experiences and basically too much to tell for a whole lifetime. Since the end of a year is a nice milestone today we’ll take a step back and write a bit of recap. A year of nomadic life, so much effort, fun, and strangeness.
Last year we already answered a lot of the questions about technicalities. Like is this legal (yes), how do you earn money (we are remote freelancers) and which is your health insurance (Integra global). You can read the full post here.
The Most Important Thing First! What our Life is ACTUALLY Like:
One question we answered in last years entry we would like to revisit. The “You are living the dream, your lives are SO amazing!” part which is often followed by “I am SO jealous, I wish I could do it too.”
We think the thing that is the most difficult and abstract for people to understand is this: We are not just traveling and having fun constantly. We are actually living a pretty ordered and basic life. During the weeks we work, on weekends we play. Isn’t that what everybody does? We are just not always in the same place and never have our own things and standard comfort around us. Our days and weeks are not full of adventure, even if our Instagram channel might suggest that. They are actually often pretty dull: Getting up, having brekkie, working the whole day, going for a run or doing Yoga, watching a movie, sleepy time. Most of the weeks we don’t even do ANY interesting activities. We are both huge movie geeks and go to the movies often. That is it. The real magic happens on weekends and on rare occasions when we can take a week off. Disappointed? 😉
Upside and Downside: Which are the Best and Worst Parts of your Life?
Well, the upside is of course to see a crapload of amazing places. In the past 1.5 years, I have seen more countries than in my entire other 29 years of life. I love how traveling changes my perspective on life and people. I do not love how it also makes me a bit cynical towards life and people. But I live for soaking up these landscapes we come through and hope that I will remember them for the rest of my life. They are like paintings in my mind.
I also am at ease with the fact that I have taken myself out of the equation. The equation being: Tied to a desk, tied to societal “standards”, tied to anyone else’s expectations other than my own. I am still struggling with this but being able to do it makes it all worth it.
The downside is also pretty strong honestly. Keep in mind that once the downside would get too heavy we wouldn’t be traveling anymore so it is all still pretty good 😉 So, being far away from literally everyone is hard. My only person around is Lukas and he has to replace pretty much everyone for me. My family, my best friend, my GP at times… it is hard. Our level of relying on each other is intense. It has brought us closer but it also made others things more difficult.
Another thing I really don’t enjoy is commuting between places. I don’t mind so much that I don’t have my own bed sheets or towels or kitchen appliances… but I don’t enjoy that we never stay in a place for long. I always know that it is just for a short time, it makes me feel pretty unsettled at times. So that’s something that I could really live without.
For me, the upside is the freedom. It is not about seeing something specific or packing as many experiences in the short time. It is the fact that you can do whatever you want with your life. I managed something I have been working on hard since I was 18. To be able to choose where in the world I want to be and what I want to do, without compromising my career or my relationship. That’s (as Kiwis would say) sweet as.
One downside is for sure lack of friends and family. They stand by us and tolerate what we are trying to do, but at the end of the day, it is a selfish choice and people who care about you and count on you do suffer as a result. And if you are not a psychopath, you are aware of that. The other thing is not really specific to our lifestyle but holds true for any choice you make in your life. There is always a compromise involved. When people are jealous of what we do, it is usually because of the lack of understanding of what we had to give up.
Nomadic Life: How Is It To Not Have a Home?
Not having a home has become rather relative to us over the past 1.5 years. Isn’t a place where you stay and have all your belongings your home? If only for a short time you make the space you live on your own. At least that is how we have treated this. When we stay in an Airbnb for a month we don’t refer to it as “Let’s go back to the Airbnb” when we are out. We say “Let’s go home.” Of course, not having a permanent living arrangement is though at times. We have become used to it and have our own ways of scouting a place online to max out the level of comfort we will experience. So far it works, being “homeless” is not so bad if you are earning money while doing it.
Where Do You Guys Actually Stay?
In South America, we didn’t always have a lot of great options so sometimes we stayed in hostels. We realized quickly that staying in a dorm was not for us though. Loud people, party-atmosphere, uncomfortable beds. All of those things are very counterproductive when you have to get up and work in the morning. We made it our mission to only stay in double rooms or preferably AirBnbs. AirBnbs are our jam, it is always like a little home. We almost never had a bad experience, normally we can rely on having privacy, a proper kitchen and an area that works as a workspace.
How Do You Keep Yourselves Motivated?
Phew, well… the motivation is kind of always present: If we don’t struggle and earn money our lifestyle will be over. So motivation is really not on the backburner. It’s more problematic to get work. At least for Jamie. The motivation is full-on, the demand not so much. Luckily we have our blog and Instagram so keeping busy is really not a problem.
What Are The Biggest Obstacles of a Nomadic Life?
Mostly Wifi connection honestly. In South America, we had huge problems at times. During our month in Bolivia, we were hunting down places to work from every day. Peru had ok internet and Colombia rather difficult again. When we came to Australia we had high hopes for a stable internet but the struggle was still on. Apparently, the whole country has a problem with broadband connections at the moment. You can see how bad our connection was in the past year on this: Jamie hasn’t been able to back up photos in 6 months. Time zones are another though issue often.
Since coming to Oceania the time difference to Europe is so vast that it is hard to stay in contact with friends and family. At times that makes us feel even more isolated. We are a whole day ahead and it seems like we are on a different planet. This results in long days when we attempt to make calls work.
Which Were Your Favorite Work-Locations So Far?
Lima, Peru. The balance between working in the day and many entertaining things closeby in the evening was just perfect for my taste. I could go for a sunset stroll along the coast, work from a hipstery cafe during the day or just stay home and use the amazing Wifi we had there.
For me, it was Newcastle, NSW. The town was not too big or small, we lived 5 minutes walk from the beach. We had a good internet connection and nature close by to clear your head. I actually enjoy working from home so I don’t need many special cafes around :-).
Which Was Your Favorite Destination For Play?
That is harder to answer, I can’t really point out one single place. I really liked our trip to the Daintree, that rainforest was amazing. But we were in a good company so that might’ve also been a big part of the fond memories. I also had a great time in Bright, Victoria. The place was super cute, the landscapes awesome and there were many things to do. A definite highlight was our vacation on the Casa En El Agua though, close to Cartagena, Colombia.
I loved the Ausangate and Huaraz regions in Peru. The mountains and how close they are amazed me. It was a really cool place to actually feel like you had to do a bit of work to see the places, not just jump off the bus. I am curious how are these areas going to evolve as they get more popular with tourists since Peru, in general, is not headed in a great direction.
How Long Are You Guys Going To Do This?
Last year the answer was until we don’t feel like it anymore. Or until we find a place we both want to live in. We actually found a lot of places this past year in which we would like to live. Unfortunately, they were all in Australia and New Zealand and immigration is rather impossible. Guess we’ll have to keep looking. Our plans for 2018 are more or less set, we will slow down even more. Until March we are in New Zealand. After that we have planned three months in Japan, three months in Slovakia and only the last three months of the year are not 100% clear yet. But we are looking at Portugal, Ireland or Cyprus at the moment.
After being away from our home countries for so long, heading to Europe already seems like being back. We will soak that in for a while and stay within a short (flight) distance of our families. Yes, it is still exciting for us to travel and work at the same time. But with it also comes exhaustion, worries about the future and (sometimes) inconvenience and struggle. So we are going to keep going… but we are also contemplating if 2019 will not bring a stable place for a change. As always: Stay tuned for more, your guess on what will happen is as good as ours.
Also published on Medium.