Six Years on the Street – Making the Full-Time Journey Dream Actuality

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 residing in a Ford Transit campervan, a journey I share in my newest e-book, Life Accomplished In another way. Since promoting the van, I lived in a tiny home for 2 months, been a home sitter in numerous locations, stayed with buddies, and infrequently booked an Airbnb.  

I really like being a nomad. I really like the liberty and suppleness. 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 most definitely 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 though life was nice, I started to have doubts in regards to the route I used to be heading in. I used to be very career-focused, working lengthy hours because the Head of Advertising for a tech startup. I loved it, however I needed 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 youngsters. It was what all of my buddies have been doing. 

Nonetheless, whereas I used to be excited for my buddies and will see the sweetness within the lives they have been creating, I wasn’t positive it was the precise path for me. By some means, I simply couldn’t image myself strolling down an aisle in a white costume or elevating a bunch of little ones – at the least not but. 

What do you do once you really feel misplaced and uncertain about what to do along with your life? You go touring! And once you dwell in an incredible nation like New Zealand, it is smart to discover your yard as a substitute of hopping on a airplane to faraway locations. So I made a decision to purchase a campervan, stop my job, and take a while to determine who I’m and what I need from life. 

It was purported to be for one summer time. One summer time of journey, freedom, exploration, and escaping my busy metropolis life. That summer time become 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 gorgeous surroundings of New Zealand, challenged society’s norms and expectations about what a lady in her 30s ought to be targeted on, and located the solutions I used to be searching for.

Making a residing as a nomad

From the very starting, I cherished the life-style, particularly the sense of freedom. Stepping away from my busy, career-focused life in Auckland, New Zealand’s greatest metropolis, made me understand how a lot the stress had impacted me and the way significantly better I felt residing a slower, extra intentional life. Nonetheless, most likely the primary cause I stored touring past that first summer time – the primary cause I used to be capable of – is that I found I may work remotely. 

Till then, I had labored in numerous advertising roles that every one required me to be within the workplace, at the least more often than not. This was a number of years earlier than Covid made distant working extra frequent. On the time, I didn’t know anybody with a distant job, so I hadn’t thought of it an choice. 

Once I advised the corporate I used to be working for again in 2017 about my plans, aspiring to resign, they requested if I might think about 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 marketing consultant. As well as, I began writing for a journey journal and in addition wrote three books, together with the journey memoir Life Accomplished In another way

Due to a superb community and glorious fame, I get a lot of work by phrase of mouth and referrals. Consequently, to this point, I’ve at all times had sufficient work, which is among the essential causes I’ve been capable of journey full-time for so long as I’ve. The opposite large cause is that I dwell a easy, low-cost life. 

Low-cost methods to journey

Journey is commonly deemed costly, but it surely doesn’t must be. Positive, if you wish to keep in luxurious resorts or do a lot of excursions and actions, the prices add up shortly. 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 lots 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 approach to economize whereas touring. 

I’m additionally very selective about what excursions and actions I pay for, typically choosing a free hike or bike trip as a substitute of a paid exercise. I don’t spend a lot on going out or trend, and whereas most of my hobbies, like paddleboarding, kitesurfing, and biking, require pricy tools, 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 form of place the place you may journey for a few years with out losing interest, particularly for those who love nature and adventuring within the nice outside. 

The one large draw back 

 There have, in fact, been challenges through the years. I needed to write off my first campervan. Selecting a life so completely different from most of my buddies generally made me really feel lonely and disconnected. Sometimes, I doubted my selections. 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 needed to be. 

There may be one important draw back to this life-style that’s greater than a little bit speedbump, and that’s the shortage of group. The actual-life form of group. The sense of consolation that comes with belonging someplace, with figuring out your neighborhood. The sensation of connection and belonging that, at the least for me, solely comes from spending a lot of time with somebody. 

There’s a thriving worldwide nomad group, and connecting with like-minded folks from everywhere in the world on-line has been superb. Nevertheless it’s not the identical as having a real-life group. 

So, for those who’d ask me if there’s something I genuinely miss, that will be it — a real-life group. 

Thus far, 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 manner, 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 dearth of group appears to be the primary reply you get once you ask long-term nomads what they miss. So perhaps that’s the value you pay for the liberty, journey, and suppleness. It’s as much as every of us to determine for ourselves if that value is ever not price 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 based mostly in New Zealand. She is the creator of the journey memoir Life Accomplished In another way: 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 comply with her journey on Instagram or Fb.

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