Mission Statement

28 January 2012. Filed under category Nomad.
Finding your nomadic path.

Finding your nomadic path.

The word ‘nomad’ induces in people a long list of preconceived notions. For many, they immediately envision camels and deserts. By calling myself the modern nomad and through my writing, I wanted to stress that I am doing something quite different. Despite that, I am still met with many misconceptions of my nomadic life. For example, people think that I am…

With this post, I want to sweep these misconceptions aside and clearly state what The Modern Nomad is all about.

Mission Statement



Without further ado, here is my mission statement. *Drumroll please*

To explore how a modern nomadic life can best be geo-independent, sustainable and eudaemonic.

I know; it looks tiny, but there is quite a lot to it. Let me elaborate.


Geographical independence is fundamental to a nomadic life. No part of a nomad’s life — work, relationships, hobbies — can be rooted to a specific place or he won’t be able to move freely.

But what does this mean in practice? How do you create a mobile career? Where will you keep your bank account? Where will you send your mail? How do you deal with healthcare? To whom do you pay taxes? Is there such a thing as a ‘nomadic relationship’?

If I am to succeed in creating a nomadic life, then I need to find the answers to those and similar questions.




I often get the question, “What are you going to do after you finish your journey?” I have no such plan because the journey is indefinite. It is not a gap-year or a sabbatical. I am not ‘taking a break’ from my life; this is my life.

Like everyone else, I need to ensure that my life is sustainable. Many have a hard time accepting that continuous travel could ever be sustainable. They often make the mistake of imagining their own travel and then extrapolate from it a vision of a lifelong holiday. They think of that expensive trip to Rome and how tired they were afterwards; how can I hope to sustain that kind of expenditure and pace?

The answer is simple. I don’t. Nomadic travel is quite different. I have not solved the problem of sustainability yet, but I have a clear picture of the challenge ahead and I am working on it.


Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), The School of Athens by Rafael

Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), The School of Athens by Rafael

Geo-independence and sustainability enables you to have a nomadic life, but they do not give it meaning. However, a nomadic life does facilitate the exploration of not only the world but also ourselves — our strengths, ethics, passions, resourcefulness etc. The ancient Greek philosophers considered such self-discovery the path towards eudaemonia, ‘the good life’.

Eudaemonia is a term used in ancient philosophy to represent the highest human good. The translation is something between ‘happiness’, ‘welfare’ and ‘flourishing’. Think of it as ‘living and doing well’.

Eudaemonia is as fascinating as it is complex. The ancient philosophers debated what kind of life should be considered eudaemonic, and naturally, they all had different ideas. (My money is on Aristotle.) The term is by definition what it means to live ‘a good life’, but it is up to you to work out what that means in practice.

Personally, I think that the dynamic life of a nomad is my path to eudaemonia. I do not believe eudaemonia to be found in spreadsheets and Rolex watches; I believe it should be sought and experiences among the challenges and fortunes of our majestic world. By sharing my journey, I hope to inspire others with similar sentiments to follow their hearts.

Finally, I offer this wisdom from Socrates, which seems more pertinent today than ever.

Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation, and honour as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth or the best possible state of your soul.

Eudaemonia and Areté

Eudaemonia (also spelled eudemonia or eudaimonia) is linked to another beloved concept of the ancient philosophers:  aretē. Aretē is often translated as ‘virtue’, although don’t think of it as morality. It is closer to ‘excellence’ or ‘fulfilment of purpose or function’. It includes such ‘virtues’ as beauty, strength and craftsmanship.

The ancient philosophers agreed that eudaemonia must be achieved through arête. The big question was whether aretē was sufficient for eudaemonia (as held by e.g. Socrates) or if there were other external factors that affected eudaemonia (as held by Aristotle.)

The Wikipedia article on eudaemonia is a good introduction to these topics and well worth a read.

Travel Update

I am still in the Swiss village of Lostorf, in the home of Xavier, one of my most industrious commenters and loyal reader. I’ve been working a lot on a website project, and I am about to start another soon.

My daily routine is one of quiet luxury. I get up, make myself a coffee using the kitchen-integrated Nespresso machine and enjoy it while watching the sun rise over the village. Then I settle into the leather sofa and start working. Mid-day, I take Toby, the dog, out for a walk, sometimes up to the castle on the hill. In the evenings, I dine deliciously with Xavier and his partner Josep, and after chatting for a while, I go to bed. Rinse — repeat. It is a good life.


What do you think of this mission statement?

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  1. J. says:

    Your mission statement would not be the same without the drumroll and fanfare…

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      What can I say? I have a penchant for the overly dramatic. 🙂

  2. Caitlyn says:

    I love it! Your writing is entertaining to say the least.

  3. Oby Oputa says:

    Hi Gussie, really liked your this post. I found it interesting and it shed more light on what you are doing and trying to do with your life and, the ethics driving you. I suppose the whole experience of a modern nomad life style is a learning and evolving one, an organic, self sustaining organism.
    Keep finding your path and going for it, that’s something we all have to do. Oby

  4. Craig Brown says:

    I have a few responses to this, so I will geekily enumerate them.

    1. In a way we are ALL nomads! Maybe not on the dimension of space but in the dimension of TIME. We can guide our self in a direction with our goals, etc…, but we are never quite sure what will happen in the road up ahead. Friends come and go. Some stay longer than others. We all choose what to value and then live out the responsibility of that choice. We don’t all start in the same place and don’t end up in the same place. We are essentially alone. And in that we must all make an effort at connection. We don’t know when our travel in time will end. All this is important to the time traveler nomad. That’s all of us.

    2. In space, I live a quasi nomadic life as a flight attendant. I have a fixed address where I can recoup, receive mail, and I know where/how to pay my income tax. I hope you pay your income tax in the Cayman Islands Gustav! But I’m still all over the place enough to experience a kind of travel phantasmagoria. I also get asked strange questions, only mine being something like “How can you stand all those rude people for so many hours?!” This is incomprehensible to me. I’ve met the most awesome friends on planes. The idiots…well…”Bye, bye!” What we choose to pay attention to is an essential part of a eudaemonic lifestyle, nomad or not. In this choice we gradually create our self and our happiness.

    3. This mission statement seems a year late in a way…yet I know that perhaps you realize things now that you didn’t think of then. The sustainability issue is key and needs addressing. I have always pondered about your privacy and the creation of solid relationships. But when I have spoken of you to others I am also asked questions like “Where does he get his mail?” I’m presuming they mean snail mail of course. Things like this are second tier. Yet, interesting…especially for those considering a nomadic lifestyle, which you are helping to create. Feel free to share these more mundane answers when you figure them out.

  5. Julie Sullivan says:

    Yay! I got enough courage to comment! Let me just say that I love this post, and I want to thank you for making this blog. I’m 15 and plan on being a nomad when I… erm… Come of age? This blog inspires me. You make it look so easy… Thank you so much.

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      Thank you for finding the courage to comment! I hope it will become a habit. Many thanks for the kind and encouraging words too.

      People often ask if what I do is hard. It was a hard choice to make, but the execution of it isn’t that complicated. Sure, the money issue is yet to be solved, but I’m sure I’ll get that sorted soon. The rest is just a matter of whether the life fits your. If it does, it won’t be hard but thrilling and exciting. In another word, eudaemonic!

  6. Daphney says:

    Hi Gustav,
    I am grateful for all your blogs.. Life’s serendipity really make us to be unbound and exploring… Thanks for the inspiration.. I have a project for concept of nomadic lifestyle..
    Hope you could shed some light on how to bring or take a person into a space that will start the connection or touch ? simplify it for me?

  7. Will Bryan says:

    I felt a lot of meaning behind this Gustav. I’m in the same boat as Julie, 16 years and not satisfied with the idea of a fixed life. I’ve always wanted to go on adventures of my own like in books. The biggest difficulty is getting ready! Again this post helped ease my mind. Thank you my friend! 🙂

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      Getting ready can be overwhelming. The way I dealt with that was to draw up a map, a visual simple map, of all I needed to do to get ready, and then get working.

      Check out The Map article for more info.

  8. Janet says:

    I’m amazed that you have such a clear idea what your goal is. No, wait, I’m not amazed; I’m jealous. No, wait, that isn’t it either. I’m inspired.

    What is my mission statement? Hmmmm….

    1. Janet says:

      To achieve eudaemonia. There, that can be my circular little mission statement. 🙂

      1. How is that circular reasoning working out for you? Found eudaemonia yet? (I’m still looking)

  9. peter says:

    so how would a person start this journey if they to are wanting to do this?

    1. Hi Peter! I think every nomadic adventure should start by sharing my blog with all their friends. 🙂 Nah, just kidding. Sorry to say that we all start at different starting points, and I can’t say what will be your best way of doing this. It’s for you to find out. And there is where the fun lies too!

      I can, however, offer you my own choices and consequences as inspiration and example. And I have, on this blog. Go right back to the beginning of the blog, and you’ll find exactly how I did it all. The first 10 blog posts or so should do it.

  10. Fiona Gore says:

    So inspired by this, everybody dreams, but not a lot of people make their dreams reality?! I have traveled, and i know that the world is my oyster, there are too many amazing things to see than to be trapped in the same office day in day out. I don’t want to be trapped in a lifestyle that i dont agree with. Everybody should see the world and why not do that throughout your life, picking up your belongings and seeing were you end up next. People around me say i live in a dream world, and yes they are right, but its an amazing place to be and i will follow them. As soon as my degree is finished I’m out of here and who knows where ill be :). Thank you for making me even more excited to follow my dreams 🙂

    1. Fiona Gore says:

      P.S. I am studying a degree in interior architecture, and part of my dissertation i am writing about micro-living/ nomadic living, this is why i have come across this page :). I want to find out the type of people who do it/ why/ how. Also the type of people who disagree and why. Also throughout the years has it become more popular? You have brightened up my day 🙂

      1. Hi Fiona! Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. Blogging sometimes seems like futile navelgazing and it helps keep the fires burning that someone says, ‘thanks’.

        I hope you’ll continue to follow the blog (subscribe?) and if I can assist in your dissertation, do let me know.

  11. Sarah says:

    Hi! I literally just found this blog 2 minutes ago and am really intrigued already! So like Julie I’m also 15 and am contemplating becoming a nomad when I’m older…maybe? I dunno, I’m really REALLY indecisive (which is why I think being nomadic would be fun). Thanks for making this blog!

  12. Leslie says:

    How inspiring! Setting a good guide for those seeking a more simple, nomadic life. First few minutes on your site and already very excited to read some of your entries! Also interested in hearing about the bank account set-up 😉

    1. Welcome to the blog! I hope you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

  13. Huck Middeke says:

    Hello Gustav,
    I am writing to you from a place called Finnland. If you ever come here be sure to visit me. I can share stuff with you so that we can go to the forest and sit by the fire and eat good food.
    You can learn more about me here: NordicByNature.net and also if you search for “tedx global spring ” or “tedx survival lesson #1” by Huck Middeke.
    As a father, wildernessguide and environmental activist I am eager to find a lifestyle that my child can safely copy. So for me “more sustainable” is not enough.
    Looking at past and present, it seems foolish to make as much use as possible from our modern world when we try to reinvent our ways. Right now our lifestyle is literally suicidal and we don’t even realise that the problems we are dealing with are in fact symptoms of our own behaviour.
    So since we are the problem we are also the solution and as it seems best I want to be the change I want to see in the world.
    Semi-Nomadic hunter gatherer is the lifestyle that we know has worked sustainably for the most part of human history. Even before we mastered fire.
    Born naked we actually know how little we really need to live and I am so sick of my current life, even though I am living pretty ecological in comparison to most others here.

    Moving alone with my family to the woods would not help enough.
    Here’s my dream:
    Find competent and devoted people of different ages and backgrounds to start living a life on the move. Reduced possessions would allow us to be independent from motorised transportation and would allow us to go deeper into the woods and cities to hunt and gather. While combing life in both worlds, we will interact and act as a bridge between modern world and reality by providing lectures and trainings to communities along the way. Teach about permaculture, sharing economy, wild food, ..
    As a wildernessguide my business is independent from locations and I am happy to exchange my services and skills for more than just money.

    Question: during your travels have you come across other travelling communities? What do you think would be the biggest challenge and what do you think about the whole idea?

    Best regards to wherever my message finds you,

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