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…
- Sleeping rough.
- Always on the move, staying only a few nights in each city.
- Working hand-to-mouth doing odd jobs like bar tendering and cleaning.
- Planning to do this for only a year or two, as a sabbatical.
With this post, I want to sweep these misconceptions aside and clearly state what The Modern Nomad is all about.
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.
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.