Time-Out at Home

8 June 2011. Filed under category Nomad.
Time-Out at Home

After leaving London, I returned to my parental home on a farm just outside the town of Ljungby, Sweden.

Why, after all my big talk of exploring the world and the great nomadic freedom, did I choose to go home? It isn’t exactly adventurous. In this post, I will try to answer that question.

Time and energy

De-constructing my old life and bidding adieu to London was hard work and took a lot out of me, both emotionally and time-wise. Knee-deep as I was in the old, I had neither time nor energy to plan for the new.

I live under no illusion that becoming a nomad will be easy. I expect that the first trembling steps will be particularly hard as I learn the ropes, one mistake at a time. In fact, it is all rather scary.

But since my first destination is a safe place that doesn’t need any preparations, I didn’t have to worry about it. Instead, I could focus all my energy where it was needed i.e. leaving London.

Clearly dividing the old from the new

Whenever I finish a book, I have to wait a couple of days before I can start the next. I need that time to let the old book sink in. It is in the time between books that I can mull over what I’ve read and lock away the experiences in my mind. Immediately moving on to the next book would cheapen the old.

I believe the same holds true for the phases in our lives.

It would be madness to simultaneously read the last chapter of one book and the first of another, yet that is what we risk doing if we try to seamlessly go from one phase to another. Both the end and the start of a phase offers opportunities to learn new lessons, but those opportunities can be lost if we try to do both at the same time.

By putting this break in between the old and the new, I bought myself the time to really savour the last few weeks in London. After all, a ten-year long chapter deserves an un-rushed ending.

Deferring tasks

I am aware that I go on about it, but seriously, there is so much to do when leaving your job, flat, stuff, friends and all those lovers. The more you can defer, the better. You will be plenty busy with the tasks that absolutely cannot wait.

By creating time in between the old and the new, you create a space where you can defer that which you must do before the new but not before leaving the old.

Some examples of those tasks are:

Those tasks, and others like them, would have been critical to get done before I left London had I not taken this time-out.

Reconnect with my family

A straightforward reason for coming home is that I wanted to. The big selling point of a nomadic life is to be free to go where you please, and why not home?

I have been in London for ten years. During that time, I have visited my family twice a year. Those short visits always felt rushed. Being location-independent means I can stay longer, and staying longer means I am not just visiting my family but living with them, an experience I haven’t had for ten years.

Finally, I am really really looking forward letting my mother pamper me.


If you are working towards a big change in your life, be it a shift to a nomadic lifestyle or something completely different, it is a good idea to take a time-out between the new and the old. It allows you to focus on what is important before, during and after the change. The time-out is the ideal place to rest and reflect on the old, which will leave you better prepared for the new.


Have you ever taken a time-out?

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  1. clokey says:

    I like the analogy of finishing a book and savouring the last chapters. Seems reasonable to me. So where is destination 1?

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      I haven’t decided yet, but it is looking like it might be Los Angeles.

  2. Doug Burns says:

    I have never understood people who can read more than one book at once. I don’t read nearly enough, but when I do it goes something like

    1) Pick up book and start reading
    2) Don’t talk to anyone or do anything until book is finished

    Which is probably why I don’t read enough. I’m either immersed or I’m not.

  3. Srinivasa says:

    Los Angeles: very good choice

  4. Daniel says:

    Hmmm I’m reading 4 books at the same time. So not sure if I agree. I need to have a few projects going on at the same time or I’ll get bored. I’m way more effective and learn more when I’m busy and stimulated.
    When I’m not busy I do nothing. However apart from 1 year in France I’ve never left London.

  5. Frank Antonio Cuervo says:

    It is great to hear, that you are excercizing
    Freedom. Big hug to you!

    Frank Antonio
    THE I AM…

  6. kimera azriel says:

    Your world dance begins.
    Solo or with a partner. New steps to learn. Each foot placed firmly before moving the other. A moment of stability each second between one motion and the next. Yes, even in breathing there is the pause between inhale and exhale, exhale and inhale. Pay attention to the pause. Try not to just rush into the next thing. See before and behind while you are in that place and savor the moment. Being at the top of a roller coaster before the plunge!

  7. Hmmm, I am weird… I read your graphic at the top of this post as “tea-house” 😛

    One of the best things about taking time to “do stuff” is not feeling guilty taking time to “do nothing”. Enjoy!


  8. Allan Ivan says:

    Gustav. Seeing as you are now the Modern Nomad, and seeing as this blog is about taking time-out, I take advantage of the situation and ask for your (and your followers’) advice. I will be taking about a month off from mid-September to start writing a book (a boring legal one) and I am going to take advantage of not being physically in London for a while, so I am going to ensconce myself in some European town for a month, ‘Room with a View’ style. The question is – where? I think I want to avoid the big cities, as I live in one, but it needs to be big enough to explore. Any ideas? Al x

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      Take all the advantage as you can! I’m not sure where would be good place, but I will keep my eyes open. I too am going to (hopefully) finish my book, and I hope to find a good place to do so.

      As important as the place where you write is the tool with which you write it. Get a good low-distraction writing software. I use Q10.

    2. I suggest Slovenia – it’s cheap, quiet, there’s a lot of outdoors-y things to do, and it’s the most beautiful place I’ve discovered in the world to date. If you can’t find somewhere near Bled (a little touristy right in the town, but the best spot in the country) there’s lots of other little towns in the mountains and on the riverside.

  9. Daniel says:

    Funningly enough I’m doing the same thing in July. Taking time to finish my book. It depends how much writing you want to do.

    My criteria is nice scenary, cheap rent and internet access. I’m going to do 4 hours writing per day

    I’m thinking of the Alpes, Cornwall or Scotland they are quite scenic, there’s not too many distractions but you can do treks and athletic activities.

  10. Māris Sants says:

    Everything will be very well with you, dear Gustav, My heart is with you,

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      Thank you Maris, that means a lot to me. I miss drinking juice at the coffee shop with you.

Have you ever taken a time-out?

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