Year Review 2011

31 December 2011. Filed under category Personal.
A memory from a life no more.

A memory from a life no more.

A dear friend sent me a picture of an ornament that hung in my Christmas tree last year. The picture brought back, with superb clarity, my life as it looked back then. I was in love, I had a great job, I lived in a beautiful flat in central London and my many friends kept me happy. I didn’t know then that only a few weeks later, I would be working towards tearing it all down.

On New Year’s Day, I took a hard look at myself and understood that my comfortable life had lulled me into a state of stagnation (New Year, New Life). I was proud of the life I had built, but I didn’t want to live it anymore. Instead, I wondered what other interesting lives I could create, and what I would learn along the way. And so I decided to take on the challenge of building a nomadic life.

A year has passed, and it is time to evaluate the journey so far.

Tearing down the old life

I was surprised at how easy it was to walk away from my old life. I drew a map of my roots to London (The Map), and once identified, it took only a few months to sever them all. I quit my job, I told my landlord I was leaving and I gave away all my stuff (Give-Away Party).

The biggest obstacle I had to overcome wasn’t practical but mental. I was terrified of making the biggest mistake of my life (Fear). Some of that fear still remains.

The Honeymoon (USA)

I thought that it might take some time to get accustomed to living out of a backpack and with no fixed address. I decided to ease myself into it by picking an easy first destination. I spent my first three months as a nomad in USA living with friends and going from one fun adventure to another. I revelled in my new freedom without worrying about the future.

Facing Reality (Mexico)

I arrived in Mexico City without knowing anyone and with no real plans for what to do. It was time to lay the foundation for a sustainable nomadic life (i.e. work) but I felt demotivated and lost (Purpose).

I have many good memories from Mexico, but this was also the toughest time for me this year. I still feel lost as to what I am going to do for a living and what exactly I am trying to accomplish with my new life, but I try not to stress out over it any more.

New Passions

My 2011 Journey

My 2011 Journey

I left my old life because I wanted to expose myself to new situations and hopefully find new passions in life. Apart from my wild desire for <censored>, I’ve also found that I am a sucker for country western culture. I love the honest, genuine, salt-of-the-earth cowboys and cowgirls that I met. I had a great time competing at the Rodeo and I’m chuffed that I wrestled a steer to the ground in 5.8 seconds! But most of all, I loved learning how to dance two-stepping and the shadow.

What I miss

I miss my weekly role-playing games. My cocktail-fuelled board game nights come a good second.

New Skills

This was my first year as a blogger, so my two new skills are both related to The Modern Nomad.

Firstly, I’ve realized that I’m a decent writer. I still find writing about as painful as a trip to the dentist, but the encouragement I’ve received from you readers keeps me from giving up, and I even consider writing a possible career option.

Secondly, I’ve really pushed my skills in website design. My hard work paid off when I was awarded Site of the Month by my web host. I’ve even been offered a few website design jobs, and I’m now seriously considering this a possible career option.

I also dabbled in Carpet Cleaning, but I don’t think I’m cut out for the job.

Year in numbers

A painting of me by Francisco León.

A painting of me by Francisco León.


2011 has been the most life-changing year of my life. I might not be as carefree and happy as I was in London, but I can’t remember ever being so excited about my life either. I once again feel like my life is an adventure! The path is clear for either a fantastic fortune or a flamboyant fail!

Tomorrow begins a year of breath-taking potential, and I can’t wait to see what will happen!

Review TMN

I’d like to know what you think of my first year as a blogger. What kind of posts do you like the most? Which kind would you like to see less of? More or less facts? Please leave any feedback, good or bad, in the comment section.


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  1. Sal says:

    I think this is my favorite of your posts so far. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, but your summary show’s how much you’ve accomplished in the past year.
    I met you at Burning Man this past year. I was with the Dickstracted camp. When you first told me about your nomadic lifestyle I was amazed that anyone would choose to pick up and make such a drastic life-changing move and envious because your lifestyle is something that I would have loved to experience but at my age seems impossible to do.
    Congratulations for all of your achievements in the past year. You are admired by many, as you may well know. Thanks for letting us live vicariously by you. Best of luck in 2012!
    All the best,

  2. Crys says:

    Gustav, so hard to pick a favorite but, if I must it would be the Burning Man posts. Not only did I learn more about Burning Man from a true ” Burner “, it was the first time I EVER entered into the cyber world and commented on anything. I have slowly been growing and evolving as a human and being a tiny piece of the community you have formed, has made me a more aware, thinking, feeling person. I don’t know if you realize how life affirming your posts are. Yes, you have great talent as a writer. You may not know where you are going as far as ” purpose”, but I can say without a doubt, you have helped me in my quest to find mine. I am not there yet, but getting closer. You inspire me. Not to be a nomad, to be a more genuine being.
    And, through your blog I met Craig, BONUS!
    I am grateful you decided to take all of us along on your journey.
    Oh yes, painting by Francisco, profoundly beautiful. So much to read in those eyes.

  3. Craig Brown says:

    My favorite posts are opposite in nature. They are the child and the adult, and if integrated successfully, could lead to a spectacular result. First, the child, “Nomadic Culture”. This is the quality that slapped me in the face when I met you, how it hadn’t been beaten out of you. And this post illustrates your masterful skill at writing. It was whimsically told by an unselfconscious imagination set free. Herein lies the seed of your success as a storyteller beyond this blog if you so choose. The second is “Purpose”. You hit a nerve with so many of your readers on this post. For a good reason. We ALL need this. That a crisis in purpose was your first real nomadic crisis is a good sign that you must now deal with the issue that lies at the foundation of finding success as a sustainable nomad. So the adult steps in.

    You are an incredibly talented writer, Gustav. As I share your blog with so many people I meet I try to convince them this is not your ordinary blog. You deserve the design award. But more than that I tell people that each post is “short and sweet.” You waste no words. The thoughts are well organized. You are self aware and utterly honest. No one feels like they are reading self absorbed bullshit. You waste no one’s time. You find writing hard? Have you read “Flow”? (Thank you Elliot!!!). Focusing your attention on the difficult creative activity of your talent as a writer is likely to lead to some of your happiest moments. There is purpose there! (And yes, for food and a roof, WEBSITE DESIGN…rings true to me! Solving the problem of sustainability will be a big relief and accomplishment.)

    2011 was also an amazing year for me. As an example, I never would have dreamed that Gustav Andersson from my past would serendipitously pop back into my life for our mutual benefit. This is the kind of thing that happens when one lives authentically, adventurously. I wonder: which of your new 32 friends will one day also be my friend: Ernesto? Kimera? Elliot? Jon? Xavier? Don? (I know some of these weren’t new) Which of my friends will become yours? James? Fabian? Bob? Rajeev? And who will become either of our friends whom neither of us has met yet except through this blog? Melissa? Crys? And more!! Who awaits even in the coming year?! I’m poised, because of you, to purchased two Burning Man tickets 2012. Oh!! Who knows who I’ll meet there! It’s almost the best way!!

    One small correction to the above post. You did make $60 as a professional puzzle solver. 😉

    And isn’t there a way to role play online? Not the same, but good in a different way. You might recruit some non-roleplayers into what sounds like a creative collaboration.

    What posts I’d like to see more of in 2012 echo my first paragraph. Posts of whimsical fancy…and post of the deepest, most blatant honesty.

    Peace and Love my new Friend! 2012 awaits! Tales of hope and despair and adventure and ennui as the modern nomad, the person, grows bigger and bigger.

  4. I don´t have favorite post, but there is one that makes me reflect about my thoughts, it is the post about “PURPOSE”. The other post that makes me sense is about “HIDALGO”, it is interesting to know the point of view of a foreign person about my home town, the way that you describe it it´s so funny. Also the post of “LEAVING MEXICO CITY” it´s funny, I had a lot of fun when we took that pictures in the Ex-convent, for me was the first time that expulsed me of a convent-museum, (It never will going to happen, “trust me”)

    Right now, here I am, sitting and writting to you in front of the snow, drinking a beer and reflecting about this 2011.

    I learn from you, my dear Gustav, the importance and sense of a moment. To meet you I have learn that we must to enjoy it, as you told us to Ernest and me, “this is the moment, whatever we want share or whatever we can show you, it is the right time,” We know that it will have an ending so we need to take the chance and don´t waste our time.

    As I told you, I prefer do not use words and expressions like: forever, always, ever, maybe, “I try to”, “Let me see if I can”, “If”…. because all in this universe have an ending, nothing is “forever” and the other expressions, for me is waste of time. Thats the way to save and appreciate our time and don´t waste it.

    So, the painting that I gave to you was my way to say goodbye, my way to say THANKS, and my way to capture and stop the time in that great moment, the moment to meeting a my new friend Gustav.

    Happy new year for you and every great person who read this blog.


  5. Christel says:

    My favourite post is Fear, I think you’ve captured the frightening, doubtful feeling that comes with making brave decisions or changes in life.
    I generally prefer the posts in the Nomad category. The Nomad posts are personal and reflective, just like the category decription says, and the comments/discussions are great. Even for non-nomads like me, the thought processes and topics are inspirational and useful 😉 I like the fun and inventiveness of Give-Away Party and Nomadic Culture.
    Thank you for sharing your adventures!

  6. Nicholas McInerny says:

    Hello Gustav…it was a real pleasure to meet you at Burning Man and to share the amazing energy of that place. I have enjoyed reading your blogs very much and look forward to reading more in 2012….continue to be as much the person you’re capable of being, and so inspire others to live life to the full. Much love from us in London – Nicholas & Mikhael.

  7. MB says:

    It’s fascinating just how much a persons life can change in one year. I enjoy the variety in your posts from the personal reflection to the fact based travel pieces and the odd job ventures because you’re highlighting different parts of the nomadic experience. I really can’t believe this is your first dab at writing because you’re an excellent writer. Hope you have an even better 2012, I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts.

  8. Jason Strand says:

    Well, while the one on the rodeo might be an obvious favorate for me 😉 I found your blogs on burning man to be a great read. I also liked your blog on the pyramids, they were a delight because it took me back to when I was there with my eyes full of wonder and joy. Also liked your insights and ways of looking at things that some of us might not normally see. Overall it has been a great pleasure getting to know you and continuing to know and hear from you as you go about your travels.

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      Thank you Jason. Meeting good people like you is my favourite aspect of my new nomadic life.

  9. Brother Henrik says:

    “New year new life” becaus you talking about how you baricated the door to you rom satt down an reflectet over your life and decided to beacom a nomad.
    and that is probably one of the reason that this blog exsist.
    I also like “feer”

  10. Ionut (Romania) says:

    This is the first blog that I’ve become addicted to. I love your writing. I love it that you are not just telling the stories but also extracting the ‘idea’, the essence out of them. And I love the way you question/challenge those ideas. And also the references you make to books, phylosophy, theories.

    I feel great reading your blog, and like a forespeaker said “live vicariously” by you.
    Thank you and keep up what you’re doing!

    1. Awwww, thank you and bless your kind heart! Comments like that really help motivate me to keep blogging. I hope you’ve subscribed and thus have the pleasure of your company on my travels!

  11. pat ayo says:

    this is indeed a pragmatic solution to the most common problem of man which is change phobia. may God help u to continue to fulfill your purpose in life.

  12. Levin says:

    From my vantage point in the spooky future (I’ve just found your blog and am catching up, slowly), I’m going through a period of great change in my own personal life and it’s inspiring to see all the posts which relate to finding one’s way in life and the world … Looking forward to catching up on the next three years ..!

    1. Craig says:

      And as his friend, Levin, from the point of view of 2014, I can tell you he is doing a great job. Everyone should live their lives so deliberately.

      1. Levin says:

        I am already appreciating it … Nomadism is not my own personal direction, but the thinking and feeling processes are the same …

    2. Welcome to the blog, Levin! I’m always deeply humbled when someone finds the site and starts reading it all from the start. That is quite something! Thank you for the interest.

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