Year Review 2012

31 December 2012. Filed under category Personal.

My second year as a nomad is drawing to a close, and it is time to look back and see how it all went. My new nomadic life began with a day of reflection on New Year’s Day 2011, and I will continue to use the year boundaries to stop and consider the direction of my life. After all, this blog is not just about living a geo-independent life but rather to bravely and actively choose how to live, and it isn’t a one-time decision but rather a lifelong process of reflection and decision-making.

My travels

I celebrated New Year in my parental home in Ljungby, Sweden. Over Christmas, a reader of my blog invited me to live with him for a few weeks in Lostorf, Switzerland, and that became my first destination. I spent the second half of January in Lostorf and then moved to Zurich where a friend from school live. After freezing my ass off for a few weeks, I received a kind offer from another friend to come ski with him in Crans-Montana, which is where I ended my Switzerland visit.

My next destination was Buenos Aires, but I took a detour via London and Long Beach to visit friends. I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday having just arrived in a new country, and instead celebrated it in style, dancing country-western two-step in Los Angeles!

I spent five months (mid-March to early August) in Buenos Aires. I found a fantastic place to live which was all mine, and I really enjoyed not depending on the hospitality of friends for a while. Buenos Aires was also a good launching pad to explore other places in Argentina such as Mendoza, Salta, Iguazu (partly Brazilian) and Colonia (Uruguay).

Just like last year, I spent three months (August, September, October) in the United States of (north) America (I promised my South American friends to make the distinction). I spent a bit of time in New York visiting friends, then went to Long Beach to plan for, go to and recover from Burning Man with Don Kendrick and friends. Another kind offer of hospitality drew me to Hawaii for my final two weeks in the US(n)A.

I spent the last two months of 2012 in New Zealand. By now, I doubt you’ll be surprised to hear that I went to New Zealand after receiving offers of hospitality from said country. I lived my first three weeks in Auckland with a friend from London, his wife and two kids. I then had an exciting drive down to a less-than exciting Wainuiomata where a friend in London owns a half-empty house. Wainuiomata is a sedate little town outside Wellington, and again, I had a place to myself and used my time to enjoy the solitude and get some work done.

My last two weeks of the year, I’ve spent mostly naked in a clothing-optional farm in Takaka (northern part of the New Zealand south island) where I have worked four hours a day for lodging and food.



One of my goals this year was to start working out and build the kind of physique that I’ve always wanted. For three months in Buenos Aires, I lived in strict adherence to the P90X workout program, and something wonderful happened! For the first time in my life, I got real undeniable results! Some of the muscle I built has faded, but I am still in much better shape than at the start of the year. I continue to work out, although at a slower intensity, and I am confident that I will continue to do so for years to come.

Learning Tango

My main reason for living in Buenos Aires was to learn tango. I went to milongas on average three times a week, and towards the end of my stay, I was a decent follower and a novice leader. What really matters is that I was a good enough dancer to really enjoy myself on the dance floor, and I take that as a huge accomplishment. It makes me wonder what other dances I could pick up in different parts of the world.


I’ve written a couple of articles outside of The Modern Nomad that I’m excited about. The first is a short story about my time in the rodeo was published in a book (yes, an actual paper book!) named Travel Means Freedom. The second is an article about using pseudo-elements to create minimum paragraph widths in HTML and CSS which was published on CSS-Tricks. I am quite proud of that one as I figured out a brand new trick in CSS that hadn’t been published elsewhere, a rare thing today.

Surviving another year as a nomad

I did not quit my nomadic life. It doesn’t sound like much, but for me that is quite an achievement.

Problems Faced

Most of this year’s issues have been mental ones. Right at the start of the year, I got Blank Canvas Paralysis, and I just couldn’t motivate myself to go anywhere. When the whole world lies open, it is hard to decide where to go. Fortunately, I got the invitation to visit Switzerland and have my accommodation taken care of, and that snapped me out of it.

My next two issues arose in Buenos Aires. The first was when my mind darkened and I shut myself up in an unhealthy seclusion, which gave my mental monsters room to further darken my mind. What helped me snap out of it was writing the blog post about my situation.

My second issue in Buenos Aires was more practical; I ran into the dreaded Language Barrier. I had enough Spanish to live in Buenos Aires, but not enough to feel truly included in conversation with my friends. The frustration built and built. The only solution would be to learn Spanish, but in between the P90X workouts, Tango lessons and blog writing, I just didn’t have the time. All I could do was accept the situation the way it was and make the most of the rest of my visit.

Loneliness is an ever-present potential issue hanging over the nomad’s head like a sword of Damocles. Most of the time, it isn’t particularly bad as I make new friends wherever I go and stay in touch with the old ones through Skype. But occasionally, the thread keeping the sword suspended snaps and the loneliness falls upon me. The trigger can be anything, like a song or, in one case this year, an empty airplane seat.

Rocks, Pebbles and Sand

On New Year’s Day, I wrote an article about setting goals and dividing them up as Rocks (the first thing you should fill your life with), Pebbles (stuff with which you fill the space between the rocks) and Sand (which fills the space between the pebbles.)

This wouldn’t be much of a year review if I didn’t review what happened with those goals. But first, I should review the Rocks, Pebbles and Sand system as a whole. In short, I found it very useful, but only when I took the time to look back at the goals I had set. When I did, it focused my attention and time management towards what was important. But in the months where I did not look back at the list, I would often stray from the path and start wasting time on stuff which, in the grand scheme of things, was not that important.

On to the review of my goals for 2012. Some of this has already been mentioned, so I will make this quick.



Have I lived up to my mission statement?

My mission statement is “To explore how a nomadic life can best be geo-independent, sustainable and eudaemonic.” So have I lived up to my mission statement?


I feel I live up to this part of the nomadic life just fine. My geographic freedom is a bit limited by financial constraints. I don’t feel that I can live in expensive countries unless I can find free accommodation, but I am not rooted to a specific place by work, property, relationships etc.


My current nomadic life is not economically sustainable. As I wrote in my Year Finances, I’m currently nine thousand British pounds in the red from when I started. It isn’t a catastrophe and I believe that I can turn it around, but it has not happened yet.

There is more to this part of the mission statement than just economic sustainability. The pace at which I travel must also be sustainable, and I have indeed found a good pace of travel that I feel I can sustain indefinitely. My energy and motivation is still high and I’m not at a risk of burning out.


Is the nomadic lifestyle conducive to my own personal eudaemonia. Or in less fancy (and less precise) terms, does my nomadic lifestyle make me happy?

The answer is a big fat yes!

The freedom that I have now, and which I could only achieve by sacrificing my 9-5 geo-static job, has opened doors to parts of my life which I now just could not imagine living without. Things change, but at this point, I simply do not see a way for me to return to my old life. I’ve found something so precious in my new existence as a nomad, and I couldn’t imagine giving it up.

(Note to self: remember the revelation in the car. What you had just experienced in the desert would never have happened had you not become a nomad.)

Year in Numbers

The Modern Nomad

Year Review 2012

This blog has been such a big part of my life in the last two years that it deserves its own special section in the year review.

Technical Progress

I did a lot of design and programming work on The Modern Nomad this year. The general design has been streamlined yet still keeping a simple layout. I developed a new navigation system, the Image Wall and the ‘where is Gustav’ feature on the homepage. I’ve moved to a new e-mail subscription provider and installed the new ReadrBoard reaction bar.

Finally, I added the donation buttons at the end of the articles. I wanted to start monetizing the blog, but I didn’t like the idea of adding ugly banner ads to the site. So, I wrote up the donation section which I hope will bring some revenue from my writing while still keeping the design of the blog fresh, funny and streamlined.

Awards and Mentions

The Modern Nomad won Travel Blog of the Year and was a finalist for Blog of the Year in the 2012 Bloggies awards. Later in the year, I also won the travel-edition of Battle of the Blogs.

Without ever telling me about it, the German newspaper ‘Süddeutschen Zeitung’ wrote an article about me which gave me a lot of traffic. I also did a video interview with SIVA which you can see on my About page.


My readership is not growing.

My readership is not growing.

End of good stuff. Time for some grim harsh reality. The Modern Nomad is treading water when it comes to readership growth. I have seen no significant growth this year. This is in terms of both visitors and subscribers.

One explanation of this poor growth is that my readers rarely share the blog or the articles on social media such as Facebook. A normal blog post gets about 2-3 shares, and the number of visitors from these few shares are vanishingly small.

I don’t know if people are reluctant to share The Modern Nomad because the content is not worth sharing or because the content is not the kind that people normally share. When I look at what goes viral on social media these days, it is mostly cats falling into boxes and other light-hearted and throwaway content.

I can’t help but think that there is something wrong with the content too. The rate of subscription is very low. At this rate, I will never have a large readership.

Having said all this, the people who do follow the blog are absolutely wonderful, supportive and engaged. I cannot express enough how impressed I am by the quality of the comments that I get, and in a way, I’d rather have these few insightful comments than a large number of one-line ‘Good post and here is a link to my own blog’ kind of comments that plague many other blogs.

Serving a purpose

Am I missing the target?

Am I missing the target?

I started The Modern Nomad for a few reasons. Time to see if the blog lives up to my expectations.

First, I wanted the blog to be a way for my friends and family members to stay up to date with where I am and what I am doing. So instead of writing multiple e-mails, each one more or less the same as the other, to my friends, I would write it very well once and then let my friends subscribe to these updates. When I do speak to my friends in person, I could then spend more time talking about what is going on in their lives since they already know what is up with me.

The blog has mostly failed to serve this purpose. Some friend do read it, but most don’t. Some have even told me that they actively dislike my desire to use it as a way for them to keep track of me. They hate that I would presume to reduce them to ‘just another blog reader’. Naturally, this was never my intention.

My second reason to start The Modern Nomad was to ‘pay back’ for the many useful articles I’ve read on the internet that has helped me over the years, from how-to videos to philosophical musings. I thought that my experiences as a nomad as well as some life-lessons and practical tips could serve some good.

I have had some e-mails from people who say that I’ve helped them in one way or another, and I’m proud to have been of assistance. However, with a limited readership comes a limited reach. So again, the success has been limited.

The third reason for starting the blog was to grow a large following of readers, which could be useful if I one day publish a book, develop an application or start an online store of some kind.

The effectiveness of this blog as a launching pad to other projects is proportional to the number and dedication of my readers, and as things stand right now, it would be very limited.

In short, The Modern Nomad is not living up to any of the expectations I had when starting it.

Ending The Modern Nomad

Do I spend too much time writing The Modern Nomad?

Do I spend too much time writing The Modern Nomad?

It pains me to write this, but I am seriously considering ending The Modern Nomad.

I spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy on the blog. Take the recent Panorama Tutorial as an example. I spent twenty hours writing that article. Those were twenty hours that I did not work, explore New Zealand, socialize with friends or relax with a book or a film.

Not all posts take twenty hours to write, but most lie around that mark. If I add the hours I spend maintaining the blog and marketing it, then I spent approximately 800 hours on The Modern Nomad this year.

Eight-hundred hours, and for what? It would be wrong to say that it has been for nothing, but still. An opportunity cost of 800 hours! That is 2 hours and ten minutes every day. I would probably be economically stable by now if I had spent that time and energy on creating a new geo-independent career as a web-developer or launching some kind of business.

Having done this review, it is clear to me that something has to change. I cannot go on pouring all my resources into a project that isn’t working out. The main problem is that despite all my best efforts, the blog readership is not growing. So what am I to do?

A simple solution would be to admit that I’ve failed, cut my losses and shut down The Modern Nomad. That would reduce the opportunity cost involved with the project to zero. It would also remove the benefits involved with the blog, but right now, I think it would be a net gain. But, I would really miss the blog and be sad to see it go.

I could double up my efforts and push even harder to grown the blog. I would sink even more opportunity cost into the project, but if this is what is needed to realize the success I hope for, then it might be worth it. I can see two ways of doing this. The first is to spend money on ads. The second is to spend time writing guest posts on other blogs or whatever other marketing stunts I can think of. Of course, the risk with this approach is that nothing might come from it, at which point I’ve just sunk even more time, money and energy into a hopeless project.

Is it time to draw the curtains?

Is it time to draw the curtains?

I could apply the 80/20 ‘rule’ and cut back on the time and energy I spend on The Modern Nomad, focusing on only the parts that ‘work’ (I.e. the stuff that people like the most and share) and drop the rest. I would post less frequently and accept some rougher edges in the writing and design of the articles, but perhaps then I could free up some time for other parts of my life while still keeping the blog going.

I could look for a sponsor and make The Modern Nomad something of a career, but I doubt there is much interest in a company sponsoring me.

This is a year review, and the purpose is to see clearly what has been. Decisions of what to do different in the future come afterwards, but not yet. The 2013 Bloggies Awards is just starting and I’m about to give away my Image Wall Plugin to the huge WordPress community, both attempts to attract some readers. I’ve also installed some analytics tools so I can track my traffic. Over the next six months or so, I will monitor how much effort I spend on the blog, what I could cut back on and how my readership grows. I might also compile a questionnaire to find out what parts of The Modern Nomad is appreciated and what I could do differently to make my articles something that readers would like to share and spread via word-of-mouth.

If you want to help keep the blog alive, the main thing you can do right now is nominate me for the 2013 Bloggies awards! (I’m running for the categories travel, secret, writing, design and blog of the year.) Becoming Travel Blog of the Year 2012 attracted almost 6000 visitors over the course of the year, by far my single largest source of readers.

If you have read this long (looong) year review, then you must be one of the dedicated readers that I have. What do you think that I should do?


How can I improve The Modern Nomad?

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  1. Jeff says:

    Gustav, good to read your year in review. While I’ve not adopted the nomadic life, I’m working through a major life transition and find myself thinking about and relating to your experiences living, traveling, exploring, learning, and looking for focus, fun, meaning, and a sustainable life. I don’t have any idea whether or not the ‘investment’ in the blog, and writing in general, is worth the return you’re getting – but I’d be happy to engage in a bit of dialogue about it. There seems to be a part of your life that is very introverted or introspective, even the social pieces. I suspect that’s an outcome of not staying anywhere long enough to put down roots. I’ve lived abroad ten years – but they’ve been long investments in a place and people. I expected to find you with dozens of new friends, lots of readers, etc., but of course we may also simply be looking for different things. Am reacting now having just read your post – not reflecting – so may have other thoughts when it stews up a bit. Be good to yourself as you look forward in 2013; figure out what you want, then ask for it. I get the clear impression this journey is still in its early stages my friend. Warm New Year regards. Jeff

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jeff. I am something of an introvert in some respects; no one that writes this long of a year review could ever claim otherwise. But I don’t think that my travels have made me more so. Perhaps I chose the nomadic life because I’m something of an introvert. Perhaps not. In many other ways, I’m the worst extrovert you could imagine; no one that publishes their overlong year review for the world to read could claim otherwise.

      Not sure where this is going though. Many warm wishes for your new year!

      1. Jeff says:

        Who knows, anyone who ends up partying at Burning Man and spending 4 months in a clothing optional commune/farm can’t be too introverted!

        Don’t know whether or not you read Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish at all. I follow him on FB and on his blog. He’s made an interesting decision not to continue with a publishing group The Daily Beast and go out on his own. I thought the piece he shared today about that decision was interesting, and thought the scale may be different thought you might be interested in the thinking.

        Have a good one. Warmly, Jeff

        1. Thanks for sharing that link. I do think that the ‘I expect to get everything for free’ mentality on the web should be challenged more than it is today. It is great when creators give their stuff away, and honourable, but today the internet crowd seem to think that they are right to demand things for free. I remember when I created an Android app, and I sold it for $1.00 or something. One of the earliest reviews I got was a one star bottom rating with the rationale, “Great app but he sells it.” I was furious.

          Back to The Modern Nomad. Earning money from the blog would be wonderful, of course, but I’m realistic about it. I will almost certainly never earn even close to as much blogging as I would if I worked the same hours on my IT skills. That is fine. I never expected to earn much money from the blog.

          What I wanted was to help people. I wish I could say that if I helped even a single person, all those 800 hours last year would have been well spent, but I don’t feel that way. If I helped a lot of people, then it would be worth it. It’s a matter of scale I guess, hence my disappointment with the growth last year and my obsession with readership size.

          Anyway, I’ve answered questions you never asked here, and going way off topic. Thanks again for the link, and of course, thank you for subscribing and caring about the future of the blog. It warms my heart!

  2. Mike says:

    You can move in with me and we can live happily ever after.

  3. Craig Brown says:

    Ah, Gustav, it will come as no surprise that I have really enjoyed your writing. Thinking of your blog as a way of getting information to friends hither and yon seems logical to me too. Do these friends also make an effort to keep your relationship with them personal? It takes two. I wish I could think of ways to improve the blog, but I’m afraid I like it just fine. If you ever implemented the picture a day idea, I don’t see it, and I thought that would be fun. If you are interested in reaching out to other nomads and sharing what you’ve learned about living the nomadic life, maybe you should add a “How to Nomad” page, instead of post, with lots of links and tags. Information on practical things such as money, mail, etc..Those researching the lifestyle could happen upon your blog by accident.

    This isn’t to promote myself, because I don’t intend to win a bloggie, but I found last year that when I had to nominate three blogs in each category I was at a loss to find others. Your readers are welcome to add my blog, as one of the three in your travel, secret, writing, and blog of the year categories. I suppose my blog also fits the science, new, and topical (wonder) categories. I certainly won’t beat you, so you are safe 🙂

    I considered your rock, pebble and sand post quite seriously when you wrote it and I took on three rocks for the year: selling my rental property, making a foundation and start to my own blog, and implementing Getting Things Done (GTD). I failed the GTD (ironically). But I will have compassion for myself and simply “kick this can” (current American inside joke) down the road and add it to 2013.

    Working on my own blog, and having my own distractions, I realize how difficult blog writing is and how much time it takes to do well. One thing I have learned is that different types of posts get found and shared by different types of people. A well told story that touches the heart or makes someone laugh gets reshared on others’ facebook pages. Posts that are geekier and informational get found by web searches (in my case by e.g. school girls in Malaysia doing their homework). I would be sad to see The Modern Nomad go. But we all have just one life to live and have to have the self esteem to accept that a project is not working as hoped and flexible enough to move on to other ideas. Perhaps there are options in between the all or nothing Modern Nomad.

    I make a proposal to Gustav’s readers who have facebook pages. Pick one of your favorite posts he has written and share it. I tend to see that acts of kindness are always returned in the long run. As Shakespeare said, “Box about. twill come back to thee anon.”
    And it wouldn’t be charity. Gustav has designed and written a damn good blog.

    1. You know, I just had a feeling you might leave a comment on this post. 🙂 For new readers, Craig is my #1 supporter, both on and outside the commenting section, and I couldn’t possible list all the ways he helps me on my journey.

      First of all, you don’t need three unique blogs for each category. As long as there are three unique blogs, of whatever categories, then the nomination will go through. So you can nominate me for my five categories, Craig’s Sense of Wonder for Science and some other blog in whatever other category.

      The picture of the day idea is an example of the kind of stuff that eats away my time. There is quite a lot of coding that would go into it. Earlier, I would have dived into something like that with reckless abandoned, but having done this year review I’ve stopped and thought, “Why do I want to do this? Is there something more worthwhile I could do?”

      I’ve actually started taking a picture a day, and you can see them on my Instagram Profile right now. I’ve actually really enjoyed taking these daily pictures as it gives me a reason to look about where I am for something to record, and it makes me more aware of my surroundings.

      Many thanks for being both a reader and a friend!


  4. Maja says:

    12:26 AM and I just read your entire year review. What draws me to your blog is what I feel to be genuine and an honest expression of your experience, which is rare. If you are to change your blog to what only you think people will want to read it will automatically alter the essence of the blog. It’s like the news media, currently it’s about what gets ratings not really about the news and so people don’t really respect it. Honestly, I would no longer follow your blog if it loses that appeal to me. With that said I understand the reality of the situation you are faced with. You are putting in a lot of time and effort into something and in order to lead your lifestyle you need to be financially secure and ultimately the question is do you get the eudaimonia of your efforts? Point blank, is it worth it to you? If not, it will show in your content and your readership will suffer so the answer would be to cut your loses and do something more financially sustainable. But if it is then you know the answer to that.

    From my experience working in social media it takes a lot of work marketing online and getting your blog out there. Honestly a lot of social media outreach is hype and I say go old school and get the interviews on radio spots, print, and Youtube channels. Utilize current travel sites and get your content there. It will require A LOT of work and TIME. So there will be quite a commitment of time required for you to do that and the results may not be what you seek and patience will be a virtue you hold onto dearly or a bottle of vodka whatever is closer. I strongly suggest you seek out sponsorship opportunities because they are out there and depending on what angle you approach it with you should be able to have someone sponsor you whether it is for travel gear or what not. Maybe in each location you visit you will highlight a company that aligns with your mission for financial support. I don’t know but it would be a shame to see this blog go, but keeping this blog up is not worth your own sacrifice. So I wish you the best in your decision and I hope you gain the resources necessary for your efforts. I just want to say thank you for all that you have done so far in sharing your experiences and really putting top notch content up. It’s a shame I didn’t get to meet you when you were in Hawai’i. Take care and I hope 2013 is a more fruitful year.

    1. Thank you Maja, for clarifying something in my head that should never have been obfuscated. You are absolutely right that it would be an even worse waste of time to write fluffy mass-market driven and insincere drivel just to get a large audience. That is solid advice and I will keep it at the forefront of my mind. I either succeed with integrity or I give it all up.

      The only caveat is that I might put a cap on how much time and energy I am willing to put into the game. The writing will remain authentic, but there may be less of it going forward.

  5. DM says:

    I for one would be sad to see the Modern Nomad go. I’m a bit rubbish at forwarding on articles in general but I’ll try and bear it in mind a bit more. In any case, have a great 2013!

  6. Mary says:

    I discovered The Modern Nomad completely by chance. Someone (you, maybe?) ordered shirts from the company I work for with your blog address printed on them! I was curious, so I followed the link and read your first post, where you talk about wanting to leave your 9-5 job and explore a life of travel and adventure. Your travel philosophy resonated so deeply with me that I’m now making plans to embark on the same kind of adventure. Please keep writing and sharing your story with the world! You’ve inspired me to dream big and start making plans for a life of travel!

    1. Oh my god!

      That is just amazing! I love the serendipity of how you found me and I’m deeply humbled that my writing had such an effect on you!

      The shirt was given to me by my Airline Patron Craig (he’s left a comment above) and I took a picture of my wearing it, with a great deal of pride and joy. You can see it here!

      Welcome to the blog, Mary. I hope you will stay, if I choose to keep it running of course!

      1. Craig Brown says:

        Hi Mary,
        I was shocked to see your reply!! The person who ordered that t-shirt had to be me! This only proves how one small action you take can impact a total stranger! Gustav is quite the role model for those wishing a lifetime of travel. I would love for you to visit me at my blog site in the response Gustav mentions above. But again, it is here: (I made a t-shirt for myself too, so maybe you saw that!).

  7. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

    Gustav, as I write this I find myself close to tears. I cannot imagine this blog ending. Selfish on my part to be sure especially since I once wrote you, although you probably don’t remember 🙂 if you ever got to the point where being a Nomad was not on your radar, to do whatever YOU needed and wanted to do. I know, you are not saying you are giving up the Nomad’s life, just thinking of shutting down the blog. Still, I AM one of those people who has been helped, such a puny word, by you, your writing, your zest for life, your ” even if you’re afraid, do it ” attitude. It pains me to think I could lose that connection. I do, however, fully understand where you are coming from. Your readership should be huge by now and it has to feel like a slap in the face after going through all the labor pains to birth it and the time you have spent nourishing it. I have shared, but probably not enough, some of your blog. I freely admit I have wanted to keep you to myself, I really didn’t want my family and friends to see what I posted to you. Now, that is really selfish and I am ashamed to admit it but there it is. If you decide the time has come to pull the plug, pull it. Only you know what is right for you. For me it will be a profound loss. Have to stop now. Crying. Love and peace, Crys

    1. Getting to know you, Crys, and the way that I could quite practically help you with bringing Josh to Burning Man, well, that was one of those times that I was very proud of what I had done with the blog and the impact it could have. I just wish I could help more people like that.

  8. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

    oh yes, cast my Bloggies vote yesterday. FOR YOU, of course 🙂

  9. Jono says:

    It’s funny that I thought your blog was, in part, a way to exercise your IT skills and invent new and engaging formats which you could implement in client work. So, it is by no means a waste of time.

    A blog is like a diary and, in years to come, you will read it over and be proud. You can allow yourself to be nostalgic enough for that, without falling into the trap of living in the past.

    The blog runs pretty smoothly as it is….and probably only you notice the subtle changes to the format. So you can spend less time on that and more time on spreading it, but don’t stop writing as I guarantee you’ll regret it.

    You clearly are touching people (good touch, not bad touch) and people enjoy the honesty. Personally, I like the philosophical direction that the blog can veer into….although I have doubts about how popular that might be, there is a market for that as people turn off vacuous mass media entertainment. It’s reign is over.

    Enjoy the sun on your buttocks.

    1. I keep another journal, entirely uncut, and that one is very useful. I know you scowl on any emotions expressed by a human with a Y-chromosome, but I don’t care: I laughed and cried as I relived the best and worst of the year.

      I think you are right in that I would regret it if I stopped writing. The more I think about it, and the more I read the comments to this article, the more I feel that I will keep the blog running, at least for a year. I will also try to cap how much time I spend on it. Seven hours a week, and that’s it. What get’s written, gets written. What doesn’t, doesn’t.

      1. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

        Can you hear Brittany and me? You should be able to because we are joyously yelling. Hell yeah. Another year of wonderful Gustav travels and travails. Another year of deep thoughts and crazy meanderings through the strange world of food items. Another year of saying to ourselves, ” I want to be like Gustav when I grow up.” We are a couple of Phoenix, consumed by fire and rising from the ashes. A huge part of that has been because of you. We dare because YOU dare. We try because YOU try. I keep trying to tell you how much you, and Craig, have been the catalyst for us to go on, stumbling as we often do, but constantly getting back up and moving on.
        I hope your readership grows and grows. I will share everything to try to see that happen.
        Thank you, Gustav. Yay, yippee, yahoo

  10. Dan-Bo says:

    Hi Gustav,

    i also found your blog by chance, investigating in auntie Google for minimalism any alternative lifestyles, one year ago. So far i followed your blog with a great interest regularly.

    I think that a sophisticated content, with observations, in-deep insights, broad reflections, self-criticism, (cynical) provocations and discussions, is absolutely essential for winning more readers.

    Sometimes I miss this “deeper” content in your posts. Of course, reading something about the burning man is interesting. But there is no deeper benefit for the insights of your readers. Not many things to think about. I also miss often a deeper analysis of your experiences. What do you observe, what is different in comparison to western europe, what do you think about, what are, in your point of view, the reasons for and consequences of that, what kind of people do you meet, how are they, what do they do, and so on. You have so many more chances to recognize, observe and analyse, than we do, but you don’t take it. Instead, you focus too much on events, problems and challenges. Of course this is also worth mentioning, but the balance is improvable.

    In Addition, what is your self defined role? What comes after getting rid of your stuff, and being free to decide where to go. What is your deeper understanding of yourself and whats your personal mission, that helps you to develop yourself and how does the blog help you on that. The blog could be great mirror of those reflections. Let the people participate. I think that is worth thinking, and after that, writing about.

    I also think that you should disregard your “technical affinity” for the blog. Stress the content, minimize the programming and technical afford. The readers and you do not have much benefit from that.

    I hope, my comments weren’t too harsh, but i tried to give you an open and honest feedback.

    I think the community would lose another great content, if you abandoned the Modern Nomad.

    Cheers from Germany.


    1. Well-meaning and constructive criticism never offends me. Indeed, I’m grateful for it. You have some good points in what you said. I haven’t delved too much into commenting on different societies and cultures.

      The reason for this is that I don’t think I’m very good at it. I’m not very observant when it comes to differences in cultures and ways-of-life. I’m not blind to it of course, but I’m not sure if I have any great insights either. I wish I did. Cultures are also a really big topic, and even after (for example) five months in Buenos Aires, I still don’t think I could do it justice. An event like Burning Man or a place like Hawaii is easier to capture, more manageable.

      Still, I will take what you said and keep it in mind. It’s not that I don’t want to write about that stuff. It’s that I’m unsure if I am good enough.

      The posts that I’ve enjoyed writing are the ones in the ‘Life’ category, where I delve into how we can live self-directed, brave and eudaemonic lives. (yes, I will continue using that term until the whole world knows it!) I hope those will give people something to think about.

      1. Phil Stevens says:

        Gustav – your pondering on giving up on the blog filled me with dread and despair, it would be like losing a new found friend. OK, enough of the histrionics, seriously though, I think you would regret it as it has become so much part of what you are doing. I’m both pleased and happy for you that you have been able to give it some second thought based on other readers comments. I think Dan-Bo raised some interesting ideas on content and insight, regarding the deeper aspects of your experience. On a personal/emotional level you hit on this in the post about the empty seat on the plane which I found both touching and delightful to read, I really felt for you. That proves that you are able to express and convey your deeper feelings to all of us readers because it was something dear to you which you were missing and deeply felt by you at the time, that is so sweet and admirable, more of that please. Perhaps you might consider delving into your ‘uncut’ journal and selectively sharing some of it’s content on the blog??
        And what’s all this about not feeling able to write about your insights into different cultures and ways of life? don’t dumb yourself down Gustav, I noticed your choice of words – ‘I don’t think I’m very good at it’ ‘I’m not very observant’ ‘I don’t think I could do it justice’ ‘I’m unsure if I am good enough’ Rubbish! You are good enough just as you are. A young man such as yourself who writes with such eloquence, erudition and above all, honesty, then it shouldn’t be a problem, after all your not writing for the Encyclopedia of Mankind and besides your personal accounts are far more interesting, maybe it’s just another little hurdle you need to get over. Believe in yourself and once you make a start the rest will simply follow. Oh and there is nothing wrong with the presentation of your blog it’s a brilliant blog, I love it, the content and layout far exceeds that of most others and it is so easy to navigate. Maybe you have been spreading yourself too thin regarding the time and effort you put into it, so your decision to cap the hours sounds pretty damn sensible to me, that’s the spirit Gustav!

        1. Many thanks Phil for the encouragement. It is well-needed at this point. I will give the blog another year, and during that time, measure the time and energy I put in and the growth of the readership. And then I’ll review my decision again next year.

          Sharing the blog with friends and social media would really help sway the balance of that decision, so if you want the blog to survive, that is something you can do… Oh, and nominating me for the bloggies would be grand! A win there would really send a lot of traffic my way!

          1. Phil Stevens says:

            Your very welcome Gustav, anytime.
            Just nominated you for the bloggies under each category you indicated, all done and confirmed. Here’s hoping eh!
            and I shall do my very best in being mindful of sharing your blog with others.

  11. Hi Gustav, this is so funny, I found your blog on bloggies I also want my blog to win 🙂 I read your article and found so many the same thoughts about blogging… I find it very hard to run a blog too, it takes so much time and effort… I also want to be helpful and provide useful information to my readers but not many people want to read my blog. I was posting since autumn 2011 then stopping and posting again… and I can’t finally stop because I miss it so much, I’m sure you will miss your blog too if you will stop. Well, your blog looks really nice, look at mine 😉 you can programme and write in good English!!! My English is so bad that it takes me few days (not even 20 hours!) to write one crappy article, but you know what? I’m not going to give up!!! No way!!! And you should not give up too!!! Look how many people commenting here, that’s mean you have your readers!!! Do not give up!

    1. Many thanks for the insight into the emotional distress that giving up blogging can cause. Who knows? Perhaps I am in bondage to this site without even knowing it!

      Best of luck in the Bloggies! And keep up the writing.

  12. Mark says:

    G’day Gustav,

    Mate … what a blog!!!! I’ve just started my blog back in Nov 2012 and hardly anyone knows I exist. To see the readership and interest in yours, well, I reckon your doing something right. I love the idea of your image wall and as soon as I feel confident enough I’m going to include it on my wordpress blog. Perhaps you’ve created a monster with your outstanding site … just remember who the boss really is. You are in control of your blog and how much you spend on it. As you alluded to, perhaps less is more. Kind Regards

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