My third 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.
I celebrated New Year’s Eve at Autumn Farm, a gay nudist eco-farm. I stayed there 11 days before moving through Wainuiomata on my way to Auckland where I made (and later lost [long story]) a couple of friends in my hosts there. My time in New Zealand had come to a close, and I left to go to Sydney.
My parents came to visit me, and I showed them Sydney for a few days before we explored New Zealand’s south island together for 19 days. Any more natural beauty and my poor little heart would have burst open!
After convincing a rabid border-guard that nomads are not leeches, I gained entry to Australia again and I lived in the Blue Mountains for all of April, staying at the house of a blog reader and a new friend of mine. This was back to nature and a very slow pace kind of existence, and the only thing that marred the experience was my inability to get the damned open fire to work! (I am not Boy Scout material.)
As the Nordic hemisphere winter was drawing to a close, I spent May in the US, first attending a couple of gay rodeos on the west coast and then visited a friend on the east coast, as well as making the first few inquiries into what was later to become my new job.
In June, I flew back to Sweden (via a week in London) and stayed at my parental home for most of June and July, generally relaxing, meeting friends and attended the storytelling festival of Ljungby!
In November, I returned to the west coast for Palm Spring’s Leather Pride before flying back to Europe.
I had found a fellow board-game fanatic in Antwerp and had no reason not to accept his invitation to come and play games, so that is what I did. It may be a bit random, but also a lot of fun!
First half of December, I once again returned to London to visit friends before returning to my parental home where I celebrated Christmas.
Find a job!
Without a doubt, the single greatest accomplishment this year was to get hired as a software engineer by GoldTier c/o Thomson Reuters! I’m now a few months into the job, and it is going amazingly well. I love the work, I love the freedom it affords me and I love not having to turn every penny I spend.
Surviving another year as a nomad
Looking back at what we’ve accomplished, it is easy to forget the quiet non-event accomplishments that we achieve every day of the year. Making it another year as a nomad without being forced to stop is, for me, a big deal.
Last year, I suffered through several emotional and mental hurdles, usually around feeling lost or disconnected. This year, those issues seem to have been put to rest. I’ve been much more peaceful with how my nomadic life is turning out.
Initial failings to find work
Before I got my new job, I tried to be both a website designer and to open a web shop for selling e-cigarettes. The former had some success while the latter never got off the ground.
Coming to terms with my friendships
I have tried hard to maintain strong friendships despite my constant travels. However, nothing I did seemed to help stave of the hibernation of most of my friendships. I eventually came to terms with this, partly be writing about it in the Friendship Observations post, perhaps my most popular post so far. Turns out, I am not alone in this.
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?
Just like in the previous two years, my only restrictions on where I go are economical or visa related. However, with my new job, I no longer feel restricted to go only where I can find cheap accommodation. As for the visa issue, I would have liked to have spent more time in the US, perhaps take a road trip there. Sometime soon, I hope to solve this issue.
As I wrote in my Financial Review of 2013, I spent as much as I earned, which finally made my life somewhat sustainable. But, since then I have gotten my new job, and thus I consider 2013 the year that I finally solved the economical part of the sustainability goal.
As for my personal energy sustainability, that has never been much of an issue, and it still isn’t. The nomadic life does still take a lot out of me, but my reserves are not being depleted faster than the rewards renew them.
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 still a big fat and resounding Yes!
I became a nomad because I wanted to experience more adventure in my everyday life, and three years down the line, I still have to pinch myself repeatedly to really believe all the new sights I see, the new friends I meet and the random weird stuff that happens to me! Much of it is thanks to having had so much free time, and this may change with working full time. This will be something to keep an eye on in the new year.
Year in Numbers
- 29,576 words written and 321 comments received across 27 blog posts
- 5 new friends (Yes, friends. Not just Facebook fodder.)
- 12 new acquaintances
- 28 audiobooks read
- 16 cities visited and lived in 5 of them
- 15 planes, 3 trains, 0 boats, 0 buses
- 6 countries visited and lived in 3 of them
- 7 mobile numbers used
- 34.20 is the fraction of the year
- 4 websites created
- 1 cross-dressing party
- 15 times out in leather
- 5 game days and 23 game nights
- 2 photoshoots
- 35 storytelling performances
- 2 rodeos
- 4 pieces of gifted leather
The Modern Nomad
Last year, I was close to shutting down The Modern Nomad. The growth of the blog was slow and I questioned the amount of time I put into the blog. However, the response I got from you, dear readers, kept me going, although at a slower pace.
Now a year later, the blog is still treading water. The growth of the blog is disheartening, the sharing of my articles is nearly non-existent and only a handful of people used the new donation buttons. (With one exception, you know who you are, thank you, you are my hero!)
The core-readers of mine still leave wonderful comments that brighten up my day every time they roll in, so it isn’t all bleak. But my dream of creating a hugely popular blog with thousands of followers that would rustle up some real attention to this lifestyle is now well and truly dead. (It now lies buries next to the idea that the blog would be a way for my friends to keep themselves updated on my life.)
It was fine working my ass of trying to write great material to inspire, educate and entertain others when I had no job and plenty of free time. But now that I work full-time, the amount I get back from the blog simply does not warrant the time I put into it. To rectify that imbalance, I will make two shifts with the Modern Nomad.
The first is that I am going to drastically reduce the time I spend on each article. No more 5-10 revisions to get it just perfect. This will of course lower the quality, but so be it.
The second is that I am going to change the focus of the blog from being a public resource to a personal journal. I enjoy looking back over my blog articles and my daily photos. It reminds me of where I’ve been, both physically and emotionally, and it keeps everything in perspective. (If you haven’t checked out the Daily Photo page, do so now, and I urge everyone to do this as well; it is a fantastic way to create a visual map of your life!)
I guess the blog will become less relevant for you, dear reader, and I’m sorry about that, especially if you are one of the core readers who’ve stayed with me for this long. But, I’m not sorry enough to keep writing articles that I get little enjoyment from having written when my free time these days is so limited.
If you find that the new quality and focus of the modern nomad isn’t enough to keep you interested, feel free to unsubscribe. I hope you won’t, but I would understand and thank you for the interest up until now.