Year Review 2013

31 December 2013. Filed under category Personal.

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.

My Travels

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.

In Sydney, I lucked out and housesat 47 days in a beachside apartment which a friend of mine had left vacant. I loved Sydney with its hot weather, hot men and hot Mardi Gras!

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!

First half of August, I made a couple of trips to Stockholm (for gay pride) and London (to visit friends) before returning to the US for my fifth Burning Man.

After Burning Man, I went to the east coast for a couple of months to visit friends in Long Beach Island, check out Philadelphia as well as seal the deal for my new JOB! Whoopee!

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.

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?


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

Year in Numbers

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.


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  1. I really love reading your blog Gustav. I only recently discovered it when soul searching about the geographical challenges I face in my life. I get excited when I see a new blog post of yours pop up in my blog feed. I have found your articles inspiring and would be very sad if you decided to close down the blog altogether. Congratulations on finding your software designer job. That’s fantastic news! I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2014 and look forward to reading your updates.

    1. Aww, thank you! I won’t close the blog down, but it will change a bit as I described. I hope it will still be relevant for people, but probably more as an example of a nomadic lifestyle rather than an objective look at the wider phenomenon.

  2. Karl says:

    Gustav, I guess it’s your blog so make the most of your creation in the way you see fit! I will still check back and I’m sure enjoy reading about your travels. I will be interested to read in 6 months to see how you are enjoying a reliably funded nomadic lifestyle.

    Perhaps next year at Burning Man I will run into you!

    It has been an interesting year for myself as well, I left my hometown to try a much slower paced version of a nomadic lifestyle, to change countries every 1-2 years so I can get to know a culture. I initially attempted to do a blog. I have since found that I don’t enjoy writing for a broad audience in a generalised way, I would rather write to my specific friends about specific experiences. I guess my storytelling is more of an in person skill.

    1. I think changing place once a year can be just as much fun as what I’m doing at the moment. Who knows, maybe I’ll come across a place where I feel the calling to remain for longer as well. Being geo-independent gives you freedom to stay or leave as you wish.

      PS. My full name is ‘Karl Gustav Andersson’, so we share that first name!

  3. Anne says:

    Hey Gustav
    Don’t be disheartened by the fact that your blog will become more about you!! Truth is the people that check out your blog are those that find something legitimate & honest in your reflections. I start moving about in April, mine will never perhaps be in the same way you do.. But your blog has helped me overcome mental limits that are imposed by society about Nomadic ways of living.. Grey Nomads are acceptable it seems but not those of us who choose this semi-nomadic life as a way of life, rather than the white picket fence & all that jazz.
    You inspire your readers to follow their dreams, through you they see that life can be lived in ways they conceive rather than the most commonly popular ideal.
    You are a beacon & a resource, do not believe you give your readers less by giving a more straight forward account of the way your life rolls..
    Is always a pleasure to read your blog 😉 Catch you on the flip side

    1. Thank you Anne. I hope you are right that this new focus can achieve both the journal-like qualities that I want from it now AND the wider good of promoting self-directed lifestyles at the same time. We’ll see.

      Best of luck with April and beyond!

  4. J. says:


    It apprears that you have found a level of peace that you were looking for, above and beyond the adventures. That includes happiness with the changes to the blog. Congratulations. I suspect you will find that most, if not all, will continue with you on your journey. Wishing you continued happy travels, short and long!

    1. Not too many unsubscribes just yet. Maybe the ones prone to leaving are the same peeps who wouldn’t read to the end! 🙂

      Hope to see you again sometime, in or out of Burning Man!

  5. Craig Bown says:

    Judging from the number of times you pass through London, you have thoroughly disabused your Londoner friends of the fear they might not see you again. (I hope my company’s route map was helpful in this)
    You have so much reason to be proud of yourself. You are doing what you set out to do and are indeed inspiring others like a few of those above.
    I have found that blog writing can indeed be a formidable project when you do it with some ambition. Live and write authentically as inspires you. Ya never know when your blog could catch fire when you look away.

    1. I may be a bit hypocritical here, but I really hope you’ll continue with your blog just the way you started as I loved reading your posts!

  6. Matoo says:

    Thank you for all these interesting posts and articles about (your crazy!) nomadic life!! I’m quite convinced I’ll be very keen to go on reading your adventures with this new “paradigm”. 😉 THANK YOU. Yes I mean it. 😉

  7. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

    Gustav, amazing year. You packed in what mere mortals like myself can’t do in a lifetime.
    As to changing the style of the blog, I look forward to those personal posts. THEY are what have touched me and given me inspiration and hope. I do love the travel stuff, your words paint pictures and your pictures are just the icing on the cake.
    I have said it before and I will continue to say it, you , and Craig, have been mentors to me in my pecking my way out of my shell. Because of you two I have made life changes and done things I would never have dared do just a few years ago.
    This June , Brittany and I will be in Seattle for the Overnight Walk, just like we did in 2012 in San Francisco. That is just one example of something I would not have challenged myself to do before stumbling on this blog.
    I know you would love thousands of readers. But, those you have truly appreciate your craft, your honest writing, your love of life, in fact, I would say, everything about you.
    So, quality over quantity….. ?????
    A huge thank you for what you have done for me on a personal level and a more general thank you for the blood, sweat and tears you have put into this really quite marvelous blog.

  8. Gustav,
    At some point we arrive at writing because we want to instead of writing because we have to. When writing becomes a chore then it is time to review why we do what we do. I started a 365 day writing project in the new year, finding something to write about every day if just for me, or whomever follows me.

    I’ve been following your journey for a long time. if only to live vicariously through your adventures. A blog is many things. A monetary maker, an info pool, a point of contact for followers, family and friends, and in the end, it is about ourselves. Where we are, what we are thinking, what’s going on in our lives, specific growth points along the way. Your blog is organic and it evolves as you evolve and that is a good thing, because we cannot remain static forever.

    It’s a new year, Where are you going? I hope you will continue to write, because you give us a window into a life many of us don’t get a chance to do. I hope all is well.

    Write … it allows us to keep tabs on you as well, because as regular readers we can participate in your adventure.


    1. Money maker? ha ha ha! *wiping a tear of … laughter? from the corner of my eye*

      Thanks for the kind comment. I will continue to write, just a bit more haphazardly and with no real goal anymore other than to document, primarily for myself, what I’m doing.

      So, yeah, it is a new year, and I have NO IDEA what I am going to do! I feel completely lost. I have a skiing thing in either europe or canada come end of Feb, and then a US wedding in May, but other than that, I am at a loss. 🙁

  9. Anne says:

    Ah Gustav
    Sometimes the path becomes blurry for us all 😉
    There is no need to give up hope!!! Our goals are our guide not our destination & sometimes when things change as they inevitably do it can confuse the mind because it seeks to control things that are not within its power. Trust that you will find a way forward, it may not be obvious but our path lays before us even when we feel blind 😀
    Sometimes when we feel at our most lost, it is but an augury of new horizons that await..
    It sounds like you have a lot of friends & people that believe in you.. Trust in their faith, if you are having a hard time believing in yourself & your direction. X

  10. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

    VOTED. A fitting start to the New Year. Onward and upward.

  11. Nemi says:

    This is the first time I have seem your blog, but I do like it and will come back to read more!
    I also have a blog with my nomadic adventures and use it mostly to record what I do so I can come back to it and read in a few years, I used to do it offline but several people kept encouraging me to put it online to inspire others and so I did. I will look at your blog for inspiration and encouragment 🙂

    And the reason I first started this comment; were you at a blockade against deportations in Märsta about a year ago? I remembered there was another Swedish nomad there but I wasn’t interested in networking at that time.

    1. 2080 digits of pi?! Wow! Impressive! (if you don’t know what I mean, go read Nemi’s blog)

      Deportations in Märsta? No, that wasn’t me. Never been there. 🙂

      1. Nemi says:

        Moving towards 2400 decimals 😉

        If you need a couch in Uppsala or Verviers/Liege sometime you are welcome to borrow mine!

  12. Hob says:

    Hi Gustav
    Just a note to say hi. I read your articles all the time. Do keep writing about the world as it appears to you. You have a fun and unique way of relating to all that is about you. One day I hope that our lives cross again. Hob

  13. Magnus says:

    I don’t like your way of measuring. Even if most people do not stop by The modern nomad every day,week or even month it does not say that they (I) don’t spend more time, reading several posts when I actually visit. I love getting updates on your life and would really miss it if you decided one day to stop completly.

    Secondly,I was thinking that this would someday turn out to be a book to inspire future nomads!

    Looking forward to continue to read and be updated on your life, ánd if not, I will start to call you every second week demanding a “Live” update =)

  14. zB says:

    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.) … maybe this dream can be useful for envisioning something less obvious, but more rewarding and interesting to others. You appear to have many talents, that could be in good use 😉

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