Year Review 2014

31 December 2014. Filed under category Personal.

My fourth 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 that is a lifelong process of reflection and decision-making.

My Travels

I had a slow start to 2014, spending a month and a half in Ljungby (parental home in Sweden) and London, mostly hanging out with friends. I then went to Vancouver, where I spent three amazing months. Out of all the places I’ve ever been, Vancouver was the city where I most quickly and effortlessly integrated into an enjoyable life full of friends, hobbies and adventures.

The wedding between Yaron and Brandon enticed me away from Vancouver, and I spent a month (May/June) in America, visiting New Jersey, my office in Philadelphia and Don, with whom I spent a week in Lake Havasu.

Three events lined up in London during June/July, namely the Greenwich Festival, London Pride and Recon Week, so I spent a month in London. After a short break in Ljungby to visit family, I flew to Warsaw for a wedding at the start of August, followed by Berlin where I stayed at an east-Berlin ex-squat all-gay community house.

I returned to Burning Man (sixth time!) at the end of August, and I stayed in the US for little more than a month.

Since I left Vancouver, four months earlier, I had done nothing but small flash-visits, so I now looked forward to three months in Brazil. I stayed a week in Sao Paolo, four weeks in Belo Horizonte and finally five-six weeks in Rio de Janeiro.

I ended the year with a flash visit to California (mostly because it was cheaper for me to fly via America) and then back where I started, namely Ljungby, for Christmas.


Accepting strange invitation

I love random and exciting events, and twice this year, I received invitations from complete strangers to come visit them and live with them for a while. The first was from Stephane at Tuntenhaus, the east-Berlin ex-squat all-gay community house. The second was Belo Horizonte in Brazil. I had a fantastic time in both places, and I am proud of myself that I have that bit of crazy still within me that I can accept random invitations and ‘just go for it’.

Discovering the power of mind maps to focus my sightseeing

This will sound like small-scale, and I guess it is, but using a smartphone mind-map application to keep track of stuff to do and see in both Vancouver and Rio de Janeiro was quite the find! Whenever someone mentions a place of interest, I added it to the map. The visual appeal of ticking off the items drove me to do more, and it become a visual representation of the city which I enjoy looking at later.

Expanding my board game interest

I’ve played 157 games across 51 Sessions, 48 Titles and 10 Locations. That is a lot, considering that the nomadic lifestyle hardly lends itself to board gaming. Still, it means a lot to me, and I’ve found a way to make it work. (Mostly by forcing new friends to play with me until they bloody well like it!)

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.

This year, it has been a balancing act to work full-time, keep up the blogging, explore the cities and countries I visit while still get enough rest to not burn out. I think I’ve done so pretty well.


Last year I saw a distinct mellowing out of the travel-induced mental strain. This year, the trend continued. Nothing was very difficult, almost to the point that I’m worrying about not being challenged anymore by the nomadic lifestyle.

The Violent Robbery Attempt

Being hit in the face during the robbery attempt in Rio caused a lot of practical issues, and cost a lot of money. So, I guess it is a problem. However, I was tempted to put this in the Accomplishment section as I think I handled it pretty well, much thanks to Tainá.

Not working out

I carry my exercise bands all over the world, but this year, I have not used them once. Failure.


The nomadic life is pretty easy now. I’ve got it figured out. And with that comes a slight restlessness. Am I still challenging myself? Do I even want to challenge myself? Or do I want to just enjoy what I’ve built? I feel somewhat directionless.

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 three years, my only restrictions on where I go are economical or visa related. However, the economical side is no longer a factor considering that I again work full time. As for the visa issue, I still would like to spend more time in the US, perhaps take a road trip there. I should really solve this issue, somehow.


Economically, my nomadic life is more than sustainable now that I work. As for my personal energy sustainability, that has never been much of an issue, and it still isn’t. The nomadic life still takes a lot out of me, but my reserves are not being depleted faster than the rewards renew them.


2014 Travel Map

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 other years, I’ve always answered with a resounding Yes! My answer is still yes, but perhaps with not quite as much force as last year. It is a little bit less exciting today. I don’t think this is a big problem, in fact, perhaps it should be expected. The nomadic lifestyle still offers me more than a geo-static life would do, and I am in no way reconsidering. But perhaps I should start looking for ways to re-shape my travels a bit.

In which way, I am not sure. I could try to be more adventurous, going to more obscure countries. But, I don’t actually think so. My best time this year was in the US and Canada. Nothing exotic about those places, yet I loved it there, much more so than Brazil. And in previous years, I’ve favoured Sydney over both Mexico and Buenos Aires. So, perhaps I should not do what people expect and be more adventurous but go where I speak the language and I can build deeper friendships more easily.

Year in Numbers

Year In Numbers

New Year Resolutions


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  1. Anthony says:

    You wrote:

    “I’m worrying about not being challenged anymore by the nomadic lifestyle.”
    “I should [..] go where I speak the language”

    Isn’t it a slight contradiction? If you want to be challenged again, wouldn’t it make more sense to go to places where you don’t speak the language? I understand it would be more difficult (challenging?) to build friendships but that could be a goal: becoming fluent in a new language to the point where you can build (deep) friendships as you do in English. If you choose a language which is widely spoken like Spanish for example it means that in the future you could go to far more countries and still enjoy yourself as you seem to do right now in English-speaking ones.

    1. The end goal is the same as always, to be happy now as well as when I look back on my life. Being challenged is just a way that I’ve made that happen before, but it isn’t an end in itself.

      The challenge I faced when becoming a nomad was exhilarating and made me very happy. The language barrier I faced in Mexico, Buenos Aires and Brazil just made me lonely.

      So, me saying that I worried about not being challenged by the nomadic lifestyle is akin to me mourning the erosion of the exhilarating challenge of transforming my life from geo-static to nomadic.

      And likewise, saying that I should go where I speak the language is me learning from the past that I am happier where I speak the language than where I do not. (For short trips, this is not such a big deal, but to live 3-4 months in a country where you don’t speak the language is not good for me.)

      I do like the suggestion of learning a new language. That would indeed open many doors.

  2. Vagina says:

    I would be really keen to drive a large van from west to east Coast, taking in all the weirdness of the Middle bit of the US and visiting the thrift stores to pick up awesome furniture, clothes and vinyl.
    Would you be up for joining me for a part of the journey?
    Maybe in the spring/ early summer?

    Or maybe after the man Burns?

    1. I am very interested in that! But, it does come down to how my VISA situation will look. Stay tuned!

  3. Diego says:

    It’s always an interesting mind activity to measure the past year in both the simplest and the most important things that happened to yourself (Rent, hello?). And it’s a pleasure to be part of your numbers. Of course there are some you left out, such as:
    1 quote involving dinner bills and wannabe stars.
    1 hamster saved from death.
    A dozen (totally unnecessary, in my opinion) comments involving being trapped inside collapsing caves or old mines.

    The bottom line is: It meant a lot to me having you here. Thank you!

    1. I just sent you a screenshot of my journal. There, it says, “1 Hamster Saved (Erik)”. I just can’t publish every number I gather. But it was there!

      I’m so grateful that you and your husband opened your home for me in Belo Horizonte! I had a wonderful time there. Far too many great memories for numbers alone to quite capture.

      1. Diego says:

        I know it’s impossible for you to state every single thing that happened to you. That was just my way to say that some of the fondest memories I have from last year are from that month you were here. Oh, and I forgot to wish you an excellent 2015. Consider it done!

  4. J. says:

    Yes, please floss… (Don’t use the exercise bands, or you might have to deal with more dental emergencies.)

    All the best in 2015!

  5. vagabondElmer says:

    Well done! As you wrote being a digital nomad is all about “a balancing act to work full-time, keep up the blogging, explore the cities and countries I visit while still get enough rest to not burn out.” So, you’ve done very well. Now I also agree with Anthony If you want to be challenged again, pick up a new language. Benny the Polyglot created a method that gets you speaking in a very short time (I am working on my 3rd and it is pretty good). check out his site and specially the blogpost where he get his girlfriend Laurene to speak Speranto in few short weeks

    1. Anthony says:

      That’s a good point. Instead of learning Spanish (as I mentioned in my first post), Esperanto could be a good choice for you as it’s spoken everywhere in the world (wherever you are it’s very likely that some people speak it) and is (extremely) easy to learn. Last but not least, Esperantists are very gay-friendly. Check this group on Facebook (in Esperanto of course):

      and this post which describes an Esperanto event (where people are international, geeky, liberating, like board games (!), etc):

  6. Peter says:

    Always great to hear from you my friend….we missed you on an epic, thigh deep powder day in Whistler! Of course, when, not if, you return, we will take you back up! We hope the recovery is going well…. Miss that great energy! Peace and love, Happy New Year xo

    1. Miss you too Peter! Wish I could go skiing with you again, despite the powder. (I know, I know.) I’ll see you again, sometime, but no matter how far, it is great to have you as a friend.

  7. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

    “My fourth year as a nomad….” That hit me like a thunderbolt. Only four years…. It feels as though I have been following you for so much longer. “I returned to Burning Man ( sixth time !)…..” and I feel the lump forming in my throat. I found you through the Jack Rabbit and your blogs on Burning Man. I count back six years and my heart leaps as I realize you were there in 2009 , the last year Josh was there. You were there, both of you, in that wild and crazy explosion of humanity. Now the tears flow. Why? I can’t explain it except knowing you were there, he was there, somehow seems so perfect. You have been a gift to me. A gift from Josh. Thank you, a million times over for being Gustav.

    1. J. says:

      Crys, So very sorry for your loss. I’m happy that following Gustav brings you comfort. In the craziness of Burning Man, Josh and I may have crossed paths, as I have with Gustav on a few occassions there. I will write a messege at the temple on your behalf.

      1. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

        J., Thank you so much for your kind words. Josh has been represented at the Temple three times since he died, once by Gustav, and I cannot tell you how profoundly moved I am every time I watch the live streaming of the burn. Although I have never been to Burning Man, I take a huge amount of pride in knowing burners. Thank you for taking the time to write me and a huge thank you for being another to take Josh to the temple.

        1. J. says:

          Crys, it is an honor to do so, as it is as much for you as it is for him. You can be sure your continued messege of love goes up to the universe at the burn.

  8. Craig Btown says:

    I have a few thoughts.
    …Looking back on your Inventory and the culling of personal possessions, is there anything you regret getting rid of? Any cumbersome thing you wish you had but can’t carry with you?
    …I have had the above thought when I’ve considered my future move (unplanned as yet) back to Seattle. How much of these household goods would I cart back? And I feel happy to share with my friend Gustav an appreciation for the Pacific Northwest culture. You need to go back in the summer!!
    …Challenge. I’m guessing that an imaginative, unconventional and experienced board gamer like you could conjure up all your favorite and original elements into one fabulous game. I’d happily contribute to that kickstarter project!
    …Finally, I’m flabbergasted at everything you count!! I think there’s medication for that. But, can I be the first to ask…what’s so special about 32.22???
    Much love!

    1. Great questions. Hmm. Anything I would get rid of? Nope. I’ve got it down to the necessities and a few luxuries that I simply don’t want to let go of (such as my board games.) Things I would wish I could carry with me in a magic bag of holding? Sure! Lots! Bigger board games and more leather springs to mind. 🙂

      I can tell you that I have only published a small fraction of the statistics that I pulled out of my journal. And, I created a new online journal system this year with a built-in statistics gathering system, so next year there will be even more!

      32.22…. Well well well. It is up to my dear readers to try to figure out the fraction. 🙂

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