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.
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.
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.
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
- 27,934 words written and 153 comments received across 22 blog posts
- 6 new friends
- 11 new acquaintances
- 1 friend tragically lost (Jason Athens)
- 31 audiobooks read totalling 413 hours and 27 minutes
- 7 countries visited and lived in 5 of them
- 21 cities visited and lived in 6 of them
- 26 beds slept in, lived in 15 of them
- 21 planes, 3 trains, 0 boats, 5 buses
- 5 mobile numbers used
- 32.22 is the fraction of the year
- 30 Sights, 12 Museums, 4 Bike Tours, 4 Random Drives
- 157 Games played across 51 Sessions, 48 Titles and 10 Locations, 3 Break-Out Games
- 59 Nights Out, 11 Times in Leather, 9 Times Dancing, 6 Bad Hangovers
- 4 Prides
- 3 Photoshoots
- 6 Times Skiing
- 7 Games Manufactured
- 4 Interviews Given
New Year Resolutions
- Start working out again, even if it is just at a low but steady level.
- Start flossing regularly and religiously!
- Don’t hesitate or procrastinate around the things I have decided to do.