Downsides to the Nomadic Lifestyle

Table of Contents

Living Day to Day

Living your life day by day is a perk of the nomadic lifestyle, but it can be a problem for some people. If you like to have everything in your life planned out to a “T”, then it can be a difficult transition. You never know what’s going to happen when you live full time on the road.

You could (or will…) have mechanical problems that will change your plans. There could be a hurricane that changes course and decides that you next destination is the place to be. Or there could be a wildfire that prevents you from getting to your destination. There could be a worldwide pandemic that causes you to be stranded in whatever place in the world you might be at the time. Sh** happens and if you don’t have the will power and flexible-ness to overcome these downsides to the nomadic lifestyle, then it might just not be suited for you.

Man at beach thinking of the downsides to the nomadic lifestyle

You Can Lack a Community

When you’re traveling from place to place all the time it is hard to feel like you have a real community around you. This is one of the toughest downsides to the nomadic lifestyle. It’s not that you can’t have a good community in the places you visit, but you may not have a great community around you in all of the places you travel to. There have been some amazing little towns that I immediately felt at home as soon as I got there, I even have built lifelong relationships with the people in these towns. But at the same time I’ve gone days and days without meeting someone that I really connected with. I’ve even gone days without speaking to another person.

The benefit to living a nomadic lifestyle is that if you are the type of person that needs more of a community around you then you can purposely live in places that are closer to “civilization” and even travel within big cities (if that’s your thing). But you can also take a different route and leave civilization behind. Traveling through the unknown and finding what truly connects you to the earth and nature.

However, with an ever growing technological world, physical distance doesn’t need to hinder our ability to communicate with others. Even while living location independent, almost anywhere in the world you can get some kind of an internet connection. There are endless options of apps that you can use for video calling and communicating online. Now, you can keep up with people you have met while traveling. This can help you feel like you have a community around you no matter where you are currently in the world.

Girl with feet in sand

Relationships Can be Difficult to Maintain

Relationships of all kinds are extremely difficult to maintain while living the nomadic lifestyle together. This can be one of the biggest downsides for many people living the nomadic lifestyle. I know many people, including myself, that have lost a partner while traveling. In a “traditional” lifestyle, you might live with your significant other in a decent sized home. And one (or both) of you go to work most every day of the week. Allowing you to have some space from your significant other, which is important in having a functioning relationship. But when living the nomadic lifestyle you are living in a much more confined space than on average.

If you’re living really small like van dwelling then it can be even more difficult. Living place to place, you don’t have a very structured schedule like you would with a traditional job. You may even work from “home” and in that case you would be around your significant other 24/7. With some people that is fine and it can work out smoothly, but for others it can be a nightmare.. At the very least, living the nomadic lifestyle with a partner will challenge and strengthen your relationship.

Get Used to Saying “Goodbye”

You have to get used to saying goodbye when living the nomadic lifestyle. Before you start traveling, you’ll need to say goodbye to some of your belongings. Most people have to limit the amount of stuff that they own when living in a confined space. You’ll have to say goodbye to your family and friends when you start traveling. Of course you’ll see them again, but it’s still a tough goodbye. And then when you’re out traveling and you meet some great new friends! Then you’ll have to tell them goodbye to as you continue your journey. You’ll also have to say goodbye to some things on the road.

You may even lose your vehicle while traveling, you may lose some of your belongings to accidents or even theft. You just have to get used to the feeling of saying goodbye to people and belongings in your life when living this lifestyle. For some people, this is no problem at all. But everyone is different and this could be the one part of the lifestyle that is hardest for others.

man contemplating the downsides to living the nomadic lifestyle

People are Judemental

When you first set out to travel and live free you are excited to share your way of life with the world. While some people will love what you are doing and may even envy the lifestyle you have. Some people will outright judge you for the way you live. I’ve had people yelling and screaming at me that I should “go back to where I came from” among other nasty insults that I’d rather not share… These people have their own problems in their life and they are just taking it out on someone else.

It sucks that people are like this but it’s just a fact of life. Not everyone will be this way and for the most part, as I’ve traveled across the United States, people have been very accepting of the lifestyle. And as time moves on, more and more people are becoming accepting of this alternative lifestyle. But there are still those people out there that like to judge anyone who is different.

vintage van life on the road

Enough of the Downsides, Are There Any Upsides?

Now that you know some of the downsides to living the nomadic lifestyle, don’t worry. With every downside comes an upside. Yes, you might get lonely from time to time, but you can use that time to strengthen yourself. I’ve lived the nomadic lifestyle for 6 years at this point and I have had some pretty low lows and some pretty high highs during that time. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! But everyone is different. If there are some things to the nomadic lifestyle that you just cannot over come, it’s ok. This lifestyle isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean any one is better than another just for enjoying living a different way.

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