Things I Wish I knew Before Living the Nomadic Lifestyle
Living the nomadic lifestyle has been the most amazing experience of my life. But, it has come with plenty of ups and downs over the years. After living the nomadic lifestyle for over 5 years, I wanted to share what I’ve learned. And what I wish that I knew before I went out and started living on the road full time.
Not Every Day Will Be Amazing When Living the Nomadic Lifestyle
When you look on social media you always see those perfect pictures of someone laying in the back of their van with the door opened up to amazing scenery. While some nights are like this, a majority of the nights you’ll spend living in a vehicle will not be quite as nice… There will be nights you stay in a Walmart parking lot or a truck stop. Or, sometimes you may just be parked on a city street or on the side of the road somewhere. While these nights may not be as glamorous as the beach nights they are part of the experience. Just like normal life there are ups and downs. Some days will be moundane and uneventful, like when you are traveling long distances to get to a new destination.
You Have to Be Flexible
You may have everything planned out for your day week or even month, but nothing goes as planned when you’re living the nomadic lifestyle. This doesn’t mean that things always go wrong but it’s just that plans seem to always be changing. Maybe the place you planned on visiting has a road closure on the way there. Or maybe you wanted to get to a destination but because of the weather it just isn’t possible.
I tried to get to the giant sequoias in California once but I wasn’t prepared with snow tires so I couldn’t make it up the mountain. But, fortunately, there were these awesome hot springs just down the road. I ended up having an amazing time at the hot springs, it wasn’t my original plan but it ended up being way better! If you’re someone that has to have everything planned out perfectly then it’ll be a much harder transition for you to start living the nomadic lifestyle.
You Don’t Need So Much “Stuff”
Living the nomadic lifestyle almost requires that you are somewhat of a minimalist. It just gets too hard to travel when you start to accumulate so much stuff. If you play an instrument, try to bring just one. I had a hard time with this at the beginning; I wanted to bring a couple of guitars with me as I traveled. And my acoustic guitar for when I was out camping and in nature but I also wanted my electric guitar because it’s just so fun to play. But, if I brought my electric guitar I would need cables and an amp and it just becomes too much to handle.
It’s hard to get rid of your belongings at first, but over time you’ll notice what you do use and what you don’t use. Plus, while you are traveling you probably will accumulate even more stuff such as souvenirs and other goodies. I try to collect just magnets so that they don’t take up any space and they can stick to my skoolie’s ceiling so I can reminisce on all the places I’ve been.
It’s Not Easy Sharing a Small Space
Maybe you are traveling solo and this may not really pertain to you. But if you are traveling with a partner it can be very difficult to live with another person in such a small space. Almost everyone that I’ve met while traveling has lost a partner due to the close quarter living conditions, including myself. It’s best to not spend every single day with each other. Have one person stay at home while the other has an adventure and the next day switch. This not only lets you have some time apart from one another but it also gives you something new to talk about! It’s extremely important to keep your individual space from one another while living so closely together.
When your home and vehicle are the same place there are more chances of things to go wrong. And things will go wrong… At some point it’s likely you’re going to have a blowout or mechanical problem that will throw a wrench in your plans. Just be sure to have a good amount of savings to deal with any problems that arise. Know your vehicle and if the problems that happen are small enough you may be able to save some money and fix it yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t have any mechanical experience, there are plenty of easy to follow mechanical guides on YouTube. When shit happens, just remember that it’s just a set back. And you’ll eventually get back on the road and back to an amazing adventure.
Some People Won’t Understand Living the Nomadic Lifestyle
No matter where you go there will be someone that just doesn’t understand why someone would live in a vehicle. I just explain to people that this is a choice, I want to live my life this way. I’m not broke and “homeless”, I just don’t need a permanent foundation to live on. I live my life exploring what the world has to offer me. And I open my arms to any experience that comes my way. Some people will understand it, but not all.
But don’t take it personally when someone just doesn’t understand your lifestyle. For the few people that don’t get it there are hundreds that love the lifestyle. One of the most common things I hear when I tell people I live the nomadic lifestyle is that they wish they could live that way too. I always tell them they can, it’s a choice to make. But many people just don’t think they can take that leap into the unknown.