The other night I went for drinks with one of my visiting travel blogger friends, Joe*, a full-time nomadic man in his 40s who was getting ready to make the transition to having an actual apartment with a year-lease. While to many this may seem ridiculous — by this age most 9-to-5ers own their own home — in the travel blogger community it’s not unheard of. To many it probably sounds like the dream, to live your life roaming the earth everyday in a different city. And in many ways it is; however, to put it in the words of Joe:
“People don’t realize just how exhausting and difficult traveling full-time is.”
Though the longest I’ve been on the road away from home is four months — or seven, if you count studying abroad — this statement totally resonated with me. At the end of every four-month backpacking trip I’m always inspired by the journey, drunk on the memories, sad to see it end… but also uber excited to see my own bed, get a bbq cheddar wrap from Stay Fresh Deli, have a crazy Sunday Funday with my ladies, get a Bee Sting pizza from Roberta’s, take a class at the Manhattan School of Burlesque, veg out on my parent’s couch, play Joust at Barcade, jog through street art near Maria Hernandez Park… You get the idea.
Living A Double Life
For me, being semi-nomadic has always felt like a double life. There’s NYC Jessie, who spends most of her days leading tourists around with her camera, booze brunching on weekends, and devouring the city’s many events with her family and friends. I have such strong friendships and am constantly making plans to be out and about with the people I love. Then there’s Travel Jessie, who hits the road without a word, unless you count my blog posts and Instagram shares as a word, having solo adventures, exploring new places, immersing myself in local cultures and getting into mishaps (like getting denied entry into Curaçao) until it’s time to go back to my regular routine.
I love it, but it can be exhausting, not to mention I end up missing out on important events, fall way behind on my writing (and making money) and need to get back in the loop upon my return. Some people couldn’t imagine missing a family holiday or a close friend’s birthday. I do all the time.
And I’m not even a full-time nomad.
A Place To Call Home
When you travel full time you see and experience so many amazing things, but it also becomes very easy to take travel for granted. Just like your home routine, when traveling becomes something you do full-time it begins to lose its shine and excitement. And maybe that seems ungrateful, but you could also say those wishing to be travel bloggers or full-time wanders working office jobs should be grateful for a steady pay check, health insurance and a place to call home.
A place to call home. Not having this is the biggest reason I choose not to be a full time
nomad. I live in a dingy apartment in Brooklyn with cracked paint, an ancient heating system that sounds like constant jackhammering (that is, when I have heat), and a bathroom so small I barely fit in it with the door closed. But after a long time away from this place I crave it so much. It may be ugly, but it’s cozy and welcoming, and when I see my shoes scattered about, colorful pieces from the unfinished puzzle I started weeks ago on the floor, cheap plastic bins holding my clothes because I’m too broke for real furniture, I feel like I’m being wrapped in big, giant, loving (uber unattractive) hug. And I couldn’t be happier.
Would you — or do you — travel full-time? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
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