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Top Lessons Learned From A Nomadic Lifestyle

nomadic lifestyle

Blueprint Breaker: Amy Palmer

In May of 2022, I left my lucrative corporate career for an unknown destination.

All I knew at that time was that I was going to take a significant break (three months) for the first time in my life, to figure out what I’d like the next era of my life to look like.

At the end of my three-month sabbatical, I unlocked three clear desires:

  1. Time freedom: Having almost complete control over how I spent my time.
  2. Location freedom: Traveling the world AND spending quality time with people I love who happen to live all over the world.
  3. Serving the blueprint breakers: Representing and supporting women like myself (over 50, no partner or kids) who may be feeling as stuck or disappointed in life as I once felt.

“I still consider myself a novice nomad – I have so much to learn!”

Digital Nomad And Nomadic Entrepreneur:

I quickly embraced the term Digital Nomad and Nomadic Entrepreneur

As I shared these labels in response to “What do you do?” or “Where do you live?”, I realized most people didn’t really understand what I meant.

“Oh, so you’re homeless?”

“Um, not exactly. I travel all over and have seasonal homes. I stay with family and friends and periodically stay in hotels and Airbnb’s.”

“But where is your stuff?”

“Well, I don’t have much anymore- I sold or donated over 90% of my belongings and the rest is in storage in NJ, near my brother’s home.”

There seems to be a lot of curiosity about the logistics. The responses I get from people range from curious to envious to horrified.

5 Nomadic Lifestyle Logistical Lessons Learned:

I still consider myself a novice nomad. I have so much to learn! Here are some of the logistical lessons I’ve learned thus far:

  1. There is a massive nomadic community around the world. The younger population (20-somethings) apparently began to embrace this lifestyle when blogging/travel blogging/influencing became popular, around the 2010’s.
  2. There are many resources for those living a fully nomadic life: online communities, shared seasonal dwellings, nomadic insurance, mail forwarding services, and more.
  3. Partly as a result of the pandemic and the subsequent wave of people reassessing their lives, midlife women are a growing demographic in this community. However, I have found that many nomadic resources are not yet focused on women our age. That seems to be changing but there appears to be a need for it. (For example, I’d love nomadic accommodations for midlife women only. Right now, what I find are a lot of organized retreats, but not necessarily month-long stays in various countries.)
  4. There are many different ways to embrace this lifestyle. For example, a Kuel Life colleague of mine, Lori Saitz, is embracing a nomadic lifestyle by offering house sitting/pet sitting services.
  5. Scheduling personal care can be a challenge. I have to group all of my medical and care appointments at once and plan my trips around appointments. And sadly, our healthcare system does not make this easy! I have managed, but it has been a challenge at times.

“There are many different ways to embrace this lifestyle.”

10 Nomadic Lifestyle Personal Lessons Learned:

I’ve also had quite a few personal lessons:

  1. It takes a lot of flexibility and compromise to be a good houseguest. I strive to be a houseguest who is welcomed for a return visit. This is an ongoing lesson and I am still evolving. Each host runs their household differently, and has different expectations of their guest. As an introvert, sometimes I need to spend time in my room and I worry that my host is bothered if I am not being fully sociable. If I feel like I’m not contributing to the household in some way, I feel guilty for relying on my host. However, not everyone wants their guest to contribute or is particular about what that could look like. I also battle the guilt I feel over not being able to compensate my host monetarily for my stay.
  2. Being a houseguest allows me to spend quality time with people I love. I have been able to work on the depth and emotional intimacy of the important relationships in my life.
  3. I need my personal space and alone time, but too much of it and I start to spiral. My ideal mix is 60% of my time spent living with others, and 40% of my time spent alone.
  4. I enjoy being a host. One of my favorite parts of renting an Airbnb for a significant time is being able to host friends and family. I plan to continue to do this in fun parts of the country/world as a way to “return the favor” to all those who have supported me during this time.
  5. I plan my trips a few months at a time at most. This is primarily due to the fact that I still haven’t built a steady income. It is clear to me that an ideal state will be when I have a steady stream of revenue coming in that will support all of my endeavors.
  6. People will project their fears and stress. For those who need full stability and are not comfortable with change, this chosen lifestyle of mine is scary. As a result, their comments and questions are often fear-based. While I am slightly more comfortable with risk, I am human, so it is consistent work to resist the fear.
  7. Establishing seasonal homes inspires me to be very productive. Because I am in each location for a limited amount of time, I tend to get a lot done! Whether that is exploring the local area, seeing friends and colleagues in a certain area, or accomplishing goals – the deadline helps me to keep motivated.
  8. The nomadic lifestyle has encouraged me to live in the moment and cherish the small things. I can savor the local feel, my natural surroundings, and the beauty of what each town offers for community building.
  9. I enjoy bringing some personal items with me to make my current home a part of me. For example, I will bring small pieces of art, candles, colored lights, my Alexa edge with a digital photo frame, etc. It helps me to infuse the space with my personality and connects me with the history of my trips.
  10. A desire to travel has caused me to become comfortable with minimizing recurring monthly expenses. In the past, this was not really a priority for me. I have seen the benefit of minimizing living costs whenever possible.

“I have seen the benefit of minimizing living costs whenever possible.”

Life-Changing For Me:

I am often asked how long I plan to continue this nomadic lifestyle and when I will pick a place to settle down. When you are living in the moment and enjoying each day, it is difficult to answer these questions. I have no desire to settle down yet, so I assume I will continue this until I feel differently. Ultimately, I would like to have a home base to return to between trips and to store my most precious belongings, but that won’t happen until I establish a secure revenue stream from my business ventures.

All in all, these past 18 months have been life-changing for me. I can honestly say I have never felt so fulfilled and happy.  

Are you at all curious about the nomadic lifestyle? I’d love to hear from you and connect as you explore your options.

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About the Author:

As host and facilitator for the Blueprint Breaker podcast, Amy A. Palmer is dedicated to expanding and amplifying the voices of women over 45 who are living a “non-traditional” lifestyle.

After a lifelong struggle with feeling “outside” the societal norm and longing to live up to perceived expectations, Amy has found peace, acceptance, and joy as she embarks on the next era of her life. Amy was formerly a senior corporate executive, a nationally recognized sales and operations expert, an award-winning actress, a resident of 13 different US cities, and a prize-winning DC blogger.

Amy has a vast network of friends and colleagues with whom she enjoys travel and adventures and a close family including six niblings (nieces & nephews), the loves of her life!