I predict that the first few weeks of the North American Tour will be the most difficult. Although there’s no way to predict what strange things might go wrong throughout the six months, I think the first several days and weeks – the adjustment period to long-term travel – will determine whether I complete the trip or not. Fortunately, I won’t have a home to come back to, so that should make it easier to follow the trip through to completion.
Re-Entry to Ordinary Life
I have no residential or occupational plans after the North American Tour. But it’s fair to predict that dwindling resources will force me to suspend my travels – at least temporarily – to work, earn money, and save up for the next trip.
But if by then I become used to long term travel, returning to normal life may be more difficult than I imagine.
Toward the end of the documentary, “A Map for Saturday”, most of the travelers interviewed expressed difficulty in returning and adjusting to ordinary life. It occurs to me that while a six month journey intimidates me now, the prospect of returning to society might be even more intimidating by the end of this trip.
A Nomadic Lifestyle vs Going on Vacation
Most Americans only get about two weeks of vacation each year. The ideal vacation is a luxurious getaway where the vacationer can get much-needed rest and relaxation. They recharge their batteries before returning to work.
Nomads, on the other hand, live their lives while travelling. A nomad’s trips are not events the same way a vacationer’s trips are. A nomad’s trips are part of the nomad’s lifestyle.
Nomads roam the planet and live in a world where the days on a calendar can lose their meaning. For someone like that to return to the confines of a fixed-location home and a 9 to 5 job is akin to caging a wild animal.
The Appeal of a New Home
I can only imagine two reasons why I might be tempted to set down new roots. The obvious reason is that living in a fixed home with an ordinary job is familiar to me. I have experience living this way, and I am somewhat comfortable living this way. I’m sure I could learn how to live while perpetually on the road. I just haven’t learned how yet.
The second reason is because the type of haunt work that I enjoy doing – corpse-building and prop-building – is easier to do with a fixed-base workshop with ample space to do my craft and a place to store my tools and supplies. I’m sure I could learn how to do my craft while on the road. I just haven’t learned how yet.
As hard as the future may be to predict, I’m betting that if I can survive the first few weeks, I’m not going to want to stop travelling. If I don’t want to have to stop – even temporarily – I’m going to have to learn how to earn money on the road.
The simplest and most common option is a digital, location-independent job. Growing numbers of nomads are opting for e-commerce, writing, and editing gigs they can do from their cell phones and laptops.
Personally, I’m feeling fatigued with technology. I’d prefer to ditch my phone some day and avoid digital nomad jobs entirely. I’m more likely to gravitate toward non-digital jobs. Though I have no earthly idea what form that may take.