How to Live Nowhere is about living life without a fixed address. It’s for those who:
- Haven’t yet found a place where they want to live year-round—or wonder if such a place even exists
- Feel most alive when moving, traveling, exploring, and making new connections
- Want to create a location-independent lifestyle that’s mentally, emotionally, financially, and romantically sustainable
I’m Blake Boles, and I wrote this book to share what I’ve learned from living nomadically for a full decade.
At age 22, I finished college knowing only one thing: I didn’t want to stay in one place. I wanted to take full advantage of my precious freedom to travel, explore, and adventure in the outdoors.
I began by taking a series of jobs in the world of summer camps and outdoor education, migrating between seasonal work gigs of two to five months each. Two years later, feeling burnt out, I bought a one-way ticket to South America, where I spent three months clearing my head and figuring out my next move.
At this point, my story is not especially unique. Many recent graduates spend a few years bumming around in their early twenties, and then—like normal young professionals—they choose a place and stick with it. At age 24 my peers were moving to big cities, signing 12-month leases, and starting grad school or their first “real jobs.” I could think of nothing I wanted less.
As I reflected in South America, I realized that I was deeply in love with the outdoors, and the notion of working inside an office in July seemed ludicrous when I could otherwise be in the mountains. I felt strongly about continuing the seasonal lifestyle that allowed me to jealously guard the summer months that were perfect for backpacking, trail running, swimming, and working at summer camps. I also began to realize that I relished the constant transitions of the permanent-traveler lifestyle—knowing that a new horizon awaited me every few months motivated me to make the most of my short time in whichever place I found myself.
Returning to the United States, I took a job at a ski resort and continued to research my options for building a seasonal outdoor existence. I thought I’d reached mecca when I found a “gap semester” program for 18- to 20-year-olds that was seeking international trip leaders. I successfully navigated the multi-week interview process, feeling optimistic about my prospects. Ultimately I wasn’t offered the position, but by that point I’d convinced myself that international trip leading was what I wanted to do. I wrote the director of the program and asked if he’d help me start my own little trip-leading company. To my undying surprise and delight, he said yes. Thus was born Unschool Adventures, my travel and education company for teenagers.
Through Unschool Adventures I took groups of motivated teenagers abroad for four to seven weeks at a time. I designed trips around international destinations that I personally wanted to visit or revisit, like New Zealand, Argentina, and Nepal. I tailored trips to fit my seasonal schedule (always leaving the summer open), and I hired trusted co-leaders from my camp and outdoor education communities. Crucially, as a business owner, I began to earn higher wages than any employer in the field could offer me.
Starting my own company became my ticket to successfully living nowhere. Soon after starting Unschool Adventures, I was able to make enough money with half a year’s work to finance the other half. During these relaxed periods I traveled, did short-term living experiments, and explored new and intriguing areas in the western U.S. I continued to work at summer camps that inspired me, enjoyed lots of outdoor adventures, began a part-time career as a writer, and found plenty of time to stay connected to my friends and family scattered across North America.
Seven years later, in early 2016, I traveled to Guatemala for a month and penned the first words that would eventually become this book. At age 33 I was still in love with the nomadic life, but I’d also come to see how complicated and messy it could be, especially in the realm of human relationships. I wanted to seriously assess how this lifestyle served me (or failed to do so) and share what I’d learned along the way.
If you’re getting excited about the nomadic lifestyle, this short book will serve as a primer for navigating its most common stumbling blocks. If you’re already a nomad, you may find things in here that resonate with you, validate your experiences, or offer a new perspective. And if you currently live “somewhere” but feel curious about nomadism (and I’m willing to bet you do), then the following chapters will help you decide whether it’s a lifestyle that’s right for you.