A nomadic life isn’t automatically healthier or more productive than a traditional rooted life. There are good and bad reasons to live nowhere that can both help and hurt you.

Think of it as the Light Side and the Dark Side of nomadism.

The Light Side of Nomadism can help you:

  • become more adventurous, independent, interesting, and social
  • connect with new and interesting people
  • stimulate your creativity
  • escape the distractions that prevent you from focusing on important work
  • reflect deeply on your life and remember what’s important
  • leave behind unhealthy routines at home and build new positive habits
  • prioritize experiences over stuff
  • spend less money on unnecessary junk
  • learn from new cultures and increase your appreciation for your own culture
  • get to know each new place you visit (because you know your time is limited)

The Dark Side of Nomadism can:

  • be used as an excuse to run away from your problems
  • complicate or prevent long-term relationships
  • make you too social, thus distracting you from important work
  • distract you from “adult stuff” like developing a career and building financial security
  • drain your bank account through frivolous travel-related expenses
  • deplete your energy through constant transitioning
  • promote a radical individualism that ultimately makes you lonely

In a decade of nomadic living, I’ve definitely had my Dark Side moments. I’ve felt deep loneliness. I’ve let travel interfere with relationships. And I’ve seriously wondered whether all my moving is really just a form of extended adolescence as I fail to build a foundation for adult life.

But whenever I sit down and seriously assess my lifestyle, the highs outnumber the lows. The balance tips in favor of the Light Side. This is how (I think) I know that I’m continuing to make the right decision.

If you find yourself choosing nomadism for the right reasons—keep it up. But if you find yourself living nowhere for the Dark Side—maybe it’s time to stop. Don’t become a nomad just because it seems sexy or glorious. Do it because it actually serves you.