What makes a nomad? Are they impoverished drifters, globetrotting party-hounds, or laptops users on Thai beaches? Are they Zen-like minimalists, or is it a club of rich people who own houses on every continent?
The word “nomad” has the potential to conjure many different images and stereotypes, so let’s begin by dispelling some common misconceptions.
Living nowhere is not about constantly traveling to exotic international destinations. That gets old, fast—as well as expensive, overwhelming, and exhausting. It’s not the same as vacationing, international backpacking, or vagabonding, all of which assume that your lifestyle is temporary and that you have a “home” to return to.
It’s not about constant migration. The nomadic lifestyle doesn’t demand that you live in your car or move somewhere new every single month. You can live somewhere for a few months or even a year while still “living nowhere.”
It’s not about giving up home, community, or a sense of place. Instead, it’s about turning each of those singulars into plurals. You trade a home for homes, a community for communities, and a sense of place for a sense of places. Many nomads choose this lifestyle to strengthen, not sever, their connections to people and places.
It’s not just for rich people. Nomadism isn’t a lifestyle reserved for trust fund babies or the independently wealthy. Living nowhere is possible with a normal (or even low) income. As we’ll see in Chapter 5, there are many ways to earn a living without a fixed address.
It’s not just for poor people. Conversely, living without a fixed address doesn’t automatically turn you into a bum. A permanent residence is not required for financial security.
It’s not about going off-grid or removing yourself from “the system.” You can be a perfectly respectable member of society while still living nowhere.
It’s not about avoiding long-term commitments. Nomads do tend to avoid 12-month leases and location-dependent jobs. But long-term relationships, work commitments, and even mortgages (gasp!) can all be a part of the lifestyle.
It’s not forever. The truth is, it’s hard to live this way when you’re raising kids, pursuing traditional career goals, or caring for others. Most nomads are in their twenties and thirties for a good reason, and will eventually settle down when they get older. That’s okay! The lifestyle doesn’t have to be forever; it’s a ride that we enjoy while we can. (Although there are many older, family-oriented or retired nomads, that’s not the phase of life that we focus on in this book.)
It is about choosing a lifestyle that makes you feel fully alive. Are you a more creative, adventurous, happy, and courageous person when setting out to horizons unknown? Does waking up to the summer sun in January (because you’re in the southern hemisphere) motivate you to make the most of the day? Do you relish the chance to constantly make new friends instead of hanging around the same social circle all the time? Do you like the nomadic version of yourself more than the home-bound one? Yes? That’s the point of living nowhere.