The Appeal of a Nomad Life

Mon 10 – Sun 16 May 2021

Increasingly I realise how much I am drawn to the appeal of a nomad life. I have always had a strong wanderlust. Pretty sure it goes back to my childhood when we were homeless after my parents split-up, spending several years moving around the country living with different people. My thinking has been reinforced by a wonderful book I started to read last week.

As my life goes forward and I head into later middle age, I realise I do not want to be tied down in terms of where I live or the work I do. Plus increasingly I reject the expectations of ‘normal’ life. I’m never going to own a home or have a career. As well as this I love travel though I want to do it without contributing to the climate crisis – is that possible? When will I see Berlin, Torremolinos, Sitges, and Gran Canaria again. πŸ™

But nomad life is more than just a constantly moving physical state. It is also a state of mind. It’s about being someone who is willing to try different things and alter trajectory if the results are not working out as hoped. You could call it an agile state of mind. πŸ™‚

More than just Digital Nomad

There has been a lot of talk about the nomad life recently though it’s actually been a feature of human society for as long as it has existed. In particular, I am aware of the talk of ‘Digital Nomads’. The idea of primarily young people with excellent IT skills going off to a beach resort to work remotely doing their coding, graphic design, etc. That’s fine but we don’t all have whizz-kid tech skills. And it doesn’t really help the planet if people are flying around to live in places for short periods that then push up rents for those who normally live there. A nomad life isn’t just about being a digital nomad.

Books and Reading

‘Nomadland’

This brilliant book written by Jessica Bruder and first published in 2017 has been one of my reading books for last week. It is the basis of this year’s Oscar winner for Best Film. It tells the real-life stories of people in America primarily forced into a nomad life rather than entering out of choice. These are mainly elderly people who have hit bad times and, in America, there is no safety net. πŸ™ So they get in a van and travel round the country doing temporary work.

Their existence is not the glamorous one of a digital native sitting on a beach sipping a cocktail whilst coding. And it shows how society likes us to live in set units paying rent or mortgage by making it hard to access healthcare if you are a nomad and basically only able to do temporary physical work. But it also shows the element of ‘freedom’ that comes from opting out of normal ways of doing and thinking. Plus the camaraderie that arises from building links with others in similar situations.

Macaws in Las Palmas

Health and Efficiency

2nd jab πŸ™‚

Great news that I had my second covid vaccination last Tuesday. A bit of queuing and listening to baby boomers moaning about queuing. But all done and I’m as fully protected as I can be. Really don’t get anti-vaxxers. Most of them strike me as rich new-age people. The type who worry about tap water whilst kids across the world have nothing to drink but dirty water leading to diarrhoea, dehydration, and death. πŸ™

Mental health

This has been good last week. Building on my previous blog (read it here), I have tried to worry less and be optimistic for the future. You can still care about things but also bear in mind that ultimately nothing matters and we are all dust. I find that a thought to inspire me to worry less about everyday life and chill rather than worry about death and not leaving a legacy. Do your best and move on without causing too much damage – the nomad life epitomised. πŸ™‚

Sleep – good and bad

I had one of the best sleeps I have ever had at the weekend. Amazing how worrying less makes you sleep better and when you sleep better then you worry less. Friday night into Saturday morning, I slept for over 9 hours. Up for wees but that is normal. In between I had deep, restful sleep filled with nice, sexy dreams. πŸ™‚

What makes a good night’s sleep so pleasing is that it is a rare occurence. One of the big problems I am having at the moment is being woken by my knees being so painful. I am wondering if this is arthritis? πŸ™

Weight and walking

A week of lots of walking. Several long walks between mum’s and Dave’s place. Plus I took some books up to the Notting Hill Exchange and walked back. Then on the same day I walked all the way to get my vaccination and then back again. My love of walking is a big part of my nomad life. Regular readers will know how walking provides thinking, reading and relaxing time. Plus it helps keep my weight under control which is perhaps slightly edging up but not worth fretting about – yet.

INR

This is the regular check I have to make sure my tendency to blood clotting is under control. Bad news last week that the INR test shows it has gone unstable after a long period of stability. The problems of living with a chronic health condition. πŸ™ So change in meds and into a new period of more regular checking which is very tiring and time consuming.

Sustainability

Tackling hoarding

You can’t really live a nomad lifestyle and be a hoarder. Basically nomads simply can’t carry around too many possessions – it’s not physically possible. I have spoken before how I am trying to tackle my hoarding addiction. This continues with me either selling stuff online, swapping it at the Notting Hill Exchange, or giving it to the charity shop.

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly’

Bertrand Russell

Being in closer touch with nature

A nomad life also fits in well with nature. Nomads generally don’t trash the environment like our more normal sedentary way of living does. You don’t exploit a place before you leave it as others will need it (as you need where they have been) and you may come back in the future. Lockdown has helped us all connect with nature more. I love being out in the open and observing. The blue-tits on Dave’s balcony in particular continue to fascinate and amuse me. πŸ™‚

Close up of a blue tit

Family and Friends

Mum

Said in my previous blog that I wanted to spend more time with mum last week (read it here) and that is what I managed. So nice to spend time with her. Often I am working but I know she just likes to know I am there. But, of course, time with mum means less time with Dave. πŸ™ I suppose the way I constantly move between them is an example of my nomad life.

Former colleagues: Phyllis, Nissa, Claire

3 catch-ups with old colleagues last week. The usual weekly check-in with Philip in Andalucia. Do not believe the propaganda about things in Europe being terrible with Covid and plucky little England beating the world. Philip is living a great life with bars, restaurants, shops, gyms, beaches and even clubs all open. πŸ™

Then caught up with Nissa and Claire. Like Philip, I worked with them at Comic. Nissa was a previous job-share and we were a good team. Now she is doing great stuff in the Tech for Good sphere as a freelancer – the archetypal nomad job alongside consultant (which is what my new role is largely about). I used to manage Claire who is a travel expert. So good to see her happy in her new home and with her dog. πŸ™‚

Tech for Good

Things continue well with my new job. As laid out in another previous blog (read it here), I am crafting and better understanding the ecosystems I operate in as well as building strong internal networks. And I carry on problem solving around the launch of our new Tech for Good pro-bono offer to not-for-profit organisations. A detailed update in a week or so. I have also been building (or rebuilding) links with the wider Tech for Good network. Check out some of the great organisations I talked with last week:

Doing a good day's work

Retaining being a nomad in my new job

If I am honest then I must say how I am enjoying the idea of being on a year’s contract. It leaves me the option of nomad-like moving onto something new once it is finished. But if things continue to go well then I would probably be asked to stay. Obviously if you are in a permanent job then you can leave at any time. But is it really that easy as you get connected into the organisation? With hindsight, I probably stayed too long at Comic Relief.

Other Stuff

  • Personal Development Central to being a nomad is learning new skills. And I continue my love affair with Duolingo and the ability it gives to learn new languages. Not doing as much as I would like around improving my tech development skills although my new job gives me a wider understanding of tech in general.
  • Art and Culture Not a great week for this. πŸ™ Perhaps simply crowded out by a big emphasis on walking and reading. Haven’t finished watching the movie ‘Hidden’ yet. But continue to watch my beloved soaps.

The Week Ahead

  • It’s Eurovision week! So 2 semi-finals on Tues and Thurs then the big final on Sat evening. Think this counts as ‘Art and Culture’. πŸ™‚
  • Will carry on reading ‘Nomadland’ as well as the other book which I haven’t talked about here, ‘The New Wilderness’ by Diane Cook – a bit like an updated Lord of the Flies.
  • Hopefully I can stay chilled and future focused. Lots of good networking to come both internally and externally including my old boss Ruth who is now CEO at Refuge. πŸ™‚
  • Got to have my INR redone on Tuesday, hopefully stability will return
  • Aim is to finish watching ‘Hidden’ as well as do some more tech development learning
  • And lots of good usual stuff: mum, Dave, walking, language learning, and offloading of unnecessary possessions πŸ™‚

One thought on “The Appeal of a Nomad Life

  1. Maybe buy a little habitable boat you can move onto anywhere from – a self contained Wi-fi-enabled water-gypsy life. Your mind will be immediately expanded and cognitive skills massively increased as you get to grips with nature, light engineering and mechanics, digital navigation, design solutions and the 24/7 awareness all that’s on the other’s ideas of your mini home is all nature can throw at you – bad and good 😌 πŸ˜‰

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