Adventurous people have always longed to explore the world on their own terms and to become a permanent traveller, but the limits of knowledge and technology made travel a major undertaking. It was difficult, unsafe, and expensive for ships to traverse the oceans, or covered wagons to cross continents. They had to know where to go and exactly what might be waiting for them when they arrived.
For the first time in history, global residence is now a viable possibility for almost anyone willing to jump through enough hoops. It’s more difficult for citizens of some countries than others, but it is possible with enough determination. In spite of this modern convenience, most people will never move any significant distance from the place they arbitrarily happened to have been born.
What stops people in the modern age is neither distance nor difficulty. The obstacles are now internal. Innate resistance to change, something which has been with us since the earliest days of exploration, prevents us from taking roads that are now easily navigated. Physical space is no longer the barrier. It is psychology alone. We need to feel that a way of being is normal and accepted before we could ever begin to consider it for ourselves. Fortunately for those who wish to travel more comfortably, this is exactly what is starting to happen with the concept of nomadic living.
The internet allows each of us to collaborate with one another in real time across global borders. The online travel community is evolving rapidly. We are able to reach out to people who share our ideals, no matter where they are from and where they are heading next. Entire sections of the world have taken on specific connotations within the newly formed narrative of the perpetual traveler community.
Southeast Asia, for example, is infamous for attracting those seeking warm weather, cheap beer, and pretty little oriental girls who appreciate the charm (and money) of foreign guys. Digital nomad blogs, written by those who work from a laptop as they gallivant from one tropical shore to another exist to brag about the lifestyle freedom enjoyed by the authors. They are adorned with picture perfect snapshots of laptops on beaches, which – if you’ve ever actually brought expensive electronics to the beach – you’ll realize is a terrible idea.
Although these voices are the loudest, a global lifestyle does not have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be any specific way at all. This is just another superficial narrative sought by those so unhappy with their old lives that they were willingly trade it all in for any story which solved their immediate discontents.
Career a mess? Marriage fell apart? Sick of living in your parents’ basement? There’s a lifestyle narrative for that. There is no end to the variation. You may choose to relocate every few days. You may set up mini-homes for months at a time. You may become a semi-permanent expatriate in one country for years on end.
My required comforts are very basic after 10 years of travel to some 45 countries. I don’t want to have to worry about the internet, hot water, or power shutting off. I don’t want to be treated like some sideshow attraction, or an easy target for mooching or theft. I don’t appreciate excessive noise, and I don’t want to get sick if I eat the local food. I’m not a fan of cold winters. If I can find a place that embodies these traits and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to live, I know I have found somewhere very special indeed.
My strategy is tailored to my needs, and will not fit what others require to express themselves to the fullest. The grass always seems greener on the other side, and there’s no reason you have to settle for just one home base. People start thinking about what is going on in Asia or Europe when they are in Latin America too long, or vice versa.
You could rent an apartment in one place, own a home in another, or set up enough connections on the ground in each of your favourite places that you always have somewhere to stay. If your home bases are near major airports, you will always have an easy way to get around from one to the other. You may choose to spend your summers in Europe when the weather is warmest, or intentionally leave during the summer to avoid the rush of sun-seeking tourists.
For many travellers, the multiple home base strategy is the most comfortable way to see the world and never get bored with any single place. It is far more affordable than booking hotels and short rentals everywhere. You can pick and choose a variety of lifestyles, from big city, to small town, rainforest, white sand beach, mountain village, or anything in between. It’s also the best way to acquire second residence permits and citizenship, depending on the requirements of the country.
Lifestyle arbitrage makes it possible to earn a living in a country where wages are high and business is good, but spend it where the cost of living is considerably lower. It is common for people to live just outside major cities where the rent is low and commute daily to the center where wages are high. The same principle can be applied on an international scale, where the internet makes commuting all but obsolete. Today, anyone can run their business or work for an employer based in New York or London while living in a charming pueblo of Mexico or on a pristine beach in Thailand.
When you free yourself from the chains of your past, you don’t have to keep repeating the same limiting patterns any longer. The point is to give up the arbitrary allegiance you have to where you came from. Learn to look at what the world offers from neutral eyes. Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated. It is only when you have harmony between who you are and what is going on around you that you can begin to truly integrate yourself with the world.
About Gregory Diehl
Gregory Diehl left California at 18 to explore our world and find himself. He has lived and worked in 45 countries so far, offering straightforward solutions to seekers of honest advice and compassionate support in the development of their identities. His first book, Brand Identity Breakthrough, is an Amazon business bestseller. His new book, Travel as Transformation, chronicles the personal evolution worldwide exploration has brought to him and others. Find him at: http://gregorydiehl.net/