As we drove, for the last time, past the bay area of Singapore, I turned back to see the shimmering night lights of the glitzy city fading behind me. Like time, the city has come and passed. It’s the end of yet another sojourn in the country I call home. Time to hit the road again.
Yet, I am hit by a sense of bittersweet string of emotions. Memories flashed across my mind like an old movie rerunning backwards, black and white, images of laughter and tears. At the same time, I feel a powerful pressing force that urges me to leave. To leave that comfort zone I’d once again built around myself. To explore something new and something that makes me go wow.
Photo by robinvanmourik
It’s exactly how my life has been for the past 5 years. An endless series of sojourns, most of them lasting for a year or so. The first of which was Miami. I remember when I left, I was a wreck. I could barely imagine my life away from the paradise. Life thereafter changed completely. We’ve packed up and gone to live in several different places since. I knew a nomadic life like this, was what I needed to keep me sane and happy.
Granted, we’ve had our fair share of misadventures – from cheating death while driving up to Machame Falls (Tanzania), to hiking up the mountains of Kakadu (Australia) and having a semi-asthma attack, we still loved living life on the edge.
On a personal note, these are what I consider the Ups of being a nomad, and what keeps us moving.
Everyday on the road is refreshingly exciting. One day you might be lost in the Amazon Jungle, while another, dancing tango along the streets of Buenos Aires. Colorful, unpredictable and topsy-turvy life – an excitement in life that’s hard to get by.
Life on the road is absolutely care-free. Besides the bugging question of where to have your next tantalizing meal, or which funky hostel to stay at, there’s really not much to worry about. Call me an escapist, but who really needs to be bogged down by bills and a stressful career?
You get to live your dreams, and that of many others. Who doesn’t like to travel? Everybody does! OK Some might not like the idea of being away from home, but most of them secretly live their fantasies through your vagabonding lifestyle.
Immersing yourself in a different culture and surrounding makes your learn. so much about the world and how vast it is. It could be visiting a village to see their simple lifestyle, or going on a boat ride with a local fisherman. You could learn more being there physically, than flipping through encyclopedias or websites.
I learn something about myself constantly. It might be something new, or something you already knew but want to improve on. Life is a journey of self-discovery, and I believe by putting yourself out there, you find more of yourself. I know what I want in life, who I am as a being, and I love to uncover more as I go along.
Of course, nothing is perfect. So here goes my Downs of being a nomad.
A friend said that each time she saw me, she felt my sentimental old self slipped away bit by bit. I was becoming less sentimental, and after giving it some thoughts, I shuddered at the thought that she might be right. Perhaps it’s because through these years of traveling, I’ve made so many new friends along the way, that I’ve somehow forgotten how important old friends and family ties can be.
At times, being away from my family especially makes me question the purpose of my nomadic lifestyle. Watching my parents age each time I see them, I yearn to spend more time by their sides and laugh like we always used to.
Financially, I’m far from becoming the next millionaire. Spending all my savings on the next big trip never got me close to buying a house, a car or anything near there. We have no assets of our own, posing quite a bleak prospect being a couple in our late 20s.
While we move from 1 city to the next, I settle for odd jobs and travel on every cent I make. Although I don’t envy my friends who are climbing up the corporate ladder (I’ve experienced 9-to-5 jobs, and I swear never do it again), I do sometimes ponder how it would be like if I’d taken that conventional path and pursued a high-flying career.
We don’t even have a fixed address! A little exaggerating, but yes, we never had a place to call our own. We had been sharing apartment with flatmates or staying with people, and changing mobile phone numbers and rental contracts constantly definitely made us hard to reach!
I guess I just needed to rant, but trust me, it’s all worth it. Seeing the smiles of some foreign faces, and the camaraderie with fellow travel mates, and the amazing journey that life takes us through – that’s priceless!
- Moving on: A New Life
- Why Should I Travel?
- 7 Steps to Sustaining Long-Term Travel
- How to Make the Big Move