Monday, 28 March 2011

Why I became a nomad

Photo thanks to kekexili
I'm convinced that all people, what ever they are after in the short term, and even how wrong that sometimes may seem to be, want to achieve happiness in the long term one way or another. Which makes everybody basically good, even despite wrong motives. I also believe everybody has unique talents, but unfortunately many of us are not in a position to find out what that is.
There's no formula for happiness. One day your body and soul feel oh so good, but before you know it that feeling is somehow suddenly gone, and for many of us this change of feeling goes on and on without even noticing or delibrately ignoring it. Or at least I used to live this way for many years.
Unless you're meditating under a tree all day, highs and lows will always exist. You have to really listen to your heart, but no matter who you are and what you do, no one is happy 100% of the time and that is how it will be throughout your life. This brought us perhaps good things like discoveries and inventions purely made out of frustation, leading to latest technologies which changed the world. No religion needed or to say the opposite; In history religion often formed an incentive to think out of the box.
Besides living a healthy and honest live, helping other people and being creative, I believe the only thing that you are able to influence in your own life is to change the offset conditions for feeling more happy. Wanting to achieve any goals in life is futile, but you have to try before finding out that at the end of the day only the direction you choose seems to matter.

Basic happiness is usually considered to be acquired by eating the right food, remaining healthy, having a shelter and start a family. Since the beginning of human being this has always been our common safe ground I guess. For more pondering things going beyond the scope of our mammal heritage, we invented religion and superstition, but I will skip that part for now.
In modern times other side conditions for happiness are considered to have money, good friends, a social life and in many cases family and pets nearby.
Then the list is filled up with many material things. For some the lake never seems to be full, although many billionaires after finding out that having money is not enough, want more power.
Others have redefined happiness as to be addicted to one or more things and feel happy only when exercising one or more of them.

For me Happiness = Freedom.

My life-style is an attempt to come more close to feeling free and I couldn't agree with Mark Twain more than when he wrote: 
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Many expats, escape artists and wanderlusts I met and who have or had the same quest as I do, seem to be unwilling and/or are not able give up many of the things mentioned above.
Only those who became (Buddhist) monks gave up everything except a new home, since nowadays not a lot are traveling arround that much anymore. Nothing for me, because I don't like to be taught what's wrong or right, even if they are rigth. And although Buddhism will let you find out things for yourself, I could do that anywhere, not nescesarrily in a temple.
Besides original nomads, I wouldn't know of many people who actually chose for a nomad kind of life-style;
Nicolas Berggruen? Seems he still owns an art collection and a jet.

What I gave up to become a nomad (in random order):
My company: I used to co-own a security equipment manufacturing company, where I was 'the inventor'. I also used to co-own an internet software company and I remember when on holidays in Koh Samui, I got the Bangkok Post delivered to my bungalow and read at breakfast about a possible copyright issue mentioning my company, so I called and gave some advise. Later I realised; that it must have beeen a bit like the feeling of having power like real tycoons do. The year after I sold my shares and started business on internet alone, but a late heritage was that I had to spent a lot of my savings to get even with the tax office because of some earlier accountancy tricks which seemed to be common sense in the situation at the time. I had the choise: continue business and stay in Holland or transfer it to my private name and literally buy my way out, which finally I did.
A house: My former home came together with all luxury you can imagine, including a jacuzy, a large orchard, the largest swimming pool and the best (karaoke) bar and sauna in town. Wow! But not really. In the end I would spend three evenings a week alone in my bar, watching movies of my choise, take sauna breaks, jump in the pool to cool off and make myself another Mojito, once in a while smoke a joint, sometimes ending up singing karaoke alone, often naked. Actually it wasn't that bad for a while..
At the the time I was strongly advised to have a living together contract with my girlfriend and have the house registered on both names, but somehow I decided to opt out and have everything registered on her name.
Owning other material things: I gave up owning any belongings except clothes, toilet items, a netbook, a pocket camera and a suitcase.
Kids: I took care for my ex-partner's kids for 10 years until they were old enough to be safe to manage without my advice and I'm glad they are happy with their new step-dad, who looks like a nice guy and seems to suit the kids and my ex in suburbia much better than I do.
Pets: I do like cats and I miss them, but it would be cruel to take them with me.
Some addictions: To be a workaholic, drinking coffee and strong alcoholic beverages, all of which I quit.

What I didn't give up:
A wonderful partner: I'm still on a friendly basis with my ex, but in the mean time I found a new partner, who's a ladyboy, should you want to know. We get along fine for over one and a half year now and we enjoy this life-style, but who knows, perhaps one day our objectives may drift us apart.
I hope it will not happen, but nothing in life is permanent.

Old friends and family: Through phone and internet I still have fun with them and occasionally I am able to meet up when returning to my country of birth for short periods.
Savings and an income: I am priviliged to earn a living via internet, I was lucky at the right time I guess and it is now vital for me to survive.
But for others not as lucky, digibetic or lacking the skills of being a successful author: If you have a pension, or if not, own a house and property starting at a worth of say: $400,000, investing this money safely at 5%-6% a year, you would be able to survive over here, without defaulting to become an English teacher. But depending on your demands a pension or alike would in that case be welcome I guess, as prices do tend to increase here. I have a friend in Patong, Phuket who continued his job as programmer remotely. But because of intensive use of  a large screen PC and internet, he cannot be a nomad, neither does he aspire to become one.
Feeling at home: I feel easily at home anywhere, but occasionally I have the urge to revisit a number of hotels which I consider to be my new homes and the list is still expanding.
One drawback I find to be is breakfast, because who wants to wake up between a lot of strangers day in - day out? A lot of times we eat outside or sometimes order food up to the room.
Some addictions: I still regularly drink beer, but I tend to feel pity about drunk people and do not wish to be like that and yes I smoke, which limits not only my health but also my freedom, but despite the additional benefits I could enjoy, I haven't found enough self-motivation yet to give it up. It's no excuse to tell that all of my family who's alive still smoke and drink of course.
Humour: Yes my life is a joke, but still a pretty good one if I may say so.

What I gained:
A happier and healthier life: There is always be room for improvement and I keep on learning.
Appreciate various cultures even more: Everyone is unique, but I find there's actually very little difference between people of various nations, except that they are 'programmed' differently by their environment. I am 'programmed' as well, but I keep on trying to rewrite the software to discover the true beauty of my environment.
Reality is better: Occasionally I notice when waking up that I just had a nice dream, but often I am glad to realise it was just a dream because my actual live tends to be better than the actual dream was.
Some people like my ex accused me several times of living outside reality, but then she tells me; sorry, talk to you later, my favourite sitcom is on. Anyway to me reality is just a landscape everyone is able to design rather than have it designed for you by others, and yes indeed a lot of people are suffering right now and don't have the luxury to contemplate on ideas even close to this for just one minute, but then again I didn't get a call like mother Theresa did in order to try to help all.
Friends: During our travels we met many nice people, some of whom we may now call friends.
I seem to have inherited an almost failureless sixth sense not to trust specific people.
And my partner seems to posses an almost failureless sixth sense to embrace nice and trustworthy people.
What a match!

What I lost:
Some discipline: I noticed that a practically worry-free life with little to fear goes hand in hand with lack of discipline, if it doesn't come today, it will come tomorrow. So perhaps I do blend in very well in Isan/Thailand like some expats complain about.

What's more left to be wished for?
Enhance my latent capacity to fantasise: I don't want to contradict the above, but just a few times a year I have such beautiful dreams that it would make a great story or movie hit or wathever or at least I think so. If only I would be able to remember it and write it down or paint it, but the tradegy is: I always forget the complete story within one minute after waking up. So I guess I probably lost a big part creativity and fantasy when growing up or possibly when developing language skills for that matter. I still do wonder how to get it back. Perhaps lucid dreaming is a thing for me.


  1. Hi I-nomad,

    Nice to come accorss your site and get bit envious that you have achieved the elusive dream of being abke tio live and survive anywhere and have still have a worry free steady income. Congratulations!

  2. Thanks Parbo, by the way the blog you mentioned doesn't respond.

  3. Man... that is awesome... im 17 but i've semi-settled on the decision to become a Nomad/vagabond reading this was sorta inspirational, when you wrote that mark twain quote i was taken away, i knew exactly what you mean and i feel that, that is also why many are unhappy and myself as well, is because freedom always comes into play, but im not ignorant to not follow the rules. Anyways this is awesome ^_^.!

  4. Hi Anon, I'm always glad to know my efforts can be an inspiration to others. I hope things work out and may enjoy the happiness=freedom feeling.



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