Disadvantages of a Nomadic Lifestyle
We’ve already gone through the advantages of a nomadic lifestyle, and now it’s time to paint the full picture and discuss the disadvantages of a nomadic lifestyle. Life, in general, puts a cost on every decision we make. If the nomadic lifestyle were purely advantageous, everyone would be doing it. Here’s our list of the disadvantages of a nomadic lifestyle that might explain why nomads are a minority:
- Being alone. Usually, a nomadic lifestyle forces you to take a lot of leaps by yourself, as the chances are that it wouldn’t be easy to find a constant companion that follows you everywhere you go. For some people, being alone quickly brings a feeling of Loneliness, a powerful and scorching feeling nobody enjoys. Avoiding loneliness is easy for those who are settled down by entering a stable relationship, meeting family members, or developing our circle of friends. For nomads, it is more challenging, but fear not, there are still some great ways to create a social life on the move. However, you should be accept the fact that as a nomad, being alone is something which is unavoidable even if your social skills are outstanding. (Edited after reading Franc’s comment)
- Constant ups and downs. Since the nomadic lifestyle doesn’t offer the guaranteed stability a regular lifestyle does, you’ll meet with both good and bad surprises on a daily basis. This emotional roller-coaster is boosted by the fact that everything is new and you lack information. If you take life too seriously, it can be a problem; a nomad needs to know how to ride through the ups and downs, because both are guaranteed frequently.
- Lack of private space. Most people feel the need to be able to say, “this is home” – a place to feel comfortable and secure, store all your stuff, create and design. Constantly changing locations means you don’t always have that private home-base, and although occasionally you’ll find something more stable for a few months, it will never be home, since you know you will leave it soon.
- Excitement levels. Travelling too much can dull you to new things. After a year of being stuck in the pressure of work, a week’s vacation in India is eye-opening. But when you’re constantly moving around (especially if you’re focused in one region, e.g. Europe), your excitement levels aren’t quite what they were. Yet another snow-capped mountain, just one more lava field. The wow element gets turned down, and even the most jaw-dropping spectacular can seem boring and mundane.
- Money. There’s a certain illusion (steamed books such as the 4 hours workweek contributed to it), that a location free lifestyle actually holds greater riches than being a corporate slave doing a 9 to 5 job. From my experience, in the majority of cases, you would be much better off financially staying in the same place. In general, your finances are held up by the two pillars: revenue and expense. As for expenses, it’s true that you can save money by choosing to stay in low cost countries, although due to information gaps, you will probably spend more than a local. The real problem comes down to actually earning money while changing locations. Even in today’s global and internet connected world, it’s hard to form a real connection with clients when you can’t attend physical meetings with them; it’s also hard to be fully committed and focused on a revenue stream while changing locations constantly; time’s wasted. Instead of holding up the dream that the nomadic lifestyle will be improve your financials, realize that it has its costs. But then again, for nomads, happiness comes first.
- Losing everything, again and again. It’s like birth, death and rebirth, and while we’re on this philosophical tangent, why are we so afraid of death? Maybe it’s because we’re scared of losing what we’ve worked so hard to attain. The nomadic lifestyle is similar; every time you move, you are losing your home, your favorite “known” places, your social circles, all to be recreated time after time.
- Reaction of your non-nomadic environment. There are typically two reactions you will encounter when you reveal your nomadic identity. Envy is the first, and with envy come all the questions that are trying to prove your model wrong (you have to be wrong, or they are wrong). The second reaction is from people thinking that you’ve totally lost it. Some nomads actually thrive when receiving the envy reaction (“you have an amazing life”), but when you get addicted to envy, you will later on need to hide or lie about the disadvantages, in order to keep the dream alive. Worse, you will be at a risk of lying to yourself about how happy you are. As explored in other articles, ego doesn’t fit with the lifestyle.
- Missing out. As your family grows older, and your friends start having kids, you’re not there to accompany them in those moments, and maybe you’re going to regret missing the precious moments in the future. I wish I spent more time with… we tend to think that only our lives are changing, but even the people we leave behind change, grow and die, and you have to learn how to accept this fact of life. If it’s important to spend quality time with your parents, don’t go away for years at a time. Come home every six months. Find solutions.
- Not meeting your perfect match of relationship and career.When it comes to jobs, the nomadic lifestyle can be disadvantageous for the perfect career, too. The period spent travelling can look like a black hole on a resume, and can be difficult to explain to a potential employer. Although fulfilling work can happen for you while you’re moving around, you’re worse off than if you stayed at home. This disadvantage of the nomadic lifestyle doesn’t just apply to your perfect job with its perfect salary, but the perfect special someone, too. Since you’re travelling and most other people aren’t, it dramatically reduces your chance of finding your better half, and it’s something to be taken into account. Your pool of potential applicants is reduced, and your chances drop. However, if you do find someone to share the journey with, they’re probably amazing, and great candidates with whom to share your life. Sometimes finding the right person and settle down in a life full of love is much better than staying on the road. But then again, the road is fun!
- Attachments. For a nomad, attachments are very negative since they stop us from moving. Attachments can be sweet and addictive. An amazing relationship, a great home, the right job. You have to keep on moving, and you have to give them up, if you want to continue in your nomadic lifestyle.
Got you depressed? Good. Always take into account the advantages and the disadvantages of a nomadic lifestyle, before you decide whether this is worth the trouble of the undertaking.