I’m a 41-year-old welsh woman, that’s about to give up her London life and begin a nomadic existence, living and working from just a suitcase.
As the “owner” of an anti-minimalist mindset, this transition is not as simple as it sounds, and I still have a major minimalizing task ahead of me before I begin my new lifestyle. However, to pursue what I feel is going to make me happy right now, I must make compromises to achieve the grander goal.
About 4 years ago, I went to see a hypnotist. He was one of many people I consulted in my quest to deal with stress, anxiety, grief and eventually depression. He asked me a lot of questions to help me visualize during our sessions. The one that stuck out and one that I was to get asked over and over by therapists, healers, shop assistants and even a guy at the local bakery ( believe me I looked for solutions everywhere);
At what time in your life, were you the happiest and why?
My answer to the hypnotist came quicker and a lot faster than I imagined. It was when I was 23, living in Ecuador, teaching English, working less than 10 hours a week and going on adventures in the jungle every weekend. Yes, that’s me at that time on one of the many Jungle trips I took.
I travelled on rickety old buses, nursed chickens and babies, slept in dirty hostels and the occasional brothel, ate $1 meals, got lost in the jungle more times than I remember, danced salsa in illegal drinking dens in towns not yet on the map and met a whole host of colourful rich characters, that all contributed in their little way to how I see the world now. It was a little bit crazy, very experimental and a hell of a lot of fun.
It’s not hard to be happy when you are basically on holiday, I hear you say, but real life is a whole different ballgame. I knew that I didn’t want to be that person that hates to work and lives only on the weekends and holidays. I love what I do, but it’s incredibly stressful and I let it really take over my entire existence for the last 10 years.
If I’m honest I became incredibly one dimensional, and that is not good for anyone. If something bad happens in that one area of your life and you only have “one area”, it can be devastating for your wellbeing. Those were the wise words from my therapist, and she is totally right, it’s not the way to live!!
I kept mulling over, what was it about that trip that made me so happy and how could I replicate this in my day to day life? What would a typical “idyllic day” in my life look like, if I slotted in work and downtime?
In 2014 – 2015, I was researching Digital Nomads, for a product line that I was launching. I spent hours and hours looking at the trend, who was doing it, where and whether it was growing. I noted that many of these nomads were using co-working spaces and there were locations springing up all over the world to cater for them. I was intrigued and fascinated by these people who had managed to carve out an existence and live life on the road, with minimal possessions, but a life rich in experiences. Back in the day when you were a backpacker you were basically off the grid, so to work, you had to set up shop for a month or so at least. Working on the internet was almost impossible. even making calls back home was a nightmare. Today’s world is a very different place.
Incredibly sadly at that point, my beloved father, became very very ill, and I was too scared to leave the country or try anything new as I needed to be close by, so I parked the idea.
Every few weeks he was back in the hospital and I had to stay close, just in case anything happened. He passed away in July 2016, just over a year ago. He was way too young and had planned to travel away from his retirement with my mum.
When someone you really love passes away, often it’s a catalyst for change. My dad was my best friend and I idolised him. We used to speak daily on the phone. It was a terrible shock, no matter how much I knew it was coming and it really drilled home how short life is and how you really need to make the most of it.
I started talking to my mum about how to find happiness now and what we wanted for our futures. My mum is incredibly forward thinking and open-minded, and very youthful in her approach. She and I talked all this through at great length.
I narrowed down my joy down to creativity, art, finding inspiration, exploration, adventure, making new connections, learning and understanding new cultures. I realised that the thread that runs through all my joy is travel and the one element that really gives me energy is being with people.
No wonder the 4 years I’d spent overworking from home, in one place, had made me successful, but extremely depressed, I really needed people and a change of scene and adventure to thrive.
Around that time my landlord told me that I needed to vacate my super central London, Soho flat, and as sad as I was to leave my groovy pad, I decided it was time to move to peace and quiet, get myself a co-working space and start planning how to achieve my dream.
I joined Huckletree (co-working space), which I’ve talked about in more depth here. It was joining their tribe, that really helped me to crystallise what I wanted to do, and how I could make the change.
I’ve met so many inspiring, incredible and innovative people at Huckletree, that I decided that part of this blog would be dedicated to sharing their stories, and those at the co-working spaces, that I meet wherever I go… Connecting with people in real life (IRL) is more important than ever, especially in our age of excessive tech and socialising online. Lack of human connection was a huge contributor to my depression and so now I know that I have to ensure I take active steps to avoid it.
Over the last year, little by little I made changes to how I worked, to enable me to work efficiently from anywhere. Slowly it all started coming together, and the more I could see my dream slotting into place, the happier I became and then by default the more success I started having at work!
Now we are mid-November 2017, and I have till mid-December to downsize an entire flat into a suitcase, tidy up mountains of paperwork, and get myself acquainted with a load of new software to make myself fully nomadic. Then my dream can begin….
Where am I going? I honestly don’t know yet, but I favour slow travel, so I shan’t be hopping about all the time. It will be 1 – 3 months per location. So the new few weeks as well as getting organised I need to think about where to? Any suggestions?
9 comments On The Nomadic Lifestyle Experiment
Zoe this is awesome – incredibly brave and hugely exciting. Wishing you loads of luck, I can’t wait to hear all about your adventure xxx
Thank you Wendy, that’s so very kind of you. So happy you ae my first commenter. I’m excited to start xxxx
This is fantastic Zoe! It’s so inspiring that you are doing this, and I honesty can’t wait to virtually follow your nomadic journey and see where it takes you. Here’s to living the life of adventure – bonne chance! x
Thank you so much Jools. You have been a massive inspiration to me on getting this created and on-line. Would never have happened without your encouragement and Ian’s photos. Team work, makes dreamwork 🙂
Wonderful, very excited to stay on top of your adventures1
Thank you, please keep coming back. I will try and make it interesting 🙂
Very inspiring – I saw your post in the Digital Nomads group for women I think (or one of them!) and clicked open your site and just read your post. I just turned 40 and can completely relate to everything you wrote. It all totally resonates with me and I’m on a similar journey. Just subscribed to your newsletter and I’m @amaharini on Instagram and chart my journey at http://www.mygreensouth.com
best wishes to you! xx
Hey Amanda, nice to meet you. How exciting. So glad to meet someone a similar age. Looking forward to looking you up and following your journey too. Take care and happy travelling 🙂
Very inspiring my love! at 27 going on 28, we only share a name and are at very different stages of our lives, but I’m so happy you’ve carved out a way forward, we always need to look forward in life, if I can resonate what you said! xx
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