Photo: Piotr Orlinski/Shutterstock

11 Things You Lose When You Become a Nomad

by Matt Hershberger Mar 1, 2015

THE TRAVELER LIFESTYLE is typically portrayed as romantic — as a rich, fulfilling, happy life. But traveling has its downsides too: a lot of the comforts and certainties of living at home slip away when you’re constantly on the road. Some of the nice parts of everyday life are going to slip away while you’re on the road. Here are some of them:

1. An obsession with hygiene

Look, it’s just not possible to take a shower every day, and when you’re out seeing the world, you’re going to spend some time getting smelly. Nothing you can do about it.

2. A simple, stationary social life

When you’re moving constantly, you constantly have to make friends. You aren’t spending every night with the same people and catching up over minutia: when you’re on the move, every goodbye is very possibly a final goodbye, and your circle of friends will never all be in the same city at the same time: they are spread across the world.

3. A complex fashion sense

Fashion just doesn’t make the budget cut for wanderers. Get used to a life of t-shirts and ripped jeans.

4. Any form of stability

When it comes to jobs and income, nomads have already made the decision about their priorities: travel comes before everything. So the idea of a steady paycheck is going to slowly slip from your mind: you’ll take work where you can find it.

5. The concept of “settling down”

Long-lasting relationships can totally happen when you’re on the road — meeting someone while traveling and then traveling with them from then on is not uncommon — but houses staying stationary aren’t an option when you’re nomadic. This one’s the hardest to break to your parents.

6. Treating yourself

Unless you’re somehow super flush with cash, you’re not going to be splurging on fancy restaurants or expensive nights out on the town. The good news is that you’re spending all of your time traveling. So you’re basically treating yourself constantly.

7. The ability to spend a lot of time with family

For most people, homesickness has less to do with missing the place that they call home, and more to do with missing the people. Unfortunately, walking the earth means that you’re going to miss out on family stuff like birthdays, holidays, major life events. Getting back home for everything just isn’t going to be possible a lot of the time.

8. A tolerance for the “real world”

When people talk about the rat race by calling it the “real world,” what they’re really saying is that they have no imagination about what the “real world” really is. You’ve been out in the real world, you’ve seen it: and being a worker drone is not it. This is overall a good thing, but it will make it harder to readapt if you ever decide to “settle down.”

9. Your weak stomach

Sometimes eating certain foods that you might pass up back home is not a choice. Sometimes avoiding the local water is not possible. Sometimes there’s no option but to use the squat toilet.

10. An insistence on comfort

Look, we’d all like to travel in the sleeper cars. But it’s so much cheaper to sit in the hard seats.

11. An insulated view of politics

It’s very hard to continue thinking your country is the best in the world when your country isn’t home to fjords, French wine, or pho.

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