Creativity, Travel, Work

Digital Nomad

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It surprises most people who meet me for the first to find out that I’m homeless. I assume that the main reason for the surprise is that I don’t look like what most people would imagine a homeless person to look like. While I am homeless, I don’t live on the streets — I conscientiously choose not to have a home. The truth is that it wouldn’t be an issue for me to purchase a home or rent an apartment if I wanted one. It simply makes little sense for me to do so with my current lifestyle and goals.

The choice of opting out of home ownership (or renting) really wasn’t a difficult decision to make once I had let go of my assumptions. My work is on the Internet, so as long as I’m able to find an Internet connection, I can work where ever I may be. This means that there is no reason that I need to be in a specific city or have a typical office where I do my work each day. Given these facts, I decided that I would much rather travel to new places where I can explore rather than sit behind my computer in the same room day after day. The only question I had was whether or not I could travel full time for about the same cost as owning or renting a home. After running the numbers, I found that I could travel full time for far less.

My guess is that most people would assume like I initially did that traveling full time would end up being much more expensive than owning a house. Part of the problem is that I initially imagined the cost of my week long vacation where I splurged to escape work. While I certainly wouldn’t be able to pull this off if I insisted on traveling in 4 star luxury, it quickly became apparent with a bit of research that I could travel quite comfortably for not an exorbitant amount of money.

The other reason I assumed that traveling full time would be more expensive than owning a house is that I initially only looked at the cost of the mortgage payment. I quickly realized that this comparison fails to take into account a lot of other costs that I would save by traveling full time. When I began to add the cost of furnishing a house (there’s no need for furniture, TVs, beds, refrigerators, dishwashers, etc when you travel full time), utilities (there is no need to pay for water, gas, electric, garbage, cable when you travel full time), homeowner

6 thoughts on “Digital Nomad

  1. So, where do you sleep, then? There are definitely a lot of expenses involved in home ownership. Your post reminds me of Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site. He lives in a camping van with his cat and travels all over the US. He’s got a great blog through which I live vicariously. He arns a living by creating the musical scores on the cartoon show Family Guy.

  2. It varies month to month, but I am ususally on the road 2 weeks every month and stay at hotels wherever i may be visiting. One week I usually have a housesitting gig set up so I am taking care of someone else’s house while they are gone (as I currently am at the moment) and them the last week I am usually visiting friends or family and staying with them as I visit.

  3. Hmm… no offense, but isn’t that kind of mooching? I know it’s one thing that friends don’t mind having you stay, but to me… if you’re being nomadic, it doesn’t entail enjoying other people’s assets.
    Not trying to be rude, but I’m just trying to think outside the box. You had me right up until when you said how often you stay with friends or at other peoples’ homes.

  4. No offense taken at all. I simply send out messages to all my friends of where I plan to be on what dates and those that want me to come and visit let me know. It is all initiated from their end, so no mooching involved 🙂

  5. Been there, doing that! I came to the same conclusion about 8 years ago. At the time I was paying about $1500 a month rent on a large and nice loft in downtown St. Louis. Each month when I’d write out that check I’d wonder how much more fun it’d be if I was traveling over seas as I wondered if it was possible to do it for the same amount as my $1500 rent check. Even if working was more difficult and I earned less, and even if I ended up having to pay a little more to live overseas I knew it’d be much better an experience so…

    I sold all my furniture, cars, etc and threw away or gave away most other things. Made a selection of countries where I’d like to start, and narrowed the list down to just a handful by the fact that I couldn’t decide at first so when the time approached to leave I had to select a place I could go without having a visa prior to arrival.

    I rent apartments or rooms in guesthouses mostly. It’s cheaper paying per month than per day. I’d use that place as a base where I’d return as I continued to travel with a lighter load–I arrived with 2 suitcases, but I’d leave most of that stuff in my room and travel around with just what I could fit into a backpack.

    Eventually I improved upon my situation by building a house. For about $10,000 USD it’s possible to build a reasonably nice house in some countries other than the US. I budgeted $10,000 but ended up spending a bit more in the end, but I justified it as being worth it as it provides me most importantly with a place to leave my stuff. The people I’ve ran into doing the same thing over the years usually end up selling or giving away stuff each time they travel to a new country as it’s expensive to ship stuff overseas and it’s difficult to travel with a lot of stuff, and often they don’t know exactly where they’ll be staying anyway. They would gradually collect stuff as I’m sure you do as well. Having a place to at least store stuff has really improved my situation. I use the house as a base to return to relax, and it’ll pay for itself in a few years as rent is free when I’m at the house allowing me to save the money I would otherwise be paying in rent during the time I’m at the house.

    So yes, it’s possible and I encourage people to try it.

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