The realities of being a nomad

People tell me all the time that they wish they had my life or that they are jealous of what I do. 

My answer is always simple: you can do this too and choose to live the life you want to live. 

I’m not naive I know that in many parts of the world there are many people, especially women, who have little choices in their lives. 

It always irks me therefore when Australians or people from the developed world tell me that they can not change their lives. 

It also makes me a laugh a little and cringe when people assume that I live some sort of glamorous life. 

Don’t get me wrong I love my life and have worked hard to forge my own path. 

This nomadic life living in mostly developing countries was chosen skilfully. 

But glamorous? 


What people see are the photos I choose to show on social media.

The status updates are normally only about the good times.

No one sees the days spent huddled over a squat toilet in remote Indonesia with food poisoning and no running water. 

No one sees the break ins and the subsequent sleepless nights I had in the Solomon Islands. 

Nor the months it took me not to feel threatened when men walked too close to me on the streets after I left. 

No one sees the months straight I spend eating lentils and pasta with tuna because I can not afford anything else. 

No one sees the constant mosquito, ant and spider bites all over my body and the random rashes that can pop up. 

No one sees that the clothes I am wearing are the same ones I have had for years. The underwear with holes in them from when ants have bitten through them. 

No one sees the constant niggling worry about money and if I have enough to last.

Likewise no one sees the times I am back working at a cafe on minimum wage at 25 with two university degrees to save up enough money.

No one sees my shopping list of worming tablets, Betadine, the cheapest cotton underwear I could find and a years supply of tampons before going to live in Borneo. 

No one sees the detailed security plans I have had in some locations with tsunami evacuation and civil unrest safe house locations as part of my arrival brief. 

No one sees the cramped smelly buses for 30 hours because I couldn’t afford the flight or the better bus. 

The truth is the bad times are often so much worse with illnesses you wouldn’t normally get at home and sometimes a lack of medical care. 

But I would not change anything for the world. 

My life is wonderful and luckily the bad  times are far outweighed by the good times. 

Sometimes I just wish that people realised that the life of a nomad is not the easy way out. 

In fact often you are taking the harder, less trodden, scenic route instead of the well worn pavement. 


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