Andrew Blackman and his wife Genie Austin, decided before a few years to left behind their lives in town and start travelling around the world. He wrote an article on The Wall Street Journal about his present life as a nomad which i foynd interesting and i believe that you would like to read.
”Christmas Day in Tangier encapsulated the best and worst of our new, nomadic way of life.
A couple of years ago, my wife, Genie, and I sold most of our possessions, stowed the rest in boxes in my parents’ attic in south London, bought a used Toyota, and headed for Italy. I was 38; Genie was 41. Our idea was to travel throughout Europe, but without an end date. We would live on the road, working as we traveled, making enough money to cover our costs so that we could continue moving for as long as we chose.
On Christmas Day, as our friends and family back home were exchanging gifts and sitting down to a traditional lunch of roast turkey with all the trimmings, we were strolling along the Moroccan waterfront in brilliant sunshine, surrounded by people for whom Dec. 25 was just another day.
A man led a train of camels along the beach. A fidgety fellow made me a whispered offer of hashish, and when I shook my head, offered a tour of the Kasbah instead. Again, I politely declined. Genie and I whiled away the afternoon exploring the twisting alleys of the medina, halfheartedly haggling over carpets, and drinking glass after glass of sweetly spiced mint tea.
When I tell people what we’re doing, they often say they’re jealous. Maybe that’s because they associate what we’re doing with being on one long vacation, or maybe it’s a result of the abundance of lifestyle gurus who are always encouraging us to “live your dreams.”
Our choice, our trade-offs
In reality, though we may be living our dream, this is no prolonged vacation. Our life is a choice like any other, with advantages and disadvantages. We’ve sacrificed some things (like family, better-paying jobs, security and a sense of belonging) for others (like freedom of movement, and the chance to discover more about the world and our place in it). Now in our early 40s, we are privileged to be able to make this choice. But still, it is a choice, and it’s one that I don’t believe many people would make, even given the opportunity.
Many of us who live an itinerant life introduce it as I did earlier, by saying we just sold everything and started traveling. It makes it sound spontaneous and impulsive, but in reality, our move was years in the making. I still have my well-thumbed 1995 edition of “Work Your Way Around the World,” a book offering now-outdated advice on which places have a demand for English teachers, grape pickers or bartenders. When I met Genie many years ago in New York, she carried around in her bag a pocket-size atlas she had been given as a child, filled with handwritten scribbles detailing all the places she wanted to visit.
But, for a decade or so, neither of us could find a way to make it happen. We were tied to our careers in New York and then London—I as a banker and then a journalist, Genie as a photographer and teacher—never seeming to be able to save any significant sums of money for our travels. So the dream receded, and we made do with our yearly vacations.
Gradually, though, we started taking on freelance work. For this kind of work, it doesn’t matter where we live; as long as we have a good internet connection, we could be in London or Bangkok. This made all the difference to our lives, and the dream of long-term travel resurfaced.
I’m lucky to have been writing for The Wall Street Journal since 2003, so that gave me a great start. I’ve added freelance assignments for other publications and websites. Having regular clients is important—it’s tough to keep pitching new ideas all the time. I’ve also had a couple of novels published by a small U.K. publisher, and they have generated some royalties.
Genie also does freelance writing, as well as teaching photography classes via Skype.
From these disparate activities, we cobble together a living. We’ve been surprised to discover that long-term travel is not that much more expensive than living in London.
In London, we used to spend about $2,500 a month. Our budget for living on the road is a little over $100 a day, which works out to about $3,200 a month. For that small increase in expense, we get a huge increase in quality of life. We get to see new places all the time. Most of the time we stay in hotels, so we get our cooking and cleaning done for us, and there are fewer bills to worry about.
What we can get for our money varies dramatically from country to country and season to season. In Tangier on Christmas Day, it got us a luxury room in a four-star beachfront hotel, snacks and tea throughout the day, several taxi rides, and a five-course seafood dinner. In Scandinavia in summer, we were lucky to get a spare bedroom in a suburban apartment and some artificial crabsticks from the supermarket.
Our budget also has to cover fixed, annual expenses such as insurance. If our car gets a chipped windshield or needs new tires, that money has to come out of our daily budget, so after an unexpected expense, we have to economize for a few weeks or months.
In Norway last summer, for instance, we ended up spending $470 on ferries—a lot more than we’d budgeted for. So we had to abandon hotels and stayed instead in apartments or rooms that people were renting out on Airbnb. We also didn’t eat out the whole time we were there. And even cafes were off-limits until we were back on an even keel.
We also have to set aside about 25% of our income for U.K. income tax, so we need to earn at least $4,250 a month to sustain ourselves and continue traveling.
Clearly, we aren’t as financially secure as many of our friends, and we probably never will be. Nor will we have children—a choice we made for several reasons, but at least partly so that we’d be free to live like this. We have no savings, and no possessions other than our Toyota and the boxes in my parents’ attic. We have no job security. We live from day to day, trying to make sure we earn enough to be able to move on to the next place.
Our plan is to earn more and start saving. Although we don’t plan to retire until our bodies force us to, we will need a pot of money to draw on at some point.
Although our way of life seems a little precarious to others, it doesn’t worry us as much as it seems to worry other people. If we get sick or are unable to work, we’ll simply stop traveling and stay somewhere cheap until we get back on our feet. Because we have no major commitments like mortgages or school fees, we can instantly slash our expenditure to about a quarter of its current level if we need to.
Striking a balance
Finding the right balance between work and travel can also be difficult. After an eight-hour drive across a desert and then a mad dash through insane city traffic and a prolonged check-in procedure at a new hotel, forcing yourself to answer emails and do the day’s allotted work can be tough.
Sometimes, facing a looming deadline, we end up in a hotel with a Wi-Fi connection reminiscent of 1990s dial-up. Sometimes we spend days shuttling around between our hotel room and the lobby and various nearby cafes, trying and failing to find a place that’s quiet enough and has good enough Wi-Fi and isn’t too hot or too cold or too distracting. Sometimes, we yearn for the simple familiarity of the home we used to have.
How long will we continue traveling? The good thing is that it’s entirely in our hands. We haven’t set ourselves any goals of visiting a certain number of countries or continents. For us, it’s not about ticking items off a list or about having “done” lots of famous places. It’s about deciding where we want to be and what we want to do today, tomorrow, next week. It’s about a quote from the Che Guevara character in the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries”: “Viajamos por viajar”, which means, “We travel in order to travel.”
If we get tired of traveling, or if we get sick, or if the money dries up, then we’ll stop and settle somewhere and find a new way to live. But for now, there’s a whole world to explore.