There are various types of wanderers and nomads in this world. Some live out of one suitcase, others have a home base and travel frequently. Some plan months in advance, others don’t know where they are sleeping till the last minute. Some say we’re going everywhere, others say we’re going nowhere. I distinctly remember a year ago telling my parents I wanted to be a vagabond. My Mom quickly reacted: “Isn’t that a homeless person?” I thought it was just a person that wandered, but of course Moms are always right. I googled and sure enough a vagabond is someone who “wanders from place to place without a home or job.” I suppose that wasn’t fitting because I have a virtual job and wanted to continue to work but live everywhere and anywhere. So, I looked up another term to describe this lifestyle I wanted. I soon found “peripatetic” – ah ha! This is it!
per·i·pa·tet·ic [adjective]: “traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.” [noun]: a person who travels from place to place.
My Mom’s response: “It sounds like ‘pathetic’.” Ha! Overall, I heard some criticism from my parents as well as others when I shared that I wanted to live this nomadic lifestyle. Why? They asked. What’s the point? They inquired. What about marriage and kids instead? My Grandma posed 🙂 and an echoing comment from many friends and colleagues: “I could never do that”. They went straight to how difficult it would be, how many logistics there are, and basically any related con. Wandering souls who pick up this lifestyle seem to receive a ton of criticism from outsiders that think: “oh, they’re just lost.” This is a pet peeve of mine because, hey, I’m not lost! I have an established career and a hobby [travel] that just turned into a lifestyle fitting for where I am right now — which is a calling to explore! Interestingly enough, there are many careers today that allow you to wander as a digital nomad (shout out to all of the coworking spaces that continue to pop up!) and others that are set up to take advantage of work & travel, such as a traveling nurse.
Even with all the reactions I got, it all sounded GLORIOUS to me! Being a Taurus, I stuck to my grounds , this is just what I wanted to do. I left it very simple as this was a calling I felt. And if it didn’t work out, I could always move back to San Francisco, right? Given the remote role I was offered I thought it would be a shame to not take advantage. After all, I love to travel and since I’m young and single, why not do it now.
While I have enjoyed bouncing around, I continue to receive judgment on my decision to continuously travel and I wonder how many other peripatetics/digital nomads face this. Does it really sound all that ridiculous? Do we have to settle down in one place forever? No, but I struggle with the negativity because I have found this experience to be very worthwhile (not to mention easier than most people would suspect)! Therefore, today I would like to focus my post on Everything To Gain From Being a Peripatetic.
After wandering for over a year, moving in and out of new apartments nearly every month, I now get the gist of what this is all about. Not only does moving from region to region open my mind, but it offers endless opportunities to explore new lifestyles, keep up with being a minimalist, and continuously become inspired. I started my journey in the U.S. and continue to remain excited about all of the cities I have yet to move to and explore! I have checked off San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, and Denver and am off to Honolulu next. I’m focusing my list on places I repeatedly hear only amazing things about (though I suppose it’s hard to get a native to provide an objective opinion and potentially offer any insight into the cons of where they’re from)! I also prioritize liberal areas and differing regions. I already plan on moving to the south after Honolulu to explore Charleston, South Carolina and the surrounding area (what’s life like in the south!?). Thus far, in just the US alone, moving from region to region has opened my eyes more than I expected and continues to expand my mind and curiosity.
I could have stayed in any one of the cities I moved to but part of the glory of moving around for me is to maximize my time as a virtual employee and gain as many experiences possible. This way, I can understand what area is the most fitting for me where I could perhaps see myself “settling down” and also understand what life could be like in these areas. Thus far, I’ve noticed the most important things are the people you surround yourself with [follow the happy people!] and then the geography surrounding you will in one way or another dictate how you lead your life – whether it be active, mellow, adventurous, social, etc. Each city and region offers so much, and as you have read in my Pros and Cons lists, your favorite area can say a lot about what you value in a lifestyle, the people you surround yourself with and who you want to be.
I think the most rewarding part of being a peripatetic for me thus far has been meeting people from all walks of life. I have met so many interesting people that have inspired me in more ways than one. It’s become truly beneficial to gather various perspectives on how people are living their lives to the fullest, what are they focusing their time and energy on? What are their life goals and how are they going about achieving them? I tend to look up to those that follow their passions one way or another, the go-getters that want something and see it through. I’ve met many amazing people over the last 1+ year, but one girl stands out in my mind as she truly inspired me. I met her on Craigslist, she needed a roommate for a month in Chicago (shout out Wicker Park!) and it fit perfectly with my timing. I could tell when I moved in she was a hippie, after all she had a yoga mat and Buddha sculpture in the living room instead of a TV. I loved it. She is a few years younger than me and knew exactly who she was, what she could offer to the world, and where she wanted to be in life. This was more than I can say for where I was in life at her age and even when I met her. I was so intrigued by her life story, unique from “everyone else” in that she had a passion and actually followed through with it. She ended up moving to Kathmandu for a self-guided meditation and is now in Asheville continuing to follow her dream. I share part of her story with you because she was an example of someone that inspired me and someone I am so happy I met on my nomadic journey.
Another amazing aspect of being a peripatetic is purposely taking full advantage of your time in every place you live. For instance, it wasn’t till the end of my tenure living in San Francisco where all of a sudden I realized, “SHIT! I’ve lived here for 7 years and I’ve never been on a hike in Muir Woods?” I quickly remedied that but there was a laundry list of things I never did as I was stuck in my typical routine. Did I just need a wake up call to snap out of my rituals? Potentially! But being somewhere only temporarily almost forces you to focus time on experiencing more of the world around you. Since I live in each place for <6 months each, it allows me to live life to the fullest every weekend filling them with novelty experiences.
I leave you with this quote, that certainly encourages me to keep going. There is so much I want to see and do. I know that I won’t be able to fit it all in one lifetime but since it’s the only one I have, I’m not going to let it go to waste! Onward I go #YOLO