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5 Observations From My First Year As A Nomad

This post originally appeared at Naughty Nomad. It was great of Mark to run this on his site. You can follow him on Twitter here.

On February 23rd this year, I walked out of my corporate office job for the final time. What has followed has been a whirlwind adventure—14 cities, 9 countries, many women, and countless adventures along the way.

I’ve learned a tremendous amount of things from the experience, and have no intentions of going back to the corporate drone life anytime soon. With that being said, here are five things I’ve learned from this year that I’d pass on to my fellow men who want to travel the world and live the nomadic life.

#1: Life’s Truly What You Make It

Sounds cliche, but it’s so true. The greatest risks are always going to have the biggest payoff. And you’ll go far to ensuring that payoff by simply being patient. 

With that being said, I’ve met dozens and dozens of fellow travelers and nomads on the road this year. Do you know how many of them have regretted their decision to travel or move permanently abroad?

Not one of them.

Yet, people at home are always calling us crazy. They try to instill the doubt in your mind. Tell you that it won’t work. That living abroad full-time will wear down your soul. That a cubicle job is the best way to achieve prosperity in your life. That all of the stress of your new life will wear you down.

Frankly, I’ve never felt so alive.

#2: When You Have To, You Just Do

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Many people worry about many things when they’re debating traveling for an extended period of time.

“But I won’t have any friends!”

“I don’t speak the language!”

“I can’t get Product X/Y/Z at the stores there!”

Simply put, when you travel—you just figure it out. There is always a solution to something. When you’re put in a situation that you’re abroad, you simply stop worrying about everything. If an issue comes up, you solve it and move on with the rest of your day.

Yes, stuff happens that sucks sometimes. For example, my laptop started to crap out on me in August. It’s a Macbook Air, coming up on three years old. I was in Kiev, Ukraine at the time. Needless to say, I was concerned. My entire online business depends on having a solid laptop.

I didn’t think it was going to be repairable for a reasonable cost—and with it being three years old, I had to weigh the cost of a repair versus just buying a new one. Which wouldn’t normally be a problem, but in a place like Ukraine–buying a new laptop was out of the question. The prices were nearly double what I would pay in the States.

I made a phone call to a friend who was coming out to Kiev in the coming weeks. He agreed to buy and bring me a laptop if I needed it. I also set out to find a repair shop, with the assistance of my Ukrainian girl. Ukrainian culture is one that tends to pull one over on Westerners, so I wanted to be crystal clear with what I was looking for and how much I was willing to pay. I

In the end, I managed to find a shop that made the repair for a reasonable cost.

#3: You Can Do “Western” Things

Just this week, I went to a basketball game here in Prague. This is their professional local team. For a grand total of $3, I got two seats with this view:

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On top of that, the beer was free. Yep, they were running some promotion to get people to go to the game and between two of us we racked up nine free beers. $3 total for several hours of entertainment and unlimited drinking—sign me up.

Basketball is definitely more of an American sport than European, and it was great to get to take in a game.

While it’s easy to say, “I’ll never go to the tourist spots!”, having a taste of home is nice once in a while. You don’t have to eat McDonald’s every day—and you shouldn’t. But occasionally I go and have some wings and a beer at Hooters.

It’s comfortable, and that’s important to have once in a while when you’re constantly on the road.

#4: Money Matters As You Start

Money can be tight for someone who is moving abroad and building or running a business. Here are some general tips I’ve engrained in myself that will help you save some money here and there.

  • Eggs and ground beef are cheap just about everywhere
  • If you’re spending more than two days in a place, buying a week-long public transit pass is almost always cheaper
  • This is somewhat obvious, but any restaurant with the words “Traditional [Insert Country] Food” is overpriced and is probably mediocre quality
  • Short stays are always going to be significantly more expensive—settling somewhere for a month will always save you money in the long term

#5: Yes, The Girls Live Up To The Hype

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Many, many of us live this  life because of the abysmal quality of of the dating scene in the Western world. There’s simply no way around it. And yes, the foreign girls are 100% better overall. They have a naturally feminine vibe, are often intellectually sharper, and simply a joy to be around.

Of course, there are the ones that worship Western culture at all costs. The farther you go from the West the less of them you will find. I’ve met girls who contribute to my blog, had more home-cooked meals than I can count, and genuinely enjoyed all of my experiences with the girls of Eastern Europe.

Pour Conclure

Nomad life is not for everyone. It’s made for those who truly want to make it and get more out of life. And no, it’s not easy. There have been ups and downs this year, and they’re more extreme than “normal life”.

What I mean by this is that the lows are lower than I’d have if I had a mortgage and a cubicle. At the same time, the highs are infinitely higher. The only way to achieve those highs is to take the leap of faith. To just do.

I have no regrets.

PS: If you want to get out of the rat race, a good place to start is here.

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