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The paradox of choice, how do you make decisions on the road?

 

by @sonja | 4yr  | 23 comments

Hey all,

I recently spent 2.5 years as a DN (mostly Europe and SE Asia) but then went through a huge breakup (6 yr relationship) and decided to spend some time back home (Melbourne, AUS). Iโ€™m giving myself a year back here, just to โ€˜come downโ€™ from it all, reconnect with important people in my life, and lick my wounds a bit.

Can I just say, surprise surprise - itโ€™s HAAAARD! Being home is such a slap in the face, even though Iโ€™m earning more money than ever, my business is going great, and doing some other wonderful things/spending time with wonderful people. The breakup, coupled with a complete shift in my reality and routine has been almost too much to bare - I wouldnโ€™t recommend it! NOBODY at home understands the internal existential conflict Iโ€™m experiencing. Itโ€™s been 8 months and not getting any easier.

Hereโ€™s the thing: I know that I want to continue the DN lifestyle, and am very well-equipped to do so, but I canโ€™t stop thinking about why, how and when. Is it the right thing for me anymore? Should I set up a base here again properly, buy an apartment & all that jazz, and just do shorter trips?

This has probably been discussed multiple times, so apologies if Iโ€™m repeating. Here are my main concerns around going back to full time travel:

Being a DN with a long-term partner who was also working a bit seemed like the ultimate lifestyle for me. It was damn amazing. Now that Iโ€™m no longer in a relationship, and am a female nearing 30, I canโ€™t help but feel pressured by society to stay here and remain open to the possibility of eventually meeting someone again. If I want to have a family at any point, I kinda canโ€™t be running all over the world creating fleeting relationship after fleeting relationship and having to deal with the loneliness that inevitably hits when you make beautiful connections and then have to say goodbye over and over. I feel Iโ€™ve been โ€˜brokenโ€™ and donโ€™t have the emotional capacity to handle this anymore. At least last time, I had one solid thing that was always there - my partner.

On top of this, donโ€™t you think the DN thing is just way more purposeful and wonderful when you have someone to share it with? I feel like doing it alone will just remind me over and again of my loss. Perhaps though, as I create new memories, that will ease in time.

Also, because Iโ€™m so flustered and restless at the moment, I canโ€™t decide where I want to go next. Iโ€™m overwhelmed by all the places in the world I want to visit, and places I want to go back to. How do you cope with this overwhelm and making some decisions when youโ€™re alone? Was easy for me when I had someone to plan it out with.

And finally, am I being ridiculous? I know everyone says you should just do what you WANT to do in life, focus on yourself, do what makes you happy, and perhaps love will happen again at some point when youโ€™re ready. But you also donโ€™t get the things you want without a little bit of planning. Perhaps I should just stop thinking about my โ€˜body clockโ€™ and be ok with whatever happens. Easier said than done!

Your kind encouragement would be most appreciated.

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@sonja | 4yr

Just wanting to revive this thread to include an update:

I have had some luck meeting fellow queer women while on the move. So Iโ€™m definitely feeling a lot more hopeful than I was 6 months ago when I originally wrote this!

Iโ€™m currently in Thailand and thereโ€™s actually an abundance of lesbians here from all over the world. Some digital nomads, some backpackers.

So who knows, maybe it will be possible to fall in love while on the move one day, Iโ€™m no longer afraid to leave โ€˜homeโ€™ for long periods of time in fear that Iโ€™ll be sacrificing dating opportunities. This is a good!. :slight_smile:

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@conni | 4yr

Hey Sonja

I went through a similar phase a few years ago and am also lesbian :wink:

Itโ€™s a tough road, but it will lead you further down your own spiritual path and self-discovery, growth etc Mine has been very challenging, but it has turned me into a more amazing person :wink:

Back then it took me about a year before I was able to fully embrace life and dating again. I have dated other women as a digital nomad and since I believe in divine meetings - I doesnโ€™t matter what our lifestyle is, the people we are meant to meet and date will enter our lives.

I kept some sort of homebase in Berlin for a couple years after the break up to gain some stability, but went travelling on and off as a digital nomad for weeks or months at a time. I gave that up last year and now consider Bali my homebase, where I also come and go, right now Iโ€™m in Europe for two months.

And donโ€™t worry about ageโ€ฆ Iโ€™m 32, single and positive that the right woman will arrive when we are both ready to meet each other.

But I understand all your worries and concernsโ€ฆ Iโ€™d lie if I said I never have them! I guess, Iโ€™d like you to know that youโ€™re not alone with all this junk in your mind and heart, itโ€™s allowed to be there and I feel ya, cause Iโ€™ve been there!

PS: Bali is a great place for digital nomads. Come over sometime? :slight_smile:

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@sonja | 4yr

Thanks @Conni, this makes me feel better!

Iโ€™m also a pretty spiritual person, but (perhaps unfortunately) still hold values of hedonism that I canโ€™t quite shake. In a world of abundance, capitalism etc I feel like I just want it all (the drinking and partying AND the cleansing, healing, calm). It will be interesting to see how I grow and change over the years to come and if one will become more useful than the other. I went out 3 nights in a row last weekend (I donโ€™t usually do that!) and there was a moment on Sunday night when I was dancing with friends that I felt something โ€˜clickโ€™. Iโ€™d been waiting for that moment for a while. I felt happy, on a soul level.

I think the most important thing is authenticity and vulnerability in all your meetings and interactions. We are all on a different journey, and have all experienced so many different things to get to this point. I just need to start believing that Iโ€™ll meet someone who is interested in my journey as much as their own. :slight_smile:

Iโ€™m hoping to visit Komodo & Flores some time, maybe at the end of the year. So if I come by Bali, Iโ€™ll get in touch! Have seen a lot of Indonesia and am now making it my mission to visit as many of the 17,500 islands as possible before I die. Because why not?

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@conni | 4yr

Totally agree with with your words!

And yeah, why the hell not. Indonesia is amazing, I am also planning to explore more when I return in July!

Until then, enjoy your journey, the ups and downs, all of it. One day it will all make sense :wink:

Blessings and love

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@sonja | 4yr

Yes it is amazing!

Iโ€™m almost ready to tackle Rinjani again. Last time I only went to the crater rim - next time I want to go to the summit. Almost as a metaphor for how far Iโ€™ve come. You should join me. :slight_smile:

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@conni | 4yr

Sure, why not, havenโ€™t done Rinjani yet! Get in touch when you come Indo-side :wink:

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I actually just flew back to Indonesia for a few weeks but am planning on spending more time in Australia now :slight_smile:

Sonja, i havenโ€™t done a long course in meditating but just try to do a little regularly, the only issue is that I only remember when I am feeling out of sorts!

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@foucist | 4yr

The things you mentioned - hiking up a volcano, hiking over a mountain, it just sounds like you like hiking. Why not do that locally as well? Are there any awesome multi-day hikes you can do near Melbourne?

I think that being a DN can be super isolating if youโ€™re on your own, so it might be tougher than you expect, and not as fun as travelling with a partner. Shared experiences make things sweeter.

For me, my main reason to go abroad has typcially been to reduce my cost of living and increase my quality of life. But thereโ€™s a lot of trade offs with relationships with friends/family. And no longer having a โ€˜homeโ€™

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@sonja | 4yr

Great advice about hiking. Yes, I obviously enjoy it a lot. Makes me feel physically strong or something - which can be really great for your mind. I actually joined a hiking group recently but now that itโ€™s getting really wintery in Aus it gets a bit harder! Will keep it on the radar.

Yeah, I think the most isolating thing about doing the DN thing alone is that you DO meet lots of amazing people. Contradictory, I know. But instead of making me feel like Iโ€™m part of something great, this only isolates me more because of all the times you have to say goodbye to those you really connect with. After a while, I stop opening up so much because I canโ€™t be bothered meeting more and more randoms who Iโ€™ll never see again.

I also get really sick of having to answer the backpacker small talk questions. โ€˜where are you from, what do you do, how long are you away forโ€™ etc etc. Maybe I should make up some new questions!

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@cpury | 4yr

I can relate to this a lot. Iโ€™ve been in an awesome nomad relationship for more than two years now, and sometimes Iโ€™m afraid of what will come after. I canโ€™t help but feel that nomading in the form weโ€™re doing it, in this age, is not exactly โ€œhealthyโ€. Maybe it would be if everyone was doing it. Or maybe Iโ€™m overreacting, but at least Iโ€™m glad weโ€™re having discussions like this to figure it out together.

What I can tell you though, is that โ€œhomeโ€ gets better. I for me decided to go back to โ€œmyโ€ country. I picked the most international, cool place there and just got a job. At first it was hard. But now after 7 months I think I am ok. Not that I donโ€™t miss nomading, but I needed this to prove to myself that I can still live somewhere and be a normal boring local, and still enjoy life.

I will definitely go nomading again, but maybe for shorter time periods, and I will try to maintain a real home base. Let my lifestyle evolve with me, and not force this DN stereotype that was built by all the hype.

And lastly, what I tell myself in similar situations: Right now, youโ€™re at the lowest point. Everyoneโ€™s a mess after a breakup. Itโ€™ll get better. Youโ€™ll be alright. Donโ€™t worry, just move forward, step by step.

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@sonja | 4yr

Yes Iโ€™m starting to think a โ€˜baseโ€™ is a very good idea. That way you can come back often and either stay a while, or repack your bags with things that you will need for the next trip.

Sounds like the reasons you decided to stay โ€˜homeโ€™ are the same as for me. Mostly just to prove to yourself that youโ€™re adaptable and can live either as a nomad, or in one place for a period of time if you need to. The longer I spent away, the harder it was for me to believe Iโ€™d ever cope being in one place again. The truth is, I was right! But I think this time home will make it easier for next time I have to come back. An hopefully next time I wonโ€™t be also going through a breakup. :slight_smile:

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If it was me, iโ€™d be looking to do some mediating to get clear in my head. Iโ€™m back in Australia at the moment, the clean air is amazing!

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@sonja | 4yr

Yes meditation helps! I did a 10 day Vipassana course a few years ago. Perhaps itโ€™s time to sign up for another 3 day course!

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@kathrynoh | 4yr

I hope you donโ€™t mind me mentioning this but have to spoken to anyone about depression? Iโ€™d be checking that wasnโ€™t something deeper than a relationship breakup. Even if not that, it might be worth talking to a professional about what you are going through and digging into your life goals.

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@sonja | 4yr

Thanks for your concern about my mental state. Iโ€™ve been seeing a psychologist who is helping me work through all this. Thereโ€™s no doubt Iโ€™m suffering some form of minor depression but itโ€™s likely just situational and will sort itself out. The relationship I was in wasnโ€™t a good one - so it probably has a lot to do with that. Donโ€™t worry, Iโ€™m doing all the necessary things to try and get myself into a healthier state of mind.

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@kathrynoh | 4yr

Cool :slight_smile:
Iโ€™m also back in Australia, we should start a club or something, lol. But Iโ€™m in Tasmania and itโ€™s awful. The weather especially and small town.

Tbh, Iโ€™m a real introvert + loner so have no qualms about travelling solo and actually enjoy being places where I donโ€™t understand the language so I can do my own thing with people needing to make small talk but no man is an island and all that so even I venture out and meet people at times.

I think you have to be more proactive about it when you are on your own. In my experience anyway, people approach me more when Iโ€™m with someone else. Thatโ€™s good and bad - I get left alone when I want to be so it makes sense that I have the effort when I donโ€™t. It also helps that I have friends in various countries so I vary my travel between new places and places where Iโ€™ll have company.

I do get that decision making is easier with someone else. Even if itโ€™s just having someone to bounce ideas off or to put forth a counter argument.

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@levelsio | 4yr

Set up a home base somewhere. Hang with friends and family.

Then make 1-month trips and go wherever you want.

Make a baby in a few years. Take baby with you on trips. Then put baby in school or homeschool and keep making trips.

Solved! :smiley:

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@sonja | 4yr

Definitely keen to travel with kids one day, if I ever have them!

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@sfomadeze | 4yr

Hi Sonja,

Iโ€™m sorry to hear about your breakup and what youโ€™re going through. Times of transition are indeed hard, but it sounds like youโ€™re being smart by reconnecting with the important people in your life and licking your wounds.

From what youโ€™ve said, here are my two cents:

Being kind to yourself is always important, but especially right now. Maybe you could make a list of things you enjoy (big or small), and then go do them? Try reconnecting with yourself as an individual?

Breakup or no breakup, I think returning home after spending time abroad is hard, particularly if youโ€™re not 100% convinced thatโ€™s where you want to be. While youโ€™re deciding what you want to do, maybe you could take some short trips with friends or family?

You have some very important questions to think about. However, you donโ€™t have to come up with all the answers right now. You have plenty of time and your โ€œbody clockโ€ does too. Healing takes time.

When I find myself overwhelmed by choices, I will often reread โ€œChapter 15: Filling the Voidโ€ from โ€œThe Four-Hour Work Week.โ€ I find it helps me get back to basics and think about what I really want. But there are plenty of other good books out there too.

As long as youโ€™re clear on what you want and upfront about it with potential partners, I think thereโ€™s no reason you canโ€™t get everything you want once youโ€™re ready for it (i.e. a woman who wants to travel with you and who wants kids). I have a friend who used a dating site, took it almost as seriously as looking for a job Iโ€™d say and went on two dates a day for a few weeks. Doing that she found the person she was looking for and theyโ€™ve been happily traveling the world together for the last few years and counting.

This is getting long, so I should probably wrap this up now. :slight_smile: But if youโ€™d like to chat, feel free to reach out.

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@sonja | 4yr

Thanks @sfomadeze for your thoughtful response.

As you say, healing takes a really long time and Iโ€™m trying my best to be patient with myself and give myself the time I need. I know once the haze has cleared I will feel stronger and trust myself to make decisions based on whatโ€™s best for me. I think long-term travel and new stimulation + spontaneity every day makes one incredibly impatient when it comes to waiting things outโ€ฆ

Iโ€™m doing my best to reconnect with myself. But my energy is pretty low still, which hinders my ability to just get up and do something that I want to do (learn a new language, do a personal project etc). On top of that, I keep trying to plan trips and things with friends but everyone is so STUCK in their life, and most people in my circles are quite bohemian and creative, meaning that they rarely have any money to do stuff (what a catch 22).

Itโ€™s funny how jaded you become. For example I spent the weekend with some friends in a beautiful little town in Victoria, and while we were hanging out playing board games I couldnโ€™t stop thinking about how BORED I was. Once youโ€™ve climbed volcanoes in Indonesia, gone to remote edges of the earth, hiked over mountains in Albania - old simple pleasures no longer cut it. Iโ€™m a different person now, and I suppose I just have to learn to accept it and stop trying to be like my old self. Itโ€™s a lonely way to be though (nobody wants to do MY things with me) - and this is probably why Iโ€™ve had trouble letting go of my relationship. It was better when she was around to understand.

Anyway! Iโ€™ll get there. Will just try and make the most of this year, and then decide what comes next. Great advice to try not to answer everything right now (man this is hard!).

I think with dating - so far I definitely seem to be only attracted to people who represent something within my vision (eg they are from somewhere else, they have travelled a lot etc). But this worries me a bit, because I might be ignoring proper, deeper connections with people who are potentially really good for me. Anyway, still in the discovery phase so Iโ€™ll just keep the focus on me for now and Iโ€™m sure things will work out. :slight_smile:

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@levelsio | 4yr

Do you really think so? Or do they just sound like impressive stories?

Thereโ€™s value in relationships, not just experiences. The boring stuff of life, being with friends playing board games, thatโ€™s the stuff you remember. Yes that vulcano was nice. But people are more important than volcanos right?

You canโ€™t share or tell people about your board game night, because itโ€™s not interesting to others. But itโ€™s probably somewhere deep inside valuable to you too. As theyโ€™re your friends.

I know how travel makes you jaded (trust me, it made me). But itโ€™s important to find a balance and get the skill to appreciate the simple basic things in life. Because otherwise some day, even that vulcano wonโ€™t impress you anymore. What will you be doing until the end of days then? Chase even more impressive experiences?

Youโ€™ve become a junkie to experiences. Now itโ€™s time to kick off. For awhile at least.

Then start doing stuff again, but not all the time. Thatโ€™s the core problem here.

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@sonja | 4yr

Yes indeed, I agree that relationships are more important.

I think the thing to remember is that I just lost the most important relationship to me, which has been a smack-in-the-face reminder of how temporary and transitory in nature relationships are throughout life. In the end - all you really have is yourself and the experiences youโ€™ve had.

On my death bed, I think Iโ€™m more likely to remember standing on the summit of a mountain in Albania and thinking (wow, this is living) than sitting in a room playing board games with friends Iโ€™ve probably long since lost.

Anyway, as you say, a balance is key and Iโ€™m clearly still just in the withdrawal/coming down stage of huge experiences, meaning that it will take a while for me to get my joy back when doing simpler things. It could be a personality thing though (the jadedness), because I remember countless times on my travels where I felt not much at all. For example, standing in La Sagrada Familia or Ida Sofia thinking, โ€˜who cares, itโ€™s just a buildingโ€™. Perhaps it just outlines the fact that Iโ€™m a restless, analytical individual! Haha.

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@sonja | 4yr

I just realised I should also add a pretty important point: Iโ€™m a lesbian.

Itโ€™s hard enough to meet other women Iโ€™m interested in when Iโ€™m at home - let alone travelling, mostly just due to the fact that the pool of โ€˜prospectsโ€™ is obviously much smaller than for heterosexual people. I think this is adding to my fear of being alone if I become a DN again. My ex and I rarely ever met other gay people or couples when travelling. And even if I did meet other lesbians, itโ€™s so unlikely that I would meet someone that Iโ€™d have chemistry with!

Sigh.

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We're leaving in a month to go travelling. Our first destination is still to be confirmed, but will likely be Poland or Slovakia. We will be moving around every month or two to different destinations.

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by @christianbundy | 3yr 3 years ago | 30 comments

I worked out a few times a week back home, but havenโ€™t been able to figure out how to make it a part of my routine now that Iโ€™m living out of my backpack in hostels. Iโ€™ve always gone to gyms, but Iโ€™d be open to trying bodyweight exercises. I thought that I might be able to do bodyweight exercises in parks/etc, but the past few days in London have been wet and miserable and I canโ€™t find the motivation to go do push ups in wet grass. Any advice?

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by @justinbosco | 3yr 3 years ago | 7 comments

Hey everyone, my girlfriend and I have been nomading for about 8 months now and weโ€™ve had a total blast doing it, but something weโ€™ve both struggled with is how to stay in touch with personal/professional networks while abroad, especially since we donโ€™t speak the language in most places we live. When youโ€™re at home or in a single English-speaking city, you can attend one of those awful professionals groups and make 10 business connections in 10 minutes, but when youโ€™re moving around monthly, itโ€™s just harder to keep up personal and professional relationships, let alone build new ones. So, as friends who understand this wonderful but often lonely lifestyle, how do you keep your networks up while on the road?

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How to sign legal documents on the road?


by @gawin | 4yr 4 years ago | 11 comments

It can be hard to get access to a good printer and scanner while moving, especially if you have to sign a lot of documents. Now, I could scan my signature and just copy paste a digital image it on the documents, but that doesnโ€™t feel secure and really easy to copy by others.

How do you sign legal documents while on the road?

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Anyone have advice for running a service based business from the road?


by @nick_hurford | 6yr 5 years ago | 0 comments

Hi everyone,

Iโ€™ve been running a web design business for the last 3 years from my hometown in the UK. Iโ€™ll be leaving for Chiang Mai in June and will be travelling across South-East Asia for 6 months.

Wondering if anyone has experience running a service based business on the road? One of my concerns is almost all my clients want to have face-to-face meetings, especially initial meetings to see if we can work together.

Obviously Skype is an option but when Iโ€™ve suggested this in the past people would much rather meet face-to-face.

Another potential stumbling block is being available to answer phone calls, although there seem to be good value telephone answering services available.

My long term goal is to move away from this and focus on building products as it allows for greater flexibility and growth. However, I need to continue the web design business for the foreseeable future as I have no other income streams as of yet.

Does anyone have any advice for running a service based business on the road? . Any advice is much appreciated :slight_smile:

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What do you use to work out on the road?


by @jbroomeresearch | 6yr 5 years ago | 7 comments

Just made a list of a few of my favorite things when working out on the roadโ€ฆwould love to hear what other people are using! What do you use to work out on the road?

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How do you make friends on the road?


by @fraserdeans | 6yr 5 years ago | 5 comments

Nomading can be a lonely lifestyle. Which is probably one of the biggest worries for people thinking about solo travel. However, nomading can also be a great opportunity for making new friends from different walks of life.

Where do you make new friends on the road? What kinds of places do you meet them? Any tips for finding like-minded folk?

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