Nomad living - our visit to Hong Kong this year on the subway

4 Years of Nomad Living, Lessons and What’s Next

Do you know the best way of dealing with the speed at which time keeps passing by year after year?

It is truly believing you are living the kind of lifestyle you want.

It is our new lifestyle anniversary. We are days away from completing 4 years of nomad living. The journey to get here has been completely worth it. We can best define our lifestyle as location independent – no fixed address, living debt free, ownership of a limited number of things, and the freedom to live and work wherever we want.
Jan 2, 2015, we left our conventional lives, homes, and careers to move toward a lifestyle that better suited us. The last four years have been significant, challenging, life-changing, profound and about 100 other adjectives to describe them. 

We can sum up the last 4 years of nomad life till today with a few lessons and highlights:  

Year 1: The Year of Uncertainty and What The Hell Are We Doing?

Travel in year one was the focus.

-We spent a year having a blast traveling to 10 countries, all of which were new to us, except for Thailand where we were married 10 years earlier.
- We discovered quickly that our goal wasn’t about the number of countries we ticked off a bucket list, it was 100% the journey and the experiences. Our year 1 video in two minutes is our best example of 2015.
- We are asked all the time what our favorite place was – That year was Myanmar for some many heart-opening, surprising, comfort zone-opening and unusual ways. If you haven’t been to Myanmar, you need to go!  
- Year 1 we often felt entirely out of control and stressed, usually it was because we were exhausted by all the work we did to finalize our departure. Funny thing is --we probably would have enjoyed it more, but logic got into our heads with Ill-fated questions like: “How do we behave in this new world?” “Who are we in this new life?” and the dreaded and “what are we going to do the rest of our lives?”
- Big lesson in 2015 - We need to get out of our heads and stop the future expectations self-talk and just embrace what is in front of us. 

Year 2: Less Travel - Let's Figure This New Life Out

- We discovered the joy and value of slow travel- living somewhere for a more extended period is much better for us – mentally, physically, to be able to work online, to establish routines, to exercise – for everything.  Ideally 2-3 months stay in each place was ideal for us.  
-Living/working together as a couple -We had to learn who we were, in this new nomadic life and working and living together pretty much 24/7. The first year we fought a lot, in year 2 we found our groove. Oddly, we had such different lives in our past life, although our values are the  completely the same.
- We fell in love with Colombia and planned to make it more a home-base so we could work, spend time with friends and explore the whole country slowly.
- We learned how to better spend our money, so we could afford this nomad life as long as possible and figure out how to make sufficient income and become less reliant on our savings.
- We got inspired like hell with incredible people and talks while attending the World Domination Summit for the 3rd time in a row, and sadly we lost a big source of inspiration in my life - my cousin Colin who lost his 9 year fight with cancer while we're there.
- We discovered the world of Experteering – Volunteering our career skills to social enterprises and we worked in Northern India with MovingWorlds

Big lessons in year 2:

  - We ASK all the time – we do it for survival, it is not a sign of weakness. We ask for opportunities to work, to connect with people that can help us on our journey, to get reviews for our website, to do a work exchange, and applying for many pet sitting jobs to reduce our cost and enjoy living with pets while we work online. You don’t need our lifestyle to enjoy and benefit from the Exchange Economy. These are some of our best tips! 

- Perception is not reality, and its what you make it. - We traveled to India for 3 months after putting it off for years due to fear. India was definitely our best travel experience ever, mostly because of our attitude of how we approached it. And we love the response from Indians and people curious about India when they see this video! 

Year 3: Comfort In Our Own Skin

- I found a love of a ‘new’ career: I (Dorene) realized when I walked away from my past marketing career in Canada, I really missed aspects of it – coaching, working diret with people, and helping entrepreneurs with all aspects of their business. Troy was creating videos for travel clients, now we added marketing consulting to our services, since it was happening organically anyway, it made sense to focus my work time here. As a result we started our business Travel Life Media.  
- My Spanish and I (Dorene) got past a lot of baggage and limiting beliefs in learning a new language – My Spanish is getting much better after getting out of my own way. (Troy definitely needs to get back into lessons.)
- We worked on some of the most rewarding projects in our lives in Colombia.  We worked on a marketing and video project with a foundation to protect the Colombian rivers. We also  helped ex-criminals in Bogota with a video about how they give back now and make an honest living.
- We helped our friends and entrepreneurs with their new lifestyle design and moved and started a travel business in Nicaragua. If you want to relax this is the place for you! Check it out.
- We petsat for our friends on one our most favorite places on earth an incredible organic farm on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua and ‘delivered’ and cared for baby chicks through a tropical storm! 

- Big lesson in Year 3:

I stopped caring what people think. I used to get offended with names like: gypsy, bohemian, or nomad (or even retired) from friends and family. Now I don't. I worked hard in my 20 year career and these terms bring up feelings from the past - like I'm not a hard working human being, but they are just labels, and  I am labeling this lifestyle however I want. 

Year 4: The year of what was physically possible.

Year 4- 2018 Nomad Living - Wins, Experiences and Big Lessons 

- Big physical goals achieved: This was a massive year for Troy, he committed to running in a BIG WAY! – And ran 4 Marathons in 12 months, topping it all off with running the NYC marathon just this last November. And he did this turning 49.He wasn't always a runner,in fact he only took it up seriously a couple years ago. 

nomad living - Troy finishing the NYC Marathon

NYC Marathon finish and still looking fresh! 

- Finding new inspirations, new people and communities- 
We decided to participate in some new conferences to spark some new ideas. We connected with location independents who live a nomadic life vs settle life at the 7 in 7 conference and we spent time working on all levels of our health, work, soul and vitality at the integrated life retreat.

nomad living - opportunities to take in all kinds of inspiration like this integrated living retreat.

The Integrated Life Retreat - our team! 

- Our new business venture is challenging the hell out of ourselves with creating our own project - An Online travel company course – it has taken over a year now, and many distractions, changes, and problems were getting in the way, but we have a new commitment to it, and it's almost ready to launch!

Despite some big wins, this year has been the biggest regarding hard lessons –probably because we feel there are things not working and some things we want to change.

Big Lessons in 2018:

- Old patterns emerge even when you live this lifestyle - Just because you are somewhere else (sometimes perceived as "paradise") and you can switch up our home base, it doesn’t mean old habits, feelings, and limiting beliefs don’t emerge – they do. We both recognize that meditation time and inner soul work is essential. For me, in particular, I feel I’ve hit a wall with a lot of old feelings, and emotions that I need to manage alot differently.
- Setting Boundaries – Funny. I don’t have a workplace to go to, or a boss to answer to. However, I do need to set boundaries on my client work,  often at the expense of my own projects  or my well-being. And I can’t do this anymore.
- Knowing the things we don’t want to do any more – We went through the lesson of figuring out the kind of work and projects we want to do, and what is consuming our energy instead of nourishing it, and the wonder of saying "No".  

​​​Plans for 2019 

 Our plans can best be expressed in these life buckets:

Soul – We both have witnessed and felt the benefits of meditation, and we plan to spend more time working through our practice and more time with Yoga. We hope to attend another holistic mind and body retreat this was a game changer for both of us. 
Vitality- Some new exercise and physical goals may emerge for both of us.  Still working on that.
Career/Work – Watch out for the Travel Life Media Course – (and if you have friends in the hotel, hospitality and tour business anywhere in the world, we would love to connect with them , and we plan to hire a staff member to help us on our 2 websites.
Travel January we are back in India! We are working with Peepal Farm again, volunteering there 2 years later to help them with video and marketing work.
We head back to our home base of Colombia for a few months, family visits to Florida and Canada and our ‘big’ travel plan is to get to New Zealand in October. 

Wow, we still can't believe it. Four remarkable years and plans for the next. So, this nomad living thing is going to continue. Feeling excited with what is yet to come this year.

Thank you for reading this far. Now It's your turn. What about you? What are your themes from the year, your goals, dreams, and lessons? (and it doesn't need to include a nomad lifestyle) We want to know! 

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nomad living - sunset in encinitas

About the Author Dorene

Dorene is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She quit her 20-year career in marketing to redesign her career and lifestyle on her own terms by living location independent. Now with her husband Troy, she helps people who want to redefine their midlife and make conscious changes at TravelLifeX. She also trains & coaches travel and hospitality clients to improve their marketing at

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