Why I Quit Being A Digital Nomad (And Moved Back To The US) • Expert Vagabond

Travel Tips for Cuba

I’m No Longer A Digital Nomad

Personal Stories

Last week I spent all day packing up a small U-haul trailer with my property, getting ready to transport to Los Angeles, California. It felt slightly surreal after 7 years residing as a virtual nomad.

A mattress. A sofa. A TV. A table. Cat toys. A cat (no, he’s no longer going within the U-haul). Pulling all of it at the back of a brand new Jeep. I haven’t owned this a lot stuff in years!

What the hell took place? When did I quit being a full-time vagabond, touring the sector whilst residing out of a backpack?

Well, it’s an extended tale. And it’s about time I shared it with you.

Backpacking in Mexico

2010: My First Backpacking Trip in Mexico

Becoming A Digital Nomad

So in the event you’ve been following my adventure for some time, you’ll know that again in 2010 I made up our minds to avoid wasting cash, give up my task, bought maximum of my property, and began backpacking all over the world, running a blog about it as I went.

It used to be an excellent horrifying determination on the time, and I had no thought what the long run would carry. My bet used to be that I’d go back and forth for a yr, run out of cash, then transfer again to the United States and get a “real” task once more.

What in reality took place? I controlled to construct a a success trade from my go back and forth weblog, and persisted to go back and forth virtually continuous for the following 7 years.

Working as a virtual nomad from my pc anyplace there used to be a wifi connection. It used to be a slightly new roughly way of life on the time, and everybody idea I used to be loopy for making an attempt it.

During the ones 7 years with out a domestic, I visited over 50 nations. I lived for months at a time in puts like Thailand, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Nicaragua, and South Africa.

Everything I owned have compatibility into a couple of backpacks — I used to be totally nomadic. Working for myself. An knowledgeable vagabond (therefore the title).

I used to be residing the virtual nomad dream!

But then my goals started to switch. As they regularly do through the years.

Digital Nomad Burnout

The Downsides of Nomadic Living

Digital Nomad Burnout

I began noticing a transformation after about five years into my totally nomadic way of life. Constantly shifting from position to position got here with it’s personal set of issues that turned into more and more hectic because the years went through.

Traveling all over the world and earning money on-line sounds improbable, I know. And it’s in some ways! I’m no longer complaining. This way of life has been excellent to me.

However there also are downsides to being a virtual nomad.


Many virtual nomads hand around in a rustic or town for a couple of weeks ahead of shifting directly to the following. But you’ll’t earn cash in the event you’re no longer running, so now you’re looking to cram paintings & holiday into a brief time frame.

Just whilst you get right into a relaxed regimen, it’s time to transport and get started everywhere once more. Packing up, navigating your manner round a brand new town, a brand new tradition, and all of the demanding situations that move together with the ones issues. It will get tiring!


Yes, you get to satisfy a wide variety of cool other people all over the world whilst you’re repeatedly touring. But as a result of everyone seems to be all the time coming or going, it’s difficult to shape a significant reference to someone.

I neglected having a standard team of pals to hang around with. I neglected being to this point clear of circle of relatives. And until you intend to this point fellow virtual nomads, relationships are difficult when best one in every of you’ll go back and forth freely.


Well, I must say much less productive than it may well be. Sure I controlled to construct a trade whilst touring, however it wasn’t simple, and I assume I may have grown sooner if I labored from a home-base as an alternative of hostels & espresso retail outlets.

Trying to juggle an ordinary paintings regimen whilst you’re additionally attempting to determine the place to sleep subsequent week simply isn’t ultimate. Often, I by no means wrote a lot concerning the puts I used to be residing as a result of I used to be too busy catching up with paintings after months of touring.

Nothing Is Perfect

Basically, there’s no absolute best option to reside. By turning into a virtual nomad, you merely business one set of issues for an absolutely other type.

“Instead of an addiction to status and possessions, we are addicted to experience and novelty. And the end result is the same. Our relationships, our connections to what’s real, sometimes suffer.” ~ Mark Manson

Maybe, like me, you gained’t be through this stuff for a couple of years — it used to be nonetheless way more thrilling than my earlier lifestyles within the rat race! But ultimately the issues magnify through the years… and also you’ll have a option to make.

Los Angeles Skyline

View of Los Angeles, California

Moving Back To America

As the negatives piled up, I started renting flats for three months at a time. Eventually I signed a year-long hire in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I used to be slowing down, taking journeys that lasted 1-Three weeks, and playing them extra.

It used to be great having a base, a spot to name “home” for some time.

However up to I cherished residing in Mexico, I quickly felt an urge to go back to the United States. To spend extra time with circle of relatives & pals. To pursue extra profitable trade alternatives there.

And, to take part extra totally in my very own nation’s democratic procedure, now not content material observing from the sidelines because the United States gave the impression to spiral into a dismal (bad?) abyss of lack of awareness & hate.

But the place to head? Moving from Mexico with my female friend Anna, we made up our minds to take a look at Boulder, Colorado for the summer time. We’ve been residing there with our new cat Poofy (sure, he’s on Instagram!) for the previous five months.

Boulder used to be lovely, however no longer precisely what we had been in search of. It used to be kinda small, very homogeneous, and stuffed with households & scholars. With our unconventional life, we felt slightly misplaced there.

So now we’re off to California to present Los Angeles a check out.

Our Wedding Photo

Marriage: Our Next Adventure!

Plus We Got Married!

Surprise! It’s been a hectic yr. I first met Anna in 2015 at a go back and forth running a blog convention referred to as TBEX in Florida, the place go back and forth personalities and corporations come in combination to community.

She’s in the similar line of labor as I am, working a well-liked go back and forth/model weblog and Instagram account.

We take to each other in an instant, with a not unusual love of go back and forth, cats, and dealing on-line. The town woman and the journey man, each taking dangers & running laborious to pursue our goals.

Anna is a exceptional girl. Originally from Poland, she’s been touring the sector for longer than I have. She holds levels in International Law, Journalism, and Fashion Marketing from more than one universities (together with Harvard). She’s fluent in five languages, and has lived in puts like Mexico City, Cape Town, London, Miami, and LA.

Soon once we met in Florida, Anna got here right down to Mexico, the place we started courting. Eventually we moved in in combination, the usage of Mexico as a base to go back and forth from. It used to be one of the most happiest sessions of my lifestyles, and I fell in love.

After a yr and a part of courting, residing, running, and touring in combination, I proposed early one morning at a far flung mountain cabin in Colorado. We eloped in Las Vegas a couple of weeks later on the well-known Graceland Chapel!

It used to be spontaneous, non-traditional, and amusing, similar to our lives up so far.

Vagabonding in Afghanistan

Hiking in Afghanistan

Are You Giving Up Vagabonding?

Yes and no. Yes, I’m giving up at the pipe-dream of repeatedly shifting from position to position, residing out of a bag for the remainder of my lifestyles. What to begin with sounded romantic, adventurous, and loose has develop into a burden through the years.

My objective for this wild experiment has all the time been to revel in as a lot of our huge & numerous international as conceivable NOW, whilst I’m slightly younger. Not caught at the back of a table running to make somebody else wealthy.

Sharing my go back and forth studies to lend a hand and encourage others, whilst incomes a residing alone phrases.

The freedom to do as I please. No approval wanted. No bosses to report back to. Following my interest and being profitable thru journey go back and forth & images.

Well, I’ve completed those targets. I am totally location impartial. I paintings for myself, atmosphere my very own hours, touring when and the place I need to. I’ve additionally been lucky to make a super residing doing what I love.

Am I simply aging and feeling a wish to decelerate? I’m 36 now. Have I merely develop into financially impartial sufficient that I’m now not compelled to reside in reasonable backpacker locations with a purpose to get through?

I assume those will have been elements in my determination too.

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Chilling In Morocco

Choosing Location Independence

I wouldn’t business the closing 7 years of my lifestyles running as a touring virtual nomad for anything. It’s been a wild journey, and the revel in has taught me such a lot about myself and the sector usually.

However I now understand that I desire location independence over totally nomadic residing. Because there’s a distinction.

Location independence merely manner you’re loose to make a choice the place you reside, no longer caught residing someplace you hate as a result of a selected task. Being a virtual nomad manner you’re all the time touring, and not using a actual domestic.

We spent the summer time in Colorado. We’re making plans to spend 2018 in Los Angeles. Maybe after that, we’ll make a decision to transport in different places. Italy? Spain? Iceland? Kansas?

With location independence, all our choices are open!

The necessary section, is the liberty to make a choice my location, and the power to replace that selection at any time.

For the ones of you who’re excited by turning into virtual nomads, I don’t need to totally discourage you. The way of life does have quite a few advantages, and I’m no longer pronouncing you shouldn’t give it a shot.

However after 7 years residing as a homeless virtual nomad, I in my view now not assume it’s sustainable (or wholesome) on a long-term foundation.

I’m no longer the one person who thinks this manner both — it kind of feels to be a not unusual selection for plenty of after a couple of years at the street:

Valley of Fire Highway

Life Is A Highway, And I Wanna Ride It

What’s Next?

Honestly, no longer a lot is converting. I’m nonetheless making plans to go back and forth a ton, about 6 months annually. The best distinction is now I have a spouse, a house, and a cat to come back again to as soon as my journeys are over!

Sometimes Anna & I will go back and forth in combination, from time to time I’ll be alone. I’ll proceed sharing my wild go back and forth adventures with you from all over the world thru weblog posts, YouTube movies, and go back and forth images.

Having a home-base merely manner I’ll be extra productive, growing helpful go back and forth guides, sharing amusing go back and forth tales, and educating pointers & tips I’ve discovered after 7 years running as a qualified go back and forth blogger & photographer.

To kick off the exchange, subsequent spring I’m co-leading my first journey go back and forth & images excursion in a far flung a part of Russia (click on right here for main points)!

After shifting to Los Angeles this week, Anna & I are researching the potential of TV and media appearances whilst proceeding to construct our companies right here within the United States.

Having LAX airport as our go back and forth hub will stay flight prices low, permitting us each to go back and forth regularly. We have pals right here, and extra move thru at all times.

There is all kinds of epic beach, mountains, deserts, canyons, and forests inside an afternoon’s using distance from the town if I need to get outdoor into nature for some time.

I know some readers is also dissatisfied on this exchange. Those of you who romanticize residing at the street out of a backpack. It’s one of the most causes I’ve been removing publishing this weblog put up for goodbye… I used to be scared.

I constructed my logo as a vagabond, what occurs as soon as I have a house once more?

Unfortunately there’s no longer a lot I can do about what people assume. I’ve lived as a vagabond for years, and don’t feel sorry about my selection, however my interest for repeatedly shifting started to vanish.

When you quit loving one thing totally, it’s time for a transformation.

I don’t spend my lifestyles looking to make everybody else proud of my possible choices, if I did that, I’d by no means be the place I am now.

So onwards! To the following bankruptcy of my lifestyles — I hope you’ll proceed to practice alongside on my long term go back and forth adventures, anyplace they are going to lead. ★

Have any questions concerning the virtual nomad way of life? Could you reside this manner? Drop me a message within the feedback under!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here