Does the sound of cruising the open road with no set schedule make you swoon? Do you get tired of staying in one place for more than a few days? If so, you’ve probably considered adopting the nomadic lifestyle. But what does that mean? Can you truly be nomadic in today’s technology-driven society? Many people are giving it an honest shot — and, in doing so, creating a generation of #VanLife proponents.
Before you consider canceling your lease and trading in your sedan for a van, there are a few things you should consider. When you become a digital nomad, you leave the idea of a comfortable home behind. Brent Rose, who is currently traveling the U.S. in a van that he’s “teched out,” says that discomfort is part of the fun.
“You have to make friends with discomfort,” Rose says. “You’re not always going to be in the most ideal situation, in terms of sleep, rest or anything, really. You have to be willing to embrace that uncertainty. That’s where the most rewarding experiences are.”
If a van doesn’t sound like the ideal vehicle, however, you do have other options. Many people — nearly 1 million Americans — have taken to traveling the United States in a recreational vehicle, which offers more space than your typical van.
They don’t come cheap, though. If the RV life sounds more appealing than that of the van, consult an RV Loan Calculator to determine how much you’d have to pay and for how long. Before you get too stressed about money, though, remember that digital nomads know money isn’t everything — it just helps keep you going.
Megan Starr, who operates her own travel blog and accepts various freelance jobs, says this can be tricky for some people — particularly when it comes to planning work hours around your exciting travel itinerary.
“You will need a base or stability at some point,” Starr says. “You really need to set your hours and schedule things ahead of time like you would at an office job. And then allow yourself to be flexible and always create a backup plan.”
That backup plan should include freelance work, which — in today’s online world — can be almost anything you want it to be. If you’re passionate about writing, you could start a blog and make money off that. If you’re an artist, you can sell your work. Living life in a van can work, so long as you’re prepared with a backup plan.
Another way to keep your travels cheap and sustainable is to invest in solar power. Investing in a solar kit is a simple and affordable way to travel wisely — both in terms of your comfort and for your carbon footprint.
Ultimately, those considering the nomadic lifestyle should be prepared for everything — and, most importantly, they shouldn’t be afraid of a little discomfort.
Mary Ashley Krogh — who goes by Mak — and her husband Owen have been on the road since April 2016, and they learned from their first road trip in 2012 that the modern nomad lifestyle requires some planning and the right tools. They say #VanLife might not be the most glamorous lifestyle, but it’s all about how you look at it.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff!” Krogh said. “Life on the road is full of change and unexpected obstacles that you have to be able ready to compensate for. It took many breakdowns, changes in plans, and races across the country to realize that you might as well sit back and enjoy the ride. On that note: pick a reliable vehicle, it too will save you some heartache!”
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