It’s all very clear in my head – the reasons we want to be nomads – the changes in our perspective on life after leaving the States over a year ago, and recently realizing that what we do is actually location-independent. Although we’d been reading up on all these wonderfully informative blogs regarding the nomadic lifestyle (see our links on the right), and dreaming of that lifestyle for ourselves, it was never a solid plan that we were actively pursuing…until last week.
I spent a couple hours here at a cafe in Berlin, with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, catching up on everything that’s happened since we last saw each other. Never did I imagine that what we were planning on doing would be so hard to explain, or that I would be met with such resistance.
I started with the explanation of how we’ve been put in a position, completely out of our control, where we’re forced to make huge changes in our lives, and how we’re excited and energized by the adventures that lay ahead.
Her immediate reaction was to ask me, in quick succession: What are you thinking? How could you leave Berlin (“but it’s BERLIN!!!”)? Are you guys craaazy? Won’t it be so stressful to move so often? What about your friends? Then, nothing but open-jawed stunned silence.
I tried my best to explain that, up to this point, we’ve been spending everything we earn just to cover our living expenses each month. We spend too much time and energy stressing over what we need to do to earn more money to be able to do the things we want and love to do, mainly travel. We live in an apartment that’s way too much space for us to inhabit, let alone one we can afford to furnish, and it’s the perfect time to make a change to a better life for ourselves.
I then explained that, although we do love it here, we’ve decided against staying in Berlin, because from what we now know, we could be spending much less money for so much more life experience, living in other places around the world. I was met with the argument, “…but Berlin is one of the cheapest cities in Europe!” While I can’t argue the fact that many things here are much less expensive than we were used to paying in the States, the rent in this city is gradually rising, and in our research we’ve been finding many fully-furnished (and even some full-service) apartments around Europe and elsewhere that are as much as a quarter of the cost we currently incur.
“Stressful,” to me – I explained – is stressing about paying rent/taxes/health insurance/bills/groceries. Stress is trying to sell all the “stuff” we’ve accumulated in the past year. What is not stressful, is trying to figure out what city we want to move to next. Life is, and should be, an adventure, amiright?
To some, yes, the idea of this lifestyle is completely crazy. To people who think that traveling costs too much money, I say PISH POSH. It’s all about knowing where to go, and how to stretch your budget to its fullest potential, spending as little as possible. Some people need a “home,” with lots of “stuff.” To each their own, I say. We aren’t the type of people that need things. We need experiences, most of which cannot be acquired by staying in one spot. We are open to all cultures, and all lands, and if we find a place we love, maybe we’ll stay longer. If we end up in a place we don’t like very much, we can always leave. It’s just that easy, and there are just so many choices.
We don’t plan on losing any friends, which is precisely what I told her when she asked. People that choose to end friendships over this are no friends of ours. Also, it’s the day and age of technology. We have a US number via MagicJack, so we can easily stay in touch with family and friends in the States, and a Skype account so we can video chat with our friends around the world. Just because we’re constantly on the move doesn’t mean we won’t be just as easily accessible as we are now. And, actually, now that we have this blog, it’ll be easy for everyone to keep up with what we’re doing.
The turning point for her, I think, was when I told her that when we’re able to spend so much less money, we’ll be able to afford to come back to Berlin to visit, or meet up with her in…oh…Paris, or Spain, or wherever. Also, no matter where we are, our friends are always welcome to come visit us. After promising her that we were not falling off the face of the Earth, she’s now excited that she’ll have somewhere exciting and different to vacation.
All in all, it was a great conversation, and a valuable lesson on how to deal with future resistance or disapproval of the choice we have made. I’m a bit surprised that I survived the interrogation; but I did…and in the end, I was heard.