The blog started right after we got to our first stop here in Panama, but the dream and the planning of going nomadic began about six months prior.
I think Todd's reasons for going are similar to mine, but I'll speak for myself for now.
Traveling has always been one of my favorite things. Ever since I was fortunate enough to go to Taiwan when I was 13 (Thanks Charlie!), I had the bug. Not only to travel, but to go off the beaten path. Honduras is more appealing than San Francisco.
For many years I'd go on a cruise or two every year with my friends, Jonah being the most regular compatriot. I loved two things about cruises - being totally removed from the millions of things going on in my life, and getting to see many new places in a short period of time.
Last year Todd and I were in the office, waiting to go to a movie nearby. We had an hour to kill.
"Hey, check out this video!"
Todd showed me this video :
"Doesn't that just make you want to travel?" he asked.
Yes, it does. We agreed that we'd go on some random trip somewhere and would buy the tickets before we had to leave for the movie.
We searched around and found good prices on Tokyo and Morocco. Tokyo won out for no reason in particular. We bought our tickets.
We flew to Tokyo with no plans. We had nowhere to stay, nothing to do, and knew no one there. It turned out to be fantastic.
I had a big realization when we were in Tokyo : The United States isn't definitively the best place on earth. In fact, I preferred Tokyo.
I had always grown up with the idea that the US was the best and everywhere else could only hope to be second place. I still believe that the US is the best place for some things, but it's not the undisputed champ of the world.
Still, the trip didn't make me want to move to Tokyo. It made me want to see EVERYWHERE. Surely there was somewhere I'd like even more than Tokyo.
Meanwhile, the US continued its decline under the wise leadership of Bush. Freedoms began to go down the drain and our international reputation started to become a joke. Ron Paul came along as a glimmer of hope, but the was totally ignored by the mainstream media.
In short, other parts of the world were pulling my attention and the US was pushing it away.
Without actually committing to going, I thought I may as well plan a trip. I wrote down a list of all of the countries I wanted to go to. Then I went online and looked through almanacs to see when the weather was best. Local festivals and events were considered too.
It had to be sustainable so that it could be "Life Nomadic" and not "Vacation Nomadic". I narrowed down the list so that I could stay in the same place for a couple months at a time.
I was hanging out with Todd at the time, so he helped me plan things. By the end we were both commited to going. It was his idea to get tiny backpacks and bring almost nothing. We liked our style of just going without planning anything.
We randomly picked a day, January 7, 2008, to leave. If we didn't just commit to a day we knew we could put it off forever. There's never a perfect time to disrupt your whole life and build a new one.
I have committed to reading all of your blog posts tonight and tomorrow from day one. You two guys are awful inspiring to watch...entertaining, too.
hello guys, just wanted to say i like what your doing. i am thinking of doing something similar, but not so extreme. i am going to be doing a eurotrip in the summer, i spent 3 months in america last summer, and it was awesome. if you get a chance, checkout South Beach Miami. i loved it. if you go dont hesitate to mail me for info!
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You guys are an inspiration to my wife and I. Our 12 year old son died 5 months ago and since then we've decided that the best way to deal with his passing is to travel. We've been to Argentina and Brazil for short trips, but soon plan to just go wherever the wind takes us. Thank you for the information.
Ty, it seems like a lot of your income is passive and thus somewhat self-sustainable, so won't the "work" eventually run out? At that point "Life-Nomadic" and "Vacation Nomadic" will be the same thing!
I have thought of the same Tynan, but as it stands I do not have a way to make income over the net like you guys.
But I have thought about it and just bussing or riding the train around the U.S for a few weeks and seeing the country. Take a backpack, my mac, my camera, my ipod, and my phone.. About all I would need. Same as you both. But.. on a smaller scale :P
Great article. I'd love to hear more on how you guys did your prep (selling everything, jobs, etc.).
My friend Todd and I were waiting in the office to go to a movie. It was 8:00 and the movie started at 8:45. He showed me some weird video of a guy dancing in a lot of different countries.
"Doesn't this just make you want to travel?" He asked.
It did. Within a few minutes we resolved to go on a trip, and to buy the tickets before leaving for the movie.
I'd been in Cape Town for two weeks beforehand, just remotely working and doing some sightseeing around the area. So I had plenty of time for prep for the trip and was pretty relaxed arriving at Ashanti Logde(where the trip starts). The trip was booked through African Budget Safari's which seemed to the cheapest option around. The dates I had originally planned to travel with(and booked) were unavailable and ABS happily changed my dates and gave me a heavy discount(about 25%). On top of that I declined the free activities in Cape Town, so I was given free upgrade at Ashanti to my own room. So I can definitely recommend African Budget Safari's as an agent and also chance your arm and see what discounts you can get.
We met up with others on the trip and waited for the trip leaders. The group was mostly mid-to-late twenties with two outliers in the forties/fifties. Still an excellent result as I was worried the group would have a much older average age. As I traveled I noticed the more expensive tour groups had a lot of older people traveling and it sounded like an awful time for younger folk traveling with them. I would highly recommend finding out a rough average age of the people going on the trip beforehand, our group was wonderful so living in each other's pockets really wasn't a problem. However, if you get a bad group, there's not a lot you can do for 6-8 weeks.
The group was 16 in total, about 8 of which were going the whole 42 days(and then some) to Kenya, so there wasn't a lot of swapping around of the group. The trip is split into 3 main sub-trips(but there's shorter trips within this also), so I was glad the group remained consistent.
Eventually trip crew arrives, three guys from Zimbabwe. A chef, a driver and the trip leader. It's usually those three guys, but we had a trainee driver with us on this trip(to get his head around the route to Zimbabwe). They all seemed lovely. We made out local payments and a run through the next few days was done.
- Cash - One of the things I was sweating about was having access to local money. How it was relayed to me was that I would need to have all of my spending money at the start of the trip. This seemed dubious as I really didn't want to have a ton of cash with me while traveling. The trip leader alleviated these fears by explaining that there was tons of ATMs on the way and you can take out as much Rand as you wanted as South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and most campsites in Botswana would all accept it. I'd recommend getting a ton of Rand and don't bother with Namibian dollars at all(it's a straight one-to-one currency rate so there's no disadvantage and the Rand is more widely accepted). That seems a lot less complicated. Make sure you have enough USD for Visa's and certain activities, most take USD but some(like the Serengeti) require it, try get this USD in Cape Town as they'll provide reliable bills. You can get USD out in Zimbabwe but the quality of the bills can be really poor and all countries(other than Zimbabwe), won't accept dirty bills. Most people on the trip seemed to struggle to get money converted in Cape Town, that they were residents or that they were leaving the country in less than 24 hours. It's tough to find cash, especially on a Sunday the day before we were leaving. However, I was recommended a currency exchange place at the V & A Waterfront, that would convert money. Make sure if you get Rand out of the bank to take a receipt to prove the cash you're bringing is legit. I didn't and had to keep the Rand I'd just taken out and get more USD on my credit card. Again, wasn't an issue as everywhere takes Rand, but just to bear this in mind.