The beginning of a Nomadic lifestyle:

A little over three years ago I clicked on a button that read ‘Submit’, the decision of doing so would go on to change the core of my existence. It was my resignation letter at a big 4 consulting firm, I had been working with them for close to 1.5 years. Back then I had little idea about what ‘Nomadic lifestyle’ meant. 

Unlike popular belief, there was nothing wrong with the company (I mean nothing particularly wrong, there is always something wrong with a corporate firm). I was just so done with everything and couldn’t see anything getting better without making any drastic change. I wrote about my ‘Whys’ here.

On this anniversary month (that I totally forgot about), I couldn’t help but think of all the ways this nomadic lifestyle has changed me. While some changes have been temporary, some found their way in my life in a more permanent way. 

People often write to me believing I would share with them that one epiphany I had on the road but I disappoint them all, I had none. After years of travel, I have nothing to share in a sentence – How sad is that? But, I’m really glad because I cannot sum my experiences in the past three years, in a sentence, a blog post, or even a book.

However, for anything with some patience can hop on this journey and experience with me the small moments that mean everything to me, it may mean nothing to another person especially if you’re not seeking it, or not on a path of self-discovery.

All the little ways that nomadic life has changed me in big ways:

Material Things:

girl with a backpack

Even though I believed that I was not a shopaholic, I didn’t spend too much on things, it was only when I had to pack everything in a bag I realized, I had a house full of things, some I needed but most I didn’t. I have gone from accumulating things to letting go off things.

When you have to carry the weight of each thing you possess on your back for miles every few days, the process of letting go becomes a lot easier.

“If there’s anything that you carry in your backpack that does not bring you happiness then let go of it, give it to someone who will value it”. A girl on a bus journey told me this and it stuck. I live on two bags, one 48 lt. Osprey main backpack and a smaller day bag (22 lt Osprey) that I use during day walks.

Anything that doesn’t fit into these two bags has to go because more than two is a hassle. I haven’t felt the need for more space in the last three years and I have been in all kind of weathers from Thar desert in peak summers to Hiking in the Himalayas in the thick of winters. I have never rented clothes and have been fine.

If you don’t know about these guys then definitely check them out – https://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/

Dealing with friends and family:

friends

Fellow volunteer friends

When you are away all the time, relationships are bound to change – with friends, family, love interest, and of course with yourself. 

On the road, I am constantly seeing places, meeting people, trying to live in the moment. Fortunately or unfortunately I don’t think much about keeping in touch with people, esp. the ones who put little effort from their end. So, I automatically was left with only a few close friends that have been a part of my journey for years.

I do make new friends but these friends share similar values, a similar lifestyle which makes it easy for me to remain friends with them. I don’t have to explain to them why I don’t have a pair of heels when we go party, they never give me any unwarranted opinion on how I look, or why I’m wearing the same t-shirt two days in a row. They belong to the same world where they just know. These friends are people I have spent a few days in new lands, I would probably never see them again yet we would continue to call mention each other ‘I have a friend in that country’. 

How I wish things were this simple with family. While connecting to yourself can bring you closer to your family, choosing a life they don’t understand can amount to more friction than ever. I’m yet to learn how to deal with it.

Money:

The importance of money is the same (it’s possible I value it a little more now), but the way I want to earn it has changed in ways that I only thought about in wishful ways.

In the last three years, I have done various things to make money from painting to transcribing.

I’m working on my second long term project (a month into a six-month project) in the last three years. It’s in my least favorite place to work in – Mumbai but three months at this project pays as much as the last three years combined. So, I’m going to suck it up and just work towards the larger goal.

I continue to live frugally because I don’t know when would the next project happen so essentially I have to save up for the winters. But the uncertainty doesn’t make me nervous.

Environment:

flight window view at dawn

Traveling does fill me with the constant guilt of a higher carbon footprint but this guilt itself is something I discovered during travel.

I cared little about my air travel before I started traveling longer. I did care about the visible damage by keeping my trash to the minimum, refusing any plastic bags but not so much about air travel, environmental damage that we are responsible for just by choosing a consumeristic lifestyle.

I started thinking about these days after I chose a life of travel, after getting the exposure that I continue to have.

I have taken three flights in the last two years of which two were to reach and exit an island. I choose to travel by road whenever I have the luxury of time. I rarely buy clothes or shoes. Just leading a frugal life can really make an impact and having a nomadic lifestyle doesn’t have to come in the way of that, in fact, it can help the cause.

Priorities:

A few years ago I had set out to seek ‘Happiness’ because it had completely escaped my life. On the road to this nomadic lifestyle, I learned, it wasn’t happiness that could fill that gap I could feel, it was the peace that worked and I had already found it within me but it was important to recognize that I had and that is what I wanted the most in my life in a permanent way.

Love:

I have come to appreciate love in installments, from my family, friends, and strangers. I don’t believe in ‘love forever’ because it’s our innate nature to change if we’re not changing that’s a problem. Sometimes we don’t change like our partners so we would seek different partners and that doesn’t have to be devastating for anyone.

If only we were not fed unrealistic ideas of love by teenage love dramas, life would be simpler. I choose what movies I watch because I’m much more aware of the way they affect our expectations.

Oh, but about love, that’s difficult for everyone right? Finding one, then keeping it?

Marriage and Kids:

lady with a kid at a beach

Now being labeled as ‘the difficult child’, I was once someone who would say, ‘I want to have two kids by thirty-two’. At 28, still struggling to get over a breakup, I believed my life was over. I’m a few months from turning 32 now, considering I’m not dating anyone, I don’t see a wedding anytime soon and don’t see myself having any kids of my own ever.

Traveling made me practically question everything I have been told ‘But you have to…’. It gave me the space to ask ‘why do I need to?’.

How has traveling changed you? Do you have any special moment of wisdom with a stranger? What is your take on a nomadic lifestyle?

Categories: Travel

Manisha Singh

I'm an HR (IT) Consultant by profession who loves traveling to keep from getting caught up in the monotony of regular life. I quit my job in Oct 2016 to take a career break. I'm using my time to travel around South America. When not traveling I love spending time volunteering for various activities ranging from Art to corporate citizenship. I love Running (5k mostly), reading (interest keeps varying here), playing TT (something I picked up recently), and open to just about any new experience.

5 Comments

Nomadic Thunker · August 19, 2019 at 11:26

Reading this took me back to our conversation in June 🙂 I felt like I was sitting across from you. And that last line hit the home-run: Traveling made me practically question everything I have been told ‘But you have to…’. It gave me the space to ask ‘why do I need to?’

Amen to the journey that has been and cheers to the ones that await

    Manisha Singh · August 19, 2019 at 13:57

    If only I could record our conversation and just transcribe the whole thing, it would be a post to read.
    A lot definitely comes from my conversations with fiercely independent women like you.
    P.S: I’m in Mumbai for another 5 months, we could catch up again 🙂

      Nomadic Thunker · August 23, 2019 at 11:08

      I resonate with that feeling all too well 🙂

      P.S.: Will ping you on IG

angie2787 · August 19, 2019 at 09:23

This resonates… almost 5 years back , my dream was to have a nice wedding , a loving family with 2 kids and of-course a husband. At 32, my priorities have taken a complete shift. They no longer fit into the frame of conventional. Difficult to explain to others , but supremely satisfying.

    Manisha Singh · August 19, 2019 at 13:54

    It’s so strange how we change entirely in a matter of few years. I look at myself from 3 years ago as someone I barely know now.
    I gave up on the process of ‘explaining’ a long time ago. Everyone is on a different journey, I just hope everyone learns to be respectful of each others’ choices and just stop with ‘when are you getting married’ question.
    Couldn’t agree more with the satisfying part. I have not known the peace of mind like I know now.

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