Don’t get stuck in a love-hotel with your mom, like I did. Here are my biggest mistakes and surprises since leaving my home in Switzerland.
My wife and I gave up our cozy place in Switzerland and have started to travel full time since November 2018. We knew from the start that we would go at a slow pace and stay in each location for a few months. Any other way of traveling is too tiring and time consuming for us.
What have I learned from this experience so far?
First of all, it isn’t all rosy. It takes time and effort. You have to plan your travels, find the right locations, make sure you have good wifi since our business is all online.
Every time you move, you have to reorient yourself. Where is the grocery store? What kind of transportation will I need? What kind of apartment do we want? How long is the Visa, do I need one? As you may see from just those few questions, there is a lot you need to consider.
However, this has been good for me since I generally don’t plan a lot. Having to plan, has given me a new perspective on it and why it is a very useful thing to do. Especially, if you are going to be somewhere for an extended period of time.
Things Don’t Always Go As Planned
You can have the right intention and how you want to live life, but it doesn’t always go your way. Things come up and life takes you into a new direction. Rather than traveling slowly, we had to make a few short trips. A business opportunity opened up and we decided to stay a lot longer in Malaysia than intended.
Whenever there seems to be a roadblock, you’ll find some way around it. You just have to be ready to be flexible and give up some of your comforts that you think you need.
Sometimes you mess up the planning without knowing. Like this time when I was in Japan with my mom during the golden week and I realized that I had booked that apartment one day later than when we arrived. Golden week is very busy in Japan and it is nearly impossible to find a good affordable location on the day off.
It was quite an adventurous story which ended in us finding a room in a Love Hotel. Didn’t think I’d be with my Mom in a place like that.
Structure Has to Come From You
When you have your own business and especially when you are traveling on top of that, you have to find your own structure. No one is going to tell you when to do what. While that may sound exciting, you can easily lose track of moving forward with what you really care about.
Hence, it is really good to have a proper deep dive into what it is you really want to do. What is drawing you to do this? Those questions are vital, because when you fully stand behind what you do and you truly want to bring it into this world with your whole being, then you’ll find the structure necessary for it.
Though, again, you can get distracted with other opportunities. For me, this has been a process and not a one-time thing. Over time it became clear what I really wanted to do and since then, I just get things done. Not because I have to or need to, but because I want to. It is soul-nourishing to do it.
Freedom Isn’t Found in Freedom of Movement
While it is great to be able to switch locations and visit places we are drawn to, it also has become clear that we can be just as unfree while moving about. Your thoughts, issues, and problems don’t just stop when you leave your home country.
If you are trying to escape from a place, think twice because you will take yourself with you. Freedom that is dependent on us being able to choose and have our way, is not really freedom. Because when those circumstances go away, which they will at some point, you lose the so-called freedom.
Freedom comes when we are not dependent anymore on those circumstances. While we probably will have preferences all our lives, and ways of living that suit us more than others, it is good to know that what we are seeking is not found in circumstances.
Home Is Always With You
Having been traveling with most of my belongings reduced to a suitcase, it makes you realize how little you really need. Even switching apartments every 3 months or so and sometimes living out of a hotel room for an extended period of time, has lead to the realization that a steady place is not what makes home a home.
You are home wherever you go. All the extra stuff is just that, extra stuff. Yes, you can feel estranged and lonely if you travel to a place without knowing anyone and not knowing the language. However, when you sit down with nothing but yourself, home becomes wherever you are. Being home for me has become much more of a feeling than a place.
One thing that is pretty obvious now, but wasn’t when we thought about trying this lifestyle, is that you can’t just hang out with your friends. Yes, you can call them up and have a chat but it isn’t quite the same, especially if you are integrated into a social circle back home.
At first, this was no problem. I am not someone who seeks many social interactions anyways. However, after some time I felt like seeing some people. Well, who will I see now?
I can’t just ask someone to hang out with me from back home. They are too far away. At that location, we didn’t have proper wifi and had to go to internet cafés.
By now, we have adjusted to that. But it sure was a change and at first unusual. If you want to make friends while traveling, it is, of course, possible, but you have to put in the effort and you will most likely leave those people behind as well. So goodbyes become more of the norm.
Would I Do It Again?
I am still traveling with my wife. For now, we still like it and want to keep exploring. We knew from the beginning that it isn’t a long term lifestyle we want to have. We would like to settle at some point again. I personally, don’t know if I would want to have this lifestyle if my work wasn’t online. While we travel, we live a normal life. We don’t go sightseeing all the time, we simply spend time in this location and absorb the new environment. It’s like going abroad for work. Without the work, I’d lack a clear orientation that would counterbalance the openness and quickly changing nature of our lifestyle.