Apps For Moving To London

Lost in London I was asking people in the street for directions. Everyone I asked must have been a local as they kept walking. I managed to stop one girl, an Eastern European who helped me with my map. Thank god for immigration!

But you dear reader, you don’t need to have this experience. Through careful research I’ve found the best apps for moving to London (or visiting, if you’re going there with a smart phone) so you don’t have to be asking directions of local’s who’re busy pretending they didn’t hear you, paying too much for a black cab, missing out on great travel deals, lonely in the big city, hungry and unable to find decent take-away or one thousand other problems you face when new to such a huge city!

UK-England-London-Tourist-Photo-Big-Ben-Adventurer-Stacey

Uber

This seemed to be at the top of all my friends’ lists and I was a little sad to see that as London has the best taxi’s in the world however, It’s a very popular app in London for a reason! When you sign up with Uber use the code uberAdventurerStaceyue to get a free ride (I get one too when you use the code)

City Mapper

Everyone has this! It’s a London must with its maps for walking, cycling and public transport you’ll be using it constantly when you’re new (or if you visit new areas, which feels like it’s always happening in London!)

Google Maps

I’ve previously mentioned this in my list of apps for independent travellers, here’s just one more place it’s useful.

Tube Tamer

The network can be confusing, especially when you’re new so this app has been great for me!

Whatsapp

This seems super popular in the London and if you don’t have it before your move, you’ll need it soon enough!

Meetup App

Meetups are quite popular in London as London is a super transient city with plenty of people coming here for work and losing their old communities. A great way to meet new people or just to connect with others’ who share your interest. Totally keen to jump into London photography groups as those seem the right ones to meet other people who love the city just as much as I do and who notice all those little things that I might miss!

Excuses2Meet

Kind of like the appy equivalent of going to a real-life meetup event, you can put things in you’re looking to do with your new friends like “someone to play videogames with” and find other’s who’ve said they’re looking for the same thing. I’ve downloaded it (along with all the others) however, it feels like it might take more time to meet people than just showing up at a MeetUp event. We’ll see what happens!

Fever

This is a great idea! An app that helps you find things to do in London this week. It tailors its suggestions to you based on preferences you put into the app really good for wanting to show your knowledge of what’s on without having to do much work. Also great for when you make those early friends everyone makes when moving to a new city who don’t really know what’s going on and aren’t very good tour guides at all.

YPlan

Similar concept to Fever, I’ve still not decided which I prefer so have listed both.

Groupon

This is quite popular in London for loads of stuff (as the high rent prices mean everyone is pretty skint and needs discounts). Also has great travel deals on it from time to time.

Spareroom

How everyone finds their flatmates – now in an app!

Just Eat

Want to know if that place on the corner is any good to eat at? Going out with friends all spur of the moment and don’t know anywhere good? (Of course you don’t! You’re new to London!) Here’s a simple solution.

Do you have any recommendations for apps that London Newbies should have that are not listed? Please leave those awesome recommendations in the comments below!

How To Find A Cheap Flight

I’ve written about this previously back in 2014 and wanted to update the post with a few additional tips for my readers, I hope this is helpful for saving some cash to spend on fun things for your trip rather than giving all your cash to a big company before you even leave home!

Airfare prices can be the most costly single thing on your trip however, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom and there are a bundle of cheap ways to travel now. I’ve listed some of my top tips to save time, money and a bunch of stress on your next trip!

Plane-Wing-Taken-Out-The-Window-Adventurer-Stacey

Why Are Airfare Prices So Unpredictable?

As Richard Branson said in his autobiography (which I loved – every entrepreneur should read it!) airlines operate on small margins and it’s a hugely competitive industry. The airline wants a full plane and enough money from each passenger to pay overheads and make a little profit. Airfares can change from day-to-day with the cost of fuel and the demand on tickets fluctuating. I’ve watched many a flights price move up $200 in a week then down $200 the next week.

The following are my top tips to getting the best deal on your next flight!

Timing

Planning your travel in the shoulder or off-season will save you a bundle – I’ve flown Melbourne to Amsterdam return for AUD$1,200 when my friends paid $3,000 for the same flight only a few months’ later. I could have got the ticket cheaper again if I’d been available to fly a little later (for AUD$1,000).

Know What You Want To Spend

Part of being a budget traveller is having to stick to a budget. If you know you have $300 to spend on that flight and you’ve seen tickets this cheap before, don’t settle for the $600 ticket because you’re scared that will go (unless you’ve got real reason to think it will) sometimes waiting for a sale is well worth it. I’ve had to do this while booking flights around Asia before and although it was a bit nerve-wracking, I ended up paying what I wanted to pay in the end!

Be Flexible

Although I wouldn’t suggest flying on national days and missing celebrations often it’s good to have a bit of a window to fly in where possible. If $100 would make a big difference to your trip, would saving that little bit by booking your return leg two days’ after you thought you would make a difference to your trip?

Travel For An Event

More of an aside often we want to travel for an awesome event or festival however, we don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for the privilege. When planning my St Patrick’s Day trip, I booked several months’ in advance when sale fares were available and booked my ticket to be arriving in Dublin 8 days’ before St Patrick’s Day itself. Although I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone it suited me fine. I wanted to re-visit some parts of Ireland that I’d liked the last time I was there and knew that would be enough for me to be over jetlag and onto a normal time table for the event!

Something else I often see is people booking flights into a nearby city and traveling overland for an event, this can save big money too!

How Far Away From My Trip Should I Book?

Booking flights in that golden window of time when airlines are trying to fill their seats but not so near that they know they have you and prices will go up – usually about six to eight weeks before ensures the best prices. Don’t believe me? Visit any budget travel agents website and see when their flight specials are for, you’ll usually find them about eight weeks away or sometimes a little further away if the off season is coming up.

How To Search

I use Skyscanner to search for flights and have for several years’ now. I like that they don’t charge commissions and also give you the price that you will pay, not the drip price. Drip pricing is when an airline markets their flights as being super cheap – say, $6 then there is a tone of non-optional extras that may turn your $6 flight into a $106 flight, costing you sometimes the same amount of money as the more honest and often better to fly with airlines. I often search around three months (should I know I’m traveling three months away from a trip) and then repeat that search periodically, as well as watching budget travel agents’ websites to know when the airlines are having their sales!

Although I have not set up an email notification in ages often this is a preferred method of savvy fliers. You can do so with either Skyscanner or Airfare Watshdog. They’re easy to set up and could save you a pretty penny, if not a lot of your time.

Return Is Often Cheaper

When traveling around South & Central America last year I found that return tickets were often cheaper than booking a one way ticket. I saved around $800 from booking return flights rather than one-way flights and not taking the return leg.

Booking A Connection You Don’t Intend To Take

I don’t advocate for this as it’s something I’ve never done and don’t want to be responsible for your getting into trouble with an airline if you’re found out. However I wanted to mention it as this works well for people who’re happy to travel with just carry on luggage. Basically you want to book a flight to one city and it’s expensive for example, you want to fly to LA but its $800 for an LA flight and to fly to San Francisco via LA will be $600, you book the flight through to San Francisco, get off in LA and don’t take your connection. Be weary though that you won’t be able to take a return leg of a ticket like this. To find more info online if you’re interested this is called hidden city ticketing.

Places To Look

Although most people think they will find the cheapest tickets on budget airlines in economy sometimes the best deals (in regards to value for money) can be with traditional airlines or even in business class. When one considers that to fly budget they will get nothing for their money they will be purchasing basic things like the use of a blanket for the flight, a meal and a drink sometimes the price difference is even less than expected. A friend of mine too, booked a business class seat for his Melbourne to London flight for little more ($300) than a economy class seat and admitted to drinking the difference in Dom Perignon and having the best service and seating on the plane to boot! Checking business class before you book is a great idea!

Keep An Eye Out For Deals

You can sign up for email newsletters with your favorite airlines or budget travel agents however, I am a huge travel nerd and I list deals through my email newsletter! I list deals mostly for those traveling from major hubs in North America, Europe and the Antipodes (Australia and New Zealand) and am always seeking out more great travel deals, so if you want me to be doing all the hard work for you, sign up for the weekly email newsletter in the right-hand side bar now.

Taken when I was on a recent Maiden Flight and they had a little party before hand cupcakes and tequila (as it was to Mexico). Flight was late so we got extra tequila (at 10am, mind!)

Taken when I was on a recent Maiden Flight and they had a little party before hand cupcakes and tequila (as it was to Mexico). Flight was late so we got extra tequila (at 10am, mind!)

Did you like this post? Found it useful? Please list your thoughts and if there was anything important that’s been left out in the comments below!

My Thoughts On World Nomads Travel Insurance

Urging readers to ensure they have travel insurance and talking about how important it is, is one thing then the inevitable questions about which provider to go with hit my inbox. So who do I personally use for my travel insurance and would I recommend them?

I’ve travelled plenty and have used a range of travel insurance providers over the years’. I’ve had single-trip policies and multi-trip policies however, my current policy is with World Nomads and their policy is a little different. They’re set up for long-term travellers and due to my positive experience with them I will be renewing my insurance with them when it runs out.

You DON'T Have travel insurance you say...?

You DON’T Have travel insurance you say…?

My World Nomads Experience…

I’ve had a World Nomads policy for nine months now (or so… I think… it’s been some time) and at quote their policy seemed really reasonable to me. Information about them was easy to come by with most other travel bloggers using them, big travel brands recommending them and plenty of sites that compare policies talking about them in comparison to other providers and their insurance policies in relation to other insurance policies.

For me, knowing I’m with a big company who deal with issues that long-term travellers face specifically makes a huge difference to my piece of mind.

I’ve had to email them a number of times about my policy as my plans changed. I would ask them if it was okay to travel here or there and if there would be additional costs, to date there have been none and the service has been great with them responding to my emails within a few days’ with answers that I needed!

I’ve not had to claim anything and hope I never do have to (because who wants to get hurt while traveling, right!?) but know I’m covered if I do need assistance and this provides me with a great peace of mind.

Something I love too which I have not had to do (yet, but will need to do within the next few months’) is that you can renew your cover on the road (because where are most independent travellers anyway?) so you can keep traveling and enjoy your carefree lifestyle for as long as you can afford it rather than having to worry about what to do when cover runs out. I believe too that you can get cover after you’re on the trip although I’ve never tried to as I always make sure I’m covered before I go.

I don't have travel insurance and don't know if getting into this big, potentially bottomless pool is a good idea...

I don’t have travel insurance and don’t know if getting into this big, potentially bottomless pool is a good idea…

Would I recommend Work Nomads To My Friends?

The answer is a resounding “YES!” unlike other travel insurance companies I’ve been with these guy’s specifically tailor to long-term travellers, they also have extra things like cover for if you’re hurt at work which to me is super important as I do work as I travel.

I wouldn’t recommend any product I didn’t use myself and totally love so you can be sure this recommendation carries some weight behind it.

I like these guys – they have great service, reasonable prices (considering the cover you’re getting), are recommended by just about everyone including myself for a reason!

If you’re interested in getting a quote on your travel insurance and could do so using my link or the World Nomad’s widget to the right of this post in the side bar (which means at no additional cost to you I earn a small amount of money from the company) that would be great as you’re helping me to keep traveling and dispensing more awesome, super-relevant advice! Thank you in advance!

Ah, cool water! So glad I have my travel insurance now...

Ah, cool water! So glad I have my travel insurance now…

There’s No Shame In Going Home

Chicken-bus-central-america-guatemala-adventurer-stacey

When I left Scotland I felt pretty bad. That’s an understatement, really. I felt like I had failed at something. I’d set off telling everyone that I was going to live in the UK. There were multiple going away dinners, parties, casual, after-work drinks. There were even over-dramatized cries of, “I may never see Stacey again! I want to enjoy every moment!” I’d even written about it on the blog for my international audience. Then, after very little time in the UK, I’d decided I’d really wanted to travel. I wanted to just backpack freely with little to no plan. This was how I’d travelled previously and I really missed the sense of freedom and adventure.

While I was traveling and feeling the unpleasantness of stomach issues, how travel was harder than I told myself and around the time I discovered the spiritual side of travel I felt an epiphany. I really loved backpacking and I was broadening my horizons more than I could have previously imagined but, there I was feeling the pull back to the UK. But not to Scotland, to London. I wanted to experience a mega city. I wanted to see things in a different light as a foreigner living somewhere rather than travelling. I was now ready. Finally.

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Sometimes, as strange as it can seem, we are not ready when we assume we are. Sometimes, actually almost all of the time life is not as we think it should be. Instead of a smooth course that goes on until it reaches a logical conclusion, life can throw things at you all the time that you never expected and that’s fine. That’s life, you have the learn to be adaptive and roll with the punches as much as you have to learn to sit back and enjoy a few cool rums and some lobster on the beach (Belize was a happy find for that!).

I’ve learned so much from my first “failure to launch” in the UK and feel so blessed to have had that experience. If I had not, I would not be now happily telling you all that I’m landing in London on the 22nd of March, would you like to catch up? I also wouldn’t be able to share my own story for those who’re upset at the idea that maybe things won’t turn out as planned and maybe they will have to go home for whatever reason. Perhaps they will run out of cash quicker than they imagined, perhaps they will have to go home due to family emergency, perhaps they will get sick or perhaps they just weren’t ready like I was.

Swimming up to say hello (one of my favorite shots from snorkeling in Belize!)

Swimming up to say hello (one of my favorite shots from snorkeling in Belize!)

Whatever happens, it’s always okay to go home. There is no shame in admitting that life happens and the best laid plans do not always work out. Maybe next time.

Over to you, have you ever had an experience of leaving a place earlier than expected? What advice would you give to others staring down the barrel of these decisions?

Travelling Creatives: Wandering The World, Making Art

Travel really brings out creativity in people, to live an unconventional life of travelling freely for extended periods of time people have to get creative.

Artisans from a nomadic tribe currently in Guatemala create beautiful jewelry

Artisans from a nomadic tribe currently in Guatemala create beautiful jewelry

While I was in the UK I was staying in hostels (or living in hostels technically when you consider the length of time) and while I was there I met some of the most talented musicians I think I have ever met in my life. I felt so much richer just for having been enchanted by their art.

In South America the creative types morph from buskers with guitars into jugglers, circus folk and artisans who make jewellery, handicrafts and even bars of soap to sell in their pursuit of a live lived on the road. These guys’ seem to be living a much rougher lifestyle from the outside however, they seem much happier than their often better-off European busking cousins.

In the past I’ve also met traveling hairdressers, the best hair cut I ever had was in a hostel in Belize. They’re every bit as creative in their marketing to backpackers for fast cash before moving onto the next town as the traditional artisan creatives.

Scots-Bagpipes-Edinburgh-Adventurer-Stacey

Being around all of these creative types feels amazing! While in Edinburgh I was nudged by some musicians who were living in the hostel to come to a bar and listen to music. Sounds unremarkable as most bars with live music tend to put a band on themselves however, this bar had just opened the floor to anyone who was interested in playing. As a result half of the bar was talented musicians and the other half was people like myself who happily listened. The bar was so full of people one could hardly move but that didn’t matter, you had no reason to want to go anywhere. To buy a drink one would pass their money to the bar from person-to-person (a lot of trust here) and then have their drink passed back from person-to-person (even more trust when you consider how much Scot’s love a drink!). It was such a great experience and one I will cherish always, it really fed my soul.

Being as surrounded by creative energy as I am while on the road I want to dust off a guitar and learn to play again, or start up my own travelling micro-business in handicrafts or to learn to cut hair so I can cut travellers hair and make enough to travel onwards.

Sadly, I am lacking in these areas at the moment. I am a writer and find great pleasure in a quiet corner of a hostel common room, tea mug in hand writing for my blog and for my personal travel journal. This is my creative streak expressed.

Although writing is solitary I know it won’t make me quick money like busking or selling jewellery will. Perhaps I should have polished some other skills before I left home. Hindsight is twenty-twenty!

 

Do you have skills that can make you money on the road? If so, will/do you use them to aid your travels?

We Are The Cultural Weirdos

I can laugh at myself - trying on top hats in The Museum Of London's gift shop

I can laugh at myself – trying on top hats in The Museum Of London’s gift shop

I met one of my now closest friends outside a bar in my hometown of Melbourne. She was new to Melbourne after moving from abroad and we got into a long conversation about cultural differences and cultural oddities that she had found while staying in Australia. The kind of conversation that goes something like, “you do this so differently to how we do it back home, that’s something to get used to!” and maybe even a bit of, “why do you do this? We do it better: copy us!” followed by my smiling then pointing out that it’s not done better, just done differently in the different culture.

I love to talk about culture and will be the first to bring it up but this time was different, I was getting much deeper insights than what I would usually receive in casual conversation. Some of what I was hearing might have been a bit difficult to listen to and inaccurate at times but was all very educational.

Then out of nowhere it seems I called her a weirdo. She looked at me strangely as I explained, those who travel or who keenly become expats are similar to those who’re hugely curious about travel and the world outside of them (say, the readers of this blog for instance) they’re also similar to those who will go out of their way to get to know foreigners while they are still in their own country as I was doing with my friend.

If you are getting all your needs met by your own culture, you have no interest in looking outside of that culture so wouldn’t be terribly interested in travel as a way of learning about another place and may just be interested in holidays on the beach or other pleasurable activities while spending time with friends’ from home. Likely the same person would go to a bar and be too busy with their friends to talk to others’. They’re just happy with their life as it is.

Travellers are all cultural weirdo’s because they never seem quite satisfied with what they have at home, they feel the need to look outside of their culture because they’re not getting all their needs met by that culture. In some instances sure, people just don’t fit into their own culture. Perhaps they are a third culture child or when everyone was trying to stand out as a misfit in school they genuinely did feel different from their peers.

I am writing this post in part because I have had this conversation with so many fellow travellers since leaving home and most have had eureka moments that I wanted to share this with you all and see if you felt the same way.

Are you a cultural weirdo too?

Travel Jobs: (often illegal) Bar work

“Hey, you were here last night, weren’t you?” John from Nha Trang, Vietnam asks me, smiling. “No, I passed by and you tried to get me to come into your bar but I went home – long days’ travel.” I explain, looking him dead in the eye and seeing all of the boredom and loneliness there. I hate it when people’s eyes are not sparkling – it makes me sad to knowing they’re sad.

(Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

(Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

Many, many travellers have picked up bar work sometimes legally but often illegally all over the world. I’ve seen some of this in my own country Australia but also in Asia, Europe and North America. These guy’s risk having their passport blacklisted and live a life with a revolving door of new acquaintances, horrid hours, low or no pay, in a constant state of drunk or hangover which will leave the most seasoned drinker praying for it to end.

When I travelled to Lagos, Portugal the only thing bar workers needed was an ability to get drunk and party until the wee hours then repeat their performance for three to five months. Unlike most of the gigs in Asia, these guys’ were getting paid so they could afford to eat decent(ish) food, they’d do a few hours work in a hostel as well in exchange for a place to sleep at night (or rather, in the day) and free alcohol. Not a job for saving money, but enough to stretch out your travel just that few months’ longer which can be enough for some people.

In Lagos, I met Chrissy, an Australian (Legos had only a few nationalities: Portugese (minority), English, Irish, Scottish, Australian), she had beautiful, long blonde hair and a body appreciated by most bar guys, and their patrons. I went out with her for a drink one night when she had a daggy sweater on yet she still had half a dozen guys’ hitting on her and clambering to buy her drinks.

Later I met another Aussie called Mark who was deeply lonely and broke. The season proper had not started yet and he like John of Vietnam, Mark already had no light in his eyes. I stayed in the same hostel four nights, I think he had a different female visitor at least three of those nights (he was staying in a different dorm, thank god!).

Chrissy was smart and although she had been offered a job, told the bar she was doing some backpacking and would be back later in the season, could she start work then? Sure, whatever you want they said. I knew myself that she wouldn’t be back, what’s the appeal in this life for her?

Have you worked in a backpacker bar while travelling to sustain yourself? Am I unfair in my assessment? If I am, would you recommend this gig to other travellers? Please share your experience and opinion in the comments below.

What to pack

“What to pack?” is something that I’ve agonised over in the past and now know that I don’t need as much as I once thought I needed. When you consider how much you need something vs. how much it weighs/how much room it takes up in your pack it’s often not hard to come to a ‘this is what I need to take with me’ conclusion.

Being from Australia where everything is expensive, I have a huge incentive for buying things abroad when I need them. Although it’s good to keep in mind that even if you’re not from an expensive country sometimes it’s good leave anything you’re unsure if you want to pack at home. leaving the “maybe” items at home then picking them up as you go rather than take them with you and never use them.

The first time I visited Europe I went in the middle of a European winter. I packed a two-in-one fleece and rain coat I’d bought in Australia for a large sum then ended up ditching it for a much cheaper, better quality trench coat that helped me fit in in Paris much better and could be worn with just about anything.

The offending white snow jacket

The offending white snow jacket

Onto my packing list, the list is for a woman but can easily be adapted for a man (just replace my little black dress with your going out clothes and you’re set).

Clothes
3 long pair of trousers, either cotton ones or 1-2 of jeans if I am travelling somewhere cold.
1 bathing suit
1 sarong (good for covering up at the beach AND to use as a sheet when the hostel isn’t the cleanest)
1 little black dress for when I go out at night
1-2 dresses for daytime wear
1 leggings (if it’s cold under trousers or dresses – they are not pants).
1 dressy top
2 singlets
1 longer top that covers shoulders for temples/churches
1 pair of flip-flops (usually wear on the plane as going through security you often have to remove them)
1 pair of sneakers
1 pair of black flats to go with little black dress
12 pairs of socks
14 pairs of underwear. (It’s not excessive – underwear always runs out first, so taking more than I need is important!)

Toiletries
1 toothbrush
1 tube of toothpaste
1 dry shampoo bar (which doubles as shower gel)
1 lightweight travel towel
1 Hair brush
Deodorant
I’m not a make-up wearer but you might want to take a small amount of make-up.

I keep a small St. John’s medical kit and keep it stocked, then add:
Earplugs
Paracetamol
Tampons (I’ve been told that men should stock these in their first aid kits of nose bleeds, so don’t disregard this one off-hand)
Any prescribed medication

Tech stuff I’ll be carrying as a blogger:
Laptop
Camera
Smart Phone
Universal charger/adaptor (This applies to everyone)

Misc. items
a few locks for backpack or locker at hostel
Zip-lock bags (to put liquids in or take when around water)
Plastic bags or laundry bags
A copy of my travel docks separate to the originals – also email someone at home a copy as well.

Edited to add: you might want to check out my post on travel gadgets that make backpacking way easier.

I hope this list helps. If you have any questions you’re welcome to comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Also, take a moment to join my mailing list as I send tones of unpublished travel tips and tricks through there as well.

“How can you afford to travel?”

It was my last day as an (unpaid) intern when my boss finally asked me what he’d apparently been dying to know after listening to all of my travel stories for the past two months. “How do you afford to travel?” I was tempted to say something like, “not with my income from this gig.” But stopped myself in time and changed the topic. The question’s always made me feel uncomfortable as most money questions making people uncomfortable. I’ve been a student for what feels like forever, which lowers my earning capacity significantly but allows me the time to travel.

I’ve had the question in many different forms, most are just curious with the occasional – very occasional – rude assumption thrown in about how I “must be rich!” or, “have an inheritance” these are usually comments born by people who’re not following their own dreams and want to project their disappointment in themselves onto me. Even though often these comments can be harsh, I try to keep in mind that their issue has nothing to do with me.Plane window with ice - Adventurer StaceyI work hard for my money, I pick up odd jobs and don’t take handouts from anybody – not my family, not my friends or partners. I’ve never loaned money from anybody either (minus the university loan to pay for my course) or had serious monetary gifts or inheritance. I just live cheap, work hard and travel. This is sort of what it looks like:

 

Work hard

Get paid

Save

Travel

Rinse and Repeat

 

It’s not any more complicated than that. There are of course people who travel long-term (long-term travel here is more than twelve months on the road, these people are often referred to as nomads. I’m planning on doing this in the future) Most of the people who don’t follow the boom-and-bust cycle that I described above will work around the world, there’s also people starting up businesses that require a lot of travel, or working in an industry that allows travel such as medical, education or tourism and others yet will volunteer in various places around the world to make their travel last longer. The new thing with the advent of the internet too is people working from a distance, the location independent with the most popular options software and IT, professional writing and distance tutoring.

If you want anything badly enough, you will make it happen. If you make travel your priority in the same way that people make buying property and having children or owning nice things or career their priority. Don’t be disheartened by the travel industry telling you it’s only a luxury afforded by few. My website should be testament to that not being true.

If you want tips and travel deals to keep you travelling longer and cheaper don’t hesitate to sign up for my mailing list where I deliver these tips weekly (yes, shameless plug… but you know you would like to join anyway, right!?)

 

Have you received the “how do you travel so much” question yourself? How did you deal with it?

My old roommate: a nomad for real

sail_boatAfter last weeks’ post in which I talked a bit about our modern concept of nomads, I thought I would share a story about the first nomad I ever met in life.

While I was living in Canada during a semester abroad I shared a small flat/dorm with another girl. She was shy at times, with a lovely smile and a way about her that wouldn’t suggest the most interesting thing about her that I’d ever know: she was a nomad, a real one.

Sally* had never had legal residency anywhere in the world. She had grown up on a sail boat that had mostly floated around the Bahama’s. Her father was from America originally as her mother was from Canada but before her time studying there, she’d never stepped foot on Canadian soil. She’d been everywhere else though.

I had a drink with a friend last Friday night and I started telling her about Sally, and how I missed her. She would tell me the most random things to cheer me up. One night she had tried comforting me when I was feeling very down on Canada (culture shock, mostly), “It’s okay, I know how you feel. I felt the same way when I was fourteen and my parents adopted me out to a Swiss family.” It was perfect! I forgot what I was complaining about and asked her for details. Sally was always full of stories!

When I was contemplating moving to Africa, Sally was the first person I contacted. When I was thinking of travelling third world countries solo, Sally was the first person who I asked, “Could I cope after a lifetime in comfortable Australia?” and when I need tips about almost anywhere in the world and I can’t think of someone who’s been there, she’s the first person I contact.

Before I knew about the modern nomad community online, she was the only nomad I knew, only she didn’t consider herself one. I would say that even now, knowing so many people who don’t have roots, I still don’t think they’re nomad’s in quite the same way. They grew up in one place and chose to be rootless, Sally grew up all over the world and was trying to figure out just how people stayed in one place for any length of time.

I am happy that we met, and like so many people I’ve met while travelling, I hope I meet her again someday.

 

* I haven’t got her permission to write about her using her real name, she’s currently sailing the world and rather hard to catch on facebook