Introducing my nomadic brother from another mother: Nomadic lifestyle OG, Jason Moore
As I got to know Jason, it was immediately clear that we were kindred spirits. We both grew up camping and hiking and would both probably choose a backpack, hiking boots, and fresh air over dinner at some swanky restaurant most days. Jason also started his post-college life in substantial debt while dreaming of world travel, just like I did. Eventually becoming what he refers to as an “accidental” nomad. Through his wicked successful podcast, Jason Moore…
Jason has been a friend of mine for years now, and I hold his opinions and advice extremely high. So high I invited him to write a chapter in my book! Here’s Jason’s take on how to achieve, maintain, and ebb and flow in a nomadic lifestyle. Enjoy!
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Creating a nomadic lifestyle you’ll love – Jason Moore
I hit the road for the first time after college—with over $20,000 of student debt—to work as a tour manager running a charity event where kids raced tractors around a course we set up in a big box retail parking lot. Not the typical post-college job, I know.
That was back in February of 1998. At the time, I had no idea I was embarking on life as a nomad or a career filled with all kinds of wacky travel jobs. Being a nomad wasn’t even really a thing at that time. People were living the nomadic lifestyle, it’s just that you didn’t hear about them—or even know they existed.
Why? Who the hell knows? It’s just what people did, without thinking too much about it! In hindsight, going that “traditional” way seems way crazier to me than becoming a nomad. Going into debt and working a less-than-satisfying job versus traveling, saving more money, and seeing the world? It’s a no-brainer. But at the time, it didn’t feel that way.
In the early days of my nomadic life
Back then there were no reassuring podcasts, blogs, social media travel “influencers” or amazingly helpful books like this one—giving you the how-to on the digital nomad lifestyle while praising you on bucking the status quo and going after your travel dreams.
If you told someone you were traveling around and sleeping in a van, their first thought wasn’t, “Wow, you’re living the dream!” It was, “Dude…I’m sorry you’re homeless and maybe mentally ill.”
Accepting the status quo lifestyle is the norm, while going against it can make you an outsider. At times, this caused me some serious anxiety.
Thoughts that often went through my mind in the early days of my nomadic life
- Shouldn’t I be working in some office, building my career?
- Am I weird because I don’t own a car and can carry all of my possessions with me…and that makes me happy?
- My friends are all settled down, getting married, and creating a life in one place. Why don’t I want to do the same, and is this choice somehow putting me behind in life?
These types of questions popped up from time to time but I always came back to one thing—I just wanted to do what made me happy. And travel is what made me happy, so I just kept doing it.
That’s why I consider myself an accidental nomad. I wasn’t intentionally avoiding settling down. I just loved the nomad lifestyle so damn much that I kept choosing it over anything else.
If returning home from a vacation and stepping back into your regular life feels like walking into a prison, maybe it’s time for a change. This Seth Godin quote captures the essence of what the nomadic lifestyle is all about for me:
I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you are ready to take Seth’s advice, or at least will be by the time you’re finished.
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The secret to creating a nomadic life you’ll love: Be flexible
Think of all the ways you can travel as an a la carte menu. You can order up what works best for you now based on your goals, then order up something new at any time. When you are flexible you have an unlimited amount of ways you can start—and keep—traveling.
Getting tired of nomadic life but still want a change of scenery? Get a seasonal job. Sick of spending money on hostels and longing for a comfy home but still want to travel? Start housesitting.
Running out of money? Get a gig teaching English online through a company like VIPKid, find a job, or start your own business. Getting burnt out or need a break from your remote work life? Settle down for a while somewhere you love. Don’t worry, you can always get back out on the road again.
When you are flexible, you open yourself up to unexpected opportunities and exciting new ways to keep traveling. As your nomadic life unfolds, you can consciously choose the travel lifestyle that suits you at any given moment.
That’s important because you may get burnt out on travel if you do it long enough. If you do, reassess and make sure the lifestyle fueling your travels is still checking all of your boxes.
Some of the ways I’ve adapted my nomadic lifestyle over the years
- Working as an event touring professional traveling throughout the U.S.
- Managing special events in Mexico
- Spending a season as an adventure travel tour guide
- Acting as tour manager for a famous band on their U.S. and Canadian tour
- Saving up money, having no job, and backpacking around the world
- Freelancing as a business development consultant while traveling around Southeast Asia and Europe
- Housesitting in a mansion in a popular ski town
- Listing my condo on Airbnb while road-tripping and camping around Colorado
- Running my own businesses as a digital nomad
- Living as a location-independent ex-pat in Norway
Each of these came with different challenges, skill sets, and unique circumstances. Each of them also helped me to grow and see even more, new opportunities for what might be next. None of these were perfect, but they did the job of keeping me traveling.
Still want to live a nomadic lifestyle? Block out the noise and remember…
Blogs, podcasts, media. Your friends and family. Society and culture. Opinions, ideas, and expectations. You might come across people who try to tell you how to live—or that the way you are choosing to live is straight-up wrong. It hurts even more if those people are close to you.
When these things happen, rise above the madness and block it out. Then listen to the only thing anyone should listen to when making life decisions…your heart.
Be flexible and have fun my friend!
— Jason Moore
Jason Moore is the host of the Zero To Travel Podcast, one of the world’s top travel podcasts where he can help you travel the world on your terms, no matter what your situation or experience. He is also the co-founder of Location Indie, an incredible community designed to connect traveling lifestyle entrepreneurs. Connect with Jason and find the podcast at: ZeroToTravel.com
Travel Planning Tips
Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.
Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above.
Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency!
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