If you are reading on from my previous article about the 7 Startling Realities of Nomadic Travel you would realise that nomadic travel isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I explained how hard it was juggling a life on the road with children and blogging.
Now I admit some people do this very well and if nomadic travel is your dream then go ahead and do it. I did it for 5 years and it was fun and exciting and adventurous. But if you want the real low down on what it can be like then read that first article.
After one year of being back in a home base, I have been given the wonderful gift of hindsight. So on top of those realities, I now understand the consequences of what those 5 years cost me. And though there are many that I may write an essay on one day, here are the 5 biggest pitfalls of nomadic travel that I found.
My Health Suffered
Travel stuffed up my body. I gained weight, my insides were not working properly, I was weak. I knew it, but I ignored it. In fact, it wasn’t until my visit to the doctor at the Sukhavati Ayurvedic Spa in Bali earlier this year that I fully understood the painful truth.
I was told after years of travel my body was not coping. Unhealthy food, eating at weird times, wrong times, changing time zones, sleep deprivation, flying. All these things had resulted in my body being one confusing mess.
I was instructed to get into a routine as quickly as possible. Eat at a certain time of the day, exercise, drink water, etc. Later my naturopath told me the same thing.
And as you guys know from my revealing weight loss post I’ve never looked or felt better than I do now.
It takes a lot of discipline to grasp that nomadic travel is a way of life. And some of us just don’t have that discipline. I always felt like I was in holiday mode. Holiday mode is enjoying all the good stuff to eat in every place you visit. Holiday mode is gaining 15 kilos during those 5 years of travel.
It’s late night hotel check-ins with nothing but take away on the menu. It’s missing home cooked meals, it’s buffet breakfasts and losing the will to fight temptation. I know my body better now and when I do vacate I am so much better, but I’m not going to lie, it’s hard.
Not just food, but your overall appearance. Being constantly nomadic made it hard to find the time to get my eyebrows waxed, or book the kids in for a dentist appointment or just go to the doctor about that niggling ailment that hasn’t disappeared. When you are always in a new location these things become increasingly difficult and often get pushed onto the back burner in favour of rest, work or playing with the kids.
My Relationships Suffered
“You’re contradicting yourself, Erin, we’ve heard you say a hundred times how much you bonded with the family over travel.”
True! And false. In the early days, we did. We enjoyed every minute and we got closer as a family. So I can’t say it’s nomadic travel by itself that was the pitfall. But nomadic travel and blogging. Yes. The work started to dictate the time I spent with my kids and relationships failed. My marriage failed. I knew we were spending less and less time together, but I kept thinking ‘when we stop the travel I will fix it’. We never stopped.
Now that I am home my relationship with my kids is just as good as the one we formed on the road, dare I say even better. We all have our own space, our own routine and we know those moments that we spend with each other are precious and beautiful.
There Was A Lack Of Stability
My kids grew up hearing “home is where we are.” And I still believe this is true. My kids are home when they are with me, wherever that may be.
But, there is something to be said about stability. I’ve seen it on my kid’s faces. I’ve seen after a few days of visiting the 12 Apostles the way they walk into our house, kick off their shoes, hug their grandparents, run to their toys, or just go for a bike ride. Bikes! Yes!
My son, in particular, has always been one who needed an environment he knew and he has flourished being in the same house this year. When he comes back home from even one night away he will play with his toys for hours.
In a family life that is changing so much for them right now, being in one home with their own things that they know they can always come back to, has given my kids more stability than I ever thought possible. Or even wanted. But it makes me happy.
Never Any Time
Routine has been so good for us. For our health, for our work, for our schooling. I never had enough time when we were travelling. I was either organising where to go or where to stay or teaching my kids and when I didn’t need to do either of those things in the evening I would be working. I never ran out of work.
I found it so hard to keep a balance when we were always on the go.
Living back in our home this year has brought a beautiful balance. When my kids are at school, I work. I rarely do that in the evenings or when they are home anymore. I find time for the gym, I find time to read, I find time to play with my kids. We’ve invented a beautiful life of routine and it’s not hurting us. It’s making life better. I NEVER thought I would say that, but it has.
I Want Shoes
If you are reading this and know anything about me, you have known about my complaints about shoes for many years. While nomadic travelling we lived out of suitcases and usually very small ones. I owned sneakers and thongs. Not too much more than that. And I hated that. I adore shoes.
Since being home I have shoes. I have boots and heels and sandals and my feet feel gorgeous.
This is not just about shoes, it’s about the lack of things in general. To travel effectively with children, you forego many non-necessities to make room for necessities. But to each of us, necessities is relevant.
Do my kids need bookshelves of books? No, they didn’t, but they do love having it now. Did I need more than 3 pairs of shoes? No, I didn’t, but I am so thankful to have them now.
I always said that travel was a bigger pro then owning material things, but I tell you what I love my shoes and I just don’t know if I’d want to give them up again. Why? Because there’s a reason I have those shoes. Just like there was a reason I didn’t when I was travelling. I was at theme parks and hiking ruins, it was amazing. But likewise having a permanent basis I have those heels because I went to a Christmas lunch with fellow bloggers or I have those sandals because I went for a beach walk with my bestie. Memories are happening right here, right now.
Just because nomadic travel has ended doesn’t mean I gave up my dream. In fact, I feel like phase two of my dream life has just begun.
If you are struggling to move from nomadic life into having a home again, I hope this has helped. If not, go read my 7 Steps To Take When Your Dream Life Stops.
And don’t forget to read the first part of this post here – 7 Startling Realities of Nomadic Travel.
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