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5 Personal Pitfalls of Nomadic Travel

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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Showing 14 comments
  • Darryl
    Reply

    I’ve lost contact with some friends that used to be really close to me. I miss them a lot, but I guess that’s just part of life. We gotta keep moving.

    • Erin
      Reply

      One of the saddest bits of travel. I hope your gain has been more than the loss.

  • Meagan
    Reply

    We’ve traveled for a few months at a time. I literally cannot imagine how challenging it was to do a year, much less years on end!

    • Erin
      Reply

      Made me into one tough cookie 😀

  • Tonya Prater
    Reply

    Oh Erin, I get you! My family was not nomadic as long as yours- and we were in an RV so we were able to have some comforts from home with us- yet I really struggled when we gave up the RV life. I’m thankful for the experience but I really do love having a home to settle in after a weekend away. And I can also see how beneficial the stability has been for my kids, who were teens when we settled back down. I now know how much they needed a home, their family, their friends, their church, etc,. My husband and I are considering becoming full-time RVers again and I’m torn. I also like having a closet full of shoes. 😉 Thanks for sharing. I could really relate.

    • Erin
      Reply

      Lovely to hear and thank you for taking the time to write.

  • Liz Deacle
    Reply

    We are a family of 4 and have just started our backpacking trip around the world. I started a travel blog 3 months ago and can already see how balencing the two could be hard. We have been in NZ for the past 8 years (homeschooling) and I was desperate to leave routine, possesions and constant work behind. the first three weeks have been an eye opener and we are only in America! I am waiting to see how we all hold up in Asia! Are’s is the opposite to you, they have had routine/toys/friends galore and now they have us. And thats it! Its certainly going to be an interesting year (if our money lasts that long) I have craved this for so long so am determined to appreciate it and try not to spend hours building my blog. Anyway, sorry about the life stoty! Love the post! Good luck in your new life:))

    • Erin
      Reply

      I still valued my time on the road and the positive things it brought our family, but just make sure you are always evaluating when is enough and where to draw the line. Until then – enjoy that beautiful world Liz!

  • Living Outside of the Box
    Reply

    All great points that I agree with! Thanks for sharing the *other side* that most travel bloggers don’t dare! 🙂

    • Erin
      Reply

      Haha… Somebody had to do it 😀

  • Lauren
    Reply

    I don’t think I could ever be nomadic. After traveling for a few weeks at a time, I’m ready to come home. I like the simple routines I have at home. Cooking my own meals. Going to the gym. Having cats. I love my cats so much. I love seeing my friends and making plans with them. Travel is a HUGE part of my life, but I love my life at home, too. It is definitely a different situation entirely when you’ve got kids, but this post totally spoke to me! Sometimes it’s the little things that you miss (like owning multiple pairs of shoes and boots!), and it’s hard to have those things when you live out of a suitcase.

    • Erin
      Reply

      I love this. Thank you so much for contributing. <3

  • Deanne Hancock
    Reply

    Beautifully written. I have great admiration for people who can see things from more than one perspective. For one thing to be “good” the alternative doesn’t have to be “bad” and it’s awesome that you can embrace the positives in every phase of life. Looking forward to following your journey.

    • Erin
      Reply

      Thanks Deanne. You are right. One does not have to be bad. One is just different and worth doing for a certain amount of time like the other. Awareness is huge.

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