Fancy the nomad life? Here are tips to help you enjoy your time on the road

Fancy the nomad life? Tips to help you enjoy your time on the road

In June 2023, I gave up my apartment, furniture and most of my belongings. Everything I own in life was downsized to fit in two bags – that’s it! I am on a permanent working holiday, living out of a campervan while doing a road trip around Australia to spread my message of LIVING PASSIONATELY. And no, I am not a blogger or a vlogger. I run several businesses like publishing, coaching, speaking and writing books along with teaching yoga and meditation.

In this article, I share lessons in how to make your road trip experience enjoyable, efficient and remove unnecessary stress. First, let’s define what a “nomad” or a “working holiday” lifestyle means: it’s about the freedom to be able to do what you want, when you want.

The “nomadness” is not just about being in a van on the road but also about travelling to a destination you enjoy and having experiences you aspire to. That could be switching between a campervan, flights, Airbnb’s or even staying with friends and family in between.

In the beginning, the journey was about covering as much distance as I could, but the more I travelled, I realised that it is about relooking at life from a fresh perspective. It’s about the amazing experiences, the mind-blowing places I’m visiting and the extraordinary people I am meeting along the way. It’s been one of the most inspiring things I have ever done in my life.

What to consider before you hit the road

I have grouped the learnings into two sets of four: Four things to consider before you hit the road and four things to take care of while on the road. To start with, before you hit the road:

Know what you want and what you do not want

Fancy the nomad life? Tips to help you enjoy your time on the road

Clarity breeds certainty, so you need to understand what you want. Are you looking for an adventure, to be around more nature, to experience food or culture etc? Each metric has a different roadmap to making it happen. This also impacts what kind of nomad life you live.

Sometimes it will be easier to achieve than you think. For the first few years on this journey (around 2013), my metric was to live in different cities around the world and that meant I subleased my apartment and started living in Airbnb’s in places with cheaper exchange rates.

So, between the rental I made from my apartment and money I made from casual speaking and coaching engagements, it was enough to allow me to enjoy such experiences. I found that knowing what I wanted allowed me to set a metric on how to go about my journey. It was not to drive more than four hours a day and not to work more than four hours a day.

This way, I do not over stress myself and I can still get things done. When I did break those rules over a couple of days, I noticed a huge increase in my stress levels and a decrease in joy. So I suggest you take time to reflect on what is your purpose from such a journey.

Try-before-you-buy

Transitioning to a nomad lifestyle sounds much more romantic than it actually is. You will not know if it is for you or not until you actually try it – preferably more than once. Start by taking longer trips, more often with a clear purpose of testing all your assumptions and how you will deal with being on the go, both in terms of your personal life and your work life.

To be clear, this is not about taking holidays where you simply disconnect. It’s the total opposite. It’s about figuring out how you can transfer the life you live into a mobile setting.

Fancy the nomad life? Tips to help you enjoy your time on the road

You need to do it for several days to figure out what will be ok and what will be problematic, what you are willing to compromise on or let go of and what are deal breakers for you. Such experiences will sober you up and help burst the bubble of romance that social media or TV creates about this life and allow you to come to terms with what the real experience is like.

Figure out your fashion

No, I’m not kidding, deciding what you want to wear has a huge impact on many things while on the road, like how much you need to pack, how comfy you will be, how practical and how complicated your laundry visits will be. Space is a luxury while on the road so you need to bring things with you that are versatile: sleep, workout, night out, hike, hot, cold, rain (etc).

Also, you want to stick to a single type of fabric Again, this is not a joke. This will reduce your time doing laundry. Trust me – I learned that lesson the hard way. Cottons need different washing settings and a lot of time in the dryer while synthetics such as active wear need very little if any dryer time. So, if you have both, then your laundry visits will become a half day mission which is not something you want to do while trying to enjoy your time on the road.

Double up on socks and undies. They take up little space but mean going to the laundry once every fortnight instead of weekly. More time enjoying, less time worrying about clean undies!

Take your pillow

Again, I’m not joking. A bad night sleep is not a luxury you can afford while on the road because it has a knock-on effect on the following days. If you add that up to very hot or cold weather, rain, bumpy roads, noisy campgrounds and few other surprises that will surely come your way then you will realise a bad night sleep is a luxury you want to save for extreme circumstances that are out of your control as you can not afford many of them.

And since bringing a proper bed is probably not going to happen, then the next best thing is bringing a good pillow that you are used to and puts you at ease during the night.

What to consider while on the road

Here are 4 things that are important to get the most out of your trip while on the road:

Dance and hike regularly

Fancy the nomad life? Tips to help you enjoy your time on the road

Yup, you heard me right, keep wiggling. The logic is simple – being behind the wheel and sitting to work in between could  be more detrimental to your physical wellbeing than you think. It’s very easy to slip into the habit of just “chilling,” especially when the weather is cold or rainy. Your body will start stiffening up, and so will your mind. I have been there.

One of the easiest and most fun ways to keep your body moving, your heart pumping and your mind fresh is to hike and dance. Aside from exploring the magical spots Australia has to offer, hiking helps you explore nature, clear your head and reflect on your business decisions.

On the other hand, dancing helps you shake off your stress from work or just being on the road, and release accumulated tension from driving and living in a small space. In addition, it also offers a great opportunity to meet locals in fun settings and make new friends.

Plan your food

It’s very easy to use being on the road as an excuse to eat junk and petrol station food or a great reason to eat fresh and consume local and seasonal produce by exploring farmers markets. Aside from saving money, it gives great opportunities for social interactions.

It makes the trip more enjoyable because it slows you down to basic functions that we have lost touch with like hand-picking your produce, cooking simple meals and enjoying eating them in nature with an amazing view instead of gulping quick meals while binge watching TV.

You will also be shocked at how much this experience increases your mental clarity and improves your decision making which is crucial to keep a business running while on the road.

Drinking water

This is even more important than food. You can probably go without food for a day or two, but water is not a joke. A few hours tops and you start dehydrating which impacts focus, and is not good for driving and absolutely not good for work. And let’s say you are lucky enough to come across a magical spot that you want to camp at but ooops… no drinking water.

Magic ruined! Or maybe you finally found a good signal to conduct an important work-related conference call and send a few urgent emails while inspired by a phenomenal view but the closest place to get water was the petrol station an hour back where you came from!

Having at least two days of drinking water in the van will allow you to focus on work when you need it and make life more enjoyable when you want to disconnect into the wild.

Daily routines and rituals

When you no longer have a home outside, building one within becomes even more crucial. We underestimate how much structure our homes offer and when that home becomes tiny, mobile and subject to weather and road conditions, we lose that protective shell.

Being intentional about creating rituals and routines is a great way to reset and rethink how we live as long as we regain the sense of control. To do this, start by setting a morning routine that gets your head in the right place and gives you command over your day –  especially with so many variables that can knock you off schedule. For me, that starts with prayer and meditation followed by breakfast in nature – all before I even turn on my phone.

The next thing is when and where you want to work. If you don’t pre-structure your work setting, you could find yourself stressing about things like internet connection or a quiet spot. Coffee shops aren’t always the best place for that since they could be noisy and lack privacy.

Fancy the nomad life? Tips to help you enjoy your time on the road

How you end your day is just as crucial. For me, that means figuring out where I will spend the night, how I will stay warm and do housekeeping to maintain a tidy space around me.

This also ultimately allows me to unwind and reflect on the amazing experience and achievements of the day, what improvements could be made to how I’m living life on the road, which habits I wish to maintain whenever I’m back in a home that is not on wheels, and simply appreciate how blessed I am to even be able to have such an experience.

Conclusion

Before embarking on a transformative journey, consider your goals, conduct trial runs, pack wisely, and prioritise comfort. While on the road, keep moving, eat well, stay hydrated, and structure your day. By adhering to the tips, you can enjoy a fulfilling journey while maintaining your business. To encapsulate the article’s message: simplify to amplify and live passionately.

Moustafa Hamwi is a bestselling Author and executive coach. He specializes in working with entrepreneurs and executives who want to reignite passion in their lives both personally and professionally. He does this through one-to-one coaching, books, group workshops, retreats and online programs to provide a comprehensive and structured system that brings measurable transformation into his client’s lives. If you want more passion you can go to the website and enter the code “Busy Continent” so you can download a lot of free resources to help you live passionately or you can find him on Instagram.

Moustafa Hamwi