That age old question about what do you want to do when you grow up? Well I didn’t know. Actually I did and it was a race car driver. Wasn’t going to happen as I didn’t have the ambition required. So I went to university and did a business degree. Figured it would give me a good background for a lot of things.
I put on the suit and tie and went off to work as an accountant. Not really sure I ever enjoyed it and throughout the next ten years I reduced the amount of compliance accounting and moved more into management accounting and consulting. I had a plan to work in small medium and large professional service firms. I achieved that goal.
The problem was I didn’t really want to keep doing that type of work. My hand was forced a bit as I was made redundant as part of the dot com bubble bursting in 2000. I’d already started playing around with HTML programming and developing websites so I started to focus more on this work.
Within a year I picked up a six month contract to help the wealth management division of an accounting firm with their internal processes and client reporting. Eight years later that came to an end… In that time I had reduced the role from five days a week to about two days a week. The other time was spent working on a bunch of affiliate marketing websites and coming up with new projects.
The affiliate marketing world became too competitive for me. I didn’t enjoy playing a game where the barriers to entry were small and the search engine rules were unknown and changed at a moment’s notice. Time for something else.
Big city life and crappy weather became tiring so I decided to travel. Sold, donated and disposed of most of my possessions. The remaining things went in a small storage unit. Kept the house and rented it out just in case I wanted to return. Sold it 18 months later!
I left Melbourne, Australia in May 2009 and have been on the road ever since. I stay at some places for a day and others for weeks or months. The most common theme with most of the locations is warm weather and by the water. I am Australian after all and we like our beaches.
In 2012 I moved to the USA and South Florida became my base. A bit closer to other parts of the world compared to Australia. Plus, cars are much cheaper over here so I can feed that addiction.
Long term travel isn’t for everyone, however, it is one of those things where you don’t know until you try. Same as living a minimalist lifestyle, in that you don’t realise how much all your possessions weigh on your mind until you don’t have them.
So, with the ten year anniversary of being a nomad approaching fast, I figured it was time to put fingers to the keyboard and start writing about some of my experiences, including the funny and the frustrating.
One more thing. For those that think it takes a lot of money to travel full time, it doesn’t. Yes, I was on a decent income as an employee or during that final period as a consultant, however, my income dropped to 25% of that amount. It’s amazing how your expenses go down when you aren’t looking for a temporary escape from your 9-5 life. More about that later.