The beauty of travel is not only the places you see, the experiences you have but also the people you meet. Such a cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason and they’re usually bloody accurate. I met more than my fair share of little gems on the road, many that I wish I could pick up and stick in my rucksack (my recent trip to an osteopath tells me this isn’t a good idea).
This series of blog posts aren’t about my kindred spirits, they’re about those that not only dabble in travel, they make it a lifestyle. I was fortunate enough to meet three totally inspirational humans whilst roaming the earth who’ve taken a leap from conventional living and fully embraced the nomadic lifestyle. I’d like to introduce to you, Simon, Harold and Piet. These three dudes have smashed the mould and I reckon will inspire you as much as they’ve inspired me. Over three blog posts I’m sharing their stories, so sit back and enjoy their journeys.
I’ll start with Simon, now he’s a character but he’s also kind of normal too. Just like you and I, he wanted a bit more from his life. He set off to roam on 13/05/13 and he hasn’t looked back. Not so bizarre you’re thinking, well a bit out there that he’s travelling and doesn’t have a base. No base I hear you scream, but where does all his post get sent to? Ah things like that aren’t important to guys like Simon, he’s completely free from the trappings of conventional life. But how can he afford it? Well Simon doesn’t pay for his adventures, he travels by bartering his assets. No he’s not a hooker, although I reckon it’s crossed his mind.
This Australian trades his guitar playing, cooking, muscle, brains and friendly nature for beds and lifts. He’s currently hitch-hiking his way through Africa, helping out in hostels, playing gigs and working on crocodile farms and such like. I met him in Mossel Bay in South Africa, where he was some kind of ‘Entertainment Officer’ at a hostel. He basically hung out with travellers, strummed his guitar, cooked a bit of grub and was a fun person to be around – this bought him a bed. He left his life in Lorne, Australia to see the world and is sharing his adventures at The Nomadic Diaries.
Simon hasn’t got a plan, he just follows the road. Dates are only relevant when visas are about to expire. The only thing he misses from life in one place is surfing every day and his motto is ‘why be ordinary, when you can be extra ordinary’. I’ll cheers to that! I’ve quizzed Simon a few times on what it takes to live his life. What kind of person can make a nomadic lifestyle a success and he shared a few words of slightly off the wall wisdom:
‘You need the self-esteem of a jumping spider: fearless, curious (without getting killed like the cat) and ready to pounce on whatever is thrown your way no matter the size. Always be ready to throw your silk line into the wind and ride it to wherever it may take you.
You need to be so out-going. Your mind needs to be as wide open as an employee at a 24-hour brothel. You need to be independent, stress free and always find the positive side of everything. You need the patience of a sloth. You need to embrace cultures and adapt yourself to the local way of life. Never judge and always be accepting.
My personal philosophy is ‘Expect nothing, always get something.’ Oh and a strong stomach. Definitely helps to have a strong stomach.’
So many people have told me they’re not brave enough to travel and completely let go of life as they know it. Personally, I reckon this means they don’t want it enough. When you really want it you make it happen or live a lifetime of miserable regret. Harsh perhaps, true usually.
Simon’s aha moment came whilst travelling with his parents around Tasmania over the Easter holidays of 2013.
‘Whilst cruising through ancient rainforests I was preoccupied with thoughts about my fairly new (and failing) business venture back in Melbourne. I quickly realised two things: I have no interest in being wealthy. And I lack the shark-like characteristics of being a successful business man.
While I was in the shower in the guesthouse of where we were staying in the quaint hamlet of Hamilton, Tasmania, it hit me:
The top shelf of the bathroom.
Rubbing my head I realised then that I had two choices:
Conform to the passed-on brainwashed beliefs of what society wants from us – study, work, settle down, kids, mortgage, car – basically be a legalised slave spending the rest of my life chasing a piece of paper with a number on it (also known as money) in a rinse and repeat manner.
Or, be completely free and take the cliche of ‘You only live once’ to a whole new inter-galactic level.
I chose the latter and a month later, on May 13th, 2013, I hit the road like Jack.
Gotta love top shelves.’
So there you go… Perhaps the 9-5, 2.4 children, home-owning ideal is for you and that’s cool. If it’s not, you have options! Thousands of lovely options. Burst that bubble and explore the world, start small if that’s easier to get your head round.
I’ll be back to share Harold and Piet’s stories soon… equally as inspiring but totally different to Simon’s. In the mean-time go and give Simon some attention on his blog and get lost in his narrated travel tales as they happen.