I am coming up on third year anniversary as a nomad. I feel like I should throw a party or something, but that’s a little difficult. It would be a short guest list… me. It’s a sacrifice I make for living the way I do. I think it’s worth it.
As I travel around the word, I meet people. I’m a nomad, not a hermit. I get lonely, so I mingle with strangers. Inevitably I am almost always asked two questions by the curious; how do I support myself and what’s it like living as a nomad. The answer to the first question is pretty easy. I am writer. I write novels. I write screenplays. I blog. And to my utter amazement, people actually pay me to string words together. It doesn’t matter what country I am in or where I am staying, I write everyday for four to six hours. I’ve got to pay the bills just like everyone else.
The answer to the second question is a little more complicated. What is it like? It’s exciting. Like really exciting… sometimes. And other times… it’s boring. Kinda like life. Except all your clothes are made out of some type of high-tech nylon so you can wash them out in a hotel room sink and they’ll dry within one day. Nomads want to leave as few things to chance as humanly possible. You don’t want to miss an expensive flight because your hotel’s laundry service ran a little behind and your clothes haven’t been returned. It happens.
I like to get up early. 6am is a good time. It’s quiet. My mind is clear, unless I’m hungover. I make myself my first cup of coffee, usually from a little packet of instant cappuccino combined with hot water. Yes, it’s bad, but I need coffee like I need blood. And then I sit down on whatever is available in my room and I write. Two hours is my self-imposed limit for a writing session. My eyes need a rest and I need more coffee. For my second cup of coffee I usually go out and find a café, preferably one with an English breakfast, but I settle for a gooey pastry with a fruit filling or just a croissant if that’s all they have. The key ingredient to my breakfast is caffeine and lots of it. Everything else is secondary. Sometimes, I’ll write for a couple of hours in the café or at least until the waitress or waiter gives me the “Are you seriously gonna sit there all day and clog up our Wi-Fi without ordering anything?” At which point I usually stroll back to my hotel and finish whatever I was working on. I really try not to overwork my mind. I want my writing to be fresh. Four to six hours tops then I’m done for the day. Sure, if the muse visits I’ll keep going until I drop. I don’t mess with the muse. She doesn’t visit that often and I always want her to feel like she is appreciated.
Once I am done writing for the day, I go out and play. Most of the time that means grab my camera and go site seeing. The things I go and see are really no different than a normal tourist. I am always looking for the big “Wow”, but I rarely find it. The world looks surprisingly the same most of the time. I find myself comparing the landscape to other places I’ve been. I am stunned by how many countries look like California, Arizona or Oregon. But every once in while, I find something new, something that excites me. I get my camera out and shoot until my finger gets sore. Friends and family say I should put my camera down and enjoy the moment. Screw that! I want evidence that I actually saw all this stuff. A reminder in my old age when I am forced to hang up my hiking boots. In the three years I have been traveling I’ve shot over 85,000 photos and 3,000 videos. It’s another creative outlet that I enjoy and I’m getting fairly good at it. I take a lot of photos of doors and windows for some reason. I’m sure it because of some deep seated emotional desire that represents freedom or choice. I don’t really care. I stopped analyzing my desires a long time ago.
I don’t eat lunch. I save the calories and my money for dinner. I love dinner. I eat early before the crowds so I save time. I find a highly recommended restaurant on TripAdvisor somewhere in the neighborhood of where I am staying and hope they accept singles. Many hostesses find an excuse not to seat a single person, especially if the restaurant is popular. I can’t really blame. Why occupy a table with one customer when you seat two? Still, I always tip well, so if they don’t seat me it’s their loss. Dinner starts with a cocktail. Gin martinis are my favorite. Then local wine or beer paired with the food. I usually eat local dishes. They taste better and I like to think it broadens my palette. Spain, France, Italy, China and Thailand are my favorite places to chow down. Greece, Morocco and India are also on my top list for yumminess.
After a stroll around the city to work off my meal, I spend most nights in my hotel watching Dexter, Peaky Blinders and Penny Dreadful on Netflix. I always watch a comedy like Archer or Big Bang Theory before I close my eyes. I like to laugh at least once a day and it helps me forget work so I can sleep. But if the muse visits, I am not opposed to waking up at two in the morning and writing until dawn. I love writing.
In case you are curious, I wrote this post while staying in Budapest, Hungary. Great city for architecture with lots of unique doors and windows. They also serve a mean tasting braided pork loin in paprika sauce and the local beer is excellent… in case you were wondering.