how to finance and sustain a nomadic lifestyle

*note: i’ve been a semi-nomadic individual for the last 7 years. i’ve used some of these tactics but not all of them. this is NOT advice. you are responsible for your own choices and outcomes.

this is a long post y’all but i think it’s a good one, so please bear with me!

i put a shout out on my personal fb page asking people what they wanted me to gab about on this here blog. most of my friends and family think i’m ridiculous, so i only got a few replies. i don’t care, i still feel smug.

my favorite reply was:

“How do you finance and sustain a nomad lifestyle?”

there’s a lot of misconception out there about how to be a nomad, like that you have to be a digital entrepreneur or a social media marketing wizard or that you have to have already made a bunch of money or be a trust-afarian.

those are good options and i think the first two are things everybody should be working on… but there are lots of people, like myself, who are none of those things and we consider ourselves nomads too.

how to finance and sustain a nomadic lifestyle

so from my own experience i can tell you that being a nomad means embracing the hustle and networking like your life depends on it! there are a few ways to go about financing a nomadic lifestyle. most of these are geared toward a desire to live and work near wilderness because that’s what i want out of life… but there are lots of different types of nomading!

how to finance a nomadic lifestyle

  • get a location independent job you can do from a laptop – find a company that offers you the ability to work from anywhere. the perk? you get to work from anywhere and you have a steady stream of income. the drawback? you’re limited when it comes to living in nature or rural areas and you’re tied to a laptop all day which i imagine would be pretty much like being in a cubicle even if it is in your own home…
  • look for seasonal jobs on job boards – this is kind of my fall back. i use CoolWorks and BackdoorJobs and sometimes Craigslist (very carefully) to look for seasonal work. the perk to this is that there are ALWAYS jobs available on these sites. the drawback is that they’re usually hospitality jobs that pay shit or jobs that are geared towards taking advantage of seasonal workers (like paying ski-bums in lift tickets instead of dollars). but you get to live in beautiful places and probably work part time so you can enjoy those places.
  • work-camping or camp-hosting – this is similar to the seasonal jobs. you live in a beautiful place but usually the pay is shit or not at all (free campsite anyone?), so you need a secondary source of income.
  • work for the parks servicewell… i was going to suggest this but, y’know, they’ve been defunded… a topic for another time. although i suppose you could still work for state and city parks! just know they want to hire overqualified people and pay them just above a livable wage. but you’ll definitely work in beautiful places and housing may be included! i’ve also been keeping an eye on the Conservation Jobs Facebook page as well.
  • get a regular job in a town you want to live in – i did this when i moved to nevada, phoenix and key west. what i do is decide what industry i want to work in, tailor my resume to fit, then apply to companies in those industries. sometimes i’m qualified already, sometimes i’m not. if i always went after what i’m qualified for, i would have never gotten half the jobs i’ve worked at.
  • side-hustle – walk dogs, clean houses, fix cars, uber… use your talents to bring in some cash
  • start an online business – dropship, private label, fulfillment by amazon, sell your knowledge in info-products like ebooks and courses, blog! i have this blog and i’m a certified hypnotherapist (still working on the website… don’t judge me ;)). this takes a while to get going so it may have to be treated as a side hustle until it picks up steam. just be sure to set aside dedicated time to do it!
  • start a mobile business you can take with you like jewelry or a fashion truck!
  • mlm companies – PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME! listen, being a brand rep for an mlm is no different than any other sales job and in reality, it’s a lot like owning a really cheap franchise. you pay a startup fee and then a monthly fee in order to use the brand name & tools. you make commission off what you sell and if you build a team, you and your team make bonuses off of team sales. mlms can be tough to navigate though, so be diligent in choosing a company who’s compensation plan isn’t designed to keep you from making money and make sure you choose a company whose product you actually LIKE. and learn marketing. seriously. ignore the rah-rah of whatever company you choose and instead, spend the money you would have spent on one of their events and invest it into an online marketing course. because most of those companies have ZERO marketing training and they instead tell you to sell to your friends and family, which is why mlms have such a bad rep.
  • network, network, NETWORK!!! – it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know. that statement is true in almost every facet of life, i think! but networking is how i found a place to live and a job when i moved to nevada, grand canyon and key west!
  • look for and be open to opportunities – you never know where the winds will blow you!

this list isn’t exhaustive. you kind of need to exercise some creative problem solving if you’re going to have a non-traditional lifestyle. i would also look to create multiple streams of income so that if one fails, say, because you moved, you’ll have others to tow the line until you replace the failed one.

how to sustain a nomadic lifestyle

sustaining a nomadic lifestyle requires divergent thinking: the ability to question everything  and to look for options and opportunities instead of assuming you have to pick between apparent choices.

you need to be able to question, reconsider and redefine for yourself what you consider success, home, what relationships with friends, family and lovers look like, what is entertainment, what makes you happy and how you spend your money.

  • home – will you have a home-base? will you have a home that you take with you (this is the one i like: a van, a car, a camper…)? will you look for co-housing or company housing? can you handle roommates?
  • relationships – this one is hard because many people will not understand what you are wanting to do and may try to control whether or not you do it through criticism or straight anger. if you have issues with codependency, like so many of us do, it’s easy to allow ourselves to put our lives on hold to make others happy. so you will probably need to learn to adjust your level of involvement with some of your favorite people or even learn to love them from a distance with no involvement. initially you’ll feel hurt, like you’re abandoning them or like you’re being a bad child/sibling/relative/friend/etc… but over time the people who truly care for you will initiate and help you maintain contact with them and the people who were using your attention to fill their own needs will drift away. it’s ok to disconnect and love people from a distance.
  • entertainment – if you need constant internet connection to make you happy, you will probably want to be nomadic in cities where internet is reliable. if you’re like me and need just enough internet to write a blog… well, you can pretty much choose to live anywhere and batch upload whenever you do have connectivity!

and finally, that brings me to money.

the fastest way to cultivate a nomadic lifestyle (or any awesome lifestyle for that matter) is to GET THE FUCK OUT OF DEBT!!!!!

you should be treating your debt like a financial EMERGENCY! think about it… if you didn’t have payments, would you work as much? would you even have to work at all?

seriously, i’m convinced that getting out of debt is the most important thing any person can do in order to regain control of their lives.

ok, i’mma get all Dave Ramsey on you (be sure to do the first 3 things one at a time because they requre focused intensity):

  • build an emergency fund! $1000 to start.
  • get out of debt – the debt snowball is such an awesome tactic (get my free personal finance printables by hitting the “follow button” at the bottome of the site!)
  • save 3-6 months of living expenses
  • save up a moving fund and always keep it on hand – whatever “home” is to you, whenever you relocate, you’ll have to find a new one which usually comes with deposits and first and last month’s rent. or at least the gas money to get you to to the next space if you have housing that’s paid for by the company or house sitting or what have you.
  • live below your means but invest in your happiness as well – experiences stick with you much longer than any trip to wallyworld – look into free activities like hiking or volunteering – get in shape and do good while creating memories.

again, all of this comes down to customizing your lifestyle for you and knowing just what you need to thrive and be happy. start with the end in mind and reverse-engineer your outcome. look for opportunity. utilize technology. roll in the dirt 🙂

now go have an adventure!

P.s. it’s your turn! what have you tried to create and sustain the nomadic life of your dreams?


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