On the nomad life

To say that COVID was life-changing would be an understatement. After the initial fear and uncertainty subsided, it became an exercise in personal growth and transformation for me and my wife.

The catalyst for change was our decision to live nomadically. It began innocently enough. Four months into the pandemic, still under lockdown and working from home in San Francisco, we decided a change of scenery would be nice. And so we spent a few weeks in San Diego and Seattle.

We enjoyed that experience enough to want to continue it for even longer. When our lease ended in November 2020, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. We packed up most of our belongings and put them in storage, assuming we’d be back in 3 months. Little did we know our short-term plan would become a 2-year adventure in nomadic living!

Over those 2 years, we traveled thousands of miles across and around the country. We stayed in Airbnbs in 25 cities and towns, ate amazing food, caught up with old friends, met interesting people, and made unforgettable memories.

Here are some reflections and learnings from my nomadic journey:

  • I’m lucky. I feel incredibly privileged even to have the option to do this. The fact that many went through unimaginable suffering and had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic is not lost on me. It just makes me even more grateful for what I have.
  • We traveled slowly, staying in places for weeks or longer, typically at least a month. This allowed us to get a sense of what living there might be like.
  • Stepping out of our routines and pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone helped expand our worldview. We realized there are many ways to live well. Prior to my travels, I had lived in some of the biggest cities in the world - Mumbai, New York, and San Francisco. Experiencing other places and lifestyles made me question if we were really living the way we wanted to.
  • Living with less made us appreciate each moment and experience more. We had fewer distractions and could focus on the essentials. We didn’t need many things. We had most of our storage for 2 years and we missed exactly none of it. It was a good reminder that happiness does not stem from material things.
  • There are many ways to work. My relationship with work came into focus as I observed people return to their workplaces, whether full-time or in a hybrid model. However, I had developed a taste for the nomadic lifestyle, and the value of remote work became very clear to me. While arguments abound about the optimal way of working, it ultimately depends on personal preferences.
  • You can still accomplish a lot. Living nomadically or working remotely does not have to come at the cost of compromising on work. I found myself spending even more time working, for better or worse. I even co-founded a startup during this journey.

Ultimately, this experience helped me rediscover the joy of exploration and life’s many possibilities. We recently made Miami our home base, but our journey is far from over. Our plan is to continue living in other places for at least 3 months each year, possibly even exploring some international destinations.

We’ll see how it goes, but I’m motivated by the prospect of ongoing learning and growth wherever we go.