I’ve been relatively quiet sharing on the personal front for the last few months…
The reason why? I gave up the lease on my house, sold nearly all of my belongings, put the remainder in storage, and started driving north. Everything fits in two suitcases.
Thus began my life as a Global Nomad.
First stop: Vancouver, Canada. Yes, I had the start of a plan, just enough to get me going. This is where I’ve spent most of the summer. Every 2-4 months I’m living in a new city, while still traveling for client gigs like Google in San Francisco or Bloomberg in London.
Where am I headed next? The short list includes: India, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Cape Town, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, and probably a city near you…
As the saying goes, “adventure begins outside your comfort zone.”
For 20 years, going nomad has been a dream deferred. There was always an excuse to put it off. Responsibilities, health, relationships. Yet a persistent voice inside me was never completely satisfied by those justifications. Last November, I realized all the “reasons why not” had actually disappeared. There was no longer an excuse to hide behind.
Downsizing possessions, upsizing experiences. Exploring how many “things” are needed to tell the story of who I am. Discovering the stories we share in common.
Lest you think this Willy Wonka is couch-surfing, let me paint a more accurate picture of how I got started:
- Find an apartment to sublet
- Join a co-working space
- Pay for reliable SIM card and internet
- Use Facebook to expand and deepen community
- Save $2-3K/month in cost of living
- Explain to border control why you have 3.5 kilos of chocolate in your car
Truth is I’m a total extrovert. So after years of hermited isolation, I’m having the time of my life. Being more social than I can remember. This summer: I started a weekly men’s circle and a storytelling meetup called Kinship. Plus, I give out chocolate everywhere I go.
It’s not without challenges, but the challenges aren’t about being nomad.
In fact the most amazing part of all has been my experience of community.
Sure, I come prepared with a gift for connecting with people and a digital network to tap into. And yet…I had to lean into its creation. As a lone wolf for so long, I still have a hard time being received or asking for help.
Here in Vancouver the total bliss of connecting with kindred spirits in a city I’ve never lived in before has only reinforced my conviction: we all crave community. We’re hungry for it.
No matter how connected we are online, it can’t take the place of being seen and recognized in a community of like-minded peers. Yes, our online lives matter. And our real-time-place-based worlds matter just as much, perhaps more and more every day.
So this is what’s got me by the collar now…a huge inquiry into community. What is it? What creates it? What sustains it? Especially in this increasingly digital world.
One of the most ancient traditions the world over is that of the storyteller as traveler. Moving from town to town, landscape to landscape, the storyteller tells and retells the stories of humanity.
So yes, I’m a global nomad. But more than that, I’m a traveling storyteller.
If you’ve ever been part of this tradition in your life, I’d love to hear from you. What adventures did you have? What stories do you tell and retell?
And stay on the lookout — next week we’re making a big announcement about our community and a project that’s been a long time in the making.
To love and chocolate,