Asking us about our upcoming travel plans is akin to asking for a weather forecast. We may have a fairly accurate idea of what the next few hours may hold, and that there is a chance of some snow in the winter. But the details in between are hard to pin down, particularly more than a few days in advance.
We do set intentions for things we want to do and places we want to be, but we intentionally avoid holding ourselves to a fixed schedule or itinerary for most things.
By and large, we wake up in the morning without knowing where we’ll be that very evening. And we love it.
It didn’t happen overnight
Before I became full time nomadic, I was very much a planner. On the Myers-Briggs Personality scale I’m an INFJ, with a moderate J leaning (which means I’m definitely more inclined to be a schedule oriented planning personality type). When Chris and I first set off on our journey together, I would become quite anxious if we didn’t have a plan for the coming weeks, let alone the day. And I’d become more frustrated when I couldn’t give people a reliable arrival date and time. Chris (an ENFP) humored me.
But two years of full time travel has definitely been the cure to this pesky personality quirk. I’ve moderated out and come to appreciate the benefits on setting intentions but embracing what we find ahead of us.
When you allow the adventure to unfold in front of you, instead of trying to stick to a plan no matter what, wonderful things can happen. This is something we’ve come to call Nomadic Serendipity. Aren’t those fabulous words?
Whether it be allowing for chance encounters with amazing people, finding an unexpected scenic route, arriving just in time to help someone out, capturing that perfect picture, stumbling into an introduction to a potential business opportunity, finding a favorite rare treat in a little rural town or finding respite when you need it most…
Trusting in nomadic serendipity has yet to fail us.
But trying to stick to a plan has a remarkably high failure rate. Despite our best efforts and intentions, several times we’ve set in motion plans to meet up with someone, or visit somewhere – and had those plans fall through for various reasons.
I’ve found that I’d much rather live in a constant state of delight with the things that serendipity brings me, than the frequent frustration of missed plans disappointing me.
Nomadic Standard Time
The downside to living a life without a firm itinerary is that it’s awfully difficult to convey arrival times and destinations. When we don’t know where we’ll be even tonight, how can I tell our next rendezvous or host when to expect us? At first, this caused me a great deal of stress. Either we were rushing to meet a plan we conveyed, or we were afraid of leaving friends and family in a state of limbo.
It actually once contributed to a pretty major highway scare for us because we were pushing too hard to make an arrival date. Spinning down the interstate jack-knifed while towing a trailer was a wake-up call. Never again.
And thus now when conveying potential plans I always prefaces all dates and times being on NST – or Nomadic Standard Time.
A nomad, like a wizard, always arrives precisely when they are meant to.
This let’s folks know our general intentions, but also not to plan dinner around our arrival. Even our travel planning calendar is on NST, and it’s constantly in flux as serendipity lays things out for us.
NST doesn’t mean being a flake
However, just because we don’t normally prefer to follow a plan or set firm intenaries, doesn’t mean we can’t.
There are indeed times that having a firm arrival time is imperative. Such as when we have a work commitment to be onsite for a client, or a speaking engagement at a conference. Events we really want to attend, like Burning Man, also become firm destinations in our schedule. And we’ll even make firm intentions of rendezvousing with loved ones, and being there for important occasions.
And we’re darn reliable too when we need to be. If we tell you we will be there, we will be. Probably right on the dot, as I am by inclination a scheduler. It’s just, we’re very picky about the things that merit setting a fixed arrival date and time.
And yes.. we do miss opportunities
There are downsides to living a life on NST with Nomadic Serendipity being your pilot – you will indeed miss things.
For instance, there was an event a couple weeks ago on the east coast that we were quite interested in attending. However the ticketing process was definitely not nomad friendly and required quite a bit of advanced planning and logistical coordination. Yet we didn’t even know for sure we’d be in the vicinity until after ticket sales had closed. While we set intentions to manifest tickets, it just didn’t happen.
But we weren’t disappointed – we just trusted in nomadic serendipity finding us something else. And instead we had a delightful time hiking and exploring in the Appalachians. Attending that event just wasn’t where we were meant to be.