I was at a loss for a blog topic this week, so I put out a call on Twitter & Facebook to see what folks where curious about asking us. We got lots of great questions!
One that surprised us was a follower who thought our monthly expenses that we log were shockingly high.
He confessed to associating nomadism and small living to frugal minimalism, which is totally not our goal. We can be thrifty and we’re not attached much to stuff, but we are certainly not extremists when it comes to frugality or minimalism.
Conversely, it’s interesting how many associate a life of full time travel as being a life of extravagance and high cost. We constantly have folks asking us how on earth we can afford this lifestyle, even after they understand that we work online and earn a moderate income.
That’s one reason that we choose to post our monthly expenses, to add just one more datapoint that is somewhere in between frugality and extravagance. Afterall, including food, our living & traveling expenses for 2010 were just around $26,000 (or $35 per person per day). And for us, that’s mighty cheap living for 2. Especially considering we have what we consider a very high quality of life with lots of travel and adventure.
You see, our goal in being nomadic is not to be highly frugal or minimalist. We’re not consumed with counting the number of things we own. But our goal of perpetual hyper mobility can certainly result in many of the same outcomes of minimalism.
But we are concerned with the space things take up; and when living off our solar powered RV, how much energy they consume. And we’re not driven by spending the absolute least amount of money possible. We’re both highly skilled and experienced tech workers who are capable of earning as much money as we’re willing to work – and we *love* our work as technology consultants. Our lifestyle has afforded us the financial agility to pick our work gigs based on how inspired we are by them, and that is a luxury.
Our goal is to create a sustainable mobile lifestyle for the long term. And for us, that includes being able to afford the things that keep us comfortable. Our cutting edge technology (our laptops hardly ever reach the ripe old age of 2), making sure our accommodations include our desired level of privacy and comforts (ie. hostels and couchsurfing likely aren’t sustainable for us) and eating healthier high quality foods.
Right now, we’re choosing to live on a luxury resort tropical island (at a killer discount rental rate) that makes our cost of living higher than being in say, Thailand. Sure, we could really scale back our costs – but that’s not our goal. If we travel to cheaper economies, it will be by choice, not necessity.
We do consider ourselves conscious consumers, however. We consider the things we purchase and try to not over buy or over burden ourselves with stuff so that we can keep mobile.
We’re more interested in the right fit for our lives, not the lowest cost. We were drawn to small trailers for our RV travels because we like the expanded flexibility of where we can go, not to travel as cheap as possible (and our Oliver is one of the most expensive small fiberglass trailer options out there.)
Being nomadic doesn’t necessarily equate to a style of travel or spending.
Our way is not the only way, or the right way. One can totally enjoy a nomadic life by living as cheaply as possible and not needing to work much at all. One can camp across the world, stay in hostels or couchsurf and enjoy a completely mobile lifestyle full of adventures for much less than we spend. And one can stay in luxury accommodations the entire time, and spend far more than we do.
There is no right way.
Basically, being nomadic doesn’t mean anything other than having a life that is mobile. As far as how much it costs or how much stuff you take with you – is entirely up to your personal criteria.
Have questions for us about our nomadic lifestyle?
Many of the other questions posed to us on Twitter and Facebook where things we’ve already posted about. So we suspect we’ll soon put together a post that pulls up some oldies from our archives. We’re always open to answering whatever questions you have! So ask away… we’ll either include it a summary post, or perhaps address it in a future post.