After years of working in the corporate world, putting on a suit, commuting to an office, and pretending to be interested in banking, I have recently embraced a more free-spirited existence. I call it “freelance travel writing”- my mother calls it “one long holiday”. Being a freelance travel writer has a lot of advantages. You get to see the world and get paid for it. You can work from anywhere (as long as there is wifi). You don’t have to put on a suit, you don’t have to commute to work, and you don’t have to sit through endless meetings or performance appraisals, or team building, or whatever else people working for big corporations think up to pass the time. But having rented out my apartment and permanently hit the road, I am beginning to realise that there are some downsides to this type of nomadic existence. Let’s call them challenges. I’m not wanting to discourage anyone from following their dreams, but let me share with you a few of the things that you’ll need to grapple with if you decide to follow a similar path.
I’m really struggling to find a bank that can cope with me being constantly on the move. I have money, not a huge amount but I can pay the bills, but my cards are constantly being declined. When I ring my bank to find out what the problem is, it seems that me trying to pay for things in different countries flags something on their fraud systems.
“But we sent you a letter?”explains the helpful person on the other end of the phone. There is little point in me trying to explain that my post is always about three countries behind me. Banks seem to be resisting communicating by email. We seem to be at a stalemate.
There’s not many things these days that you need to print, but occasionally there is the odd thing – a contract that needs to be signed, a ticket that has to be hard copy, a form that needs to be completed. When I used to work in an office it came equipped with printers, scanners, and all sorts of helpful pieces of kit. Thinking back, I often only went into the office to print off some things and steal stationery. When you are living a nomadic life on the road, printing becomes a bit of a challenge. I’ve got my luggage whittled down to just hand luggage these days – there is barely room for enough underwear let alone a Fuji Xerox multifunction printer. I seem to spend my days searching for wifi and free printing.
I do sometimes get concerned that I don’t have any savings of any kind. No superannuation. No pension. When you are self-employed there always seems to be other priorities other than putting money aside for the future. In a world where jets go missing, viruses wipe out communities, and countries disintegrate, saving for the future seems like wishful thinking.
There are definitely challenges to be overcome when you choose to lead a nomadic life, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.