I need to point out something straight away: The Wandering Nomad tag is a misnomer. I neither wander nor am I a nomad in my travels. But the domain
was taken, so I had to settle for wanderingnomad.org. The name actually originates from my daughter. When asked what she’d like to do with her life, she replied “I want to be a wandering nomad” and the name stuck. The phrase Wandering Nomad is admittedly a bit redundant as a nomad by definition is someone without a home who wanders in search of food and water. But there’s a certain romantic mental image drawn when saying the phrase so I unashamedly stole it from her.
Genuine Wandering Nomads typically need five ingredients to travel well. For many, having all five of these at once is difficult if not impossible:
- A passion or desire for travel
- Tolerance / adaptability for unforeseen circumstances
- Relatively good health
- The financial means
Time is typically always a constraint, so I always travel with a plan, with the amount of detail in direct inverse proportion to the number of days and distance I have on the road. If I’m taking a 4 or 5 day trip within a few hundred miles of the homestead, I usually have a pretty tight schedule laid out, in some cases, down to the quarter hour. For longer trips (weeks or months) only cities or national parks are noted. But for loooooong trips, why not truly wander and let the wind push you where it may? Let destiny or fate lead the way! How awesome would that be?! Well, there’s a problem with that…
Given enough time, random wandering can produce fascinating, spectacular results as little known or undiscovered territories lie in wait for the determined intrepid explorer. One need only look to evolution to support unbridled chance: given eons, life has morphed into all the fabulous wonders that surround us. But wild unchecked randomness also produces colossal mistakes both in travel and nature. Take my ex-manager from the year 2010 as an example. This thing, sometimes mistaken for a human being, has a genome evolved from equal parts Scyphozoa, Scarabaeinae, Mustela kathiah, and the braying Equus africanus asinus. Lovingly referred to as Tick, it was the laughing stock of the organization. A horrendous freak of nature, if there ever was one. Or, for another example, Tick’s direct manager: its DNA structure is completely comprised of Agaricus bisporus as demonstrated by the fact it is oblivious when fed shit, is content to remain completely in the dark and displays no evidence whatsoever of possessing sexual organs of any kind. The destination equivalents (Hell comes to mind) of these nightmarish abominations should be avoided at all costs. And so, because time is not infinite and unsavory locations need to be avoided, having a travel plan is always wise.
A Wandering Nomad will choose transportation that helps better immerse themselves into the local environment. A convertible, motorcycle, snowmobile, bicycle, canoe, kayak, hiking, and public transportation are all viable candidates. A cruise ship is definitely out.
A Wandering Nomad does not stay in 5 star resorts. 1) Because I’m not Johnny Depp with gold coins dropping out my butt and 2) because I want to experience the place I visit. I once had another manager (an outstanding person and not one of the douche bags mentioned above) that would vacation in Jamaica each year. He’d stay in a resort and lounge around the pool(s), reading a book. I ribbed him saying he could stay at my place where I’d set up a kiddie pool, sunlamp, rubber palm trees and a hammock and only charge half the Jamaica fee. I acknowledge the lure of resorts, with a high comfort level and sense of security. This comes at a high price though for both the pocketbook and getting to know and understand the local culture. At the other side of the spectrum are dirt cheap flea-bag motels more often used by hookers than overnight travelers. A Wandering Nomad does not save cash or stretch the trip by compromising health or safety.
Finally, a Wandering Nomad keeps a running budget. I know… Uggggh!! It’s not as bad as you might think. Do a little research into what estimated daily expenditures (lodging, transportation, food, drink, and sights / activities) will be at your destination. Look at your pile of cash to determine the number of days your finances will support. If your money doesn’t fit into the equation, shorten the trip or reduce the daily expenses. Piece of cake. In order to help, this site always contains a spreadsheet depicting a running budget for the active trip I’m reporting on.