How Did I Get Here? Life As A Nomad For Six LONG Years

Well, I don’t have a beautiful wife or a beautiful house…at least not anymore. (Neither really fits with a nomadic lifestyle.) Oh and head’s up, this nomadiversary post might be best read while listening to Once In A Lifetime by The Talking Heads.

♫ And you may ask yourself ♬

♪ Well…How did I get here? ♪

No one ever imagines when first hitting the road that they will ever find themselves still on the road more than six years later. But travel changes you in ways you can never imagine — and before you know it life begins to rely on this perpetual change as much as it does food and oxygen.

  The article above is the best piece EVER written about the effects of long-term travel. Read it I’ll wait.

After moving to Tokyo in 2008, I quit my corporate job to stick around Asia and pursue this new thing I had discovered called “trav-el-ing” in March of 2009. Of course at that stage of my life “traveling” really just meant “drinking in strange new places.”

♪ Letting the days go by… ♪

I bounced back and forth between Asia and the Americas for the next few years, embracing life as a nomad, always on the move and always partying…at least until I became culturally enlightened. While backpacking in 2011 that I finally realized how beautiful and diverse the cultures of this planet are. With a little external assistance, of course…


Ingesting local hallucinogens in Central America first opened my eyes to the beauty of new cultures. Soon I began chasing remote villages and opting to live with locals rather than stay with other foreigners at a hotel or hostel.

♪ After the money’s gone… ♪

By the end of 2011 my savings was gone…so I started travel blogging. And selling my body on a nightly basis. Now as of 2015 I am proud to say that I make enough off my blog to only need to whore myself out on Saturday nights. Progress baby!

♪ Once in a lifetime… ♪

Over the years I’ve had enough once in a lifetime experiences to last me well into the afterlife. From partying with Yakuza to appearing on an Indonesian game show, it’s been one helluva unforgettable ride!

♪ Same as it ever was… ♪

Here it is, over six years and 26 countries later, and I’m still traveling, writing for others, producing videos, designing tours and even doing web design too. In other words, embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. What does the future hold for me? Will I ever stop traveling? No idea. And that’s just the way I like it.

The point is…

There is an amazing world out there to explore. In the words of The Lion King, “there is more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done…”

[Tweet “#itravelbecause there is more to see than can ever be seen. Why do you travel? #ttot”]

So get out there are live life!
Go forth and wander, but do so with an open mind.
You never know what you will find.

Other nomadiversary posts:

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

13 thoughts on “How Did I Get Here? Life As A Nomad For Six LONG Years”

  1. I travel NOT in search of having Fun or Paradise, why, because my own backyard is like a paradise and fun is subjective, I can be fun just reading the books in my room. *nerd* 😛

    I travel to see the world, no matter it’s an ugly, conflict or boring country, I don’t mind, because I’m a curious person. That’s why I travel…

    Great, you’re a US passport holder, it makes you’re free to travel the world without terrible visa matter like me where I can’t buy one way ticket to most countries, need to show my itinerary, booking hotel and other shit which makes us like an idiot traveler can’t be spontaneity, full of itinerary like traveling in a group tour instead…, and born as a first world citizen in Asian countries immigration you’d get a wide smile, compared to my passport. You’re not being suspected as a potential illegal immigrant though you’re in and out to Malaysia or Singapore as many as you want, while ME.. they will look down on me.

    Even it’s not really an issue for ‘your people’ to travel with tourist Visa and teach your own language in Asian countries, make money while traveling it makes you able to travel perpetually….. Eiit, I can’t share you my bitterness here. This is your BLOG, not mine .. 😉 *sorry..*

    So, a lot people want to see the world and wander, but the procedure standard among us are just different…. That sucks and makes me hate the world..

    Anyway, what’s your nice traveling lady requirements??? Is it must be a drama-queen?? a Patriotic girl?? or … a brainiac girl.. . *my options are not fun at all.. hahaha* tell us.

    Reply
    • Exactly, curiosity! I’ve always said my curiosity will be what gets me killed one day though — so just don’t go that far my dear 😉

      I’ve heard from many people around the world the hurdles and troubles associated with international travel because of their passport. That sucks. Royally. Unfortunately it’s hard for us to do anything about that — short of finding some work program and then eventually getting a second passport, or of course the timeless age-old tradition of getting married hahaha

      Nice travelin’ lady requirements? Well besides the love of travel, spontaneity, new foods and adventure (all of which are a must to keep up with mew) I guess only simple things like the ability to make me smile and engage in intelligent debates. No drama queens and definitely none of those girls that are all looks no brains. But enough about this.

      Reply
    • Thanks, glad you enjoy my posts…seen your comments 🙂 Just been behind on writing because of the Nepal earthquake and all our relief work here. More soon! 😀

      Reply
  2. Great adventures! I think that you made the best decision and go travel the world! It is very cool that you realise how wonderful and beautiful the different cultures are and meet the locals. I know people who have been to many many places and sticked with the tourists and never met any local people! Great job! I am also planning to get moving and make a 1 year long trip throughout Asia when I find the right person o take care of my business in London. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hey Shelly, sounds like you’ve got a plan and are on the right track. I certainly never made a conscious decision to travel for so long continuously….but somewhere along the road I got addicted. So be careful — it could happen to you, too. Next thing you know, you’ve finished a year in Asia and are flying back to London to sell your business and everything else that won’t fit into a suitcase 😉

      If you ever have any questions down the road, feel free to ask. Asia especially is my favorite — and most well-traveled — corner of the world. You will love it! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Haven’t been at it as long as you…but then again I raised four sons and had to wait for them all to grow up and leave home first, before I could really live it up. It was well worth the wait! Soon as the youngest finished high school, we were outta there!!

    I am way more interested in experiences than possessions, having impact on other people and animals than not, and finding authenticity. Sometimes we stay with locals, sometimes we home exchange ( against our rented loft in Chicago) where we just spent eight months in one place!! Yikes! In order to have time with elderly parents. Sometimes we rent …but one thing is for sure..list never boring! Love to go to totally new places but love to go back to favorite places too!

    Right now we are in Sri Lanka helping a baby elephant get a new leg!

    Yup, I readily admit to being a “travel junkie”!

    Reply
    • Ahhhh I love Sri Lanka. Where are y’all? How’s that baby elephant doing?

      You’re not the first that I’ve heard that exact story from….the second that youngest one turns 18, your job is done and truly earned your freedom 😉 You two have been plenty of places in such a short time. Heck, you’ve been to more countries than me. I’m only at 26 now and it will be seven years as a nomad next month.

      Seems like we have very similar travel philosophies. I too value experiences over possessions, prefer to stay with locals, and making as much of a positive impact on the people you encounter around the world as possible.

      I haven’t been to Europe yet (how embarrassing!) but hope to finally make it there later this year. Are you two still on track with your plans to explore Europe, or have you decided to stick around Asia a bit longer?

      Reply

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