“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Why You Must Be Prepared For Justifying Your Fifty-Plus Nomad Lifestyle
When I had the chance to travel around the world in 2011, I expected to have some travel burnout-related challenges such as loneliness and culture shock. However, I was surprised how much time I spent justifying my lifestyle to fellow travelers and others I met along the road. (Interestingly, I did not have to do this much to locals).
People on the road often have adverse reactions (this is particularly true if you do not have a home) to your Fifty-Plus Nomad lifestyle. I suspect that the root of these comments is either:
- Jealousy. A lot of people assume that Fifty-Plus Nomads must have a lot of money. (Throughout this website, you will find out that this does not have to be the case. Several Fifty-Plus Nomads, like Vicki Skinner, live the lifestyle partly to save money). Others would like our lifestyle but have a litany of reasons why they can’t, or shouldn’t follow your example. Some excuses are legitimate; however, more often than not, in my experience, these excuses are based on fear.
- Simply not knowing how to relate to Fifty-Plus Nomads. People want to put each other in a box. For many people, you will be the first Fifty-Plus Nomad they have encountered. Some people you meet have never even considered that such a lifestyle even existed until you walked into their life! Some of these people will respond to you with curiosity. (I like these people!). Some others will either try to change the subject or even ignore you because they do not know what else to say.
- Your fellow countrymen or women will think that you are abandoning your home country or that you are hiding or escaping from something. They will conclude that you are not patriotic and that you do not like your home country. (I have met people who have become a Fifty-Plus Nomad because they do not like their home country. However, in my experience, the best reasons to become a Fifty-Plus Nomad is because you attracted to the lifestyle and seek personal growth).
How I Justify My Existence
- If you are lucky enough to become a Fifty-Plus Nomad like me before you are of the standard retirement age, be prepared to deal with the often-unstated question in most peoples’ mind: How did he or she get the money to be a Fifty-Plus Nomad?¨. You should decide beforehand how you want to answer this question. I usually wait before I discuss this with others because I do not always want to reveal that I got the money from an inheritance. First, it brings up sad emotions. (Though I am incredibly grateful to my parents for the gift of the means to be a Fifty-Plus Nomad, I still miss them every day). Besides, I often worry that the person may respect me less because I did not ¨earn¨ the right to live as a Fifty-Plus Nomad. Also, sometimes, I fear that they may decide to take advantage of me if I reveal this information. (In fact, I have had people in many countries recommend that I keep this information to myself to avoid problems)
- Realize that you are extremely lucky. Most people can’t do what you’re doing. It has only been in the last fifty years that a Fifty-Plus Nomad lifestyle was in reach of a lot of people. Acknoiwledge your good fortune. If you are able to live this lifestyle because you are spending less than staying at home, this will be a great way to break the ice. If not, you can always say that you always wanted to travel the world and were grateful when the chance came your way and leave it at that.
Justifying Your Lifestyle to Family and Friends
I did not have to justify my existence to family much. They knew me well enough so that my Fifty-Plus Nomad lifestyle did not come as much of a surprise. However, I know this is a problem for many others. Here is a good post with useful suggestions to talk to your friends and family.
Other Posts About Lessons I Learned During My Fifty-Plus Nomad Adventures
- Fifty Plus Nomad’s Exclusive Traveling and Living Abroad Seminars: Let Me Help You Put Your Dreams Into Flight (Coming Soon)Take one of my two Fifty-Plus Nomad seminars in my home in Merida, Mexico. Benefit from my sixteen years of experience traveling and living around the world. Learn how to travel around the world long-term and live in different countries.
- My Temporary Home Base in Montreal: 10 Reasons I Loved Coming Home During My Five Year Trip Around the WorldDuring my round the world travels,, I was glad to spend tree months every year at a home base in Montreal. Not only did I grow very fond of Quebec and Eastern Canada but it was fun to just do day-to-day activities with friends.
- How To Avoid Loneliness During Your TravelsWhen I was traveling around the world as a young man, I frequently got lonely. When I was able to travel around the world again long term, I deliberately participated in group tours, cruises, volunteering, and learning vacations to avoid loneliness. It worked wonders for me.
- How Too Much Togetherness May Ruin Your Long-Term TravelsWhile too much togetherness hasn’t been a serious problem during my travels. I have met couples who had problems with too much togetherness during their long-term, round the world travels.
- Justifying Your Fifty-Plus Nomad Lifestyle: An Unexpected ChallengeI was surprised how often I had to justify my existence when I traveled around the world. Here are some tips in case you find yourself in the same situation.
- Paying More than Locals As a Foreigner: How to Deal with and Avoid ProblemsWhen I was younger being charged more for things than locals used to piss me off. Now I simply acknowledge it as part of traveling in third-world countries. I find the less it bothers me the less I attract aggressive vendors, too.
- Culture Shock: The Greatest Challenge for Long-Term Travelers and Expats?By far the biggest issue I had while traveling around the world as a younger man was culture shock. It even resulted in me making some major decisions, most of which I regret in retrospect. In my experience, many people suffer from culture shock while traveling around the world or living abroad but most don’t even know they are suffering from culture shock.
- Backpacker Syndrome: Why Travel Burnout is Usually Part of a Nomadic LifestyleI think every long-term traveler regardless of the budget will occasionally suffer from backpacker’s syndrome. I deal with it by slowing down, staying in my hotel for a day or two, or scheduling some new activities.
- Church Overload Syndrome: When You Just Can’t Stand Seeing Another ChurchDuring my five years traveling around the world. I occasionally suffered from mild travel burnout. Only once did I succumb to church overload syndrome because over time I have learned how to appreciate churches. However, church overland syndrome used to bother me frequently and it seems commonplace among other long-term travelers.
- Consider Resorts, Cruises, Festivals, and Amusement Parks in Your Long-Term Travel PlansWhile many travelers pooh-pooh resorts, cruises, festivals, and amusement parks, I enjoy them in small doses. It is fun to see the creativity of the developers and event planners. It is also a nice break from more serious and intellectual activities.
- Learning Vacations and Volunteering: The Most Overlooked Travel OptionsMy favorite type of group travel is volunteering and learning vacations. No aspect of group travel has so influenced who I am as a person and how I view the world.
- Independent Travel: Advantages and DisadvantagesDuring my five years traveling around the world, I spent about half my time traveling independently and the other half on group tours, cruises, volunteering, and learning vacations. I love the freedom to explore things in depth that comes with independent travel. However, I find exclusively traveling independently to get exhausting and lonely if done for months at a time. I also love the diversity of experiences.when I mix group and independent travel.
- Don’t Avoid Group Tours and Cruises During Your Round-the-World TravelOne of my biggest surprises in traveling around the world for five years was how much I enjoyed group tours and cruises. It is nice to have other people deal with arrangements. Many of the tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. My fellow travelers were usually kind and interested in learning.
- Traveling in Developed Countries: Why it is a Myth that Traveling to Western Europe and Other Developed Countries is Boring and ExpensiveOne of my biggest surprises when I traveled around the world for five years was how much I loved traveling in the developed world (USA/Canada, Australia/New Zealand, Western Europe, Singapore, Japan, the UAE, etc). Until I began to travel around the world for a long term, I always thought the developed world was less interesting than in the third world. Now I find both equally interesting and enjoyable.
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Third World TravelI believe that everyone who has the opportunity to travel round the world should visit countries in both the developing, third world and the developed world (Western Europe, USA/Canada, Australia/New Zealand, etc.). This post outlines the advantages and disadvantages of third-world, emerging country travels.
- Round the World Travel: My Top 4 LessonsI learned four lessons from my five-year journey around the world: 1) Mix group and independent travel; 2) Travel to varied parts of the world; 3) Avoid travel burnout, and 4) Have a home base.