The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance
NOTE: This is the first part of a series of three blogs. The second post is: Why are Expats Fifty-Plus Nomads? How Are Fifty Plus Nomads Different From Other Groups Who Live and Travel Abroad For Extended Periods? The third is: My Current Fifty-Plus Nomad Journey in the Times of Coronavirus
All three of these articles are my effort to define what is a Fifty-Plus Nomad
We are not easy to define, however, a few common threads stand out. Unlike immigrants, most of us have our economic needs met and are not at danger of becoming a refugee or escaping a natural disaster.
Fifty-Plus Nomads also are not satisfied with traveling just for a couple of weeks a year to recharge our batteries. We crave more travel or living in another country to become more self-actualized people. We want to find ways to scratch our travel itch.
To scratch our itch, many of us, including myself, will find ourselves moving between being Modern-Day Nomads (people who travel for months or years at a time), expats (people who live in another country without intending their forever for non-economic or political reasons), and staying at home.
Since there is not a lot of discussion of Fifty-Plus Nomads in the media, this discussion may seem a bit unclear. I am trying in these posts to find an understandable definition for a previously undefined group.
Yet, I know many Fifty-Plus Nomads. I believe that, over time, we will find each other with the help of this website. But, it is a leap of faith. In the meantime, I will continue to develop useful information for the community on the belief that Fifty Plus Nomads will eventually discover that they are part of the community.
What I Tell People When They Ask What Is a Fifty-Plus Nomad
When people ask me: ¨What is a Fifty-Plus Nomad¨? My reply is anyone over the age of 50 who is willing to invest time, money, and energy to make travel and/or living abroad an integral part of their lives.
What do I mean by ¨making travel and/or living abroad an integral part of their lives¨? It is not easy to define; however, I know if someone is a fellow member of The Fifty-Plus Nomad tribe after I’ve met them. They possess a global outlook and a mindset from spending a lot of time outside their home country.
Some Common Fifty-Plus Nomad Profiles
Some of the more common profiles of Fifty-Plus Nomads that I’ve encountered include the following:
- Expatriates who live full time in one country (or several countries) entirely different from their home;
- People who switch between living in several different places without returning home;
- snowbirds who escape the cold and heat by living several months a year in another country;
- travelers who don a backpack or buy a motor home (or caravan, in Europe) and hit the road for their retirement;
- travelers who spend several months a year taking several different cruises or tours (or travel independently): and
- travelers, like myself, who go back and forth between traveling and living abroad for many years.
The Fifty-Plus Nomads I have met come from a variety of nationalities, ethnic and economic backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs. However, I have noted some common traits, including:
- They are retired or about to retire.
- Some Fifty-Plus Nomads take up the lifestyle to save money, However, the majority have an average, or slightly above average, income compared to most other people in their home country. (Future classes will show you how you can travel the world or live abroad for less money than staying at home).
- They are more adventurous than most of their countrymen or women.
Why Do Fifty-Plus Nomads Choose the Lifestyle?
While it is hard to generalize why Fifty-Plus Nomads choose this lifestyle, the most common reasons are:
- Living out a lifetime dream;
- Becoming more worldly;
- Learning about different ways of life;
- Discovering new talents or interests;
- Being able to live better for less money than at home;
- Pursuing a passion that they could not do at home;
- Self-development; and
- Escaping the extreme cold or heat in their hometown.
Why Aren’t There More Fifty-Plus Nomads?
As I have traveled around the world, I have met a couple of hundred fellow Fifty-Plus Nomads. I have, however, thousands of people who could be potential members of the tribe. Yet, I know they will never take the leap.
When I seek to encourage these people to become fellow Fifty-Plus Nomads, I encounter a lot of resistance. Some of their hesitations are understandable, like family obligations or wanting to earn more money before hitting the road.
Most of the time, however, I think they won’t become Fifty-Plus Nomads based on fear of trying something new. Some even appear to be scared of being different from their fellow home countrymen or women.
While these responses are understandable, they are not necessary. It is not as hard as it seems to hit the road. Besides, you can live and travel abroad and still be loyal to your home country.
More Americans and Canadians could become Fifty-Plus Nomads than will pack up their bags for new climes. Only a little over 3% of Americans live abroad, and only 6% of the native-born population has ever lived abroad. (Even then most of these people (almost 90%) are sent overseas for a business assignment). Also, the U.S. State Department reports that only 40% of Americans have a passport. Only slightly more than half of all Americans say that they have never been outside of the US.
I don’t mean to imply that being a Fifty-Plus Nomad is for everyone. It isn’t. It requires, as you’ll see, a lot of patience, curiosity, adventure, and flexibility.
The Advantages of Being a Fifty-Plus Nomad
However, when done right, becoming a Fifty-Plus Nomad changes you. It is:
- More than just a short escape from your reality. It is, instead, a new way of being.
- A challenge to your beliefs about yourself and the world around you.
- A powerful antidote to the paranoia and negativity that plague our planet. It is hard, after all, to dislike people once you’ve spent time in their homes and enjoyed their hospitality.
I know it has changed me in many ways, including making me:
- Much more conscious of the history/culture of the world;
- Accepting of different cultures;
- Form lifelong friendships with people from a broad range of cultural and economic backgrounds;
- Believe that the earth is compelling, fascinating, and beautiful. While life on the road can get lonely, it is seldom dull. If you learn to be observant and resourceful, you can always find something unique and enjoyable. Every community has people with passions that they love to share with others. Just watching people do ordinary tasks in different ways can be enthralling; and
- Less fearful of the world. I know that the news presents only one-side (usually the worst side) of life in most of the countries I visited. The real story is more diverse and frequently more favorable.
While it is true that, for example, that Haiti is impoverished. It also has:
- an incredibly rich culture (the art, music, and food are excellent),
- a fascinating history (the only country on earth formed after a successful slave rebellion), and
- some great sights (including a vast 19th-century castle, lovely architecture, and some of the most beautiful beaches anywhere).
Want to Be a Successful Fifty-Plus Nomad?
- Take the Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Successful Fifty-Plus Nomad? Quiz
- Read My Course No. 3: The Four Most Important Extended Travel Lessons