They start out excited about the adventure. But end up giving up quickly. They couldn’t adjust to the major life change. Because they forgot to ease into the nomad life slowly.
It’s amazing how much easier it is to acclimate to something new if you take your time. How do I know?
Acclimating Over Time
I couldn’t stop tossing and turning. I felt too hot to sleep—65 degrees on my clock thermometer.
It was January.
Last night, I snuggled up in my blanket and comforter. The thermometer read 80 degrees in the cabin.
It was May. And I had spent the last few months adjusting slowly to warmer temperatures.
And that’s the key to adjusting to nomad life—doing it slowly enough that you acclimate to the big changes you’ve made in your life and instead of shocking yourself with one massive change.
A Huge Change
Going from a dirt house to a moving house is a huge adjustment.
One day you’re driving to the store with your brain half switched off. The next you’re disconnecting your tow car so you can turn your rig around before hitting that unexpected low bridge.
The nomad’s life is just harder. For some of us, that’s a large part of the thrill. But whether you like it or not, it is a major challenge to adjust from one style of living to another.
Especially if you do it suddenly.
So how do you adjust to big life changes without making yourself crazy? Ease into it slowly.
How To Ease Into Nomad Life
Long before you buy a boat or camper van—while you’re just thinking about making a life change—start easing into nomad life to make the transition smoother.
Try it first
Yes, some people move onto 40-foot trawlers without ever having driven a boat larger than a 12-foot fishing skiff with an outboard engine. I’ve met them.
I’m sure there are also people buying huge Winnebagos who’ve only ever driven a Honda Accord.
But that’s not you, right?
We started taking sailing lessons on small boats in the Finger Lakes. As we improved our skills, we got approval to take out a 30-foot sailboat.
Eventually, we took sailing lessons on Lake Ontario with a professional captain on a 36-foot boat. We passed our tests to get certifications from the American Sailing Association.
That boat was not pet-friendly. So we took a vacation in Provincetown, MA where we got to take our dog Honey on a dog-friendly sailing charter. Twice.
Once Honey gave the paws up to sailing, we bareboat chartered a sailboat in Canada for a week’s vacation. And finally, we joined another couple on their boat for a month in Panama.
You can’t say we didn’t at least have a taste of boat life before we tried it.
So you want to be a nomad? Try it out first.
At least rent an RV or charter a boat similar to the one you want to live on before you buy. And if your budget limits your ability to splurge on vacations before you uproot yourself, you can try out aspects of the nomad life while you’re still home.
Fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get your free download of 50+ Ways To Explore Being A Nomad (Before You Take The Plunge).
Simplify Your Life
Want to know what it feels like to live like a nomad? Simplify.
Now is the time to start generating or using less
- and certainly, internet.
Batteries store more power than ever. Solar panels have gotten amazingly cheap. Boat and RV refrigerators sip power compared to even a decade ago.
But you can’t have unlimited anything in a tiny moving house.
So start getting used to it now.
One reason boat life has been an easy transition for me is that my current life isn’t that different from my life on land.
Back home in Ithaca, I didn’t own a car. All year around, I bought groceries on foot, by bus, and on my bike. It wasn’t terribly different from how I shop now.
I hung my clothes on the line. I composted vegetable scraps. I didn’t own a television. I took short showers.
Even so, I’ve had my own adjustments to make living on a boat. As I expected, unlimited hot water feels more precious than gold.
And there’s one more way you need to simplify your life…
Learn to do less in a day
I greatest lesson I’ve learned since moving aboard? Everything takes longer on a boat.
Now some of that is because I live on a vessel that travels 6 miles per hour. But I don’t travel more than 30-50 miles in a day.
No, it takes longer to work in a small space. It takes longer to work with spotty internet. Heck, it even takes longer just to get things out of storage because what I need is always behind something else.
You may not believe me. But if you’re willing to take my word for it, assume that you’ll get 1/3 to 1/2 the number of things done as a nomad that you do living in a dirt house.
And you’ll be more tired at the end and probably want to go to bed early.
Take your time
Once you start traveling, ease in slowly. Don’t set off on a 3000-mile trip two days after you move on board.
Boaters take a “shake-down cruise” before setting out on a long passage. It’s a short trip that gives things a chance to break before you get too far from land.
It’s a great idea for anyone.
Sure, it’s less exciting to make your first trip 50 miles from your back yard. But it’s also a lot less stressful.
Ease In Slowly
No matter what, the transition from life in a stationary home to a moving one will challenge you. But you don’t need so great a challenge that you end up quitting early because you can’t adjust.
Give yourself time to acclimate to the nomad life by easing in slowly.