Why We Live a Nomadic Lifestyle


Why We Live a Nomadic LifestyleMat and I are very cautious people – we’re afraid of all kinds of things like germs (Mat) and bears (me) and many things in between.  Knowing that, it doesn’t really make sense that we would thrive on a life of instability and uncertainty but for some reason we do.  Here are half a dozen reasons why living a nomadic lifestyle works for us:

1. More Family

Our families live in different cities and I rarely got to see mine when we were settled in one city.  At first, it wasn’t too bad, but as the years went by I started to realize that my relationship with them was becoming a series of short weekend and busy holiday visits.  Now that we’re mobile, we’ve been able to have longer visits (sometimes up to 2 months!) with each of our families and that has been really special for both of us.

2. Less stuff

We’re natural born pack rats – we love shopping for records, antiques, and art, but owning stuff stresses us out.  Now that we’re always living out of a backpack, a van or a tiny apartment, we really don’t have the space to accumulate more stuff.  Decluttering has become a habit for us and it also feels really good to be consuming less stuff in the first place.

3. More time

We realize that it’s an illusion, but it feels like we have more time because we’re always experiencing something new when we’re on the road.  The feeling that weeks, months and years are blurring together happens a lot less now.

4. Less Stress

When we owned our house I used to come home from work in tears a couple of times every month.  I was overwhelmed at work, burdened by our mortgage, and generally unhappy with our living situation.  Being on the road has it’s own set of stressful situations but we’re willing to tolerate them because the benefits of traveling outweigh the stress by a long shot.  That wasn’t the case with our settled life.

5. More Travel

When we were settled, our travelling was limited to visiting family and a 1 or 2-week annual vacation.  It was hard to leave for longer than that because we had to pay our monthly bills and our travel expenses at the same time.  Now we can afford to travel most of the year because our living expenses are super low (no rent, no mortgage).

6. Less Responsibility

Having bills, debt, full-time jobs and responsibilities really weighed on us.  We felt like we were constantly exhausted and didn’t have the energy to work on the things that were really important to us.  Not having a laundry list of things to do has been really liberating.

We’re super happy with our decision to uproot ourselves and travel the world.  That being said, the nomadic lifestyle is not a perfect one and there are downsides to it, too. If you’re interested, I can share them in another post – just let me know in the comments :)

Take care,


12 thoughts on “Why We Live a Nomadic Lifestyle

  1. Charlotte

    Always enjoy your posts, Danielle. Yes, also knowing the challenges to the nomadic lifestyle would be useful. And how you work to overcome them! :)

    1. Danielle Post author

      Thank you, Charlotte! Your comments are always so positive :)

      I’ll definitely do a post on the challenges of the nomadic lifestyle. Take care!

  2. Charlotte

    P.s. Love that the nomadic life has lent to spending more time with family. I currently live quite a ways from family (that I care deeply about)! So your past experience resonates with me.

    1. Danielle Post author

      I know exactly how you feel, Charlotte! It’s such a difficult decision to travel/move away from family. I hope you find a way to connect with them despite the distance. We’ll always have Skype, right? :)

  3. Erin

    Danielle, you have captured the essence simply and accurately (paralleling my experience). I resonate especially with not being burdened by stuff (buying it, taking care of it, moving it around). Even though we’ve been living in a van for 19 weeks now, every few weeks we do a cleanse and take things to goodwill that we realize we don’t really need. It lightens things up in multiple ways. Cheers to you

    1. Danielle Post author

      Erin, I can’t believe it’s already been 19 weeks that you’ve been in your van. We’re so jealous and can’t wait to join you in the Van Life! I’m happy to hear that you’ve also turned cleansing and purging “stuff” into a regular habit. I wonder if we’ll ever just have what we need and stop accumulating more?! xo

  4. sue

    Hi, I just stumbled on your site today! Love it!
    I am a health education teacher and will use your minimalist video in my class. Thank you!

    1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

      Hi Sue,

      Sorry that I missed your comment in April!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed our video about minimalism and am happy that you’re sharing it with your class. Let us know if you need anything else!


  5. Katy

    Linked to this article from the article on the challenges of nomadic lifestyles. Loved reading about both sides – all of it is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing your adventure – look forward to reading/learning more!

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