It has been a little over 15 months now that we have no more place we call home, that we have (re)become nomads. I say “re” because, finally, during our round the world trip we lived more than 18 months without a house, even if at that time it was clearly more of a travel project than a real way of living.
In other words, after a little over a year of ” nomadic life ” I thought it was high time to give you a brief assessment of this new way of life that we have adopted.
The less glamorous sides of nomadic life
Nomadic life is an alternative lifestyle and not a dream life
This pretty wording is not from us. It was written by Corinne from the blog vie-nomade.com. In fact, we encourage you to read her magnificent post on the demystification of nomadic life (in french). We do not all face the same challenges, but it is true that the vast majority of people who have a nomadic lifestyle agree that they would not change their lifestyle for anything in the world, but that it is not perfect every day either. We first….
After 15 months on the roads here are the sometimes more “difficult” points
I put quotation marks in it because to be honest we are not great adventurers in terms of financial risk. At the time we started, we had made good savings and even if we are no longer able to put money aside, we still managed not to deplete our reserves too much. But let’s say that with our way of life, we must be flexible and above all anticipate… At the time of being employed, we had a fixed amount that fell on our account every month, so it was easy for me to make a “budget” (yes yes I am very much into budget) and to plan. Currently our monthly income varies enormously… Some months are 5 to 10 times better than others, in other words, you have to learn how to juggle, not to catch fire after a “good month” and especially not to panic after a bad one.
I don’t have anything to wear
Be careful, this is the girly and superficial minute…. But it’s true that, for me, it’s sometimes a little frustrating to live a little bit with the “same things” all the time. Our life fits more or less in a 15kg bag and if I have to say that on the whole we have the essentials, but there are sometimes little things missing… Our belongings are divided between our respective parents’ houses, friends’ houses, in our bag.
Last week I went for a clubbing night with my best friend. When I was getting ready, I clearly didn’t have any “outfits” in my bag. I would have liked to put some nail polish on it, but I didn’t have any either, the mascara? Shit, he’s at my father’s house…. In the end it all turned out fine since I have a golden friend and it is without any trouble that I was able toget ready at her house by borrowing what I was missing, but you see the idea?
A rhythm shift
Since we became self-employed, we have become accustomed to working in “our own way”, i. e. we alternate weeks of traveling around with weeks of hard work. During the weeks of travel we work little (maybe 15 or 20 hours a week), but during the weeks of “work” we are clearly closer to 80-90 hours than the 45 (the standard in Switzerland). So when we are in Switzerland (these are often working weeks) it is sometimes a little complicated to justify the fact that we cannot accept all the proposals for outings/escapades. The words evenings and weekends have left our vocabulary quite a bit, and just because it’s Sunday doesn’t mean it can’t be a “work” day.
To give you an idea, the picture opposite is us at the precise moment when I write these lines… not glamorous every day that we told you!) (And yes, we are relatively messy on our workspace)
Nomadic couple life: the challenges ahead
For our part, the nomadic way of life is combined with the fact that we have embarked together on the adventure of entrepreneurship in parallel. So we had certainly already had the habit of spending 24/7 together during our round the world trip, but this time the situation is slightly different. Because despite the clichés posted on the networks, a large part of our time is spent working together.
We sleep together, we get up (almost) together, we work together, we eat together, we still work together, we have dinner together, then we usually end the evening either working or discussing our projects.
Keeping time for your couple and not your “colleague” is sometimes complicated, or will we just say that it poses more challenges. When we were working for someone else and a co-worker was annoying, we could release the pressure at home in the evening by comitating or simply changing our minds… The situation is more complicated, because now the “colleague” is the one who snores next to you at night (And no, I won’t tell you which one of us snores…)
But I reassure you, everything is fine! With Benoit we are chatty so we talk a lot (about work certainly but not only). We are aware of these challenges and we try to move forward by bringing in moments “just for us”.
The sometimes complicated thing is that our job is also a passion and sometimes we tend to get a little sucked into what we do. We “just” want to finish this project before taking a day off, and suddenly “Oh no, but there’s that to do too”.
As for the kids, maybe we should start thinking about setting us a quota of hours in front of the computer every week… To meditate on! In fact, if other couple entrepreneurs read us and you have advice, we are interested!
To nomadic happiness
I realize that this article has taken a turn to the little “inconveniences”, so I reassure you right away it is far from being a disaster! In fact in this article I’m just trying to put on paper the challenges we face in order to keep a record for ourselves (so we can laugh about it in a few months) but also to help some of you who are getting started or would like to get started.
Because yes, the nomadic way of life is not only love, fresh water and mango sticky rice but despite the different points mentioned in this article I can also confess to you that at NO TIME did we regret our choice!
In the “low” days, it is usually enough for me to think about the frustration and the feeling of being “imprisoned” and killing myself at work for someone else that I
sometimes often had when we were working in Zurich.
We work more than before, but now we do it for us! Moreover, since the beginning of our entrepreneurial adventure we have delivered many sites to customers, each time they were magnificent projects! We have worked for golden people for whom we just wanted to give the best of ourselves and so far (we knock on wood), all our professional projects have gone extremely well. Satisfied customers and developers are thrilled…. To see some of our projects, it’s this way.
Financially speaking, we have clearly not reached the sky, but we have reached a stage where we can live off what we do without anyone’s help. And that, my friends, I’ll tell you, is F* awesome! (all proportions kept eh…). Our “salary” has been divided by 5 compared to before, but independence, contacts and especially mobility compensate for 10… So we don’t complain!
But if there is one thing that we LOVE more than anything in the world it is flexibility! Of course we have obligations, but we also have a crazy freedom that allows us to venture out on many new projects. Some may not succeed, but others may be promising… And above all, we LEARN! Never in our lives have we experienced such a stimulating and enriching period on a “professional” level.
Being your own boss requires a certain discipline, but it is also a crazy luxury to be able to enjoy a beautiful sunny day on weekdays to go out for a walk and then work in the evening…
If you want to know a little more about our motivations from here, we invite you to discover the article I wrote the day before my last day of work. A very personal article but which may also give you more explanations about our motivations. The article is called Today I’m turning 30 years old.
A brief look back at our last 15 months
Officially, we no longer have a home since August 31, 2016…. Date on which we returned our small apartment in Zurich by transferring absolutely all our possessions to the new tenant. (When I say everything, it’s everything… all the furniture, but also the coffee machine, sheets, dishes, TV, etc.)
September 2016: One month in Switzerland with our parents to settle a little bit of the administration
October 2016 to end of March 2017: Chiang Mai, Thailand
We have spent almost 6 months in the small town of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. A magnificent experience that we had reviewed here. To find all our articles on Thailand, it’s this way.
April 2017: Brittany…. Pfiouuuu a real happiness! We had planned to spend 10 days there and finally stayed there for 5 weeks. Magnificent encounters, crazy landscapes, crazy weather… we stayed stuck for longer than expected.
End of May 2017 to July 2017: Lausanne, Switzerland
We came back to live with my dad in Switzerland. The reasons for this were that we had finally decided to set up an official structure for our website development company. In short, many weeks between notaries, paperwork, insurers, more paperwork, accountants and re-paperwork, all interspersed with a few escapades
August 2017: Crossing Switzerland on foot
1 month of walking through Switzerland. A heart project that we had had for a while already… An extraordinary experience that will be remembered for a long time to come! Find our review of the via alpina here.
September 2017: Zurich, Switzerland
Staying in Switzerland was initially not planned in the program but after my grandmother’s health problems we decided to stay with her in Zurich for 1 month to help her regain her independence after an accident.
October-November 2017: Menorca, Spain
We just returned from there and quite frankly we fell under the spell of this little piece of rock in the Mediterranean. Not necessarily ideal from a nomadic point of view, Menorca is nevertheless an excellent memory and above all an island that is highly recommended for lovers of nature and sublime landscapes in Europe.
A month of December in Switzerland and Austria
We have now been back in Switzerland for a good ten days and will stay here until the end of the year. The reason for this is that Benoit has been called up for military service and will have to go to the army for three weeks. Yes, in Switzerland the army is compulsory for its gentlemen and it is not for lack of having tried to explain to them that with our way of life it suited us “not so well”, but there are ranks with whom we do not discuss.
While my man is serving the country, I will take the opportunity to go back to my father for a few weeks and see a little more of my childhood friends than I have not had enough opportunity to see in recent years.
I will also go for a short solo getaway to Vienna to visit friends. This city where we lived almost 2 years before our world tour, I love it more than anything… especially in winter! I can’t wait to spend a week there enjoying the good time with people I love and also strolling around the Christmas markets. 😉
Choice of our nomad destinations: what we will remember
This year we spent “too much” time in Switzerland.
Administrative reasons, family reasons, military reasons, many good reasons, I grant you, but strangely enough it is when we are in Switzerland that we feel the least “at home”. Not having the means to rent an apartment here, we spend our time here between our parents’ houses, with relatives or in the family’s holiday apartment. Certainly we are lucky to have a golden family that supports us in our projects, but for the future we will try to be a little less at home.
We must absolutely ensure that we maintain a balance between “sedentariness” and movement.
In Chiang Mai we probably stayed a little too long and started going “in circles” and above all we were working too hard. In Brittany we enjoyed it, we took advantage of it, but we probably didn’t work hard enough…
We will try to choose destinations where we can meet other people who do the same thing as us.
Chiang Mai was perfect for that…. Minorca was more complicated. We loved Menorca, but as we told you in our review, the combination of our work rhythm and the “low season” meant that we were quite isolated.
January: we’re back on the road with new projects!
On January 4th we will take the road again towards the north this time! For this escapade we have booked a flight to Tallinn in Estonia. We will stay 2 weeks in the Estonian capital before heading to Finland where we will attend a bloggers’ conference.
What happens next? The objective is to return from Finland without taking a plane…. For the moment we don’t have a precise itinerary, or even a real timing, but we will probably go through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, then the Czech Republic or Germany. In short, a new adventure with more traveling involved!
This period will probably be a period full of surprises and twists and turns…. But what I can already tell you is that some great projects are coming up and that you might have some reading from us (and not necessarily on computer or mobile) in the coming months…. #spoileralert
That’s it, I think, for this first little “nomadic” review. Do you like these articles? If so, we will try to write some more regularly! And if it’s not the case… well…. we’ll keep our moodswings to ourselves (or not);)