Beach scene, Bali, Indonesia

Don’t give up on your nomadic dreams!

May 12, 2021 | , ,

Sometimes your dreams feel so far away. It’s discouraging, and you might feel like giving up entirely. I understand; it happens to me, too!

So how to keep going when it feels like you’ll never get there?

Here are four ways to keep the faith:

Take small steps.

You will get there, if you take one step at a time and put one foot in front of the other.

It helps if they’re small steps, too, so break down daunting tasks into smaller pieces. Identify what you need to do to reach that end goal, and focus on only one thing at a time.

Say you want to spend the winter in Bali. Global pandemic notwithstanding, you could break it down like this: figure out how much it will cost; figure out how/when you’ll have the money; look for a housesitter or subletter; research and book a place to stay; research visas; make sure your passport is up-to-date; book plane tickets; connect with anyone you know in Bali; pack your bags; and go!

Then break those tasks down even further. To figure out how much it will cost, you can check sites like Price of Travel, ask other travelers/nomads (like the members of the Nomadtopia Collective), research flights and accommodations (thus knocking another item off your list!), determine whether you will be able to rent out your current home, and so on.

The smaller and more concise the step, the easier it is. For example, when I was in need of new international health insurance, I had on my to-do list “research health insurance,” but it felt so big and vague that it sat there for ages and I didn’t make any progress on it at all. When I broke it down further, the first step was simply “gather list of international insurance providers”—and then I realized that I already had that list somewhere, so all I had to do was find it. The first step was practically done already!

Ditch the extras.

What are the essential elements of your vision? Can you create an ideal (or almost-ideal) scenario without accomplishing or obtaining everything on your list?

If you’re feeling discouraged because you don’t think spending the winter in Bali is feasible right now, look at what kind of experience you want to have. Can you still have that experience, but in a different way? For example, if you were planning to take time off work, could you work while you’re away instead? Or, find ways to reduce costs so you can still go. What if you went for one month instead of two? What if you went somewhere that was easier or cheaper to get to but just as appealing? Could you use frequent flyer miles or points to save money on flights and accommodations? Maybe you can take on a new client or work extra hours to bring in the extra money, or rent out your place while you’re gone to cover your costs.

Are you closer than you think?

If you haven’t done any research, you might not know what it will take to reach your dream. As you investigate, you might discover you’re closer than you think! (And if it turns out you’re not any closer than you thought, at least you know where things stand and what it will take to make it happen.)

Maybe you’ve been assuming flights to Bali are crazy expensive, but with a little searching, you might be able to find a fabulous deal!

Or maybe, if you start talking about your plans and connecting with others in Bali, you’ll find an opportunity to do a home exchange with an expat who lives in Bali, and that will save money and bring your dream within reach.

Or, as you focus on saving money and racking up frequent flyer miles, you might suddenly realize this is all going to happen more easily than you thought.

Connect with others who can support your vision.

When the people around you don’t understand your nomadic dreams, they’ll just back up your feelings that this dream is really far away. Connect with people who can help you reach your dream, and who understand what you want.

Talking with people who are doing the same thing makes it feel possible, and the Collective is the perfect place to share your dreams and ask for the support or information you need to make them a reality.

Continuing with my Bali example, you could find out who else in the Collective has spent time in Bali and find out how they did it and what suggestions they have. Share your plans with people who are excited for you and show you it’s possible, not people who will just remind you of how impossible it is.


This post was originally published in May 2013 and most recently updated in May 2021.

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