Pernille Norregaard

Pernille Norregaard: “It was an old dream slowly brought to life”

May 29, 2014 |

Each person’s unique vision of Nomadtopia is a reminder that there is no one way to create your ideal life, no right or wrong approach. Many people just like you—or in even more complicated circumstances—have made it happen, or are working to get there. Hearing others’ stories keeps us all inspired, and reminds us to dream big!

Pernille Norregaard is a Danish writer. She has written and ghosted 12 non-fiction books. She is the creator of The Divine Writer, where she helps writers create a daily writing practise and inspires them to let their voices be heard.

How would you describe your Nomadtopia?

Four months ago I made the big leap. I sold my apartment in my native Copenhagen to spend a year as a nomad exploring the world.

I’m a slow traveller, which means I prefer to spend at least 6-8 weeks in the same place. I like to get a feel for the culture and the people, and that takes time.

I will spend 5-6 months exploring Central and South America, then I’ll do a couple of months in North America before heading to Asia.

What was the first inspiration that led to your current lifestyle?

It was not a sudden decision, but an old dream slowly brought to life. All the way back in high school I wrote an essay on how I wanted to travel the world and write when I grew up. Travel has always been a part of my life but until recently mainly as ‘the typical tourist’.

I began my wandering ways after my divorce five years ago. I would spend a few weeks in Thailand, then a month in Amsterdam, a couple of months in Berlin. For a few years I worked to bring my business online (I’m a writer and teach writing classes).

Was there a particular moment when you realized you could make your dream a reality?

Last summer I decided to go for it and live the life of a nomad for a year. I was vacationing with a friend at her summer home and over a glass of white wine at sunset I heard myself say it out loud: “I want to travel the world for a year”.

It took me six months to make it happen, including selling my apartment and finishing up the location-dependent projects I was working on.

What is the most unexpectedly useful thing in your Nomadtopia?

Hmm, not sure. I bought an iPad Mini right before I left because I realised that I would need something to read on. I read at least one book a week and you really can’t carry that many books around with you. I have found it to be useful in so many ways I didn’t expect.

What do you miss most?

My books. And a couple of my friends. But we Skype, and I’ve bought many of my favorite books as e-books as well.

What is the most challenging aspect of this lifestyle?

Starting over again and again is the biggest challenge. Which is one of the reasons I think it will not be a permanent nomadic life for me. I would like to create a base somewhere and then go on trips from there.

A few years ago I did a home exchange with a Canadian couple living in Florida. They spent winters in Florida and five months in the summer travelling in Europe or Asia. Sounds like a perfect lifestyle to me.

What’s the most satisfying?

The most satisfying thing about this lifestyle is the beauty of the places I’ve been. The sunsets, the beaches, the people. New experiences inspire me as a writer. Oh, and I did take intensive Spanish lessons in Costa Rica, so my Spanish is actually passable now. Very satisfied about that.

What advice would you have for others who want to do something similar?

I would rather regret the things I did than the things I didn’t do, so definitely go for it. With that said, make sure you give yourself an easy way out. Before I left home, I gave myself permission to  change my mind and come home anytime I wanted to. It gives me peace of mind to know that I don’t have to ‘stick it out’ if I don’t want to.

Just for fun: Would you rather spend one month in a place you’ve been to before, or 24 hours somewhere new?

Definitely a month in one place. Maybe Barcelona, New York, or the mountains in Italy.

Thanks for sharing your story, Pernille! Also be sure to check out my interview with Pernille for Nomadtopia Radio.

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