Permanent travel vs. having a home base

Budget backpackers room. aigarius / Flickr Creative Commons

Budget backpackers room. aigarius / Flickr Creative Commons

Prolific travel blogger Nomadic Matt made the case for permanent travel in this article for The Huffington Post: Why we travel. He captures that exhilarating sense of freedom that vagabonders love. Freeing ourselves from routine to see the world.

Interestingly enough, Mike Barish wrote a reaction piece for titled, On long-term travel, snobbery & judgmental blogging. He mounts a spirited defense for having a home base, a stable set of friends, and advancing a career. Barish also criticizes the snobbery he sees in some long-term travelers.

Work and travel can complement each other, they don’t have to be opposing forces. The structure and purpose of a job can be appealing after wandering aimlessly for a while. On the flip side, travel becomes that much more meaningful when you’ve really earned your away abroad.

You definitely learn a lot when you’re on the road. But I’ve often told friends that it isn’t until you return home that everything “clicks” into place and you really see the big picture.

Let’s close with some words of wisdom from Rolf himself:

“At a certain level, the idea that freedom is tied to work might seem a bit depressing. It shouldn’t be. For all the amazing experiences that await you in distant lands, the ‘meaningful’ part of travel always starts at home, with a personal investment in the wonders to come.”
–Vagabonding, pg. 15, Chapter 2: Earn Your Freedom

Do you mix time abroad with being at home or are you a full-time nomad? Ever dealt with travel snobbery? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Posted by | Comments (5)  | August 20, 2010
Category: Expat Life, Lifestyle Design, Notes from the collective travel mind, Vagabonding Life

5 Responses to “Permanent travel vs. having a home base”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    It’s interesting that “snobbery” would be present in the world of travel. This seems ridiculous. If you enjoy traveling for long period of times, good for you. If you’d rather stay at home, do the career thing, family, etc…good for you as well. Travel because you want to travel and stop caring what other people think!

  2. Nicolaï Says:

    Rolf’s belief about the importance of work is glaringly true, in my experience. The more it’s earned, the more vivid the colors.

    However, work and travel can occur at the same time; it doesn’t have to be an if A then B proposition. Indeed, Vagabonding quotes someone who said, and I’m paraphrasing, that the best way to learn about a culture is to work there. I’ve done this in two countries and wow does it teach you things you wouldn’t have learned otherwise!

    Marcus: what do you mean by full-time traveling? Can you quantify that — what qualifies and what doesn’t? I think if you ask 100 people this question you’ll get an interesting range of responses.

  3. Marcus Sortijas Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Nicolai. You’re right, I forgot to mention how people can work while they’re traveling. I agree, I’ve learned a lot about a culture when I’ve worked for local bosses and alongside local co-workers.

    As for full-time traveling, I’ll cop out and quote the IRS. To get the “foreign earned income exclusion,” you have to be outside of your own country for 330 days out of the year. Although some travelers would debate whether you have to be “on the move” that whole time, or whether stints of work in one place would also count.

  4. Keith Says:

    I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m married and own a home, but 3-4 times a year I’ll be on the road for a month at a time in destinations around the world!

  5. David Says:

    Matt does seem very condescending at times. It seems as his success has grown, so has his ego. All you have to do is read his replies to some of the comments on his own blog, very condescending. I stopped reading it. He’s cutting his own throat in the long term because the majority of people who do go to websites like his and earn enough money in the real world to purchase products and services from his affiliate links are people who have 9-5 jobs! All you TBEX bloggers need to really re-evaluate who your readers truly are, and who buys the products and services you offer or you risk alienating a lucrative market and your business models. Chew on that one while you’re rubbing elbows at your next TBEX conference….