Want to know what the average week looks like for a full-time/long-term/expat traveler? You have come to the right place, my friend. Welcome to the first of what will be a regular week-in-the-life series! First, some background information:
There is a lot of mystery around the daily routines of long-term/full-time travelers. Contrary to popular opinion, we rarely spend our days in a drunken haze on a beach, cradling tropical drinks with pink umbrellas and ridiculous garnishes. (Although sometimes, this too, is fun).
For digital nomads and location independent people, a full-time life on the road involves a routine of balancing work and play. How and where we work depends largely on where we are living and traveling and what our line of work involves.
There are also long-term travelers out there who travel actively for months at a time, before settling down somewhere to save money and do it all over again. For these travelers, there is rarely any such thing as a daily routine. But long-term travel is rarely an exercise in flitting from one expensive tourist trap to the next either…it is a way of life unto itself.
Ultimately, everybody travels very differently.
So…let’s celebrate it! Come along on a journey into the inner workings of the lives of long-term and full-time travelers and expats as they reveal what life on the road really looks like.
This post was originally published in 2009. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
Nomadic Matt has been on the road actively since 2006. After falling in love with Thailand on a backpacking trip in 2005, he went home to Boston, finished up his Masters, sold the lot, and took off. Since then he has seen approximately 36 countries, including Australia and many parts of Asia, Central America, and Western Europe. He has also sampled expat life in a handful of Asian destinations (his favorite of which is Thailand) in so doing. Here is what a week in Nomadic Matt’s life looks like:
A Week-In-The-Life of Nomadic Matt
As a digital nomad, my life is fairly easy. I don’t spend long days in an office or commuting through traffic for many hours each day. I don’t work in a cubicle. I don’t dress up for work. I don’t do a lot of the normal things that employment usually entails.
I work where my computer is. My commute is to my desk and I usually am wearing casual clothes when I “go to the office.”I make my money income with travel websites (showing that anyone can!) and as a result, I travel the world, working as I go.
A typical day looks like this for me looks something like this if I am not traveling:
10 am– wake up
10-11 am – shower, eat breakfast, complain about how early it is
11 am-4 pm – Work (1/2 of which time is spent on facebook chat!)
4 pm – get antsy, stop working, maybe take a nap
5 pm – head out for a walk, buy some bootleg movies, pick up dinner
6 pm – eat dinner and watch some TV, check email
7-8.30 pm – Go to the gym
8.30-9.30 pm – check email
The rest of the night is spent:
a) going out until the wee hours of the morning
b) watching a movie and doing work
c) going out until midnight then come back check email and sleep, or
d) heading to the movie theater to catch a new release and have a late night snack
Overall, it’s a pretty easy day as a digital nomad. I tend to work throughout the day instead of just between set hours. I probably could just limit my time to a few hours each day but then I would have to be more productive and get off facebook and twitter and I just can’t make that kind of commitment yet.
When I travel, my days tend to look more like this:
9am– wake up (if not earlier)
Until about 5pm: Sight see
5-9 pm – work and eat dinner
After: Go out with people from the hostel
Or I might just take a day or two in a city and do nothing but work, then spend the next week only checking my email.The lifestyle I led lends itself to incredible flexibility. While I have typical days when I am home, when I am on the road, I can basically structure my day to go with the situation at hand.I recently went to Scotland for five days and because I was with a large group, I didn’t get any work done besides writing a blog post and checking a few emails. However, the days before that required me to sit in my hostel in Malaysia and do work (well, you’ve seen my schedule so it wasn’t all bad!)
Being a digital nomad is an easy lifestyle that is possible for anyone to achieve. Nora is now a Professional Hobo. I make money using travel websites. Some people do website work on the road. If we can do it, you can do it because…really…no one should have to wake up before 10am!
Thank you, Nomadic Matt, for sharing your nomadic daily routine with us. Matt has recently become a fully location independent traveler (meaning his income allows him to live anywhere he chooses), by way of his online income. If you want to know how he did it, check out his kickass Superstar Blogging school, where you can learn about how to make money blogging, travel writing, and more. And to find out the lastest on Nomadic Matt’s whereabouts and adventures, check out his main website here.