Have you been dreaming about going to explore the world when you were a kid? I did. And I kept dreaming when I got interested in geography in high school. I was fascinated to read about travelers who went to Africa and South America and Asia to see places, meet with tribes, establish lost connections, create new ones, climb volcanoes, map lakes or mountains. Then I started to study geography and I realized the world does not need that kind of travelers anymore. But my curiosity stayed the same. I was spending my Wednesday evenings listening to friends, classmates, teachers, other wanderers about their travels around the world.
I wanted to do the same!
I got inspired to travel, and gain friends to share experiences, adventures or get advice from. I went abroad every summer at least. These yearly travels were satisfactory…for a long while. You left home and then you returned with a lot of memories and adventures.
During these times I met with many people who were on the road for a year or two, or even for decades! Wow! That is hard, I thought. Leaving your family and friends behind… I had it (at least the leaving friends behind part) many times in my life, although it was not for travel, just simply moving from one city or one district to another. Then I had to get to know new people, new places, create new habits and build new friendships. And without internet, it was (almost) impossible to keep in touch with your old friends and acquaintances. Probably, as I child, I didn’t even realize what was going on.
Moving abroad for long-term
The first BIG step was in 2012 – after my geography studies – when I moved to Finland. I went to a new country (where I barely spent half a year beforehand) and I knew almost nobody. It was hard to be away from everything and everyone I knew and cared for the previous years.
Minimalism and preparing for constant travel
The SECOND step just happened recently. I have been living in Finland for 5 years, and now, there will be some time without Finland. Although my work and studies still connect me there (and gonna be back!), I will be away for a while. We were moving out from the place I could call HOME. The place where you (mostly) know the location of your belonging, which gives you privacy or a place to gather with your friends, where you can hide or be crazy 😉 A place which comforts you.
It was hard to see that fewer and fewer items and furniture are in the rooms, your kitchen utensils and washing machine are sold or given away. The place gets empty. I’ve heard that many people literally sold everything. Well, I wanted to keep a ’start-up-package’ with the most important items. Just-in-case I get scared and want to go back immediately/or settle down somewhere else. And even though I got rid of many of my clothes, I still have too many. (And those of you who know me personally, I am not the girl who follows the latest fashion, but I still have a lot of pairs of shoes as it turned out :D). I need to keep winter clothes as well, probably I’ll need them in Canada or Finland next winter.
So, there were we, the boxes and the empty flat. And a day-long cleaning.
Finally, everything important (or considered-to-be-important-at-that-moment) were in the car and we could leave.
Check-list for leaving your earlier life behind (*update after 1 year of nomad life)
- cancel your rental agreement and utility contracts,
- sell your car or rent your apartment (if you own them),
- leave no loan behind,
- sell your furniture and most valuable items,
- donate your clothes and the ones you can’t sell to red cross and friends,
- keep an only minimal amount of clothes and personal belongings, believe me, most of them you will not need anymore.
Make sure you have:
- travel or health insurance,
- valid passport for an extended time,
- backup funds for emergency (especially if you don’t have a job that you do on the road).
On the road & handling emotions
It was hard to leave everything behind, but the feeling already smoothed a bit. Some travelers wrote how easy it was for them to quit their life. I don’t doubt it, but I am a beginner, hey, so for me it can go harder. And actually I do not quit but keep working, so it is also different.
I think I’ve never been so sad when going on a trip. It was hard to imagine that we don’t have the HOME which will wait for us when we come back. There can be a new, but it will be always different.
And I’m not really missing objects (okay…my guitar, of course, I miss it!). But I do miss people. I am pretty social (aren’t I?) and I will definitely miss my friends, especially the sauna visits, skiing and hiking trips, orienteering races and endless summer nights. But this spring will bring new adventures on the warm south.
I am ready now.