Out of Europe and Into America

An airplane flying high in the skyLast year, I wrote about how after all these years of travel, I was ready to slow down and become semi-nomadic. My last year-long trip around the world ended in March, but as many of you have noted, I still don’t seem settled down. I keep moving around.

I had a plan to stop. I intended to settle in Sweden through the end of the year, but after not being able to find an apartment, I abandoned those plans. After spending a month roaming around southern Europe, I’ve returned home to America—and this time, the settling down is real. I swear.

I’m currently staying in Boston with my parents. They always complain about never seeing me, so I figure I’ll be seen for a while. I have only two trips planned for the rest of the year: in November, I’ll be flying to London to speak at a conference, and in December, I’ll be going to Africa for three weeks. (More on that later.)

I have no other travel plans for the rest of the year, and I don’t intend to make any.

I want to rest. I want to settle down. I want a routine. I’m excited to be in one place with no trips on the horizon. There has always seemed to be something keeping me from staying put—a trip, an event, or some other excuse—but now there’s no reason for me to say, “Why stay in one place? This trip is coming up in a few weeks anyway!”

I still plan to move to New York City. That was the goal after Sweden and that’s still the goal now, but it’s better for me to do that after the New Year. I have nothing planned between Africa and my book launch in February, so at the end of December, I’ll head down to the Big Apple and put my John Hancock on an apartment lease.

But that’s months away.

Right now, I’m recovering from my jetlag, joining a gym, and confusing my parents with the twenty pounds of vegetables I bought. My goal for the rest of the year is to get back into shape and improve my eating habits. Staying put in Sweden gave me a taste of healthy living, as I had a kitchen and was able to cook, and I want to do that more.

Sean Connery once said, “I haven’t found anywhere in the world where I want to be all the time. The best of my life is the moving. I look forward to going.”

My biggest worry when I decided to settle down was wondering if I would I make it. Could I stay in one place? I want to, but I still don’t know. The only thing that kept me sane during three weeks in Stockholm was the knowledge that I was heading to the airport soon. And staying in suburbia might drive me crazy even faster.

With no trips planned and nothing but work on my plate, I’ll have plenty of time to work it out. But right now, I’m really happy to be home, and though I may go stir-crazy in a few weeks’ time, at least for the time being I have nothing to worry about but the traffic on the way to the gym.

  1. Good for you, Matt! It seems like you just need time to unwind. It’s so nice to be at home for a while, and plus – if worse comes to worst you can always plan a little vacation, I’m sure you have plenty of miles!

  2. Wow, congrats on such a big decision. What made you choose NYC? I mean I see the obvious that it’s an incredible place but is there any specific reason NYC over other places? I’m just getting started on my RTW trip so love reading your blog.

    • NomadicMatt

      I love NYC. I can only see myself in a big city and NYC is my favorite in the states so it was an obvious choice. Plus, I have lots of friends there already.

  3. Jeanette

    We understand! After being on the move it’s hard to imagine settling in one spot for too long. We’ve been traveling for 3 years in a Motorhome and just upgraded to a 1978 Bus!
    It’s the best of all worlds… Your own spot to cook, rest, work… Have guests and store you few things. But you can change locations anytime. We’ve found that our families love our longer visits… Made possible by bringing our own private space along. Than when you want to take off, overseas say, just lock it up and go! Anyway, NYC is a great spot to slow down (kinda!) for a bit. Enjoy! Cheers, Jeanette

  4. Kyle

    I’m taking my own haitus is New York City myself. It’s kind of a nice thing, instead of you always moving, the people that surround you are always moving. A subtle difference that makes staying in one place feel like you aren’t exactly… in the same place at any one time. Things change quick here and that’s what I chase, different things, people, and experiences. This city is giving that to me right now. Congrats Matt! I’d love to meet up when you make it here!

  5. Hi Matt
    I hope you manage to adjust to being in one place. I think that probably as you form a network of friends and colleagues in NYC you’ll find it easier – and yes, stick with the healthy eating! :-)
    I’m curious about which conference you are attending in London though; I’d be interested to hear you speak.
    Cheers, Liam.

  6. From the food point of you, I remember Sweden as one of the most unhealthy places I’ve ever been. Butter everywhere!
    On the other hand, I never stayed in an apartment, and went out to restaurants all the time. That’s not a healthy style anywhere I guess.
    However, I remember one night in Södermalm island, downtown Stockholm, when I found a cheap vegetarian all-you-can-eat restaurant. Best meal in Sweden ever.

    You wonder if you can stay in one place. I don’t know you, but I have a question: what is really the place (or places) that is “home” to you?
    Have a nice stay in the NY.

    • NomadicMatt

      Hermans. Great place. I ate there a few times.

      I would say NYC is home….so is Bangkok…so it Sweden….it’s any place I feel at home.

  7. I’m sure you will be able to adjust to a semi-nomadic lifestyle just fine!

    Clearly you have the mental wearwithall. It’s all between the ears.

  8. Dan Barber

    Hey Matt,
    I love your versatility. Sometimes I worry that I change my mind too often….US, Morocco, Nantucket , whatever. You just gave me permission to be a bit whimsical. I still need to have a coaching session with you. I’m remiss, not you. It will be easier since we are in the same time zone. Also, if you have an inclination to hit Ack in the off season, you have a place to stay.
    Cheers Mate!

  9. Lauren

    Being in suburbia would drive you crazy if you didn’t have NYC to look forward to, and when you get there, there will be so much to do and see all the time that you won’t notice you’re in one spot. Good luck!

  10. anne

    Hi Matt – having moved house so many times my friends have given up asking why and resign themselves to scrubbing out my phone no/address every couple of years. I’ve asked my self why too – and why I haven’t stayed anywhere long like my friends and feeling there’s something wrong with me. Finally I’ve accepted that this is who I am ! There’s no right or wrong….I’ve stopped trying to justify myself, anyone who is a good friend understands me anyway.
    I went travelling in Thailand/Laos?Cambodia last year, it was fantastic and I want to go off again – but what was important to me was having my home, I could come back at any time.
    You have to do what feels right for you , and not to try and fulfil others’ expectations or worry about their opinions !
    Enjoy whatever you do next, yours is/was the best travel blog I read – I love your honesty ! X

  11. Couldn’t you find a balance? Why not spend 6 months of every year settled in one place and 6 months travelling? That’s what I plan to do. Travelling around all the time gets annoying (not to mention expensive and physically demanding) and stops you putting down roots somewhere. But equally, a born ‘novelty junkie’ (traveller) with a need for constant new stimulation would rapidly be bored to death in one place forever. So split the pot… 6 months travel, 6 months settled down seems best?

  12. Of course, settle where you want, but it seems an apartment in NYC would be the opposite of budget friendly.
    For me traveling in an RV around the US and Canada is what I hope to do when we get back to the US from Sweden. But, we do have a home in Georgia.

  13. What an interesting perspective of an experienced traveler. I was always wondering, how does one feel about settling down after such a long and extensive traveling. I guess the final answer is yet to come :)

  14. I’ve been wanting to be a little more settled in one place, myself. I hate to admit that I’m travel-weary, but I am. – something I never thought would happen to me. Best of luck settling in NYC!

  15. Patrick Smith

    Hey Matt- this is actually great for you. Remember the old adage about the greatest gift parents can give us is roots and wings- Looks like your parents gave you good gifts. NYC is a great place and I have no doubt you will love it! And when it is time, you can take flight again!

  16. Good luck man, It feels good just eating right and going to the gym but the routine will be a nice change. Looking forward to hearing more about Africa though.

  17. Greg Jones

    I’m afraid Matt my plans are exactly the opposite as yours. It seems like I have been stuck here in Delaware for an eternity. I spent 4 mos in Istanbul earlier this year and that was it. So now I am off to China until June and from there – Who knows.

    I love your blog..

  18. I feel the same way about moving around a lot, but for me it’s longer term. I’ve been living in Raleigh for almost two years and I absolutely love it here, but after another year or so I’ll be ready to experience living in another place.
    I hope NYC works out for you-I love that city too.

  19. Well, Matt – If you’re thinking about traveling again, you’d be welcome to bunk down at in Shanghai, and I’ll take you to some great places!

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