The Beginning of the End

By Nomadic Matt | Published April 18th, 2011

the end is nearI’ve thought about this post for some time now. In my head, I’ve written and rewritten this post many times. I’ve gone to publish it only to back out at the last minute. I’ve been hesitating not because I didn’t know what to say, but because deep down I knew I wasn’t ready to say it. But now, as I finally type this post, I know it’s time to hit publish.

In July, I’ll celebrate five years on the road. One fateful day in 2006, I hugged my parents good-bye and started on a journey that has taken me around the world two and a half times, allowed me to teach in two different countries, play poker professionally in Amsterdam, live in New York City, create this amazing site, and meet some of the world’s most amazing people.

But I have often wondered if a person can travel for too long. Is there a time when being on the road becomes too much of a good thing? My overall answer is that you can never get too much travel in your life. This is especially true if you’re with friends or have someone to share those special moments with. However, if you are traveling alone than I believe the answer is yes, at a certain point, too much time on the road can take its toll.

Five years after I began, travel is still wonderful and amazing but it isn’t the same. Some of the luster is gone. Yes, I meet amazing people every day but how many times can you have the same, “Where are you from and what do you do” conversation with other travelers? How many times can you reinvent the wheel? How often can you start from scratch? It’s one thing to be traveling with friends, a girlfriend, or a spouse, but it’s another to be constantly surrounded by strangers every day of your life.

Solo travel is a wonderful thing and I still firmly believe everyone should do it at least once in their life because it fosters great personal growth. I’ve learned so much about myself by traveling alone. But after so many years, it’s finally worn on me. I’ve reached the point where solo travel has become a lonely existence that I am no longer suited for.

Last year, I wrote about how I had lost my sense of wonder for travel and I needed a break. Living in New York City last summer gave me a much needed break but it also made me realize that I am missing out on a lot when it comes to leading a settled lifestyle. I missed having a gym, a kitchen, local watering holes, favorite restaurants, and a group of good friends to spend time with. I missed the act of simply living somewhere. But whenever I thought about stopping, I started to think about all the trips I could take and the road inevitably ended up calling me back.

However, when I was leaving Central America, I realized that my days were numbered when at the end of the trip I was excited, not to go someplace new, but to go home to New York City. It’s a feeling I haven’t had in a long time and, as I thought of a place as home for the first time in many years, I realized my time had finally come.

end of the day sunsetMy one motto in life is to live with no regrets, and despite the pull of a new life calling me, I know I’ll always have regrets unless I do two last things: travel Southeast Asia one last time and do one last grand tour of Europe that finally includes the eastern block. In my mind, these trips need to be done as a whole, not as small trips to this or that country.

So today I leave home for my final trip around the world that will take me to Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia before heading back sometime around March or April 2012. Will I settle in New York then? I don’t know. Paris also sounds nice. Who can say what the future holds?

But I do know today marks the beginning of the end. This will be my last long-term trip. When this is done, I’ll have been on the road for close to six years. That’s six years of constant movement. Six years of fresh starts. I regret nothing but I’m ready to move on to something new. I’m ready to become semi-nomadic. I’m ready to make a place home.

I don’t know what next year holds but I do know it now holds more possibility than the last few years ever did. One thing I envy about many gap year travelers is that with a set “end date” to their trip they have an excitement about them I’ve recently lacked. They need to “get it all in” there before it’s too late. Me? I do this every day. Travel is my day to day life. And just like my friends in Boston who never walked the freedom trail, or my friends in NYC who have never visited the Statue of Liberty, I’ve put things off because “I can always do it later.” Hence, I don’t pack my days with as much stuff as I used to. I’ve gotten a bit lazier. But now there’s no real “later” for me. This is it.

Now, I have a new sense of urgency in my travels. It’s like I’m retaking my first trip all over again. Because with the end in sight, I have to get it all in before it’s too late. There’s no more time to waste, no days to spend behind the computer, no more “I’ll get back to it.” Nope, these nomadic ways are ending. Travel will always be a part of my life but life’s desire changes and I must change with it. It’s a brave new world all over again.

comments 140 Comments

Bravo for making a tough choice. I’m interested in seeing where it leads you.

Wow Matt. Following your blog for the past year or so I can’t say I’m totally shocked- you have seemed a bit weary and disillusioned of late. I think it’s really brave of you to look at your life, decide what is and isn’t working for you and make a change.

Personally I’m still enjoying rambling around the world- although I haven’t been doing it as long and as steadily as you. Still I know there will come a day when I want to be more settled- at least I assume that’s what I’m buying all this wall art for.

Good for you. And enjoy Eastern Europe! It’s one of my favorites!

NomadicMatt

Five years is a long time. I would say it’s not that travel isn’t working for me but more so that always being on the road has been tiring. I never intended to do 5 years. I had only thought of doing a year or so and then this website sort of came into existence and it was like ok, I’ll travel longer but now I’m ready to change how I travel. (I’ll never stop traveling!)

I’ve enjoyed reading your blog! Look forward to what the next year holds!

Good luck to you Matt. I’m sure wherever you settle for a time – be it NY or Paris or Stockholm – you’ll make the most of it. Bon voyage!

Wow this is the blog equivalent for me of watching the last episode of Friends!

I can feel your sadness in that your travels are ending, but also the joy you’ll get from starting a settled life somewhere – I guess the best way to sum it up is as bittersweet?

I applaud you for your decision, Matt – I bet it wasn’t easy to make, let alone publicize for all to see. Can’t wait to see what you have in store and what you’ll get up to before next spring, though!

Tom

Wow, this may be one of my favourite posts from your blog, very touching.

I do think people can travel for too long and I don’t know what that time frame will be for me.After 13 months I am already exhausted of having the same conversations and am planning to start renting an apartment for a few months at a time.

NomadicMatt

After about 13 months, I moved to Thailand and lived there for awhile. That got the travel bug back for me. Where are you going to settle down?

Not sure yet but definitely somewhere in South America.

LLoyd

Hell yea!!

You know, that’s why we start traveling in the first place – this undeniable urge to do something great and adventurous. If that same urge is pulling you to do something else then you have to go with it. (Plus, you’d be like an 80’s hair band trying to make it in the late 90’s – everyone has to evolve)

Loads of respect your way for knowing yourself well enough to take the road you need to! Good luck, I’m excited to see where it goes.

NomadicMatt

I began traveling because I wanted to live my life on my own terms. Do what I want, when I want. I guess this is just more of me doing that but in a different way!

I can imagine that you think about settling down after such a long time. I’m only on the road for one year and couldn’t believe that you would miss the normal course of life – but I do! Enjoy Europe! Which countries are you visiting?

NomadicMatt

I’ll be visiting Scandinavia and all of the Eastern Europe before heading into Russia.

Well done on admitting something that can’t be easy given your work. Travel definitely gets tiring and travelling alone must be particularly hard. We aren’t ready to commit to one place (not sure we ever will be) but we want to take things slower in the future. Renting an apartment is so nice after months of living in hostels.

Good luck with it and enjoy your last trip.

NomadicMatt

I think if I had a travel partner like you, I could do this a lot longer but ehhh who wants to be alone forever ya know? It’s nice to have a group of people around you that you really know.

I’m sure it was a difficult decision to make but it’s going to be a new type of adventure. Enjoy this next trip- sounds exciting!

Rhona

I feel I have to say congratulations! So many people keep doing things in life because they feel they have to or fulfill expectations of others. I am glad you are doing what is right for you. Although when I was in Europe, I only travelled for 3 months, I often had that “I’ve had it” thought. In Dusseldorf, I had the desire to just go home. I had to do it so I did it. You are experiencing the same thing. Good for you. I look forward to keeping up with your travels the next 11-12 months and maybe afterward?! Who knows. Have fun and keep being true to yourself.

NomadicMatt

I’m just taking it one day…..errrr country…at a time. But the time as finally come to say, time to change things up again.

Matt

This post was pretty sobering, but I understand 100%. Variety is the spice of life, and ironically when change becomes the constant, then the constant becomes the change. Live your life my dude, and enjoy your trip.

Hi Matt,
What a surprise! I thought you will never quit, but maybe it is just a temporary break? Anyways good luck with all, and if you ever pass by Krakow let me know, we’ll go for a pint.
All the best, Mat

NomadicMatt

I’m full of surprises!

It’s not a end to traveling just an end to how I travel. Shorter trips in the future. Not so many 4-6 months journeys at a time.

Congrats on the big decision!
I know it must have been a tough one to make, but well done.

I worked on Cruise Ships for five years and then came to a similar decision. Life was moving on all around me and I felt I was losing out on more than I was gaining by continuing to live life as a gypsy. It was time to move forward.

It’s now been five years since I left ships, and life is so good! While I can’t say that I don’t miss it, I can say that the longing for it fades, and eventually you’ll look back and realize that a few days have gone by without thinking about/craving that life. Stick it out, you feel the need to move on for a reason. Find out what it is and you’ll never regret it.

Nowadays I still travel as much as a tethered job will allow me to and find solace in constant exploration of the world around me.

Cheers!

Very intriguing post Matt! The next posts during your last year of travel will be revealing I am sure.
Maybe when you get settled, you can start a solo traveler’s dating website. Or a friend matching website for when people get lonely during travels.
Have fun on your amazing adventure!
Can’t wait to read about all the great places you’ll go in Europe!
The Wanderfull Traveler
canadianculinarytravel.blogspot.com/

NomadicMatt

Ha! How about: backpackerdating.com, lovenomaderwhere.com or hostelhookups.com?

Red

Make the most of your big journey.

Congrats on the decision – it is totally understandable after such a long time on the road. And it’s funny – I was just wondering to myself the other day about how I haven’t seen any posts like this, no one being frank and admitting that they’ve just had enough of it for awhile.

Once again, you lead the charge….

Meg

Matt, We will be looking forward to hearing all about your experiences on your upcoming journey. I do imagine travel is much different when a set end date has been established. Best of luck!

Monimo

To make such a big change in your lifestyle is a journey on it’s own.
Good luck and keep on writing!

HI Matt! Just wanted to give you a pat on the back for making a tough decision. I went through the same transition recently where after living, working and traveling abroad for 8+ years, I chose to return to my hometown of San Diego and re-establish myself in my own country, my hometown. In just 4 months back, a lot has happened, I miss travels and life abroad very much, but I am also approaching my resettlement here in the US with the same enthusiasm I would for having landed in a new town overseas. And to tell you the truth…taking that attitude is working really well. As you eluded to, I’m excited to find my favorite restaurant, coffee shop, workout spot, walking path, reconnect with loved ones, etc. And since I haven’t lived here for a really long time, it is all very new to me. So congratulations on making a very tough decision. I wish you the best of luck with your last big jaunt and with your return to NYC or whichever corner of the world invites you to stay awhile. Look forward to keeping up with you here and on Twitter. Cheers!

NomadicMatt

Living in NYC has definitely taught me the same thing. I love going back to places in NYC and them knowing who I am and what I like. I like having friends to call. It’s surprising but I like aspects of the settled life! What a turn of events huh?! :)

You are doing the right thing, which is to continuing to follow your life’s desires. Way to go Matt!

NomadicMatt

Thank you!

And what an amazing journey it’s been Matt; truly. You have built up a huge community and whilst your continual travels may be coming to a close, your community will still be here. What a difficult and brave decision to come to. I hope it all works out for you – we’ll be with you every step of the way!

NomadicMatt

I’m only changing how I travel. I’ll still be traveling and there will still be stories to be told!

Tough choice Matt, but I totally get where you’re coming from. Nine years on the road and many things drive me crazy about this lifestyle. Without my language learning projects as a meaningful distraction, I would never be able to keep it up so long!

Looking forward to reading about your next year and about the semi-nomadic lifestyle that follows!

People often get caught up in what they think they “ought to do” – whether it means a stable or nomadic life – instead of what really does make them happy. Good for you for recognizing the need for a change and taking steps to feed what makes you click.

Enjoy your last year of full-time travels!

NomadicMatt

The key word being full time! I’m never going to give up traveling but I’m not going to travel for such long stints at a time.

That must be a hard decision but after so long on the road and the loneliness that often accompanies being a solo traveller, a change to semi-nomadic lifestyle makes sense and it’ll be an amazing journey in itself.

Congrats on following your dreams, and having the self-awareness to notice when they change. Cheers!

NomadicMatt

It was a hard decision but one a long time coming. After all, what you want from life changes and what I want now isn’t what I wanted 5 years ago.

It takes courage to change even when you know it’s time. All the best with the final leg of your current path and with the transition to your new one.

NomadicMatt

Like they say, the only constant is change.

“the only constant is change” <– that is soo true

jiji

i undrestand the sentiment exactly. I knew i had reached a point of exhaustion in my travels when despite speaking 4 langauges, (grew up with 3 learned 1 extra) i got to an airport in eastern europe and didnt even bother to think which tongue i shouild call “taxi”. I just spoke english out of absolute exhaustion. This is me…the same person who is usually so eager to socialize in her new destination that i would at least put effort into learning the preliminary “airport words” until i could find my way.

Not at that moment….I just wanted to go home. Well, it was more that I wanted to have a place to call home (if that makes sense). A base, where i could gladly launch from in the future.

I found it. I started my family and will maybe relaunch my travels in the coming years with them…cuz lord knows the wonderlust is still there.

Good luck with your travels….Pace yourself, till you find your way back home.

I know what you mean about traveling for too long solo. I’m approaching 7 years in May and I’ve been wondering the same thing!

Joy

Matt I understand what you are saying. I love to travel very much. In my 20s I had an urgent wanderlust which mellowed in my 30s. Since then I always enjoy my travels and usually need to go somewhere even for just a long weekend every 3 – 4 mths. But it is always good to get home again. Home is where my dogs will be waiting if I couldn’t take them with me. Home is deep blue skys, majestic mtns, the lonely call of the gambels quail. Home is where I witness the growth of the tree planted in memory of my father-in-law, & another for my first dog. I count the many blooms on my favorite roses. All things I would not want to give up.

Last year in Costa Rica I asked my 25 yr old female Gap tour guide where she calls home. She said the local motel in whatever city she was in. I asked you don’t have a home base? No place to watch a plant grow or keep a pet? She said no. She’d been doing it for a couple yrs. I said give it a few more & you will long for a home base as much as you long for travel now. 6 mths later she got a home base in Fortuna, Costa Rica. She posted photos. I saw a few houseplants and later a puppy. At some point home calls louder than the road.

Matt, As I’ve read about your travels for the last year or so, I’ve often envied your ability to call the world home, as opposed to one little sliver like most of us. While I would love to give up my home life to travel the world full time, it’s somewhat comforting to know that maybe the grass isn’t always greener.

I applaud your decision, and look forward to reading the remaining adventures of the next year!

Deej

I think long term travel is an evolution from that wonder of first stepping out, to becoming comfortable, to what I see as inevitable…the desire to settle in for a while again. We forget that every situation has its ups and downs and somehow think that forever travel is utopia. You’ve been on quite the journey and I thank you for inviting me along. I’m looking forward to hearing about your last hurrah RTW and to what you get up to once you find a place to settle. Good luck Matt! Cheers!

Bravo and your decision sounds wise–and in a way, inevitable. My wish for you is that for some period during this final trip, you can put your blog and business on hold and travel free from work; that is, travel without deadlines or feeling that you have to blog about it. Just to be present in the moment.
Also, I can relate to your desire for a sense of place and permanence. While I was never homesick during our 10-month family trip, I looked forward to reconnecting with our neighbors and friends. And I really enjoyed unpacking my spices and cookware, restocking the pantry, and having a real kitchen to cook real meals in again.
Best wishes to you.

Congratulations on making what I’m sure was a tough decision! Following your blog the last few months, I can’t say I’m too surprised – there was certainly a sense in some posts that you were growing weary of constant travel. I respect and applaud your decision to follow your heart and “settle down.”

On a totally different note, where in Eastern Europe are you thinking of going and when do you think you’ll end up in Russia? I’m hoping to be there starting in August/ September.

Dawn

Wow, Matt, I am speechless. I am surprised, but not surprised at the same time. The road can wear on you, and there is nothing wrong with wanting a settled life again with the gym, laundry, and friends all right there. You have lived a life that others dream of, and it takes a strong person to say enough is enough,when the wonder is not there like it used to be. Bravo on your decision, and enjoy every moment of this last long trip as you look forward to your new life as well. I doubt your new life will anything but ordinary!!

Dude…but you still haven’t done the middle east!!

See you in June in Vancouver?

NomadicMatt

I won’t be at TBEX. I’ll be celebrating my birthday in Greece.

Kirsten

Glad to see some enthusiasm back in your wiring. After that infamous “the world is boring” post (which I do think I and others might I’ve misunderstood) it is clear w/ this you are making a choice to find the love again … in travel AND in life. I applaud you for that choice!

Thanks for sharing your big decision in such a powerful post. Good luck!

I completely hear you. I feel this way too sometimes. I think that a part of us will always be nomads though. I don’t think people like us can stop completely. Good luck and safe travels,
Leif

What a big decision Matt – a year left to really explore in the way that only long-term travel can let you – I’d say that’s plenty of time for some epic adventures and stories! Safe travels and looking forward to seeing your perspective on where you’ll settle at the end of this year :)

NomadicMatt

I’m sure there will many adventures and misadventures over the next year. Trouble always seems to find me. Or, maybe, I find it!

Congrats on a big decision — you sound really happy, and that’s fantastic. :-) And it really changes nothing about your persona — you’re still a world citizen, first and foremost.

Have a blast on the last big trip.

Congrats on making a brave announcement. 5 years of full time traveling is a lot. I’m sure even when you “settle down” that you will always find a way to fit travel into your life if that’s what you choose to do.

I like how you say its the end, but still have a years worth of travel ahead planned :-)

Hope you enjoy life in NY or wherever you settle anyway. You could always do longish breaks in the future, that’s what I plan on doing, like 3-4months of travel and the rest of the year settled. With the income from online its possible for you to enjoy life like this – that’s my semi-future plan anyway as I don’t want to travel all year around, it does get tiring and takes away the magic.

Spot on mate. Just spot on. It’s something we all have to face up to one day or another…

Wow now that’s a powerful post! I have no doubt that since you’re following your heart this is exactly the change in your path that you need to make. I look forward to seeing where you choose to “settle down.”

NomadicMatt

Me too. Me too.

Hi, Wow I’m only just setting on my first round the world trip and I absolutely understand why you feel your time is coming to a close. As a solo girl traveller, I have my fears about feeling isolated, frightened and without a place to call ‘home’ for a while. I know this is normal for a newbie, but I felt even more aware of it after watching ‘Into The Wild’ and realising the message of that movie – that it is with others that experiences can be fully enjoyed. But with years of solo travel under your belt now – at least you have no regrets, you just did it! I really admire that. You’re a true Gohemian :) Thanks, Emma

NomadicMatt

Gohemian? I like that word. It’s very bohemian!

I love this post. I can’t believe you were in New York City all last summer and we only hung out once. Despite my homebody-ness, I’m not one of those friends who’s never been to the Statue of Liberty though!—I’ve been three times and plan to go back again to review that guided tour I mentioned. But only if they’ll take me all the way to the top of the crown.

I’m jealous you might move to Paris – when are you going?

DO NOT FORGET TO COME TO IRELAND WHEN I’M THERE IN AUGUST. I’ll remind you!

You’re a great writer by the way.

Change is good. And although you’re coming at it from a truly unique perspective, where ‘settling down’ is a change, I think it is healthy and desirable to mix things up occasionally.

We’re not your typical full-time travelers. We’re too old to be gap-year backpackers and too young to be retired folks. We have, nonetheless, been on the road for an entire year now. We’re still well short of the five years you’ve logged, but our travels are different, and I think, more sustainable over a longer period.

We have a ‘home’; one that we take with us on our travels throughout North America. When we tire of sightseeing, and exploring, we have a familiar place to retreat to. When we head overseas, we plan to mix hostels and hotels with apartment rentals. When we burnout of jumping from place to place, we’ll ‘settle down’ in an apartment for a month or a maybe a year. Long enough to make a home out of someplace new, and reclaim the wanderlust that drives us toward someplace else.

There are plenty of ways to travel; and they all don’t necessitate having a pack strapped to your back all of the time. Change is good. But when change is the norm, sometimes you need a break from that too.

Congratulations, and good luck, on the upcoming trip, and the new life that awaits.

Brian

NomadicMatt

I have always tried to break from the norm. Who would have that my norm would be travel!

I can’t imagine how it feels to start to end a journey, having lost some of the thrill of travel, yet you’re still doing it for another year. I mean, a year is a long time for doing something you don’t got the knack so much anymore. But.. have a great last long travel :) I’ve been a fan of your website and will still be reading your posts :)

NomadicMatt

Well, there’s something liberating about knowing that after this, I’m going to settle down a bit. It brings a whole new perspective to the journey. I’m really excited..more so than I’ve been in awhile because I now feel like I am going on a trip again not just doing “living.” If that makes any sense!

Bravo.
This was beautiful, and I applaud you for the journey you’ve taken and the choice you are making. I’m glad we’ll get to you see your last journey for the next year.

NomadicMatt

Last LONG TERM journey. There’s more short term trips in my life!

Awesome man, I can’t believe you’ve been on the road for five years straight. That is an insanely long period of time!

Think about it, that’s like all of high school or college + 1 year. Think about how different you were, everything you experienced and how much you changed during those years.

Like others have said, life is all about change. Whether it’s leaving home to travel or leaving travel to come home, we all need to shake things up a bit.

Best of luck to you and enjoy that last trip of yours!

Great post, especially because you were willing to be so honest. It’s not easy to always be on the go, and having a place to call homes, with a community of friends/family, is certainly a positive addition to life. The wonderful thing is that in your line of work, you can keep traveling no matter where you choose to call home. I am really excited to see your posts about Eastern Europe!

NomadicMatt

I’ve very excited about Eastern Europe. I have been craving to go! Thanks for the well wishes.

Matt, this makes perfect sense. In my own travels I came to the same conclusion you did a few times – I resolved it by settling in one place for a while, Geneva for a few years, Bangkok for another few, so I did get the sedentary lifestyle and the gym and the morning coffee routine. Thing is, the travel bug always caught up and off I went…

I’ve been back from my travels for a few years now and have settled in France. I still travel a lot but I’m enjoying the things I couldn’t on the road – an actual home (windows and everything!), a dog, cats, a j-o-b… I still travel a lot but it’s for a few weeks rather than ongoing, and I find I have to cram everything into such little time – whereas before I could just drift, there was always tomorrow…

The great thing about life is that nothing is permanent. Today it’s your last major trip, tomorrow you settle down, and the day after tomorrow you…… :-)

NomadicMatt

You never know what the future will hold. Maybe the day after tomorrow I will find a girl and keep traveling forever. Then I’ll have to write a counter post to this!

Jon

A really interesting post – and a fundamental question that doesn’t get asked very much: can a person travel too much? Look forward to reading about your farewell tour.

NomadicMatt

I like to go against the grain! :)

Traveling for five years is very impressive but I don’t think anyone can blame you for wanting a little more stability.

I look forward to reading more about your new adventures.

I think after a while we all have that desire to put down roots somewhere, anywhere. I’ve often wondered how those who RTW or long-term travel deal with constantly putting down roots and then pulling them up again. Sounds like you’ve had enough. Congrats on making such a bold, brave move and I for one am looking forward to see where you future plans take you.

NomadicMatt

Thank you! Home comes to us all eventually I believe.

Enjoy every moment on your last long journey. Safe travels and I look forward to hearing about your adventures wherever you may land.

Cheers for knowing yourself well enough to know it’s time for something new.

Masha

Love this post! I’m from Lithuania so let me know if you have questions about what to see/do there!

Matt,

I can relate to what you are saying. I´ve been constantly living aboard since late 2005 – teaching, modeling, freelance photography and of course backpacking! I´ve spent most of the time doing solo travel and although it has/still is quite rewarding I´m finding myself more and more worn down at times. In fact, I´m just finishing up nearly 15 consecutive months of moving around from place to place roughly every 3 to 5 days. I hit the wall a couple of weeks ago in China where I´ve experienced more difficulties (language barrier, total lack of English, lack of tourist services for foreigners) than I have in most other countries I´ve visited and literally feel the absolute necessity to slow things down immediately. Tomorrow I´ll fly to Kuala Lumpur and SKIP my flight to Sumatra along with SKIPPING several other flights that would have landed me in Java and Bali over the next 6 weeks and instead head off to Bangkok, a city I´m familiar with and love, to settle down a bit over these last few weeks and get started on creating my own travel website, start a MatadurU writing and photography course and apply for another teaching position in Korea. I think you´ve hit the point where a change of pace and a new approach to the way you travel and live life sounds like the right decision. Amongst the longterm backpacking friends that i have ONLY one has done it longer than I have and he´s admitted he loves it to the point of wanting to do it constantly until he drops dead. I think for us mere mortals a change of pace after 5 or 6 years of longterm travel/expat living is something that is a welcome change. Best wishes and try to relish every moment of this last longterm trip you have planned!

NomadicMatt

I feel you. Sometimes you just need to stop and take a break. It’s hard to move every few days and I definitely think a battery recharge is in order. Have fun in Bangkok, it is one of my favorite cities in the world. Go to Cheap Charlies. It’s the best expat bar in Asia.

I’m listening to Sting’s Why should I Cry for You? and suddenly remembered checking your site. I wanted to read it again because I wanted to be inspired to finally do a long term travel and not just those small short summer trips or weekend trips. I’m on the road again and have met amazing people like every traveler has, but sometimes loneliness and that desire for something in the future kinda hits me. I love to travel but I don’t know if I can keep moving all the time. I know one day I’ll finally find home or find that something unknown that I’ve been looking for. At least I know now, even famous long term travelers like you do get worn out at times. I don’t know if I ever made a comment on your site before, but I have stumbled on it since 2009 I think and I’ve always been inspired by your writings. I know saying that is a cliche, but I just wanna thank you for sharing us your memories and stories. You may end your long term travel but your travel life and your stories will always be remembered Matt. =)

NomadicMatt

Well, I’m not going to stop traveling! I’m just going to be semi-nomadic! This isn’t the end of my stories, just a chapter in the novel!

PS- I’m going to check out that song!

I’m sure it took a lot of courage to first write this and then publish it. Kudos to you for that and all you’ve seen, accomplished, and experienced in these past five years. And with that, I guess all there’s left to say is- see you soon! :)

NomadicMatt

Well, now that you live in NYC, we can hang out more….I just need to get there first!

i wouldn’t say it’s the last long-term travel you’ll have – who knows what the future will bring? but i do agree – having a home is REALLY satisfying – and in a way, we have an even better time traveling because we do have a place to come home to. looking forward to reading of your next adventure!

You were never alone you were with all of us!

NomadicMatt

That’s a well put sentiment. Thank you for saying that!

Great post Matt. Was nice to meet up last week in NYC with you and hey perhaps if and when you settle on the Big Apple as home, we can do it once a week. Life is about change and I’m excited to see where this next chapter takes you in your life semi-Nomadicmatt.

Andrew

Matt, it’s been a good run. Pleased to have had the chance to meet you.

All the best in whatever you do. I know it will be awesome.

By the way, your parents are jumping for joy and doing cartwheels!

NomadicMatt

They are. They are. But then they asked why they had to find out from this blog post and I told them I actually told them way earlier. Parents…they just never listen! :)

True dat!

Again, all the best.

Good luck in settling down! Your family and friends is probably excited and waiting for your comeback=)

I’ve been thinking about the same thing every day. Have the same problem, you get bored saying all the time to strangers all your life in 5 sentences and not having your loved ones with you to spend time with. It is not easy to have no home. But I still love travel tho so think the same decision awaits me later on. Anyway, good luck, you never know what happens ;)

Well it will be 4 years for myself and I am looking into living different places around the world and move every 3 or 6 months.

Traveling can get boring. I am not bored because I have a lot going on in life, but moving from place to place is taking a toll on my health.

Happy trails

Good luck Matt! I’ve yet to take my first RTW trip and have been planning to do it since forever….Hope you enjoy Southeast Asia! Stay longer in Malaysia where I’m from :)

Safe travels,
Anis

In a way, I am happy to hear you say this. Many ‘nomadic’ bloggers out there seem to look down on people who choose a settled life and then travel when possible, but the truth is that many people, as you mentioned, crave familiar things and, of course, want to keep travel special. Maybe it would help if you did more living and working in one particular country over a space of say, one or two years, before moving on the next. Then it becomes a mix – travelling and ‘living’ at the same time. After all, it take years to properly see a country.

Good luck with everything

Hey Matt, I just wanted to say your blog is awesome! My favorite period. Informative, funny and I love to travel.

I’ve been sporadically checking in and reading your awesome articles over the past 3 years and I must say I’m a little sad to see you settling down but i TOTALLY understand. You’ll probably settle into a nice life for a few years and then get back out on the road with a solid nest to come home to. Just my guess.

Good luck on your last epic trip! And thanks for the great articles.

NomadicMatt

Thanks for the kind words Curtis! i may be settling down but don’t worry, there will be plenty of more travel stories to keep you entertained.

Awesome post. Just goes to show that even the best things in life need to have an ending point at one time or another-otherwise, it wouldn’t be the best thing in life. It would just be….well, life!
On the flip side, maybe you should just tell yourself about every 6 months that your nomadic lifestyle has an expiration date and then you can keep that urgent, excited mindset fresh ;)

NomadicMatt

hmmm a mental trick? That might work but I still want some aspects of a settled life!

All the best for one more year of adventure. I would say dont foreclose your options. You might feel differently at the end of the year. At least, your readers would wish so.
Cheers,
Samyak

NomadicMatt

I will never shut any doors! Who knows what will happen next year? I just very well might change my mind but right now this is how I feel and what I am aiming towards.

I had been enjoying my morning coffee while reading this wonderful experience. Now the day has turned into something wonderful and magical just for having read it.

Amber

Matt,
No one can blame you for yearning for “settled.” Your life has been crazy-on the go-incredibly inspiring! I wouldn’t call it taking a break at all, it’s just a new chapter. As many of the commentators above have pointed out, your self-awareness is noteworthy and deserving of much acknowledgement.

Enjoy this next year! I am disappointed that your journey will be winding down right as mine is beginning, but hey maybe I’ll capture some of your audience! ;)

Wishing you the best!
Amber

Daniel

Good luck Matt….. I look forward to hearing about your adventures wherever you may land.

The most important thing to do, Matt, is make yourself happy. It’s not like you will never travel again, maybe for a few days, or a few weeks, or maybe in 5 years from now, you will be tired of being ‘settled’ and hit the road again. What matters is that you are doing it all for yourself, and that is what is inspiring for me. Few people are really living the life that they choose, for only their own reasons, and you are one of them! Good luck, and regardless of where you are, I will keep reading!

NomadicMatt

Thanks Liz!

Can’t wait to hear about your adventures in Eastern Europe!

goodlcuk matt on your journey in life…. your blog is one of my inspiration why i started mine.. and im actually excited on where life will lead you after all these travels…

Matt,
I’ve very much enjoyed learning from your site and experience. I wish you well, whatever you choose to do mate.

NomadicMatt

Thanks Anthony!

Cam

The best part about a chapter ending is that a new one begins!
Best of luck amigo, I have no doubt you’ll excel where ever you land

NomadicMatt

Thanks! i hope so!

Michelle

This post is so inspiring! It makes me feel happy but sad at the same time. 6 years constantly on the road is incredible! I’m sure you’ll have as many exciting adventures wherever you choose to settle down as you will on the road. It’s the people, not always the places, that make life worthwhile :)

halfnine

get up in the morning, go to bed at night, and in between do what you want to do. Doesn’t matter whether that is travel, living in a foreign country, or raising a family in suburbia. As long as its filling the time with what you value, it’s all that matters. And, to that end, travel is only a small part in having a full life. There is a time and place for everything.

Amy

Hey Matt – Thank you for your post. I also spent many years traveling on my own around the world. But like you, there came a time (namely, when I found myself alone on yet another birthday) when I realized that I was tired of traveling solo, tired of the same conversations and ready to become part of a community. I have been living in the Northwest US for seven years now, and it has been a wonderful experience in more ways than I can count. But recently, much to my great surprise, my travel bug – in remission for so long – is coming back. Rather than throwing a backpack on my shoulders and taking off again, this time I am looking into ways that I can make my travel more meaningful. I’m not sure what that will be yet – maybe finding professional work in another country or going back to school for a degree in international development… we’ll see. But what I’m learning is that travel will always be a part of me and that what I thought was a stop was merely a long pause. So enjoy your pause! It’s wonderful having a home and friends and a second pair of pants. Have a great “last” trip – que le vaya bien.

NomadicMatt

Well, if you got the bug to head off again for a long trip, I don’t know what hope I have! I hope that I will have a long pause too. I’m not ending my travels, just changing how I travel. Then again maybe the long term travel bug will come back years from now. Good luck on your trip!

I got to this post late – lost in China, again – BUT was taken by it. I know what you say, as a long-term solo traveler. I only survive via my personal, insane nature – blame DNA, and my obsessive love of history and freedom wandering, and that I find nothing else as intense (as I’m yet to find love, a societal circle, etc).

Respect for knowing when change is needed in one’s life. Change is exciting; makes life exciting. Stay excited.

MRP | the candy trail … a nomad across the since 1988

Thank you sooo much for writing this post!!!

I have always known that I would one day travel in Latin America by land until I reached Peru.

Before I started traveling, I was so scared to travel alone I began to look for others who were already on the road and that is when I ran into your site.

You are one of the RTW travelers who really inspired me to stop planning my dream and just go for it to make it a reality!!

Well now, I have been traveling for almost a year and still have sooo much more I wanna see, but as I meet people who have been traveling alone for years and years I know that is not for me.

I can’t see myself always surrounded by friendly strangers everywhere I go for the rest of my life.

I rather enjoy spending time with my friends who know me sometimes even better than I know myself or with my family who will call me out when I’m wrong and have my back when I’m down.

As much as I love adventure and know I want to travel to many more countries, I am sure I will not be able to do long term travel the rest of my life, specially without someone special to share it with.

I will be going home soon and settling in for a while before I continue with my trip to Peru, I have only made it to Panama so far hahaha ;)

I really admire your courage to share your feelings with fellow RTW travelers who are either just starting like me or who have been doing it for years like you.

Bon Courage,

I’m very excited for you and can’t wait to see what you will be up to next!!

Matt,

I understand how you feel. Even with a family living with suitcases packed all the time can take its toll. My family and I traveled and lived in France, Belgium, Venezuela, Argentina, and Turkey during six years. Roots are important.

Having a partner to travel with is wonderful, but even then … it still gets lonely. I spent two years at sea on the Pacific Ocean with a person that I was more than happy to be cooped up with on a tiny sailboat. But the loneliness stemmed from meeting wonderful people and then having to inevitably go separate ways over and over again. There’s a constant feeling of loss.

And I totally hear you on the gym.

Kara

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”

I’m sure you’ve heard the all ;)

kiwigram

Yes, it is nice to have a place to call home, to have friends to meet at a restaurant, to go to the game with, have a house you can live in and call it home. I have traveled this world for nye on 40 years, but stability is necessary. It is the loneliness that ultimately gets to you.

NomadicMatt

I couldn’t agree more.

I really appreciate how you don’t ignore some of the less glamorous aspects of constant travel. Watching old friends buy houses, get married, have pets, etc. does get to me. I suppose maybe it’s a bit of ‘the grass is always greener.’ Great insight on this, and best of luck with whatever you do in the future.

NomadicMatt

Travel, like everything else, isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. (Though how awesome would it be if you could have a unicorn!? Just saying!)

elisabeth

i have read your website on and off for awhile now and as someone currently living in Europe i really admire the honesty of this post in particular. i am a teacher and am really torn right now between coming back another year and continuing my travels or finding someplace to actually settle for a little while. i haven’t done too much travelling alone but the few times i realized it has a way of making you feel very empowered but also a little lonely. its pretty awesome you have made it so long in the nomadic lifestyle.

izzy

Hi

Discovered your site a few weeks ago whilst browsing the net at work one afternoon. Very comprehensive guide to everything :)

Wanted to ask, I know these places havent featured anywhere in your site, but have you ever been to Iran, or Yemen. These are two places that have rally fascinated me, Or do you have any more info on any other Middle Eastern desitnations.

I’m not in a position to travel right now, and I know that there are poltical problems preventing people from travelling to this part of the world.

Good luck with your future plans.

NomadicMatt

I haven’t been anywhere in the Middle East yet.

Miaw

Hey very inspiring article to read, but i keep wondering what ways you use to make money when you travel?

Miaw

Hello i’ve checked every part of your blog, and found the answer, cheers, man! You are awesome!

Too much of anything is still too much… It’s still going to be interesting to follow your future adventures though, domestic or foreign :-)

Love this, Matt! I often feel that I’m pulled in two directions—one telling me to travel forever and the other whispering, “settle down!” Traveling with my long-term boyfriend, it certainly is nice to share that passion but also have an open mind about what our future may hold….perhaps a bit of settling and traveling, both. :)

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