The 11 pitfalls of life on the road

A few months ago I came across a new term that describes the lifestyle I’ve lead since 2001 rather well; location independence. I’ve since been hearing it everywhere and realized it’s something a lot of people dream of. Before you set about making that dream reality, please allow me to elaborate on what it’s really like.


11. Failure is NOT an option

As you have no skills or resume to fall back on. Your childhood friends are lawyers, accountants and managers in stable careers. They’re all gainfully employed in professions that equipped them with marketable skills other employers are willing to compensate them for performing were they to lose their current job. Yes, most of them hate their job and complain about it.

Yet it gives them a sense of purpose you as a perpetual globetrotter will never have!

More importantly, it gives them options. That’s another luxury you’ll never have. In your quest for adventure you’ve been left with precious little to whore out/market on your resume. Your only hope is you! Failure means having to crawl back to the cave you came from, starting all over at the bottom of the hierarchy with the added insult of being ten or twenty years older than the people you’ll be working next to at the assembly line. You’re fully aware of this and it leads to constant worrying, bouts of depression and even erratic behavior for those not mentally strong enough to deal with it.


10. Addiction to the road

This traveladdictionlifestyle is addictive as you’re searching for something that doesn’t exist; the place where you’ll be content and settle down. Since it doesn’t exist, yet you keep believing it does and that you may one day stumble upon it by traveling, you keep searching. This search is your addiction.

The search will never end and each time you find yourself enjoying a city or country just a little too much, you pack your bags and hit the road in search of something even better. I used to think this was just me but lately I’ve come to recognize this trait in everyone who’ve been on the road for a few years.

Since 2001 I’ve never spent more than 3 months in one location

When I lived in Australia I’d fly four times a year around the world or to Asia to spend half the year away. When I lived in Thailand I’d travel to other cities and neighboring countries almost every week. In the heat of the moment this is exciting, fun and spontaneous. Digg a little deeper and you’ll realize you can’t stop this behavior. The road is indeed addictive and you’ll grow restless when you ain’t on it!


9. New friends are not real friends

Over the years you accumulate acquaintances from all corners of the globe. The problem is, almost all of them will remain just that, mere acquaintances. None of them will front you money for hospital bills were you to have a serious accident. Few would stick up for you in a fight. All but maybe one or two will leave you in the lion’s den if there’s even an inkling of a chance they themselves may break a nail attempting to pull you out. I was nearly killed once in front of 3 ‘friends’ sitting on chairs two meters away watching.

There are exceptions. I’ve made some quality pals over the years but also lost quite a few fake ones. Childhood friends will likely always be there for each-other. Adult friends often won’t. The problem is, there’s no way for you to ascertain who will and who won’t be there for you. As if that wasn’t enough, once you’ve lost a couple of good ones you find yourself not opening up to new people for fear of them at some future stage turning against you.


8. Old friends don’t know who you are

Your old, and hence real, childhood friends you only see sporadically every 2-3 years, have no idea who you are anymore. The life you lead is so outlandish, so outside the mainstream 9-5 box they’ve been moulded into over the decades, you might as well be a citizen from the planet Mars.

They don’t know you anymore and you sure as hell don’t know them

You’re worlds apart, both literally and figuratively speaking. They can’t relate to you and you can’t relate to them. The only one to blame for this is you. The truth of the matter is, since you yourself don’t know where you’re going, what you’re really doing or what you want, not even you know who you are.

  • PeteyBrian

    Great write up! Many people who have the ability and means to live the location independent lifestyle – don’t even have passports!

    Interesting – this lifestyle has no mortgage payments, HOA condo dues, property taxes, car payments, homeowner and auto insurance, gardening equipment or fees, home and car maintenance, excessive possessions, etc. What a relief!

    I also think there are hybrids of this lifestyle which could include a permanent home base and a few quality friends who can keep you company on select trips – which might be more palatable for some. And less lonely.

    One day, you could run into a super hot, intelligent, location independent woman, and…

    • Harald Baldr

      Women are by nature location dependent creatures of habit. I doubt it.

      • Alicia Lima

        ohh well I’m woman who is living location independent for the last 3 years and 8 months! so let’s say “Women are by nature location dependent creatures of habit” is ALSO a stereotype! And I DO also face almost all of the points listed here, just that I do drink too much 😉 Great post!

      • Eeva Siivonen

        I think your comment is repulsive and inaccurate stereotyping of women. The article has these similar undertones which I don´t appreciate at all. This idiotic article was obviously written for someone like you instead of someone like me (I´m a happily independent woman without any interest in any stable lifestyle, have been traveling and living in different places for over 10 years). Also, being on the road has not prevented me from having meaningful relationships and finding true friends – what I´ve learned a lot about is how to respect and value someone else´s freedom and independence the way that I value my own – instead of trying to selfishly tie people down through “stability” and “commitment” – something that also men have tried to do for as long as I can remember. The inability to deal with the lack of security and stability is a human trait, and each individual is different. Making it about gender is just ignorant. Also, in my opinion and experience, having a stable lifestyle versus being a nomad has nothing to do with the ability to genuinely connect with other people – sometimes the connections you make on the road become deeper and more meaningful exactly BECAUSE they lack the illusions of permanence and stability and those friendships are based on actual sharing of experiences instead of filling a selfish need for safety and stability. If this article feels accurate, and the only way to maintain a nomadic lifestyle is by having only superficial and meaningless relationships with other people, I genuinely feel sorry for you people.

        • Harald Baldr

          “This idiotic article was obviously written for your “bros”, not for someone like me”

          – No shit Sherlock! This is a Men’s Magazine not a feminazi hangout for sexually frustrated Finns.

          PS! Can anything a man says these days NOT be sexist?

          • Eeva Siivonen


        • Rebecca Taylor

          I also felt like this article was targeted at a male audience and didn’t feel like it spoke to me.

          • Harald Baldr

            That’s because it is. I write about investing, girls and travels for men

          • vimsekopp

            I felt like this article was targeted at a moronic audience and didn’t feel like it spoke to me.

          • Harald Baldr

            I feel you’re a moronic commenter as you’re simply repeating what the person above you wrote without using quotation marks. Besides as previously stated, this is a Men’s Magazine. You reading and commenting, now thats “moronic”.

          • vimsekopp

            I commented the wrong article. Me moron. This article was interesting though. But seriously… You don’t know how to use make quotation marks.

          • Harald Baldr

            Teach me oh great wise one 😉

          • dean moriarty

            Any tips on how to make some money?

        • PeteyBrian

          I’ve traveled nearly 4 years straight location independently in my 30’s with a 20 square meter storage unit for my possessions. In my experience, it’s been very easy to meet lots of people when traveling as I have an outgoing personality.

          I’ve personally found it very hard to screen people however and even harder doing that when you’re on the road. Bullshit abounds! I’ve come across sociopaths, people of questionable character, and people who I would later despise – and those are the people from my home country! Lol!

          Thanks to social networks – I feel as though I’m still in touch with the good ones. Even though people move on to bigger and better things and places, we can still meet again in the future should opportunities arise.

  • Great blog brother

    • Harald Baldr

      Thank you 🙂

  • Maria

    You seem not to travel enough then. Most women living like this are not really much online existent – their life is too exciting for it. 😉 Greetings from a so called “location independent digital nomad” (even though working for a company which makes me not a true DN) woman. 😀

    • I’d say that qualifies you ( working for a company) 😉

  • Bunty

    Good points about hardships, and i sincerely appreciate the hard truths; but you’re doing a disservice to anyone who likes to explore sexual desires with women, including yourself. The kind of content you’re writing is borderline hate-speech against women and doesn’t create a safe/comfortable atmosphere for newbies to try out the location independent lifestyle at all.

    “PS! Can anything a man says these days NOT be sexist?” – Yes, but most of your gender views are, indeed, sexist. I’m not telling you not to be – I’m just saying you should get real. Own being a sexist and stand by your content at the minimum if you’re prideful of your words.

    p.s. If you’re going to call me a “feminazi,” you’re only strengthening my case.

    You write well, have insight, and can be a great resource to so many (well, only 1/2 the population at least) but your knowledge is wasted by being kind of a dick in how you write/view women.

    • Quote me something sexist or ‘bordeline hate-speech’ I’ve written then and let us analyze…

    • Vendetta

      Oh shut up Bunty – go and read Jezebel.

  • Archeewena

    I like your youtube channel and now I found this web, it’s very interesting. Btw.I’m sure you know who I’m – I also like secrets 😉 maybe you can uncover just one

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