Since Dan and I became digital nomads, we’ve had a lot of friends and family ask us, “Do you feel like you’re just on vacation all the time?”
And although we’re traveling and moving from place to place every couple of months, the fact is that we have much of the same daily routine that we did when we lived in one place.
Vacation vs. Full-Time Travel
On a vacation, we’d likely spend full days on the beach, eating out for every meal, not working, and participating in many group tours and adventure excursions.
We’d also be spending much more money than we normally would in the same amount of time at home. Why? Because there’s a limited amount of time to see and experience everything at a vacation destination.
Since traveling full-time is our lifestyle though, we can’t afford to not work, to do group tours and excursions in every single city we visit and eat out every day of the year!
Traveling slow (via house sitting in one place for at least a month or two) allows us to experience life as a local. And because we’re living in these places, not just vacationing there for a short amount of time, we actually maintain a pretty ‘normal’ lifestyle.
We Still Work
Yes, we work from home and for ourselves now, but Dan and I still work around 40 hours a week, sometimes more. We’re inside the house during the majority of the day, Monday-Friday, working, not exploring.
We Still Cook At Home
The great thing about using house sitting as a means of a nomadic lifestyle is that you’re staying in actual houses with fully furnished kitchens! This allows us to do lots of cooking during our stay. Dan is at the grocery store at least twice per week and the majority of our meals are made at home.
In fact, one of the kitchen items we brought with us on our house sitting journey is one of our favorite wedding gifts (thanks Grandma!), our Vitamix, which we just can’t live without, because we make smoothies almost every day 🙂 (Click here to see the one we use)
Don’t get me wrong. There is a SERIOUS temptation when you’re traveling to new places with wanting to try every restaurant and bar you come across in town. And I’m definitely not saying we’re perfect with this!
We have a new rule that if we’re going to eat out, it’s going to be somewhere local and somewhere we haven’t tried yet. We try to keep it limited to about once per week, for our budget’s sake though!
Speaking of Our Budget…
As a digital nomad, it can also be really tempting to spend all your money on activities – sight-seeing, tours, etc. We budget a certain amount of money every month for exploring.
When we get to a house sit in a new city, we start doing our research on the activities and sights we want to see while we’re in the area.
Then, we make a list of the top things that really catch our eye and we want to make sure we do. That way we can be sure to fit them (or most of them) in our budget during the time we’ll be in the area.
We INSIST On Our Miracle Morning
One final routine that Dan and I keep consistent even while traveling full-time is doing our morning routines. For those of you who haven’t heard of Miracle Morning, check it out here. It’s a game changer!
In a nutshell, it’s taking time for YOU first thing in the morning: before checking emails, before getting ready for work, before whatever craziness the day brings.
A morning routine might include daily affirmations, personal development reading, some sort of exercise, journaling, etc. Oh, and don’t forget that morning coffee by the fire (the newest addition to my Miracle Morning)!
Your morning routine can be whatever you want it to be, whatever makes you happy, but just making sure that you’re putting yourself first and setting the tone and your intentions for the day.
Why is routine so important?
I read this article recently that gave many explanations as to why sticking to a routine is so important to us as humans.
- You’re no longer confronting the unknown.
- You’re confirming a decision you’ve already made.
- Our habits create our mood.
- It gives us a feeling of purpose.
I can completely relate with these explanations, particularly how routines provide a purpose and can make us feel accomplished since our actions confirm decisions that you’ve already made.
That at-home feeling
You know how at the end of a vacation, you sometimes have that itch to get back home, get back into your own bed, your schedule, etc?
In the 9 months we’ve been full-time house sitters and digital nomads, we’ve never had that feeling. Why? Because we aren’t on vacation, not really.
We’re living our normal daily lives inside our house sits, and we have our daily routines that help us feel like we’re at ‘home!’ We just so happen to change the city we’re in every few months 😉
Of course, staying dedicated to a routine can be hard enough when you’re living environment is stable and predictable, let alone when it changes every couple of months.
Admittedly, staying on track is more difficult when you’re on the road. There is a lot more change happening with your environment than there would be if you were just living in one place.
However, being on the road can easily just become an excuse not to stick with a routine.
Trust me, we’ve let less than desirable homes and bad house sitting experiences (eh hmmm….scorpions) become excuses for eating out more or not doing our morning routines, etc.
It’s also taken us a while to get into the habit of making sure we’re completely settled into our house sits within the first few days (or the first week at the latest) so that we can get back on track with our daily routines and into our groove!
Bottom line: our daily routines make us feel like we’re ‘at home’ and we like that!
In a Nutshell
Dan and I feel most nomadic and like we’re on a vacation when we’re traveling from one house sit to another. This is time we usually spend at different hotels or Airbnbs every night and we’re traveling fast like you might on a road trip vacation.
Overall though, when we were in Durango for four months, it just felt like we had moved there. We were in Phoenix for three and a half months, and it felt the same.
We’re currently in the middle of a two-month house sit, which is a little shorter, but even just three weeks into it, it still feels like we’ve just moved here, albeit temporarily.
Our next house sit is a three-week gig just north of Austin, TX, which will be our shortest house sit thus far. I’m interested to see if it’ll feel more like a vacation vs. feeling like we just moved there.
We’ll definitely keep you updated on that! We plan on doing a full review/reflection of our 2017 house sitting experience on our blog and podcast at the end of this year, so stay tuned!
Did you find this surprising? Are you a digital nomad yourself? If you have had a similar experience or maybe a completely different one, we’d love to hear it! Please let us know in the comments below!
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