We’re approaching the ten-year anniversary of our nomadic lives. Time to reflect, to stop and take stock. Maybe that’s why I came across Mitch Glass’s interview with Nora Dunn (The Professional Hobo). It’s certainly why I answered his questions myself. The photos? Random pics from ten years of travel.
How long have you been travelling?
Forever, in my head. When I was 26, I went off for one year, which became two. I went back to England when the money ran out, but moved almost immediately to Amsterdam, to earn for the next trip. The travel bug had bitten. Life got in the way for a few years, but for ten years now I’ve been a wanderer, combining house-sitting and independent travel, continuously on the move.
Where have you travelled?
I’m not one to count countries. Not as many places as I’d like. The list only gets longer, never shorter.
What was life like before you hit the road?
Good. I loved my work and I worked hard (I was a shiatsu/foot-reflexology therapist) but had a good work/life balance. I travelled a fair bit – short trips and a month away around Christmas and I spent a lot of time in nature, which gave me space.
What inspired you to start your life of travel?
I didn’t start travelling because there was anything wrong in my life. I did it because there’s so much world out there to experience.
What struggles did you face when you decided to leave the security of your old life behind?
The idea of being homeless/rootless scared me. I needed a base. I had a bit of money – not enough to travel indefinitely – but Jim did. He offered to share, and although we’d lived together for years, the thought threw me into a tailspin. It felt like I was giving up my independence. I couldn’t believe that someone would do such a thing for me, and struggled to believe, let alone accept it.
How did you overcome those struggles?
I worked on myself. I learned to lean. I realised it’s not always necessary to stand tall and go it alone. We’re a team, and we support each other. On a practical level, for the first few years we paid my mum rent for a small room in her bungalow. This was another form of support. An anchor. A place that was always there for us and that helped me feel less adrift.
How do you support yourself financially?
How has life changed since you quit your ‘normal’ job?
I have the luxury of time. Mine is an existence without clocks and watches. I hardly know what day of the week it is. I no longer feel the need to ‘fit things in’. There’s no bucket list. I accept I’ll never do it all. Instead I prioritise. I choose what’s important to me. Funny, the more time I have, the more I seem to need.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
To learn to let go. Not of stuff. But of old ideas and patterns. The idea that I wasn’t worth it. The idea that I should stick with what I’d got. (‘Don’t rock the boat’). To get out of my head and into my gut.
What do you know now, that you wish you’d known when you started your adventure?
That I’m OK. I have confidence in myself now. Not the big, brash shout-out-loud kind of confidence; it’s a quiet kind of confidence. I know I will do my best to deal with whatever comes my way.
Anything you would’ve done differently?
No, everything happens for a reason.
What’s the biggest life lesson that travel has taught you?
Trust. Have faith that it’ll work out. Now, I no longer need the lifeline of a room at my mum’s. People ask ‘How do you live without a home?’ but I don’t feel insecure. I feel connected to the whole. Now I recognise my own strength, and this combined with a feeling of trust (in the universe for want of a better expression) keeps me grounded. I don’t feel invincible, but I do feel strong.
What one piece of advice would you give those wanting to leave behind the 9 to 5?
Think about it. Think about what you want to get out of it, and do your groundwork. There are many ways to leave the 9 to 5 behind, work out which one will be best for you. And remember nothing is set in stone. You’ll become flexible, learn to tweak. What you start out with may not be what you end up with.
You can see the original interview here: https://www.projectuntethered.com/the-professional-hobo-escape-the-rat-race/?fbclid=IwAR3m6hmwhV-hB64B3TXmO56fiPdUnGjjW7gB4dHQm4f65o7d57cbsY0aNYY