Revealing Reality by Considering the Context

A few hours after arriving in the United States, I tried recording a short video to capture the strange feelings and emotions that I was experiencing, but my thoughts felt too incomplete and scattered. Now that I've had two weeks to process everything, I feel like I can articulate what's going on a little better.

On my last day in India I was taking a taxi to the airport when I felt the driver suddenly tap the brakes. I looked out the front window to find a seven-foot bull strolling up the highway into oncoming traffic.

The cars were all traveling at high speeds but they barely slowed down and instead just swerved around the giant creature. It was as if they were simply avoiding a pothole. That's when I realized that I wasn't even surprised by what I had seen. Continue reading

9 Nomadic Principles for Everyday Life

Flowers in the Himalayan Mountains

As the speed of my life comes to a screeching halt in the United States, I find myself desperately searching for something of my nomadic lifestyle to hold onto -- some way to apply what I've learned without traveling.

I wrote these nine nomadic principles as a way to remind myself how to stay nomadic even when I'm not moving around -- a way to keep that freedom alive inside regardless of how limited I might be location-wise.

You don't need to be a nomad to apply these lessons and they're just as relevant for a non-traveler as they are for someone who spends their life roaming the planet.

1. Embrace change

Change is the only constant in the universe. If your life is full of routines, it can be extremely easy to forget how natural it is for things to change unexpectedly. Change is normal. Resisting this universal constant guarantees you will encounter stress when things don't go according to plan. Continue reading

The Entire World Is Knocking At My Door

As I flip through one of the four airplane magazines from the seat pocket in front of me, I catch myself staring at a tropical beach photo -- you know, the one's you see in travel magazines that have a dozen or so straw umbrellas hovering over lounge chairs, nestled on a beautiful sandy beach overlooking a blue-green ocean.

Suddenly, I realize that I now have the freedom to go to those places. I no longer have to dream about them like everybody else.

It was an exhilarating feeling of absolute adventure -- sort of like what you feel on day one of a two-week vacation, only amplified to encompass an entire lifetime.

I'm writing this post from a WiFi lounge in London's Heathrow airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Bangalore, India. A few short months ago, I never could have imagined myself being here in London.

Now here I am, sitting among dozens of fellow travelers -- some traveling for work, some for pleasure, and perhaps even some nomadic travelers like myself, headed to an unfamiliar place on a mission to rediscover themselves.

The twenty-three hour journey to India is giving me plenty of time to think about the impact this lifestyle change is going to have on my life. Every time I look around the airport and realize that I'm not traveling for work or vacation like most of the people around me, I get this twisted feeling in my stomach when I realize that this freedom is my life now.

The entire world is knocking at my door and nothing can stop me from greeting it.

I'm living the dream I've had since I was thirteen.

I'm a world traveling, nomadic explorer!

When you've got a calling -- when every ounce of your existence is telling you to do something -- there comes a point where you can no longer ignore it. I reached that point where I simply couldn't put this off any longer. Holding it back -- holding it all inside -- was beginning to destroy me. It felt as though my entire life was being slowly extinguished.

But the transition up to this point wasn't easy.

I left a secure job with great coworkers, got rid of my only means of transportation, and reduced my physical possessions further than I thought possible. With no travel experience outside the United States, I'm now on my way to the opposite side of the planet toting just a single backpack and the clothes on my back.

The most difficult part of this transition, however, has been the emotional impact its had on those I love. Nobody likes to intentionally inflict pain on others -- even if it's indirect and will result in your own eventual happiness. It still feels wrong.

When I have tough decisions to make -- when I'm feeling certain conflicts inside -- I don't resort to emotional decisions. I rely on what my morals and my instincts tell me is right and wrong. Sometimes things work out for the better. Sometimes they don't. But whatever happens, I always know that my actions were based on decisions that were made by being true to myself; by being honest with myself.

Being honest and true to myself is very important to me.

What good are we as human beings if we cannot even be honest and true to ourselves? If we cannot even trust our own instinct or listen to our inner calling, what right do we have to exist?

There's only one person who's going to change your life for the better. There's only one person who is really going to make you happy. There's only one person who will make you free.

That person is you.

You cannot rely or depend on anyone but yourself. You have to trust yourself to handle any situation that gets thrown at you. You will handle it. You might make the wrong choices and you might fail miserably, but you'll handle it. And when you come out the other side, you will have learned something. You will have grown. You will have improved.

You have to be ready to accept failure. You have to accept that you don't know a damn thing.

The only way you're going to learn is by failing. Over and over and over. Accept that and suddenly you have no limits. Suddenly there is nothing stopping you from doing what you love. Suddenly the impossible seems doable. Suddenly life has more meaning. Suddenly you are the owner of your happiness.

Travel Update: Be sure to check out The Plan: 6 Months, 3 Countries, and $3,000.

Why India? Choosing the First Destination for my Nomadic Journey

When the news began spreading that I would be making a huge lifestyle transition and traveling the world, everybody I met drilled me with questions about where I was going. My answer was always the same: I told them that I hadn't yet decided but that I was open to going almost anywhere.

To my surprise, a large number of people began inviting me to stay with their relatives or friends in various countries around the world. When I realized how valuable such invitations would be on my journey, I began making a list. This list now includes places like India, Nepal, Taiwan, Australia, Ireland, Portugal, and South Africa!

The news reached a good friend of the family, Harish Hande, who was born in Bangalore, India and who travels there frequently for work. When he heard of my plans to become a nomadic world traveler, he offered to help me begin my journey by introducing me to some of his friends in Bangalore and giving me a place to stay for a few weeks.

I had originally planned to begin my journey by picking a random destination and finding places to stay using However, having a guaranteed place to stay and being introduced to trusted friends is a hard opportunity to pass up. Besides, India appealed to me for several reasons.

Nearly 25 years ago, as a 3 year old boy, I visited northern India with my parents. Since then, I haven't been to any other country (besides Canada, which all natural born citizens of the United States know doesn't count). Returning to the place that I visited as a child feels somewhat like a rebirth; like I’m continuing where I left off; like I'm getting off a detour and returning to the original path.

Even my name, Raam Dev, is of Indian origin and, despite the fact that my blood is almost as white as it could get, I grew up with traditions very similar to those of the Indian culture: We ate and slept on the floor, our home had no furniture and no television, we were strict vegetarian (no meat, fish, or poultry), and we meditated and chanted mantras daily.

So, of all the different cultures around the world, the Indian culture will probably be the easiest for me adjust to. I certainly plan to submerge myself in other, less familiar cultures, but India seems like a great place to begin my journey.

I'm sure much of what I think I know about India is wrong or misconstrued, but that's why I'm going there with an open mind. I'm not going there with a know-it-all mentality but rather with the expectation that I will learn and experience more than I am even capable of comprehending at this moment.

Trip Date Confirmed; Inner Turmoil Found

This is big.

My feet will be on the opposite side of the planet two weeks from now.

Barring any unforeseen problems, I will board an airplane on the evening of March 13th, 2010 and arrive in Bangalore, India on the morning of March 15th, 2010.

My lifelong dream of becoming a nomadic explorer will finally come to fruition.

How will this experience change who I am? What will I discover about myself? Where will the journey take me? Will this be the start of a lifelong love for travel? Will I ever settle down?

As I prepare to throw myself into the deep end of the unknown, with no solid plans and with very little idea what to expect, these are some of the questions I find myself asking. I don't know what I will find, or for that matter what I'm even looking for, but I know that my internal compass is telling me that this is what I must do. Continue reading

What the hell am I doing?

Today marks the first day in ten years that I am without my own place. When I moved out of my parents house at the age of 17, my dreams of traveling the world and living a nomadic lifestyle were quickly confronted by real-world challenges.

Eight apartments, three houses, five jobs, seven cars, and one bankruptcy later and now I'm back to owning almost nothing, with plenty of real-world mistakes under my belt. However, thanks to my unwavering stubbornness I never lost sight of those dreams; I never gave up believing they were possible. I always knew it was not a matter of "if" but a matter of "when".

I knew this point in my life would come eventually, but I never took the initiative to decide when things would start changing. Now, after taking those first steps early last month, I'm on track to becoming a nomadic world traveler and living my lifelong dream. Continue reading

An Invitation to Follow my Lifestyle Transition

Traveling the world and exploring new places and new cultures has been a lifelong dream of mine. As a teenager, I fantasized about trekking through the jungles of South America and island hopping in the South Pacific. I dreamt of sailing on the ocean for weeks or months at a time, only returning to shore for supplies.

Now, a few months shy of my 28th birthday, I’m in the process of transitioning to that nomadic, location independent lifestyle that I have always dreamed of. I’m setting down my foot (actually, quite the opposite), taking action, and creating my dreams, rather than sitting back and waiting for them to happen (because if I do that, they probably never will). Continue reading