Where is No Man’s Land?
Whether you are an expat, a digital nomad, a location independent entrepreneur or simply someone working or studying abroad, as soon as you choose to leave your home and start living in various locations all over the world you will find yourself in a state of limbo. You don’t really feel you belong in this new land and after being away from your original home you don’t entirely belong in your previous land either. It often feels like you’re living in No Man’s land. It’s not that the land or territory where you live doesn’t belong to anyone, it’s that you don’t belong to any land.
You do set up a new home for yourself in a new land but with the idea that it’s temporary and never really putting down any permanent roots. For most people putting down permanent roots means; turning a house into a comfortable home, buying property, investing in long-term commitments and creating dependable social connections. If you don’t do these things you don’t entirely integrate or put down roots according to most society’s norms.
Do Global Nomads want roots?
Because a global nomad lives in no man’s land and has no roots there’s no need to uproot, you can easily move on to the next destination. As soon as the restlessness of a nomad starts setting in, they can pick up and go with little preparation needed.
The big question is, how long will you manage to live in No Man’s Land? Isn’t it human nature to want to settle and procreate? Can you procreate without roots?
A lot of young people travel and wander around the world. Don’t they eventually settle when the biological clock starts ticking and when travelling starts to tire? Not necessarily. Some people like living in No Man’s Land. Others like living abroad temporarily and head back ‘home’ to put down roots when they feel its time. And some really like their new ‘home’ in their life abroad and turn this is into a permanent home.
A permanent life in No Man’s Land
When you choose to permanently live in No Man’s Land, you will always feel like No Man’s People. This is something not everyone can deal with. Most people want to settle into a new place and make new friends. If you continually move from place to place like a true nomad it is very difficult to maintain these new relationships. The advantage however of moving around is that if you’ve travelled enough you will have friends all over the world. The downside of this, is you don’t have enough time or funds to maintain these friendships.
If restlessness dominates your life and you need to keep travelling you will have to acknowledge and accept the fact that you will always feel like you’re in No Man’s Land and that every new place of dwelling is a temporary one which means friendships are temporary too. Before each move, you will have to make up the balance and decide if this is what you truly want.
Can you have it all?
Yes! It is definitely possible to have a nomadic lifestyle and maintain close relationships and friendships. For instance, if you find a partner with a similar mindset you can have a more permanent relationship and give in to your restlessness. You can even have an entire family on the road. This might be a bit of a ‘Nomad Myth’ but these days it is possible.
Just make sure you know what you want, are aware of the pros and cons and that your partner and you are on the same page. Constant and clear communication is key in this situation. Since your land keeps changing your only permanent community is your partner so you’d better make sure you’re both running the community in the way each of you desires.
Global Nomad Friendships
Long-time friendships back ‘home’ might seem to fade once you’ve started travelling, but your true friends will always remain. True friendships are not about the amount of time you spend with them but about the intensity of the connection. Someone who gets you and who you’ve shared special moments with will still offer the same quality of friendship even when you spend less time together.
New friendships made along your Global Nomad journey are often short and temporary. But the connection you feel with someone who has a similar mindset and understands your life choices can become even more valuable than the connection with the people back ‘home’ who don’t experience you in your new world. The length of a friendship does not determine the depth. These short-term friendships might not live up to the standards friendships are often held by, but maybe we need a new definition for friendship in our globalizing world.
In the end, the good news is that even if you ‘Live in No Man’s Land’ you can still have lasting friendships and lasting relationships. Even if they hold to different standards than the world in which permanent roots are valued.