What do you call yourself when people ask? Traveller, Housesitter, Nomad, Tourist? We constantly get asked what we are and without launching into a fifteen minute explanation always struggle to give an accurate concise answer. We get asked in all sorts of places and by all sorts of different people. Friends, family, acquaintances but more often complete strangers.
What is a Nomad?
The strapline on our blog is all about vagabonding,
‘the act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time and a deliberate way of living that makes freedom to travel possible’
It seems to sum exactly what our life is at the moment so I guess a vagabond is someone who ‘leaves behind the orderly world etc …‘. Unfortunately if you answer the ‘what do you do‘ question with ‘I’m a vagabond‘ it seems to confuse people and throw up a myriad of more involved questions. We do carry all of our possessions on our backs so that sort of makes us nomads doesn’t it?
What do our friends and family think?
Well we know what they think and that they understand our lifestyle but have no idea what they refer to us as. If someone asked them who we were and what we did I just don’t have a clue what they would say. Probably that we housesit and travel a bit, who knows? Perhaps they would call us irresponsible dropouts?
Actually we do have a few friends, and family members, who really don’t understand our lives and just ignore referring to it completely. Never ask where we’ve been or where we’re going. Don’t read the blog. Nothing. But I don’t think it’s for a sinister reason it is just that they don’t understand as it doesn’t fit in their stereotype of what a older couple like us should be doing.
Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis?
So we could perhaps call ourselves ‘Mid-life Crisisers‘ although just imagine the questions that would throw up! Perhaps it is a mid-life crisis and we just haven’t faced up to the fact and accepted it yet?
I just asked my eldest son what he calls us if people ask him and he immediately threw back a few suggestions
- Jobless vagrants
- Rudderless hippies
- Work-shy layabouts
Maybe a combination of all three? He’s obviously very very proud of us ………
Does it matter what we are called?
Of course not. We don’t need a name or title to describe what we do, that is actually one of the things we really love about our lives. The fact that it doesn’t fit the normal description and we don’t slot into any pigeon-hole. Someone on Twitter recently mentioned that we were Baby Boomers. Now I’ve heard of the expression but I think it’s more American than English as they seem to really like being part of a group.
Apparently we can all be labelled as part of one of these groups.
The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (73-90 years old)
Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (54-72 years old)
Generation X: Born 1965-1980 (38-53 years old)
Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (22-37 years old)
Post-Millennials: Born 1997-Present (0-21 years old)
(Thanks to Matt at Matts Road Trip for this info).
Didn’t really know I was a Baby Boomer until a couple of days ago but it hasn’t changed my life and it definitely won’t be what I tell people when they ask what I am.
Who are these people that keep asking?
Good question. Well it’s pretty much everyone that we meet to be honest. My most recent was the lady in Specsavers as she gave me an eye test, just being polite and asking if I had a day off work or was on holiday. Then there was the barber last week doing the same thing. Guy behind the bar in Salisbury and the countless dog-walkers we meet when walking our housesitting pooches.
Most of them are just being polite and engaging in a little smalltalk but as soon as we say ‘we’re not really from anywhere‘ and ‘we don’t have a home‘ then always turns into a more serious conversation. It just makes everyone stop and think as it’s not normal (perhaps we should just say ‘we aren’t normal‘).
So what do we say?
I always try and explain that we spend a third of our life travelling, a third housesitting, and a third doing volunteering work but that often doesn’t sufficiently answer their question. If we’re not in the mood for a long chat or in a hurry we often just say that we are fulltime housesitters but that really isn’t true as we housesit less than 50% of our time. It does seem to satisfy peoples curiosity sometimes though and end the conversation.
What do other ‘travelling types’ call themselves?
I asked around on social media recently and had some fascinating replies (assuming not all of them are one hundred percent serious);
- HH Lifestyle Travel – I just say I’m a freelance writer – it’s easier that way!
- Budget Bucket List – I’m both a gypsy and refugee of routine. Also the title travelblogger helps, tends to fill people with awe and amazement. Apparently it sounds glamorous, but it really isn’t.
- Roaming Required – I have Life Experiencer on my business cards.
- Andrew Murray – Tell them we have an outback travel website covering outback destinations and product reviews.
- MattsRoadTrip – I tell people I’m in construction.
- The Danish Nomads – Full-time adventurers and when people then ask what we actually do, we just say: “whatever we want!”
- Sonia Milano – I’m not full time yet but working on it , however I just find it strange people still don’t know what bloggers do.
- Hoblets On The Go – Arms dealer – usually ends the conversation quickly with most or gets you into a more interesting discussion at least.
- Matt and Heather – Us: we travel fulltime.
- Angie Orth – Sometimes I just say I’m a dentist. Then I don’t have to explain how I make money.
- Deah – We just say we are full-time vagabonders.
- Disadvantaged Journey – Nomadic vandwellers.
- Summer | Greetings – I say I’m a full-time travelling content creator.
- Andy travelingman – Lucky.
Interesting huh? Particularly like the phrase ‘a refugee from routine’. That works so well and is perfect, so much so that we may have to get some t-shirts and coasters with it on now.
Are you a Nomad?
We’d be so interested to know what you call yourselves if you are part of this travelling, non-routine world too? Do you have a stock phrase that you use or maybe just tell a great big lie to get out of answering properly? I really hate saying that we are housesitters because that implies it is all that we do when our lives are so much more.
We may need some serious help or even therapy to truly answer this question. What do you think? What are we? What are you?