Are you a Nomad?

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 ………

JWalking Nomads

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.

“What are you?”

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?


Are you a nomad?


    • It doesn’t work for everyone. I think you both have to be completely in synch for it to work properly. We’re lucky that we both feel exactly the same.


  1. There’s no shortage of you guys out there, doing what you want to do. That seems to me to be a modern day type of luxury, because who would have thought, back in the day, that it would be a workable possibility? 🙂 🙂 Funnily enough, I’m a Baby Boomer too, though I’ve never thought of myself in that light or even had a clue what it meant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the whole Baby Boomer tag is very American, it’s a hug deal over there and they love to label themselves. Our type of life would never have been possible years ago unless you were really wealthy, I guess the web and transport now make it all so much easier.


  2. An interesting point! In today’s society we have this need to label everything, (which is getting completely out of hand) something that I come across frequently in teaching. I find it makes people’s lives easier giving them ‘an excuse’ or ‘reason’ for how thy are. You are simply enjoying life to the full, the only label you need is attached to your bag.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the bag analogy, I may use that. You’re so right about labels as everyone seemed obsessed with pigeon-holing everybody else these days. You have to fit into one group or another or they don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s plenty of Grey Nomads, or just Nomads living the dream here in Oz, and plenty who would like to be. – me included. But as you say you both have to be in tune with it. I found it easier to be full time on the road without a home than to have a few months away each year. It’s much easier to travel knowing you don’t own a garden in which the weeds are going to party in your Oz now ‘nomading’ and living the transient lifestyle is quite acceptable. It’s getting more and more common to see young families doing the same with home schooling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so important that you both want the same things, I can’t imagine how difficult it would be if one of you wasn’t keen. Very tough. Nicer in some way down under as your weather is so much better which makes it easier for the Grey Nomads in their campers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I’d just say ‘Yes’ to the the first question I was asked and leave it at that. I’ve never had to describe how you guys live but I’d go with gallivanters: someone who goes off or travels around in search of amusement, fun or adventure.You could go with peripatetics but it would take longer to explain the word than it would what you actually do!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jo and Jonno! A great question – no idea how to answer it either – and I still wonder what our kids really think of us as we head into our 7th year as homeless vagrants – although I like ‘adventurers’. I do think we have chosen the ultimate freedom and don’t regret a thing. Right now we are planning our next getaway after our wonderful and extended French housesit. I think we are too comfortable with all the lovely wine and cheese and we are definitely getting itchy feet. Keep on adventuring you two – you are fabulous! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not too shabby yourselves Janice. Glad you are enjoying your French getaway but I know what you mean about getting itchy feet. We’re in Wiltshire for the month and planning and constantly discussing things for next year.


  6. I would say that you “travel the world”! I often tell people the story about you offloading all of your possessions! Many attempts were made to make me take the Renault Clio! Maybe I should have 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re living your dream. And I say “go for it”. Who cares what anyone else thinks. Society is so hung up on labels and certain age groups needing to conform. My mum always called me a “vagabonda” from way back so I think that’s me to a tee. An adventurer loving life. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh that was fascinating! People are curious creatures always trying to fit others into little boxes. I laughed out loud at some of the answers others provided as to what they are called. Yes I imagine arms dealer really does away with further questioning. Hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Strange how others describe themselves isn’t it? Always fascinating to know how people react. i guess the real answer is that we’re all individual and can’t be pigeon-holed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Fabulous to read your thoughts and those of the others you asked Jonno. I think I’d reply like Sam, by saying we’re living the dream! We often get told how lucky we are to be able to travel as much as we do but as you’ve said before, there’s no luck involved. Pinned your post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I usually say I am a full time House sitter as I do house sit about 90% of the time. Then when people ask where I live I say where ever I am . Because I have not had a place for 2.5 years now. Then of course they wonder , doesn’t that get old?? Truthfully, I am still enjoying it very much. My friends just call me a free spirit, gyspy, nomad. What gets me is when I say , I am taking off to wherever for a month or so, and they say . Oh, I hate to be away from home that long. Don’t you miss home ?? Then I say , well I don’t really have a home. So, what’s to miss. Ha Ha. I do spend a lot of time in my home area doing house sitting as I get paid here and its not a bad place to be ( Lake Tahoe , Ca. ). I also I have a health problem that has put the breaks on a bit for full time travel. But, I am now planning a trip to Britain and Wales in April (house sitting) and Ireland for May ( traveling). Another thing that gets me is when people say ” Must be nice !” as if they think I am rich or something. Truth be told I am not at all !! But, I have learned to live simply and house sitting allows me to travel cheaply. I am rich in experience and that is what counts in the end.


    • Sue this sounds exactly like the conversations we have all the time. We are always being asked where we live and I generally say ‘right here’ which tends to freak them out a bit but is actually true. Wherever we lay our hats is our home. I also hate the comment ‘must be nice’ as if you have been given something special. Anyone can housesit and travel if they choose to can’t they? Your trip to the UK and Ireland next year sounds great.


  11. It’s an interesting question that applies across the board whether you travel or not. Nobody is ever just one facet. I work full time and when asked what I do, I get one of the same 3 responses to my reply. But outside of work I have a lot of hobbies and travel often so I’m not only my job. It’s the same reason you’re not just a housesitter, nor are you just a nomad or vagabond. At the end of the day labelling is just a way for people to put you in a box. The people that matter the most won’t be able to label you so simply as they know all your facets. To everyone else, it’s deciding whether to end or continue a conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right. The people that know you best are fully aware that you are a mixture of different aspects and interests. None of us are as simple as one label are we? We’re a complex mix of all sorts. I think we probably use simple label explanations just to shorten conversations withe people we don;t know. Makes those exchanges simpler doesn’t it?


    • Some great ones aren’t there? You need to come up with a silly ridiculous one really. We were told that we were Land Sailors and we love that description.


  12. I think you are full time adventurers! And if I left behind the rat race I’d call myself a ‘Wilderness Explorer’ taken from the movie UP! Because ‘Adventure is out there!’ and life is meant to be fun and spontaneous not the same thing every week ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! And what you do is exciting! It’s my plan for the future but it might be a long way away since I want to have kids first and then have to wait for them to grow up! Lol I must catch up with your posts to see what you are upto now and where you are ☺️


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