Long transits around the world are always an interesting time for me. It’s a chance to test your patience throughout four transfers, rules, and all the mayhem airports bring. It’s also a chance to take stock of where you are at, summarize the last period of your life on the island you just left, and look at where you are heading and why. This transit from Madeira, Portugal to Arusha, Tanzania was no different.
Because of Covid and the state of the world, I had stayed for six months on Madeira Island. For the first 4.5 months, it was a safe-haven and we were able to live relatively carefree. In the last fifty days, there was. Covid outbreak but only a basic curfew was imposed and hiking and dining out was still allowed. This unique situation meant that I had spent half a year in one location, albeit in many different accommodations and locations around the island. That duration in one location was new for me. After spending five months in Adelaide, Australia during the pandemic outbreak and then six months in Madeira it seems like my life is slowing down when it comes to travel and moving around the world. But is it really?
After five years of non-stop travel and almost ten years of living away from Australia, I am well aware of the pros and cons of having a base versus being on the road as a nomadic traveler. The most prominent cons of being nomadic are a lack of community, feeling burned out, small stresses of constantly moving and traveling, difficulty forming relationships. The most notable pros to nomadic life are that you live a full, active lifestyle full of discovery and excitement. You get to write the script and live your life like a movie. You can escape bad weather seasons, visit incredible locations and enjoy experiences not possible if you are in one fixed location.
There’s obviously a lot more to consider but aside from the career aspect there are many reasons why being nomadic can be tough and why many do it for a year or so and then get tempted back into a base.
I’m really not an advocate for either when comparing it to the other. I simply enjoy the nomadic life more than a stable base despite being well aware of the benefits of the stable base. You can’t really have both although many people try.
So this last year of just two locations has me feeling like I almost am no longer nomadic, even though I haven’t really chosen to have these two bases for such long periods. As I sat on the plane I asked myself if I was over nomadic travel? Was I enjoying this longer base style of travel? In many ways, the answer was yes but I also cannot see myself settling somewhere for more than half a year. Maybe it is a slow transition where over the course of a decade I ease back into regular life with a home base. Something inside me tells me not.
I’ve just touched down in Arusha, Tanzania where I will be based for the next week. I came to Tanzania to hike Africa’s tallest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. That trek begins on the 23rd with Pema but I came 9 days early to do a couple of other treks. Unfortunately, I have some nerve and hamstring issues that have been going on since the Caminho Real 23 Trek in Madeira. I’ve been spending all of my time rehabbing for the last 3 weeks. Osteopath, massage, exercises, rest, foam rolling. I know the drill I’ve been injured before and this one is no different. Always a bit of a mystery with my useless hips that have now been operated on twice. I’m hoping with all my might that my focus on rehab in these three weeks will see me not fully recovered but at least capable to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
I haven’t touched my camera since being here but have been doing a daily walk as part of my recovery and snapped just a few photos on my phone. Hope you all had a great week and stayed positive despite any challenges that come your way
Sunday 28th of February 2021
Looking forward to seeing your posts on Mt Kilimanjaro and good luck with your recovery so you will be able to tackle it!
Well said about the pros and cons of a nomadic life. Not being able to travel throughout covid has been a unique experience and I definitely miss traveling and being on the go. That being said there are some positive points to staying put and having a bit more of a community as you mentioned.
Thursday 18th of February 2021
Tanzania is a place that I have been looking at visiting later this year as well. I've never felt so much anxiety as I have coming home for covid lockdowns and feeling like I will never be able to travel again. Most people I know here in Oregon - who have never experienced the nomadic lifestyle - have not seemed to ever understand why I cannot be content with a life here in Portland. But honestly, feeling like I might be forced into a "regular" lifestyle terrifies me more than anything. I am definitely scared of complacency.
Also, I know how frustrating it must be for you having to go through rehab again. I am also constantly having to deal with a past hip injury and ended up in a car accident last year that only made things worse. Continuing to exercise through pain is definitely hard. But, I am glad you are still planning to tackle Kilimanjaro. I'm sure this adventure will be incredible for you! I hope you are able to heal and enjoy the journey. Good luck!