I am sure a lot of female travellers can relate to this…you turn on your laptop in the morning, log on to Facebook and you are inundated with pictures and videos of your friends babies and ultrasound pictures. You spend the best part of 10 minutes scrolling through your news feed reading all about little Jack’s first steps and how Emily has finally learnt how to be potty trained. All that is great and you feel happy for them. But it is a daily reminder that you are not following the rules, you are no traditional woman. You are a woman that travels.
While those around you are living a life dictated by their children’s feeding times and bowel movements, you are living a footloose and fancy free life, travelling when it suits you with everything you need packed into your backpack. And if you are like me, you are constantly asked “But when will you have children?”, “When are you going to settle down and build a home for your family?”.
My response? I just don’t know. While I love children and adore spending time with my niece and nephew I can’t imagine a life without travelling. I admire those who have found a happy medium travelling with their children and even having children however I have come to find that actually travelling is a lot like having a baby.
PRENATAL PREPARATION CHECKLIST
So it’s time to prepare for your Nomad lifestyle – Congratulations! You’ve probably been thinking about travelling for some time and can’t wait to get started. So, what’s the next step? In no particular order, below are some things to think about now that you’re ready to prepare for travel.
1. Visit your GP
Visit your GP for a full check up! Make sure your body is in fit working condition before you embark on this exciting journey into Nomadichood! Also ensure all your vaccinations are up to date for the relevant countries you will be visiting.
2. Start taking your malaria tablets
Because no one wants to contract Malaria it is a good idea to take Malaria tablets if travelling to an infected country. Ideally start taking Malaria tablets two weeks before your departure to ensure you are already protected on your arrival.
3. Check your private health cover
Should something awful happen on your travels or you fall sick, having travel insurance will make sure you receive the correct treatment without having to worry about the huge medical bill.
4. Eat healthy and exercise
You don’t need to follow a strict regime that’s impossible to keep up with, but aim to be in the healthy weight range for your body – being underweight or overweight can affect your ability to travel – especially if you plan on trekking Machu Picchu or Kilimanjaro! Drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet from the five food groups, including lots of fresh fruit and veggies and exercise regularly. Going for a walk everyday with your partner or a friend is a great idea – perhaps to motivate yourself and prepare for all that trekking and walking you’ll be doing on your travels, you can make up a little game where you’re not allowed to talk about travel for the day until you go on your walk!
5. Chart your departure
Stick a calendar on your wall and begin crossing off the days until your big day arrives!
FIRST TRIMESTER 1 – 3 MONTHS
So you are finally travelling! The first three months of travelling can be overwhelming. Understand the changes you may experience and how to take care of yourself during this exciting time.
Fatigue is very common in the first few months of travelling as your body begins to adapt to the lack of sleep and increased physical exercise. After all your body is not used to all those uphill treks, daily swims in the ocean or all the late night partying.
Sickness is also very common in the first three months as your stomach adapts to all the foreign foods you’ve been eating. Don’t worry it is perfectly normal to experience sickness and Bombay belly but it will soon pass. Just remember to wash your hands before eating and be aware of eating in unclean restaurants and taking ice in your drinks or eating washed salads.
Weight gain – While the average weight gain during the first three months is about 5 pounds, some women actually lose weight because of food aversions and increased physical activity. If it happens to you, don’t panic. It is your body adapting to all those pastries, chocolates, pasta, pizzas and gelatos.
SECOND TRIMESTER 4-6 MONTHS
By the fourth month you begin to feel much better. Your stomach is used to eating greasy foods and changes in diet and your getting used to early mornings to catch those early flights and late nights of watching sunsets and delayed bus journeys. During these months you’ll do a lot of growing – you begin to really discover yourself and you are now able to accomplish things you never thought you could do. You begin to feel changes within yourself as you learn all about different cultures and how fortunate you are to be able to travel and have such a lovely life while there are millions of people living in poverty.
You’ll hit a few milestones during these months too! You’ve probably ticked off a fair few things off your Bucket List and your travel blog has hit 1000 views! Yey!
Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family during these months. Having a support network around you is useful for those days where you begin to miss home and for when/if you eventually decided to return home. After all you’ll need that spare room at your parent’s house while you get back on your feet.
You may experience mood swings caused by extreme excitement, fear of the unknown and the realization that yes you have actually given up your entire life and savings to travel the world permanently. You may also start to feel the glow everyone talks about as your skin turns a beautiful shade of brown from all that sun bathing you’ve been doing!
THIRD TRIMESTER 7-9 MONTHS
You’re in full swing of your nomadic life now! You’ve been travelling for many months and have gotten used to moving on from place to place and all those different currencies. You’ve began to budget better and learn how to stretch your money to make it last longer. You’ve made some new friends while on the road that have been invaluable for travel tips and places to visit.
These months are crucial for planning for the rest of your nomadic life ahead of you. It is during these months that people tend to run out of money and begin to worry about how they are going to fund their life style choice. So ensure you have a full plan in place! In no particular order here are a few ways to make money while on the road
1. Freelance with ODesk or Elancer
Companies and small businesses post jobs for everything from copy writing to web design to tutoring services and translation. Freelancers then compete for said jobs by creating and submitting job proposals. There are hundreds of jobs posted on every day, and it’s easy enough to find something to fit you skill set.
While this won’t make you heaps of money you’ll gain $4 (after fiverr commission) for every job you do. On fiverr people will pay you to do just about anything. Perhaps you can send a postcard from the destination you are in or translate a document. What about write a proposal on a board and stand in front of the Eiffel Tower or Iguazu Falls? Be inventive!
Remember $5 dollars can get you a nights accommodation or food for a couple of days in some places around the world!
3. Teach English
This seems to be a very popular choice for native English speakers. You can find tons of opportunities around the world to teach English through various TEFL websites. Most require a TEFL certificate which you can gain either before your trip or while on the road via online courses. Most jobs won’t pay too well but it’s a great to get involved in the community and some even offer free boarding.
5. WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)
www.wwoof.org – Board and lodging is offered in exchange for a day’s work on the farm. With thousands of hosts available in 53 countries there are volunteer opportunities suitable for everyone. This is a great way to save money while travelling in exchange for a couple of days work. Heck if you enjoy it some will let you stay for a couple of months!
OK so while this isn’t a money making option it’s another way of saving money so your $$$ are saved for experiences and food and transport etc..Couchsurfing isn’t all about free accommodation though – in fact its all about meeting new people and experiences new cultures through your hosts eye.
BIRTH TO AGE 1
Congratulations you are now a nomad! You have been away from home and living the dream for over a year now and you feel amazing! Travelling is so much more exciting, tiring and hard work then you ever thought possible but you don’t care because you love it so much. You have learnt so much about yourself over the past year that you feel like a new person. You know all about the destinations you’ve traveled to and can even offer advice to new travelers about where to visit, the coolest bars, the hottest hang outs and the best places to eat and you’ve managed to get packing and unpacking down to a tee!
Your blog is doing well and you have a steady income from all that freelancing you’ve been doing! You’ve gotten used to the sleepless nights and jet lag from travelling through different time zones and you are even fluent in a language or two! All that hard work is beginning to pay off and you can now enjoy years of travelling and being a nomad.