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June 1, 2022

Life Lessons on How To Become A Nomad

Life Lessons on How To Become A Nomad

Would you like to learn how to become a full time Nomad and also afford to do so?  Well, this week's guest should be able to help you with this!

Heather Markel, New York Times featured full time traveller, author, speaker who helps frustrated professionals comfortably afford full time travel.

Heather is a Full-time traveller and coach. She’s been to 27 countries on 6 continents since 2018. Not only that… she is an international best-selling author, New York Times featured corporate worker-bee turned full time traveller. 

In her words, ‘I turned my dream of traveling into a way of life’

 She has written several books including How To Afford Full-Time Travel 

So, without further ado, joining us from somewhere in the world, please welcome Heather Markel!

Heather’s contact details

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Unknown Speaker  0:00  
Hello, everybody, I'm gentle yoga warrior. And we are now in season nine. When I first started this podcast a couple of years ago at the start of lockdown, I don't know I'm just so excited to where it's gone in that time and the wonderful, amazing people I've got to speak to over the years. So I just want to say a big thank you to all my listeners. A big thank you to all my guests. And without you, I don't have a podcast so thank you so much. So I feel delighted to share that this season is going to be under the theme of life lessons, we are going to learn valuable life lessons from some great guests to inspire you to become the best possible version of yourself while loving and accepting yourself at the same time. Please welcome today Heather Markel, New York Times featured full time traveller, offer speaker who helps frustrated professionals comfortably afford full time travel. Heather is a full time traveller and coach. She's been to 27 countries on six continents since 2018. Not only that, she's an international best selling author, New York Times featured corporate worker be turned full time traveller. In her words, I turned my dream of travelling into a way of life. She's also written several books, including how to afford full time travel. So without further ado, joining us from somewhere in the world, please welcome today Heather Markel. Hi, Heather, welcome to the show. Hi, thank

Unknown Speaker  1:51  
you so much. I'm so excited to be here.

Unknown Speaker  1:53  
I'm so excited to have you on the show. So where are you at the moment because I know you got all over the world.

Unknown Speaker  1:59  
Yes. Well, the picture behind me right now is in Taurus, still pine Chile, but I actually am in New York City. Although headed to France in a few weeks.

Unknown Speaker  2:08  
Oh, amazing. I went to New York. A long time got to be in a while, but it was fabulous. So today we're going to talk about life lessons on how to become a nomad to wander the earth and have this kind of fantasy about being free of the prison of mortgages, nine to five restrictions, etc. It may sound good, too good to be true. Yes. Is this even possible? Well, I'm sure Heather must think So as she's managed to make it aware of life and has left her corporate job years ago to wander the earth, which sounds fantastic. Always a pleasure to have a fresh and inspiring subject matter on the show ever. Welcome to the show.

Unknown Speaker  2:50  
Thank you.

Unknown Speaker  2:51  
Could you explain to our audience, how you became a nomad? For those of them who aren't entirely sure what that is? What does that mean for you?

Unknown Speaker  3:00  
Yeah, so basically, you know, when I was looking to do what I'm doing, actually, I didn't even know I was going to do it. I thought I was taking a career break, I was really unhappy in my career. And I realised that the thing that I liked most in life was travelling and meeting people. So I thought, hey, you know, maybe I could get a sabbatical. And I could take some time off and go do that. But at the time, this is pre great resignation. There's no one to talk to about this. This idea is wildly crazy. And, you know, sabbaticals are for family and medical leave, not personal leave. So I thought about, well, if my company would let me like, maybe, maybe I could work around the world and just bring my laptop and like, just do my job, but from other places, but that was unheard of that was just nuts. So my only option was to quit. And so people thought I was crazy. I was told, you know, I'm supposed to stay at the graveyard shift, and you work until you die. And I just was like, Oops, yeah. So I basically, it took me years of courage and I quit but I did it thinking that I would travel for three or six months because what I what I didn't get, you know, the budget I set aside to do it, I thought would last three to six months. And what I learned was that in fact, full time travel is radically less expensive than a fixed life in one location. And when and then I looked at my the rent, I was paying to keep my apartment and I and I was able to do the math and oh my god, that rent would get me like, a heck of a lot more time travelling. Why am I keeping the apartment? Why am I thinking of getting like a real job again? So I gave up I came home put, you know, put some stuff in storage. Stop paying rent, and yeah, and I've been travelling ever since.

Unknown Speaker  4:55  
Wow, what an adventure and you know, I really admire people that can step outside I'd like their comfort zone and kind of push themselves in that way to do something. Some people might find it, too, too scary, but I don't know. I think it's amazing. And that fact that you manage, like you said it for three to six months, but I can't wait to hear more. Because obviously, you lasted more than three to six months. Yes,

Unknown Speaker  5:15  
I did. Thankfully, almost not like my I almost had an experience. I think what happens when you're full time travelling and by the way, so just to for your audience, I don't know that anyone's coined any official terms, but I call what I'm doing full time travel and nomad. To me sometimes, the word Nomad to me, just for me means making a home out of wherever you are, and discovering more about yourself. We hear the term digital nomad. And I think that gets associated a lot with younger people in their 20s or 30s. And I'm not, I'm older, and there's a generation of us out there that are travelling full time and full time travellers sometimes work and sometimes go off their savings, right? So there's a little bit of a difference and their tech and they're all ages. Right. So you know, when I was, when I started, I think the thing that happens, and this is why I work with people on the transition of leaving a corporate job to go travel full time is if you're in a full time job, and you go on vacation, you are used to one or two weeks, I mean, especially if you're coming from America, we don't take more than one or two weeks at a time. So when I hit that two week mark, and I realised I wasn't going back to work. And I I was like this was now my life, I had a meltdown. And my meltdown was because I was trying to meet wonderful travellers that I had met on a bus ride in Costa Rica while I was still in Costa Rica. And I couldn't figure out how to do it without an expensive, you know, expensive ride like a plane or a dangerous overnight bus ride. And I just thought if if I can't meet these people, if I can't figure this out, like obviously, I'm not cut out for full time travel. And I did almost pack it up and come back to New York and ask for my job back. And once I had that pity party for myself, I realised that I tapped into my own resourcefulness. And I thought, you know, Heather, stop trying to figure out like how to get to this place. And you know, why don't you figure out like what's available right around you and what you can do. And once I started looking at travel that way, it just completely changed the game for me and opened up a whole world of like, go with the flow, relax, take my time travel.

Unknown Speaker  7:42  
Wow, it's almost as if it seems to me that when you're when we're kind of close to kind of finding what we need to do or what what we're meant to do, we're kind of tested in a way and like, it could have been easier, in a sense for you just to go back to New York, but you kind of you must have had like this kind of trust or like faith, like even if you were freaking out a bit to kind of, to kind of push through that.

Unknown Speaker  8:05  
Yeah, I think I think part of is I'm a certified professional coach. So I think I have that innate wisdom that we all have, but like tapped into a more extremely where I'm able to, at some point pop out of my self pity and ask myself good questions. And, you know, you know, and also I do agree with you. I think when we step into what we want, there is always that challenge. And it's really the universe kind of testing us, like you said, to see how bad do you really want this? Like, are you really willing to put up with this or this challenge? Can you overcome this challenge? And that's what it's meant to be like, if you could overcome the kid slay this dragon, then you can absolutely travel full time or do whatever your dream is.

Unknown Speaker  8:53  
Wow. And I'm glad you did slay the dragon because then you've got so much knowledge and wisdom to share with the rest of the world and how you did this. How did you get to meet meet your friends? And how did you get I'm just so excited to know how did you get to meet them? And when you kind of felt that your resources were at an all time low?

Unknown Speaker  9:11  
Yeah, so the I started my travels in Costa Rica and I took a bus ride from where it was I was up north in one Acosta and I went down to La Fortuna and I met this couple this lovely Canadian couple in the bus. We're still in touch in the bus ride. And actually, they were very significant. Because when I arrived in Costa Rica, I had no idea that zipline had never heard of ziplining when I asked what it was, like, you know, I saw the sign for ziplining. I was told basically I was like Oh, so you hang from a thread 1000s of feet up in the air. And that sounds really stupid like so you know, and then I met this couple and we were in La Fortuna on a tour. or and we heard howls above us that we thought maybe like first year like is that a howler monkey? And then we realised they were human voices, like screaming with such delight. And we're like, what is that and those were the zip lighters. So and you could feel it like it was it was this howl of joy that went through your body and you could just able to like alright, alright, we got to do this. So we went to Monteverde and we went to like salvadora National Park. And we zipline there and I, and I remember getting suited up, and the guy there look to me. He said, I hope to see you later. I was petrified, I was absolutely like, like I was, you know, the first cable, I remember was close enough to the ground that I realised I was like, if I fall, I'm gonna like break my legs, but I'll still be alive. So I can do this. And I did it. And then like, by the third cable I had been, I did the old school one where you have a glove and you hold on to the cable. And I had been clenching my hands so strongly on the cable that I lost all my muscle, like I literally couldn't lift my arm. So one of the guys in our group, who we had four guys, kind of hurting us along, and one of them offered to join me like, like, attach himself to me to go down the cable. And he was probably like, 17 years old or something. And, and then and it was so much better. Like when I when I was down going down with someone and did it. And it just there were 17 cables. And so he helped me like from the fourth one to like to the end. But at one point, near the end, what started to happen as I started to, like, get used to his company, we were chatting, and he said, Oh, you go first on this one. And so I did not like love and I'm chatting. And I really think he's not answering me and I'm like, That's so weird. So I turned around, and he's still at the he never left like he was He just pushed me off on my own. And all of a sudden, I realise I'm on this cable by myself and I just relaxed. And it was lovely. It was like oh my god, what a lovely experience, you know, and by the end I was howling I had that. Like it was it was amazing. And I don't know that I do it again. But I will say it was it was absolutely a pop myself out of my comfort zone amazing experience Absolutely, it did so,

Unknown Speaker  13:10  
I mean, I look at the great resignation, and I feel so validated because everything I felt when I quit that I where I thought I was crazy. For me what it means is, you know, I was just like a trendsetter, I was just willing to go earlier and that a lot of people felt like I did, which is, wow, I'm in this job. And I'm in it for money like a paycheck and benefits. And I have a long time left in my career. And I'm not satisfied, I don't feel fulfilled, and I and there's got to be more meaning to life than rotting at my desk and waiting for retirement. So, for me, one of the reasons to explore that nomadic living is, is it's, it's such a great way I think what happens when you spend a DCE, I spent over 25 years in a career right and naturally you start separating from that connection with yourself and your deeper values and your deeper wishes. And nomadic living really puts you back in touch with yourself. There's a when I started, there was a deep, deep sense of presence. Like I wasn't worried about all the things I had to do and where I had to be and my appointments and deadlines. I was just here in front of this church or looking at this flower. And that's all that mattered. And somehow in that deep sense of presence, I found I became more present to myself. And so that's one of the huge reasons to explore nomadic living. I think also, the comfort zone, we get very comfortable in a life that makes us unhappy, which is why we don't want to leave because there's that sense of comfort. And so challenging yourself to you know, push yourself out of that comfort zone. puts you in touch Also with your own innate resourcefulness, and that, that, you know, if you if you don't believe in yourself, like, there's nothing I know, like, talk yourself out of your comfort zone, see what you can do, and find a wonderful sense of fulfilment and self confidence that, you know, comes from that experience. And, frankly, nomadic living allows us to, I'm lucky that when I was a teenager, I got to live with a host family in France for a summer. And so I had experienced that get to know a culture rather than run around and see all the tourist sites as fast as I can and run home. So that slow travel is another great reason to do the nomadic living, because there are countless places I've been where I did not see all of the big tourist sites, because I got caught up talking to locals or sitting in a cafe and watching people go by or just existing, and watching how people live in other places. And for me, that is just so much more enriching than, you know, doing the tourist thing. So I think the nomadic living, sorry about the phone ringing there allows you to experience the depth of a culture rather than just the surface of a place.

Unknown Speaker  16:18  
I love that experience the depth of a culture rather than the just the experience of place. Wow, very deep. However, I'm thinking about as you speak, how do you actually how do you make the money then to travel? Because obviously, I'm seeing it from a kind of limited view and a sensor that I'm trying to kind of put in my head how, how you how we do that.

Unknown Speaker  16:40  
So there are multiple ways. And really, it's a it's a blend of savings, and really good budget and spending strategies. So, you know, in my case, I didn't expect to be away for so long, right. So certainly, the early part of my travels, I thought the budget that I set aside for, you know, three to six months, like I said that that's how long it would last. And it lasted me over two years. Wow. And in fact, at the money I set aside, I put a larger sum aside, and I just took a piece of it. Because I thought you know what, I don't want it maybe I won't use all of it. Right? So So in fact, I don't think I've even gone through all of the money that I had set aside, because it turned out I had saved up really well and and money goes, it can go a lot further than you expect. One of the reasons is full time travel. Nomad life is not vacation travel. And I think this is one of the core mindset shifts you have to make when you're leaving a stable corporate job to travel full time. And by the way, these days, you don't even have to you can work remotely, so you can actually keep that job and travel, which is a prime way to afford the travel right if you can do that. But if you're not, you know, you really when I went on vacation, I would easily blow through like a few grand, depending where I was because you got the flight. Of course, you're gonna stay in luxury, wonderful hotels, because you need a break from this life that you're not happy with. So you're gonna get massage treatments, you're going to do a day tour every night tour, you're going to eat look up the best Michelin star restaurants eat out, you know? So, but guess what, when you're travelling full time, you don't do that. And that is you know, one one downside, right? Like if, if that's how you like to travel, you your budget won't last very long. So certainly living differently because when nomadic life is your life, it's not a vacation, you manage your money completely differently. And that's one of the big keys to to affording to live nomadically for a long period of time.

Unknown Speaker  19:02  
Very, very wise words. Yeah, because you can't you can't go on the five star commendation if you've got a budget to last year, like six months and stuff and stuff like that. And it's but I think by living on a budget, I will say that you would definitely have more chance to kind of connect with more of the like the local people instead of kind of it's a bit like life and technicolour, isn't it when you go on holiday because you're like in a hotel and people people in that country don't live like how you live in that hotel. It's kind of so I think it's more down to open more real

Unknown Speaker  19:34  
estate but also as a solo traveller. It's there's two aspects to that, that absolutely. Meeting more locals and seeing the real life of a place you absolutely will see that more in my budget experience or a hospital experience than you would in a fancy hotel, but also solo travelling, you know, while my vacations from corporate were lovely. When you stay in those fancy hotels you mostly come across other couples. And so if you want to meet other people, I find that the lower, you know, lower cost, lodging is actually a much better way to meet more people than some of the fancy stuff.

Unknown Speaker  20:13  
Yeah, that's a really good point, isn't it? And then, and you said, when you travel as well have others. Again, I read it. It really bugs me, actually, when people say, Oh, you have to do this at a set age. This is a set age and it doesn't know it doesn't always say it doesn't. Life isn't like that. And well, who's to say that you want you to limit ourselves in such ways to listen to that tip listeners, if you want to meet more people, if you stay in the low budget accommodation, you're more likely to meet a lot of people rather than either couples or families, etc. So what are your top three tips on how to budget? Because I'm guessing listeners might say, Oh, how do I budget, there's

Unknown Speaker  20:49  
so many things. But one thing I noticed I'd say it's funny. So I was marooned in New Zealand for two years. And it put me in touch with secondhand shops, which is a big thing. And New Zealand, which I in other aspects of my travel hasn't been. And I would say it's amazing. Like if you need anything on your travels, be it a piece of clothing, be it some sort of gadget or whatever, like go secondhand shopping, because you will pay, I actually worked in a secondhand shop while I was in New Zealand, I bought my summer wardrobe for $10. Us, you know, and then I returned it because it was like I was leaving and I couldn't fit into my bag. So. So in terms of so use the secondhand shops, travel with small luggage. And for two reasons. One is that it's you're gonna probably be carrying all of it yourself. And two is, the smaller your luggage, the less space you have. And the less space you have, the less inclined you are to buy the souvenirs that you know will take up space and your don't take away from your budget. And those like fancy things that you don't need, like the stuff that we get conditioned to buy when we work in corporate, we don't need it. So just don't buy it. And also, focus like one big focus area to afford at budget is accommodation. So things that you can do to bring down or cut out the cost of accommodation, which is a daily cost are going to save you a heck of a lot of money as you travel is a big huge tip.

Unknown Speaker  22:30  
All that brilliant tips, brilliant tips. And, and also like by doing the closet, that's so good because you're recycling them because then someone else can get to use them. And, and it's so true, we are conditioned to buy loads of stuff that we just don't need, like, um, people say about kind of recycling bottles, but I say to people stop buying so many things. We don't need all these things and like, don't buy souvenirs. And so we really, really want and it's to make light and that you can and you know that you've got the budget for them. Yeah, don't do that. So however, I know that you've written some books on the subject matter. And you've also got some courses I would really like you to share about your books, if you can and your courses as well. So I offer

Unknown Speaker  23:09  
like lots of information. So I have I actually just launched a new free training called How to Afford full time travel on any budget. And if you come to my website and Heather, there's a pop up that you can just sign up for it. Or you can go to my everything I'm going to talk about is on my work with me page, right. So I've got two free trainings. So the other one is about getting started with full time travel, because a lot of those are like two of the areas that people newly exploring this life are curious about, like I don't know where to start. And I don't know how to afford it. So. So I have those. And then my books, I actually just became an international best selling author with the book is called Voices of the 21st century. Wow, hearing women who make a difference. Yeah, and it's 50 amazing women from around the world sharing a story. And mine is about, you know, my decision to quit my corporate job and travel full time and the experience of following my heart and the impact on my life of doing it. So I have that one. And then I have guides for How to Afford full time travel is a is another book I wrote with with actual formulas that you can use to figure out like how much money do you need? How do you figure that out? And if you are working, how much longer do you need to work to make that budget if you are planning to quit, as opposed to being a remote worker, and then I have to ecourses one that is about how to make money without a job and that whole transition ideal for someone again, who's leaving that corporate job and going into more the lifestyle of like a digital nomad. What that's like how to do it. And then the other one is about it's called money for travel boot. count. And that is honestly like, I don't like to waste time, like, how do you like, you know, save money before you go off? How do you save money on the road? How you know what to think about when you want to earn income while you're travelling. And most importantly, if you end up like me thinking, you're going to travel for a few months and fall in love with the lifestyle, how do you sustain your child, because that's a whole other set of strategies. So all of that is in that product.

Unknown Speaker  25:27  
Wow. So you can retrieve information. So listeners, if you are thinking about making the step then I would 100% recommend you check out Heather's website. And I will also put links however to on my online bookstore to your book so people can pick up their book that is amazing international offer. Brilliant. Oh, that's so good. And fantastic. And so Wait, you're off to France. Next is the next place that you're off to. So

Unknown Speaker  25:53  
I am yeah, I'm i. So I want to get back to Africa, I hope will is on my list for if I don't pop down from Paris. This trip, I'm going to book January but right now I'm I haven't seen a lot of my friends in Europe in like three years. So I'm gonna go visit my host family and, and then I may go to like, Croatia, Montenegro. And also I'm fingers crossed, my mom may beat me and we may go travel a bit in Europe together. So we'll see Oh,

Unknown Speaker  26:27  
that would be lovely. That would be lovely. Is there anything else that you'd like to share with our listeners today?

Unknown Speaker  26:33  
Just this lifestyle is so rewarding. And if you are thinking about it, I just I can't say enough how I feel that every person in the world should explore nomadic living, especially if you're over 40 and not yet retired, you should at least experience it. Even if you only do it for a few months. I think our society and culture especially for people over 40 who are struggling with the meaning in their life, right? There's not enough resources for us, we've got what we've got therapy, and we've got medication. And so this for me this nomadic living is in a way like an adult, like vision quest, if you will, that going walkabout for a few months to tap back into yourself and figure out like, what's your new means because I think as we grow, we evolve. And so what what was important to you 20 years before is not going to be the same exact guy the same value to you now. And so taking that time to there's nothing like nomadic living to me that allows because I've done lots of therapy, right? And it doesn't like therapy takes forever nomadic living is like you throwing yourself into the world and learning about yourself as you discover the world and I and it's much deeper and much faster than anything else that I've done. And I highly recommend it.

Unknown Speaker  27:58  
Right and I can see why you are an international author of the here and that you're so inspiring. And it's just I completely agree this society is kind of an especially like, if you haven't kind of followed a set path actually, I've got value in this world, you know, on it's like, it's I don't know, we can can feel that sometimes as we get into our 40s 50s we kind of feel a bit what what is meaning, but I really think life is about kind of transforming ourselves or kind of discovery and and what a beautiful way to be. So, Heather, I think you're absolutely fantastic and limitless, do check out Heather's thing, and I'm going to follow you on Instagram and see what all the wonderful places that you feel gone to, but then do check out Heather Martel's books, and etc. I leave details in the show notes. But thank you so much, habba, for joining us from New York today and have a lovely rest of your evening day. Sorry, it's not evening there is morning. Time, so but thank you so much, much appreciated.

Unknown Speaker  29:01  
Thanks for having me.

Unknown Speaker  29:03  
As promised, here is your meditation, inspired by today's show. Top Tips for the meditation is either sit nice and cross legged on the floor of a nice straight back. Always nice to sit on a block or a cushion, or that's not available for you. You sit in a chair with the back nice and straight. The important thing is you're not slouching. And if you're doing something that requires you concentration are you to do is just pause this and you can reconvene the meditation at a time that is good for you. If you're doing the meditation that's begging. So today we're going to do a short but effective meditation to help you feel your sense of adventure and flow. And it's just going to require your imagination. So start to take some slow calm deep breaths and whatever meditation position you have to Rosen. And as you breathe, can you breathe slowly and deep in to your heart centre. So the heart centre is the area in around the heart area, it's an energetic heart rather than the actual physical heart. And as you breathe into that area, can you now picture with your eyes closed, a beautiful door, and as you open this door, you're going to tap into your heart centre. And this door is going to take you to anywhere on the planet, that you feel right, this moment, you would like to be trying not to over analyse it, but rather take a long, deep breath. And as you exhale, let's open the door. And wherever you find yourself is usually where you're meant to be in this meditation. So wherever you've arrived, perhaps it's countryside, and you can feel the texture of the ground beneath your feet, it could be sand on a beach, it could be snow, it could even be a city. But wherever it is, and regardless of what time we're doing this meditation, it is early morning, wherever you are sort of a city will be peaceful as well, the countryside etc. And you start to walk around in this place, inhaling and exhaling, with a sense of grace, a sense of joy, a sense of flow. Can you allow yourself to let go and be where your heart's desire is? What is this place telling you about your next adventure? The next step on your life journey. And even if you physically can't travel to this place, you can always travel there in your imagination. What is it about the here and now where you are right now? In your rich? I've your imagination. What is the world trying to let you know? Perhaps the answers come but perhaps they don't. Don't worry, but allow yourself to be free. Wherever you are, allow, allow, enjoy, enjoy, tap into your inner flow, this sense of adventure How can you bring it into your everyday world? What can you learn from the textures? The sense the sounds, the taste the sights of this place? A why here? Why now? And if you still don't know how, don't get frustrated, just allow yourself to flow? And if you found Why allow it to build and glow. for Mother Earth has an A rich abundance of life lessons of joy of flow. If only we allow ourselves to let go? Can you explore this place? Can you allow yourself to be can you learn to live and be free, joyful and full of hope and beauty? Can you allow yourself to be in this beautiful surroundings? What drew you to here? Why here why now. And remember, you can always come back to this place in your daily meditation until you understand why or perhaps it's a place that you need to go to again and again. But allow yourself to be free. As you take some slow calm deep breaths, come back into the present, come back into the now

Unknown Speaker  33:53  
and enjoy the rest of your day. Knowing that you can always come back to this place and you can use a journal if you want to dive a bit deeper by just writing whatever comes into your mind

Transcribed by

Heather MarkelProfile Photo

Heather Markel

Heather Markle, New York Times featured full time traveller, author, speaker who helps frustrated professionals comfortably afford full time travel.
Heather is a Full-time traveller and coach. She’s been to 27 countries on 6 continents since 2018. Not only that… she is an international best-selling author, New York Times featured corporate worker-bee turned full time traveller.
In her words, ‘I turned my dream of traveling into a way of life’

She has written several books including How To Afford Full-Time Travel