Hi there! Its Andy here for Going Nomad aka Pigs on Bikes and today...
That's how our digital nomad - location independent - crazy mid-life crisis adventure began sometime in 2016 when I posted the first-ever video on my YouTube channel "Going Nomad aka Pigs on Bikes". Since then Tanya (aka the wife aka The Boggler aka Bubbles) and I have been having the adventure of a lifetime!
This blog is about some of our great fun adventures as we travel around exploring places and living an alternative location independent lifestyle. You will find that it is also an extension of the Going Nomad aka Pigs on Bikes Youtube channel. Most blog posts and pages have a corresponding Youtube video or two so be sure to check them all out for the full story.
In this blog, you will find weird stories, budget travel tips, links to loads of Going Nomad YouTube videos, and advice on transitioning from a discontented stay-at-home to a more well-travelled and experienced digital nomad or more location independent. We are not experts at most of what we do. You will find posts on our successes right alongside videos of some of our biggest screwups.
Whether you are planning your escape to location independent living or your next fortnight in the Maldives, you will find useful information tucked away in all of these posts and pages.
Tanya and I are just normal people. Yep, normal. We have just as many arms and legs and heads as most other people. We like eating food, drinking the odd beer and chatting with friends. We also quit our perfectly good ideal life and sold everything we owed to allow us to hit the road and start to explore the world a little.
We both grew up in a small rural market town set in the rolling arable countryside in deepest darkest Norfolk in England. Our teenage and young adult years were spent generally misbehaving and being irresponsible hedonistic idiots with no real plans or directions. Then we kind of got together in about 2008 after both returning from travelling to various places (Bubbles was in South America and I had just got back from another short break in South East Asia).
OMG! (I threw that in just to please all the Americans) suddenly we are an "item" and things were getting serious. "We'd better do the couples thing and settle down, get a house and have kids and grow up a bit!".
That didn't work out very well! We managed to hold down really good jobs, pay off all our travel-related debt (we have never regretted our travels using the bank's money, it's just a shame they wanted it back afterwards!).
It turned out that Tanya and I were really good at being sensible adults! We soon bought our first house and renovated it from a wreck to a show home. We had the big (albeit old) gas-guzzling 4x4 and a "this year's plate" company car. We screwed a massive TV to the wall and spent an arm and a leg on a couple of leather sofas.
Soon enough we were having two foreign holidays a year and regular weekend breaks away. Living the dream! A second house to rent out was purchased and we were looking at a third. We both changed jobs so we could climb the greasy corporate pole and had pay increases accordingly. We held dinner parties with our friends and had oysters and fresh-baked bread from the bread machine and all the good things. BUT...
GROWING UP IS OVERRATED!
It was really really boring.
I used to dread Sunday evening (the dark tea-time of the soul) when I knew that in 12 hours I would be starting the same old Monday to Friday slog that I had done for years. And with no end in sight, I knew I would likely be doing that for the rest of my life. I began resenting my perfectly fine job. I found I was wishing the 48 weeks of the year I had to work away. We were living for the four weeks holiday we got each year. How can you wish away more than 9/10ths of your life?
"This is all wrong," I thought "There has to be more to life than this".
Something had to change
TIME TO QUIT!
One evening I randomly spurted out to Tanya "Shall we move to Cambodia?" and, to my utter surprise, she just said, "Yeah, when are we going?". I didn't expect her to say yes! But now there was no excuse to not look into it. We had already been there a few time on holiday and had previously joked about moving there. I had to start thinking about it. So we researched it on good old Google and YouTube and formulated a bit of a plan. This is where the idea of Going Nomad aka Pigs on Bikes was formed - mainly thanks to "No Joke Howard" who was about the only person Vlogging out of Cambodia at the time. (Big respect to NJH who took the sleep with no alarm clock, RIP dude)
CUTTING TO THE CHASE
In short, we quit. We sold everything, rented the houses, banked as much cash as we could, tidied up loose ends and ran away to (not from) it all.
We travelled via Greece to India, through India to Bangladesh, across Bangladesh to Myanmar and then onwards to our first long term stay in Cambodia. In Cambodia, I started teaching English (how stereotypical!) and Tanya freelanced as a chartered marketer doing data mining, SEO and other complex stuff that I still don't understand.
We have tried our hand at being digital nomads and this has helped us become more location independent. It has given us more confidence and a little more ability to live almost anywhere we choose.
AND MORE THAN FOUR YEARS LATER...
We ain't dead! We ain't broke! We're still together (and stronger as a couple than ever before). We've travelled through Mexico, all of Central America and some of Europe. We work for a while then travel for a bit. Our lifestyle has changed dramatically and shifted from a full relocation to Cambodia to a digital nomad life in Mexico that has been refined now to the slower "location independent" style of travel. It's nicer not to rush things.
Why not? What is there to lose? I've never really liked doing as I'm told. Doing the normal thing and working till I'm 67 (I'm unlikely to live that long I think) before retiring and trying to travel (Saga holidays aren't all that bad are they?) is just not going to happen.
It's more about what we are not doing than what we are doing.
We are not playing the game, we are not rotting in a dead-end job making someone else rich, we are not wishing 48 weeks of the year away with our sight only set on the four weeks holiday we got each year. We are not waiting for the right moment so much before we do things (there is never a completely right moment to do anything).
Instead, we are trying to live a little, last year we climbed volcanoes, swam with nurse sharks, turtles and rays. This year we might buy a house in Greece, go gold mining in Australia or cycle from Siem Reap to Saigon for charity. The future is uncertain but it's not going to be boring!
In the middle of January 2020, one month after I wrote this, the world was hit by the full force of the Corvid-19 pandemic, it is now 21st April and things are certainly uncertain and interesting albeit in not quite the way anyone would hope for. Thankfully everyone we know is healthy and surviving. Tanya and I hope you are all OK. Heres hoping for a better future!
Live long and prosper 🙂
Big love, Andy and Tanya xxx