My Year of the Nomad

When I turned 35 in November last year, I celebrated with a few close friends at a Turkish restaurant on Melbourne’s Sydney Road. It was the first year I didn’t receive a single card or customary gift (other than a free dinner), and I found that incredibly satisfying. There was nothing anyone could have given me that I truly wanted, and I hate the idea of gift giving for the sake of it.

I did however give myself a gift. Something that weighs nothing, takes up no space, and will last in my memories forever. The gift is a year off, starting with the four months it took me to hike the Te Araroa, plus another six months to visit as many people in the world who are special to me. I’ll never be able to throw a party for all the people I care about in one place, so this year, I’m bringing the party to them!

After completing the trail I returned to Australia for a 2,000km road trip from Sydney to Melbourne and back, via Sale, Canberra and Kiama. I borrowed my mum’s car and caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in years, and it seems at the age of 35, a lot of my friends are seeing the world through a different lens. Many of them have kids, husbands, homes, mortgages and well established careers, and the ones that don’t seem to fall into two categories. The ones that wish they had, and those who are grateful to have nothing in exchange for their freedom. I fall into the second category of course.

But hold on a second, how can she afford this you ask? Well if you work for 15 years after university, have no kids, no house and no pets, you’ll find that even on a mid-range salary with some breaks in between, you could probably afford it too. It helps that my parents love to stash money in my pockets and bank account when I’m home, but even without their support, my years of working contracts in the Middle East have afforded me this freedom. For now anyway. I’ll need the next 35 years to start saving for retirement.

The next stage of my trip is North America then Europe, before returning to Vancouver to settle down and work. Sure I’m a little nervous about arriving back in one of the world’s most expensive cities flat broke, but when I lived here in 2015 and earned no more than 12k the entire year, I still managed to get by and have fun. The thousands of miles I’ve hiked over the past five years have taught me that less is truly more, and when I look back at 2015, it was one of my favourite years. I sold shoes part time for minimum wage, went on free outdoor trips with work, and appreciated the small things like buying a cup of coffee once a week or treating myself to a restaurant. I didn’t have a car, I lived in a share house, and I spent all of my free time outdoors. Life was good!

If you’re wondering if I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you’re not the only one. Thankfully the answer is no, but I plan on living this year as if I have been, because I’d much rather do this trip while I’m healthy, then wait until I’m not.

For regular updates on my travels, you can follow me on Instagram @serial_nomad.

Happy Nomading! 🙂

38 thoughts on “My Year of the Nomad”

  1. I love that you’re doing this… it’s one of my dreams to do something like this, too. Travel around the world and visit all of the friends I’ve been lucky enough to make in my life. Enjoy every bit of this time!

  2. You have wealth beyond compare. Many, possibly most, spend their lives in the grist mill of uninspired labor. Some, very few really, discover all too late the freedom you’ve tasted. Enjoy. Just don’t think you’ll blend in with the masses at their treadmills, ever again. Every experience is accompanied by a bill. 😉

    1. Not a truer word spoken! My objective is to be present everyday for the next few months and not think about what comes next… because as you say… it will be hard to fit back in! 🙂

  3. Love reading this. Life is about the memories we make, not the balance in our banks. Lynn and I have taken off as well, keeping our living expenses down by living out of a van in-between hikes and making an effort to see those that matter a lot to us. Having had a potentially terminal illness, and all the things I see as a nurse ( people who wait to retire to do their bucket list only to fall ill instead) I support doing this kind of thing now while you are healthy and still have knees to hike. Best of luck to you on your next chapter!

    1. Patti I was thinking of you when I wrote this and all the amazing adventures you still went on despite your illness. I LOVE that you’ve bought a van and are doing what you’re doing! I’ve been thinking of doing that myself upon my return. Thank you for continuing to inspire me and enjoy your travels! Love Muk x

  4. Girlfriend…

    You never cease to amaze me.
    I wish you the best time ever as you continue to travel this year.
    North America and Europe will be the better for your time in both.

    Thank you for answering those burning questions smoldering between the lines about how and why you do what you do. I am so pleased you are well and are simply making choices that allow you to do what you love.

    Yippee, more adventures stories to come.

    If you find yourself on the Oregon Coast… I know a sweet little beach town with your name all over it !!!!

    Tah tah for now
    From that sweet spot in Oregon where
    Lyndella Sings

    1. Thank you Lyndella for always being my biggest cheerleader!! It sounds like Oregon is better for having YOU in it! Muk 🙂

  5. You do know, don’t you, that if you’re ever travelling through Wagga, there’s a bed for you here, for a night or 10? It would be lovely to catch up one day…. –Steven xx

    1. Thank you!!! I regret I didn’t add Wagga to my itinerary! A visit there is well overdue. There’s gonna be a number of places I can’t make it to, but I’m glad we’re at least connecting this way! Hope you’re having a great year! 🙂

  6. Hi darling, your journey of a thousand miles began when you stepped out of your homeland, Australia. You took on challenges, worked in different countries, walked a few different trails and experienced different cultures. During these times you met lovely friends and learned a lot from each of them. You took the chances which you never have to regret. You have learned what is important in your life.
    Health not wealth, friendships not loneliness.
    Fly my butterfly, in the direction of your dreams. Enjoy your life as you want it to be. Love you, Mutti xx

    1. You can understand why my life has been so good when I have a mother like you! Thank you for supporting me every step of the way Mutti. Your heart and soul are made of pure gold. Love you more than words could ever express! xxx

      1. So lovely to have a mommy like you have, sweetie……I agree with her love for you “more than words could ever express! xxx….Where next sweetie girlio….next trail….next walking with a backpack, weighing your poor shoulders…..but, believe me, Muk Muk, your little Muk that you keep on your backpack will keep you going…..from you old friend in San Diego…..Love to you, Barbi

      2. Isn’t she the greatest!!??!! 🙂 It was SOOOO good to see you in San Diego! I’ll cherish our chance to meet forever! Where to next? North to Vancouver and then east to Europe. I’ve got 3 exciting months ahead! Much love to you my dear friend and thank you for all the kind words and inspiration!! Muk xx

  7. Hi Muk,
    I read all of your replies, such a great following. Nothing like going through a life changing event (me) to give one a different perspective. Your lifestyle has given you the life changing experience you desired and you chose it, it didn’t choose you. Must feel very empowering to have found that place in which happiness resides, and to have accomplished what many find so elusive.
    Enjoy the year nomading and revisiting friends and places, you deserve it.
    Tim

    1. Hey Tim thank you!! It’s so good to hear from you! Trail nostalgia hit me the moment I drove over the border into the States and will no doubt follow me along this journey. I wish I had more time to visit EVERYONE I’d love to see, but I’m doing my best to squeeze as much in as possible! I hope that you’re doing well and have made it back onto a trail or two. Let me know how you’re doing! Muk 🙂

      1. Hi Muk,
        I missed your reply. Let me know what your current email is. Safe journey’s.
        Tim

  8. Cheers Nomad! Your exploration continues. Me, I’m counting down…6 months and I give it all up… and gain my life back. I’m looking forward to meeting who I am then.

  9. Really enjoyed reading this. Muk I love the way you have created a such a wonderful lifestyle for yourself and are sharing it with us; good on you
    Take care and safe travels

  10. Hello there, I’ve followed your journey since the PCT (when my son Jon was hiking it at the same time). I liked your post and happy belated birthday. Birthdays are a time for reflection, taking stock and making plans and your plans are wonderful. I came late to my hiking/travelling journey and I’ll never do what you’ve done or my son but at 60 I’m going to give it a shot. If you’re ever in the north west of England and you need to bunk up I’m happy to oblige. Ros

    1. Ros it’s so great to hear from you! I’ll never forget bumping into Jon on trail and passing on a message from you! I’m thrilled you’re still following and I will definitely touch base if I’m ever back in England. I’m also stoked that you’re starting your hiking/travelling adventures. It’s never too late!! 🙂

    2. Ros..60 is just a number (so people keep telling me). I’m turning 60 this year, and dropping out of my career and Hiking the PCT next spring…then onwards from there! Push the limits, and find they are not really there. Congrats, I’m looking forward to 60!!…Gromit

      1. Yes Gomit!!! You are living proof of your own sentiments!! Thank you for sharing your inspiration! It gave me goosebumps! 🙂

      2. Thank you, I do a lot of hiking in the UK and Europe but my first alpine backpack this year. Well done you and congratulations on your upcoming birthday and hike and ‘dropping out’ Ros

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