This was originally a guest post for a private publication, which I'm reposting here now. It was written in 2020, when I was still a "full-time" nomad and didn't have an appartment for five years already.
We’re in November 2016. I’ve been living a sedentary life in Paris, housing in a small apartment in the center, close to friends and yet far away.
My life cycle was one of repetition: waking up, thinking about work, going to work, coming back home, and trying to escape the thoughts of work that were hunting me. I kept that cycle for more than a year until everything broke down: two weeks before a big event that I was hosting, I woke up paralyzed, not being able to move, to think, to act.
My entire world was falling apart: all of my time was invested into thinking that soon, in the future, I would gain happiness. But happiness never came.
This morning, I had to make a radical decision: if I don’t prioritize what I believe in, if I don’t invest into discovering what truly makes me happy, I will continue this cycle until I’m too old to change. And I didn’t want that.
My journey since then has been one of letting go: first, letting go of my physical possessions. I sold my speakers, my desk, my chairs, my beb, my DJ table - literally everything I owned. Until I got rid of the one thing that was holding me back mostly: my apartment.
The day before letting go of my apartment, I talked to a friend and said: “Tomorrow, I’m leaving Paris because I want freedom.”
“Freedom?” he asked. “That’s bullsh*t! Freedom by itself is just a vacuum that you can fill with something you care about. You need to choose what you fill your freedom with!”
This is when it hit me: freedom and responsibility are just two sides of the same coin, and it is our choice to decide what we do with it. This day, I decided that I would prioritize my next months to have the freedom to be with the people I love. It led me to reconnect with friends, making new ones, reconnect with my family and discover the world anew.
My intentions since then have been changing over time: when I decided to invest my freedom into work, I lived in coliving spaces with strong work environments and inspirational people. When I decided to invest my freedom into discovery, I took a two-month surrender experiment journey, going into life without plan and just listening to opportunities that opened up - which led me to living for days naked in the Mexican jungle, meeting an art director who flew me into Mexico City into his private jet, encountering a priest who brought me into the depths of favelas, and experiencing life in the most unpredictable ways.
Giving up your house is not a matter of freedom. It’s a matter of what you invest that freedom in: whether self-development, personal experiences, collective love, or looking for professional opportunities in new environments, we all have the possibility to live thousands of different lifes and have the choice to choose one.
Which one would you choose?
Here is the best part: we don’t have to only live one! Since the day that I became a nomad and minimalist, I’ve lived a dozens lifes: the one of a digital nomad who established his marketing agency and worked with New York Times bestselling authors; the one of an adventurer who went onto week-long trips of living with $1 per day to overcome his own limits of what is possible; the one of a lover who redefined the meaning of relationships with amazing teachers who took me on their journey. And today, the one of a book author who, as writing these words, just sent his first book to his editor.
Don’t be afraid to let go of what doesn’t serve you. We all deserve to experience life under all of its facets.
10 Nomad Commandments
- Prioritize your well-being whenever you make decisions in your life
- Invest into experiences that serve you profoundly
- Fill your freedom with something that you care about
- Live with people you love before it’s too late
- Possessions can be delegated instead of getting attached to them
- Overcome your fears of not being able to let go of possessions
- Certainty lies not in what you have but in who you are
- Choose one life out of the thousands that you can live
- Care about your own opinion not the one of of others
- Share your time as the most valuable asset of your life
I hope these serve you!
What do you live by, and which principles have helped you gain groundedness amidst uncertainty? Would love to read in comments!