The Emotional DETOX of Becoming a Nomad

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The emotional detox of becoming a nomad can be intense. Along with the challenges of living on the road, we’ve chosen a way of life that brings us face to face with our SELVES.

Before becoming a nomad, I hadn’t owned a TV for years, but had a daily habit of spending hours on my laptop – watching Netflix, browsing social media, and having internet at my fingertips 24/7.

Seeing not experiencing the emotional detox of nomadism
Image by Bill Shortridge from Pixabay

I was no different than most civilized modern Westerners sedated by a steady state of consuming … whether it be TV, internet media, material goods, information, or food. Just watch a few TV commercials and you’ll get what I mean.

The media is a potent tool to insure our continued participation in consumerism. Those counting on our continued consumerism use the media to encourage us to keep consuming, stay employed, and work hard enough to continue the cycle. It’s a vicious cycle, forcing us onto the hamster wheel of perpetual consumption.

To keep us spinning on this hamster wheel, we’re kept in unnatural emotional states – tired enough to keep us from rebelling, but stimulated and motived just enough to keep us working.

All the while, we’re exposed to a daily, carefully curated stream of media that’s specifically researched and designed to convince us we need to keep on consuming and upgrading.

With this never-ending EXTERNAL bombardment of mood-altering media, we end up with little time or energy to get familiar with the ever-shifting weather of our INTERNAL emotional climate.

When we’re used to being numbed out, it can be a real struggle when we’re forced to deal with the daily challenges of nomad life. It was for me, at first.

Nomad Life Gives Good Head … With Brain Chemicals!

The emotional detox of becoming a nomad and leaving behind the sedation of consumerism is one of the most profound effects I’ve experienced becoming a nomad, and one of the most challenging.

My partner Nancy recently told me that before she was a nomad, she would go shopping just to have something to do.

Of course! Because shopping stimulates dopamine, a feel-good brain chemical that rewards us when we plan, then accomplish a goal! We also get dopamine when we anticipate or have, a novel experience. Luckily for nomads, we have plenty of those in our lives!

As I discussed in The Healing Power Of Nomadism, addictions to drugs, alcohol, porn, shopping, food, or even browsing the internet are poor but effective substitutes for increasing our feel-good neurotransmitters. It’s not rocket science to see that the Western capitalistic way of life isn’t promoting human health.

Give Up Stuff, Gain Life!

Most nomads are minimalists just by our way of life! To be comfortable in a small space we have to be conscious consumers. After 5 years on the road, I’m still finding ways to get rid of things! I have 4 forks, can I get by on 2? How many hoodies do I really need? It’s a mindful and freeing way to live.

As I’ve continued to practice letting go of things, I’ve gained life by giving up stuff! By letting go of things, I get to have rich experiences on the road that add to my vault of amazing memories! Not only that, being a minimilist gives me the gift of time. I only have a few possessions in a very small space. Can you imagine the amount of time I save just on housework!?

Under the rainbow!
Me – under the rainbow in Arizona!

Experiencing the emotional detox of becoming a nomad taught me how important it is for my mental health to be able to accept myself just as I am. Being able to accept my quirky self has made it even more enjoyable to meet the other interesting, quirky people who’ve chosen a life on the road!

I’ve never before felt so completely whole.

After Detox, Then What?

It seems like there’s a high percentage of nomads, and especially women, who’ve experienced trauma, depression, anxiety or other mood disorders. It seems like those conditions push us into finding what we DIDN’T have in the past … wholeness, love and a tribe that accepts us unconditionally. Many of us, myself included, discover self-acceptance born from the nomadic life like we’ve never experienced before. We find freedom and powerful lessons that teach us just how capable we are.

Being a nomad is an opportunity to really live life, to see what’s around the next corner, to have experiences and meet people we’d never encounter sitting in one place. Instead of being numbed out with consuming, we get natural highs from living a life rich with experiences!

Self-discovery is a Natural Benefit of the Nomad Experience!
New experiences and traveling - the emotional detox of becoming a nomad
Traveling to new sights!

Becoming a nomad is a precious opportunity to define a brand-new relationship with ourselves, and with life itself, a gift some people will never get to experience.

As a fellow life coach said, “I’m Alive. Not heart-beating, lung breathing “little a” alive, but “BIG A” soul-level alive!” – Dani Fake, Life Coach

Living as a nomad is our chance to detox from mindless consumerism and brain numbing media, to become SOUL-LEVEL ALIVE!

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Joseph Campbell


Some excerpts taken from Wild Women On The Road: A Women’s Guide to Nomadic Freedom In The Modern Age and 600 Days As A Nomad: How The Mystical Power of Nature Healed My Body, Mind, and Soul

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