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    Do You Have What It Takes To Be a Rover?

    The Namib Desert
    The pink, black, brown, purple and green Namib desert

    Do you enjoy meeting new people, forming new relationships and adapting to new circumstances?
    Do you bore easily?
    Do you like surprises?
    Do sudden or periodic changes in your life inspire rather than frighten you?
    Do you take chances living without what some would consider a safety net?
    Do you go with the flow of life when drastic changes occur without descending into emotional overwhelm?
    Can you embrace a lifestyle embracing the philosophy “less is more?”

    If your answers to these some of these questions are “yes”, chances are you’re already a rebel and a candidate for a roving lifestyle — assuming you’re not doing so already. But before we go on further we need to talk about what we mean by roving.

    What counts as a roving lifestyle?

    The answer might seem obvious. But it isn’t.

    There are many kinds of rovers. Some are backpackers hiking around the world. Others are mountain bikers pedaling their way to the next horizon from one adventure to the next. Some are RV’ers on wheels — living in travel trailers, 5th Wheels, or motor homes — there’s 1.3 million of them full-timing in the U.S. — but it’s not so common elsewhere. And there are full-time boaters — cruisers — RV’ers on the water.

    Temple, Abu Dhabi
    Temple, Abu Dhabi

    Nomads come in all “shapes and sizes” and span all age brackets. But wanderlust is the one personality quirk they all share.

    Roving is a lifestyle of extreme variation. Some are happy to wander once in a while hauling everything they own in a massive trailer they tow behind a 41’ motor home. Others wouldn’t think of going anywhere unless they rode a motorcycle carrying what little they own in panniers.

    Some nomads exchange or “swap” their homes with other home owners while leapfrogging from house-to-house around the world. Others couch surf their way around the world making many new friends as they go. And some people wouldn't be caught dead on the road with more than one suitcase.

    What Doesn’t Count As Roving?

    • Going on an annual vacation;
    • Doing a one-time home exchange a year;
    • Living in an RV at a fixed location all the time;
    • Living on a boat without setting sail to sea;
    • Living a seclusionist lifestyle away from societies;
    • Living in tiny homes (yes, they are minimalists, and can be mobile, but not characteristically so)

    The Minimalist —The Purest Rover

    The purest practitioner of the roving lifestyle is the minimalist. These are people embracing the lifestyle premise of less is more. It includes backpackers, mountain bikers, and those who hop from place to place living out of one suitcase. They live their lives, to some degree or another, without a ‘Net. They are nomads, moving from one geographic area to another, over time. Some are relentlessly mobile. Others go somewhere, stay for a month or two, and then move on.

    Roving Benefits

    Roving = freedom! 
    For nomads, there are two broad categories embracing this notion: freedom from an old life and, freedom toward a new life.

    Freedom from your old life means getting rid of your anchors — property such as houses, cars, boats, planes, and motorcycles — unless of course, a vehicle is central to your travel plan.

    It also means setting up new terms with living anchors: relatives, friends and pets. Some folks we know can’t make a daily decision without first considering what is going on with their grandkids, boyfriends, or girlfriends. And there's always those who are married to their jobs.

    Some people, understandably, cannot give up their pets. The solution of course, is to take them with you. Our fellow rover Julie does this.

    Freedom from your past means shedding your old lifestyle: what’s predictable, comfortable, and regular — and moving out to create new and different a life.  It’s all a matter of structuring your priorities.

    Scalloway displaying the castle and museum, center right
    Scalloway, The Shetland Islands, displaying the castle and museum, center right

    Then there’s the freedom toward a new life. There's freedom from your “stuff”! “Stuff” is, in and of itself, a subject worthy of a separate blog post. Many we know are overwhelmed by what they own — often stuff they don't need at all!  I'll talk more about this in a future blog post.

    Roving = flexibility! 

    When you’re a rover, you can go anywhere you want, whenever you want. Your only limits are money, your medical condition, weather, and with foreign travel, immigration requirements at destination countries.

    Roving isn’t about retreating to the remote recesses of the Prince William Sound — that’s isolationism. It’s about embracing the world, meeting new people, tasting different foods, learning new languages, making new friends, learning about other cultures and lifestyles, and seeing the world through a multi-cultural lens.

    But then again, you can use a roving lifestyle get away from a worldwide pandemic. You can pick isolated spots in the world like the South Pacific islands to get away from it all and stay away until conditions change.

    RoverTrekkers Karla & Tom
    RoverTrekkers Karla & Tom in Greece

    Roving = Happiness!

    When you rove the world, you’re happy — all the time. Why? Because you’re meeting and sharing the wonders of our world with like-minded people — travelers like you — on their way to the next horizon.

    When you’re on the move, positive, outgoing people usually surround you. You’re away from the negative ruts so many are into in your home country: neighborhood and homeowner association squabbles; politics; crime; who dislikes whom at [fill in the blank], relatives (intra-family warfare); and a host of other negative circumstances. As a full-time nomad, you’re above petty fights with others.

    Worshipers lighting off Sky Lanterns
    Worshipers lighting off Sky Lanterns — Thailand

    Have you ever noticed when you're away from home how others who don't know you take an immediate and in-depth interest in you? Why is that?

    We think it's because you are new and different to them. Those running businesses at destinations you travel to as well as colleagues you meet along the way are all attracted by something new — as are you. You see people in a new light. And they see you similarly because of your common perspective. You don't bring a bias to a new relationship. You're open to a new person. And others don't harbor a negative view of you either.

    This is the great advantage of roving. Every day of your life is a chance to make a new impression, create a new friend, or help someone you don't know. Wandering empowers you to share the joys of living with others in a way that is hard to do when you stay in one place all the time dealing with the same people repeatedly.

    When your rove you make many new friends fast! And at the end of your first year of full-time roving, you could have new friends and contacts all over the world.

    Roving = New Perspectives

    RoverTreks — Two Tricycle Tuk Tuks, Thailand
    RoverTreks — Two Tricycle Tuk Tuks, Thailand

    When you travel abroad, you'll notice the relationships between your home country and a foreign land from a new perspective. You'll think of immigrants in a new light: suddenly you'll realize that you are the one with the foreign accent or no language fluency in a new land, granting you an enhanced perspective on immigrants in your own country.

    RoverTreks — Man sleeping on motorbike
    RoverTreks — Man sleeping on motorbike — Vietnam
    Ladies selling wares, Nor Lae Thailand
    Ladies selling wares, Nor Lae Thailand

    If you're a news media junkie you will enjoy the change of reading foreign media and learning how they view your home country and the people who live there. In fact, your perspective about your home country will change a lot after you been abroad for three or more months.

    Roving = Financial Benefits

    When you're a rover the world is your oyster. You have two categories of “big” expenses in your life: travel and (for some of us) taxes! Your cash flow is free — yours to spend as you wish.

    You don't need to own a home once you begin travel. Sell it before you leave. You'll save on paying property, local, or even state income taxes (if you're from the U.S. and change your domicile to a non-tax state before moving overseas  — more about that in a separate blog post). If don't want to sell, you can convert your home into a rental property. Or, you can set it up for home exchange and swap houses with others worldwide all year long.

    Food can be cheaper. In Thailand, we eat out twice a day all week long for $80 a week! And by that I mean “sit-down” meals — not street food. But you can live on street food all week along in Southeast Asia and barely spend $20.00 a week.

    Street food from the night bazaar ~.50 cents
    Street food from the night bazaar, Chiang Mai, Thailand ~.50 cents

    You don't need to chain yourself down with the expense of a home overseas. We meet many ex-pats who, caught up in the marketing hype of major media and specialty blog pieces, sell everything to move to a foreign country where they don't know the language, culture, customs, of their new country. We've met many who, realizing the error of their ways, sellout in the foreign country, only to find out they can’t afford to return to live in their home country again.

    When you’re a rover, you don't have to spend money maintaining a vacation house. You can rent one for a period of time and then move on. Or you can become a house sitter and take care houses all around the world — not your own! There are so many benefits to full-time roving. And, there are many challenges to solve before and while doing so.

    Want to find out how we planned our transition to a full-time roving lifestyle? Want to learn how we plan our full-time roving? Follow us here.

    Become a rover! See the world! Wander — Endlessly — For less!

    Tom @ RoverTreks
    Tom @ RoverTrekshttp://tomtalleur.com
    Writer, futurist, and NASA Advanced Technology Programs Executive (ret.), Tom Talleur connects the past, present and future to inspire audiences and action. His writings and commentary in print, radio and television media span an array of topics, including technology security, history, culture, space, travel, public policy, law, and the future. Media appearances span television, radio, and dozens of print and online publications over the past 25 years. See TomTalleur.com for more information.

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