Confessions of the Happy Nomad

In this article, originally posted in Latinamerikaliv, I reflect about what is it to be a traveller and the possible diferences among tourists, travelers and nomads. In the end, I even found some answers about myself… 


Over my last journey years, I realize something about myself: I´m not a tourist neither a traveller, I am a nomad. And what makes the difference between all of these characters?

I believe a tourist has a light connection to the travelling activity, using it only for recreation to recharge himself [I will write in a male perspective] from work. A traveller, on the other hand, is kind of a tourist upgrade: for him a trip is an event. According to my experience, is someone dedicated to his travels but does not abdicate the confort of home.

A traveller loves the process: before the trip, when he sets up everything; the trip itself; and the pos trip, to go back and share his experience with family, friends, co-workers, etc..

And then it comes the nomad, the upgrade of the upgrade. In my opinion, a nomad is someone interested in living in other countries, absorbing local cultures and dedicated to learn in situs. His home is the road. He can go everywhere because he is the all-terrain traveller. He doesn´t have many objects because he doesn´t need. On the contrary, he has a lot of time to dedicate to a place.


When I charactize myself as a nomad, it wasn´t something I decide one day. There was also a process: as every newly graduate, I started to work but monotony was not for me. As I needed something new, I quit and went to volunteer in Balkans.

For 6 months, I had the chance to live in Skopje, Macedonia, and work in a youth center. It was one the best experiences in my life: together with other fellow europeans I helped and learned in a different environment. Everyday was a challenge: new flavours, new faces, new languages, new places.

When I went back home, Lisbon, the sunny portuguese capital, I realize how I evolve. As I wrote before, monotony is not for me and to return was to see that eveything and everyone around were the same. I needed new challenges. So I decided to go abroad again. But first I needed to work: for some time I worked as night receptionist in a hostel in the city center of Lisbon. Such a lovely job!

Finally all conditions were created for me to go abroad again. Together with my girlfriend, last October I moved to Riga, the cold capital of Latvia. Although Latvia is in Europe, related to Portugal I find the country a lot more distinct than Argentina. So far, I´m loving it. Everyday is a challenge: the weather, the people, the language, the food. I´m investing my time in doing what I like the most: living in a new culture and writing about it.

A nomad is not better than a traveller or a tourist. In fact, a happy tourist is better than a sad nomad. Over the last years, I was lucky enough to listen myself. And that´s one lesson I learned by being on the road: the importance of discover what makes you happy. Find it out and then plunge in it. In here or in there. About me I know I will be somewhere. No matter where.


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8 responses to “Confessions of the Happy Nomad

  1. I feel I don’t fit any of your categories. I am more of an wanderer, always curious about what is around the next bend. I’m glad you are enjoying Riga. I found it to be a brave and lovely city.

    • Hey hey, thanks for your comment 🙂 this post had an update, I’m not living in Riga anymore eheh I understand what you mean by wanderer, in fact I might have a bit of it too 🙂 have a great week, cheers 🙂 PedroL

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