Last October, I ditched my apartment in Waikiki for a renewed stint of vagabonding. Most people just don’t get it.
- “OK, but where do you live?” It’s equally true that I live wherever I am at that moment or nowhere.
- “Where’s your home base?” Nowhere.
I’ve learned that I like to stay in a place for at least several weeks to figure out its rhythms and my favorite restaurants, sports activities places to go out, and new friends before I move on. That’s why I spent three months in Buenos Aires, a month in Madrid, and plan to spend a month each in Belgrade and Bucharest.
But I’ve also had short trips to Arizona and California to play in tennis tournaments; to North Carolina to watch basketball tournaments; and to Hawaii, Georgia, Florida, and Virginia to see family and friends. I counted up all my 2015 nights through June 12, 2015 when I leave Madrid to see where I’ve actually slept in 2015.
Camping: 2 Nights
I wish this number were 10 times higher.
I trekked and camped from December 29, 2014 to January 2, 2015 in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, so that was one night this year.
I camped a night in Maui at Oheo Gulch with a friend.These were two of my favorite experiences all year, so I would like to incorporate more camping and trekking into my life in 2015 and beyond. I don’t travel with a tent, but that would start making more sense if I were to camp more.
Hostel: 7 Nights
Eight years ago, traveling meant hostels for me, ideally for $5 a night.
Hostels are my back up, back up plan at this point. I only like to stay in them if I will be in a town for 1-2 nights–making Airbnb not a good option–and there are no chain hotels for which I have points–making hotels not a good option.
I can still enjoy hostels in small doses, but they bore me quickly because they are the same everywhere, and I consider meeting other travelers usually less interesting than meeting locals.
Airbnb: 6 Nights
(I’m only counting stays of under two weeks in this category. I also found the 90 nights in apartments on Airbnb, but I consider stays of over two weeks to be of a separate character, and both were actually rented outside Airbnb.)
Renting on Airbnb a place with a kitchen in the part of town where I want to spend my days is the ideal way for me to travel to a city for three days to a week.
These stays in Buenos Aires (while my regular apartment was unavailable) and Bogota were top notch, and I expect to Airbnb on my weeklong trip to each capital in the Baltics in June and July.
Apartments: 90 Nights
If I want to be in a place for a month or longer, I want to be in one apartment with a kitchen where I can cook my specialties and with space to entertain guests. I search Airbnb, Craigslist, and Google for apartments, but I always try to transact directly with the owner to save cash.
These 58 nights in Buenos Aires and 32 in Madrid were perfect. I had an apartment exactly where I wanted to be at a lower average nightly price than a hotel or a short term Airbnb stay.
Redeye Flights: 3 Nights
Buenos Aires to Greensboro, Honolulu to Seattle, and Washington to Madrid all involved sleeping on planes.
Hotel: 3 Nights
A friend and I enjoyed Westin Maui for two nights on points, and I used an expiring Hyatt free night certificate at the Grand Hyatt in Washington.
I don’t stay at hotels often because I can get a cheaper, better place with Airbnb, but I do like my occasional stays in nice hotels on points. They’re a fun treat.
Motels: 13 Nights
When I was watching basketball and heading to reunions on the East Coast, I was burning Choice Privileges Points for stays at Econolodges or booking similar $40-a-night motels that are frankly gross. Still I’d rather save the money over a nicer hotel if I’m going to be rarely in the room.
Friends: 8 Nights
Family: 23 Nights
I love visiting friends and family, and I’ll sleep on whatever surface is available from a spare bed to an air mattress to couch cushions on the floor because the couch isn’t long enough.
I especially love that home cooking I can’t replicate myself in foreign apartments, and the extra tennis and golf that family visits entail.
Casas Particulares: 7 Nights
Every night in Cuba, I stayed at a casa particular, which is just Spanish for “private home.”
Although I had my own entry at both casas, it is still different from a standard Airbnb experience because the homeowner is living on the premises and offers to cook.
The mix should be pretty similar, I see three weeks of Airbnb stays coming up in the Baltics, two longer apartment rentals in Serbia and Romania, and bouncing for a few weeks in the US in the Fall. I’ll post the year end stats as Recap of 2015 post.
I’ve been nomadic for about eight months, and I see that continuing for at least another eight more. I love never paying rent/mortgage on two places the same night which saves me a lot of money over renting an apartment and still traveling half the time, and I love having fewer possessions. Leave a comment if you have any questions about the nomadic lifestyle or my lodging strategies.