Interview With Gustav of The Modern Nomad
Please give my readers a background about yourself. What made you want to start themodernnomad.com?
Every New Year's Day, I take time to re-evaluate my life. This year, I realized that I was done with the life as a corporate bank-IT manager in London. It was time to make a change or stagnate. Decision made, I went ahead and in a few months, I deconstructed my life (I quit my job, sold my flat and gave away my stuff.) to make room for a new life as a nomad.
My goal is to live a life where work, love, play, friends etc are location-independent. It has not been easy, and most of the time I'm scared to death. I created The Modern Nomad for two reasons. The first is as a sounding board for my own experiences. It keeps me sane to put my experiences into print instead of having the thoughts fester in my head. The second is to help others considering similar changes in their lives. Having seen other people do similar norm-breaking life changes helped me find the courage persevere in mine.
In all of your travels, in your opinion what country has the best food? and the worst food?
Best food: Argentina. The meat is to die for. I got into the weird habit of having steaks for breakfast. There was no resisting it. Also, they have a certain kind of spicy condiment which, no matter how I've searched, I have not been able to find anywhere else.
I will make 194 million enemies telling you that Brazil has to worst food. They will gush and awe over their food, but let's be honest; their food culture comes from the days of slavery, and it is all different variety of slop.
When you first started traveling, did your family support your decision?
My dad called me crazy, leaving a secure and highly-paid job to venture into economic uncertainty. My mum worried more about the safety of a life on the road. In the end though, they trust that I know my life well enough to be in the best position to make decision on how to live it.
Did you always have a love of travel or did you develop your passion for traveling as you got older?
It has always been there. My love for travel is rooted in a fear of wasting my one and only life. These 30-100 years are all that I have, and there is so much to experience in life. Being physically 'on the move' helps me keep my perspective and attitudes open to take in life to the maximum.
What impact has themodernnomad.com had on your life?
I have become totally dependant on the feedback I get from my readers, be it comments on my posts or private e-mails. Whenever I feel disconnected or lost, I can take refuge in knowing that there are so many people out there who see me, and that is very important in keeping myself sane when the loneliness of a life on the road becomes hard to bear.
It also gives me a sense of purpose. I have had heartfelt messages from people telling me that my writings have inspired them to move closer to the life they truly want.
What has been the least exciting destination you've traveled to?
Bari, Italy. That place really sucked the life force right out of me!
What has been the most surprising destination you've been to? Meaning, you had a specific mindset about a certain destination but it was totally a different experience than you had imagined.
Iran. I figured that the country probably didn't deserve its bad reputation (few countries do), but the Iranians blew me away with their generous hospitality. I have never been invited into so many houses and treated to such kindness and attention as I was there. And none of it was in an attempt to 'squeeze money out of the tourist' either. In fact, they blankly refused every attempt to repay them for their kindness.
Oh, and I have never been flirted with so shamelessly as I was by the Iranian women!
If you had to decide which destination has been the most influential in your life, which destination would you chose?
Barcelona, Spain, but not because the place is anything ground breaking but because that was the first place I went to when, after finishing my university, I embarked on a four month backpacking trip. I broke down with homesickness within the first week, and cried many nights, feeling utterly disconnected. I was in a strange land where I did not understand the language.
Overcoming those feelings really made me grow, and I can always draw on that experience to remind me that breaking new ground is always painful, but it gets better!
If you could travel with any celebrity for one week, who would you chose and why?
The president of the United States, whoever he happens to be at the time. I am all about experiencing new things, but certain areas are closed to me because I'm simply not part of that world, and it would be too much work to gain access. But if I could tag along and get a view on how the world is run, that would sure be an experience!
What advice would you give to a newbie traveler?
The world is a whole lot safer than people make it out to be. The biggest block you'll ever come across is your own fears. You must start recognizing when you procrastinate or delay in order to avoid something you are afraid of, and rise above it. Push yourself and go! Things will work out.
In 10 years, do you see yourself still traveling or slowing down?
Ten years is an awful long time in which to make predictions, but I sure hope so! And if this nomadic experiment of mine works out, then I do believe it will be a life that I would want to make mine for ever.
Thanks Gustav for the interview. Please visit his blog @ The Modern Nomad