I thought my life was special. As a business consultant, I traveled millions of miles and saw the world; now, as a writer, I visit all those fantastic places all over again on book tours and journeys of inspiration. But at the end of a trip, business or pleasure, I always come back to my comfy chair, my collection of antique maps and my poor, mistreated plants. I come back home. The average human is anchored to a physical center that only changes a few times in our lives, if we move cities for studies or work.
This is such a normal state of affairs that I never questioned it, until now. Last week I realized that there is another option to this traditional form of existence. I met, again on the hirsute social app I keep mentioning, one of the most interesting Internet personalities ever: The Modern Nomad. Check out his site; it's inspiring! I clicked on the little picture because I have a thing for muscular backs attached to bearded faces. I ended up in a new universe.
Gustav (his real name) takes the art of alternative living to a new level. He has no home. No house, no flat and certainly no mortgage. What he owns fits in his backpack. Like a tin, he does what it says on his label: He is a modern nomad. I am not speaking of herding cattle in the Maghreb (not very modern). He works, plays and fucks like the rest of us, but he combines it with physical movement. Every few months he packs up and explores a new part of the world.
It's an interesting concept, combining the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of our ancestors and our male drive for independence with savvy roaming and sustainability. Gustav is the antidote to suburban sprawl, commuter trains, traffic jams and midlife crises.
Gustav still calls his life an experiment in alternative living, but based on my conversations with him, I think he has proved it viable. Technology enables him to be more than a drifter. He uses it not only to make a living working online but also to spread his life philosophy through his blog. "I want to inspire people to actively choose how to live their lives, and do so with bravery," he says. "Breaking society's normative ideas of how we should live our lives is hard, but if your heart does not conform with those ideas, then you must."
As gay men, we share more than just a social app; we share a head start toward the freedom from such social norms. As the nomad says, "Being gay helped me find the courage to tread my own path. I broke society's norms once when I came out, and survived. So why not do it again? (And again!) Indeed, coming out can be so much more than telling Mom you are in love with the boy next door. Coming out, in a broader sense, is also the courage to go against the mainstream, to leave behind a life dictated by corporate infrastructure, television commercials or emulation of other people."
Being gay also allows Gustav to connect more easily with guys around the world. "It sounds crass, but there is no quicker way to make friends than sleeping with them," he says. "And gay social apps, initially created for urbanites to get laid quicker, makes finding these new friends much faster. I have even changed my travel plans on account of some hot guy inviting me to his country."
Well, after several hours of chatting on Scruff, I put his nomadic credentials to the test and invited him to my house for an extended stay. I did send him a revealing picture, to be sure! Don't want to... you know. He accepted and is ready to book his flight. We just need to wait for the end of winter, because I'm planning to take him on extended hiking trips -- with his shirt off.
I am looking forward to meeting him. Maybe I'll convert to nomadism with him. What better way to find inspiration for a writer than to hit the open road!