Do you like to read? I hope so, because you’re looking at my first monthly installment of Book Corner. Once a month I’ll give you the low-down on books that inspire me, as well as teach us an aspect of hitting the “reset” button on life and pursuing the dream.
I read Matthew Kepnes’s book, Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home, published by St. Martin’s Press. According to Kepnes:
The book is a memoir about my ten years traveling and backpacking the world, philosophy on travel, and the lessons I learned that can help you travel better.
In preparing for his life on the road, Kepnes confronts his self-doubt about living as a nomad, as well as the disappointment from others about his choice. While on the road, he ponders his ability to survive financially, navigates whirlwind romances, forges lasting friendships, comes to grips with travel burnout, and faces the difficult question of when and how to come home.
As Kepnes chases the travel bug through Thailand, Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, and Greece, he increasingly struggles to balance travel with work. He repeatedly faces the struggle between following his wanderlust and finding stability in his work back home. It’s that vacillation between the urge to leave and the struggle to stay.
After several years into his travels, the death of a fellow nomad and friend compels him to question what it means to live life well. After some unexpected life-changing events, Kepnes ultimately learns how to avoid sacrificing financial stability and personal connections, and how not to lose oneself as a professional nomad.
There are many lessons to learn from Ten Years a Nomad, but my big take-away is reflected in Kepnes’s words:
There’s no shame in admitting that travel can be hard. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns—it’s routine, frustration, stress, and disappointment, too.
Ten Years a Nomad advocates for being honest with oneself and not settling for a life that others expect you to live. The book encourages us to confront our fear, measure the risks, and leave our comfort zone, which keeps us “just happy enough to resist change.” Ultimately, we eventually have to find our way home, whatever that means to us.
The Final Word
Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home is a call for us to have the courage to live the life we are meant to live, regardless of what that looks like. Sometimes what travel teaches you is that “There’s nothing wrong with coming home.”
As much as I enjoyed the book, Kepnes could have been less myopic in some of his analogies, such as classifying people into two groups–those who have stayed in hostels and those who haven’t. I agree with his point that hostel living can teach you how to be flexible and be comfortable around strangers, but starting a new job can also teach you such skills.
I recommend this book to anyone who sees travel as a path to something more meaningful. You can find Ten Years a Nomad here. Also visit Matthew Kepnes’s page, NomadicMatt.com, for travel tips, resources, merchandise, and travel guides.
If you’ve read the book, tell us what you think. Don’t forget the hit the “like” button.