Long Term Travel: How Fast Should Digital Nomads Move Around?
I’m bored. It just happened. Some people enjoy staying in a city for months, or even years on end. That’s not my style of long term travel.
I’ve been in Bogota, Colombia for nearly three months now. I had planned to stay for around six months.
My goal was to focus on business more than ever before. Bogota is a great city to get work done in. There’s no sunshine. You never feel the urge to go outside. It’s even kind of cold.
Spending days behind the computer screen in Bogota isn’t all that bad. But the cold, dreary weather got to me.
I’m tired of Bogota. I want to move around. I want that energy from being in a new city. I crave the new adventures.
My body felt better in the heat. I started deadlifting again. I felt a new energy. My step had a little spring in it.
I got back to Bogota, and my energy plummeted. It wasn’t that I didn’t love Bogota. It’s how long I’ve been here.
For me, long term travel is about constant movement. Staying in motion is important. You never want to lose that momentum. But I had. Bogota has become stagnant for me.
Then I started thinking…
What’s the perfect pace of travel for digital nomads? Is basing up for six months to a year the only true way to get work done?
While I don’t have all the answers, I think I’ve found the right pace for my travels from here on out.
The Perfect Pace of Long Term Travel
Every single one of us is different. I have friends who make tons of cash online while moving to a new city every 4-5 days for months on end.
I know other people who would never visit a city for less than a month. Others enjoy spending a full year in a city before heading off to a new locale.
While there’s no perfect pace of travel, those on the road for years on end know there’s a fine line between being productive and being bored.
Staying in a city for a few months can be fun. Staying in a city for a full year can be tedious. You have to find that balance.
So here’s my ideal pace for long term travel:
Ideally, I’d base up in a few different cities for 2-3 months per year. Trips of three-months allow you to get comfortable in a city, find the hot spots, and genuinely gain a better appreciation of the culture.
After three months, I get a little antsy. I want to move around. I feel the need to explore a bit. Thus, I prefer to base up for no more than three months. After three months, it’s time to move somewhere new.
The benefits of basing up come from a work standpoint. Once you get into a new rhythm in the city, you’ll have nearly two and a half months of productive work time. This is ideal for completing projects and pushing the envelope.
Mix It Up
Between three months of basing up in a city, I’d take a few trips of one week or one month. I hate taking trips of a few weeks. Either stay in a city for a week and do a quick trip or spend a full month getting acclimated.
Constant week or month trips are horrible for work. It’s hard to get into a routine in a week. You have to find the best supermarkets, restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms, and so on before you have a routine.
Finding all the best spots in your area takes time, usually one or two weeks. As such, you won’t be that productive in your first few weeks in a city. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.
For this reason, it’s not great to move to a new city every month. Digital nomads will struggle to keep producing, as half their time will be used to find a decent routine.
Do a few short trips here and there, but focus on basing up the majority of the year.
During the three months you’re based in a city, you can take a few mini-vacations. These 2-4 day trips allow you to escape the current city you’re in. You head off to the beach or the mountains for a few days to relax. No work. Just play.
Then you head back to your home base and continue working and living in your preferred city. For example, I’ve been living in Bogota, but I took a three day trip to Pereira about a month back. It was a lot of fun and helped recharge my batteries.
Your Long Term Travel Pace
If you’re a digital nomad, someone who works and travels, sound off in the comments about your long term travel pace. Basing up for three months is ideal for me, but I’d love to hear from fellow hustlers on the road. What is your ideal long term travel pace?