How Living in Various Places Will Help You Find Your Favorite Lifestyle

A great way to know yourself better and find your favorite lifestyle is through living in various homes.

That’s exactly what From Here To Sunday travel blogger and nomad Monica Houghton is doing.

In this interview, she shares her best advice for new nomads, tips on handling non-nomadic people, and amazing photos of her trip around the world!

Travel Blogger Monica Houghton

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Absolutely! My name is Monica and I’m originally from the Midwest, born in Ohio and raised in Wisconsin. I started a Travel & Lifestyle Blog about three years ago when I decided to start living a nomadic lifestyle.

In general, I am pretty outgoing. I’ve been known to move to a new city that I’ve never been to before and set up there for months on end. Some would say that’s pretty spontaneous! That said, I also love planning and everything that goes into organizing a trip or even move in advance.

My favorite activities outside of travel are tennis, playing with my sister’s puppy Domino, and eating cheese (specifically brie/goat cheese).

Travel Blogger Monica Houghton

How and why did you become a nomad?

Once upon a time I was going into an office every day in San Francisco, California. My role actually became remote and I thought why not travel while working. I was living in one of the most expensive cities and simply thought if I can do my job from anywhere, why not do that. So, I became a minimalist, packed up my remaining belongings and hit the road. I lived across the US and then last year quit my job to travel even more internationally.

Why is having a nomadic life important for you?

Overall, it has allowed me the flexibility and opportunity to explore more. I took advantage of living across the US and explored new areas including Texas, Colorado, South Carolina, and Hawaii. Living in each state temporarily gave me the chance to explore the local area and get a taste for what life is like living there, versus just visiting over an extended weekend. I liked seeing what it is like living on an island, near the mountains and in the south.

I have generalized anxiety and with that comes worrying about, well, just about anything! Fortunately, living this nomadic lifestyle has helped with my anxiety. The past few years has really taught me that everything works out in the end. No matter what it is, it finds a way to work itself out! Knowing that has gotten me through a lot of fairly complicated scenarios where my previous self would have been more stressed than I am nowadays.

Travel Blogger Monica Houghton

What have been the best and most difficult parts of being a nomad?

The best part is feeling free and not restricted to one path. It opened my eyes at first that I could really manage my own life and live a creative lifestyle. I can go wherever, whenever. I think that this type of freedom is something everyone should experience at some point in their lives if they are able to as it’s really liberating. It has also allowed me to see the world, certainly more than I would have had I just sat in San Francisco working 9-5.

Explaining the desire to be a nomad to others is always difficult. I get faced with a ton of criticism and questions on why versus questions on how they can be one too. Usually the criticism comes from a lack of understanding. If they’re willing to listen, I typically explain the positives to this lifestyle. Usually this conversation comes up when I’m meeting someone new for the first time and I’m introduced as a “nomad” and then the questions pour in.

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it until I tried it out myself. Turns out it suited me and I’ve enjoyed the adventure and exploration that goes with it. I’ve never set out to be a “permanent nomad”, I’m just enjoying it for now.

In my mind, balance is everything. For some, they need stability and routine because potentially the rest of their life has elements of chaos and spontaneity.

Travel Blogger Monica Houghton

Where do you live as a nomad?

I usually find furnished sublets on Craigslist. I also give a shout out on Facebook asking if anyone knows anyone! I’ve really enjoyed living in various types of homes as it gives me more and more insight into what I like and dislike in terms of living style and setup. For example, I’ve learned that I really enjoy open spaces with natural light. I find I’m much more lively and enthusiastic when I have natural light filling my bedroom and common areas. Also, as everyone knows location is important, I really prefer to be within walking distance to an ice cream shop. OK I’m joking, but really I prefer being close to some sort of action whether it be a coffee shop, restaurant or bar. Also, a view can really change how much I’m spending time in home versus outside – pros and cons 🙂

I’ve found if I’m living in a super comfortable and homey setting, I spend a ton of time indoors watching Netflix and writing. For two months, I actually lived in a dark garage (turned studio), I had never been more social and active in my life. Even if it’s only temporary, how and where you live can certainly determine how active you are and how much time you spend outdoors. I’ve learned while traveling around that those things are a priority for me. Whether you live in a condo downtown, cabin in the woods, loft in a trendy neighborhood, massive mansion in the middle of no where or a sailboat out at sea, they say variety is the spice of life!

Where do you usually work?

I really enjoy working from coffee shops! In fact, my entire blog started off by writing about my favorite coffee shops in Austin, Texas. I love coffee shops with ambiance and a homey feeling that have fireplaces, couches, and good music. A typical day for me is a mixture of exploration and writing!

Travel Blogger Monica Houghton

How do you build a social life as a nomad?

I’ve built a social life by connecting with others through social media, networking events, and introductions to new friends through existing friends. Considering I’m social, I really enjoy meeting new people and making new friends.

How do you finance your nomadic life?

I was living in San Francisco without too much of a savings account. As soon as I left, I managed to save by not spending the majority of my monthly income on rent. I saved $20,000 and quit my job to travel the world with that amount. Since my Gap Year, I’ve been making money through sponsorships on my Blog and Instagram as well as travel writing and freelance social media consulting.

Travel Blogger Monica Houghton

What kind of gear do you bring with you?

On all of my trips, I bring my Apple iPhone 7, Sony a6000 Digital Camera, multiple lenses and of course a million chargers. 😊 I also have a tripod and Bluetooth clicker so I can capture images when I’m traveling solo.

What has been your best gear purchase below $100?

My favorite gear purchase was actually my elephant themed camera strap! I was using the Sony strap that came with my camera but this one added some jazz to my look 😊 and I also love anything that has an elephant on it as it’s my favorite animal.

Travel Blogger Monica Houghton

What is your best advice for new nomads?

You have to start somewhere! I think some of my best advice is to never start from scratch on anything, there’s an entire online world of resources out there and if you leverage them it should be easy to set everything up. Leverage your network, and if your network doesn’t know anything, make a new network. 😊

What will the future bring?

More travel of course! I am so excited to be working with the International Balloon Fiesta this Fall in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first weekend of October, my sister and I are heading there to see hundreds of colorful and creative balloons fill the air. I am also in planning mode to visit both Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada this Fall. 😊

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