After 11 Years on the Road, it’s Time to Share the Benefits and Problems of Nomadic Life

Linda Martin and her husband Craig have been travelling the world full-time since February 2006. Linda is the co-founder of Indie Travel Podcast and together with her husband, she runs a website development and hosting business on the road!

In this interview, Linda shares how to become a nomad, how traveling has made her more grateful in life, her best nomadic gear, her wild animal encounters, and much more!

Nomad Linda Martin
In Morocco

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Linda Martin and I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. I’ve been traveling full time with my husband Craig since February 2006 — we set off intending to travel for a couple of years and haven’t stopped yet!

Originally, we worked as English teachers while we travelled, and then started our blog and podcast Indie Travel Podcast, which became Craig’s full time job in about 2009. In 2014 we started a web development and hosting company, Performance Foundry, which we now work on full time; we also have six people working for us in three continents!

Nomad Linda Martin
Linda & Craig in South Island, New Zealand

How and why did you become a nomad?

It’s pretty normal for young New Zealanders to go on an OE (overseas experience) for six months to a few years. We planned to travel for a couple of years, but loved it so much we just didn’t stop.

Before starting to travel, we went to university and studied to be English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers, so we could teach while we were on the road.

Why is having a nomadic life and traveling important for you?

Travelling has been the best experience of my life. I love always being able to experience new things, rather than being caught up in the same old routine. Plus, spending time with people from other cultures has really made me more appreciative of differences, more tolerant, more interested and engaged.

Nomad Linda and Craig Martin

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

I love experiencing new things, and not having a fixed base has given us the chance to always try something new.

Last year, we spent six months in rural Panama, and that was really hard for me. We didn’t know too many people and it was hard to make friends with the locals. Also, the variety of food available was limited and we were a long drive from the nearest city — which didn’t have too many cultural options available! Plus, our internet connection was terrible. Basically, I felt cut off from the world with nothing new to excite me… except for the occasional tarantula or venomous snake.

Nomad Linda and Craig Martin
in Rome

Where do you live as a nomad?

We do a lot of housesitting, which is great, because we get a proper temporary home and can set up temporary routines. Also, we often have pets, which are a great way to meet local people!

We also use Airbnb and stay with friends and family, and fill in the gaps with hotels and hostels. We used to do a lot of Couchsurfing, but since we’re working a lot more hours these days, we don’t have time to give our hosts the attention we like to.

Where we eat depends on where we’re staying, but we usually have breakfast at our accommodation and cook many of our own meals. If we’re in a hotel or hostel, we’ll have one meal out per day; if we’re in a private home or housesit, we’ll eat out one to three times a week.

Nomad Linda and Craig Martin
in Medellin, Colombia

Where do you usually work?

I tend to get up at seven and am at my desk by 8:30. I work until one (with a couple of breaks) and then do another session from 2:30 until I don’t want to keep working. 🙂

At the moment, we’re looking after a couple of dogs, so we take them for a long walk in the evening; then have dinner at around 8:30.

It’s great at the moment because we can leave our desks set up; packing up at lunch and every evening can be a hassle when we don’t have a private space. Another challenge is variable internet; we really need a good connection but don’t always get it.

Nomad Linda and Craig Martin
with friends in Mexico

How do you build a social life as a nomad?

Having a good social life is important to me, so I make a real effort to make friends in each new location. Couchsurfing has been great for this, and language exchanges also work really well. I also often join exercise classes such as Pilates and yoga; this doesn’t usually result in deep friendships but at least it’s a bit of social contact.

Plus, we often head off on trips with friends or encourage them to visit us — one of our best friends, Ange, is staying with us at the moment. We also head back to New Zealand every second summer (on average) to spend time with friends and family.

Nomad Linda and Craig Martin

How do you finance your nomadic life?

We both work full time for our web development and hosting company, Performance Foundry, and I also run Indie Travel Podcast. We try to keep travel expenses under NZ$3000 a month, which we track using the Trail Wallet app. Our biggest expenses are transport, eating out, accommodation, and groceries.

Nomad Linda and Craig Martin
in Moldova

What kind of gear do you bring with you?

We’ve both recently bought new bags, so we’ll have to try them out a little more before we know how great they are! I used to use an Aarn Backfavour backpack, which I loved, but with age it no longer fits correctly. I now have a Kathmandu Voltai.

For work, Craig and I both use Apple laptops; I have a 13″ MacBook, which I use with an external keyboard and mouse. I also have a Roost computer stand to raise the computer up to help with my posture. I’d recommend this setup for any digital nomad — it’s a lightweight, easy-to-construct, ergonomic work space.

What has been your best gear purchase below $100?

Definitely the Roost. Craig had one for a long time before I switched over to full time digital nomadry, and when I started working longer hours he very strongly recommended I get one. Of course, you’ll need an external mouse and keyboard to complete the setup, which will take the total over $100!

What is your best advice for new nomads?

A lot of people plan to spend a month in each location while they’re traveling, but I’d really recommend mixing up lengths of stay. If you’re just visiting, a week or two is fine, but plan to have several longer stays each year of three months or more. This way you can set up a routine, join an exercise class, make friends… become a temporary local in your destination. One month isn’t really enough to do that.

Nomad Linda and Craig Martin

What will the future bring?

We’ll be in England until November, and are then heading back to New Zealand for the southern summer. No firm plans for next year yet, but it will probably involve some time in Spain and perhaps a trip to Asia.

Indie Travel Podcast is still going strong after almost 11 years, and we’re going to continue to publish podcasts every two weeks or so, sharing advice on how to travel well! We’ve cut back on some of the side projects to just focus on the podcast, and we’re looking forward to the next 11 years!

Follow Linda Martin and her husband Craig on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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