Nomadic Gay Couple Shares How They Organize Everything from Bags to Business Class Travel

Nomadic Boys
Stefan and Sebastien at the Puu Jih Syh Temple, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo, August 2015

We are gay couple Stefan and Sebastien. Stefan is from London, originally Greek Cypriot. Sebastien is from France. We met in London in 2009 at the GAY bar in Soho and have been together since. In 2014, we quit our lives and jobs in London to travel the world together. Nomadic Boys is our travel blog we set up to write about our travels and has since become our main “job”.

Stefan loves road cycling and is extremely passionate about this. He also loves social media and spends too much of his time on Instagram. Sebastien loves IT and making videos. He is also very passionate about flying business class and spends all his time researching best ways to get points and upgrades.

We are both very friendly and approachable. Stefan is more the outgoing and extrovert type, and thrives being around people. Seb is more the introvert shy type, and will happily spend his weekend solo researching best ways to get business flights to Asia.

This journey has taken us through Asia, North and South America and across Europe. We are currently back home in Europe spending time with our families – Stefan in London, and Sebastien in Lyon.

Nomadic Boys
Stefan and Sebastien posing at the City Palace of Jaipur, India

How and why did you become nomads?

Initially, we wanted to find a new way to live our life together – we didn’t want to stay rooted in London forever and looked at different ways to make money online. Stefan initially intended to become a teacher, and Seb was looking at SEO type roles.

Stefan in the office back in 2012, researching what other former lawyers had done with their lives, and he stumbled on Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads – a Canadian lawyer who also gave it up. This opened up the world of travel blogging.

Stefan used to be a lawyer, and Sebastien an IT consultant in the finance industry.

We have largely very supportive friends and relatives, however the older, more old fashioned members of our family struggle to understand what we do.

Nomadic Boys
Beach selfie, Koh Lipe, Thailand

Why is having a nomadic life important for you?

Our Nomadic Boys project has definitely made our relationship more intense, and as a result, we’ve grown closer together. From the start of our relationship, travelling was the thing we were both most passionate about. We had each travelled extensively before, and wanted to see more. If had all the money in the world, we would spend it on this – it’s truly the most rewarding thing to do – fill your life with experiences rather than material objects. This will afterall be the thing you will take with you in your afterlife!

Nomadic Boys
Suzuki the buffalo was one local we couldn’t quite charm into interviewing for our blog, Luang Prabang, Laos

How do you finance your nomadic life?

Nomadic Boys has become our main source of income and job. We now work on projects for brands and destinations, along with consultant and travel writing opportunities which come through it. It is definitely important to have a monthly budget, which is proportional to your expenses, and most importantly allows you to save!

Our biggest expenses are rent, and funding Sebastien’s extravagant IT purchases.

Nomadic Boys
Striving to make this a long term lifestyle. Sebastien struggling with the altitude at 5,000 metres during our Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal

How do you build a social life as nomads?

We love social media and have a huge online virtual world through it. We also have many friends we’ve met with around the world – either locals in places we’ve visited, or travellers we’ve met along the way. Instagram has become a great way to reach out and connect with others who either live, or are heading to the destination you’re about to visit. This is a good starting point by the geo search or hashtag galleries.

Conquering cultural barriers comes down to respect and research. Although having said that, recently Stefan asked a waiter in Bogota for a straw for his cocktail. According to his Google translate, a straw in Spanish is a “paja”. However, in Colombia, a paja is a wank. You can imagine the look of horror from that poor waiter boy.

How do you deal with non-nomadic people?

Non-nomadic people is an interesting question – they are no different! The real difference, however, is in ages, between Millennials who are more likely to “get” and appreciate what we do, versus the older generations who don’t quite understand blogging and how you can make a career out of it.

Nomadic Boys
Nomadic Boys as mermaids, Boracay, the Philippines

Where do you live and work as nomads?

We travel slowly and look for places to base ourselves long term. Our favourite to date was Bangkok in Thailand and Medellin in Colombia. We use Airbnb mostly, or join expat groups in Facebook where locals post about apartments they’re renting out. This then allows us to have a “home” for a while, so eating and living would be just as in London – supermarket, local restaurants, etc.

Working online means we work from home, which comes with all the advantages (you are your own boss) and disadvantages (very blurred work/life balance). We joke that we spend more time behind the laptop now than we ever did in our jobs back in London!

Nomadic Boys
Learning to work as a team. Inle Lake, Myanmar

What kind of gear do you bring with you and how do you carry them?

Stefan loves Apple and has a MacBook Air and iPhone. Seb thinks Apple is the devil so will have anything that isn’t produced by them! Cameras are also important and we have a Panasonic TZ100 for photography, good smartphones for social media photography, and a Sony video camera for videos.

You only need to pack for 1 week when travelling. That’s the best starting point. We use Osprey Farpoint 40, which are small enough to go as hand luggage on the plane and large enough to fit everything we need for a trip. We also carry a day bag, where valuables go – laptops and cameras.

Nomadic Boys
Summer Palace, Beijing, China

How do you organize things in your bags?

We carefully plan and organize how we pack. We highly recommend buying packing cubes – it’s a great way to organize your things in your bag and helps massively when packing.

We’ve found the more practical the bag is the better. Bags with different compartments help massively – it’s the best way to maximize your space and organize your things. This is so important as you quickly realise you don’t need a huge massive bulky bag.

As for waterproof/water resistant bags, it depends where you are going and what you are doing. Generally, this is not important at all as your bag will only be on your back from airport to hotel, then back again. If you’re doing a big trek, like the Annapurna Trek in Nepal, and you’re going to carry this bag there, then water resistance is vital!

Nomadic Boys
Mandala Spa promoting the Rainbow Package, Boracay, the Philippines

How do your bags and gear hold up?

Through years of trial and error, we think we’ve nailed it. Bags are normally no more than around 10-15kg and if needed be, can go as carry-on on planes. We swear by our Ospreys and have been using them for our trips in Europe and our large trip across Latin America.

On our big Asia trip at the start of Nomadic Boys, we had large bulky 70 litres backpacks. We would struggle to fill them and ended up packing more than we needed to.

Nomadic Boys
Food fight during cooking class in Kathmandu, Nepal

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

Packing cubes! Now we use them, but this would have changed a lot of things had we used them at the start.

The bigger the bag, the more unnecessary stuff you’re likely to pack. Now we have it down to an art, but this has taken several years of trial and error!

What has been your best gear purchase below $100?

Packing cubes! Any brand on Amazon – costs around $30-40 for a set of 4. Also, water resistant Osprey day bags, which can be crunched up and packed into themselves to store when not using.

Nomadic Boys
Ella Rock, Sri Lanka

What is your best advice for new nomads?

Go for it! It is tough, exhausting, and the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. Ultimately for us, Nomadic Boys is like any other small new business – it needs an injection of time and money at the outset to get it off the ground. There’s no short cut to this other than hard work. But if you love it, it will pay off.

For people who have lived nomadic for years, in our case, we always strive to look to the future and think about where we’re heading and what sort of business model we want.

Nomadic Boys
Carabao beach, Palawan, the Philippines

What will the future bring?

We really want to get a drone! Sadly, with all the restrictions and regulations in place, we’ve realized this is more a dream. We will be spending the next year exploring more of Europe and really excited for this.

Visit the Nomadic Boys Stefan and Sebastien on their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for featuring us guys 🙂

  2. I enjoyed the interview! Cute couple!

  3. I absolutely love Seb and Stefan! They are such a cute couple and I always enjoy reading their funny comments. I really love following their travels. Great interview!

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