Starting Year Four Of Nomadic Life – Reflections On 2020 And The Future

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

Lessons awaiting me in the new year.

I find it hard to believe I’ve been a full-time nomad for three years. I spent ten years viscerally craving this and unable to overcome my excuses, and years before that, wondering what else I could do with my life. Here I am, now, living it, and still loving it.

After almost nine months in my beloved Kerikeri, I’m back to my nomadic life, albeit, only in New Zealand. I was so excited to have an article published in Stuff, one of New Zealand’s national publications, about my experience, so far, in this country. As I’ve traveled, it’s been fun meeting people and learning they read the article! And, New Zealand really is a small country – a guy on one of my buses ended up staying at the same hostel as me in Taupo. We left on different days, but I saw him again when I took a bus to Bulls. At that same hostel, I met a French guy I knew from Kerikeri! I won’t be surprised to see the same people over and over again until it feels like everyone in the country is a friend or aquaintance.

Standing near my temporary home in Kerikeri, New Zealand.

Photograph by Heather Markel, Copyright 2020

2020 was, as we know, a strange [insert adjective of your choice] year. I flew to New Zealand ten months ago, thinking I would avoid “that China virus” by skipping out re-visiting Asia. Several weeks in, when I was ready to fly to another country, I was faced with the choice of running back to New York or staying in New Zealand, indefinitely. At that point, I thought “indefinite” meant 3 or 4 months. Looking at what my country has been through, and how Covid has taken its toll, I’m so glad I decided to stay in New Zealand.

One of my favorite parts of full-time travel is how each year carries a theme for me, and early January is the time I reflect on it. This year is no exception. Reflecting on my choice, and on my year of life in New Zealand, I step into year four realizing the themes that will dominate 2021 for me – loving and accepting my decisions. I’m learning to make decisions by feel, rather than head-y logic. When I go into a decision with a debate, or try to make a decision that pleases other people, I have often ended up regretting the outcome of those decisions. More recently, I’ve seen the power of making decisions by feeling and intuition; it’s how I decided to stay in New Zealand, ultimately, and how I made a recent decision between two great options and felt wonderful trusting my heart and choosing the one I knew less about. (More about this in an upcoming video…)

“Deciding by feel instead of logic.”

This week, I did a house-sit in Christchurch (PS – housesitting is a fabulous way to save money in New Zealand) and got to look after the wonderful Frank. He’s a very loving dog and craves attention and time spent with him. Whenever I left the house to go out on my own, I received the most horrible puppy-dog eyes and depressed walking I have ever seen. I almost caved on the rules for him a few times but held my ground. I realized he was the perfect teacher for me. If I could resist those puppy dog eyes, I’m going to do just fine standing my ground when others give me their version of puppy dog eyes. Thank you, Frank!


Frank and his puppy dog eyes.

Entering year four, I’m happy that my desire to remain a full-time nomad is still with me, and also aware that I may start spending longer periods of time in one country even when I start traveling again. At least, at some point in the near future. I’m very aware of how lucky I’ve been to choose New Zealand (and it, me) at this time in the world. Jacinda put her people first, and that decision resulted in keeping the virus very well contained. That means that we can safely travel in the country, and that mandatory mask wearing is limited to bigger cities, like Auckland, and only in public areas like buses. Because the virus has been so well managed, we can feel good about carrying on as normal and not infecting other people. I am so grateful for that.

As I recommence my nomadic life, I’m finding my rhythm again, making changes to my plans when I realize I want to stay longer, and having fun. I decided to start sharing the fun with all of you in my new YouTube series – “Travel Adventures With Heather.” The first episode is below! Please subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss out on future videos (there are 13 already!) and, hey, I need more followers so I can change the name of my channel! 😮 So, I’d appreciate if you could follow me.

While I have greatly missed skipping off to the other international destinations I had planned last year, travel became inward again. I found refuge in friendships and discovery and learned that even when you think you know “everything about a place,” there’s still more to discover. The same is true about yourself. Travel is a most wonderful teacher, even when that travel is close to home, or in the same country. (Though, of course, I can’t wait to get back out there again, like you, and see more of this earth!)

As 2021 begins, I’m so happy I’ve learned to go with the flow and trust my intuition. I’m looking forward to new adventures and creating new possibilities and sharing them with you.

Learn about Heather and what set her on her world journey. She also explains why this life is not just for Millenials, it’s for anyone that wants to create a life around what they love most in life. 

Listen to an episode of the video interview series that will inspire you to follow your heart. Whether you want to travel full time or have another calling, this series is for you.

See the amazing people I’ve been meeting on my travels and the fun stories that go along with the meetings.

Check out my travel photos from around the world to see the world from wherever you are.

If you’ve been thinking that there’s got to be  more to life than work, or, you’ve lost your job, and wonder whether now is the time to do something you’re more excited about, this quiz will help you. Answer a few questions and get a free guide to help you know the areas you need to work on, followed up with inspirational and helpful tips to put your dreams into action.

Traveling the world full-time may sound glamorous and exhilirating. (In many ways, it is!) But, it’s not full-time fun. Before you decide to go, take this quiz to make sure you’re ready, and, if not, find out how to bridge the gaps.

This fun quiz helps you understand what your travel personality is, and how to make sure you indulge it when planning your next trip to maximize your enjoyment!

This one is pure fun – test your transcontinental travel trivia knowledge. Hit the button below if you dare take the quiz and see your score! 

If you enjoyed the first quiz, see how you do on the second one! More fun, more tricks, Click the button below to test your knowledge!

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.






Costa Rica


New Zealand








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Want more in-depth information about travel? Trying to figure out how to afford full-time travel (or, doing what you want to do, full-time)? Check out these items!

Looking for a photo or a travel-related item to reconnect with the spirit of travel? Check out this page to see some of my photos and where you can find them as prints and various photo-gifts..

Trying to create a more fulfilling life? Want help with planning out how to make your mark in the world? Check out this page to see how Heather can help you!

Ready to start a more fulfilling life but can’t figure out the money part? This eCourse may be your answer! Click here for more details.

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