I’ll be the first to admit working for an airline has great perks. Having the ability to travel at a moment’s notice is fun and exciting, and feeds my adventurous spirit. My flight privileges are more beneficial to me now than ever before, since I became a nomad.
In my experience, it’s never good when your landlord calls you. At best, it’s about a maintenance issue. At worst, you’re asked to move out. The latter happened to me last September. My roommate and I had lived in our house for over three years and were no longer in a lease (I’d negotiated a month-to-month agreement) so when the owner’s daughter needed a place to live, we were kindly asked to move out to accommodate her.
My roommate found a new place to live and in our mad rush to move out I didn’t. Instead of hastening to find another apartment, I decided to sell all of my belongings and couch surf until a suitable opportunity presented itself. (Don’t worry Mom and Dad--I’m staying with friends, not strangers!) After talking to other Southwest Airlines Employees, I discovered that I wasn’t the first to adopt this lifestyle. A flight attendant I met couch-surfed for two years and plans on doing it again. Two former Marketing Employees lived out of their cars for extended periods of time, one while she was a Flight Attendant and the other just last year while he was working at Headquarters. I wonder if Southwest attracts adventurous people or if they develop a taste for exploration from working here. I imagine it’s a little bit (or a lot) of both.
Currently, I’m in my fifth month of nomadic living. When I started in November, I had no idea what I’d face in this journey but it’s been an invaluable learning opportunity. There are pros and cons, but overall the experience has allowed me to take advantage of my flight privileges a lot more and evaluate what aspects of life are the most important. I’ve traveled to Vancouver, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, Oklahoma City, and St. Louis and have a handful of other destinations to visit before I settle down. If you’ve ever considered going nomadic, here’s a list of the top ten things you have to gain:
A fresh start. Selling all of your possessions is simultaneously terrifying and liberating!
Self-reliance. No one else is going to find you a place to sleep!
Appreciation. For the little things, like having a roof over your head!
Stories. Some good, some bad, some weird, but all cool.
Extra cash. No rent or utility bills allows you more money for travel, fun, and savings!
Friends and family. You get to see them more and realize how much they care! Just be sure not to overstay your welcome.
No chores. However, pitching in around the place you’re staying is a great way to thank your hosts!
Flexibility. When opportunity knocks, there’s not much holding you back!
Organization. It’s the key to sanity in this situation. Learn it or risk losing your mental stability!
Fun. Being a nomad isn’t ordinary, and it’s not easy, but it sure can be fun!
To all you nomads, past, present, and future, may your friends’ couches be soft, your bank accounts be full, and your travels be safe.