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I spent 10 years living out of a suitcase. But what was life on the road really like?

By 2009, I had spent about ten years travelling back and forth constantly for work.

I was in Texas (on another work trip) when someone I trusted confessed that if they didn't have a wife and kids, if they were "like me", they would do the work trip, and then stay there. At least until they had to travel on again, to another country.

Initially, I just laughed and thought, yeah, right.

However, the seed had been planted, and the idea gnawed away at me for months.

By 2010 I'd decided they were right. I decided to change everything and live permanently in transit instead of travelling back and forth all the time.

It was a perfectly rational decision. It had nothing to do with falling out of love with London, being daring, or having a midlife crisis. It just seemed more logical.

Stuff was going on that made life on the road within my grasp, and due to an increasing abundance of Wi-Fi and Airbnb homes, it was now sustainable in the long term.

I was at the point where not giving it a go would have been illogical—I had already ‘relieved’ myself from having a location-based desk job in 2009.

I’d shut down my Camden-based agency and gone freelance, staff-less and mobile. I realized with a whoop that I could now work from ANYWHERE. As a consultant, my new clients didn’t give a rats-ass where I was as long as I was accountable and on the end of a phone call when they needed me.

There were other catalysts, too. I’d just been dumped, I had a couple of dysfunctional friendships going on, and unlike my friends, I didn’t have kids, and I didn’t have so much as a plant, let alone a cat, and I didn’t want one either.

In short, I had no ties. I also had a new client, Sailor Jerry Rum, who wanted me to write launch strategies based on research conducted in new markets.

How much better that research would be if I were there for at least a month instead of the usual four-day brutal work trip?

I calculated the sums and realized that the monthly income from a London rental was the equivalent of about six months’ rent in Bogota. My flat was suddenly worth more without me in it.

The decision was easy. Emotionally, professionally and financially, I was better off packing and clearing off.

The most challenging but rewarding part was getting rid of everything I owned. A massive whatever to all your "Life-changing-Magic-of-Tidying" gurus. I was about five years ahead of you.

And I didn’t just do a bit of decluttering. I liberated myself from a lifetime of clutter.

I shoved four boxes of sentimental bits and pieces in my Dad's loft. I restricted clothes ownership to just the one (large) suitcase. And that was that. The rest was gone. I gave away stuff, dropped boxes at charity shops, put stuff on eBay, and dumped and returned things. How long did it take me to rid myself of 40 years’ worth of stuff? One week.

Yeah, there was some worthy philosophical thinking, too, that perhaps we shouldn’t be grounded in just one place because we've filled it full of stuff.

We shouldn’t be accountable to inanimate objects that will probably end up in a skip or be sold at some point during their transient life through our descendants' lives.

That there might be some real, tangible relief in being freed from worrying about stuff, looking after stuff, insuring stuff, and cleaning stuff.

But back in practical reality, the real reason it had to go was that I couldn’t rent the place out unless it was empty. And I wasn’t taking it with me or paying for expensive storage. Job done, though. It felt really good... And yes, it was freeing, liberating, and strangely exciting.

Afterwards, all I owned was a lap-top, work ephemera, toiletries, two lipsticks (not sure I needed both), a good old-fashioned diary, a bunch of notebooks, a pen, a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses (which took me seven years to finish), my camera and only clothes that I actually wore and needed, I’d probably owned about 100 outfits but only ever wore about 10 of them. I don’t think I know 100 people, never mind needing a different outfit each time I see them.

And it turned out you don’t need many clothes. Layering a few items can quickly transition you from summer to winter. When it gets cold, you start wearing everything at once. At the end of the season, the winter coat was left at my Mum's to replace the summer one and vice versa.

I had a strict ONE-of-everything policy: ONE white T-shirt, ONE pair of dark jeans, ONE pair of light jeans, and so on. I owned four pairs of shoes, one for every occasion, and there were only four occasions: hot, cold, flip-flops, and fancy.

It was a one-in, one-out suitcase policy. When the white T-shirt died, then—and only then—did I buy a new one. Don’t get me started on socks, though. They were and always will be a right pain. I’m forever washing socks in a sink somewhere, and they take forever to dry.

The years were spent travelling through 80 cities and 40 countries.

I and the efficient suitcase plotted up in over 100 Airbnb homes. I plugged in, logged onto the Wi-Fi (joined a network usually called something like InhaleSatan), cracked on with life, and worked the same way as before, albeit with a different view from the window.

I had romantically assumed that a life spent free from the shackles of convention would turn me into a Jack Kerouac. But in reality, It was more Alan Partridge in his roadside Hotel than Hemmingway exploring Cuba.

I'd sit in my often tiny room, desperately trying to find something to watch on the internet – if there was enough broadband. There rarely was.

My days were spent in the local coffee shop, and my day-to-day life was more about sock-washing drudgery, and emailing than trips to Vancouver or van journeys through the desert.

But I couldn’t always be out doing something, could I?

There wasn’t always ‘something’ to do. It often rained; it was not always safe; I’d have been bankrupt in weeks, and like most people occasionally, I just plain old couldn't be bothered.

If there was one thing I learnt from the experience, it was that travel is NOT an opportunity to ‘escape’ yourself. From yourself, there is no escape.

The only place you have is in your head, and from here, you can never escape.

Travel is just changing scenery, not escapism. Vistas forever viewed from within the confines of your head. I, myself and my demons were always with me, no matter how hard I tried to outrun them.

To be honest, my travel wasn't motivated by the desire to escape my demons anyway…my demons are relatively small and fluffy, and I’m pretty fond of them.

My travel wasn’t motivated by a curious mind, either. I boringly suffer from severe FOMO and restlessness. But whatever the original motivation was, ten years on, the lifestyle transitioned into something more…. ‘normal’.

By 2014, I had added a bolthole in Switzerland, and in 2017, I chucked out the long-term tenants in my London place and replaced them with Airbnb guests so that I could spend the occasional night in London, catching up with friends who, by then, I hadn’t seen in a long time.

The day I officially began travelling nonstop, October 11th, started to come and go without me even noticing, which was a pretty good indication that it just wasn't that big a deal anymore. I struggle to think of a profound and exciting way to describe my life back then, other than I didn't live anywhere and I didn't own stuff.

It was simple and as complicated as that.

Despite its descent into normality, the lifestyle afforded me the most interesting, rewarding life. If I had to check out tomorrow, I’d be off to Valhalla fulfilled and content. I’ve seen the world, had friends in far-flung places, and experienced many different cultures and viewpoints.

My life was diverse and unpredictable. I've learnt to live without stuff and, most importantly, the desire to even have ‘stuff’ in the first place.

My lifestyle taught me the purest kind of independence. I’m my own company and counsel. There’s not much that I can’t get through. I can figure it out.

It was pretty easy-breezy, but I’m not taking any of that for granted. I know how grateful I should be. I know how lucky I have been. Sure, you make your own life, which is yours to orchestrate as you will, but we all need a dollop of good luck and fortune along the way.

I’m just going to put it out there. If you fancy living without a home, it is possible with not too much effort either. All you need is a job that allows you to work from anywhere and no children. Easy, right?

If you can keep your expectations low and accept that most of the time, life will still be a bit dull – and that that’s OK – then fuck it! Do what I did.

Just go. Leave, come on. Vamos…

Just a few of my snaps taken while on the road.


Korea, Seoul

Manhattan 2

Moscow, Russia


Manhattan, New York

New York

New York Harbour, New York


Penang, Malaysia


Philadelphia, U.S.A


Rome, Italy


Sydney, Australia


Tokyo, Japan


Toronto, Canada


Bogota, Columbia

Basel Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland

Jakarta 2

Jakarta, Indonesia

Devon UK

Devon, UK


Biarritz, France




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