The past several years have heralded an unprecedented move to remote work as well as an examination of where and how to live your best life.

So what’s the distinction between an Expat and a Nomad?

Being a nomad typically refers to a lifestyle where you travel frequently from place to place, often without a permanent home or settled location. 

Nomads may have a variety of reasons for their lifestyle, such as following seasonal work or seeking out the best seasons to be somewhere. And, it could be simply a desire for adventure and exploration, which we enjoy very much.

Nomads typically travel with only what is needed, as they don’t have a permanent home base. 

On the other hand, an expat, short for “expatriate,” is someone who has chosen to live outside their native country for an extended period of time. Expats may have a variety of reasons for leaving their home country, such as work opportunities, retirement, or personal relationships. 

Unlike nomads, expats typically have a fixed residence in their new location and may be employed or engaged in other activities that require a more stable lifestyle.

While there may be some overlap between these two lifestyles, the key difference lies in the intention and duration of the stay. 

Nomads are typically more transient and may move frequently from place to place, whereas expats have made a more permanent decision to live outside their home country for a specific period of time.

We have been, and continue to be, both. How did that work?

Our Expat Experience

We lived in Spain for 7 months, had local health insurance, and a set address. While based in one location for those 7 months, we visited multiple cities and countries in Europe for short stays. 

While based in Spain, we very much enjoyed learning more about the country, its history, and its culture. We were able to do that because we had an official base, with more consistency living within a community.

Our Nomad Experience

We also travel to the warmest seasons throughout the world, (our personal preference) and stayed in Southeast Asia for 4 months during the typical winter months. 

We traveled to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, visiting different cities within those countries with no set address. 

It was a wonderful experience and did involve a lot of packing and unpacking.


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