Welcome to The Zen Nomad
Hello, my name’s Daniel, and I’m the author at The Zen Nomad. You can find out more about my personal journey here.
Please read on to discover more about the journey, purpose and vision for The Zen Nomad.
If you have any questions or queries, feel free to get in touch with me here.
Namaste, and Journey On!
Combining my three biggest passions (writing, travel and self-development), I created The Zen Nomad to share the belief that travel and embarking on an extended journey is a powerful form of self-improvement and can be used as a catalyst to transform your life.
The Zen Nomad’s vision of ‘growth through travel’ is underpinned by the following beliefs:
•Travel combined with experiential learning is a great way to explore yourself, learn about the world around you and build your own perspective.
•New experiences change the brain.
•You can learn something from every single person you meet.
•Small steps, and continuous improvement lead to meaningful change. This is the essence of a journeying.
I’ve used travel to change my own life. And now, by documenting my own experiences from travel, my mission is to share what I’ve learned from my own journeys to inspire you to set out on your own self-exploration journey and use travel as a catalyst to:
•Discover who you are and what brings you joy.
•Challenge yourself through new experiences that break your daily routine.
•Overcome various mental issues and blind spots (e.g. fear, anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction).
•Learn how to live a simple and resourceful life.
•Learn how to create healthy habits that stick.
•Learn how to look after your body, mind and soul.
If you resonate with any of these words please read on to find out how my journey began.
To start this story, let’s go back to July 2012. My life was a lot different back then:
•Purpose – Straight out of university, I was confused and didn’t know what I wanted to do in life. All the way through University, I’d told myself, my friends and family, that I wanted to become an investment banker. That was my idea of success, even though deep down I wasn’t passionate about banking at all.
•Goals – I had loads of ideas to start my own business but I was scared to take action on any of them.
•Values – I was driven and hard-working, but I was motivated by things beyond myself like money, success and the accumulation of material objects.
•Alcohol – I thought I needed to drink alcohol to enjoy myself, be social and have have a good time. Each weekend I went out and got drunk beyond my limits, which led to anxiety, fighting and problems in other areas of my life.
•Diet – Although I was a keen runner, exercised regularly, and played a lot of football, I ate a lot of fast food and unhealthy foods and didn’t look after my body properly.
•Lifestyle – I lived my life based on other people’s expectations and what they thought about me, spending most my time doing things I believed would impress other people at the expense of myself and whether it actually made me happy.
•Struggles – Money. I had 3 jobs at university to pay my tuition fees. When i finished university I was £5,000 overdrawn and didn’t have any savings to fall back on.
Upon graduating from University, and not knowing what to do do with my life, I was persuaded by my best friend Joe to join him on an adventure to Australia to work, save some money, then travel the world for a year. Based on the prospect that we had a job lined up in a grain factory somewhere in the outback, I borrowed money off Joe’s dad and we booked a one-way flight to Australia.
Like most things in life, my plan to travel for a year didn’t turn out that way. Through a series of serendipitous experiences and people who I met in the early days of my journey, I quickly discovered the power of going on a journey as a great catalyst for one’s personal development. Little did i know, that it would be this belief that would end up fuelling a 4-year journey of self-exploration, encouraging me to make some big changes to my life.
I kept a journal since the very beginning of my journey as I hitchhiked and CouchSurfed from place to place. Instead of writing a repetitive account of the day’s events, I wrote about the people I met – their story, life, beliefs, dreams, fears & philosophy – followed by a personal account of what I thought I could learn from them.
I didn’t discriminate or choose the people I met and wrote about along the way. Instead, I allowed the journey to take its natural course, knowing fine well that everyone I met had their own story to share. I didn’t judge or make assumptions, but instead simply listened with the empowering belief that I could learn something from every person I met.
7 years and 22 journals later, this belief coupled with deep introspection led me to some small yet meaningful changes to my own life. Here’s what my life looks like now in comparison to 7 years ago:
•Purpose – I discovered a love for writing, travel and self-development. I now feel like I’ve found my place in the world and I’m proactively building a life around the things I enjoy doing while letting go of the rest.
•Goals – I’m still not brilliant, but these days I’m better at taking action in the face of fear. I’ve worked hard to build a hospitality business I love which also gives me the time and space to travel and write. All this is aligned towards my dream to build a school that offers an alternative experiential focused education, giving young underprivileged children the opportunity to shine.
•Values – I am just as driven and hard-working as I was at University, but now I’m motivated by softer qualities such as meaning, vision and giving.
•Alcohol – I quit drinking alcohol in April 2013 and haven’t looked back since. As a result, my health and mindset has improved dramatically. If you’re interested in reading, I wrote about my story quitting alcohol here.
•Diet – I no longer eat fast food or processed sugars. I cook and eat more consciously, exercise regularly, and proactively look after my body.
•Lifestyle – Beyond eating wholesome food, good sleep, exercising, nurturing good relationships and working on something I consider meaningful, I realised I don’t need much more in life, and enjoy living a simple life.
•Struggles – My life is certainly better than it was five years ago, but i also still have my fair share of struggles. I am naturally an anxious person and have been for most of my life, especially about the uncertainty of the future. I’m also very tough on myself, often setting overly ambitious goals and working long hours. I feel guilty when I’m not working and find it difficult to switch off and relax. I know there’s a lot of room for improvement here, and I’ll be working towards finding the right balance in the coming years.
The Zen Nomad is a project for life, and an ongoing enquiry into using travel to understand the human experience.
Asides from continuing to write and sharing my philosophies and beliefs here through periodic articles, there’s two major projects that I’m currently working on:
Book: The Zen Nomad – Path to Peace
I’m currently writing my first book, The Zen Nomad: Path to Peace, which traces the journey of my last 6 years travelling and the lessons learned from people I met along the way. The book is set to be released by September 2019, and you can read more about it and pre-order a copy here.
The World Pilgrimage
Ever since a kid, I dreamed about going on a “life journey” to learn about the world around me, its people and to build my own perspective. With that dream in mind, I’ve begun planning and putting the logistics in place for this journey to happen. From October 2021, I will set out on a 5-year World Pilgrimage crossing all 7 continents, in an attempt to document the unique and fascinating stories, philosophies and life lessons of everyday people I meet on my journey. You can read more about the idea here. There are various ways to get involved, so if this is something that excites you, please get in touch here.
What started as a simple initiative to record the stories and lessons of people I met while hitchhiking turned into the creation of The Zen Nomad, and a vision to empower and inspire people to embark on their own extended journey and use travel as means to transform their lives.
I believe that much of the transformation that occurred in the last 6 years was a by-product of journeying – particularly through the people I was fortunate enough to encounter on my journey. I am forever grateful for each and everyone of those experiences.
That’s my story so far, and I hope our journeys cross path in the future.