Welcome to The Zen Nomad
Hello, my name’s Daniel. I’m the author and publisher 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 direction of The Zen Nomad.
If you have any questions or queries, feel free to get in touch with me here.
Namaste, and Happy Travels!
Combining my three biggest passions (writing, travel and self-development), I created The Zen Nomad to share the belief that you can use travel as a catalyst to change your life for the better.
The Zen Nomad’s vision of ‘growth through travel’ is underpinned by the following beliefs:
•You don’t have to do what people tell you to do.
•Travel combined with experiential learning is a great way to explore yourself.
•New experiences change the brain.
•You can learn something from every single person you meet.
•Small steps, and continuous improvement lead to meaningful change.
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 to inspire you to embark on your own self-exploration journey and use travel as catalyst to:
•Discover who you are and what brings you joy.
•Challenge and learn about yourself through new experiences.
•Overcome various mental issues & blind spots – i.e. fear, anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction.
•Learn how to live a simple and resourceful life.
•Learn how to become more productive and create habits that stick.
If you resonate with any of these words, please read on to find out how it all begun for me.
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. I’d told myself all the way through university that i was destined to become an investment banker, and that was my idea of success, even though deep down i wasn’t really 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 extremely driven and worked hard, 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 drank beyond my limits, which inevitably led to problems in many other areas of my life.
•Diet – Although I was a runner, exercised regularly, and played a lot of football, I ate a lot of fast food and unhealthy foods, and didn’t think twice about looking after my body.
•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.
•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 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 travel 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.
Ever since the beginning of my journey I kept a journal while 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, beliefs, dreams, fears & philosophy – followed by a personal account of what 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, because I knew fine well that everyone i met had a story to share, and their own struggles in life. I never judged or made assumptions. Instead, I simply listened with the empowering belief that I could learn something from every person I met.
6 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 6 years ago:
•Purpose – I discovered a love for writing, travel and self-development. I 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 – These days I’m better at taking action in the face of fear. I’ve worked hard to build a sustainable hospitality business which gives me the time and space to travel and write. All this is working towards my big dream of building an alternative school to give 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, simplicity and learning through experiences.
•Alcohol – I quit drinking alcohol in April 2013 and haven’t looked back since. As a result, my health and mindset has improved dramatically.
•Diet – I no longer eat fast food or processed sugars. I cook and eat consciously, exercise regularly, doing my utmost to 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 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, work incredibly 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 working towards:
Book: The Zen Nomad – Path to Peace
I’m currently writing my first book, The Zen Nomad: Path to Peace, which traces the story of my last 6 years travelling and the lessons I learned from people I met along the way. The book is set to be released by December 2018, and you can read more about it and pre-order a copy here.
Ever since a kid, i dreamed about taking an extended period of time out to go on a “life journey” to learn about the world around me and its people. With that dream in mind, i’ve begun planning and preparing for this journey. 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 from everyday people I meet along the way. You can read more about the journey here. There’s 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 use travel as a means change their own lives.
I believe that much of the transformation that occurred in the last 6 years was a by-product of travel – 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 the story for now, and I look forward to meeting you on the journey.