5 Incredible Things I Learned While Traveling the Country for a Month

ian hoyt traveling the country

I’ve referenced the movie ‘Up in the Air’ many times in the past here on Life Nomading.

And to be quite frank, I have experienced many of the ups and downs that the movie references in the past three years…

But it wasn’t until this past month when I was living out of airports and other people’s homes, that I got to reflect on these words on a whole new level.

When I first started Life Nomading back in 2014, I was a single, all-in-on-my-pursuits kind of guy. Then things happened, I fell smitten to a girl and quickly without even realizing it I was molding into many things that I used to refute.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad chapter at all. In-fact I learned a hell of a lot about myself in that chapter of my life and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But, when reality slapped me in the face I was forced to realize I wasn’t living my truth for the long-term me. That’s when I knew things needed to change.

So I decided to travel the country in hopes of figuring it all out on my journey.

Whenever I’m stressed or sad I just need to move, ask any of my friends. In middle school it typically meant running for miles around the football field during a Friday night game, but as an adult it means booking one-way tickets around the country for a month to get away from it all.

united airlines trip

Perhaps that was a fools errand in the first place. My trip around the country as a solo traveler left me with far more questions, even deeper discoveries, and even weirder senses of longing that I never thought I would have going into the trip.

I thought I would be writing this article with some awesome discovery to bestow on to you, but instead I have a plethora of thoughts, ideals, and concepts that culminated into less of an ‘aha moment’ and more of a shift in my own thinking.


Take these tid bits for what they’re worth:

1. Have More Faith in People

I’m not talking about religious faith here, but more so just believing that people likely want to do more good to you than harm. Going into my trip, I was sure that trusting others, especially strangers was to lose a sense of security for myself. Our friends and family members always tell us we will get robbed while traveling.

Instead, it was the exact opposite.

Instax shots from my trip around the country

The more vulnerable and open I made myself, were the more opportunities I had special moments where I connected with perfect strangers on the opposite sides of the country. These connections were as small as a waiter wishing me luck on my travels, to a coffee shop patron getting into conversations with me about the meaning of life.

2. Smile When You Feel Like Smiling

It’s contagious.

About a third of the way into my trip I stopped hiding my happiness from the world. When I was exploding with happiness I let the smile emit from my face. I’d look up randomly in the airport and see others smiling too. It’s like the best contagious disease out there. 🙂

3. Don’t Settle, Ever.

This may seem cliche or obvious but it’s all too real.

Settling is the core of all things that will make you unhappy.

An all in or all out mentality can scare most, but if you truly want certain things out of life, settling will be the only reason those things don’t get accomplished.

I’m certainly not perfect at this. It takes effort to refuse the settle culture that our society has just naturally breed into us.

Check yourself on a weekly or monthly basis. Question if what you are doing is working towards your dreams or just feeding your current reality.


4. Relationships Can Be Temporary, and That’s Okay

I think it’s almost impossible to go through a trip without having feelings toward someone. Romantically, friendships, whatever you want to call it, titles need not apply we’re millennials after all.

Whether you spend a week or just an evening together. When you set your life up in a way that is nomadic in nature, there is a real sense of temporary that drives a heightened sense of connectedness in the moment with others.

It’s not about how long you spend with someone, but how you spend it with them. There were moments on my trip where I spent fewer than a couple hours with someone and I felt a connection stronger than I’ve ever had with some of my closest friends and former partners.

Life is on-going. I’m finding a real humility and a comfort knowing that the stars can align down the road. It’s a long term play, enjoy the now more than ever.

5. No One Honestly Cares What You’re Doing

People have their own lives to care about.

They care far less if you decide to pull out a camera in the middle of the airport terminal to get a cool shot, or if your decide to dance a little to your favorite song on the subway. Whatever you feel moved by, do it and stop caring what others think.

Trust me, I am one to get anxious in social situations (like I sometimes break out in hives kind of bad). Forcing myself to vlog in public on this trip…

…quickly made me realize that when I have a purpose and I am the “me’st” me there is, my anxiety would disappear and now I was just a wannabe filmmaker taking video of myself in public… latty fricken dah right?


my travel the country map

10 flights, 9 states, 7,000 miles and many latte’s later I feel like I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I feel changed because of this experience. I allowed myself to be open to absolutely anything and I believe it paid off for my soul.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

It feels weird being in my apartment writing this. I almost wish I was back journaling these thoughts on the side of a Colorado foothill somewhere. But the beauty in a nomadic life is that I can make that choice when the moment is right again for me.

For now, I’m digesting how I take my revitalized passion for wondering the globe, and harness it into something sustainable for my soul. Be you, everyone else is taken!