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Senior Nomad Priorities


Knowing your own senior nomad priorities should be the very first step you take towards your new nomadic retirement lifestyle. Your priorities help you choose the best locations for you personally. Successful retired nomads know that these locations are not usually the same as those with high tourist vacation value.

As a nomad you’ll be traveling much more slowly. Likely a month, two months or even more in a single spot. So what you will want and need is quite different from when you’re a tourist. Finding your personal favorite destinations is more akin to the process of evaluating and selecting a good town you would like to live in longer term.

Why do you live where you are now? Perhaps because that’s where you had the best employment opportunities. Or you picked it because it had the best schools and neighborhoods to raise your children. Or to be near aging relatives. Such considerations usually change as you reach retirement years. So now’s the time to open up to new possibilities.

But exactly how do you find travel locations that will bring more joy, excitement and pleasure into your life? It starts by first focusing on the attributes that you are most attracted to. Get in touch with what you really like. What’s most important to you and what you can live without. If you haven’t thought through these criteria in a while, now’s a great time for an in depth re-evaluation.


Uncover your senior nomad priorities

First, get a pen and paper ready (a spreadsheet is even better) to record your realizations. It’s easiest to start by thinking about where and how you live now. We’ll be going through various aspects of your current life that relate to your physical location, personal needs and even personality.

Your job is to simply make notes about what you like and don’t like and how much. Try putting a rating on your answer if you can. For example, +5 for “love it, gotta have it” to -5 for “hate it, never again”. Focus mostly on the strong likes/dislikes so you’ll know what to head towards and what to definitely avoid.

Important Questions

Yes, I know it’s a lot of questions, but do the best you can. Only you can do this part. But take heart. Doing this step thoroughly makes zeroing in on your perfect locations much easier!

You also don’t have to do it all in one go. Answer the easy ones first and move on when you’re tired of it. You can come back later and do more.

  • What is your ideal climate like? Hot, cold, rainy, sunny, dry, humid? Snowy winters? Scorching summers? Cool fresh breezes? Is having changing seasons important to you?
  • What scenery would you most love to see out your window every day? Desert, mountains, ocean, forest, grass land, cityscape?
  • What do you love hearing outside that pleases you? Annoys you? Birds singing? Children playing? Horns honking?
  • What size town do you prefer? Big metropolis or small town? Or out in remote countryside?
  • Are there outdoor activities or sporting events that you absolutely love? Soccer matches? Fishing? Golf? Biking? Running? Hiking? Swimming? Horseback riding? Camping?
  • Do you go to a fitness center regularly? How important is that to you?
  • What about cultural events and activities? Going to concerts? Opera? Museums? Art galleries? Jazz, blues, rock?
  • How often do you meet up with friends and participate in various social activities? How important is having an English speaking social group? Or is does your personality lean towards the quiet content loner type?
  • Think also about the everyday activities that you love. Like watching a sunrise/sunset. Strolling along the beach or through the park. Having a coffee or a beer at a sidewalk cafe while people watching?
  • Do you have any hobbies that are a huge part of your life? How portable are your hobbies? For example, if your passion is woodworking and your workshop if filled with specialized tools, that’s not very portable. But if you love things like photography, bird-watching, or studying historical architecture, those are quite easy to enjoy almost anywhere you go.
  • Are religious or spiritual practices a big part of your life? What type/faith and how frequently? How important is it to join up with others doing the same?
  • What kind of restaurants do you most like to go to? Italian? Asian? Steak? Burgers? Vegetarian? And at what price/service level? Five-star or street food?
  • Do you like to cook at home? What type of food? Are there any special or imported ingredients that you just can’t live without?
  • How often do you go shopping and at what types of stores and venues? Do you prefer large malls offering name brand designer goods? Small boutiques? Eclectic?
  • When you shop for groceries do you want all your favorite packaged ready-made convenience items? Or mostly fruits, vegetables and basic ingredients? Is organic important? What about gluten-free? sugar-free? vegetarian? Kosher or Halal?
  • How often do you go to the hairdresser? have your nails done? How important is that?
  • How much television do you watch? How important is it to you to see your favorite programs? To have English language programming?
  • How much time do you spend on the internet? How important is having reliable high speed wi-fi?
  • Do you greatly enjoy driving and having your own vehicle? Would you gladly give it up if what you needed was easily accessible by walking or public transportation?
  • How much medical care do you require? How often? How important is it to you to be near state-of-the-art medical facilities?
  • How comfortable are you in situations where you don’t speak the language? Can you tolerate only communicating using very basic words and gestures?
  • If you didn’t live where you do now, what would you miss the most?

Refine your priorities list

Once you’ve got your initial list, you can refine it and flesh it out even more with a few simple steps.

First, sort it by high to low scores. Read through it again and see if it feels right or if you need to adjust any priorities. Are there any scores you should adjust? Any items that you might not want so much if you had substitutes? For example, say having a nearby fitness city was high on your list. But if you lived near the beach (another really high value item for you) and could jog, swim and surf every day of the week, perhaps having the fitness center is not so important.

Now take a stroll down memory lane to places where you’ve lived or vacationed before. Think about what you liked most and least about them. Make sure you delve deeply enough to uncover your real reasons. For example, you may have had the best vacation of your life at a beach side resort 15 years ago. But when you really look at it, you discover the beach wasn’t the source of your pleasure. Your fondest memories are of making some new friends, sitting around in the evenings talking, playing cards and drinking wine.

Make any final adjustments in your personal list of senior nomad priorities. By this time, it should start to feel pretty right-on. Common threads from the past have now been uncovered, and underlying values revealed.

Your location compass

If you’ve been deeply honest with yourself, this list now becomes your true compass. It will guide you to the locations that will support and enhance your roving retirement happiness and well being for many years to come.

However, circumstances always change as we grow older. When they do, return to this process. Revise and reprioritize your list to fit your new requirements. You may also discover some adjustments are needed after you’ve been a retired nomad for a while. Things you thought were “must have” aren’t as important as you thought, or vice-versa.

Therefore it’s best to view your priority list as a work-in-progress that will require minor tune-ups over time. But the good news is that the biggest and hardest part of this step is complete.

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