One Man’s Global Quest for a New Home (Interview)

Local car in front of Mount Everest

Still looking: From Portugal to China in search of home.

For most of us, travel is a leisure activity: a temporary disruption of every day life. For Dave, travel is much, much more than that. It’s a means to an end.

Dave is on a global quest to find a place to call home. So far, that quest has taken him across Europe and Asia on an overland journey from Portugal to China. And there’s more to come, as Dave is still looking.

I caught up with him to find out more about what drove him to travel the world in search of a new home.

Why did you decide to leave your old home in search of a new home?

Do you have a degree in Psychology? (laughs) I grew up in a pretty tough environment, and always wanted to leave. However to truly leave, and to do it right, takes a long time. With no family I had to make sure everything was in place for this journey. No sponsored support networks here!

Home is an intangible concept. It’s hard to define what exactly it means. What does “home” mean to you?

I want to be a legal citizen living in a place that feels like I belong there: a place I can call my own.

It’s where the heart is. I have no doubts about that. You have to feel it. You have to love it. Otherwise get the map out again. For a lot of folk out there, home is where their family is, and so that’s where their heart is. That’s not the case with me. It makes it harder, but also a lot more honest.

I’ve met many people on the road who say they want to move overseas for a fresh start. And, good for them. But in reality they are often just looking at the ‘greener’ grass. Which is also a good thing. It’s what inspires us as human beings to go out there and search for something we believe in. To take that leap is another thing all together.

Finding a home is not as easy as people make out, especially if you take the above into consideration. For me, it’s head down and back to my map.

Do you think you’re coming close to finding your new home?

Good question. Yes. I could name places, but in truth it’s a long answer. I am literally out there trying to find a place to call home, I have no alternative. And I seriously don’t want to end up a homeless old nomad roaming around on the road. I want to be a legal citizen living in a place that feels like I belong there: a place I can call my own. A place that is as happy to have me, as I am to be there.

People often ask me if the wrist bands I wear have any meaning? Well, in each country that I truly like, or think I could live, I take a wrist band to remind me of the place. But at the moment I have many wrist bands of places I like, but none that I can call home: yet.

So this is really a journey of indefinite length. Are you working on the road to be able to afford it?

Badshadi Mosque, Pakistan

Badshadi Mosque, Pakistan.

The word indefinite scares me in this context as my finances are very finite. I sold up everything I had. Apartment, car, furniture, cooker, frying pan, literally everything. I spent two years living in Africa on a local wage which wasn’t much, but enough to pay the bills and allow me to travel there. I am pretty tight with what I spend as well. Not ‘live in a worst hostel tight,’ but tight enough to exclude tours and expensive forms of transport. I have to justify everything financially, as if everything goes belly up, without a support network or family I am in serious trouble. It’s an all or nothing project on my life.

You completed your overland trek from Portugal to China in March. Where to now?

The Point2Point overland trip was a personal accomplishment, and an eye opener on my quest for a home. I learned a lot from it, as any traveler would. I am in South East Asia at the moment trying to put things in order a little. I don’t think it’s the best place for me to find a home, but it’s where I have ended up at the end of the overland trip. I am literally going through a list of alternative routes on the road to finding a place. I have spent the last few months writing up a manuscript for a book on my journey thus far, which has kept me busy; though not helped with paying the bills. Meaning I will have to put my pen down and take my map out for the onward search. Overland back into Europe through Central Asia would be nice as a traveler, but a little unrealistic in finding home. Australia and New Zealand would be an option but the immigration laws there make things difficult once you are over 30. South America is tempting me everyday, as is a return to Africa. All in all I think it will be a case of stay tuned folks…

Dave writes about his journey from Portugal to China on his blog, The Longest Way Home.

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Discussion »

  • #1Natalie

    How awesome!!!

    My husband and I leave on September 30th to backpack to various countries around the world for a year or so.

    As we have been planning for our adventure we have been updating a blog. On our “Why” page we discuss the “American Dream” and hint around the pottential of finding a new home in another country. We would love to have other opinions, ideas, encouragement, advice, helpful tips, and more left as comments.


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