A Lifter’s Guide to Travel

Being a digital nomad is a privilege, but what I really want is to
experience the world with my queen as a nomadic lifter, not
just as a traveler. Flying through the skies, seeking out barbells,
squat racks, and keeping the PRs rolling makes me eternally happy
inside. It’s cringe and it rhymes, but I’m deadly serious! Living a
kick-ass life, traveling, seeking ultimate freedom, working
(occasionally), and somehow still prioritizing training. That was the
plan, so where to begin?

When I first mentioned
my ambitious plan of traveling the world and continuing to train,
people instantly doubted me. If you know a little bit about me,
you’ll know those are fighting words – especially when my
training is at stake. It only fueled my motivation to prove the
naysayers wrong and crush all-time PRs. 


The pursuit of personal
records remains a fundamental aspect of my training, regardless of
the nomadic lifestyle. The bar needs to get heavier. While lifting at
lighter bodyweights may be appealing, true PRs are achieved by
increasing the weight on the barbell and gaining size. Authentic
strength progress is measured by the ability to consistently lift
heavier loads. Therefore, the pursuit of real PRs should be the
ultimate goal for any lifter, regardless of their location or travel

My personal life hack
is to Google search or Instagram “powerlifting/strength gyms in the
_____ city” you’re visiting. If you’re still a weak and underweight
novice, this may not be relevant to you, as a globo gym might
suffice. However, in the pursuit of a 400lb bench, a good quality
bar – not a crappy 32mm one – matters. A solid bench, not some
rickety piece of junk with a gap between the headrest and the back
support, matters. The same is true of squatting 500lb. Some places
in Argentina had bumper plates so big I had to use bands to strap
them together, as the clips wouldn’t fit on the bar. Fearing the bar
because it’s heavy is one thing – being scared of the equipment and
wondering if this is the rep that will take your life is quite

Two Steps
Forward, One Step Back

During my travels so
far, I approached each country as a training block, typically lasting
four weeks or longer. Although my programming has never included
traditional blocks, I considered this an opportunity to start light
and gradually build up. Sometimes, I was lucky: I could roll on my
programming and progress uninterrupted from country to country. But
this structure also gave me huge flexibility to tailor my training to
fit the available resources and adapt to different environments,
ranging from short full-body two-day linear progression programs in
Utah (while visiting national parks) to comprehensive five-day upper
and lower body splits in Norway, Bergen – an Eleiko Palace – a
student gym within spitting distance of our Airbnb.

barbell training gorilla because obviously

One of the most frustrating aspects of nomadic training is the
unpredictability and inconsistency it brings. While I experienced
incredible progress and all-time PRs in some places, setbacks were
also inevitable in others. Places where we stayed for longer time
periods, like 4 weeks or longer, always afforded greater progress.
However, maintaining a long-term perspective and focusing on the big
picture was key: understanding that occasional regressions are part
of the journey, and that not all situations when traveling will allow
me to train 3-4 times a week for 2 hours per session. In this race,
patience and consistency are the unsung heroes. I know that slow and
steady progress will eventually surpass any temporary setbacks. 


Taking time off from
training is necessary during certain parts of your trip. Balancing
the desire to train with the need to fully experience and enjoy the
places we visit is crucial. During short stays in cities with packed
itineraries, dedicating several hours to the gym would be
impractical. Accepting these limitations and viewing such periods as
well-deserved breaks allows for a more enjoyable journey overall, and
reduces burnout.

Ensuring access to
kitchen essentials is crucial for preparing meals that support your
training. Situations where you use a blunt knife that almost cuts
your fingers chopping an onion or your morning eggs half sticking to
the pan become a bore very quickly. Buy a chopping knife with a
matching sharpener and travel food scales. Some things we’ve had to
buy and leave, like non-stick pans and cheap Tupperware. For your own
mental sanity, buy these items and batch-cook nutritious recipes such
as ground beef pasta or chicken curry. This allows for convenient
meals and ensures you stay on track with your dietary needs. Having
scales to portion out your batch cook has proven vital when freezing
quantities for future meals.

Undoubtedly, one of the
most underrated elements of travel is a good quality bed. Not all
mattresses are created equal, and the range of beds I’ve encountered
during my journey is a testament to that. Securing comfortable and
restful sleep is vital for training. Prioritizing a big quality bed
is always a key feature we take very seriously when searching for
places to stay. 


As I reflect upon my
journey from the comfort of my current location, I realize how
extraordinary the last eighteen months have been. Having experienced
a digital nomad life in eight different countries and 9 different
states in America, my experiences have far exceeded what most people
would encounter in a lifetime. Some locations have been so great for
digital nomadic travel we have returned to them for longer stays, for
example, Tallinn, Estonia – we both think it is a beautiful and
incredibly underrated city (please don’t come here though – it’s
full, thank you). The average person (according to Google) travels to
10 countries. I’m currently at 26; my fiancée is at 30+. It’s a real
challenge to appreciate how blessed we both are, but sacrifices have
been made on our end in order to make this work.

Before you book your
next year flying around South America on Airbnb, let me press the
pause button and give you some details on what we’ve had to
sacrifice. Family: seeing relatives once a year is tough. Friends:
missing out on social gatherings of all kinds is tough. Pets: with
the air miles we’ve clocked up, it would be inhumane to have any
pets and I would love a British Bulldog or Frenchie. That’s tough.
Distance: being what feels like a million miles away from your
hometown when you’re tired or sick and no one speaks your language is
tough. Airports: waiting around and doing the infamous TSA dance
through security for every flight is tough. Change: becoming a new
person who is constantly moving house is tough. But man, on the other
side of these sacrifices, you will get a fantastic life experience
that not even the rich and famous could relate to.
what does all this mean? Life’s good; in fact, it’s almost worrying
how quickly your body and mind adapt to this rockstar lifestyle. We
are living our version of what we call a rich life, where what we
value most is freedom, travel, and culture. At the end of the day,
I’m still a city boy, always have been, always will be.

The beating heart of a
city was my safe place, or was (I’m slowly becoming agoraphobic). I
would rush into work alongside manic office commuters, bustling down
into the tube and spilling out onto the streets, checking my watch
aggressively. I’ve also had many drunk and disorderly nights that
could easily have been featured on “Booze Britain.” I’m no
stranger to a gay bar, as Rip mentioned. This comes with the
territory of being a Londoner. Work hard and party harder. Or
as Rusty said, being a “European” – whatever that
Being a digital nomad is a process akin to
acquiring strength; it’s simple but not easy. Burn the boats and jump
into this lifestyle head-on. You truly appreciate it only when you
emerge from the flames that shaped you. Petty concerns like fear and
the anxiety of embarking on this lifestyle are simply scared out of
you because travel is hard, and that’s good for the soul. All your
worries fade away at 30,000 feet.

No long-term
accommodation, no country too big or too small, no boss to report to,
and no network of friends or family waiting in the arrivals gate. We
move from one country to another; that’s our new normal. This
lifestyle demands that you pack only the absolute essentials in a
manner that would make Marie Kondo proud. We are prepared for every
season, with checked luggage weighing less than 23 kilos and a
carry-on of 8 kilos – that’s all our possessions. Having the
ability to adapt to any environment and work anywhere is remarkably
Going through the typical routine of work,
home, gym, and occasional dinners out – it can easily lead you into
a rut. It did for me, at least, but I think we’re all guilty of this
to a certain extent. How much of your city or hometown have you not
explored? Let alone this entire blue planet. Obviously, not everybody
has a job that allows remote working, so digital nomading may not be
an option. Travel can also be expensive – although not necessarily
as expensive as you think, if you’re strategic. For us, it’s
actually cheaper than living in the UK. If you do have the
opportunity to travel, whether you’re working or not, or even if
it’s just for short spans of time, I strongly urge you try it.

Back in the day, only
the wealthy had the ability to travel regularly to Europe and the
rest of the world, eating exotic dishes, meeting locals, and
experiencing different cultures that they would later describe to
peers and loved ones, or document in books. Only aristocrats and
royalty were able to do this – at the time, it was a privilege on a
par with having your own en-suite bathroom. Most of you reading this
now have a bathroom within
spitting distance of your bedroom, but while you’ll take advantage
of modern plumbing, many people still don’t take advantage of the
greater accessibility of the wider world.

Claim your modern-day
right to see the world and experience real culture. Touch it and
speak to it; being social doesn’t happen while staring at your phone,
it’s by engaging with real people. Google, BBC, and Fox News can’t do
anything like true justice to being there and experiencing it for
yourself. Become well-traveled. I doubt traveling too much will be
something you’re going to regret on your death bed. Look, it’s not a
forever lifestyle for us, but honestly, I don’t want this feeling of
self-discovery to end. Wouldn’t you like the freedom to choose how
you live your life? I know I do. Choose strength, choose adventure,
choose life.

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