At this time last year, I was cleaning out the last furniture from my Seattle house, packing and preparing to become a nomad. Thousands of miles and many experiences later, I'm still nomadic and I cannot imagine living any other way. It suits me. Sure, it's tough, but I like tough. I spent too long being comfortable and living on the edge keeps me sharp and more aware and tuned into to myself and others.
Perhaps you've been reading my blog all along, so you have a sense of what my experience has been like. Perhaps you just got here and have no idea who I am or what I've been up to. No matter. In looking back I thought I'd share some things I haven't shared and some things you might not know about what it really feels like living without a physical home of one's own.
So here goes...
Things I've learned:
- How few material possessions I really need. I've lived in four seasons with only two small suitcases full of clothes, a small box of shoes and boots, a box of kitchen supplies, a box of office supplies, a printer, a couple dozen books, blankets, pillows, towels and a few other personal items. That's it!
- How to share bathrooms and kitchens. Learning to live in harmony with others in the places where you prepare your food and take care of bodily functions and cleaning is fully of challenges and it is in those challenges that we smooth the stone of our preferences, ideals, attachments until instead of hard, sharp edges, there is a smooth flow.
- How quickly I'm able to adjust to new circumstances and people. I've become so much more flexible and adaptable than I ever thought I'd be. I used to hate when my mother changed the furniture around in our house. Now, I can pack up and be on my way or be moved in and unpacked in under an hour. In only a matter of days, I can navigate a place as if I've lived there for years.
- That I'm really more of an artist than business woman. Time on the road has allowed me to do some deep soul searching and what I've uncovered is that my essence is really more that of an artist than a business woman. Yes, for the majority of my life, I've worked for myself, but that doesn't make me a good business woman. Instead, I've chosen that path because I resonate more with the sensibility and lifestyle of self-employment and not because I love owning a business. BIG difference. Plain and simple, my true love is writing.
Things that I wasn't expecting:
- How challenging it would be to do a work exchange at a bed and breakfast.
- That I'd be living in an RV for two months.
- That in that RV, I'd occasionally be spending the night in parking lots.
- While living in that RV, I'd be showering at truck stops and health clubs.
- Discovering that I feel more at home near the ocean and in the mountains that I do in the desert.
- To be staying with and becoming friends with someone I met through craigslist.
- Being offered the opportunity to do housesitting and pet sitting and really enjoying it.
- How much I'd miss the west coast.
- How important writing would become in my life again.
- That I would still want to live nomadically after the first year.
Things I've loved:
- Getting to meet so many interesting, diverse people, most of whom I'll never see again. It made me realize the preciousness of each person we encounter. Each taught me something and shined a mirror for me to see another reflection of the human experience.
- Spending time with so many loving animals. Datsun. Luna. Ginger. Lulu. Cricket. Piggles. Kinky Boots. Cashew (and others whose names I've forgotten).
- Being on the road. Traveling into the unknown is such a high for me, especially when I didn't know where I would be staying or for how long. It's a rush like nothing else and my passion for travel has only gotten stronger since I left Seattle.
- All the sacred and beautiful trees. Almost everywhere I've stayed, I've been surrounded by woods and each time they make me feel right at home.
- Being able to write for long stretches at a time. The freedom to write has been one of the best and biggest benefits of living nomadically with very few expenses. Relieving that daily pressure to earn huge sums of money doing something I don't enjoy, allowed me to write more consistently.
Things I would not do again:
- Live in a motor home. It wasn't a good fit for me especially while running my own business. I really need more space and less roughing it.
- Pick a place based on a concept. If I wasn't guided to go somewhere, things just didn't flow. There were obstacles and roadblocks and an overall feeling that something just wasn't right. This happened in San Diego. While I enjoyed my time there for the most part, I knew deep down I had ignored an intuition I had to go directly to the Southwest.
- Living anywhere cold for longer than a couple of weeks. I skipped winter entirely last year and really benefitted from having so much warmth and sunshine. I'm not a big fan of spending large amounts of time indoors and I especially miss outdoor yoga!
- Work alone. I plan to create a new venture that is more about true partnership and collaboration. I simply cannot do everything that needs doing and prefer to focus on what I'm good at.
- May the coming new year be filled with blessings and opportunities that nourish and uplift your soul!