It has become increasingly popular to live or call oneself “traveler” or “nomad”, to live in a van and to dismiss the conventional lifestyle of society and our parents. Every person would describe their personal experience as a nomad and the meaning behind that term differently. For me being a nomad doesn’t mean yet to live in a van; it will soon. I am not a digital nomad but maybe I will be. I do not want the lifestyle propagated by society that is in my opinion too much connected to a need for security and a specific standard of income and material possessions.
It is not easy and it probably doesn’t live up to expectations like your life is going to be a never ending tourist dream, filled with party, great food and amazing pictures where you stand carefree against a spectacular sunset. All day, every day. It is work, it becomes your job to find out about routes, means of movement and accommodations. You have to learn how to adapt, how to be flexible, how to feel comfortable in a lot of situations. And how to detect if you are not comfortable and how to change that. You also have to (re)learn to trust yourself and your intuition.
BUT! Let’s do this exercise: Close your eyes and breath deeply. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth with a sigh. Then imagine yourself as a 70 or 80 year old person. First imagine your physical appearance: Do you seem to be still fit and full with energy? Do you have wrinkles of smiling and maybe your skin is showing the signs that you have been outside a lot? Are you surrounded by loved ones, sitting on a porch, holding your face in the gentle rays of the sun? Or in a garden? Now go to your memories. What do they show? Do they show you sitting in a car / plane / boat excitement in your eyes? Many different places, sunsets in front of mountains, ocean waves, forests, next to a tent or van? Smiling faces, sitting together at a breakfast / lunch / dinner or picknick in a space that looks like a hostel or a little restaurant in an old town? Animal companions that we learned to love the same way as human friends? These are the pleasant memories, but there will be harder ones of good-byes from people you met and might not ever see again, of break-downs, of feelings of loneliness, of frustration and even fear. All of them weave an intriguing net of the lessons of your life. A beautiful blanket in which you envelop yourself, a treasure of skills and knowledge. A life well lived.
That is what I imagine. I do this exercise often to be clear about what I want when the doubts and fears come that I won’t manage, that I’m not worthy of a good life, that maybe I should stay safe in a conventional life. And this is how I know that I want to be a nomad. That I willingly have less money but more experiences that make me rich. Of course I am aware that a life like this is NOT the sun shining out of my butt 24/7. It’s going to have it’s hardship like any other. But I rather dare to try than to imagine myself regretting in 50 years.
I also became more comfortable with staying in different places because I know how to adapt. At the same time I became more picky by choosing a place where I can imagine to live permanently (which means half of a year, maybe as a base). Interesting, no? Being flexible and at the same time rigid? Or maybe it’s more about being more determined to consider and fulfil my own desires and requirements for a place to be true / right for me to plant my butt and roots there. Because I know how easy it is to move, to settle myself being aware that I will probably only stay there for some days/weeks. But it’s about the attachments that will inevitably come; the feelings I develop waking up in a bed that I can call mine, making coffee in a kitchen that is arranged as I want it, looking out of a window that shows me every day the same view (besides the changes of seasons of course). So I prefer to try out some more spots on this beautiful planet. After all what else did we / I come here to do?