It’s strange coming back home. During the last 9 months I have been to all four corners of the U.S. with a short trip to Europe thrown in for good measure! People walk up to me with a far-away expression on their face as though I’ve done something incomprehensible! They seem to have a romantic notion of what a nomadic lifestyle is like and they want me to tell them how dreamy it was! When they ask “Did you love it?” I have to pause because the answer isn’t simple.
Traveling is fun. It’s good to explore places like the Grand Canyon, the Rock of Gibraltar, the Florida Keyes and the crystal blue water of the Bahamas. When I look through my photos it’s surprising to me how many places I’ve visited. It’s a blast to meet new people and make friends. I even earned a new understanding of how big our country is after taking a solo road trip from Tennessee to Washington state.
But traveling is not easy. By definition you are going away from home. You carry all of your possesions with you and you stay, sleep and eat in places that are not yours. Renting a house for a few months in Georgia was the most stable time we had and that house was for sale. So every time they needed to show the house we had to skeedaddle. We loved having the house but it was very clear that it wasn’t ours.
We also stayed with family and had a boat on which we camped. But none of them were home. I missed having a place that was MINE. Where I could keep a few cherished possessions. Where I could decorate or paint or lie in bed all day and know that it was ok because it was MY place. Having a HOME to come home to is a very good thing.
The hardest thing for me was learning to let go. You have to let go of a schedule, a PLAN, a time table, stability and security. You have to be ready to turn right or left on a whim. You have to be willing to NOT KNOW what was coming next and to go with the flow!
In my old life, I was a schedule fanatic. My kids were on a schedule, my stomach was on a schedule, I had a plan for everything and if things did not go according to that plan I became agitated and frustrated and extremely uncomfortable. I just felt that life was better planned out. A day went smoother when you knew where you’d be for lunch and where you’d be that night. But I had to throw all of that out the window on this journey.
I also struggled with isolation. Many people love being out on their own for long periods of time and I have learned to like my own company more than I used to. But I still missed my people. I am very lucky in that I have a group of friends and family who love and support me in a way no one else can.
I hope you have a group like this too. People who listen to you and understand. Who will call you on your crap when you’re being selfish or seeing things unclearly. People who are really there for you when you need them. I was very lucky in that I found some new “people” along the way!
So the answer is YES, I had a great time over the last year! I saw amazing places for the first time! I had experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. I learned a lot about myself too. I learned that I am capable, brave and strong and that I can adapt. I also learned that I like having a home and a plan and my people close by.
So if you walk up to me and ask me how my adventure went….be patient if I hesitate. I’m just trying to give you an honest answer. Adventure and Exploration are great but it’s also wonderful to come home and sit by the fire. Would I do it again? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Mostly. Are there things I would change: Definitely Yes. Did I see amazing things? Yes. Did I meet great people? Yes. Was it easy? Hell NO.
For now, I’m glad to be back home….if only for the summer.