I’ve always craved stability. I wanted nothing more as a child than to feel secure. Loud voices or sudden movements sent me into a state of turmoil. I don’t know whether it was the fact that I was the youngest of a large chaotic household or if it was more that I was raised under the religious connotation that the world could (and would) end at any moment. I moved through my days with the fear that life as I knew it would come crashing down on me. I felt safest at home with the people I loved.
I hold onto places that provide good memories and to items that once belonged to people I loved. I am attached to things that give me comfort. I can’t seem to let them go. I always return to the same places, same people, and same items for solace. I don’t welcome change. I accept it, but usually with uneasiness.
As an adult, I have purposely never lived my life by chance. I thought things through and made plans. However, we all know that when we make plans, God laughs. Isn’t that the saying? There have been times that I have made decisions totally out of character for me, and my life is better because of it. Some of the best things that have ever happened to me have been by complete surprise. I wanted my children to grow up with a sense of safety that I never felt. But in retrospect, did I do them a disservice by providing them with too much comfort and assurance? Did I try to protect them more than I should have? Did I not allow them to take the chances that I was afraid of? I think we let them see for themselves that life is not always fair, and that home is a safe place. I think we taught them that even though we loved them we did not have the answer to everything nor could we right all that ailed them in life. One thing is for sure, they take chances in ways I never had the courage to do.
In spite of this declaration, I’ve often thought of myself as a wanderer or a drifter in life. Crazy huh? A person who craves stability and stays put considers herself a nomad at heart? How can that possibly be? I suppose I feel this way because I’ve never settled into one way of living. I enjoy country life while I love the convenience of city life. I have a home and family that I try to provide a level of security for and depend on for my own comfort as well. However, I’ve flitted in and out of life trying many different things. I’ve been allowed the freedom to experiment with careers and hobbies. I’m sure it is no surprise to you that after many years of working in the world, I’ve settled at working from home. It provides me the best of possibilities though sometimes I feel like I might want to get back out there. I’ve floated from idea to idea and drifted through the years with no concrete plans for my future. I might have long term hopes and wishes, but I don’t make ten year plans or lifelong goals. I do not have a “bucket list”. I might make weekend hiking or travel plans, but mostly I try to live where the moment takes me. Does that qualify me as a nomad? Or maybe a gypsy?
Once while visiting the lighthouse at Ocracoke Island, Dirt Man and I met an older couple who were tour guides. They travel all year wherever the National Parks have openings and stay at local RV campgrounds. What a perfect occupation for a retired couple that enjoys traveling! They get to travel, explore, work, learn and teach, and mingle with people. This sounds like a delightful way to spend retirement years
I know of a young newly married couple who sold almost everything they owned, packed everything else in storage, and went on a year adventure of touring the world. They had a rough itinerary, but no solid plans for the entire trip. What bravery! I can’t imagine winging it in a strange land. They were able to scratch the itch to travel the world before they settled in and raised their family.
Who are considered nomads? And why do they do it? I would think migrant workers. Many people travel through cultural exchange groups. They do it for a variety of reasons such as the opportunity for adventure, Some do it for pay. Others simply want to offer their services through volunteering. Many want to teach or study. Some photographers, journalists, and medical professionals lead nomadic lifestyles as well. In the context of America today, would we consider homeless people nomads?
Though I might not be comfortable with authentic nomadic living, I can explore and learn about my own surroundings, and I can visit other places through books and the internet. See, I’ve figured out a way to be both a hermit and be a nomad at heart!