A Birthday Reflection

Where to Now is four years old this month!




High Hopes

Reading back through some of my posts over the past few years, it’s evident I’ve had one foot in the nomad lifestyle and one in the “creature comforts of home” world for a few years now. Never taking off for more than 4-5 months at a time and always returning to the same places isn’t what I imagined four years ago when I was packing kiddo off to college and stuffing all my stuff into a 5×10 storage unit. And it could be easy for me to see how I “failed” at being the nomad I was inspired to be as I read story after story of people trekking the world on $50/day, couch surfing their way through Thailand, or driving a camper truck through South America.

Bumpy Roads

Just a few months after setting this whacky plan into motion I hit some financial speedbumps that threatened to squash the entire idea. But just as quickly as it happened, I also fell into a job opportunity that was well-suited to the nomadic lifestyle. So for two years I worked as much as I traveled. But the job, and my slowly recovering finances, limited my aimless wandering and I found myself returning “home” more frequently but never staying very long.

New Perspectives

Now, a year after leaving that job I realize that I like that style of travel. Taking 2-3 weeks away and returning to the familiar. It suits me. I’m not that 20-something who’s trek to South America inspired me. I’m the 40-something that has friendships and family connections that I don’t want to squander. I WANT to be around for my grandmother and son. I look forward to connecting with my wandering mother when our travels bring us within a few hundred miles of each other. I have a special someone that I enjoy spending time with, but who can’t travel with me. It took being away from all of them for six months last summer to realize that. And it has taken me the past six months to decide that’s ok!

Old enough to know better

I’ve also come to realize most of the travel blogs and social media pages I follow that I once found so inspiring are written by those twenty somethings that are just figuring out what’s important in life. I applaud them for doing it. I might also begrudge their wild abandon that takes them to the far-flung corners of the earth for months on end. That’s not me – at least not anymore. I’m older than the average vagabond and really don’t enjoy the types of things they do on their round-the-world jaunts. Hostels are great, but I’m not going bar hopping with a 22 year old!

Young enough to do it anyway

But I’m also younger than the average work-camper type that packs their belongings into an RV and is content with the passive lifestyle of camp-hosting and sight-seeing. There are, of course, exceptions – there’s the young family making a conscious choice to expose their children to the nomadic lifestyle and earn their livelihood through work-from-home “endeavors”; there’s the barely retirement age single divorcée fighting depression by hitting the road to find a sense of purpose; there’s the widow that spent her last ten years caring for an ailing husband and has no career so she takes on seasonal work in remote places.

The Compromise

I’m somewhere in between the “I can do anything-ers: and the “we’ve done it all-ers”.  I’m in that place where I want and need to travel and as much as I still want and need to honor my talents and abilities in service to others. People jokingly ask me if I’m afraid I’ll get cabin fever when don’t have the next adventure planned. The truth is that I’m only nervous when I don’t have something to DO planned for the near future. I can pick up and go on an adventure at any time. Finding something challenging to DO without long-term commitment is the tough part. But it usually sorts itself out in the most fascinating ways.

The Bottom Line

Goals and plans are great, but the wisdom to know when they aren’t right for you and the flexibility to adjust is even better!

Thanks for hanging in there with me the past few years! Here’s to learning even more in 2017!

Are ya coming with me?

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