Becoming a nomad isn’t quite as seamless a transition as I envisioned months ago. Imagine selling or giving away almost everything you own, placing a few pieces of furniture and some artwork in foster care with friends, and packing the rest of your belongings in your car. How might you feel, knowing there is no longer a home to which you’ll return?
I anticipated a grand sense of freedom, great relief at no longer owning so much stuff, excitement as I considered my upcoming travels, and a more frequent experience of being fully present wherever I happened to find myself. And these feelings have come. But interspersed among them have been feelings of anxiety (What have I done?), insecurity about my future (Where will I land?), and uncertainty about who I am without my home and my familiar stuff.
I’ve tried to make my car feel comforting by doing a bit of decorating. My friend, Greg, made the ceramic letters (pictured above) as part of a Scrabble set for his kids when they were small. He gave me several, and I’m even more grateful for them now. My friend, Becky, gave me the miniature Peace Pole – a replica of larger poles that have been placed all over the world to plant the universal message of peace. It serves as a reminder that part of my journey is a pilgrimage.
My friend, Eric, gave me several glass beads that came from an archaeological dig north of Atlanta. They were made more than 3,000 years ago by Native Americans of the Woodlands tribe. My sister, Jeanne, made the bracelet with my daughters’ names. Seeing the bracelet reminds me that they are always in my heart. The paper crane was made by an 8-year-old girl. She created two dozen for me, and I’ve given all the others away.
And there’s a little piece of curly willow I picked up in Black Mountain, North Carolina. If I still had a home to go to, I would have gathered many branches to fill a large vase. In fact, I started collecting an armload until I remembered I didn’t have a place to put them. I’m a slow learner when it comes to not accumulating stuff.
Despite the jumbled feelings, I’m grateful to have made the decision to spend some time as a nomad. My mantra is, “If I want to go, and I can go, I’m going.” Tomorrow I leave for Nairobi.