I promised video updates about this season. I anticipated heading off in my truck to do the damn cross-country thing again, to explore the unknown mysteries of resistance flexibility, my fountain of youth that I had only heard tales from afar. To make peace with my life path, to cut ties from things that weren’t necessarily bad, but things that kept me tied down from truly continuing to become what I felt burgeoning out of my subconscious.
I didn’t feel like what I was doing was anything too glamorous. It feels more make-shift or goal-oriented if anything. I guess I’ve been traveling, but it’s definitely not vacation, because it’s sort become my new normal rather than escape from normal.
I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me asking how “nomadic life” was going, or saying things that I particular struggle to stomach like labeling me as a straight up nomad. It’s strictly personal issues, and if you’ve ever said one of these things to me, you shouldn’t worry about offending me. I should learn to get over it. For as long as I can remember even way early in my childhood, being grouped under certain popular labels felt nerve racking to me, like the collective homosapien amoeba was going to digest my autonomy and I would no longer be unique or hold any individual power. (Wow, how telling is that of egoic human nature?). My resistant stubborn disposition reared into effect this year with being aggrandized under the “urban/modern nomad” trend, complete with instagram #vanlife pages and #acroyoga junkies who spend 5 times as much energy taking selfies than they do meditating. There will be more terrible sounding statements like that on this blog and if you can’t laugh at them/us/me/you then you are free to go back to your mat. 😛 We are our own reality show, and I intend to experience all the punchlines.
I naturally began to wonder,
“Hold up… remind me again what it truly means to be Nomad. I know I don’t pay rent anywhere, but I’m not exactly exiled from my hometown either. Can both couchsurfing and van life be called nomadism even if you’re not moving from city to city? I feel like that is just a different type of homeless? Do people realize you can be homeless by choice and still have money and be self-sufficient, going to professional events around the country and world?”
A solid distillation process was seriously in order.
I will now briefly reflect on the more classical meaning of “nomad” and then wander through the imagination of what it could mean to “do the nomad thing” as a millennial and beyond…
So from this blip of a google search we get a couple solid translatable things to my experience currently-
1) tribalism 2) impermanent living situations, 3) traveling from place to place.
Then there are some other solid concepts that have maybe described previous trips earlier this year… I say “maybe” only because I acquiesce to say the general stranger population is right in their unthoughtful assumptions.
1) wandering, 2) tribalism, 3) finding fresh pastures… figuratively.
Then finally the qualities that are no longer relevant to our need for travel, at least for most of us…
1) finding a place to graze your livestock. And I guess on the flipside, 2) tribalism.
**Fun fact: I actually had an invitation to help drive cattle drive across west Texas 2 years ago; this was literally a lifelong fantasy of mine. There were some major complications involved where I ultimately decided not to go. I struggle with letting that dream go, but understood that it would have likely invited a lot of further complications into my life that I really did not need at that time. *sigh* I’m getting lost in la la land just remembering how gritty and earthy that environment is. Rough ridin’.
To be fair, sometimes my Cat Child (Jax) comes with me on these road trips, even cross country, and he kind of looks like a cow, and I encourage him to hunt as much of his food as possible. (???) I’d say more of us today have pet children instead of traditional livestock. So that’s an interesting evolution and adaptation, lol.
The elements of moving around with a group are truer to classical nomad form when you look at the roots of it. Most of what I do is flying solo, sometimes dropping my anchor in stationary communities along the way. Very rarely am I truly wandering, at least I don’t think of my greater trajectory as a wander, though it’s usually full of wonder and wondering. This year’s trips have been extra fleshy with destinations and agendas and challenges and events. Coincidentally I did more waiting around than wandering, trying to conserve energy and waiting for more ideal conditions to set sail… like a surfer sits and observes the patterns in the swells and waits for the right beautiful moment to exert his efforts into cohesion. There is a recognition that energy can be spent efficiently or that it can be thrown out less intentionally. There is also the recognition that one can always go home (wherever that ends up being) if you fuck up and need to recover and regather yourself before you try again.
As far as food is concerned, our local forage looks more like diving into local farmers markets or divey hole-in-the-wall food shacks to immerse our senses in a fuller flavor of place. You can totally get into actually foraging fresh produce and herbs in an area though. I make a point to do it, even if that means just noticing the different or similar edible weeds that grow from one place to another. I should probably write an entire post on connecting to places you visit through local forageable/catchable food.
Maybe we aren’t driven by literally greener pastures in our moving around, but many of us who do the deal are seeking out a ripeness that exists elsewhere, and not only as an illusion. This most recent travel season was purely to train and heal my body through learning directly at The Genius of Flexibility center in Santa Barbara, and then to go work a job in Nashville for a month. These are things I see as beneficial and almost necessary to my subsistence and growth. Some people would see this as nonessential and overcomplicated. I often see those same peoples’ lifestyle decisions as “settling.” Different strokes. That’s all.
I’m not just coming to peace with this term, but I guess more consciously embracing this lifestyle. Once you can more consciously accept a thing, then you can really move past your inhibitions and then began to flourish in a new capacity. Kind of like Jax here, learning to be comfortable on a leash and accepting that he is another animal, just like the dogs, and not another human human. He is maybe more stubborn and resistant than myself, but like mother like child… He reflects my own qualities back to me in a more magnified manner. Some of you are supremely weirded out by the cat psychology analogies right now. You’ll be OK, I promise.
So I guess I need to say thank you to anyone who made me feel uncomfortable by accidentally labeling me as a part of a trend. I otherwise would have never liked to look at it.
– I think acroyoga and its participants are the shit and I love van life and people that do it.