Life as a solo nomad, may not be for everyone but it is definitely the life for me. And after over 5 years of traveling throughout the country with my trusty 4-legged companions in my house on wheels, there has been a laundry list of lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Many people have told me I am living the dream, and I am. But for every dream, there are also sacrifices and tradeoffs that come with it. Sometimes the things happening behind scenes can be a bit different than lens of social media projects.
That is why I have put together a list of my 5 biggest takeaways from 5 years on the road.
1. It begins & ends with me
When you travel on your own, there are many helpful people you meet along the way. Yet, where I go, how I solve problems, and whether or not I let fear win over wonder and curiosity all begins and ends with me. It’s a mental game as much as a physical lifestyle.
There have been seasons where I chose comfort over courage and others when I was so high on curiosity and wonder that I couldn’t wait to see what was around the next corner or where that road led.
As the saying goes, no matter where you go there you are. There is no out running myself and much of this journey has been about facing that self, remembering who she was before she was a mom, an executive, a responsible adult.
2. People are not as scary as the news would have you believe
It’s really a numbers game. There are bad people out there, obviously and yet, the vast majority, the overwhelming majority, are good people trying to live the best life they know how. A smile, a complement, or a kind gesture can break down walls pretty quickly. Most of us just want to be seen and acknowledged.
3. Traveling with your own home is amazing
I take my home to the grocery store, to the park, to the woods, and to my friends’ houses when I’m visiting. That means I have my own clothes, refrigerator, toilet, and shoes. Sometimes I even have things in my van that my friends don’t have in their homes.
Being self-contained makes life so much easier in one way and more challenging in others. But I love that I don’t have to plan before I drive away. I can stop and change my clothes or grab a snack or use the restroom whenever I want. That has definitely come in handy during this pandemic in terms of minimizing exposure.
It also means my friends have less preparation to do when I come to visit in that I become their neighbor and not the house guest. But it also means that all my stuff is rumbling down the road and if I take a turn to sharply, it might go flying.
4. Not everyone will understand or embrace your choices (& that's okay)
After more than five years on the road I still get strange questions from people about this way of living. Some are fascinated, some are put off by the idea, and some have a hard time picturing how this could work.
At the beginning of my journey, I felt myself trying to convince people that it was wonderful. With time and experience I’ve come to understand that not everyone gets it, nor do they need to. I get it, I love it, and that’s all that matters.
5. Spending time closer to nature has healed wounds I didn't know I had
For me, spending time away from people and among the trees has become my church. I find so much inspiration and peace It makes the dirt and the discomfort and the extra effort completely worth it.
Walking among giant trees reminds me of being a small girl where I am seen and protected and soothed by the sounds of the river flowing over fallen trees and the wind whispering through the leaves.
In that space I am undefined nor am I required to be. That is a grace for which I am eternally grateful.
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