Nomads in Search of a Home

No one ever told me that this was going to be easy.  The first nine or ten months of living on the road, traveling as we pleased, and living out of a backpacking tent were, more or less, amazing.  Yes, we left our van on the side of the road in Memphis, but overall, our trip had many more ups than downs.  But what we didn’t have was an exit plan.  Well, we sort of did.  Our exit plan was to travel, find a place we loved, move there, and then find jobs and figure it out.

We did part one – travel – but the rest has not been nearly as straightforward.  We found lots of places that we liked, but no one place called to us and whispered “I am home” as we drifted off to sleep.  Lesson learned – there is no perfect place.  There are really great places and really lousy places, and you make one of those really great places your perfect (or as close to perfect as you can get) home over the course of time.  So, back to the drawing board.  We made lots of lists (we’ve been doing that for years), weighed the pros and cons, and thought we had come up with a location – Western Massachusetts.  Okay, so now part two was checked off, or so we thought.

Now it was time to move there, find jobs, and figure it out.  And this is when things got real.  Or rather, when we really began digging deep and figuring out what we really want out of this short time we have in this beautiful, ragged world.  We spent several months in Western Massachusetts trying to figure it out – half of which was spent in an artist’s unfinished, musty basement that leaked when it rained.  If that wasn’t motivation to figure something out, I don’t know what would be.

We figured out a lot.  We realized that we didn’t just want to find any job, we wanted to do something that was meaningful and that we were good at.  And I wanted to stay home for a few years until the little guy is in school.  And so we began anew on a journey for Alan to focus on his talents and his passions.  And so, the last year has found us bouncing around from place to place while we figure things out and while Alan completes coursework and studies to pass a certification exam for his new career.

This past year has been one of the hardest of my life.  Which, when I look at it in perspective, means that I’ve been an inordinately lucky lady.  Yes, the past year has seen more than my fair share of tears.  It has been hard to not have a home for so long.  It has been hard to feel unmoored and to deal with drama that is unnecessary and defeating.  But we have our health, we have each other, we have amazing people in our lives, and we have learned more about ourselves than we ever would have if we had not decided to jump into certain adventure.  But the challenges have made it difficult to share openly on this blog, which is why posts for the past year have been sparse.  I’ve been struggling with what to share and what to keep close.  By not sharing, I realize that I have become guilty of airbrushing this nomadic lifestyle. And so, with renewed attention, I plan to begin sharing again.

We have decisions to be made over this next month or so.  Big decisions.  Decisions that will hopefully allow me to announce that we found a place to call our (for now) home.  And I have so many plans.  Plans for us, for the little guy, and for continuing to share our adventures as we gulp down the moonlight.  Bear with me as I dip back into the blogging world and try to wipe off any veneers of perfection.

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Emerging from Hibernation

It may seem as if we dropped off the face of the earth, but I can assure you that we have not.  After New Mexico (which I have yet not finished blogging about), we’ve been staying with friends and family to celebrate the holidays, escape the cold nights, and plot our next move.  We spent Thanksgiving in Colorado with Alan’s family, spent another week in Denver with our dear friend, Andrew, drove out to Michigan to visit with my family, and then have spent much of the last three months in New York with my parents (THANK YOU, MOM AND DAD!!!).  Between lots of grandparent time for Van, we also spent a couple of weeks down in the DC area to see friends and (drumroll) have spent some time house hunting and visiting friends in our intended new home of Western Massachusetts.  Yup, after traveling the country, we are winding up right where I used to live fifteen years ago.

For those of you following our journey offline, you know that we had put an offer in on a house that was accepted.  Unfortunately, the results of our inspection demonstrated that instead of buying a serious fixer upper, we would have been buying a tear down.  Back to the drawing board for us.  To make our house search easier and to get to know the area better, we rented a partially finished room in an unfinished basement of a lovely and lively artist.  She described it to us as camping indoors and almost wouldn’t show it to us since she didn’t think it would be suitable for a family.  Little did she realize that we’d been living out of our car for the last year.  Camping inside?  With access to running water, heat, and electric lights?  Sold!  It’s a temporary situation, so if we don’t have a new home by the summer, we’ll have to find a new temporary home.  But, the thought of not having to move every few days makes this dark basement seem like a luxurious retreat.  And the area around the house couldn’t be more beautiful.  The views from her studio are stunning, and there are multiple hiking trails that leave within a quarter-mile of the house.

And through all that awaits us, I look forward to continuing to share it right here.  But, before I start writing more about what we’re up to right now, I’ll be walking back a few months in time and writing a couple more posts about our wonderful month in New Mexico.  Easily one of the highlights of our trip.