Imagine just for a moment that neither time nor money are an issue and you can travel as much as you want. You can live an ‘Eat, pray, love’ scenario. Or, in a less romantic version you have a job with which you move around the world, pack your bags, put the rest in a storage and off you go! You get to know Ireland, get to know Tokyo, Malaysia, China …. pop out to Brazil, the US, Australia, Europe … long weekends here and there. The world is small. The world is yours.
But then, after a year or two of living out of a suitcase, a little homey worm wakes up. ‘Where are your roots?’ he asks.
You ignore him.
‘Don’t you miss your family and friends?’ he continues. You pretend to ignore him. After all, you met wonderful people during your long trips and you go home often enough.
‘Wouldn’t you like to settle down for a little while?’ he is persistent, but you ignore him.
Then, one day you are getting ready to see yet another brilliant production, the latest sold out show somewhere in the world. Oh, happy day when you got the ticket! You are almost set, just a jewellery touch is missing. The ring that your mum inherited from her grandma and gave it to you years ago would suit great, but you don’t have it. It lays safe in the far, far away storage. You don’t carry around the world the things you are afraid to lose. And this is when nostalgia kicks in and you wish you had your roots Somewhere. However, the Somewhere is not one place any more because you have dropped bits of your soul wherever you made bonds with wonderful people you met. Secondly, you enjoy exploring, experiencing and discovering new horizons. Such a lifestyle has become addictive and it doesn’t take too much for you to move again. You have become a modern-day-nomad.
Are the modern-day-nomads doomed or lucky for having all this freedom and can they have a home?
My nine-year-old niece M, summarised it better than any adult would, when last Christmas I told her I was moving close to London. The curious little bee started analysing straight away what I had said, ‘But, you don’t have a house there, do you? I mean, you don’t have a home in London.’
‘No, I don’t’, I replied.
‘Then you are homeless, ’ M concluded.
I smiled and tried to explain to her the meaning of the word homeless, ‘Well, in theory yes, but when you say that, people normally consider a poor person who cannot afford either to rent or to buy a house.’
‘OK, then you are a rich homeless,’ she affirmed her previous statement and continued dipping a cookie into a cup of milk.
I laughed, but she hit the point. If you choose to move countries again and again, at times you’ll have a roof above your head that won’t feel as home. You are happy and excited about the move, but the place is not a home. At least, it’s not at the beginning and some places never become that. Well, life can’t be perfect, can it?
Nevertheless, if we let them, the experiences that the nomadic traveling gives, even when the place doesn’t feel like home, enrich us in so many amazing ways. I truly enjoy the fact that the other cultures I get to know mix into my own heritage that will always remain in the foundation of my own identity. But, it’is not only about the exploration of cultural diversities. The learning curve about the country you move into is different. It’s not a sunny, photogenic spot from a post card, but a real place where you live and meet real people who let you into their lives the same as you let them into yours and eventually, you forget the prejudices you grew up with. Yes, believe it or not, with time you do stop considering the French arrogant because you met too many who are fantastic people. Jokes aside, the nomadic lifestyle is a great way to learn to love your own and respect and admire diversities.
So, perhaps, the modern-day-nomads are homeless, as not having one place to call it home, but at the same time, so rich with experiences, friendships and at home at many places. For sure, it does take a particular character to enjoy and choose such a lifestyle. It’s not for everyone, the same as spending a life at one place is not, either. But, as long as it’s a choice, life is beautiful.