Let’s talk about nomadic life (shall we?)
We have been at it since March 2021, and consider ourselves experts (just kidding), it would take a couple of years to become so formidable, but a few months on the road gave us a pretty good idea of what it means to be a nomad.
There are so many associations with this lifestyle, from the romanticism of it to homelessness, to trailer parks, to the now glamorized through social media Van life. Of course, all of these lifestyles are nomadic, and we, travelers, enjoy different levels of comfort. We are very happy and feel exceptionally lucky to travel in a very comfortable vehicle with all the necessary amenities, so our perspective is not burdened by having to look for a bathroom, a shower, or a hot meal. That said, we still live on the road and own nothing but our beloved KIT the bus.
Before we left, I remember having that gnawing feeling of insecurity. I would imagine us on an unfriendly highway, trying to find a parking spot in the middle of the night. I would think about what we would do if we can't find where to fill up on water. I was worried about that tiny fridge of ours, and how we would ever fit enough food into it. I was scared.
Fast forward a few months and here is the truth: life on the road is not scary. It is not. Trust me, I am a city-apartment-bred species. I was never into camping or any kind of survivalist stuff. I am used to hot water at any time, a grocery store across the street, and gourmet restaurant food deliveries. And you know something? I am totally surviving Van life. Even better, I love it. I have to admit, traveling on the East Coast of the US is easy. Grocery stores are everywhere, there are plenty of farms and wineries where you can park overnight. In the age of technology, you can find everything online: there is an app for literally anything. So, if any of you are contemplating Van life, remember this: unless you’re planning a daring trip in remote areas of wilderness with no reception, the whole thing is really not as hard as you might imagine. The only difference between us nomads and stationary people, is we do not have a zip code and our backyard is ever-changing. Sure, we are used to doing with little: extremely short showers, only essentials in our immediate possession, and constantly working on our relationships - we are in a tight space together, so that’s an everyday must.
But the truth is, the scary thing about living on the road is not the lack of comfort or security. All of that will only teach you to appreciate things and help you discover that kind people are everywhere, and they are willing to help.
The scary thing about the road is that it will force you to be true to yourself, with all the other layers peeling off. The road will have you reconsider your priorities. It will deconstruct your carefully crafted persona. How does it do it?
Here is my theory. We are rather removed from society. We are never in a mode of having to present ourselves to the world. We simply exist in the world. The woods, mountains, the sea, and sunsets do not have a dress code. The people we meet have no expectations of us. Being traveling hippies is a license to be as unconventional as it gets. Because we meet new people all the time, we are free to reinvent ourselves in every conversation. The questions about who we are and what we do happen all the time. In the beginning, we answered without thinking, whatever we used to always say. It was like a script, we were so used to it, it meant nothing anymore. But the more we had to talk about ourselves, the more we wondered: is what we say genuine? Do we even like our answers? Do they feel right? Do we feel good about who we are? And finally, who are we?
To be honest, I have no answer to this question at the moment. That’s what the road did to me. I know I am a human being, experiencing this world. I am a wife and a mother, even though the meaning of these titles is constantly evolving. But beyond that… I do not know.
So, in the end, the road is not as dangerous and unfriendly as most people imagine it to be... The scariest thing about it is the total freedom of a blank page.