the nomadic life
each time i embark on a trip that takes me outside the state, whether it be vacation, a mission, or a visit to friends or family, my mother asks me the same question: “are you coming home?” i’m not sure when she started this (mostly) kidding practice. perhaps after i came back from studying abroad with a severe case of the travel bug. or maybe it was during my stint coordinating mission trips when i seemed a little too reluctant to come home from my monthly travel. whatever the case, i’m sure her concern was not without cause. even now that i have a significant reason to return to my home sweet ‘homa, she still teasingly throws the inquiry out there just before i depart on a solo trip.
truthfully, she does know me well. while there are many things i value in oklahoma (namely, family and friends), i can easily see myself living a nomadic lifestyle, soaking up the life, customs, food, language, and culture of a place before moving on to the next. for me, the thrill of a new place is the fact that it’s unfamiliar. each moment throws something unexpected in front of you. this feeling of being a bit off-balance – awkward in communication, unsure in navigation, wary in interaction – is unnerving and frustrating for some, but exciting and energizing for me. once this feeling of being surrounded by unusual or remarkable things passes, i am ready for a different routine.
if i could work out the logistics, my ideal plan would be to live in a different country each year for 10 years. (no way could i envision my life farther ahead than that.) of course there would be extreme flexibility in the actual duration of stay in each location, but in my daydreams, i’ve even begun to build a loose itinerary based around language learning, which is one of the biggest pleasures of travel for the linguist in me. my theory is, if i piggyback the countries that speak the same languages, then i could extend and expand my understanding of that language, while also keeping the environment fresh. but those are entirely too many details for something that is probably not in my future.
every day i strive for contentment despite my wanderlust (i know i have no room to complain about my life), but when i travel my chronic “wanna go somewhere” itch acts up. this long vacation was oh-so-good and oh-so-bad for me at the same time. once again i am grateful for the technology that so vividly brings the world to you.