I posted a photo on Instagram while in Sedona announcing that my “home base” (aka where my parents live and where I keep my stuff) has changed. Instead of going to North County San Diego in between travels to visit my parents (and my things), I now will be going to Peoria, Arizona.
See Instagram here:
And while the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona, are a pretty drastic change from coastal San Diego, it was my reaction to the comments on said photo which surprised me the most.
“Oh my gosh, people think I’ve actually MOVED here.”
While of course I mention I have a ‘new backyard to explore’, for me that only meant whenever I was here visiting. Really, I was only calling it a backyard in theory. My hometown will always be San Diego. But if we were to call home the place where I have all my possessions and my family, sure, that would now be Peoria. But a home-home? I don’t really have one.
P I N M E //
This past year I spent less than two months at home. The rest of the time I was nomadic. And recently, I was in Arizona for a little less than two weeks before going back to my boyfriend’s family’s house in Ventura. After that, I flew to Mexico and will probably stay for 2-3 months. Next, I’ll be back for another visit before tour leading through the summer.
Since I don’t own a car or house, traveling abroad actually ends up being about the same price (or even cheaper) than living in the U.S. For me, constant travel plans just make sense.
All of this has made me realize my situation is really strange.
Routines come and go
Having a routine can be an amazing thing, but my routine changes with every situation. If I’m at home with little to do, my routine will revolve around blogging, getting physical activity, cooking and watching movies with my parents. If I’m traveling, it involves visiting something new each day, and spending even a small amount of time taking photos and blogging each week.
When it comes to work though, I prefer that my current one doesn’t really have one at all. Every day I find myself exploring a new city and every other week it’s with a new group. And while it’s impossible to get boring, it can still become exhausting. For this reason, it can only remain as a seasonal work situation.
I see how this inconsistency would drive most people crazy. For me though, the key is not necessarily regularity and routine, but balance. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, as long as I get a few things I feel level-headed and sane. A balance of exercise (or just being regularly active), free time to use as I please and down time (Netflix!) are crucial for me no matter where I am. This can be the most difficult when I’m working, but I try to do what I can.
Who knows if (or how) the constant changes in climate, cuisine and sleep are really effecting me. For now, my only constant is consistent change.
I’m always calculating the next move
The way some people calculate moving up in the corporate ladder, looking months or years ahead, I look at my trips. When I start a season of tour leading, there are specific saving goals in my head and a deadline for me to figure out how my off-season will look. Once that time comes and I set off to explore a new part of the world, I’m again looking toward the aftermath. Will I keep on tour leading? Is it time to find other work? Is there another part of the world that is really pulling at me?
My trips don’t come on a whim. In fact, I’m usually brainstorming and thinking about them for the months prior– making sure they make sense financially and timing-wise. Overall though, it usually just comes down to what feels the most right, and then I sit on it for a while until I realize I’m not going to change my mind.
For me, my gut is my biggest compass. I’ll continue on following that for planning my next adventures for as long as it makes sense.
The most annoying parts
Surely this lifestyle isn’t always easy or convenient. It can often get frustrating dealing with the downsides of constantly moving around.
For one, my wardrobe is dependent on each situation. Every time I come home it’s like Christmas, and a closet full of clothes magically appears which I’ve forgotten existed. Everything I need is easily displayed in one place rather than smooshed into a backpack. While this can be fun sometimes, it can be a real pain others.
This fall, I found myself on the east coast with temperatures reaching freezing at night. Even though I had loads of winter clothes held hostage in my closet all the way across the country, I had to go buy new ones to keep warm. It can be frustrating to buy things you know you don’t really need, but it’s also impossible to lug everything you own around with you all the time. Shipping things often ends up being just as costly.
Taking care of yourself can also be difficult on the road. My current basic medical insurance only works in California, and illnesses aren’t polite enough to conveniently appear only when I’m there. Making phone calls can be tricky if I’m abroad and getting mail even trickier.
Still, the annoyances aren’t inconvenient enough to deter me. And regardless of any living situation, nothing is perfect. It’s an attitude towards the flaws which matter most (something I could still work on).
Why I keep moving
When talking about our upcoming trip to Mexico, someone recently asked my boyfriend and I, “don’t you get homesick?” We gave an over-simplified answer to diffuse the question. At the time, that’s what was appropriate. No one ever asks that question expecting to get a complicated answer.
In reality though, no, I don’t really get homesick anymore. Instead, I get other types of homesicknesses. I miss my family and friends and get feelings of guilt for being away. I miss the ease of having a closet, or a routine, or a fridge and pantry stocked with basic, always available items.
And when someone asks this question, sometimes I feel like the appropriate response should be, “well, don’t you ever get bored?”
Sure I miss things sometimes, but not enough to change the way I’m living. Just the same as people who have a house and a routine get bored, but not enough to sell it all and live out of a backpack.
Of course, I thought I would have been settled somewhere by now. One year abroad teaching English turned into three, then foreign solo travel turned into leading people on cross-country group trips. Two seasons of that may soon turn into three.
If I wanted to settle down and get a ‘real job’ I would. It just hasn’t felt right yet. In other words, this life has been working for me.
And I’ll probably continue doing it until it doesn’t anymore.