November 18, 2014

A Nomad’s Guide to Non-Attachment.

hitch hiking

There are so many possible experiences to have in one lifetime.

From traveling to mysterious places to meeting equally mysterious people; from trying out the latest high-adrenaline sport to taking the ultimate plunge of falling in love.

As a full-time traveling yoga teacher, I sometimes feel like I’m in the life experience express lane. I have no fixed address and have been following the sun consistently for five years. Even as a child and young adult, I spent years globetrotting with my free-spirited mother.

“In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” ~ Unknown

When people find out about my lifestyle they often respond with comments such as, “Where is all your stuff?” “Don’t you get tired?” and “Don’t you miss your family?”

The short answer is yes.

Yes, I get tired, miss my family and can’t wait to see all my books out of their boxes and proudly displayed on a bookshelf one day. Ultimately, however, I made the decision to pack everything away and surrender to this way of life. I know I have the power to change my mind at any point but for now this is as good as it gets!

Over the years I have developed an embodied understanding of the nomadic lifestyle, which I’ve broken down into the ten aspects or ‘”steps” offered below.

My teacher, Shiva Rea, advised us once to offer our teachings from a place of personal experience, that they may be authentic; it is in this spirit that I share my “Nomad’s Guide” with you.

1. Minimize your stuff.

I see it as having two choices: I can either be ruthless and give away anything I haven’t used in the past year to friends or a charity or pack all my precious belongings into boxes and place them in storage for an indefinite amount of time.

When your stuff is in storage it may feel like cheating, but when the day comes to unpack you may find that some items are no longer essential. In either case the art of non-attachment will have been successfully embodied.

2. Take only what you need.

Determine what basics you need in order to continue living a clean, sustainable and practical existence (toiletries, a change of clothes, pictures of family, ipod, reusable water bottle, rechargeable batteries are all on my list). Whatever I decide to carry with me needs to fit into my suitcase. Since most airlines limit you to 20 kg, that’s the maximum my bag has ever weighed.

3. Go on a journey.

The great thing about the nomadic lifestyle is you don’t have to travel very far to find yourself in a new place—you could pitch a tent in a friend’s garden or live in your car.

To be nomadic there is no choice but to surrender control and trust that all will be provided; not in a lazy or aloof way, but in a way that expresses confidence in the universe itself. My daily mantra:

“I trust the process of life.” ~ Louise Hay

It encourages me to remain positive and open in the most trying of circumstances. I visualize the life I seek and write down my dreams.

I try to have a sense of where I would like to go, what I would like to experience and what I would like to do on my journey. But at the same time, I remain open to the natural ebb and flow of existence and the spontaneous meetings, delays and changes along the way.

4. House sit.

A house sitter is someone who looks after a home while its occupants are away. They may need you to take care of their pets or water their plants. I am not talking about becoming a professional squatter—so no breaking into vacant houses and claiming residence rights! Every time I make myself available to house sit, the opportunities begin to present themselves. There may be a few days in between that I need to crash on a friend’s couch but all I have is my 20kg of luggage, so it’s no biggie. Besides, I love catching up with friends too!

5. Keep in touch.

Even though you may be practicing non-attachment, remember that your family and friends are attached to you. Be kind. Send them postcards, give them a call, update your social media accounts or keep a blog of your experiences.

I have a love/hate relationship with technology; sometimes I need to unplug and take a technology fast but before I do this I make sure to let my nearest and dearest know. While I’m at it, I like to be old-fashioned and write my loved ones an actual letter and send it through the post.

6. Be open.

Opening ourselves to life places us in the position of being available to circumstance—not a victim of it— we have a plan, a vision and dreams we are working towards (see Step 3). By being open and positive my energy vibrates at a higher frequency and I begin to attract like minded individuals, all of whom have their own story to tell, wisdom to share and a unique ability to reflect back different parts of myself that may need polishing, acknowledgement or enhancing.

This way, just like being flexible with my location and minimising my belongings, I am also being open to personal growth, which is always positive.

7. Continue letting go.

Remember the precious things in storage? They are not going anywhere, but as we venture out into the world (or your friend’s garden) it is human nature to accumulate more precious things along the way.

So, if you started off with less then 20kg, well done! You have space for souvenirs from your days as a nomad.

But if you were spot on 20kg then it is time to evaluate what is in the bag. Does your favourite top have holes in it? Do you really need your hiking boots while living on the beach? How long has it been since you rolled out your yoga mat?

Can you see where this is going?

I continuously let go, in order to have space for what is coming into my life, and only hold onto objects that meet my needs in the here and now. If I’m really not ready to say goodbye, I send my souvenirs to someone who will take care of them for me; family is fantastic for this.

8. Honestly check in.

Traveling and living a nomadic lifestyle has its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages include seeing the world and meeting incredible people along the way, escaping a dull or tedious daily routine, mastering new skills or simply getting to know yourself better.

The disadvantages include being no more than a visitor wherever you go.

Sure, I could fall in love with a new place, ship my boxes over and set up shop but being a nomad I generally never stick around long enough.

On the road you may also find yourself missing your family, friends, lover or your pets and of course they’ll miss you too.

So remember to check in with yourself regularly and when you do, be honest. Does the life you are living still serve your spirit, recharge your soul and set your heart on fire?

If it does, awesome! On you go!

If it doesn’t, re-evaluate your situation. Maybe it’s finally time to unpack and get reacquainted with all your precious things.

Don’t use the nomadic life as a way to hide from or run away from reality. Try and keep it as conscious as possible.

9. Celebrate the patterns and cycles.

After a while of living like this you will begin to develop a deeper sense of self.

You will notice habitual patterns emerging and even though you may be adverse to routine we all have our ways of being.

With these patterns, we unconsciously begin to go through the day, month or year according to our own natural rhythms.

Maybe that means following the sun into an endless summer or staying up for 24 hours every full moon, taking up a new spiritual practice or simply making a small change to our diet.

Whatever pattern or cycle emerges, I would suggest embracing and celebrating it.

While these newly found routines are also forms of attachment, they are not necessarily positive or negative. Like our precious things, I choose to see them as gifts connected to my time on the nomadic path.

10. Home.

While on this journey, I am questioned hundreds of times: Where do you live? Where is your home? Where is your stuff?

For me, home is where my heart is and my heart is wherever I am—I am at home in the here and now.

For some, this type of existence is hellish and the thought of not knowing where they will be sleeping in a few days time, or what will happen three months from now, causes incredible tension.

If the body is stressed out, it will be difficult for the mind to stick to the steps outlined above.

Living with the bare minimum really does make you question your lifestyle and what kind of home and family life you would eventually like to have. While this can be a good thing, always be open and listen to your heart if it starts to yearn for a home. Letting go of life on the road can be a practice in non-attachment, too.

And of course, even after you have unpacked all your precious things and reunited with family and friends, how long you choose to stay at home is entirely up to you!


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Author: Delamay Devi

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr

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