When my husband and I decided to leave our house, town, and jobs to live a nomadic life, we were going on pure instinct.
My mantra was to trust that the void was fertile.
Stripping ourselves away from the known felt scary and right—after all, we have to put down what’s in our arms to open the door.
We wanted to live a different way, and we weren’t going to let fear hold us back.
After two months in—when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and faced brain surgery without a place to live—I kept telling myself that no matter what, things were working out. Even if it was my time to leap out of this time-space reality and onto the next one, that was okay.
One of the amazing things about living this way is coming to realize—and experience—the basic goodness of humanity. When people found out about my surgery, they rallied; and suddenly my husband and I had places to stay for my recovery. People really care, be they friends or strangers. We as a species have a tendency to root each other on. Of course fear-based news media suggests otherwise. But those stories are the anomalies, not the norm.
People are basically good: this is a realization that 27-year-old Jasmine Reese has also come to as she lives a nomadic life. I found Jasmine in a Facebook group (Girls LOVE Travel) and discovered she is riding her bike around the world…alone. Well, not really. She has her dog Fiji along with her, and her violin.
In 2013, Jasmine biked across the U.S. but soon realized she wasn’t done and a month ago took off on an around-the-world ride—which will include parts of the U.S., Canada, Japan, Russia, Europe, and Africa. She believes this could take up to six years.
Why is Jasmine doing this? She was “discouraged and burned out from pursuing a path not my own.” Her focus now is three dreams: “to travel, to be part of something bigger than myself and to play violin.”
Following her blog and Facebook posts, I can see that the “something bigger than herself” is rooted in her connections to others. She’s already met a slew of “amazing people,” who are excited about her adventure and offer her food, money and shelter.
One man let her stay in his pet-free hotel, making an exception for Fiji. Recently she was invited by a pastor—who saw her biking along the highway—to stop into his church in Waverly, Tennessee, where she played “Amazing Grace” on her violin, and the congregation gave her a standing ovation. In Bowling Green, Kentucky, she bought a meal for a down-on-his-luck homeless guy who gave her a hug and said, “Girl, you better get out of here. I’m falling in love!”
She says living the way she does has restored her faith in humanity. On her first trek across the U.S., she’d thought she would have to fend for herself. But strangers “came up to me, protected me, sheltered me and encouraged me. People were so nice. They wanted to see me make it to the end. There are good people. They exist, and they will unite to help others.”
The nomadic life isn’t for everyone. Yet many of us have other dreams we squelch. Jasmine encourages us to go for it, because “this is your life. Your time on Earth is precious.”
If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never do it. If you try to avoid the void, you’ll never go. You just have to plunge in, with faith in the essential goodness of people, with faith that things will unfold.
Author: Kate Evans
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: author’s own