December 10, 2020

Why the Pandemic made me Grateful for my Nomad Lifestyle.


View this post on Instagram


A not-so-soft landing:

I’ve always struggled with a sense of belonging. I was raised unconventionally, spending a large portion of my youth traveling around with my family. We lived in an RV and explored the United States, then later embarked on a sailboat journey from California down into Mexico. There was a time when I was never in one place longer than a few weeks.

Eventually, though, we spent a longer period of time, many months in fact, on the coast and islands of Baja. I became familiar with beautiful skyscapes and mystical creatures.

Dolphins would follow us everywhere and I could hear their songs at night while entranced by a “light show” of enhanced fluorescence spectroscopy—their silhouettes dancing underwater. Sea turtles the size of Volkswagen Beetles would float alongside us. Massive whales, close enough to realize they were five times the size of the boat, would grace us with their presence. It was nothing short of magical.

The vastness of the sea gives great perspectives. Jumping in the water when you have lost all sight of land, when there is only straight horizon in every direction, teaches a sense of our aloneness and our oneness simultaneously.

As land dwellers, we cling to gravity. We think being somewhere or having certain things provides security for us. But it does not.

Many people have questioned my lifestyle—I have been called “unstable” because I don’t ever remain in one place too long. But, when COVID-19 hit and everyone lost their regular jobs, had mortgages or rent way over their heads, and everything they’d created for themselves as a “good life” began to crumble, tell me—does it seem all that sustainable now?

I worked in tech to support myself. I, too, have to “make a living” outside of my art. This is how I ended up moving to Mexico (again) last year. But, this façade is a rat race, it is a formula engraved in our society. It is designed to support the economy, not your human potential.

I don’t mean to be crass. Like anything, this nomad life is not as glamorous as it seems. I’m in debt, I’m a hot mess, and I’ve had moments of panic and anxiety from not always knowing where to go. I shut down and close myself off from opportunities, people, and other situations because I get so overwhelmed. But, I follow my gut and trust my instincts, which seem to have never led me astray, even when I thought maybe I’d made the wrong decision.

People tell me I’m “lucky.”

I have heard things like, “Oh, everything is so easy for you,” and “Everything just works out for you.” I’ve had people ask me how I can “afford all the travel.” Trust me, y’all, this is anything but easy. It is a lot of work all the time. And I have to say, it is your lifestyle I cannot afford. Rent alone in San Francisco and many parts of the U.S. is robbery and three times the amount of money I ever spend to live every month of my life.

The West Coast is a beautiful place. I love the people and places there very much, and it will always be my home. But at one point, a few years ago, I had to choose—am I going to live a life of purpose and meaning, or am I going to continue to struggle so hard that I lose sight of myself and my dreams?

It’s obvious the choice I made, but it has not come without a heartrending price.

While I have never understood what loneliness or boredom means, I cannot express the impact that my seclusion has had on my emotional state. The creative mind can remain active in even seemingly stagnant moments. To me, nothing is mundane.

But, I’d be lying if said I don’t crave a sense of home again—somewhere, somehow. As we approached Thanksgiving last month (the holiday itself, I don’t give AF about), I found myself saddened because this was the time our family always got together. It’s my beloved grandma’s birthday right around the holiday, so we would celebrate both. I lost both of my amazing grandmothers in the past year. If COVID-19 wasn’t in the picture, well, a lot of sh*t would be different—but I’d have gone to see my Mom and be with her to spend our first year ever without her.

Yes, I am a loner. Yes, I am resilient. I also quite enjoy being by myself, as this is when I am most productive.

This does not mean I am not sentimental. I am not immune to the innate desire to have a family and someone to love, someone to come “home” to, someone who I know will always be there for me.

I’ve pushed this concept away for years…I come from a broken family, like so many others, and thought that if this is how it’s going to turn out, then I never want that.

My abandonment issues have dominated my life in many ways. I’ve pushed every opportunity I’ve had at a lasting partnership so far away from myself, I’m not sure how to see my way back. “I’m better off on my own” is what I tell myself. “I don’t need anyone.” If you’ve heard my latest release (entitled Better Off), then you get what I’m saying.

But deep down, I’m a young girl climbing to the top of the mast (it was 60 feet in the air on our sailboat and my favorite place to be, way up there).

I’m still there, and I’m still thinking—will I ever land?

Read 1 Comment and Reply

Read 1 comment and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Allison Smith  |  Contribution: 600

author: Allison Smith

Image: Author's Own

Editor: Catherine Monkman