4.4
June 27, 2023

How 2 Years as a Nomad Changed my View of Home (& Myself).

my view of home

Two years. It’s been nearly two years now that I’ve been living with no fixed address.

Two years of nomadism—living in five different countries.

Recently, I moved back into my parents’ house, in the village I grew up, to get my driver’s license. And after failing my first test, I couldn’t help but reflect back on my previous two years.

As I write this, I’m sitting on our balcony listening to the birds chirping and my cat purring on my lap. The spring air is warm and sweet. The trees are blossoming. I have a roof above my head, food on my table every day, and a supportive family around me, and yet I still feel uneasy.

Things didn’t work out as I planned and the most frustrating part is that it is mainly due to outside circumstances. I feel like I’m wasting time—wasting my life.

I’m still here as my next test is in a month. My original two month course was extended to five months, and the fact is that I don’t know when it’s going to end, when I can go back to my tree planting job, or if I ever will get to the places I planned this year. This makes me worried, even more than when I’m living on the road not knowing if I’ll have a roof over my head, food on my table, or how will I get from point A to point B.

For the past two years, I always found myself excited about the next day. I woke up stoked that I was having another shot at life. Another good 24 hours to experience this beautiful planet, go on adventures, learn a few new words in Gaelic or French, meet new people, try new things, laugh at the sky, and create awesome experiences that empower me and others.

I feel blessed by the life I live.

After all this time, it still feels kind of weird when people ask me, “So, where do you live?” or “Where is home?”

There is always a split second where I don’t really know what to answer.

“At the moment, I live here.” This is probably the best answer I can give.

“Okay, but where is home?”

The thing is, I’m seriously unsure. What is the definition of a home when it isn’t associated with a roof that is your own?

They say, “Home is where your heart is.” If so, then my answers are many: Earth, Scotland, Rishikesh, the Camino, Finisterre, Budapest…

Home is all those places because I found people there who made me feel like I belonged. Home is where I’ve stayed long enough to drop a piece of my heart and get into the flow of things with beautiful souls who made me feel at home wherever we were.

Home is wherever you feel appreciated, recognized, respected, and loved. Home has little to do with your geographical location.

Another question I often get: “Don’t you miss home sometimes?”

On one hand, I do miss all those places I call home. But if they are referring to home as the life I left behind, then I do not miss it. Naturally, I miss my family dearly because I love them, but I do not miss the village I grew up in where nothing ever happens. Nor do I miss the draining jobs I had or the old friends I don’t even talk to anymore because we grew apart.

I often wish my family would visit me so they could experience the amazing adventures I get to live, but they probably would see them differently.

If you think of home in regards to the definition I have for it, then yes I do miss home, which means certain people and the way we laugh so hard together, sharing traditional recipes in the kitchen, engaging in mentally stimulating conversations, and the inside jokes we shared.

I wish I could be “home” with these people to celebrate their wins in life, to be there for them when they need a shoulder to cry on, or to watch the sunsets together. And we wouldn’t need to worry about whether we know where the other is or that we haven’t heard from them in weeks.

But as small as the world is, it is also so vast. The people we love are living in various corners of the world and it’s impossible to be with everyone, all at once.

So, I’ve come to understand that I’ll never find one ultimate place to settle down and call “home” unless I think of my home as big as it is: a whole planet, Mother Earth.

I’ve also learned that the places that feel like home choose us, and not the other way around. We can decide to go to a certain place and call it home but it might not feel like it. Other times we just randomly pass by a place and it turns out to be one of our sweetest homes.

For the last two years, I’ve been tickling the edges of my comfort zone on a daily basis. Life meant rarely speaking my first language and learning to integrate into a new community with a whole different culture every few months.

Strangely, I felt more safe and peaceful not knowing where I was going to sleep at night, how I’m going to find a legit doctor, or where I could borrow a bicycle. It’s about hiking challenging mountains with proper stress in my chest because a storm cloud is coming and I’m several kilometers from the nearest shelter, or working with a group of super talented people who make me nervous and self-conscious because I want to perform my best for them.

I guess, I’ve learned to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Being the new girl in town (or the only girl) in places that are so different from where I am from is exciting, challenging, and frustrating. But being able to adapt to any situation is also a skill that makes our whole existence way smoother at the same time.

Yet, it seems like I cannot adapt to this one seemingly easy situation: the comfort of my “childhood home.”

Right now, it’s about learning to have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing. Accepting that things are not a hundred percent in my control. That some people never change and being around them will cause frustration because I’ve changed. Or simply coping with the feeling of idling. Learning to be more flexible and letting go of my constant need to control the outcomes or predict and prevent how everything will turn out. Finding someone who feels like home just to figure out we can’t stay with them. Letting them go and trusting that everything always unfolds exactly how it should.

Sometimes it seems like a disaster, but eventually it works out in magical ways. Often better than I could ever imagine.

Living in a teepee, bathing in ice cold rivers, walking a thousand kilometers, and traveling with hitchhikers is falling into another way of life. The here and now of this kind of life is not something I can just come back to. Things go by one day at a time, and sometimes I can only foresee a few days ahead, but the level of stress and worry is low.

The simple life is also one where there is plenty of time to play. What is life all about if it’s not about having time to actually enjoy and celebrate being alive? Yet, now I see again, being back in the Western world, how we became so obsessed with accomplishing more and more and chasing unimportant things and working until we drop or until we are so f*cking tired we can’t even enjoy the few hours we have left in the day.

Maybe I feel frustrated here because my slow environment gets in a confrontation with this sped-up lifestyle. I’m out of my usual routine, one where everyone was in harmony and alignment with this flow of life, even if they had office jobs or smart homes.

Simplification also means owning less material possessions. How much do we really need? It is an important reflection.

Modern society tends to make us believe we need to buy more, bigger, wider, and newer to define ourselves. I’ve started to feel that too. Maybe it’s just me imagining it, but after two months here I started to feel like my clothes were too ragged and that I needed to put on makeup. Should I get a new bag? The constant questioning was there…

Why? I do not need it.

The happiest people I’ve met on this planet are the ones who had less stuff and more time to do what they love. The more things I gave away or sold the happier I was. For the past two years, I’ve lived out of a 70-liter backpack and a 20-liter small bag, and at times I’ve still felt like I own too much.

Now, if you are wondering, I do still get scared sometimes that this whole path I’ve chosen is complete madness: a feminine re-wilding coach, a tree planter, and a writer living on the road out of a backpack.

My younger sister just bought a house with her boyfriend and they are planning their wedding and babies. Sometimes, I wonder if I should think about settling down somewhere. If I should get a mortgage, a man, a barbecue, a few dogs and babies, and start thinking about where I would like to send my children to university.

But the first thing that comes to my mind after that is “No.” I do not want that. Plus, I had it already and it never made me happy. The apartment, the fiancé, the shiny carrier, the high salary, the designer clothes, fancy dinners, the future wedding and names for our not-yet-born babies, and pinning photos of our one-day-soon white picket-fenced house.

Even with all that, I felt like something was missing. That something was my heart.

There is no right or wrong. The definition of what you should or should not be doing and what is “normal” is nothing but a creation of the mind.

Often people ask me if I think I’m too old for backpacking or tree planting or wandering on pilgrim routes. Frankly, I never think of my age unless someone reminds me of it.

Have you ever asked yourself what age you would be if you didn’t know what age you were?

In the past two years, I’ve also learned that true friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance and that the people who are meant to stay in your life will always gravitate back into it.

I’ve learned that it is really hard to let go of someone you wish could stay, but you can’t make someone stay if they do not want. Everybody crosses your path for a reason, and perhaps their mission with you has been completed.

I’ve learned that it is worth speaking our heart, telling people we care about them, and expressing how we feel. Even if they run away from it, we must dare to be vulnerable. Because to be human is beautiful, regardless of how someone else is capable of receiving it.

I’ve learned that the world and life go on with or without us. And the only thing that will never change is the fact that things always change.

I’ve learned that amazing things don’t fall into our lap. We need to get out there and make sh*t happen, make space for opportunities to come to us.

I’ve learned that the grass is never greener in someone else’s garden, and that everybody is dealing with their own challenges and fears, but often we can never see it.

I’ve learned that everything can be learned, and it is never too late to be whoever we want to be. We can choose to change, evolve, jump, and change again. Anytime.

And I’ve learned that I still have so much to learn. In fact, I know almost nothing of this magnificent world, but I’m thirsty to keep on learning, attempting, failing, adapting, and succeeding in it.

This is what I’ve learned from living a nomadic lifestyle and what I love so much about living the way I do.

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