The dark side of exiting normal has been haunting me since we’re “back home” for a bit. Our traveling buddies might know what I mean. The reentry blues. There might be some who think our our crazy, counter-cultural life is absolutely amazing. But there’s always a dark side, a yin to the yang, a rainy day for every flower.
We love our life, not because of luck or chance but because we’ve taken many, specific steps over the last 15 years to make it exactly what we wanted. But we’re in a sort of a transition, not knowing what’s next for us, and so we’re holding on to more than we need to, nervous to let anything go.
Our light-on-our-feet lifestyle is great and has lots of advantages. We LOVE educating our kids through travel. It’s an educational model different from most, but it’s one we all believe in. We love making friends with people all over the world. And love exploring new places and then re-visiting places with new eyes (which is essentially what happens every time we come “home”). The moving around every few months keeps me fresh and plugged in.
Even though we think these are great reasons to keep living the nomadic lifestyle, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there are some problems with this way of living.
First, it’s lonely when you’re weird. Nobody can figure us out. We stepped out of the herd to find the life that’s right for us but this means we left all the people in the herd! It’s lonely out here by ourselves. People we know have either tried to get us to come back to ‘normalcy’ or they just think we’re total freaks. Most of our friends and family are polite and patient but seem to not understand why we would want to do things this way.
Second, it’s harder and harder to come “home” every time we leave. It doesn’t feel like home. We’ve detached from the belongings we used to see and use every day to the point that we don’t feel we need them anymore. It doesn’t have to be MY bed, just A bed. And although we miss the small details of our home, we also are quite glad to be rid of some of the headaches of owning and caring for a house. In fact, we’ve detached so much that we feel we could either rent or sell our house to buy something smaller as a home base. It’s a tough decision but it’s a big deal that we’ve gotten to this level of awareness. The concept of “home” has changed from the idea of a specific building to simply the place where we all are–whether that’s a 400-square-foot cement block house, a beach casita, or a travel trailer.
Third, reentry can drain my energy. In fact, it IS draining my energy. I feel like we change so much every time we leave, but when we come back, everything is so much the same. I feel as though our travels are good for us, but going back snaps us back into a reality that we weren’t sure we still wanted. The place, the people, the feeling of back home doesn’t seem to allow for the new me. Each time I come home, I feel a little more lost. Strange the way that works.
Fourth, since travel isn’t free, we make trade-offs. This means we don’t have new furniture, our kitchen is falling apart, and we opted out of the expensive private schools our kids’ friends go to (although we would have anyway to travel and homeschool, it’s still a trade-off worth mentioning). It’s sort of truth that you can’t have it all, but if you are able to honestly discern what is right for you, you’ll see you don’t really want it all, anyway.
Fifth, it’s EASIER to live the life that was set out for us by society. Grab the college degree, get a job, get married, have kids, send them to school, retire, move to Florida, etc. It’s a great life! It’s one that I’ve seen many of my fellow human beings live and love! So why are we doing it differently? Because we heard a call in our hearts that said we needed something different. The regular life, as they call it, is beautiful, noble, and enriching for many people. But both my husband and I found ourselves early in our lives hearing a different drum. In my husband’s case, I’m betting it’s because of his red hair. In mine, I’m convinced it’s because my parents named me Domini. Where am I supposed to go in life with a name like Domini?? But once you’ve gone your own way, it’s almost impossible to go back to what everyone else is doing without feeling like you’re short-changing yourself and your own ideals.