Home Base

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of life that we might be able to have someday. This life would involve a lot of travel, so I have been sitting in on a lot of online conversations about nomadic lives of one kind or another. Folks who are traveling around the world with their three kids, living with only the belongings they can each carry in a backpack. Singles and couples who take it further, carrying their food, water, and shelter with them while trecking the Pacific Crest Trail. A former co-worker who completes one adventure after another, teaching ESL to folks in Boulder and Tokyo, hiking the AT, and training for marathons in Wyoming. Families that live all over the country in RVs with their 5 kids, fleeing cold weather and hurricanes, rallying in Las Vegas and Legoland, swapping tips on how to cook, store, and live within that unique set of challenges. I’ve devoured books by women who have built tiny houses and yurts with their own hands. Left their office jobs in London to literally set sail. I have learned so much from these people, and their stories make me actually ache to be on the move.

And yet.

There is something to be said for Home Base. And here are some of those things.

Staying put makes the most mundane tasks of living much easier. You get to keep your doctor. Your health insurance. You know how you are going to wash the dishes and your clothes. There are lots of systems in place that make feeding, clothing, and sheltering yourself and your kids a lot easier. Let’s hear it for warm running water and a dryer!

You get to keep your friends. It is true that we can keep in touch with people much more easily and frequently than before. But it is also true that a huge amount of friendship and fellowship is based on proximity. When we worship together, watch each other’s kids, and bring each other meals, we weave gently and honestly into each other’s lives. When you stay put, and the weaving happens for years on end, the result is a stunning and sustaining thing of glory.

The money thing. I hate bringing this up, because so many people have made nomadic lifestyles work by building online businesses, teaching abroad, or taking sabbaticals. It can be done. But for many/most people, it’s just easier to stay in place and work a steady, in-person job. For now, we own rental properties in a specific spot and work at specific jobs.

Maybe the best reason to stay put right now? Spring is just around the corner. Stay tuned.