Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Did the foreclosure crisis turn us into nomads?

Pablo Neruda packed into the car for our move from L.A. to Chicago in 2009
As a teenager, when I imagined the map of my life, there were push pins all over the world. I visualized myself as a traveler. At one point I even wanted to be a foreign corespondent. I wanted drama, excitement, new adventures. Settling down in one place was the equivalent of death in my teenage mind.

Now it seems all my late-thirties mind wants to do is settle down. And it doesn't mean death. It means connection.

What makes it so hard to leave Chicago this time around is not Chicago (though we do love Chicago)... it's our community. The same thing that had us torn up about leaving L.A. Community is what we crave. It's what I crave. And what makes our life so full and wonderful.

But all this moving around has me wonder... 

Are we nomads?

Itinerant
Drifter
Traveler
Vagabond

They all have one thing in common: no permanent abode. No fixed address. They move from place to place.

Traditional nomadic hunter-gatherers moved from place to place in search of food. Sustenance. I suppose that is similar to what we're doing here with this move.

It's true that in losing our house our anchor to Los Angeles lifted, thus setting us adrift. Though we made sure we had purpose in our drifting. It would appear that each move we've made since that time was nomadic in character. At least in some regards.

The move to the Chicago immediately following the loss of our house was for shelter.
The move to the island was for shelter.
The move to Chicago was for Bob's job (sustenance) and sweetened by the presence of community. This move back to L.A. is also for a job opportunity (sustenance.)

A quick Google search of "modern nomads" brought me to a blog belonging to a caretaking couple - Modern Day Nomads. They call themselves nomads because they move place to place in search of caretaking opportunities. They are currently property caretakers of a 150+ acre farm in Maine. Before that they were property caretakers of a ranch in Texas. He's an artist and she's a freelance writer and editor making it easy for them to move from caretaking gig to caretaking gig.

They are living a life Bob and I thought we might end up living for longer than we did. As caretakers. But... the point is that they do seem to fit the definition of modern nomads.

Where does that leave us?

Though four major moves in three years is a lot of moving, I'm still not sure that makes us nomads.

Perhaps it's a phase.

Like a pixie haircut.

It takes guts to do it. You've got a really good reason. And you look back on it years later trying to imagine what on earth you were thinking.

I only hope that years from now we look back on this glad that we had the cojones to jump at this opportunity. As crazy as it seems at times. As cozy as our life here is.

You know, it seems to me that traditional nomads wouldn't have done what we're doing. They wouldn't move on until their food source was used up. Right? Ours isn't. And that's what is so hard about this. We're not moving because there is nothing for us here in Chicago. Or because we hate our life here. No. Complete opposite. We love our life here. And we're moving.

Doesn't make sense. Right? I'm having a hard time encapsulating what that feels like. Choosing to move from one wonderful life to another hopefully even greater opportunity.  So if there is anyone out there who has done this kind of a move before, please share your insight in the comments section. I would so appreciate it.

Moving to L.A. this time around is bringing back memories from our first move to L.A. when we were engaged and moving for me to go to grad school at USC. I keep referencing my mindset then. Looking back at how different we were. And how different this is.

One thing I know for sure.

Nomads or not.

This time around, we're out to make Los Angeles our bitch.

There. I said it.

We've got a kid now.

This is all about him.

His future.

Making hard choices in service of the extraordinary.

And as cozy as our life is, reaching for the extraordinary can be pretty damn uncomfortable. So I guess the way I feel is about right.

So...

Did the foreclosure crisis turn us into nomads?

Well... maybe a little. But it didn't turn us into something we weren't already. When I was only two we moved to London for my dad's job. I'm certainly not new to big moves like these.

Maybe instead of turning me into a nomad, foreclosure freed the nomad within. 

For now, at least, I'm okay with being a little bit nomad-ish.

What about you? Did foreclosure turn you into a nomad? Or nomad-ish? Please add to the conversation by sharing in the comments below. I love your input!
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