Back when in the planning stages for this grand adventure, that phrase was the most consistent response I heard from those I shared plans with. Some even expressed it as “living my dream,” as though they secretly pine for the chance to run away and play nomad too.
As often as this came up, I’ve wondered where this notion comes from, where this yearning to escape into nomadic freedom originates? Is it a safety valve response from the pressures of modern living, of working for the “man” or growing up as adults not quite through with child-like dreams of few responsibilities and lots of play time? Or does come from something deeper, something more primordial wired into our psyches and DNA from those days eons ago as nomadic hunters and gatherers?
I am aware that what I’m doing is a special opportunity and a unique lifestyle. The chance to wander in a minimal lifestyle with only a few constraints is not something everyone can do, will do, or even want to do. And like with any venture, it’s not all roses on the table everyday keeping the strawberries and cream company.
I’m in West New Mexico now, by chance driven away from one of the worst storms to hit this region in a long time. Fellow Travatoites exploring East New Mexico this morning are likely feeling they’re “living the nightmare” and not the dream. From the half-inch hail, 70+ mph winds, and tornado warnings and watches from Roswell up through Albuquerque to Santa Fe and into West Texas, it’s hardly a “dream” to be in a small, steel box under those conditions. Horrific if driving, but still nerve-wracking when parked. Such is the vagaries of weather, amplified even more these days from the effects of global warming. As I’ve written about before, I’ve had my share of rough high wind days and nights, but what’s happening east of me is far more nightmarish than I’ve experienced thus far.
And yet, I feel safer in Tamasté—less exposed to bad possibilities—than I did in my Findlay house. Several years ago a rare derecho blew through that little town, battering rich and poor alike with 80+ mph horizontal winds. I clearly remember hearing the tornado warnings and heading to the basement, pausing momentarily in the kitchen to watch half the oak tree across the street get twisted off and slammed to the ground. And sitting in the basement, waiting for the all clear siren, I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t really that safe from danger. My house had boiler heat with a basement ceiling extensive network of large copper water pipes sending and retrieving hot water from and to the baseboard radiators throughout the house. Had the worst happened and the house leveled from a tornado, there was a real chance I’d drown from the broken pipes and subsequent basement flooding before anyone found me. So much for living the American dream of home ownership!
Of course, that’s a stretch and a low probability to consider such a thing happening, but is proof of concept that we’re all subject to events out of our control whether in a sturdy house or a traveling steel box. At least with Tamasté, in most cases, I can more easily move to safer ground or to proactively avoid bad weather.
Still, as I sit writing this, I realize I’m approaching 100 days on this adventure (March 27 marks that milestone), and I will be posting a look back then. They say the first 100 days of a new administration is essentially the honeymoon. Convert that to nomadic life, it’s more like signifying the move from tourist/vacationer to normalish, day-to-day routine living as one can nomadically wandering about. I did not need all 100 days to make the shift, but as the saying goes, that’s a story for another day.