Being a transient/nomad/wanderer — whatever you want to call it — isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I think I can speak as an expert, currently living in my 4th zip code in the past 12 months, with the two months prior to that being out of the country! There are upsides to it, to be sure, but what brings me to blog today are challenges!
What’s striking me today as a rough part of jumping from place to place (to place) is having so many people I love scattered so far away from me, and what that means for my sense (or lack of) cohesive community. Virtually every time I want to visit a friend or family member, it’s a “trip,” which usually means some sort of planning in advance, doesn’t happen very frequently for a repeat trip, and most likely means an overnight stay with whomever I’m visiting (unless I’m visiting multiple people in one place — which happens sometimes — but I still have to stay somewhere).
I’ve been lucky enough to keep pretty good connections with my family and with friends I’ve met in past stops along my journey, via telephone and letter writing, but there’s something special that happens in the presence of another that seems (at least for me) to rejuvenate more deeply the bond I have with the other. I love all these people very much — that’s part of why I make the effort to stay in touch with them — but if I had my way, I’d love to pack us all up and set us down in one place, able to enjoy cookouts and hikes and movies and festivals together at a moment’s notice and still be able to head back to our own beds at the end of the day.
Every time you live in a place, you start setting down roots. And every time you leave, you may keep some of those connections, but you have to virtually start over again. And I’m getting tired. I don’t know where I want to set down my final roots, which is part of the challenge, but it’s getting exhausting having to reboot myself every few months.
And I know this can’t just be just. My generation is probably the most transient yet, and this wears on a person. I may be taking it to an extreme lately, but any amount of restarting is challenging. And part of the problem is that because everyone else is so transient, too, it’s hard to plop yourself into much of a meaningful group once you get to a new place because there hasn’t been enough time for one to form yet (not always, but in many instances)! Instead, our generation seeks community online or isolates oneself in front of the TV, a book, or any other way they can find.
I do think my moving all around has given me some perspective, but when I finally plug myself into a community that I will want to engage and connect with, will I have enough energy left to use all the experiences I’ve been through to get there? I guess I’ll see!… One day c: