It is a week for great celebrations for our family nomads. We have officially reached our one year anniversary as family nomads! With it, come so many reflections on life, choices, and circumstances. Moving into our “van”, saying adios to a traditional life, and throwing all caution to the wind has certainly had its impacts. Big and small, far and wide, these are my thoughts on this first year of our nomadic lifestyle.
Listen to the Universe
The ultimate theme of the whole year has been to let go of everything. Really, everything that signifies a conventional life in today’s society. We started saying “Listen to the Universe”, and we started living by that, too. For us, this has meant to give up trying to control everything in our lives, or rather, anything. You might think of it as learning to go with the flow.
Today, for many people life is completely dictated by a series of decisions, plans, and goals. Many of those flow right down the vein to calendars, clocks, schedules, and requirements. We have removed all of that from our life. Most people do not really believe us when we say that we don’t actually have a plan for this lifestyle, our route around South America, or any part of the extended future.
We know when we enter a country and how long our visa lasts. That is just about it. We keep a very loose, very vague itinerary of the places we want to see in each country. The only reason we do that is so we don’t overstay our visit or miss the things we really wanted to see. It is not uncommon for us to change this so-called route every week. We like to go where ever the road leads us. Half of the fun is stumbling upon places we didn’t know we wanted to see because we didn’t know they existed.
The Reoccuring Theme of Education
Every couple of days someone asks us about how we plan to educate our kids. When it comes to this, we have come to feel a bit like outlaws from the days of the Wild West. Our answers always make us sound like the ultimate rebels. Why on earth do so many people care about how we choose to raise our children? Well, as it turns out, they are more curious that critic.
We have become quite confident and passionate about our choice to unschool. To teach them at home with the purposeful exclusion of curriculum..which in our case, means to teach them through the world. Our kids are worldschooling as preschoolers and we could not be more proud of their accomplishments.
We know that they are not learning what other kids their age are learning. They are learning about the topics that are important to them. We are allowing them to find a passion for their own interests. They are learning about the craziest things, like anatomy, natural science, and astronomy. They are 4 and 5!
Embracing This Thing Called Minimalism
Two years ago when we left the USA to become expats in Ecuador, it was a really big deal to give up everything we had. We said goodbye to all our stuff, our home, and our acreage for only what fit into 8 duffel bags. At the time, it was the ultimate sacrifice for a better life.
Then a year ago, we gave up even more. We decided that even living in a house was excessive. Once again, we got rid of everything. Except what would fit into the custom storage bins in our Toyota Landcruiser. We all rotate through approximately the same five outfits until they fall apart or the kids outgrow them.
We keep a bin full of books and crafts, and two small children’s backpacks with toys. The rest are all necessities. We carry our own kitchen stove and propane, and water, as well as minimal kitchen supplies, dry food goods, and pantry items. We carry basic toiletries (I do not wear makeup, we don’t use perfume, hair products, or even deodorant anymore), over the counter medicines, and first aid supplies.
It still feels like at least half of the stuff we carry are things we don’t actually need. We have genuinely come to that point where we just don’t need things. They hold no value to us anymore. We just need to be together, exploring the world, in a car that runs. We need food, shelter, and water. And travel. We need to travel.
The Impacts of Nomadism in a Nutshell
We are really happy. We actually completely understand what it means to be happy. We don’t long for anything else, anything different, anything more. We love what we are doing, how our life has unfolded, and where it seems to be going.
Every day is a gift that we get to cherish together. Every moment is one that we didn’t miss, didn’t waste, and don’t regret. We play together, sleep together, cook together, learn together, explore together. We LIVE together. We know each other, all four of us, deeper than we have ever known anyone. We are best friends, partners, teammates, confidants, allies. We are closer than we could ever expect to be.
We have absolutely no plans to stop traveling or living as nomads. This is what we are supposed to be doing in life, where we are supposed to be going. It is working, and there is no reason to change something that is working.