Posted: 8/30/2018 | August 30th, 2018
Years ago, when I tried to slow down and travel less, I wrote a post on my new “non-nomadic” life.
It didn’t stick — and I was quickly back on the road.
It was a pattern that lasted for years.
I’d come home, proclaim to my friends was I’m going to settle down for real this time only to leave again a few months later.
It became sort of a running joke between my friends and me.
But, after many false starts, I finally became truly non-nomadic last year.
This year, I’ve only spent a combined two and half months on the road. While that’s a lot by “real world” standards, it’s not a lot for a guy who spent a decade moving every few days/weeks/months and named his blog after his being a nomad.
I don’t even have another trip planned until October — and, right now, it’s only 50/50 that it will happen.
This is the least I’ve ever traveled since I went on the road in 2006.
My friends had grown accustomed to me popping in and out of their lives. Now they are getting used to the weirdness of having me around. It’s been nice to get texts asking what I’m doing and if I’m free again.
And you know what?
I think settling down has stuck this time around because I’m ready to finally do so. As I said in a blog post earlier this year, I finally became OK with the fact that life changes, situations change, and your desires change.
Moving on doesn’t mean abandoning who you were.
I kept traveling as a way to hold on to the past. I couldn’t let go of the image I had in my head of life on the road and all it symbolized: freedom, adventure, meeting new people, and a lack of responsibilities.
It was all very fun — and I didn’t want to grow up. I had made a life around traveling and, in a case of irony, I couldn’t leave my comfort zone.
To me, doing so would negate all the hard work I had done. It would be admitting defeat. It would be like death.
But trees don’t grow because they blow in the wind; they grow because they have roots.
And accepting that if I really wanted to lead the life I wanted — one of routine and presence — that I would need roots was a huge shift in my mindset.
I love my routine: the daily writing, working on this website, sleeping in my own bed, cooking breakfast, going to the gym, seeing friends regularly, dating, and just being in one place and not tired all the time.
Don’t get me wrong: I love travel and still want to see countless places around the world. I roam the guidebook aisle in my bookstore, dreaming of where I might go next. I search flight deals each day. I imagine myself in far-off tropical lands and picture the people I’d meet there.
Yet I’m OK with “going tomorrow.”
After so many years on the road, these last few months at home have taught me that my nomadic ways are truly over.
As I sip tea at a café where the barista knows what I want when I walk in the door, I’m perfectly content where I am.
I’ve seen a lot of the world.
But, right now, it’s time to just enjoy the simplicity and pleasure that comes with staying in one place for more than a few days.
The rest of the world can wait a bit longer.
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