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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

The Months are Short

The Days are Long, the Months are Short. You may have heard this saying slightly different in terms of child rearing: comparing days to years. As I am half way through my nomad adventure, I wanted to reflect on the months I have spent without a permanent residence, making my way across the country.

In so many ways, the months are flying by. To think I am about to travel to my 6th location is hard to comprehend. There are times when I have to catch myself to be present, to not count down until I leave or look ahead, but instead to enjoy each day that I am in each city.

The planned route (from an island north of Seattle to FL over 8 months) was set before I started as a nomad. Each location is up to 18 hours drive time (without stops) and I try to make the relocation over a weekend, spending 1-2 nights on the road. Relocation has become an activity unto itself: what do I want to see along the way, should the trip be less point A to point B to allow for discovery and a bit of sightseeing? Once I arrive, I stay for a month to get a sense of what it would be like to live and work in that community.

Each stop has been filled with acclimating – from where to shop and eat, to the best places to explore and live like a local. I have to navigate where to walk Archie, how to get back to home base when I venture out, and how the time zone will impact my work schedule and connecting with family and friends. Every house is equipped (or not) in unique and unusual ways. I am prepared for some (bringing my own storage containers for leftovers), but not for others (having bought oven mitts and baking sheets for my current ‘home’).

Here are some reflections as I plan my drive from here to there for the month of October:

  1. I miss my kids. It has been a long time since I have seen either of them and they have had a lot of experiences separate and apart from me over the past 5 months. We connect daily (sometimes a text, other times they Facetime – but only to see the dog), but it isn’t the same as being physically close. [Maybe there is an analogy to in-office work, but I’ll leave that for another time.]

  2. First items into each new house belong to the dog. If his pillows, blankets and food get moved in, he will settle down to familiar smells. That includes at hotels on the road as well. Like humans who may unpack or cooking a first meal, we all want familiar things and smells no matter where we are.

  3. Sights can take my breath away. A big part of this adventure was that I wish I had done more road trips throughout my life. This trip allows me to veer off to see a sight, stop on the side of the road, look with awe at the mountains, trees and rock formations. How often do we pass by the road less taken? More wanderlust could serve us; wander without purpose and take it all in.

  4. When I get to see people that I know (either as visitors, locals, or because they are passing through), I am reminded that my happy place is in connection with others. The backdrop may change, but the core memory of easy conversation and catching up, fills my cup. I am a people collector and the collection travels with me and grows.

  5. To make the most of the experience, I am trying to fill my days: work, local sights, walks, location specific food, doing ALL the things. That can make the days long and when I list out all I have done, there is a sense of accomplishment. And yet, the months are short and there is always more to do and explore. Maybe the lesson is that the places I want to spend more time are worth an additional or longer stay.

People are naturally curious about what I am going to do at the end of the year and also if I have decided on any of the spots as locations to settle down. I am not making that decision now and intentionally holding my ‘next’ until down the literal road. There is still so much to experience and explore; so many people to connect with; kitchens to cook in and walks to be had. The months may be short, but I still have a few more to go and I want to enjoy each long day until then.

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