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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

Wisdom for Your Week | One Year

One Year.  It’s been a year since I hit the road to experience a nomad life.  I understood that the opportunity in and of itself was a privilege. I truly wasn’t sure what I would find and if I would enjoy it.  What I did know was that it would be an adventure and I trusted that I would learn some things along the way.

In the past 12 months, I have come to realize a lot about myself and the world around me and wanted to share a few learnings to mark this anniversary.

  1. I love biscuits.  No, really, I LOVE biscuits.  And it has become a quest in each city to find local bake shops, talk to small business owners, and sample ‘the best’ of what each city offers.  

  2. Archie rides in front.  After driving 20,000 miles this year, there are habits and routines that are hard to break.  Archie riding in front is one.  We have come to settle into our seats (even when other humans jump in the car) and get a little agitated when our habits are disrupted.

  3. Expect the unexpected.  No matter how much I plan or convince myself that ‘I got this’ – sometimes I don’t.  A cracked windshield, a hailstorm that damaged the car, accommodations that were not as expected, emergency trips to the vet – I have learned to pivot and go with what life throws me. And I have learned that I am resourceful.

  4. Do ALL the Things.  It has helped to have a guiding principle.  From the first stop, it has been a rally to go outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself.  If this experience is going to be more than just a change in venue, I need to explore, indulge, test myself and embrace my surroundings.

  5. Octogenarians.  Coincidentally (or not), I have spent time with the over 80s:  my parents, their friends, and friends’ parents.  I have gone out of my way to see some of these people and soak in their wisdom.  Their stories and their excitement for what I am doing has filled me in ways I would not have expected.

  6. 75% less. I read that you need 75% less stuff than you think and ultimately another 75% less than that.  And it is true.  While almost everything I own is with me in my car, I don’t use nearly as much as I would have thought.  And I have been keenly aware of not collecting more along the way.  I must have done a good job with the initial purge because I truly don’t miss anything that I gave away.

  7. Ask ‘What Would You Do?’.  Years ago, I heard a travel writer suggest not asking what should I do, but what you would do when asking for local recommendations.  Locals want to impress, but if you ask what they would do, they share the insider’s track on local experiences:  dive bars, yummy but not fancy food, the best hikes and local fun.  This distinction has served me well.

  8. Technology is a must.  Replaced routers, dead cell zones and spotty Wi-Fi has caused more strife than I expected.  To everyone that has indulged dropped calls, FaceTime audio over cell service and lost connections – THANK YOU.  You shared my pain. 

  9. I’m not brave.  A lot of people have described me as brave or courageous for pursuing this chapter.  I really don’t feel that.  I am proud of myself, but I am not in any way roughing it or sacrificing in how I am living my life.  Instead, I do feel incredibly privileged for the experience and the encounters I have had.  In fact, I was anything but brave when I was living in SC and heard something (my brain said bears, more likely deer) in the woods behind the house and screamed.  

  10. Common humanity.  One of the things I was most looking forward to was seeing this country as I drove from place to place.  And it has not disappointed.  Each place has been beautiful in its own way.  I have such appreciation for all I have experienced. AND people have been warm and gracious throughout the trip.

The original plan was to stay on the road through 2023 and reassess in December.  In doing so, a new opportunity presented itself and I am now committed until November 2.  What will I do after? It is planned but not shared yet.  I want to stay present where I am.  And in fact, there is one question I will not answer for the same reason.  What has been your favorite spot?  In order to stay present and open to what comes next, I really don’t look back.  I don’t compare or judge; I am truly trying to live where I am for the time I am there.

Thank YOU for encouraging me.  The comments and feedback, follows on Instagram (@TopBroad), shares on LinkedIn; the introductions to friends and family and suggestions of things to see and do – I feel so loved and supported.  And maybe that is the biggest lesson of all:  I am loved and blessed and know that wherever I go, I am not there alone.

What a year it has been…


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