American Nomad


Experientially, I suppose you could trace back my nomadic tendencies to my early teens, when our family moved about Illinois several times, and I ended up attending 3 different High Schools in 4 years. As an introvert, adjusting to 3 different High Schools was rather nightmare-ish and draining…but it also gave me perspective on what it means to hit a cold reset button, and become someone/something new each time.

(I suspect there is some aspect of deep and ancient genetic memory that, for me, has more dramatic ties to the need/desire to always be moving, changing, and exploring…)

For me, moving has always been one dramatic way to ensure that you are not being stagnant. It may not be easy or comfortable, but you are forced to encounter new places, people, and things – and you get to choose the persona with which you face these new experiences.

Perhaps there is a part of me that sees the nomadic lifestyle as a way to preserve the illusion of control, in some small way.  What’s that Arkansas? No way, I’M breaking up with YOU, before YOU break up with ME!

The more I think about settling into one geographic place, the more uncomfortable I feel. Perhaps this would be different if I felt like life had some sort of positively stable aspect to it, in one way or another – I COULD foresee, conceptually, a comfort in calling one place ‘home’ – as long as I had a launching point for travelling and exploring, to other locations, on a regular basis.

Since college – when I arguably entered adulthood – here is the outline of my geo-locational path:

Charleston, IL –> Las Vegas, NV –> Denver, Colorado –> West Fork, AR –> Springfield, IL –> Las Vegas, NV –> San Francisco, CA –> Salt Lake City, UT –> Las Vegas, NV

That’s 9 City/State changes in just under 20 years… On a tighter scale of movement, just in Springfield, IL – I lived in 6 different places…

In some sort of magnetic-slingshot-boomerang show of geographical force, I DO end up back in the Vegas area fairly often. A lot of my family is here, and while I don’t feel overly drawn to spending time together, or bonding in the traditional ‘close family’ style – I suppose I do feel a sense of familiarity or safeness, being in their general vicinity…for a while, anyway.

It would take truly amazing act of the universe, to have me contemplate moving back Eastward (further than the Rocky Mountains or so…although Asheville, NC is the biggest contender to breaking that particular caveat)  Will I stay in Vegas for a while, and expand my innate need for exploration and travel, in a vacational-journeying sort of way? Or will I pursue and re-locate to other cities, that I have yet to explore and live in?

In no particular order, these are the areas that I feel the most likely drawn to, in the next 1-3 years… Portland, OR — Seattle, WA — San Diego, CA — Albuquerque, NM (with special mentions to returning to either Denver or the Bay Area, as strong contenders, were specific financial circumstances to align, making these feasible…)

Perhaps I would feel more drawn to staying ‘in one place’ – if I had a long-term, stable job – that I found some amount of enjoyment or satisfaction in…and could then seek fulfillment in other activities and the such, to fill out my general life experience… I’ve not exactly experienced that on any sustainable scale, yet…but it MIGHT be appealing…

Then again, if I work through my fear of flying, on an international level, and other life circumstances take different twists and turns, I could see myself living minimalistically somewhere in Africa, where I have access to spending my days photographing animals in and around Serengeti National Park…

I don’t feel a burning need to ‘solve’ this particular aspect of my being. I have no children driving me to desire roots and stability for their development… I have no desire, one way or another, to stay in any given place…But I HAVE reached the point where I no longer want to leave all things up to chance, and find myself making hasty or poorly thought out moves. I may be a nomad, but there’s no need to be an irresponsible, unhinged nomad.

I’m the sensical turtle, and my shell is my home, baby.

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