Saturday, August 1, 2015

One Year Nomadiversary

This week we did something big—we celebrated our one year anniversary or “nomadiversary” as we like to call it.  So, I guess it is official, we are in this thing for the long haul.  There is no looking back.  Honestly, it feels like we are just now getting into the swing of things.  Our first year was that of adjustment, understanding and finding our bearings on this new life.  Tom and I realized the other day that we have been talking a lot about what next year will bring and how incredible it will be—places we will see, new experiences—but caught ourselves laughing at the fact that we weren’t referring to next year, as in 2016.  We now refer to a new year as July 28, the anniversary of the day we left it all behind.  I guess this means from now on our New Year celebration will forever be July 28, the day that we truly started to live life. 

The question we keep getting (especially from family) is “when, and where, do you plan to settle down?”  Well, honestly, we are settled…right into this new way of living.  This isn’t a trip.  This isn’t a goal.  It is the life we are embracing for this season, however long we want that to be.  We are not interested in going back to the “sticks ‘n’ bricks.”  We’ve been there, done that and left it for a reason.  I know most people can’t understand.  And, that’s quite alright.  They think of our journey as us living in our trailer, but that is such a small portion of this lifestyle.  It isn’t about the fact that we stay in various places, or live in a 28 foot trailer.  It is about the freedom to live life without any hindrance experiencing all the world has to offer.  This includes things like spending time together, enjoying local culture, giving back to the community, seeking out the deeper more important aspects of life, learning new hobbies, slowing down, enjoying the simple moments and hopefully marking some things off of a bucket list.  Most of these things I feel our society has started to tragically neglect.   

I’m not even sure I can sum up our first year.  It was filled with every kind of emotion possible.  We have had lots of highs and lots of lows.  We rolled through 15 states experiencing everything from frolicking in waterfalls to judging a BBQ contest in Texas.  We were blessed to give our time and hearts to communities along the way that have touched our souls immeasurably.  We embarked on the world of homeschooling, which was a tremendous adjustment to say the least both for us and the kids!  We even bought and sold our very first real estate “flip,” paving the way for our continued travels.  We took this step out on faith, leaving our jobs behind in hopes that we could make things work for ourselves.  It was thrilling, terrifying and unpredictable.  But the truth is, we are thriving like never before.  God has really opened doors in our life to friendships and places that we would have never otherwise known.  It took the first year to learn to let go and live for each day.  We used to try to force everything to happen in life.  Success.  A better family life.  Peace.  Learning.  Even spirituality.  It is when we started letting go and learning to live one day at a time in faith and simplicity that we felt a real sense of rejuvenation. 

Our kids amaze me.  They are learning who they are and spending moments with friends and family that they will remember forever.  There have been so many firsts!  It’s remarkable.  We see them discovering themselves and starting to live with curious wonder-filled minds.  This has taken a full year of adjustment for all of us, but to see them coming into their own is pretty incredible.  We seem them enjoying life, building new long lasting friendships, spending time with all kinds of family and flourishing more than we could have imagined.  They are even growing closer together as siblings, although some days are better than others.  It wasn’t an easy at first, especially for Tyler, but this year I’ve seen him grow so much into an amazing young man who is starting to realize his own dreams.  I know Tyler will accomplish anything he puts his mind to and this lifestyle is confirming that.  I think he is starting to really understand why his parents jumped off the edge to live life this way.  Haley was born to be a nomad.  She is free spirited and loves the spontaneity of this life.  She grows more confident in herself every day and she has opened up and come out of her shell so much this past year.  She is literally making friends across the entire U.S. and having the time of her life.

As far as Tom and I, this year has brought us closer than ever before.  We are rediscovering our life as a couple.  I look back and think, we were going through the motions so much in our busy life before, it is almost like rediscovering, or uncovering, both our individuality and our marriage.  He is my best friend and we are so much more than husband and wife—we are a team in everything we do.  I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be doing life with. 

Even though we have only visited 15 states, we have concluded that every state is different and unique—the culture, the people, the landscape and it leaves us craving more.  As we drive through each little town, we find ourselves dreaming and thinking... “could we live here?”  I’m beginning to think we can live anywhere, but we want to live everywhere.  No one particular place is worth leaving all others behind. 

So, where do we go from here?  Well, we hope big things are in store for us this next year as we roll into the west.  The past few months have been filled with real estate flips (we’re working on our second) which has kind of consumed us, but hey, we do have to fund our lifestyle!  Now, we are aching to hit the road again and get focused on meeting our fellow RV community, ramping up our “Not So” Random Acts of Kindness Project and finally hoping to explore some of the wild west that we have been waiting to see for so long.  God only knows where this path will lead.  One thing is for sure, we are grateful for the support, encouragement and kind words from our entire community.  And, so, on we roll into year number two.