Thursday, August 3, 2017

Three Year Nomadiversary

“Don’t confuse a chapter of your life with the story of your life.” 


Three years ago to this very week was the launch of everything—living in a home on wheels, unplugging from the “norm,” trying out a new way of life. 

We have had quite the wild ride and have clung on in both anticipation (and sometimes fear) waiting for what comes around each corner.  At times this “trip” was likely to kill us as we all dealt with seeing each other every moment (for better or for worse), but we rode it out through the good and bad and experienced what I like to refer to as the beautiful chaos in between. 


We’ve driven the east coast from Maine to Florida and in doing so walked the same steps as historical figures, hiked granite peaks, swam in crystal clear springs, jumped in waterfall after waterfall, wine tasted from the coast of Michigan to the hill country of Texas, sailed the waters where our ancestors first imagined independence, climbed the tallest lighthouses, plunged into caves, chased black bears, rode roller coasters, ziplined in jungles and have done so many more amazing things. 

The past three years have brought unforgettable memories with family and lifelong friendships formed with people across this country and fellow nomads.  We have met truly inspiring families and people who have given us a window into a unique way of life.  We’ve also volunteered side by side with people who make our world a better place—the true heroes in my opinion.


Stepping away allowed Tom and I to chase our own career path.  And, in doing so, we have been extremely fortunate to find several rehab properties across four states and successfully call ourselves “house flippers.” Rolling Renovation has grown in ways we could have never predicted.  We even bought an Airstream Classic to renovate while in the renovating spirit.  I can’t even imagine how different our career path would be if we hadn’t left. 


While we weren’t looking, our kids have turned into young adults, and we’ve added to our family with adorable baby nomad.  We’ve learned so much about our world and each other and what living out this journey means to our family.


And, on top of all this, we have even entertained the idea of showcasing our chaos for others…yes, we have even been signed with a production company for our own show (hold the gasps…we aren’t famous yet.)  Wow. Our life is far from boring.

But it hasn’t all been gravy.  This same family has also had flat tires on the side of the road, torn awnings at the beach, busted car windows, bike rides on the devil’s backbone, lonely days away from friends, days we felt we were flopping more than flipping, times we wondered what in the world we were doing and, let’s not forget, the worst case of chiggers imaginable.  And, many, many times we weren’t the perfect family you see on social media. 

So many aspects of our life were different than we imagined.  We had these ideas of getting healthier and learning new languages and how to play instruments as a family and looking back I laugh thinking about all these high hopes we had!  While we had great intentions, we soon realized that while these things were all possible and things we wanted to do, this life on the road wasn’t going to make our old habits die and new habits form all at once.  Life is still a process, nothing is instant. Even after many failed attempts at doing many things we had hoped, hitting the road did make us look at things from a very different perspective.  And, that has been priceless.

It has been quite the journey.  I still can’t believe it has been three years. 

This year as we finished up our last flip in Texas this spring and searched for the next property, we couldn’t help but find another house in the very familiar city of Pensacola.  Maybe it is the white sand beaches, loving family around or the grand amount of real estate rehab opportunity here, but we just can’t seem to stay away from this place!  This “beauty in the pines” on one and one half acres came with a huge pool, greenhouse and a gorgeous 3,000 square foot house waiting to be uncovered.  As the renovation began it had us all wondering at this stage in our life and travels: “should we love it, or list it?”  For the first time on our travels we weren’t too sure whether this could be it for us.  We now have two teens and a baby.  Should we leave full time travel behind?  Is this a new chapter in our story of life?  And the struggle became real.  And that is where we have found ourselves the past couple of months in serious conversation about where the journey goes from here. 

But, while seasons in life may change and finding a place to landlock will one day come, we also quickly realized, once again, that we don’t fit in suburbia.  The next step will feel right when it happens like it did three years ago when we left.  Maybe it is acres of rolling hills with a tiny home built by us or a town that captivates us in a way like we haven’t experienced yet, but with dreamers you can always guarantee on thing—there will be a new chapter of dreams to chase.

This is where we can’t “confuse a chapter of our life with the whole story.”  Life is made up of seasons and we all have moments to pause and reflect.  Our nomadiversary is that time for us.  So, what does this coming year look like?  Well, I wouldn’t dare spoil it all for you…or us.  We will just wait and see what life brings and what crazy twist and turns come and hang on in excitement as we share.  We hope it means to lend our hand where needed more often, follow a path that we don’t lead on our own, enjoy each other more than ever before, laugh with old friends, make new friends ,see more of the hidden wonders of this country, embrace healthy changes one at a time and focus less on figuring it out and more on embracing every opportunity we are given.    


And we know that it will, as always, be filled with many adventures, travels and new.  So, on we roll.

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