“Where do you live,” she asked.
“Well, that’s complicated,” I said with a sigh. I had been through this conversation so many times before I was on autopilot. “I don’t have a home, I’m nomadic. I’m just visiting my parents for the Thanksgiving holiday, but I don’t live here,” I answered.
I could see the perplexed look form across her face, “You live in your car?” she said trying to make sense of my non-sensical statement.
This question actually made me laugh as the autopilot conversation normally doesn’t take that turn. “No, I don’t have a car,” I said as I laughed. “I don’t have a home or a car – I just travel full time and live wherever I am at the moment.”
The conversation went back onto autopilot from there…she was excited, and enthralled, and ‘wanted to live my life’.
This conversation, even though predictable, doesn’t really ever get old for me; I find it flattering. It’s probably because I like to shock people, I like to be memorable, and I like to make people think about living life in different ways.
Giving Thanks for Sleeping Around
This year was pretty much like the last few – strangely maybe my inconsistent life has become consistent. I like to count the number of beds I’ve slept in every year to get an idea of my rate of movement. For the last few years it turns out that I move beds/sleeping arrangements about every 3 days on average – and 2016 was the same!
When it’s all said and done in 2016, I’ll have slept in 95 different beds.
This includes regular beds, sleeping bags, economy class overnight flights, trains, boats, NYC penthouses, campers, vans, and bunk beds. And of course I’ve slept in countless beds of friends and family around the world and for that – I’m the most thankful. People who continuously welcome me into their homes and lives makes me overflow with gratitude. And I often wonder if I will every be able to pay my good fortune forward.
Like any year, I had some favorite beds and sleeps.
Most Love-ly – Aiguaclara Begur, Spain
From the moment you walked in Hotel Aiguaclara, an old colonial house, you felt the love. The shabby chic décor was filled with hearts, endearing quotes, and things that simply make you smile. This hotel was pure joy. Not to mention my room had a great view of the city below. I loved this small boutique hotel. The owner’s story of how they started it was moving and the restaurant was also a highlight!
Most Remote – Lake Clark National Park Alaska
So remote that I had to take 2 small planes (1 float plane) to get there from Anchorage! The park is actually the 3rd least visited National Park in the US, yet it’s probably one of the most beautiful parks we have. It’s not visited because it’s hard to get to. I spent 5 glorious days camping, kayaking, and hiking in this wilderness paradise. Sleeping on the ground can be uncomfortable, but worth it for the views and experience!
Most Mobile – Jucy Camper Van
I was thrilled to be able to travel WITH my bed during my Northern California road trip last spring. I had one of the best nights sleep ever in that camper van. Each night I slept somewhere new: at campsites, in parking lots, and among redwoods for this memorable trip!
Most Hidden – Via Rail Manitoba
I love trains, but I really love overnight trains! This unusual rail route that takes you over the shifting tundra at a snail’s pace was made even better by the fact that I had two nights of sleeping in this cool little sleeper car with hidden murphy bed! Each night my Via Rail concierge would set up my bed and presto – I had a bedroom!
Best View – Winnipeg Inn at the Forks
I didn’t even shut my curtains as I slept because I loved looking out at the twinkling lights of Winnipeg and the cool Canadian Human Rights Museum building from my bed! Staring out at the museum from the Inn at the Forks during a particularly rough personal time just made me feel at peace. And the museum was as stunning inside as it was outside!
Best Friends – The Box in Oaxaca
I remember staying at friends’ houses as a kid sleeping in a bunk bed – best sleepovers ever. And even at 46 years old there’s still something about bunk beds that I love. I slept in this one for a whole month while in Oaxaca Mexico with with fellow nomads and bloggers, Pete and Dalene from Hecktic Travels. I look back on that entire stay and it was so special – not just for the little bunkhouse I stayed in outside the main house, but it was special because I built incredible friendships there that were the best therapy I could’ve asked for at a particularly difficult time.
A Life Made of Jello
All of this movement is great; however, more often than not, I feel like I live on jello – a giant world of red jello jiggling around with every step I take. I jiggle from country to country, city to city, bed to bed – nothing stable or permanent. My majority of my friendships feel like jello most of the time too – and lord knows my romantic relationship I have is jello – always shaky. And as cool as it is to be able to go anywhere in the world, it’s not always cool to live on jello.
Ten years is a long time to keep this up, and I think I might have finally hit my limit. I’ve made a big decision for 2017. I’m not someone who normally makes goals, but next year I have one.
My Goal in 2017 is to pay rent somewhere.
Even typing that sentence scares the shit out of me. And even though it’s a goal, I don’t really know how I’m going to do it. However, 2017 is when the shit hits the fan when it comes to my life – it could be great – or it could be a disaster – but at least it will be movement in some direction. Notice that I said that I’m just paying rent, so basically I’m getting a home base, I want to be grounded.
Is Travel and a Home Base Feasible?
I want to be grounded, but that doesn’t mean I want to stop traveling or travel blogging. It simply means I want a place to keep some stuff and not have to constantly be planning where I go in between trips/projects. One reason why I’m pretty terrified about getting a home base and paying rent again is because it may make me realize that this career I’ve chosen, isn’t feasibly possible for people who have a mid-size blog, are single, and paying rent.
The whole reason I decided to be nomadic back in 2008 was because I knew it would be cheaper and allow me to continue traveling and blogging as I had very few expenses when I was on the road – so I did nomadic life out of financial necessity. However, now I want to see if this career that I’ve built the last 10 years is feasible with a homebase. My honest fear is that it isn’t. So I’m not sure where it will lead me. Taking on regular rent payment, transportation, and the rising cost of health insurance is really challenging for me to absorb. But I figure it will either make me sink or swim in 2017.
Thank You Beds!
Yes, I’m thankful for beds; it doesn’t matter if they are fluffy, hard, mushy, warm, or cold – I’m just happy I have a place to sleep. But most of all this year I’m thankful to be given this wonderful opportunity to simply be alive and see as much of the world as I can. I’m thankful that I left that cube 10 years ago and started living.
This year I’ve been reminded of how fragile our time can be as two of my very dear, young, avid travel friends and prolific writers are currently fighting their way through cancer – a battle I pray they win.
This Thanksgiving morning roll over in those warm covers and snuggle up in that pillow, and be thankful that you have a place to sleep every night. And think about how you want to live every day to the fullest and make the absolute most of your time here on this planet.
Peace. Love. Beds.