When nomads stay put

Young woman with brown hair looks down at a cityscape out of upper story window awith the sunlight highlighting her face.
Goodbye for now, travel. Photo by Nuno Silva on Unsplash

Sorry for the short one this time! I'm still recovering from a lot of changes, a recent move, and insomnia. But stay tuned for a new series about disabled/ill/ND experiences in self-employment.

Last month, we were all set to continue our nomad journey in the Pennsylvania mountains before heading back to Europe. Now I'm typing this from a friend's house in the suburbs of our hometown while we make plans to settle down for the next year or so.

So what the fuck changed? A lot of things, really.

My partner has been working on a career transition while I attempted to recover from a long period of bad depression and the inevitable slow work season.

I can tell you from experience that being the sole provider since 2020 as a freelancer with chronic illnesses is rough. And this year, I was pretty done with it and ready to slow down. I was just hoping we could do it elsewhere. Spain, maybe? Portugal? The US is expensive and we'd already had to face the reverse culture shock of higher costs of living when we returned last summer.

I'd imagined settling down in a smaller seaside town with lots of sunshine where I would walk, explore, and eat good food. Maybe I'd work on my rusty Spanish, pop over to France to visit some old friends, or attend a digital nomad conference.

But we needed my husband to get back to work and after a long and fruitless job hunt, he found work right here. So here we stay.

I'm not complaining, by the way. The huge generosity of friends alone, who have helped us with jobs, housing, and moving, means we've got a lot to be grateful for. It's just that a lot has happened and I'm still taking it in.

In the space of four weeks, we've moved to a new temporary home, started multiple new jobs, and started thinking about leases and security deposits again. I'm even contemplating full-time work for the first time in...well, ever, actually.

You know when you watch a train go by and it feels like you're moving along with it? And then when you look away, you get completely disoriented?

I got so used to being the one moving. And now it feels like I'm standing still while everything else rushes by. It may not be the life I was hoping for, but I've finally accepted this is where we need to be right now.

For the moment, though, we are still technically nomadic. For the next few months, we'll be living with friends and local Airbnbs or hotels while we find the right place to put down roots.

Ironic that I'm writing about staying put right after rediscovering my love of solo travel. But in a way, the timing works. I have a feeling there's more solo travel in my future!

And I guess that solves my therapy dilemma for the moment. Silver lining!