I have spent the last several months as a nomad, and in the first rush of nomadic life, starting with a journey across Mexico, I felt I had much to share and post in a weekly blog. At every stop along the way from the Pacific Ocean inland, I had miracles and synchronicities, differences in culture, and heartfelt connections to share about, tidbits of miracles to “write home about.” Since then, I have taken the time to go deeper into the experience, and am only now emerging to surface and take a breath, returning to the page to share my experiences in writing.
After a month in Mexico, I grew weary of traveling and decided to take a respite from all the foreign explorations and nurture myself by being a nomad in a more familiar region. Not having a home to go back to, having given up 90% of my possessions just the month before, I chose to take a proverbial trek across Colorado, visiting friends and loved ones for brief visits along the way. What I noticed was that, while still a nomad- including the frequent ritual of repacking my backpack- I enjoyed reconnecting with familiar settings, understandable customs and heart based connections. I felt restored and replenished.
After a month in Colorado, I was ready, once again, to venture forth to parts unknown! I chose to visit Europe, starting in the north and heading south. I took a month to explore the UK, including a one week stay at the well-known Findhorn eco-community in Scotland, and worked my way down through France and on to Italy, completing my tour with another one week eco-community stay, this time at Damanhur, a less well known but equally well reputed eco-village in northern Italy.
As part of the focus of my travel has been to explore sustainability and alternate modes of living, I was excited to participate in various forms of shared economy. I chose several short stays with households where I could work in exchange for food and lodging, using sites such as Wwoof, Workaway and HelpX to facilitate this. I connected with organic farms, retreat centers and other creative households to try on different lifestyles with minimal cost. Each workplace offered a unique view into the daily lives of the people residing there. I experienced a deeper dive into the culture, politics and social customs of the region. This snapshot into everyday life, with the added benefit of being able to feel useful and productive with sharing my gifts and talents, provided an economical way to explore Europe and to taste the unique flavor of some of the more remote regions of Europe.
Sustainable methods of transportation were also of interest to me. Choosing not to rent a car or take planes from place to place (which can be not only costly but also can deeply increase one’s carbon footprint), I found numerous ways to travel effectively across Europe through the extensive public transport system. I found I could take trains or buses, both in cities and across rural areas, relatively inexpensively and with less of a toll on the environment.
An interesting mode of transport I found in France is called BlaBlaCar. This ride sharing platform, akin to Uber, connects drivers who list where and when they are traveling, and passengers with the same route and date. Voila – instant carpool! My experience with this service included signing up for a ride with a woman from France, about the same age as me. As we traveled along, she shared about her journey of being a gay woman in France, with all the inequalities she experienced in terms of social and political antagonism. For me, the ability to have a meaningful conversation with someone who was essentially a stranger earlier in the day, was a priceless opportunity to build connection and helped me understand more about daily pressures, and joys, for someone living in the region.
The final leg of my European tour is currently underway. I am preparing to spend a week at the eco-community, Damanhur and am interested to explore how sustainability, synchronicity and magic unfold here.
After this? I plan to head back to the Americas and begin to sort through where I would like to land, to find some place to root down and begin to ground into a community. I would like to take all the lessons and learnings along the way, and integrate them so that wherever I am in the world, I am living as lightly as possible on this earth, with a sense of adventure and magic. I would like to integrate the sense of the nomadic journey into the nuts and bolts of living a full life, and experience the balance between having roots and wings. I will continue to share more as the journey continues….Namaste.