• Francine Beaton

My (short-lived) life as a nomad


Up to today, I’ve been ‘on the road’ for about four months. It had been seven months of constant changes, flights, living out of suitcases, meeting new people and seeing new places. It was exciting.

Until it wasn’t.

It just happened one day, the euphoria of constant travelling wearing off, overtaken by that feeling of longing for home. And then you realise you don’t have a home.

It hit me about two months ago. I’m tired of the constant change. I want stability. I want a place to call home. I want a base where I have my familiar stuff around me. My own mug. My own computer. A chair where I can put my feet up and just slop out.

A friend recently remarked on Facebook that home is where you automatically to the WiFi. It made sense to me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to stop travelling. I will always have itchy feet, but first, I’m going to find that base. Every few months we will have an extended trip, go overseas a couple of times a year maybe, but the rest of the time I want to know where home is. I want to know I can close the door, walk in my PJ’s if I want to, know what I eat without consulting Google Translate and that I have the freedom to do it whenever I want and eat whatever I want. I want the luxury of making my cup of tea in my own mug, enjoying it in maybe my own garden. Believe me, it becomes a luxury after a while.

To be honest, when we first planned our nomadic life, the idea was not to travel constantly. We would’ve stayed in the UK until the end of January, then move to Malaysia for three months and then back to Europe for six months. There was a method in our madness, even though it may not sound like it. We wanted to know where we want to settle and retire eventually. Circumstances beyond our control such as unexpected health issues and Trump messing up specific plans, as well as scary viruses, caused us to change our plans several times. We should’ve expected that, but it still caught us unawares. That’s when we decided to step back and take a look at our situation and what we really want.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during these few months of travelling. I want somewhere I can call home. A place of our own.

Another lesson that I learned is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. It might have been an expensive exercise, but we learned that we do not want to live permanently in the UK. The first snow in October resulted in a bout of bronchitis and subsequent asthma problems. I do not think I would’ve survived the winter and the added scare of the Corona virus.

We also do not want to retire to Penang, as we always dreamed of doing. I mean, who doesn’t want to spend their last days on a tropical island? The problem was that the island we fell in love with more than twenty years ago had changed so much that we did not like it any more. A week was enough to convince me that it was not going to happen.

The moral of this whole story is that sometimes you must admit when things are not working out as you’ve dreamed it would. Admit it. Make changes. Do what feels right for you. Remember, it doesn’t mean that if it works for other people, it may works for you too. We each have different personalities, different responsibilities and different lifestyles and aspirations, and so many other things that make us what we are. Accept them. Stop comparing your life to others. Choose what is best for you.

I am looking forward to this next phase in my life. I’m looking forward to a place I can call home again and where my husband and daughter can return to. A place I can return to when I get itchy feet. A place where I can hang up my own pictures, make my own food and relax.

My life as a nomad might have been short-lived, but I don’t regret it. It had been a life-long dream, and if I haven’t done it, it might be something I would have always wondered about. It might have worked out better when I was younger, not yet used to my creature comforts, and without the responsibilities I now have.

But I’ve done it. And it is something I can tick off my bucket list. So now I can concentrate on the next thing on my bucket list for 2020, apart from finding a home.

First, I’m spending time with my sisters. It had been something we planned and wanted to do for the last three years but never got around doing. We are talking, drinking wine, paint and talk some more. And have more wine.

Secondly, I’m going to learn to make chocolate. Not this regular handmade chocolate. Proper chocolate with decadent fillings and decorations. And chocolate decorations, those you put on cakes.

And lastly, my aim in 2020 is to do what makes me happy. Write. Paint. Take photographs. And travel but on a much smaller scale.

I hope 2020 is treating you well, that you will do what makes you happy and that you may have the opportunity to tick off, if only one item, on your bucket list.

Until next time…

Francine

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