Sometimes the pinball would hit good things and lots of happy lights and sounds erupted. Other times, it missed its target completely and fell down the chute, feeling lost and not sure where to go next.
This summer was a mixture of these two pinball states, and we remained in motion nearly the entire time. I lost the balance and simplicity I enjoyed about nomad life. My life lacked stability and there was no element of simplicity anymore. Somewhere I crossed a line I did not even know was there, and I felt it deep in my bones.
A sense of belonging is a basic human need, and I moved around too much and spent too little time with loved ones to feel like I belonged anywhere this summer. I need a community, at least part of the year. I need to belong to something larger than this isolated, nomadic, fervent life. In the past, I always found a balance between relaxing and adventures. But this summer we tried to play catch up from six months on the sailboat, and had a very long list of things to accomplish. A few of the items: buying investment property, taxes, mail, preparing for the biggest sailing trip of our lives, attending my 20 year high school reunion, selling a van, and then buying that van right back because the sale (to a friend) was a miserable failure.
We lost the simplicity of van life. Instead of enjoying peaceful time in nature, we grabbed zealously at big dreams while living in a tiny enclosure. Sometimes we stayed in short term rentals or hotels, but they always had problems and we never felt truly comfortable. We had two work trips, both of which required driving and flying. Exhausting, those trips were.
We did it, yay, and supported and loved each other along the way. But it was difficult. And the van was full of stuff and never clean. That really stressed me out, and there was no good way to fix it because we had a big life raft riding with us, waiting to get serviced. Also, part way through summer we got some things out of storage to move to a fourplex we thought we were buying, but the deal fell through.
Oh, we’ll always remember that fourplex deal which fell through. It was a heartbreaker at the time, but we’re happy now that we walked away. It was contaminated with meth, had a rodent infestation, termite problems, structural problems in a couple areas, a tenant with a huge emotional support pitbull, 100+ year old plumbing and electric and no crawlspace or attic access. It was a hot mess and a real drain of our time and resources to inspect and try to come up with a plan to rehabilitate this poor building. In the end, it was overpriced and the rehab was too costly.
A good realtor would have been an asset, but I was in a hurry and picked a bad one. He showed up late and acted silly, laughed way too much, pointed out the strangest things, and took nothing seriously. First I gave him a “dad speech” via email about what we expected from him, then he blatantly screwed up again, and I fired him. I felt bad about it because he was a nice person, so we sent him some goodbye money and decided to represent ourselves in the deal. As you can probably predict, that didn’t go well.
Those were some of the stressful times. You already know about the happy times, because that stuff is fun to share on social media. We did have fun this summer. We went to Alaska, learned to hike on glaciers, and did some great backpacking, sea kayaking and mountain biking. Those were the highlights of our summer. And when these things were happening they were truly glorious.
The rest is just sort of a blur. A blur of dream-grabbing, moving, doing, working and craving a place to rest.
We needed a solution. So, we’re buying a house to enjoy a couple months per year! Our closing is scheduled for Halloween, October 31.
Don’t worry, we’re not selling out or giving up. If anything, we’re turning up the intensity of our dreams. We’re global citizens now who spend half the year outside of the US on our sailboat. We need a peaceful place to go when we return to the US, and that is where the new house comes in. It will be a place to pursue dreams, store things, and cultivate a sense of belonging in a wonderful city where we already have so many friends.