I realize that my first post was a sweeping, fly-over introduction of the concept behind this blog and my own heart. Quite a big task for a single post, and I kind of feel like I need to breathe deeply into a paper bag, as it is now public and I’m really doing this whole blogging thing. To be honest, I felt more fear and vulnerability after I shared that post than I did before I took the leap. Thanks to all of you who read that first piece and offered up your kind words. It means so much to me.
As I was writing that first post, idea after idea pinballed around in my head, threatening to jump out onto my keyboard if I didn’t stay focused. There’s so much depth that I wasn’t able to share in the scope of just 1200 words.
I jotted down many of these ideas and decided that these first several posts will be like continued parts of an introduction. Here are some of the initial questions I’ll cover:
- Why The Nested Nomad? (Welcome to this post!)
- What do I mean by travel and adventure? (2 part series)
- How do I define simplicity and minimalism?
What’s This Blog Even About?
At this point you may be asking yourself: Is this a blog about simplicity or travel or living in tents? Is this woman going to sell everything she owns and live in the desert? Does she think I need to sell everything I own and live in the desert?! (Here’s the short answer: simplicity and travel; no; no.)
Here’s the medium version: The Nested Nomad is a blog about living simply, consciously, and adventurously wherever I am.
And here is the longer version:
Many months ago, a friend of mine asked a table full of people (most of whom were over the age of 45), “What’s the one thing you always wish you could do more of?” Every single person said they would travel more often. Many of them added that they wished they had made travel a priority in their lives from when they were young.
They didn’t say they would have worked more hours to be able to pay for better vacations. They simply wished they had made travel a priority in how they spent their available time and money over other things.
I don’t want to look back on my life and have the same regret. I don’t want to think of travel as something we can do “one day” when we have more money, when the kids are older, when we retire, insert-other-excuses-here. There will always be a reason not to travel. But I don’t want those reasons to stop us from doing what we love and believe to be valuable.
That said, Dan and I definitely not swimming in money. We rent an apartment. We have sizable student loan debt. We drive modest cars and are working to pay them off. We eat Paleo (except when we’re on vacation or we have a Groupon for pizza or any number of other excuses), so we spend a little more than the average American at the grocery store. We live in the suburbs of Chicago, which are not exactly known for their low cost of living. We cheerfully tithe to our local church and many missionaries and organizations that we care about deeply.
But early in our marriage, all of this led us to feel strapped and discouraged that we wouldn’t be able to keep up with the purchases we saw many other people making.
Reality check: Dan and I each make more than $34,000 per year, which puts us—individually—in the top 1% of the world.
There is no acceptable reason for me to feel strapped or envious. There is no reason for me to be enslaved to debt. There is no reason for money to control me. There is no reason for me to want more.
I believe that a huge part of being a good steward of wealth is giving much of it away, and I’m very committed to that. That doesn’t mean that we’re not allowed to enjoy abundance. But instead of unconsciously bowing down to consumerism in the form of more stuff, more space, more gadgets, and more clothes, we will decide where our money goes. For us, that place is travel.
A Nested Nomad Has Roots and Wings
I love to read travel blogs and books. I can spend hours upon hours being swept away by fictional stories set in far-off places, real or imagined. If I could pick just one TV channel to watch forever and ever, it would be the Travel Channel. (Fact: As a kid, my favorite show was Great Hotels with Samantha Brown. I wanted to be her. I kind of still do.)
But as I devoured more and more travel blogs and books and shows, I realized that most of the people behind these things were true nomads. Even if they didn’t start out that way, they eventually sold everything, moved overseas, and made their lives out of traveling.
While I would love to do that for a time, but that will likely never be my life. Dan and I both have full-time jobs that we love. We hope to have kids and put down roots. We are very close with our families and would have a hard time leaving them. We love travel and adventure, but we are not cut out to be nomads.
My family moved around a lot during my childhood. I have lived in four states and more than 25 homes, attended nine different schools, and made more friends than I can count. Moving around as much as I did helped this painfully shy, deeply introverted girl to develop wings (and social skills). I have loved and cherished every single place I’ve lived, and even now, I have treasured friends spread out all over the country.
Dan, on the other hand, lived in the same neighborhood his whole life (until he left for college). He is still close with his childhood friends, and they all live within a 25-minute radius. I appreciate his deep roots; I longed for a life like that when I was a child.
Our backgrounds have led me to crave both roots and wings for our family. I want our children to have a place to call home and a stable family where they will always belong. I want them to dig in and build relationships and commit well to people. But I also want them to be boldly independent, confident, curious, adventurous people. I don’t want them to be afraid of challenges and change.
My hope is that our children will become people who love to explore and learn. People who are able to think for themselves and embrace the diversity and beauty and messiness of our world. People who know the value of every dollar and every human and who consistently choose to pursue relationships over “getting ahead.”
So why did I choose The Nested Nomad?
I love the romantic parts of a nomadic lifestyle: wandering, exploring, adventuring.
I love the romantic parts of a nested lifestyle: having a place that is home, filled with memories, so familiar and comfortable.
Neither is perfect. Both are beautiful.
Roots and wings. Nested and nomadic.
Also, both words start with the letter n, so it’s pretty catchy.
A little taste of my childhood travels. Classic 90s picture of a trip to Disney World.