One of the challenges we face living a small and simple RV life is how to feel grounded as a nomad. Being grounded, a sense of being well balanced and secure, is an attribute important to any person. But where does this sense of grounding originate?
Point of Origin
Most people experience being grounded as being rooted to a specific place. We have words for these types of groundings like hometown, home state, home country. It has become part of our language. “I’m from the Southwest.” “I call New Orleans home.” “I’m a New Yorker!” We also find this codified into law. We have passports, drivers licensees, state of residence. But mostly these serve the needs of government so they can allocate resources or establish representation.
But how does one stay grounded when one is wandering? If we have, because of circumstance or decision, slipped our moorings to a geographic attachment, what keeps us balanced and secure? Is there something else we can hitch our wagon to?
I can Take It With Me
Nomads spend an incredible amount of time and energy taking the blank slate of their home on wheels and personalizing it to create a safe haven, “nest building”. Pictures, different furniture, paint, artwork, drapes and plants, we find numerous and creative ways to make our spaces unique. After all, wherever we wander, the inside remains the same and gives us some continuity as we travel.
Is That Really Different?
Yet that’s not really that different from what we do with our living spaces that don’t have wheels. When I was young my father customized every house we lived in. Coming from the background of an electrical engineer, many of the changes centered on new wiring, lights and switches. Every house we lived in had twice as many electrical things when we moved as it did before. The attic in one house was too cramped for him so I got to squirm in between the trusses to make the new wire runs. Me being an artist I tended to paint walls with bright and luscious colors. We do what resonates with us.
What Are We Really Looking For?
In the end, we are social creatures so our sense of being grounded may flow from relationships, from a sense of community, from bonding with “kindred spirits”. Many of us travel as couples. There seems to be an increasing number of families taking to the road. Homeschooling has spawned a new category, roadschooling. Even when we travel singly more often then not there’s a dog or cat involved. Often nomads talk about how awesome it is to be out in the middle of nowhere without anyone else in sight but I do notice that often they have a spouse or other loved ones sharing the experience.
The fact that I’m hearing about it at all is a remarkable thing. In the internet age news travels fast and nomads are in the thick of it reaching out to share the latest view from their window, asking for directions or instructions for dealing with a recalcitrant water pump.
In fact, hardly anyone is out there by themselves. We have bashes, fests, meetups and get-togethers. There are forums and websites dedicated to trading information about everything you can think of. But it’s all people interacting, searching for community, being connected.
We’re All In This Together
We didn’t invent nomadic existence. It’s as old as humans. And as John Donne says, “No man is an island.” We share, we care, we seek out others to be with. Ironically, it’s never really been about where. The more important aspect about grounding, the one that gives us meaning is who. Who we are with, who we care about, who our friends are, who we share our life with.