My apartment smelled like cat pee the day I moved in. The blinds were broken, the carpet was stained, and the peeling, chipped bathroom looked like it had never been cleaned. But it was mine and I loved it.
I spent months filling my place up. I needed silverware and furniture and rugs and lamps- and I spent an incredible amount of time choosing each one. I got a really, really nice kitchen knife- these were things I would keep.
Yet even as I began to settle in I started to notice that I was doing something kind of weird. Every time I had a down moment- like when I was waiting for something to cook or working on an email- I’d mentally begin packing. These weren’t just little daydreams; we’re talking detailed, specific plans on how and where I would store every item I’d brought into my home. I guess you could say that having “stuff” for the first time in my life made me anxious. I should have known right then that I wouldn’t be around for too long.
I’ve had this road trip planned for years. It’s just a series of dots strung together on a map, but each dot represents a friend and the lines between give me butterflies. I’ve toyed with how long it would take, how much it would cost, how I could justify it… I’ve been planning this thing forever. Actually making it happen though… that’s been a different story.
I just knew that if I didn’t do it this year, I probably never would– so I didn’t renew my lease. I saved up enough money to quit waitressing, gave away all my furniture and packed all my gear into my hatchback, which hit 200,000 miles a week before I planned to depart. It felt bizarre to actually enact the packing I’d fantasized about so often, but it also felt right.
Now I’m sitting on a park bench in Jackson, eating chips and watching people shop with their families. I got a bolt replaced on my bike this morning and instead of beer the shop guys asked for juice. Yesterday I climbed a Teton with some girlfriends. My home is parked where I can see it, bike locked on top, clothes and gear packed inside. It makes me super happy that it’s all right there.
I kept that really, really nice knife– because I know I’ll have a kitchen again someday– but for now it feels dang good to be a nomad.