Couch Surfing

The luxury of having a worldwide network of friends and family is, there are a plethora of places to crash.

Having started this journey in early December, I’ve cast off having any sort of permanent residence. Starting in Virginia, I’ve stayed between Long Island, NY and kept going west to now, Australia. Every stop (count is now 9) offers a different living arrangement. Some offer a house with Lego and children who think you’re there to be their week-long personal train layout guru, others a hot-rack style sleeping arrangement in a busy city. Most of these friends I had not seen in years. Some were former military friends who deployed together to Afghanistan, others close friends met while on travel.

What I’ve learned is, it’s incredibly personal to allow someone else to stay in your home, all-be-it on your couch. No matter how low-impact you intend to be, you cannot get away from the fact that a houseguest changes the dynamic of the household. Earlier last year, I was fortunate to rent out a spare room in an old friend’s house that he and his wife had purchased. I say fortunate because this was their first house, we all moved in at the same time, and they didn’t bitch about my truck load of personal belongings that occupied their garage for 9-months. I did my best to offer skills in renovating their house or watching their dogs while away, as a gesture of appreciation for the opportunity. Even though we were long-time friends, their space wasn’t completely their own.

In the coming weeks, I will be moving to New Zealand to start a one-year Work and Holiday visa. This has been a dream in the works for over two-years now and is gaining momentum. My friends and family–who have been generically listed above– have supported my decision to quit life and wander. They understand the desire to roam the world and they too, have destinations of their own they *dream* of visiting one day. I cannot speak to what it will actually be like to carry out the plan; only the experience preparing.

How do you express the conflict of wanting to wander the world and elusively call nowhere home, yet feel the desire to find a place that is? On average, I’ve moved every 1-2 years, for the last 11. New Zealand has been the only country outside of the United States I felt could be home. As one friend suggested, “you are looking for your tribe and just haven’t found it yet.” Maybe. Is it a deep uneasiness in oneself that creates an internal environment which doesn’t want to settle or is it merely part of life?

I’ve told friends who own their own homes, that I live vicariously through them. Seeing them build a life within their OWN space is exciting. However, something pulls me back to reality and reminds me that would be settling. The only way to find out if the nomadic lifestyle is for me is to take the leap.

 

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