The Nomadic Life

I have lived quite nomadically the last year. I’ve been in one house for a month, another for three, a week here, a week there.

It’s wonderful and liberating to some extent, but there are drawbacks.

I’ve never been too good at staying in one place. I seem to have a little twelve month alarm in my head that urges me to move house/job/city/country/continent. I have had this since I was 14 and it has led me to some of the most beautiful parts of the world and to meet some of the most wonderful people.

But I’m not even halfway through my UK visa and the niggling has already started to move countries and I am trying my hardest to firmly tell myself that I haven’t even started exploring the options here yet.

The past eight months have been particularly nomadic. I have stayed no more than three months in any one house and I am still living out of suitcases. It is quite unsettling as you never get to make your own true space and having to lug around an industrial sewing machine, rolls of cardboard and paper, all my books, my wardrobe…

I’m beginning to believe that I may have accept my nomadic tendencies and solve all problems by investing in one of these:

I can also clearly see now how much the constant moving makes me create extra waste.

I buy smaller quantities of things more often as I don’t wish to have to move large amounts from place to place. I throw out half bottles of shampoo and conditioner as I can’t take them in my Ryan Air hand luggage.  I lose things – chargers, adaptors, headphones – in the piles of boxes. I throw out food, clothes, anything cheap that I can replace when I move into my next place. Every time I move there is a huge garbage bag that I leave behind.

Is our ability to move quickly and cheaply one of the biggest causes of our unsustainable lifestyles?

If we weren’t allowed to move, if we had to pass on our homes directly to our kin rather than sell and buy another, how would we change?

Because we have never done this before. Our nomadic instincts must trace back to hunter gatherer times when the constant moving would allow the Earth to replenish the areas where humans were not present. Like leaving a field fallow for a season in order to boost productivity.

But with the population numbers we can no longer keep moving around as there are no more vacant plots of land. You build your house and it starts to decay slightly and you move on to another new house and someone else moves in with your decay.

My moving around in a gypsy caravan won’t help this.

The most promising options I have seen involve huge reconstructions of urban environments to create healthy landscapes for us and nature. Urban areas of high food and energy productivity.

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4 thoughts on “The Nomadic Life

  1. I like the photos. A gypsy life would have advantages and disadvantages. I like the story and the ending. Life teaches us many things. Thank you for the amazing blog.

  2. Hi Kat,
    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts again. It got me thinking – It is a challenge to live well in a world of contrasts. I recently met a young lady who had studied architecture and then did a post grad in urban eco-design, mainly because she just wasn’t seeing places in cities where people and nature could co-exist.
    Hope you are well.
    Di

    • I just wonder whether, without a sentimental connection to where we live, if we are constantly thinking of ourselves as “temporary”, whether we will ever be able to make enough of the population enthusiastic about paying the little extra, or making the extra effort to even give us a chance at becoming sustainable.

      • I feel like I need to pick up the phone to continue this conversation…I know the tug of war inside me when it comes to choices about sustainability. I don’t know about a whole world movement towards sustainability. I know that I’m too selfish to support that ideal completely. But my higher, better self keeps reaching for the stars. Hope, belief, love, then the courage to act and then the determination to keep acting, on those ideals. Your blog always gives me food for thought, and a fresh assessment of what the hell I’m doing, and what the hell I’m doing it for.

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