March 19, 2013 by ebostick1212
A couple of years ago, after their chicks flew the nest, my parents downsized into a new, smaller house. This seemed to require thousands of cardboard boxes, yards upon yards of clear plastic tape, and a parade of forklifts. (This may be a hyperbole.).
This situation made me realize how nomadic I actually am. I can literally pack my life up into one or two suitcases (and come in underweight at the airport), and move to another country with everything I need.
So, if you plan to lead a life like mine, wandering around aimlessly, collecting languages one by one, you are going to need a few things. Here are some of the objects I have picked up over my years of nomadism.
1. A passport with the proper visas–This is a no-brainer unless you plan on being nomadic in your own respective country.
2. A few mementos from home–I have a few things that I carry around, to remind me where I come from. No matter where you are, you need to remind yourself that you do have roots, so pack a few lightweight things of emotional importance. For me, I always bring a small framed pastel painting from my high school art teacher, and a few framed photos from home. These are easily portable, but make me smile when I’m feeling homesick.
3. A crappy cell phone–I have not really entered the 21st century with my cell. In every country I’ve lived in, I have bought the cheapest one I could find, with a pay as you go plan. In all my years living abroad, I’ve bought about five phones, and that with phone credit probably cost me less than an iPhone. I just don’t use it that much, just for emergencies, and the occasional text Skype is for long chats..I’ll buy something fancy when I settle down somewhere.
4. An iPad: On the other technological hand, having an iPad is PERFECT for the nomad. When I lived in France, I would lug my giant laptop to the closest Quick burger restaurant just to use the wifi to Skype my family. It was such a hassle. My dad bought me an iPad for graduating college, and I have to say, it has revolutionized my life. I pop it in my bag, and I can write anywhere (heck, I’m writing on the metro right now!), I can Skype where ever there is wifi, and I have all my books on my Kindle App.
On that note, can I mention how much I LOVE the Kindle App? When I went home for the summer after living in France, I had to pay the extra luggage fee because I had a suitcase full of books. I’m a huge reader, and maybe a slight hoarder, and the Kindle frees me from this, by compressing all my literary adventures into one little button.
5. Super packing skills–This takes time to develop. Practice makes perfect, really. Now, I can manage packing for a 10 day vacation into one small ‘Ryanair approved’ carry on. The trick? Think ahead about what close you will truly need, and then roll them, don’t fold them. This skill has taken me years to learn…after all, I used to be the person who packed a whole suitcase of books. Practice practice practice.
Of course, these are all important, but I think personally, one must have certain attributes to wander the globe. First of all, flexibility is important. If you get to Spain and can’t find the apartment of your dreams, who cares? If you can find a warm bed and a roof over your head, things will work out.
Also, you have to be strong enough to leave loved ones behind. This has given me a great sense of independence, but I also am the one who bawls like a baby every time I go through security at the airport. Yet, now that technology is catching up with Skype etc, I can be in touch with my family anywhere in the world.
Lastly, you need to have a sense of adventure. Where will I end up? Who will I meet? I don’t know the answer to these questions right now, and that is what makes this type of life so exciting.