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Nomad or normal. That is the question

29 December 2017

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It seems to be a time of radical decisions, because I am making another one. I am leaving Tarifa. I will give up my house near the wondertree and I will go back to the Netherlands. Then I want to go traveling again.

So now I hear you say: “What??!! How come? You are so happy in Tarifa and now you want to leave?”

Yes, that’s true. But something has changed. On December 18 I wrote a blog about one radical decision, but I was not ready yet. Christmas came along.

For me the silent weeks around Christmas are a good time to listen within, to the voice of my soul. The new year that is approaching also inspires me to think about new directions in life (I never talk about goals any more, I will explain in another blog).

Looking within was made easier by a bladder slash kidney infection that doesn’t want to heal. When something feels uncomfortable, you have two choices. The first is to run away from it. This is a normal reaction, especially when it hurts really bad. The second choice is the opposite. Instead of avoiding it, you turn towards it with all your attention, and you ask what it has to tell you.

I felt the pain of the infection and suddenly I realised that I want to return to the Netherlands. One reason is that I rather go to a Dutch than to a Spanish urologist (which says more about my language skills than about the quality of the doctor). But there was more. I felt a longing to go home and build a new base, and then start traveling again.

To say that I was surprised is an understatement. Where did this come from? But then a new realisation walked straight into my heart.

I am not good at being an expat, however beautiful the place is that I am now living in.

I will present you a few reasons why I prefer to be a nomad instead a ‘normal’ person living in a house in whatever country. Than you can decide of you think I am crazy, or that maybe you recognise some of the things I am saying.

1. I like myself more when I travel, not only because I have the freedom to go wherever I want to go, but also because I feel much more freedom in my connections to other people.

A lot of people think that your relations are superficial when you travel. For me the opposite is true. I easily connect to strangers, because then I don’t have to feel afraid if we still like each other the day after tomorrow, and the day after that. I don’t have to stay safely on the surface for fear of annoying someone, but we can go deep quickly. Besides we are not yet caught up in judgements and projections that we made a long time ago and that we forget to adjust to changing circumstances.

Often I meet people that I like so much that I definitely want to see them again. Then the only thing to do is to trust that we will meet again. I don’t have to tie them to me and swear that we will be together forever and ever. Besides, the world has become very small because of internet, there so many nice people out there, and I have a very goog connection to myself, so I never have to fear that I will be lonely.

2. I miss my community

This does sound strange after what I have just told you, but it is not. Since I travel, I am on Facebook a lot. Not to make you jealous, but because I promised a friend of mine who is very sick to post something every day so she can travel with me. After 3 years of connecting online, it it not enough anymore. I want to experience more live meetings, so I can touch the person I am talking to. I want to be around people who inspire me, in Holland or in other countries.

Tarifa is am amazing village with beautiful nature, but there are not so many people my age, or people with the same hobbies as me. I am not a kitesurfer, for example. On the other hand I know a lot of friends and clients whom I want to see more, but they love mostly in the Netherlands or other countries. This doesn’t feel right anymore.

3. I am losing my sense of humor

I mostly speak Spanish and English since I live in Spain, and hardly any Dutch. A consequence of this is that I make far less jokes than I used to. Often jokes are based on common experiences that you turn upside down. With my friends in Tarifa don’t share these common cultural experiences. Besides, by the time I have formulated a joke in Spanish my audience is already fast asleep.

When I was traveling, I substituted this by looking around me a lot and seeing the humor in every situation I was in, and to share this joke on Facebook. Often someone would reply in a funny way and so I kept my sense of humor going. For me this is much easier to do when I am traveling - even when I am in another repair shop with my campervan - then when I am living in the same place every day. I am running out of jokes.

4. I am less open to wonders

These three reasons have as a consequence that I can feel that my heart is closed just a little more. When I travel, I am always open to meet strangers, because I need them for my live social interaction. I am also open to unexpected events, and I am able to be surprised about so many new situations. Unexpected events - even when it comes in the form of bad luck - are for me much healthier than daily routine.

And because I am so open to everyone and everything that crosses my path, I am also open to wonders. The book “Ellen in Wonderland” that I am writing is full of it. On the other hand, the days in my home in the natural park near Tarifa are all more or less the same, and so I start feeling bored. I am waiting for new things to happen.

5. The bureaucracy continues to be rather complicated

Finally, there is always bureaucracy. Three years ago I left the Netherlands in my campervan and moved to Europe, but this is impossible for the Dutch law and tax system. I have slayed a lot of bureaucratic dragons and still I don’t like it. Now I am already a few months in Spain, the question arises if I want to emigrate to this country. And I don’t.

For all these reasons I want to go back to the Netherlands. From this base I can start traveling again. In my head I am already in Africa, and I want to visit Latin America now that I finally learned how to speak Spanish. I don’t want to go traveling in a campervan anymore. Been there, done that, and I already have traveled too many kilometres on European highways. Besides, for me traveling is never about transportation, but always about the journey.

So now I am looking for a yurt with a cat door; or a tiny house; or an apartment in a farmer’s house; or another small house somewhere in nature in the Netherlands. I don’t want a big house. I experience enormous freedom now that I have less stuff and therefore less worries in my life. What I do need is nature, and the freedom to go travelling again.

If you know something, even if it is temporary, will you let me know? Then I have a destination to go to when I leave here. I appreciate it very much. Now that I have made the decision I want to return soon. How I am going to travel with a dog and a cat I will figure out somehow. Some solution always shows up. After all I live from trust, not from fear.

I wish you an amazing 2018. Now I will continue working on a free online training about freedom, that I want to share with you in January (in Dutch, but hopefully in English too real soon).

Hasta luego!

PS I will miss my friends in Tarifa very much, so I will probably come back often. I am going to organise retreats for my clients in Tarifa soon, so who knows you can join me. Then we can create a new Wonderland together.



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