When people hear that we sold our house, moved into a van and quit our jobs to travel full-time, a lot of people’s first question is “don’t you miss having a home?”
My answer to that is: “What is home?” The concept of “home” is so different for everyone. To some, it’s four walls and a roof that holds all of their memories and meaningful belongings. To others (including us), it’s more of a feeling than a physical place. We’ve never been very sentimental about our things or our houses, so it was pretty easy for us to sell it all and move into a van.
But the holidays do have a special way of highlighting what nomads give up in order to be out on the road travelling. I’m referring less to the physical aspects of Christmas like the tree and the lights, and more to the emotional aspects such as the family dinners and special traditions that only our family does. Many nomads will travel to relative’s houses and visit family for Christmas, but others will continue their travels in spite of the holidays. This year, we are the latter.
This is the first year that I will not see my family for Christmas. I am not very attached to the idea of Christmas, but it is always a good excuse to spend some genuine time with family. Everyone gets time off of work, the pace of life slows down a little bit, and we take time to reflect on the years behind and ahead of us.
Living a nomadic lifestyle requires that we (and our families) become more comfortable with enjoying time together as it happens, regardless of holidays. It feels really selfish, even as I write this, to expect that from others, but I am grateful that our our families support our decision to take this time in our lives to wander, explore, and to live our lives on our own terms.
Hiking near Steamboat Springs, CO with Jess’s parents. September 2018.
Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park with Greg’s parents. September 2015.