Friday, January 06, 2006

A nomadic existence isn't the best

nomad womanAlthough I still have a base in Cape Town, most of the year is spent staying in temporary accommodation even if temporary sometimes lasts a year or more before I move on to somewhere else. To ensure that I don’t have to buy too much to make the temporary accommodation comfortable, I always look for furnished accommodation.

‘Furnished’ is a very relative concept so some of the places I’ve stayed in needed quite a few additions before I was able to feel comfortable. At one stage, I’d accumulated quite a bit of stuff: television set, various kitchen bits and pieces including a decent coffee-maker, lots of books and CDs, bedding, etc. All of that got sent back to Cape Town just over a year ago when I thought that I was going to be spending a year or more in Shanghai. That didn’t happen and I found myself back in Nottingham a few months later. On my return, I had to find a furnished place that was more furnished than most or move into the usual sparsely furnished place and buy necessities as the months went by.

the dessert

Fortunately, I found a place that was furnished enough for me to move in with my suitcase and laptop and not feel as if I were living in a monastery or jail. But, despite my not having to buy a TV, DVD player, CD player, bedding, etc it’s not as if it’s appointed with every kitchen gadget and a vast selection of books and CDs. And the very bland paintings on the walls and other decorative pieces are not to my taste. In other words, the place is comfortable enough but it certainly doesn’t feel like a true home. I could, of course, make changes that would make it feel more of a home but that brings me to the point of this post.

This ‘nomadic’ existence stops me from doing a lot of things that I enjoy simply because I need a more permanent base to enjoy them in. And since it’s been for quite a while that I’ve been living this way, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever enjoy them again. nomad rider

  • Browsing around shops of the type I like: junk shops, charity shops, antique shops, second-hand bookshops, auction rooms – apart from books, even though too many of them make for heavy moving, there is no point in coming across things I may want to buy.
  • Spending hours wandering aimlessly around nurseries (garden centres, if you prefer) – again, no point.
  • Spending hours in the garden, poking at the ground, cutting and trimming things, moving and planting plants, pulling things out, etc – firstly, one needs a garden for that and, secondly, if it’s not my own garden, I’m not really that interested.
  • Experimenting with new recipes – a rather sparsely furnished kitchen does not lend itself to trying a lot of things.
  • Entertaining – sparsely furnished kitchen and not enough space put paid to that one.
  • Delving around things from one’s own past: old photos, favourite books and music, etc – they are not around to be delved into.

There are probably other things I could add to that list but they escape me at the moment.


Anonymous Alan said...

Your nomadic existance should not stop any of you great pleasures in life ... it may just curtail your spending and accumulation of bits and pieces. You dont have to buy everything in the shop but a few small creature comforts may cheer you up.

1:43 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

With my nomadic existence, I resort to various creatures of the masculine persuasion for my comforts! :-)

5:58 pm  
Blogger Frog with a Blog said...

I can totally identify with your post, as for many years I lived away from my home country. Despite a constant search for a home, a room of my own, a garden, buy things, concrete things that I could see, touch, think that "this is mine" and it's going to stay with me, this belongs to me. Still I would continue my nomadic lifestyle on and on again without owning anything apart from a backpack and lots of great pitures... until I came back home a year ago. Bought things, invested in carpets and tables and felt for a while that I was finally home. One year later, I feel like all those belongings just keep on growing like wild grass and I sometimes want to throw it all out and return to my backpack. Split between the safety of a material world and the lack of safety of a life in which home is whereever I lay my hat.
Once a nomad, always a nomad

9:23 pm  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

I like the idea of moving, living in different countries, but I'd need a base too...I guess it would be this big ol' house we live in here.

Does it bother you, being on the move often?

Beautiful desert photos, Nomad. I wonder what life is like for the desert people, what thoughts run through them, how do they relate to each other...

11:01 am  
Blogger Frog with a Blog said...

By the way, are you planning to return to SA eventually or are you in England UFN? or what may be your next destination? And what's your job anyway? ooops... maybe I'm asking too many questions... way too indiscreet for a blog...

2:48 pm  
Blogger andrea said...

Interesting post. I was very nomadic during my twenties and still yearn for that lifestyle at times, but you've pointed out the things I'd miss. Having once lived an unfettered life does cause me to feel suffocated by the accumulation of things, though, something most people never experience. Can I ask what kind of job you do that takes you all over the globe like that?

4:33 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

This more or less answers questions from guyana gyal, mickelino and andrea:

There are certain enjoyable compensations to this wandering around such as seeing new places, meeting new people and experiencing new things. That's very obvious, I'm sure. But, a downside from moving means that just as one has put down some roots and made some good friends, one uproots and looses contact with good things.

The reason why I started this wandering (about 5 years ago) is that I couldn't get decent work in Cape Town, let alone South Africa. If I didn't have a family to support in the manner to which they are accustomed, I could have settled for something that would have fed and clothed me and I'd have been happy with that. However, i do have those responsibilities so I moved to England for work. Most of the past few years have been spent working in England but I've worked in Brussels (very short while) and Singapore. As regards to where to next, I don't really have a preference apart from South Africa. If I were to find decent work there, I'd be back like a shot even if it were not in Cape Town simply because I'd be that much closer to home. That is what I really want although I may find myself feeling rather restless for a while when I eventually do that.

So, in summary, I would like it to end and I definitely intend returning to South Africa.

I'm an IT consultant (stifles yawn!!) - useful for finding work all over the place but VERY boring!

6:43 pm  
Blogger justin said...

I agree with you ... being a nomad isn't the best .... "home is where the heart is" ... home is where I feel most comfortable.

12:17 am  
Blogger andrea said...

My husband is also an IT consultant and I've had a yearning to live in England again for years ... any idea how the market is for ERP system specialists? Probably just another pipe dream. Sigh. To console myself I have rented Red Dragon and must go and swoon at Mr. Fiennes.

3:01 am  
Blogger Gay banker said...

Hi Reluctant nomad. Following your request to be interviewed, I've now done some interview questions for you :-)

Love and kisses, GB xxx

10:22 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

andrea: I think the market is pretty buoyant at the moment. Go to the IT section of
jobserve to see what's there and give your pipe dream a bit of extra life!

gaybanker: thanks for the questions and I'll get to answer them today. What a bastard you are to post that pic of me! I'm going to have to rectify the position by putting up some less unflattering ones! :-)

3:15 pm  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

I can't get over how desolet those pics look. Empty, just full of space. Not that there isn't a beauty in that, but I think it sounds like you are just waiting to end your nomadic existence, and I wish you much luck in that endeavor.

And Micke, your post almost mad me CRY! I didn't know you were a Nomad too!

5:50 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

rob: those pics are desolate and very beautiful and you are right that I'd like to end the nomadic existence relatively soon but don't read too much into those pics. I chose them because they reflect a desert nomad's life and there may be parallels with mine but mine isn't that desolate/lonely/bleak...on the contrary at times.

8:38 am  

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