Allison Vesterfelt writes to summarize her book, Packing Light,
Like many twenty-somethings, I tried desperately to discover the life of my dreams after college, but instead of finding it, I just kept accumulating baggage. I had school loans, car payments, electronics I couldn't afford, a house full of mismatched furniture I didn't love but that had become my own, hurt from broken relationships, and unmet expectations for what life was "supposed to be" like.
Just when I had given up all hope of finding the "life I'd always dreamed about," I decided to take a trip to all fifty states...because when you go on a trip, you can't take your baggage. What I found was that "packing light" wasn't as easy as I thought it was.
After reading her book and studying nomads in history, I have been challenged to think outside the box. What if I sold practically everything and lived a nomadic lifestyle, visiting all 50 states? If my family travelled America as nomads, various aspects of my life would change, worsen, and improve.
First, with a nomadic lifestyle a few aspects of life would simply change, not deteriorating or getting better. For example, my relationships with my family would adjust as we would squeeze tightly together in a car, tent, hotel room, or friend’s house frequently. Crammed together like sardines, our situation would challenge us to exude extra courtesy and grace to those around us, compelling us to grow in our relationships with each other. Our school situation would neither worsen nor improve, for national monuments, museums, and daily life lessons might replace some textbooks; however, this lifestyle would prove problematical when we wanted to read books or solve math calculations in peace and quiet. I would find no quiet in teensy living quarters. Surely, these factors would not upgrade or degrade my life if I travelled as a nomad.
|New Mexico 2010|
Secondly, many aspects of my life would worsen with a wandering lifestyle. Friendships would prove difficult to uphold since I would not maintain an address. Rapidly, I would realize to what extent I yearn for the companionship of other girls my age. In addition, basic living conditions would deteriorate. Since they would offer insufficient true amenities, our stays at rest stops, hotels, and hospitable homes would lower my standard of living, especially in regard to cleanliness, nutrition, and comfort. In addition, I easily get carsick with head and stomach aches. Disturbing and surprising, many difficulties could arise to test me, including robberies, car break-downs, lack of cell service, and no knowledge of where we would stay that night.
|Adventures on Pike's Peak 2010|
Finally, many aspects of my life would improve with a gypsy lifestyle. Without a 1,800 sq. ft. house to keep in order, I would not clean as much. Simple and orderly, the number of my belongings would decrease significantly before such an adventure could commence. Although many people might view it negatively, I fancy the excuse to lug fewer belongings. Living day-to-day, we would enjoy freedom to move anywhere at all at “the drop of a hat.” Enjoying sunsets, Frappuccino stops, camping on sandy beaches, and jamming through the country with our favorite radio stations, we would have more freedom to enjoy God’s creation and live with a daily trust in Him for our next meal or place to stay. Clearly, thrilling characteristics of nomadic life would pop up to delight us.
|Amazon Trip 2013|
Although some areas of my life would change, worsen, and improve, the question remains: Would I--could I—give up everything for a 50-state road trip or to dwell as a wanderer? Would the difficulties be worth the freedoms and joys? Every 21st century wanna-be nomad should challenge himself to think outside the proverbial box and dream for a minute.