…because some thoughts are worth remembering
At the end of every semester in high school, the dormitory closed down. I was one of a couple of students who didn’t return home at the end. They gave me special permission to leave some of my belongings in their storage room. We would also change dorm-mates every quarter. By the time I got to Hawaii, my instincts to not want material things was well-honed, because every piece I owned had to be moved, stored, donated or thrown out on short notice.
Although our move to Hawaii was supposed to be temporary (a one-year contract job), we ended up staying there for 20+ years. In retrospect, we could have put down our roots, with a house and a mortgage, that would have committed us to the land. It seemed like every couple of years, we thought we would be leaving Hawaii. But no house for us, just rentals. Once a nomad, always a nomad? It becomes a way of being, and not easily shed.
After the 13th year, my domesticated nomadic ways culminated to uprooting our presence from Hawaii after selling our business. As if it were another end of semester in the dormitory, we packed a few things, gave away most of our belongings, where the only footprint we had in Hawaii was now a small storage space we could rent. The US Mainland would be our proverbial oyster with a plane ticket to San Francisco without an agenda except for a rental car reservation for 2 months to start.
I felt so free to not have a fixed address when signing out the rental car, as I stared at the form requiring our contact information. “We don’t have an address!” I exclaimed, but those words were not music to their ears. I quickly put down my in-laws address, but still glowing from realizing I was “permanent-addressless”.
Almost 10 years later, we are once again “permanent-addressless”, leaving Denmark tomorrow for Stockholm, then flying to San Francisco to stay with friends (via a long layover in Helsinki), and no further plans beyond then. It is both exciting and nerve-wrecking, freeing and scary. I am taking it all in.