After being a nomad family for the last two years, the girls and I are finally “settling” down so-to-speak here in beautiful Merida, Mexico. It is no secret that we have tried to settle down three different times during our nomad journey over the past two years.
Our very first settling attempt was at the beginning of our full-time travel adventure when we visited the colonial mountain town Guanajuato City, Mexico for the Project World School Summit hosted by fellow nomad single mom, Lainie Liberti from Raising Miro.
Although we didn’t get to actually attend the summit due to the plague from hell, we did fall in love with this magical little town.
It could have been the cobblestone streets or brightly colored buildings that first pulled us into our love affair with Mexico. Honestly, I am not sure.
Surely, the friendly locals who spoke little English but still accepted us in their community played a role with us falling in love. Maybe it was the near-perfect weather all year long that keeps Guanajuato forever tied to our hearts.
I don’t know. What I do know is that it was the first city to speak to my soul.
Guanajuato was the beginning of our nomad journey. In the previous months, we spent seven weeks road tripping across the United States, two months nearly freezing to death in the small town of Arnprior, Canada, and a month living on the beach in Puerto Rico.
Nomad life can be tiring. Nomadic life with kids can be even more exhausting so when Mexico invited us in, setting up a home base sounded like a good idea.
We quickly signed a year lease on a beautiful totally unfurnished villa with killer views.
A month later, while shopping for a sofa, I had a complete nervous breakdown.
You see. I got rid of all my possessions to go on a life-changing journey around the world with my daughters so why in the hell was I out shopping for a sofa? My very own Eat, Pray, Love journey wasn’t supposed to end in a furniture store in Mexico. Not yet at least.
The sofa shopping nervous breakdown day was the day I decided to end the year lease we had just signed which meant regaining my freedom while also losing a whole bunch of money.
I would repeat this pattern two more times. Once in Albania and once again in the same city in Mexico that started our love affair. Only this time it would be a year later.
After two years of travel, my daughters and I were completely burnt out. The nomad family life didn’t seem as appealing as when we first started.
As much as I loved waking up in a new country and experiencing new food, culture, and sites, my girls were ready for some normalcy.
Basically, they wanted their own beds, own dishes and to know where the light switch was when they got up to use the restroom in the middle of the night.
Only nomads will truly understand that last part.
Honestly, I wasn’t feeling that much different from my girls.
Sure, waking up to the call to prayer every morning in Tirana, Albania was enticing.
And floating down the canal in a gondola with our own private gondolier in Venice was a tourist dream.
As well as walking down to the local bookshop in Northern Ireland nearly every day to see what the friendly bookshop owner had set aside for me were all experiences that will have a special place in our hearts.
These experiences changed us forever. There is truly no going back to what we once considered normal.
So when I say that my girls were wanting some “normalcy” let me dig deeper and explain more.
What is normalcy for us?
They wanted warm friendships. They wanted to unpack their backpacks and leave them unpacked for a month or more.
They hoped to hear the same birds at their window seal every morning while being completely familiar with the sunrise.
They longed for more than five shirts and two pairs of shoes.
I owed it to them to find the right place that would make all this happen. I needed to find and create a home for them because I had obviously failed at this during our nomad family journey.
Even when you are nomadic, you can create a sense of home. I struggled with this because I only saw each situation as temporary. I couldn’t move past that so I failed to develop routines that would make whatever Airbnb we were staying at in whatever country feel like home.
As far as I, I knew I needed to find a home that would serve a purpose greater than just a home in order to get me to feel good about staying put. I did know I was staying put no matter what but I also knew if I didn’t do things completely guided by my heart and soul, then I would be left feeling constricted and depressed.
Our future home needed to have a purpose and boy did I find the perfect home to fulfill this!
Speaking It Into Existence
After speaking my desires to have a large enough home where I could host other single digital nomad moms wanting to try out living and traveling abroad, and eight bedroom/ 4 bathroom home popped up on FB marketplace.
Now, initially, I thought the listing said the house had 4 bedrooms. I was drawn in by all the quirky details and its age. I wanted an older home with tons of character and it had all of that.
But the next day after the home discovery would leave my jaw nearly hitting the floor.
I remember the exact moment when my friend Barby’s eyes widened in absolute shock when on the phone with the owner of the home. In mid convo, she looked at me switching from Spanish to English and said, “The house has eight bedrooms!”.
I am not gonna lie.
My stomach dropped.
I struggle with following through sometimes when it comes to big dreams.
For example, when I set out to travel the world full-time, I almost bought a house back in the states three different times.
Luckily, in the end, I decided each of the times not to go through it.
The dream of opening up a single mom co-op was scary.
The Universe literally delivered me the perfect home and here I was wanting nothing more than to run.
Taking off on a 3-month backpacking trip across Asia sounded like a damn good at this point.
I was an absolute mess of emotions. One second I was excited and the very next second I was in tears shaking and telling myself there was no way in hell I could do this.
Every worst case scenario played through my mind on a continuous never-ending loop.
Surely I was going to invest all this money and then no one would actually come to stay in any of the rooms.
It would be a co-op without the “co” part.
Right? I mean surely I am insane for even thinking I could pull this off.
I am a professional runner. I run from dreams.
But… here I am not running. I am facing every single fear dead on.
If that means I have to call friends at 3 am to talk me off the ledge then so be it. I allow myself to have temporary breakdowns and then I move the fuck on and keep pushing forward.
Life after being a nomad looks a lot like utter chaos at times. It is also quite beautiful.
It is weird waking up in the same place, same familiar bed, and knowing where my favorite places to go are.
It is odd being able to go to a library and rent books I cuddle up with in my bed with for weeks on end.
Actually, it is a strange feeling being able to have stacks of books I bought next to my bed.
When you are a nomad it is hard to lug around a bunch of books so you just don’t.
A Little Bit Of Romance
Dating is another new thing. It turns out that you can actually date when you are spending more than a week or even a few months in a place.
My excuse of not sticking around long enough to actually be in a relationship went out the window when my nomadic life did. Now, I have the time and let’s just say it makes things interesting.
Right now I am laying in bed watching the sunset while writing this post and listening to RINI sing Japanese Denim.
The AC is blasting totally chilling the extreme Merida heat.
Novie is napping and I am inventing, creating, and delivering.
A part of me feels like I lost part of my identity by creating a home base. What about the girl that was always ready to pack her Osprey backpack, hop on that plane, and wake up in a new country? Is she still here?
Well yes, she is.
Having a home base does not stop me from seeing this big world of ours.
If anything I think we are going to visit more countries this year than we have visited in the past two years. You can hold me to that. I have a sneaky suspicion we will be visiting Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, and possibly some places in Asia this year.
Now, that we are no longer nomads Mia can stick with one gymnastics team. The girls have an amazing group of friends that they hang out with on a weekly basis.
This momma is not so used to that. Secretly I might have enjoyed my girls not being around charismatic teenage boys.
I am not ready for this, y’all! Can we please go back to living that nomad family life?
Giving up nomad life means that Novie finally has a consistent nanny. I must say that her nanny is absolutely amazing and much needed.
I get to pursue passions and interests that I struggled to pursue while traveling full-time like learning to play the guitar and learning how to get my salsa dancing on.
This should be interesting!
Home base life means waking early not to catch a flight but to work in my business.
That’s a damn good feeling.
The cool morning breeze greets me each morning.
Birds fly by. Some even get in through the bedroom windows.
I write as Novella sleeps sprawled across my cozy king-sized bed.
It is my bed. No one else’s.
I can eat in it and no one can say a damn thing about it.
Oh yes. This home base life is good.
What Being A Nomad Family Taught Me
Being a nomad family taught me that stuff is not nearly as important as you think it is. You truly don’t need much past your basic needs to live a very happy life.
Even though I have an 8 bedroom co-op house, my girls and I only occupy 3 of the bedrooms.
I am assuming it will feel less and less overwhelming once we start welcoming other single moms into our home. If you want to help furnish the co-op, you can do so by clicking here. I am so ready to share more about what life after being a nomad family is really like. Stay tuned!