For most nomads, or travelers in general, the thought of “settling down” can be a scary one. It’s far more exciting to see yourself gallivanting around the globe, darting from locale to locale, and going wherever the wind takes you.
That was my life for awhile, and I loved it. From Europe to Asia to South America, three years of indulging in every travel whim one could imagine flew by. To be sure, a few “dream destinations” were left on the list to leave room for future adventures, but overall the attitude was to travel as much as possible.
While many friends and family members were focused on finding houses, taking out mortgage loans, finding stable employment, and putting money away into retirement funds, those things were the furthest from my mind. Sure, bills had to be paid and travel funds needed to be saved up, and thankfully I enjoyed my work experiences overseas (which did add skills to the resume and money into the bank account). However, more long term concepts like mortgages and retirement accounts were not that desirable. They were downright scary.
But, as happens to most nomads, the day does come in which one begins to think of the overall picture of the future, instead of the next travel adventure. At least, it did for me. Things began to change when I moved to D.C. three years ago, met my almost-husband two years ago, and started to think about putting down some roots.
With the wedding quickly approaching, Leon and I began to discuss whether or not we wanted to look at purchasing a home in the D.C./northern Virginia area. After a lot of prayer and discussion, we both felt like the D.C. area was where we wanted to be for the indefinite future. We spent hours researching the home buying process, looked at properties, and tried to find a suitable place in our price range (after getting over the shock that a property in D.C. costs the same as two properties in Texas or Colorado). We found a realtor, met with her to discuss the process, and spent a lot of time perusing housing listings before finding a property that we felt was a good fit for our needs, fit within our budget, and didn’t require a two-hour work commute for either of us. If the contracts go through, it looks like we might officially be first-time homeowners soon.
Amidst the process of trying to find a home, Leon asked me if I felt okay with the commitment. After all, having a mortgage means being anchored to same place, at least for awhile, and means giving up the nomadic freedom to spontaneously relocate at a moment’s notice.
Quite shockingly, however, the transition feels very natural. Travel is still a passion, and will always be. The difference is that, as I’ve learned recently, it is possible to aim for a balance. It’s possible to save up for another travel adventure in a faraway land, and to maintain a sense of wonder and curiosity for all things international, while also striving to provide stability for future children and planning for a healthy retirement situation.
Of course, it’s more fun to hike through the Cambodian jungle than look through housing contracts, but it is exciting to think that those housing contracts signal the beginning of a new chapter.