In July last year Bo and I moved out of our rental. As a part of our Nothing New Project I wanted to see if we could live transitionally for the final six months of the year. It was a very experimental phase in the project, one that I was willing to pull out of at any time if it wasn’t working for us… I wanted to see if we could live without a fixed address. I had conditions of course. Conditions around safety for Bo and around the kinds of places we would stay. It was important to me that we stayed in the same town (for work and stability reasons for both Bo and I). As much as I wanted to just sell everything we had and take off, I knew that it wasn’t the right time to do that. So I started a new job and we let go of our home and we put our favourite furniture and belongings in storage in my mums garage. Over the past 8 months we have lived in 8 different homes and connected with countless different people. We have cared for dogs and cats and chickens and geese and ducks. We have helped harvest vegetables and pick fruit and grow plants and shell beans. We have lived in homes in town and in homes on properties and even in wonderful little home on wheels.
Every time we moved Bo was excited. Every time things changed it was a new adventure. She was always happy to reach somewhere new and she was always a little sad to say goodbye to her furry friends that she befriended (there were ten or so along the way). She showed me how easy it is for a child to be flexible, how welcoming she was to change and how excited she was for new adventures. There were times when it was hard and there were times when it wasn’t exactly what we expected. There were hiccups and mistakes and chickens who we had to chase through paddocks until after sunset.
There is something in me though, a homebody, that needs my own space. I’m a communal soul at heart but also an introvert. I like my own space. I like to be able to do things my way and I get really uncomfortable when I feel like I’m stepping on someone elses toes. I’m always trying to justify my need for something of ‘my own’ when I so strongly believe in communal living and sharing. At this stage I don’t actually have an answer to any of that… I’m always open to new ideas and to new opportunities but for now, for Bo and I, it’s time to have our own place again. To have somewhere that we can call home, where I’m not scared we are going to break someone else’s things and where I can grow what I want in the garden and have an empty cupboard to put our clothes. There even came a time when Bo began to ask for a space of her very own, it was then I realised that whilst she is resilient and definitely flexible, she too needs something that is her own in some way.
So, this week Bo and I are moving into our very own place, right in town, a few blocks away from work and daycare and only a few more to the beach. It’s not the rural sprawl I’ve always dreamed of. It doesn’t have a backyard for fruit trees and dog. But it’s not forever. It’s the next step in the growing that we are doing as a family. I can’t help but feel still a little torn about the end of this part of the project. It was such a huge challenge for me to step out of my comfort zone and really engage in the idea of transitional living, and it was such a success, it feels kind of strange to abandon it now.
But like every time I get caught in my own thoughts and my own internal debates, I remind myself that good things come from good intentions… and the best things come when you least expect them, or at least when you stop trying to force them. You don’t need to push the river, it flows by itself.