I'm someone who likes a good label. Not like designer clothes, but the kind of labels we hang on ourselves. They keep me cozy and safe feeling. My labels are fleece lined and wind resistant. At work I was a Sound Supervisor. It defined me -- at work anyway. Lately, I've been feeling label-less. My psyche's getting a little chilly. So, today at breakfast, I asked Brenna, "What are we now?"
We are absolutely Tourists, but it goes beyond that. The vision of a solid clump of 57 retirees exiting a bus and filing into a museum at a predetermined time to see a predetermined number of pieces of art doesn't fit our current style of travel. I've done big bus tourist travel and you absolutely see a lot -- you just don't necessarily experience a lot.
We're sort of meandering our way through Europe, even backtracking to see some sights over again, and skipping some of the more touristy destinations all together. When asked if we made it to Warsaw while we were in Poland, I say, "No, but we ate at this great little vegetarian place about eight times." We end up finding a favorite haunt and returning so many times that we get sick of it and then have to find a new favorite. It's not a better way to travel, it's just what we do.
The plan has always been to travel for a year, but we're not really Expats, since we're not staying in one place and we have no real means of income. I've tried on the Digital Nomad label, but we don't plan to be that nomadic. We just unpacked a lot of crap, and we're staying put in Scotland for six months. If we're Vagabonds, we're well dressed vagabonds. As we unpacked everything for the first time back in Poland, I said to Brenna, "I can't believe you brought eight pairs of shoes."
She corrected me, "Six pairs of shoes and two pairs of boots. And one pair are flip-flops, so they don't count."
I was just trying to make myself feel better about the number of computer cables I brought. By weight I've outdone Brenna's footwear hands down. (A small amount of justification came when I fried the Mac power supply in Serbia. No problem -- I brought two).
So: tourist, traveller, slow-traveller, vagabond, nomad, expat, ex-sound supervisor, unemployed-homeschooling-nomadic-freelance-sound-guy-dad... It's too much. And somehow, nothing at all. Who are we if we're not defined by what we do?Maybe I'll just take comfort in labeling other people.