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« Rainy with a chance of... well, more rain | Main | Pic For The Day - Wee Little Birdie »

I'd Like A Label Please: Defining Our Travel Style

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.

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Reader Comments (7)

Hi my fellow Rideshare Malibu partner. Greetings from the guy with the big 'label' :). Have been enjoying your blogs and glad you are all happy and healthy. Know that life at Camp WB is still exactly the same. Sure you're not surprised by that.
BTW, why Scotland?

Nov 15, 2009 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

I was wondering the same thing......why did you pick Scotland to put down roots for 6 months??? Adventure seeking family of 4!! How's that label?

Nov 15, 2009 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterpamela

Independent travelers?

Nov 15, 2009 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterLise

Why, of course, you are "Explorers"! Explorers of the world, of life, yourselves... how does that sound to you?

Nov 15, 2009 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBabette

I agree with Babette. I also think you're modern explorers. Who cares if this isn't a job description? To me, it seems to fit you guys. Godspeed.

Nov 16, 2009 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

"IMMERSERS" - You are immersing yourselves into different cultures by living in those places for extended periods of time. I did that in my early 20s when I lived various places in Italy (Celle Ligure, Milan, Rome, Caligiari) for several months each. Then in Paris for 3 months.

I also want to know, why Scotland? What is it about Scotland that has drawn you there?

Nov 16, 2009 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Platel

Bob, I'm running a little behind here, but I think it is best to keep in mind:

"You can't always get what you want..."

Labels are very comforting, but I suspect what you have really done in embarking upon this european adventure is to intentionally step outside your comfort zone. So kiss that old comfort good-bye (and I'm relieved to say that doesn't include saying "goodbye" to warm sheets or coffee) and let your mind run naked across the moors!

Nicole, homeschooling mom, caregiver, (advice-giver!), self-educator and recovering costume designer, recuperating artist & haiku poet.

Nov 24, 2009 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

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