We recently watched a really great Youtube of a young couple we follow, called The More We Explore about their first year of full time RVing and living on the road. While they’re about six months ahead of us, I could resonate with everything they said.
Especially the awkwardness of being able to answer a simple question like “Where are you from?”
On our way to South Dakota, to establish domicile there, it was easier. We played with variations of “we’re leaving California”. Now, many times my short answer is “South Dakota”. But it doesn’t feel entirely honest – and definitely incomplete. We just released a video of “Our New Home State” which is now officially South Dakota according to our driver’s licenses and mailing address. We loved living there…. for a couple of weeks. We’ve also loved living here in Oregon for a few weeks, or Arizona for some time before that.
We now take home with us, and at the end of a day of exploring and Tom says “Now where?” I reply with “Home,” meaning our motorhome wherever it might be parked. But when we’re in a town visiting with locals and they ask where we’re from I obviously can’t answer with “Here”. (Well, I could, but it’s confusing.)
Sometimes people ask because they want to know how far you’ve traveled. Again, I wonder, do I answer with the last place we came from? – this week or this month?
“We’re full time travelers” seems to be the most direct response, but that’s not really what they’re asking, is it? And like Steve and Tess mentioned in their video, people don’t always respond positively to an answer that implies drifter or vagabond. Even when talking to fellow travelers (if they’re not full-time themselves).
Sometimes I try by saying “Well, originally we’re from California,” and depending on what location we’re in, that can be the end of it! If not, I’ll continue with “and now we travel full time”. Again, depending on who you’re talking to that can end the conversation as well.
Since Tom and I have immersed ourselves in the full time RVing community from the day we came up with the idea, staying in motion no longer seems out of the ordinary. We have watched Youtubes of SO many people that have adopted this transient lifestyle that it can and does feel normal to us.
But not everyone in regular society understands the concept: “What do you mean you don’t have a permanent residence?”
Not everyone is familiar with the word boondocklng: “You mean staying at Walmart?”
Most times when people ask where you’re from, they are just wanting a short answer. Something to help them identify you. They do not want the longer, more accurate and honest answer. They don’t alway have the time (or inclination) to understand that people can – and do – exist without being attached to a specific place – or label.
Which brings me to my soapbox of why we need to get away from attaching labels to everything and everyone. Why to I have to identify with a particular political party or sports team or religion or hair color? Why? Because it’s easier for people to categorize you. To know if you’re someone they want to associate with or not. Because it’s easier to make snap assessments and attach stereotypes than to take the time to get to know you as a fellow human with millions of nuances. Okay. I’ll step down from the box.
I don’t think we’ll ever have a single answer now to anyone who asks where we’re from. It’s complicated. When we’re asked to sign a guest book with our address, I’ll put USA. And that seems to become more true with every state we explore.
I would love to know how other full time travelers answer this question. If you happen to be one of them, would you please comment with your answer?
For now, we continue to try out different responses and try to assess if the person asking is really interested in the full answer or a brief reply. At this point in our travels, the short answer would seem to be “We don’t know yet.”
Peace & Love, Joy