Traveling Nomads and Memories


The strange truth of our re-entry so far is we are living all in one room, not all that unlike how we lived as traveling nomads. Our home currently is a one-room, yoga-studio, guest house that has many boxes and a few crammed beds. The boys’ bunkbed is at the foot of the one we’re sleeping in and the close proximity does nothing for intimacy and everything for what my heart needs right now, family closeness. Meanwhile, across the yard sanding is deep in process and the familiarity is being adjusted. Even our house is getting a facelift as this year away did for our psyches.

But, I am attempting to still get through boxes, opening, purging, dumping, sorting, tossing and keeping the treasures. Each box is a surprise, sometimes joyous and others a bit of a drag. Today, I opened two boxes sent from our travels back home for us to find, like I did today, and remember.

I loved opening the one from Vietnam as I couldn’t remember a single thing we sent home from that location as Brent ran down to the post office just before we headed to the airport and therefore was a bit of a whirlwind in my memory. Such surprises awaited me! Inside were mementos from what was quite likely the very best, simplest Christmas ever. There was the fabric we used to make our “tree” and the paper ornaments that I found in a small shop that I adored. They were worse for wear as the reindeer had lost its antlers and Santa needs some foot surgery, but the memories were totally intact, no glue gun needed for those! With a smile on my face, I packed them up in a box all their own and relocated the box to the garage with the rest of what is clearly labeled “Christmas.” I look forward to having a rush of joy when, in early December, I find that box again when we begin to deck our halls for another celebratory season with memorable items from our time as traveling nomads.

I also unpacked the large box from India. You have to understand, I have a certain set of problems with India. I love it, adore it, and shopping there is a magical journey unequaled in any other part of the world I have yet to experience (and I have experienced a LOT of other shopping meccas). I go a bit nuts. It might even be a bit of a psychological break as I buy things with glitter and sparkle, unlike anything I ever wear at home. My inner princess gets so happy and she must have been in charge of the rupees this trip as what I found when I opened that box was a hoot!

I had remembered the numerous saris I bought hoping to use them in my house for curtains, pillows and who knows what else. This is what I’m going to use them for and I’m excited to have some of my love for India enhancing my home. But what else was in that box? Well, apparently, I like scarves. And ninja pants. And glittery bracelets and hair clips. And some ready-made top/bottom Indian-style outfits I wore every day while there. And several fun tailored items I’d forgotten about that will be such joy to wear. And several tailored disasters likely never to see the light of day!

Regardless, the boxes of travel-trinkets have already served their purpose…they have connected me with memories of traveling, of joy, connection, and play. I had worried that buying stuff along the way would just be a burden…we’d have to figure out how to ship it home which could get expensive, would we even want what we fell in love with while away, and might it just be more STUFF? This time, I have to say that the resounding answer to those questions is…I’m glad we brought some of the trip home with us. Bringing it home helps us to come home. These little treasures are reminders of the traveling nomads we were, they remind us of who we are and who we have been and who we have become. I’m grateful to have them.

So if you see me wearing some strange outfit, just smile along with me and know that perhaps on that particular day, I needed to wear a different skin on the outside to match the one underneath, one that was made for me by a tailor in India attempting to do what I can hardly do myself…figuring out exactly what I want and how to make it all fit just right.

About Dr. Britta Bushnell

is a writer, teacher, storyteller, and mentor who blends her eclectic training, years of experience, and areas of study into a unique offering for individuals, couples, professionals, and groups. Britta is currently deep at work writing her forthcoming book, Transformed by Birth: Illuminating cultural ideals to enhance the experience of childbirth.

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