As a Nomad Food and Eating Take On Different Meaning
Over the last year and a half or so I’ve been quite the nomad. About half of that time was spent staying somewhere other than my registered permanent address.
It has been quite the learning curve for me to adapt to this nomadic lifestyle. How I organize my stuff and what I take with me on these road trips has definitely become more refined over time.
I like games of spacial reasoning. For several years I worked as a dispatcher – for taxi, tow truck, and emergency services.
I particularly liked dispatching taxi, probably because no one was going to die if they didn’t get their ride, it was of course a whole different ball game with emergency services.
One thing that made taxi dispatching fun was seeing how efficiently I could move my drivers around the geographical area. I had a direct reflection (usually) of how good of a job I had done based on how much my drivers tipped me. At that time in my town, cab drivers were paid on commission, so the more efficiently I could move my drivers, the more money they made, and that meant more money for me too.
I was motivated by the extra cash I could earn, but at the same time, it was often a really fun challenge to me. It was a fun game for which I often got a nice cash reward if I did an excellent job.
I’ve been applying the same kind of spacial connection to how I move my stuff around as I travel from location to location during my time in Colorado as we prepare to move here. Only this time the reward isn’t cash, the reward is getting to carry and deal with less stuff.
Being a nomad, the game here is, the more efficient I am, the less physical exertion I have to do, which is a good thing for someone like me who at this time still has some bouts with chronic fatigue-like symptoms. I like to save my physical energy for the fun outdoors activities that are available here in Colorado if I can!
There are certain configurations of how my stuff fits together that work perfectly in my truck. Not only that, but I have different levels of stuff that I bring with me into any over night station depending on a multitude of things, but mostly dependent on how long I am staying there.
This brings a whole other level of awareness to the accumulation of potential clutter items, no matter how small. I’ve really become aware of how the collection of even a few extra small items that I don’t really need can create havoc in my system.
The truth of the matter is I hate carrying stuff. I like to see how little stuff I can move with me for the shear fact that I feel lighter when I’m not carrying so much (physics, duh); however, being nomadic means moving my stuff around A LOT.
It’s always been my experience that moving is a great way to get some motivation to get rid of stuff. And as an extension of that, I’m seeing what a great way being more of a nomad is causing me to become even more aware of what kinds of physical clutter I am still drawn to accumulate while also providing nearly instant feedback when I pack up and move along to my next post a few days or weeks down the line.
One category of stuff in particular I have found interesting as of late – food.
First of all, shopping for one person is something I’ve needed to get used to again. Plus, buying large sizes of just about anything is usually a no-no when I’m on the road, especially when it comes to perishables. I learned this lesson the hard way last year when I ended up leaving one town earlier than initially expected, had more food than I could reasonably fit in my cooler, and lost maybe half of it.
There are some other interesting considerations to make when it comes to condiments and other “basic” type ingredients that often aren’t available in a small enough size to make them worth my while to purchase. Sometimes these items are used, but infrequently enough that it makes me stop and wonder if it’s really worth having them, especially if I have to move them time and time again. It doesn’t take many of these type of little items to add up to another bin – and some of these items might need refrigeration (like ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, etc).
But even over-buying on non-perishables is something I watch out for now in a way that isn’t even a consideration when I’ve been back in Iowa at our permanent residence. Now, I have one smaller-sized bin for dry goods, and I try to keep the amount of food able to fit in it. Why? Because I don’t like to carry things.
I want to be able to pack up my truck and be ready to go to my next station within 30 minutes, 60 tops, and with a time restriction like that, every item counts.
For me this has again brought in the element of making it a game. How can I combine the ingredients I already have to use up X, Y, and Z before I have to leave in 3 days? Can I take certain perishables out of their hard boxes and create more space in my dry goods bin? What items do I need to leave out in plain site so I’m sure to eat them?
I do find that this tends to involve more trips to the grocery store than I have typically been used to. As I nomad I usually end up at the grocery 2-3 times per week, whereas at our permanent residence, I usually shop only once per week.
This has been a process for me, and I’ve been finding that making it a game brings an element of fun into a task that would otherwise be just another thing on the to-do list that I might otherwise be dreading.
I’m curious to hear about your own experiences doing longer travels, either with food or with packing stuff in general. Let me know what it’s been like for you in the comments below!