Do nomads have a social life?
“What about social life?” is one of the most frequently asked questions we get as unschooling nomads. “What about relations? Do you have any friends? Do the children have any friends?”
I see the perspective; I understand the wonder. Living inside the mainstream lifestyle, social life is closely connected to schools, after-school activities, workplaces, and neighborhoods. So how to have a social life when you don’t have all of that?
I have many short and long good answers to this question, all circling around the fact that the social life of free people is voluntary and selective. Like we choose where to be, what to learn, what activities we want, and how to make our money; we also choose who we want to hang out with. For how long, when, and where?
Today, I want to share another point: Our social life has changed completely as we went through the transit to unschoolers and nomads; it was like walking through a closet of old coats, entering a magic world you would never have imagined. Truly.
We meet the most amazing people all the time. I must say. Surprising, awesome, creative people you would not have imagined ever to exist. We form friendships enveloping our hearts, penetrating our life roots, being so strong and amazing; we share and laugh and play music and play games and walk in nature and cook meals and build things and make businesses and hang out and read books and do crafts and walk dogs and talk and talk and talk.
Before this phase in my life, I would sometimes feel lonely and awkward, and nerdy; with unschooling and traveling, I find myself meeting people all the time. People I like, people like me or unlike me but like me anyway, wonderful people. Friendships are rich and fast and deep and ever-evolving.
On top of this, our life is overflowed with people. Wherever we go, we meet people and often “by coincidence” find ourselves in close proximity to someone we already know. To me, being hypersocial can never have too much, but I will admit: It is a lot. We have people around us all of the time.
Our here and now, springtime 2022 in Catalunia is a good example: We just came back to our semi-stationary bus after 5 very social weeks in Portimao and imagined a time of relative peace, where our social life would be Spanish-style, meeting people at the beach-bars and in the streets when we wanted to, and for the rest of it just having a quiet time in and around the bus. And what happened?
On the very first day we arrived, there was a grand opening of a restaurant some of our local friends had just opened; we met everybody local plus joined the celebrating crowd just 2 hours after we parked the car. Then it went on with connections in Barcelona; we wanted to re-open after the long journey, then some friends called asking if they could park with us in their van on the way south, and we had 24 hours of social life at home. They moved on Easter Monday; come Tuesday, our friends from Normandie asked if they could come over for a bit. Sure! Social life continued through our week: our British friend hanging out, my birthday unfolding on Thursday, and come Friday, the friends from Normandie arrived in their campervan to stay for a week.
Let’s hold this thought for a while.
We live 1 hour south of Barcelona, my friend lives in Normandie. She calls me to see if she can come over. Come 1.500 kilometers over. This is how rich our relations are and how great the freedom is. We can decide to go on a great adventure to see each other because we know the true adventure is the people.
Now we have a blast of their campervan and our bus parked next to each other for a week; social life is rich with big and small conversations, learning from each other, sharing moments and meals, sharing normal life, beach time, crafts, and ideas. We are having fun under the sun and under the stars.
So - the social life of nomads is wild and untamable, rich and unpredictable, amazing, and a beating heart in our life. There is no scarcity; on the contrary, it is more nuanced, more wholehearted, and more amazing than I would ever have imagined. We don't plan for it, we allow it, and we prioritize it just as much as our friends who just drove from Normandie.
Last summer, we drove 3000 km in the “wrong” direction to hang out with some friends in Istanbul on our way to our daughter's book release in Copenhagen. Our whole summer plan is about people, not places. That is how it is. And we love it.
It is funny how these things that seem impossible from “the other side” from inside the mainstream are so different here in Freedom Land, so easy and abundant and different.
Don't be afraid. Don't ever be afraid. Just go live the life you want to live.
Where are we now?
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