I grew up as a “park service brat”, which is similar to being a “military brat”, in that my family moved a ton. My dad worked as a natural resource specialist for the National Park Service, so wherever his job took him, the family, of course, went along.

At one point in my life, I decided to sit down and figure out how many times I had moved in my entire life (including my very first move from my birthplace to Montana when I was only weeks old). I was in my late 20s at the time and when I calculated my moves, I figured out I had moved on average once for every year of my life. I’m 54 years old now and I have moved a total of 30 times in my entire life!

Don’t get me wrong, I think I had a great childhood. To be able to say I’ve lived in some of the most beautiful parks in the Western United States is pretty incredible. And because of the nature of my dad’s work, we spent a lot of time in the great outdoors, which is why I love being outside today. As a family we went camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing and skiing. But having to move during middle school and high school and all that entails, was very hard on me and my brothers. I am the youngest of 5 kids and in my childhood alone we moved to 4 different states by the time I was 8 years old: Nevada, Montana, Kansas and then California. All 5 of us kids were born in a different state.

And just like military brats, many park service brats born and raised in this nomadic type of family life grow up yearning to move. It’s almost like they have this ingrained longing to relocate. Wanderlust. Never wanting to stay in one place long enough to let the grass grow under their feet. Always wondering what the was on the other side of the mountain. Is the grass greener over there? When I reached the age of moving out on my own, I was already experiencing the desire to keep moving on. Every one of my brothers followed this path, as well, only now 2 of the 4 have been in the same house for several years (one is in his 60s, the other in his 70s, however!)

To this day, I am envious of people who tell me they’ve lived in the same house they were born in. Even though I continued to move every few years into my midlife, there was a big part of me that longed for finding that “forever” home. Somewhere I could feel settled and would want to stay. This might sound odd, but still, every time I see a u-haul parked in front of a house, unloading or loading, I get this sad, sick feeling inside. It finally dawned on me that sight brings up feelings of my childhood. Having to pack all of our belongings, move to a new place, have to start all over making new friends and try to fit in. As an adult, the stress was just as bad, but in some new ways. Not to mention how much money is wasted with each move! My mom would always tell me you waste at least $1000 every move (of course, this was back in the 70s, so add cost of living and inflation to that amount).

In 2017 my husband and I bought the house we’re in now. My husband has a very similar background and moved a ton, too. Both of us talked about the longing to find a home to stay in. We believe we finally found it. We love this home. We love Las Vegas. We’re presently working on paying off the house so it will truly be “ours”.

In 2020, I had been having worsening back pain and began reaching out to more medical professionals to get to the bottom of it once and for all. I was blessed to find a physical therapist and a massage therapist who both were instrumental in helping me delve into my behaviors and thoughts around my chronic back pain. A year later I decided to change my eating habits and started a keto diet with intermittent fasting and lost the weight I’d been gaining. Also, during this time I discovered Dave Ramsey and began making huge advancements in paying off our debt and within 8 months we became completely debt free, with the exception of our mortgage. And a year after that, this February, I decided to take a 45 day break from alcohol and, one thing led to another, now I’m AF over 6 months.

I now wonder if because I finally found a home that I love and finally feel “settled” if this is why I have been able to make these HUGE life changes? In a matter of 2 years (almost to the day) I have lost weight, started exercising, paid off debt, stopped drinking and am getting in the best shape, both mentally and physically, of my life. Could it be that after nearly 50 years of constantly moving…the planning, the prepping, the STRESS…that now I’ve finally settled into what I hope to be the last home I’ll live in, that I finally have the mental capacity to focus on the most important things? My health? My happiness? Living?? I talked about decision fatigue in a previous post and I have to wonder how much mental muscle I was expending in fretting and stewing about my next move?

I think I definitely stumbled onto something here. For the first time in my adult life, I’m beginning to get some clarity. Clarity into my life choices, including drinking alcohol. The future is bright and I am remaining open-minded and looking forward to whatever life brings!

5 responses to “Nomad”

  1. So proud of you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Diane Prohoroff Avatar
    Diane Prohoroff

    Jennifer, I love your introspection on how your past probably created some issues for you. Its so awesome that you got quiet and turned inward with your questions and journaling. I am looking to do the same and you inspire me to do that! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness! You made my day! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and posts. I would love to hear some of your story and journey!!


  3. Klaus Altemueller Avatar
    Klaus Altemueller

    Very good observations. I think before I turned 21 I had lived in at least 16 different places, perhaps more that I can’t remember. That made it really hard to make and keep friends, much less learn anything about stability.

    I think that is why I have trouble trusting people. Make friends and then, poof. Gone. So why bother getting close?

    Liked by 1 person

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