Before nomadic travel, I use to make permanent decisions regularly. In 2005 I built a house. In 2007 I quit my job. In 2008 I bought a family car after deciding to have children. And in 2010 I decided to have no more children.
In 2012 I decided to travel the world for 6 months and in 2013 I decided to keep traveling.
Then something happened.
For the next 5 years during my nomadic travel, all my decisions were temporary. Which home to move to for a month, which flight to catch, which bag to get rid of, which shoes to keep, what restaurant to eat at. There was no more thinking into the future, it all become immediate needs and immediate thoughts. The longest ahead we booked was a few months.
Even when I desperately wanted to stop traveling the world, during year 4 (2015) and 5 (2016) I couldn’t commit. I wrote a list of several places I could call home and yet found one more destination to visit.
In 2017 I came to Melbourne to visit my parents after being stranded in the USA by my then-husband. I never decided to stay, but the situation decided for me. Business stolen, income stopped, I was easily persuaded by my parents to move in with them. Again, something I thought would be temporary.
After 10 months in Melbourne sharing a car and walking everywhere, I decided I needed a car. This commitment felt terrifying. I couldn’t believe I was buying into staying. But, I bought a cheap $4,000 car that didn’t seem like such an annoyance should I return to my temporary-decision-travel-lifestyle.
Fast forward to 2018. I was still fighting a divorce battle and knew it would not be over soon. The kids were loving being surrounded by family and I desperately relied on them as the kid’s second parent. So I decided to stay with my parents on a long term basis. We rented a house together and I co-signed a 12-month lease. I was taking some big steps. But at the same time, I didn’t feel confined by the commitment as my parents were also on the lease and ultimately, I could leave if I wanted.
I didn’t want to. 12 months passed. Seems I was re-educating my commitment levels. And I felt happy.
In 2019 I had been in a relationship for nearly 2 years. Commitment.
In 2019 my kids had been in school for 2 years. Commitment.
In 2019 I decided to ditch my crappy car and invest in something more quality. Something I wouldn’t want to get rid of. Handing over $17k for my SUV didn’t cause any heart palpitations. Commitment. I was adulting!
Making Big Decisions
At the end of 2019, I found my commitment levels being tested again. For 3 years I had lived with my parents. The time before this was some 15 years prior. I felt ready. Ready to do life with my kids. Ready to be an adult. Ready to make a commitment.
Having made decisions with my husband for some 20 years I can tell you this commitment was one of the hardest moments of my entire life. With a deep desire to return home, I made a decision to head back to Perth. It had been 8 years since I left my home. 7 years and 6 months longer than I ever thought possible.
But I wasn’t ready for more than one commitment at a time. And in choosing a commitment to return home I avoided making a commitment to my man. I wasn’t ready. I don’t know if I ever will be after the blow I survived. I am getting there. But that’s a side note to be sorted in therapy. 😀
December 16 I moved from cold, grey Melbourne back to sunny, blue Perth. Naturally, I needed baby steps so I took on my parent’s property. The one I grew up in and had not lived in since my wedding at 21 years old.
The next decision I made was to go through a lifetime of belongings. When I started my travels I had placed all our belongings in the garage of my house. I organized a removalist to bring it to my new place and then organized a skip bin to declutter a life I no longer had.
Going through those boxes was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Memories as ancient as 20 years in the making. Love letters from our 16-year old selves, cards for years and years, photos, clothes, everything. The easiest part was knowing whatever I didn’t want to face I could give to my children’s father. He had no choice since he hadn’t lived in the country for several years. I got to make the decisions. Commitments that felt good and releasing.
My glory box of love letters. I didn’t open. I gave to him. His shoebox of love letters from me I gave to him. Piles of DVDs and tapes I gave away. Canvas prints of the two of us, gone. He could make some decisions now since I had made all our family decisions for way too long.
Things I did keep were mainly choices made by my children. They loved my wedding photos and their baby albums. Together we poured through a lifetime and filled a whole skip bin. Into that skip bin, I poured more than my material things. I poured all of my sorrow, I let it all go. I dumped in all my anger, I jumped on the top of it to make sure it stayed in there and so I could fit even more. And when I was done? Someone came and carted it away. And I felt free.
The Biggest Commitment So Far
In 2020 the commitments keep rolling in. I can now commit to vacations in advance. I committed to a long-distance relationship (the same man) 3 years this year. I committed to a new job. I still get to work part-time from home, but it’s actually given me more financial freedom to make more commitments. That’s helpful!
Probably the biggest commitment of 2020 was Cabo Holmes, our Cavoodle. We call him Holmes because we already have 2 Bender’s so now the households even 😉
We had a dog before we started our travels and the kids never stopped talking about him. He was old and passed away in January 2020 happy with his new owners. One day I took the kids to check out a cavoodle, just a look. Cabo ran to us and stole our hearts. He is an adorable half cavalier and half toy poodle. He doesn’t shed and he pounces like a cat. It still took me one week to make this commitment. He signified the end of many things and the beginning of many more.
The end of nomadic travel. The end of moving. The beginning of home. The beginning of a new life. The beginning of the new norm- solo mum with 2 kids and a dog. I liked the sound of that.
I parted with a fair bit of money for Cabo. I wanted him to really be a commitment I put my money behind. He’s been worth every penny. The cuddles during evenings of tears, the walks, the play, the training, the puppy eyes. I can’t tell you how much he has come to mean to each of us. My son is his strongest advocate, always protecting him and dotting on him. A boy and his dog. It warms my heart.
Why Cabo? I visited Cabo in Mexico with my Travelocity team. It was a paid press trip that I took as Explore With Erin. It was a journey I took without my old blog, without my old partner. It was the promise of a new life better than the previous one. And Cabo is part of that promise.
I have no doubt nomadic travel killed my commitment. But I would say my marriage also contributed to that. For the first time in my life, I’m making decisions by myself and the feeling is addictive. I’m working my way up the commitment level. So who knows what’s next? A new house, marriage, children? Ha! I jest. But really, I’m still working my way up. Baby steps. But I’m excited to continue working on my commitment levels and for now, my commitment is here.
Despite my new job, my heart is still here with you, writing and sharing my journey. From famous nomadic family to single mum conquering deception and becoming a boss lady. Thank you for staying committed to me. Thank you for following my nomadic journey on Travel With Bender and for accepting Explore with Erin. Your commitment inspires mine.
So here’s to more random blog posts and here’s to a year of commitment. Which is proving easier with our year starting in confinement (without travel). May we all learn that commitment is not as scary as it sounds and in fact, neither is having a home with a dog.
Loads of love ya’ll.
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