Saturday, 17 May 2008

Nomadic Justice

"The great social nomad....prowls on the confines of a docile, frightened order" - Michel Foucault

I am about to do what a nomad does best – move on. NOT from this blog, silly (although I AM a flitting discussion board whore, it has to be said). I am moving from my current rented retro-bungalow on to another place which apparently is far more likely to attract my teenage daughter’s friends over to hang out (is this a good thing?) So next week I shall nonchalantly climb aboard my fully loaded (and beloved) Landrover and cross the mile long open stretch of green pasture that is the no mans land between Litlington and Bassingbourn and relocate.

I jokingly gave myself the name Nomadic as I figured I have moved about a bit over the years. Friends kept complaining that their B page in their address book was becoming a mess. I even changed my name to help this, but now the J’s are a problem. ‘Tis true, and rather sadly for a Saturday night I just worked it out, I have moved house 43 times in my lifetime (yeah and that IS more than once a year). And the pace is increasing – 10 times in the past 5 years. I have been “of no fixed abode” for three full years of my adult life and moved countries 12 times, dragging kids and ex-husband along and providing my mum with a fascinating set of holiday destinations.

It all sounds very unsettling, but I am simply a modern nomad. An űber-nomad. An “executive” nomad even. A genuine global citizen. Andreas Kluth wrote in the
Economist in April about the new urban nomadic lifestyles and the trappings of wireless communications, but I think it was more of a plug for a groovy café in California with wi-fi. He argues that although nomadism and travel can coincide, they need not. Erm….I beg to differ. My take on a nomad is someone who physically moves from one place to another rather than settling down. It is not about someone who checks his email on the train on the way to work or is able to text his girlfriend whilst in the bath (not recommended whilst on charge). One thing Kluth did get right was that nomadism is an addiction that can be likened to gambling. “There is a random pattern of awards, you never know when it pays out, so you keep going”. Maybe I can start a Nomads Anonymous Group for sufferers – but, hey, who would ever turn up?

So I think I have found a solution to my habit. I am about to become what is fashionable called a “two centre household” with my new place in good old Blighty and a beautiful set of four stone walls (with scope) in France. OK, so it has a roof as well as scope and an incredible man turning it into a proper home. It means I can hop on a budget airline (I KNOW I KNOW global handprints pretty bad right now, but I make sure my bananas are grown in Bassingbourn) and as I board the plane I can turn to the camera and say “My work is done here!” and so long as I have a Landrover at both ends of the journey, it may satisfy the craving. Consider it like a patch. I’ll keep you all posted. And if there is a gap in the discussion board postings, it means I have moved to a far away not-spot.


sandwriter said...

hello there fellow nomad!
very pleased to meet you and learn that the nomadic gene is not a peculiarity found only in my familial line ;-)
i look forward to following the tale of your adventures and nomadic wanderings,
may your road be smooth...

Rob said...

Hi there. You're leading a very interesting life. I can see you're motivated by peace, but how did you position yourself to make a difference?

Caroline Jaine said...

@rob - I work with a company that promotes peace and freedom of expression (fair and indepedant media). I call it ethical PR, but I like to think it makes a difference!

Ben said...

Another delightfully refreshing read! You have a terrific rythmn to your work Nomad - makes it easy to read without losing any of its message.

Thanks again!

Ben (Ozscot)

RainforestRobin said...

I can SOOOOO relate to the nomadic lifestyle as much of my life has been like...except for the last decade. Prior to that I was all over the world. I think you are wonderfully uniqe, creative and brave. Good for you. I like this site and I have SO enjoyed your wit in the discussions. You run rings around everyone. I laugh out loud over your comments. I am so glad we have connected. You are an inspiration for me. We only go around once and you are really living it.

Da Old Man said...

Wow. I consider it a big move when I get off my couch. I have never lived more than 10 miles from the hospital where I was born.

Kevin Goodman said...

You’re such a great writer.
When I think nomad, I think of Huns, Mongols, and Roma caravans. I would love to hear about how you managed a diplomatic position, travel and children. I love to travel and with a Polish wife I am obliged to visit east Europe regularly for family. But I can say that I never look forward to getting on an airplane with two children. But I do know the experience is good for them.

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

Thanks for submitting this post to the "best three posts" discussion. I am not sure why you selected this post? I saw your site and found many very interesting posts from you!

It is very amazing that someone can travel as much as you have! It is reassuring to read your definition of a nomad as being someone who physically moves from one place to another rather than settling down.
Some of us remain unsettled even while living in one place :)

Alex Mcone said...

"Maybe I can start a Nomads Anonymous Group for sufferers – but, hey, who would ever turn up?"

- ha ha ... true that is so true.

43 times. Wow. I dont think I could ever handle that.