6 Years a Nomad
Travel fiction by Adam J. Cheshier.
In the beginning, it was four months. Everyone I knew thought I was going through a stage of fernweh — a German word discerning the lust for a place you’ve never been.
.They believed I was looking for my own Luftschloss — a castle in the sky, or, less literally, an unrealistic dream for a home. Excuse my early excessive usage of German vocabulary.
They didn’t understand why I was packing my bags for four months to travel the world.
Those four months passed in what seemed like minutes. That’s what tends to happen when you’ve found the right place.
In no time, four months were extended to nine. And then, thirteen, and I still didn’t want to go home. I blinked and I was gone for eleven more. Still, not the slightest urge to revisit home. After I’d been gone for thirty-five months — almost three years on the road — I started to wonder what home meant.
Fast-forward to the present day, it has been 74 months on the road and counting. My sixth-year milestone just passed in May. I still haven’t found out what home means. If I don’t miss a home by now, where is my home?
Contrary to what they thought, I wasn’t running away. I was in a stage of Torschlusspanik — another German word and I promise my last one — which is a panic your time is running away without actually living in it.
There were plenty of times I could have gone home but chosen not to. Friends got married. Grandparents passed away. My sister graduated college and my parents celebrated fifty years of life together; and, still, nothing could get me home.
Instead, I was hiking mountains in Italy with people I couldn’t understand. With only five liters of wine in our packs. I was doing ecstasy at festivals in the Mediterranean. I was getting lost in the Borneo rainforests.
For some months, I was exploring lands unexplored in the Arctic. Other times, I was jumping from planes in Mexico. A couple of times, I went free diving in Antarctica below three feet of ice. I even rode the great Trans-Siberian train across Russia.
I spent some of the best weeks of my life spearfishing in the Philippines. And riding fifteen-foot waves in Bali, Indonesia. I had to evade bombs on my train in Belgium. I even spent a summer in Algeria where we broke into Napoleon Bonaparte’s former home.
By my sixth year, I had been around and thought I’d seen it all. Anything the crazy world could throw at me was never crazy enough to phase me.
I was the most traveled person out on the road and constantly looking for my next kick. There was no ocean left to sail, no festival left to dance, no path left to trek, and definitely no sunset left to be seen. I truly believed I’d seen it all and I was exhausted without a clue what to do next.
I signed on for three more months on the cruise ship I was working on for lack of a better plan. I was making decent money so I figured to keep my surroundings the same for a few more months wouldn’t hurt. It was the longest I’d been in one place for four years and still, the boat was moving clear across the Atlantic every other week.
We’d sail across the South of France, through the Strait of Gibraltar, down past Casablanca where the crew would be passed the best Moroccan hash in the world, to the Spanish Canaries and onto the Portugues Azores where we’d dock for a day and, if we were lucky, get a chance to hike around landscapes which are second to none in the world.
After refueling in the Azores, we’d continue down to the Caribbean in Nassau, Bahamas — one of the most toured destinations in the world. I wouldn’t dare step off the cruise ship in that mess. Nobody in their right mind would leave the boat for the Bahamas. Finally, the boat would dock in South Beach, Miami and the crew would be let off for three days before boarding the next two-week shipper.
Those three days in Miami Beach would be our key to sanity. We had three days; seventy-two hours to do all the crazy shit we weren’t allowed to do on-board. And Miami was just the place to be.
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** This article was originally published at www.adamcheshier.com **