3 min read
02 Sep

It's been almost four months since I made this major decision to uproot my life.  In two months, my time in Ottawa will end and I'll have my 89th birthday two days before I leave for Mexico.  This caused me to reflect on my new life and I felt the need to share them with you - particularly with those of you who have expressed interest in a nomadic lifestyle themselves.  It certainly is different but it is not a perfect nirvana.  I don't believe there is any lifestyle without pros and cons.

I'm enjoying the freedom of being a nomad ...  this new experience is exciting, liberating and economical.  So far, if you've been following my blog, you've read about those fun times.  But, something I haven't talked about are the days between the fun times and there's been a lot of them.  As autumn begins to push summer aside, I'm finding my emotions are mixed.

Those between days are often lonely.  Living alone amplifies the loneliness, as so many of you in the same position must understand only too well.    

I have left the largest portion of my family behind - the half I saw the most of in my pre nomadic life. I miss them very much.  Unfortunately they are the ones who only occasionally use social media or even the phone to keep in touch.   I didn't have a large number of friends that I saw very often...those who are still on the planet... and I miss them too.  On the other hand, while I'm in Ottawa, I regularly see the smaller part of the family whom I mostly saw only on social media before plus a handful of new friends here.  

You must weigh these choices when you are trying to decide to leave everything behind to set out on a new path taking you to different locations.   This is undoubtedly the hardest part of becoming a nomad.  

The condo in Ottawa is a perfect size for me.   It is comfortable, I like the furnishings very much, the bed is comfortable and the condo owner very accomodating.  The downtown location couldn't be better to walk to everything for necessities and interesting places to explore and enjoy - but I have met no one in the 28 floors of this building that I temporarily call home.

I never see a familiar face except for the security guards at the front desk.  It's a building full of strangers and most of them are under the age of 30.  I assume they are mostly students whose parents likely live in another country, even another continent, as many are Asian and Ottawa is a University town.  When I occasionally share an elevator ride with a resident they avoid eye contact, therefore no smile, nor is a word of greeting spoken.  I might as well be invisible.  

I don't have any familiar possessions to turn to in the alone times, with two exceptions - my keyboard, which I will return to my daughter when I leave this condo, and my portable easel that fits into my suitcase and I will take with me to Mexico.  Although I have lots of time, I haven't found the motivation to use them very often, even tho I thought I would..

So, then, what do I do all day when I'm home in the condo?  

I spend many hours on my iPad reading e-newspapers and articles by the few journalists I trust to tell the unbiased news - a rarity today!  I am a political junkie!  I would become involved in politics if I was younger, say 80 (if Biden can do it, I can LOL).  I watch interesting stories on YouTube.  I text and FaceTime with some friends and family, study Spanish online daily, write my blog and sometimes tackle my memoirs.  I play online games to exercise my brain.  I don't read much anymore.  I don't watch television - only the basic channels are included in the rent, no sports.  I used to watch golf on weekends.  When Tiger was playing I rarely missed a game. Tennis tournaments were also a favourite.  As I write this, it strikes me that these sports kept me entertained for many of the hours that I am now finding lonely.  Why didn't this occur to me before? This is something I will certainly address for my next Airbnb rental.  Sometimes I swim in the condo pool or go for a walk to shop or take in the sights.  I don't go out alone at night, so I miss concerts and live theatre that I could attend, (of course that would be different if I had a companion).  I usually crawl into bed after dinner with my iPad to watch movies or a tv series and get lost in the plot.  The hours slip quickly and silently past.

Getting a family doctor has been an ongoing concern but that was also a problem before I became a nomad so it isn't a new challenge, simply an ongoing one.  When I go to Mexico in November, I'll have my Mexican GP, who is also an internist, give me an annual checkup.  I'll pay for it there but the doctor's fees in Mexico are very reasonable and worth the expense to ensure there's nothing going on in my body that hasn't yet shown up.  

My dental work has been done in Mexico for over 20 years, at probably a third or less of what a Canadian dentist charges.  For example, a full cleaning, which is done by the dentist, not a technician is, at most, $50 Canadian.  My Mexican dentista, who has become one of my best friends, is excellent and has all the latest equipment from the same suppliers as the Canadian and U.S. dentists.  So I am fortunate in that respect.

Although probably half of my days I spend alone, and sometimes during those days I feel quite lonely as I've just described, I would no doubt feel that loneliness wherever I was now that I am widowed.   

However, I'm definitely not depressed - I am comfortable with my own company and free to do whatever I want, whenever I want, without having to consider anyone else - and there are enough interesting events and people in my life to keep me socially involved much of the time.  

When I do feel a little down, I remind myself of why I became a nomad.  It is allowing me to continue to get out of the cold Canadian winter for six months every year that I'm healthy enough to do so. This reminder brings a  smile to my face as I feel the growing excitement of anticipation.  Only two more months till I am there!

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