“Walk, don’t run!” These wise words arrived in an email while I was logged in remotely at my local library. For over a month now, my usual creative space has been undergoing water damage repairs. My beloved space is in boxes – deconstructed – while my notes and photos are packed in a transportable basket. Due to the extent of the repairs, my husband, our cat and I have been living temporarily between an apartment and my in-laws’ house with no clear return date home. Suffice to say, we’re living our lives as urban nomads with a one-way ticket to suburbia; only 15 minutes from home.
While this uncertainty has been unsettling, my creative routine has been shaken up. Impatience and frustration could’ve easily taken over my thinking. Instead, I’ve used this time to walk – not run. Being a natural-born traveller, I’ve remembered that being an urban nomad can reveal opportunity.
I pretended to be out on the road again and wrote this post on pen and paper, as I would if I was in the middle of nowhere. Returning to my travel writing basics has kick-started the stagnant state of my travel writing and blogging. And, I’ve returned to exploring my temporary, urban surrounds. Maintaining connections is always important and an urban existence can be enhanced by those surprise places we haven’t yet explored or the people we’re yet to meet.
Life has a way of forcing us to stop running in order to rejuvenate ourselves. You will agree that I’ve taken my time to post here, yet that’s the incredible bonus of travel. We can disconnect and slow the pace so we can take in the beauty and potential of our world. So, what have I been walking to?
Walking and Cycling Back to Nature
I’ve continued my regular walking rituals and the closer I get to nature the better I feel. It’s been beautiful watching autumn leaves morph into their final colours before dropping to the ground; Melbourne’s winter has now truly set in. Nature always seems to surround us whether we’re wandering the urban sprawl or not. Even the change in season reminds us of this. If the weather has been too wet, I’ve retreated to the treadmill in the gym at our apartment accommodation and pretend I’m cycling through the outskirts of a remote town.
I joined the Boronia Grows gardening group one afternoon for a free lesson in Eco-Printing class, run by local artist Bernadette Ryan. Together, we spent time learning how to dye materials with naturally-produced dyes through soaking dried leaves, shrubs and kitchen scraps like onion skins. Each sheet of cotton or item of clothing is rolled around more dried leaves, pods and branches then tightly tied with twine.
Each bundle is then immersed in a bucket of dye and left to soak. We spent the rest of the class unwinding the twine to reveal the kaleidoscope of patterns; exquisite, unique and unexpected surprises found within. The class didn’t know what patterns would emerge, and our fun was found in each surprise bundle. Eco-printing has circumnavigated centuries and cultures the world over. Amusingly, one attendee was overheard saying: “I wonder if this will catch on?” We discovered that eco-printing is a seemingly timeless skill, as timeless as nature itself and what nature could yield in such a fun way.
Sharing Meals with Family and Friends
During our time as urban nomads, my husband and I have shared delicious meals, conversation and time together with family, whether it’s a casual mid-week meal or to celebrate a birthday. On those rainy days, we’ve discovered newfound friends and foods by attending events hosted by Plant Powered Melbourne; a Facebook group of like-minded vegetarians and vegans around town.
A yummy raw bowl was found and devoured at Urban Projuice while new connections with Melburnians were forged in the process. Some of us reunited over a “pot luck lunch” a few weeks ago when we all brought a dish to enjoy together. The luck of discovering what we’d be eating brought smiles to our faces, plant-based nourishment to our bellies and conversation with one another. Just through the simple act of sharing a meal with others can lead to sharing stories and togetherness.
Some say that "truth can be a stubborn thing". When we slow down to listen to our circumstances – when we’re told to walk – we can then rejuvenate our connections within our world and what we’ve planted in our lives. What we sow are the surprises we discover along the way. Choosing to walk helps us to be urban nomads again.
When have you decided to walk as an urban nomad? What surprises did you uncover in the process and how did those surprises help you to re-connect with your world?
I’d love to hear about your experiences and travels in the comments below.