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09 April 2015

H Is For Huh?

Northland Council 3

During April, we're participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays), we’ll be doing an alphabet themed post starting with “A is for Adventurous” and ending with “Z is for Zinc”. We've got a theme for every letter sorted except for Y. If you have any ideas for the letter Y, please leave a comment or email. 
 
As we’ve been traveling around, first on a sailboat in New Zealand and now in a travel trailer in the States, one of the most common questions we get asked is where we’re from. People assume that you must have a home base somewhere. They seem very confused when we tell them that we have no fixed abode. They kind of stare at us blankly and go “Huh?” Thinking we’re perhaps a bit stupid or dense, they’re rephrase the question and ask us where we live. Again, we tell them that we live wherever our sailboat or travel trailer happens to be at the moment. If you’re a full-time cruiser or RVer, then you’ll get it. But if you’re the type of person who lives in a proper house, in “sticks and bricks” with a street address that isn’t a PO Box or mail forwarding service, then you might be utterly perplexed at the idea of not having a permanent base.

The whole concept of having no fixed abode really came home to us when we were sailing in New Zealand and had to pull our boat out of the water to have it inspected for the invasive Mediterranean fanworm. It’s a really long story (which you can read about here), but the upshot is that the local council served us with official papers notifying us that we had to be inspected. The council officer was so perplexed that we didn’t have a fixed address to put on the forms. I think he asked us four or five times before he realized that our boat was our address. It was pretty hysterical to see the official form list us as “Scott and Ellen of no fixed address.” I don’t think it was until that moment that I really realized how completely we had embraced a nomadic lifestyle. 

To be honest, sometimes the conversations get too complicated and hard when we meet people who want to know where we’re from, so we often just answer that we’re from Oregon. Which is kind of true – it’s where we last lived in “sticks and bricks” when we resided in the States. That answer seems to satisfy most people. If we’re feeling particularly chatty, then sometimes we’ll respond that we’re permanent residents of New Zealand traveling around the States looking for a sailboat. But then, they’ll usually look confused and say, “Huh?”
 

What about you? Are you a “sticks and bricks” person with a proper street address or do you lead a nomadic life with no fixed abode?


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12 comments:

  1. Right now the Husband and I are sticks and bricks people, although I see ever place we live as temporary. I've always thought I'd like to be a vagabond and maybe one day we'll give it a try.
    Take 25 to Hollister

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    1. That's interesting that you live in sticks and bricks, but view them as temporary. Might make it easier to be a vagabond one day if you're not too attached to your house.

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  2. When people ask us where we're from, we say, wherever the boat is. And then when we explain, a few people get starry-eyed, and you can almost see them starting to imagine themselves being so free, and wondering if they too could sail away. Those are the ones that might, someday. But you're right; sadly, most people simply go "huh," and you know those people will always stay rooted.

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    1. People always do think living on a sailboat is so romantic. But if only they knew that there are so many lows in addition to the highs, they might rethink wanting to sail away. Sometimes living in a house can be much easier.

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  3. That's hilarious! It's also eye opening to see how much we, as a society, associate ourselves with a place. I mean just look at historical names - a hefty portion of them include an "of xyz place" portion. Interesting.... I think you should be known as Scott and Ellen of The Rainbow's End. :-)

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    1. Love it - forevermore, we shall be known as Scott and Ellen formerly of The Rainbow's End and now of The Scamper :-)

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  4. I guess that is just a curious question to most who do not wander. More space for you.

    As I See It Daily

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    1. That's a really good point - if everyone wandered, there might be a lot less space out there for everyone.

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  5. Hello there. Having no fixed abode sounds quite appealing. Not sure my "to used to creature comforts" hubby would go for it though! Interestingly, Jesus did not have a fixed abode either (Matthew 8:20). Thanks for sharing.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

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    1. You really do need to make sure both parties are happy wandering, otherwise there might be some real challenges. There are some folks who have amazing RVs with all of the creature comforts though. They're almost like real houses with big televisions, washer/dryers etc.

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  6. We are both. We travel like nomads, but always have a place to go home too. That haul out notice is kinda funny, although I doubt you thought it was. I do think any non-New Zealand boaties will be saying huh?

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    1. You guys have the best of both worlds in many ways - roots in New Zealand but lots of traveling! I imagine that it has been a great experience for your girls to travel around the world and grow up in NZ.

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