One day you might wake up in the comfort of a cozy midwestern bedroom, complete with an antique sewing machine and decades-old floral curtains- housed by a sweet, retired couple.
The next day, you could wake up quite cold, burrowed in between boxes in the back of Chrissy, your faithful tour van.
Meals may vary from walking around a grocery store to indulge in all the free samples it has to offer to feasting on Korean fusion food at Greenspoon in Dinky Town, Minneapolis while enjoying the company of the University of Minnesota students who just threw together an exciting and successful screening.
You really never can tell.
Such is the life of a nomad. As much planning goes into a tour, it is still, by its very nature an immersion in unpredictability. You literally never know what each day may bring, and whether you’ll be ending that day in a bed, in the backseat, on a floor, a futon, or any of the other interesting places one could possibly spend a night.
While it presents its own challenges, there’s something so incredibly freeing about living so day to day.
Instead of being sucked into the high-speed freeway of life, having to deliberately plan ahead about where your next shower, meal, or lodging might be located causes you to take things one day at a time, meeting its obstacles, but enjoying all the nice surprises that come along with it.
Surprises abound like a blueberry and cream latte from Iowa City’s Java House, a fun conversation with students from Colorado College about their unorthodox academic schedule, or the experience of watching a Huskers game from a sports bar in Omaha. To be able to see such sights and take in such things can’t ever be taken for granted. This is an incredible experience, and I get to live in this unpredictable but breathtaking adventure.
Of course there’s another amazing sight I get to pay witness to each day while I’m on tour.
Seeing the faces of high schoolers outraged over learning of North Korea’s political prison camps reminds me of when I heard about this issue for the first time. Fielding questions from college students about the North Korea crisis reminds me that often there is no easy solution, but there is no solution if we stay apathetic and unengaged. Being approached by older church members after our screenings who want to know what they can do in their area in order to help North Koreans rengages the hope that is necessary to continue to pursue an end to the crisis. It reminds me that there are people out there who want to do something about this, who aren’t okay with inaction. It reminds me that the more people know, the more that results in action and support of the North Korean people.
And that right there reminds me why I’m spending so much time going city to city and taking showers in Barnes & Nobles sinks on occasion. It’s because defining North Korea by its people who deal with such severe repression but show incredible resilience can open it up to the support of the globe.
Hunkering down in a Dunkin Donuts at Colorado Springs offers a fair glimpse of the Nomad life. While following up on those we met after screenings, I had to take a quick inventory to come to the conclusion that I’d never been more thankful for the existence of Dunkin Donuts. Free wi-fi, 24 hour service, and a clean enough restroom to freshen up in the morning made it a perfect hub to do some work, regroup, and even Skype back home for a little bit to tell the most recent road stories. On the road, stories pile up quicker than they can be told. A good journal is practically a necessity.
Nomad Life. It’s become a bit of a playful saying. But Nomad Life is an experience too valuable and too unique to go without acknowledging all that it entails.
Nomad Life is realizing that the soy milk, half-and-half, mocha powder, and sugar on the counter at Starbucks are meant to spruce up a cup of coffee, but on their own are all the ingredients you need for chocolate milk.
Nomad Life is a dance party with the University of Iowa’s Rescue Team in front of the old State Capitol building in Iowa City.
Nomad Life is hearing a student come up to you afterwards asking about other ways to get involved in LiNK after hearing about the crisis for the first time.
Nomad Life is realizing that the Twin Cities have more ethnic food options than can ever be fully explored in one’s lifetime, let alone within six days on a shoestring budget.
Nomad Life is realizing one of your favourite bands will be playing at the school you’re screening at the next day, seeing them in concert, and getting to meet the lead singer and hand him a LiNK info card.
Nomad Life is taking advantage of a free afternoon to get lost in a corn maze in Henry County, Illinois.
Nomad Life is hugging a teary Korean War veteran after the screening who wants to see the liberation of the North Korean people.
Nomad Life is my life right now. And I’m really loving it.