Transition to the Nomadic

As we packed up all of our material possessions the tensions of being homeless started to unpack, in subtle curious ways. Transition is always a bitter sweet time in life, as you say good bye to people and places that have impacted your life and look forward in hope to new people and memories. This specific type of transition that we are facing has unique challenges of its own. Such as, not having jobs lined up or not having a specific place to call home. In the last week I have noticed that every time someone is talking about work there is a little longing in the back of my mind. A little voice saying, “oh stability, routine, consistency, that sounds nice”. There is some provider/father instinct in me that resists transitioning to the nomadic.

This is the subtle curious voice. The louder, obvious voice that empowers us to move forward is the voice of our tribe. As far as I know there is not a nomadic community that doesn’t travel without their tribe, even in the animal kingdom. The reason for that is what I’m learning: nothing happens without community. Community, even writing the word kind of bothers me. It is such a buzz word these days, people describe community like a hipster barista describes a pour over, using words that sound really nice like, floral, honey notes with a tinge of kiwi. Well, our tribe is far from honey and kiwi, to be honest it would probably take an entire anthropology department to figure the nuances of our tribe. It’s patched together across states and countries by social media, generosity, and fond memories. But it exists nonetheless, and it’s a powerful enabling force.

So, while routine and consistency will probably elude us in the next few months, stability will not. Being nomadic creates a vulnerability that helps to reveal how dependent on our tribe we really are, it gives feeling and emotion to something that is to often silenced by the volume of self-sufficiency. I’m confident that this phenomenon created by being nomadic happens in other ways as well. In fact there are countless ways it can take place in our lives. It happens during weddings, it happens when a child is born or when someone is suffering an illness, it happens when fortune or misfortune strike. These are all catalysts, but all that is really needed is an invitation. It’s humbling, sure, and awkward at times, but no one is complaining. There is a positive anticipation for the impact that experience will have on the tribe, stories are being created, stories are being shared, and nothing in life is much more exciting then that.

Finding Our Feet.

Surprisingly enough no one has yet to confront us about taking our 1 year old baby to South America. My supposition is that this is a result of our non-confrontational society, maybe it’s that our reputation precedes us, or that the world is so small now that it doesn’t seem like a big deal. I will say this, i think it is a big deal, and nothing to sneeze at. There are some real risks involved that we have to honestly weigh and grapple with. I’m sure many of those reading this have spent their time traveling in developing countries, i’ve joked with many about dangerous buses on mountain passes with only two lug nuts on the wheels. Well, what does it mean to subject an infant to those risks? Someone who has no ability to voice their own objection? So far however, we have been only encouraged to make this trip, even by our pediatrician! We are especially encouraged by the peace that we have in our hearts about this choice, even given the weighed risk, we even feel that somehow it is important for Rio Grande (the infant) that we go.

So with the heavy-revi out of the way let’s move on to the decisions and questions that have developed as we prepare to travel with a one year old. First of all:IMG_2895IMG_2896

Diapers.

Based on a quick google search “diapers in Ecuador” we will be able to buy disposable diapers while we are down there. However, we need to do this on the cheap, and my guess is that western style diapers aren’t that cheap. For all of you not familiar with cloth diapering it’s a crazy world, and i for one can not possibly keep up with all the different names for all the different types. Names like “Bum Genius” “Bummies” “Soft Bums”, it’s ridiculous. After exploring our options though we are going with “pre-folds” because they dry the quickest and we are not sure about laundry facilities.

Next decision:

Baby Wearing.

1. The backpack

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Good for longer hikes, which we will do a lot of, but also very bulky, we’re not sure what we would do with it on the bus.

2. The Ring Sling

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Super sexy and probably the most similar to what the Quechua moms will be using when we get down there, but it is not as supportive for longer days of exploring. It does fold down nice and small though, which is a huge plus.

3. The Ergo

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Probably our best bet as it can work on the front and back and folds up super small. We don’t feel that it will allow us the opportunity to do the longer hikes that may present themselves during the trip.

Lastly and a little more serious are immunizations. There are three recommended immunizations by the CDC.

Hep A:

A food born version of Hepatitis. We were going to wait until Rio was older to get him the Hep A immunization here in the States, however, we decided to get it for him now since food is a big unknown when traveling.

Yellow Fever:

This is recommended when traveling east of the Andes and below 7,000 feet in elevation. Mainly in the Amazon. This is where we have chosen to let traveling with an infant limit our experience. I’ve had a great longing to see the great Amazon river and experience it’s culture. Still, we feel like it opens up to much health risk for an infant. So we will not be going to the Amazon and not getting Yellow Fever shots.

Typhoid and Malaria:

These are also only recommended if traveling to the Amazon. The Malaria immunization is actually a pill that you take, which Rio is not old enough to have, and based on what we know of Malaria medication, we probably wouldn’t want to take it either. He is also not old enough for a Typhoid shot, which makes our decision to not travel to the Amazon even more obvious.

I’m sure that as we near our departure many more unthought of dangers and dilemmas will rear their ugly heads, but what would any journey be without a few trolls to outwit? Please let us know if you yourself have any wisdom, thoughts or concerns on these decisions as we are certainly open to suggestion.

Thanks for reading!

And so it begins. Again.

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Nearly 4 years since we last left the country and we are finally getting ready to embark on our next cross cultural experience. This time though, it’s different. This time, we have an adventure seeking, curious, full of energy-for-life one year old who has expressed his sincere interest in accompanying us as a third companion throughout the journey. This will clearly be a transformative aspect to the way have to travel and so given the new nature of our story, i am extremely excited to be able to share our experience via “the wandering”. I also thought i’d start the story a little earlier this time, as it might be interesting to at least a reader or two to see the preparation aspect of this journey, since there will be quite a few extra details to go over as we progress towards our departure. First, the synopsis.

Destination: Ecuador.

Time Frame: June-August

Purpose: Sabbatical for Melissa and refinement of our Spanish language skills.

Significant Activities: We will be doing a work trade for room and board at a hostel in Otovalo for two months. We will spend three weeks traveling around Ecuador and i might bag a peak or two involving some mild mountaineering. Hiking, trail running, market going and nursing with Quechua mamas are on the top of our list of goals, oh, and iguanas (Rio Grande, the one year old, has expressed his sincere desire to ride an iguana, if possible).

So whether friends or family or fellow baby-beta-seeking travelers, i once again welcome you to wander along with us though this incredible little journey we call life.

Next up: Diapers, shots and baby wearing (i told you, it’s different this time).