Please Don’t Pop Our Big Bubble

bubble-popWe stumbled on our itinerant lifestyle by accident. For a while, we were going through another transitory phase in our married lives. But now, we feel we’re onto something ground-breaking. We live in a bubble. There, we said it. And we’re not ashamed of this fact. Our lifestyle revolves around near absolute freedom, bold adventures, and new  experiences. Our bubble always floats from one special destination to the next.

Although the scenery outside changes, our lives look pretty much the same wherever we go. Inside, we’re sheltered, comfy in our big bubble. We write novels, dine at restaurants, swim at beaches, climb mountains. It’s like we switch channels on the television, and voila, we’re tuning in a different morning or late-night show.

Not much pops our bubble. Bills? Nope, we don’t even have a postal address. We pay for what we use when we use it. Our money goes mostly toward the cost of housing, airline travel, and food. Insurance? It’s hard to get it when you bounce around from country to country. Pension? We’ll work til we drop.

All our worldly possessions fit in our luggage. The bulk of what we lug around consists of clothing and gadgets. A percolator too (our proxy apartments often have terrible coffee machines). One way or another, everything must be crammed into two 23 kg suitcases. This comes down to a packing conundrum. Every time we buy something, we must part with something else. Fortunately, the stuff that really matters to us is light in weight. Things that are made up of a bunch of zeros and ones. Books, videos, pictures, music. All must be in electronic format, so we can hoard them without imposed limits.

You’re probably wondering, Why would we endure such an ordeal every three months? The answer is plain and simple: Freedom.

We can go anywhere we want, any time we want. A few clicks on our laptop and we’ve booked ourselves airline tickets and an apartment. Bored with the big city? We go near the mountainside. Miss our family and friends? We spend Christmas at our hometowns. Too cold? A tropical beach fixes that problem. Three months is an ideal period to stay in any one region. Long enough to get to know the country but not too long before it gets boring. We sense we’re on holiday, yet we still do the chores. Like wash the dishes. Oh boy, do we miss our dishwasher.

So how did we arrive at the decision to roam around the globe permanently? When we met on an overland tour of Cape Town to Nairobi, and almost immediately, we fell in love. We had to choose somewhere to stay. PRONTO. Erwin holds a Dutch Passport and Maha is an American. Each time we settled in our respective countries, being homebound felt not “a right fit.” Oh, we also endured bureaucratic nightmares. After 18 months of living in Holland, Maha convinced Erwin to call it a day, and he left willingly. Mostly disillusioned by the rapid changes western Europe was undergoing. We settled in Cape Town afree that. Soon, disappointment set in again. We lasted for another 18 months before hurriedly leaving for another continent altogether.

We had hatched a plan to travel for a month or so, in search of somewhere cool, hip, and happening for backpackers. After hopping around South East Asia, we lived on-and-off in Bali. Ubud to be precise. We managed to overcome the 18-month itch. Then, after the third year, we no longer felt “connected.” A day before we booked our tickets to Sicily, we understand why. There is no reason to single out a specific country and call it home, if the entire earth is for the taking.

Nowadays, we travel between Italy and the former Yugoslavian countries, such as Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. After five years on the road, we suspect it’ll be near impossible to revert to a traditional standard of living. We hope our lifestyle inspires our writing, and you, our readers, can partake in our adventures. If only on paper.