On various forms exists a field for “occupation”. This field tends to give me pause – does it refer to how I keep myself occupied, or perhaps my vocation – how I earn money? Both of these have extensive answers – which not incidentally are dissimilar.
I’ve never been consistent with earning money, as it’s not something I prize highly and it’s not usually worth the dirty work it takes to get some. My career has veered from working at a radio station as a production engineer, to lecturing as a visiting faculty at a university in Transilvania; I’ve worked for a major bank as a network administrator to some degree, and I’ve been a webmaster for years. I passed through Reno with a nutrition consultation practice with some taiji teaching, and until very recently, I lived and worked at a rural residential bodywork and nutrition institute.
How I occupy my time is in organizing, packing, traveling, and unpacking again. I find ways to live cheaply – both in California and on foreign soil – so that I can avoid earning money for months at a time. I’ve owned and disowned various vehicles, apartments, houses, and tents. My dearest friends scatter the globe. I’ve spent many hours crossing miles and time zones incased in car or plane.
My occupation, then, is that of a Rootless Cosmopolitan. My concept of home includes many places and possibilities, continually expanding, none particularly more appealing than the others. I can survive anywhere I can find some fresh vegetables and a camp stove. Often I have found myself in a lover’s home while in transition.
My relationship with this lifestyle has shifted in recent years as I’ve connected with a different pace of life than one measured in time-clock minutes and traffic lights. Fleeing from a fixation on the urban, I drove off pavement to feel Earth under me.
I discovered intentional community, people rediscovering their sense of place, committing to healing work and just… not driving. I trained in the healing arts at a secular temple miles from civilization, while my parents decided – along with my agrarian brother and I – to leave the suburbs and invest their retirement from academia into starting an ecologically-based family farm.
Today, as electricity is activated at the farm and roofing goes onto our first building, I have completed my first academic year as an educator at my beloved healing arts institute. I travel between these frequently, though I am much more conscious of fossil fuel use (as the perils of this addiction become more clear), so my circle isn’t much larger than this for now – though it does include San Francisco and beyond. I have a budding career with Heart and an ambitious family venture blossoming in front of me, and my desire to do the work is larger than my desire to move on.
Still, my home is wide and varied, and my heart beats faster at the thought of open road. It’s likely that my career will expand to include joint venture urban entrepreneurship in addition to teaching and consulting. My occupation has evolved along with my sense of place: I am a Rooted Nomad, cultivating a sense of place wherever I stand.