Living Life Differently

Sarah Reijonen’s home base is Spokane, Washington, though ultimately it’s wherever her camper is parked. She and her husband, Chris, quit their jobs and sold their house in 2009 for a seven-month trip around the world. The trip changed their lives, their outlook and made them eternal wanderers. Upon returning home they bought a camp trailer in which to live and travel for Chris’ work. Chris is a power lineman and Sarah is pursuing her dream as a writer. She is working on her first book about what else but travel, as well as blogging about life, love and travel at Walkabout: Spanky and Sarah’s Journey

I always feel more lost upon returning home.

Sarah in Vietnam

It probably doesn’t help that my husband and I live in a camp trailer, but to us wheels are freedom.

Our first trip in 2009 was the trip to begin all trips. We quit our jobs, sold our home on 80 acres, and leapt off the American grid for seven months around the world. When we came home we were faced with culture shock as well as a desire to live differently. I wanted to reduce my footprint, but see more places; live simply, but pick up more recipes and hobbies.

We had already accomplished the “art of non-conformity” in one sense, but we were ready to scare our friends and relatives just a bit more. Hey Mom and Dad, if you thought we were crazy then, wait until you see the camper we bought – to live in.

A year later we are still in our home on wheels living the life of gypsies. We travel where the work takes us then take a couple months off at a time to go where our hearts lead us. Most recently, we returned from two months through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Our friends and family expect it now.

When I come home, they aren’t surprised to see my bloodshot eyes brought on by a SCUBA diving accident. They are even less surprised to hear that it happened in Thailand. “Of course,” they say, almost scoffing. I feel a bit like Owen Wilson’s character in the Focker flicks; always onto a new adventure and coming off just a bit too Zen for anyone’s comfort level.

Sarah in New ZealandAlthough seven months is a little too long for my liking, I will never stop traveling. It’s not a bug; it’s a disease, but in the most positive sense. I return from my time abroad and see my world with new eyes. Minor irritations are just that: Minor. As for those friends and relatives that keep me at a distance so as not to catch my madness, well, I want to hold them closer than ever. I twist their arms to take weeks off from work, and if they aren’t ready for weeks then just days.

I can’t sit for a minute, though I could have laid on a beach for days on Koh Lanta. Sights from my old stomping grounds are both familiar like a baby blanket and different as a foreign country. I wear make-up and curl my hair – a far cry from the woman on the go that I left in Ireland two weeks ago. My two personalities of homebody and road warrior continue to move closer to one another as I morph into the one woman I see before me in the mirror.

I may be home, but home is quite relative these days. Though I miss the comfort of a foundation, it isn’t necessary. Travel takes sacrifice. I have chosen the road less traveled, and in turn, I make the road my home.

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