Confessions of a Modern Nomad

“Working with our life circumstances is how we render reality perfected. Perfection is unattainable. ‘Perfected’ is possible.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach from Simple Abundance

The cup of coffee my husband left for me on the nightstand is lukewarm now, reminding me I was supposed to actually get out of bed half an hour ago. I exit the flannel sheets, attempting to be creative, productive, and spiritual. I manage to scrawl a few notes in my journal, struggling through the neural cobwebs as I “sit with the Lord” before the kids get up, but all I can think about is how badly I want to check into a luxurious hotel and hide out for a while. I long for spa treatments I can’t pronounce and room service prepared by a Michelin star chef. I want to browse art museums with my journal for hours, contemplating humanity and its mad desire to mean something. Doing exactly and only what I want to do sounds so beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful sounds, there go the progeny hollering like they’ve been abandoned in a cardboard box in the rain. Throwing a robe around my shoulders, I march into the new day, resolving to be more organized and relaxed. Maybe they’ll only litter half the living room with all of their toys today.

As I administer play clothes and dodge requests for homemade waffles (that’s Daddy’s specialty), I’m thinking about creating a “Mom Seeking Mom Friend” ad in the paper that reads: must love hot dogs for lunch and dinner, okay with tv time, believes dry shampoo is as essential as coffee, reads historical romance, would rather step on a nail than meal-prep, clean clothes optional. While they empty out their toy bins, I land on scrambled eggs for breakfast. My ability to care is wearing out.

As adventurous as our nomadic life is, I tire of constantly starting over; of leaving right when a new place begins to feel like home. Right when a sense of community blossoms, and I find doctors and hairdressers and libraries I love. Right when I finally know where everything is located at my local grocery store, and the amazing coffeeshop/bakery nearby begins to greet me by my name.

We recently landed near Miami, Florida, after living near the D.C. area for six weeks. Before that, we lived with my parents in South Texas, while my husband finished up year two of medical school in the Dutch Caribbean. We spent the first year of medical school living on Saba together. In three months, we will pick up our “tent” and move to the next clinical rotation.

By and large, things go well, and we are having a lot of fun, but it’s a weird way to do life. The explorer in me loves the ever-shifting geography. But the growing “nester” in me wants to pick a spot and put down some roots. I want to make friends knowing our kids might go to the same school, and we could start a home Bible study or monthly game night because we will actually be around.

I am challenged in this season to implement life-giving rhythms on a daily basis while the beat constantly changes.

As a mother, wife, and creative, I thrive on a routine that gives us all the space to do and be what we need. I am learning how to show the perfectionist in me out the front door and to embrace a spirit of gratitude for all the good, simple things that inhabit our days, like municipal water, a dishwasher, reliable electricity, and a washer and dryer (things you don’t take for granted after living on a cistern-reliant, five-square-mile island in the middle of the hurricane belt).

As difficult as it is to constantly say goodbye, the most beautiful thing about moving a lot is the friends made along the way. The family of God is real and deep, and in our case, fast-forming. We, the strangers, have been warmly welcomed and entrusted with invites to playdates, boxes of free toys, meals on sick days, and vulnerable stories. In the midst of a nomadic season of life, we are being loved well and are reminded daily of the gift of the God who goes with us.


Kelsi Folsom holds a B.M. in Voice Performance and has traveled all over the world participating in operas, musicals, jazz bands, and choirs. Now a mom to “three under three”, she currently resides in Florida. When she is not putting on her best Cherubino while changing dirty diapers, you can find her perfecting gluten-free recipes, *gasp* reading, enjoying a nap, or trying to make sense of her life over french press. Kelsi writes here.