The Concrete Jungle
Chapter 7 of Nomad Life
What I’ve published
I just published the seventh chapter of Nomad Life titled, The Concrete Jungle, which covers the five weeks we spent living in New York City this summer, discovering our place within the chaotic workings of the cityscape.
Nomad Rose & Thorn
By far the biggest challenge occupying our minds for the last month has been getting all three of us to Europe safely this Monday, September 20th, 2021.
If it were just Shelby and I departing for Europe before the pandemic, we would have been giddy with excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately, traveling is more complex these days. Importing Skutull into the EU has been a chore, to say the least, as has getting him across an ocean safely. Our original plan was to sail on the Queen Mary from NY to England, but in a post-covid world hopping on a ship doesn’t sound like the best idea. We did look into it, but all of the dog spots on their scheduled cruises were already booked. They told us we could add ourselves to their waiting list, but that they’ve seen extremely high demand for dog transport post-pandemic, so it might take until well into 2022.
Shelby and I’s entry into Europe hasn’t been as easy as it was in the past, either. Two weeks ago we woke up to news headlines stating that the EU passed sweeping travel restrictions on Americans amid the surge of the delta variant. For several days that week, we constantly refreshed the German immigration webpage for updates to their restrictions. The EU resolution was technically only a recommendation, leaving it up to each country to decide on specific rules. Some countries (like Sweden and Norway) completely closed their borders to Americans. Others (like Belgium) closed their doors to unvaccinated Americans, but still welcomed vaccinated travelers. Most countries added some combination of vaccination, testing, and quarantine requirement for US travelers.
Lucky for us, we fly into Frankfurt, and Germany mostly targeted unvaccinated travelers with their restrictions. As of today, Sunday, September 19th, 2021, they still allow vaccinated travelers without testing or quarantine requirements. We got tested yesterday just incase the rules change tomorrow. One of the most frustrating aspects of the travel restrictions we’ve seen roll out in the past few weeks is that there was no lag between when they announced rule changes and when they took effect. We decided to play it safe and get a test because it’s within the realm of possibility that we wake up on Monday morning to new travel restrictions in Germany, and we want to stay ahead of the ball.
I can’t stop daydreaming about the first steps we’ll take outside of the Frankfurt airport on Tuesday. It’s difficult to describe how much energy Shelby and I have put into getting the three of us to Europe. It’s occupied a large portion of our minds for several months. I anticipate that when we complete the task, it will feel like we’ve retired from a job. I’m looking forward to having more time and headspace to write.
We took Skutull to the groomer a few days ago to prep him for our trip overseas. Shelby told them he only needed a washing and his nails clipped, but when she picked him up, they had also shaved his fur in places. We were both a little distraught that they cut his luxurious mane down.
The funny part was that they gave him a Brazilian hair treatment in his private area, which I’ve never seen before. On the plus side, all of his yellow furs down there are gone. One the minus side, he’s been super itchy.
It’s these types of things you have to learn to enjoy as a nomad. We are only in each place for 1-2 months, so Skutull will likely never go to the same groomer twice. I’m sure we’ll have a few other unexpected experiences.
One of the most difficult, yet rewarding aspects of living nomadically is that I can’t maintain the routines I used to depend on. As soon as we live somewhere long enough for the semblance of a routine to emerge, we pack our bags and move on to the next city. This often makes life feel inefficient. It gets old never knowing where a mixing bowl is in our kitchen or having to spend hours researching where to exercise based on class times, short-term pricing options, and proximity. But at the same time, lack of routine forces me to try new things. Some days I feel like I’m barely stumbling through on my feet, yet at the end of the day I feel accomplished, and I remember more of what happens in my life because everything stands out. It forces me to be present because nothing can be done on autopilot.
Stories I’ve been enjoying
On the lighter side, Shelby and I both loved Ted Lasso. We will be living in Twickenham, London in February 2022, which is where a lot of the show takes place and is filmed.
Enjoy the journey,