Two Nomads

Food for Thought

We were going to leave at noon to go to the Portuguese town in Newark, but Francisco, my Portuguese friend/guide, was unresponsive this morning. I explained to Warner, my New Zealand friend, that people from warmer climates tend to be lax with time. He seemed to be satisfied with that explanation.

It turns out that Francisco had a late night and couldn’t get up. I suppose I should have known this. Warner was running on a tight schedule, so we gave up on Newark and decided to meet at L’imprimerie in Bushwick, where Francisco is staying. Even though we came to his neighborhood, he was late anyway. The same explanation about the effect of climate sufficed. After all, we had nothing urgent to discuss.

Both of them are nomadic. Warner shares his location in real-time on Google Maps, so I wouldn’t need to ask him all the time. Francisco migrates like a bird, so we know when he is coming to New York. Since Warner is considering Portugal as a future destination, I arranged the meeting.

Although they have similar lifestyles, their motivations are different. Francisco moves with a child-like curiosity about what people are doing in different parts of the world. I can’t say for sure what motivates Warner, but he seems to avoid stability and attachment to any particular location. He moves with intention, but I can only detect the strength of it, not what it is. It would be too deep of a rabbit hole to figure that out.

I recently saw a video about second-generation Korean Americans moving to Korea to find their true identity, to the people they feel are their own. Warner and Francisco do the exact opposite; they continually destabilize their own identities. Instead of spending their lives trying to crawl back into their mothers’ wombs, they travel as far away from them as possible.

On the way home from Bushwick, I wondered where I’m situated on the spectrum. Unlike my nomadic friends, I have a family. Because I moved so often in my childhood, I feel determined to stay put. I have no urge to belong to any community or find my own people, but I like the image of bolting myself to the ground so I can’t be moved.