How does one go from being a non-tied-down travel lover to a homeowner, homemaker, and homesteader?
For me, it had something to do with a two-year Peace Corps placement and falling in love in (and with) that country.
In college, I discovered the joys of traveling alone, couchsurfing, staying in hostels, and in general backpacking on a shoestring while meeting intriguing and eclectic people all over Europe. Also during college, I was able to go on a service trip to Tanzania for a few weeks, which was my first exposure to a developing country. The atmosphere and people instantly interested and inspired me; my fellow volunteers joked that I would never leave.
I did leave… but I came back. I had the good luck to be placed in Tanzania with the Peace Corps. Peace Corps is a natural choice for people who love the things I mentioned above: travel, unfamiliar cultures, new and unexpected experiences. New and unexpected experiences… like falling in love with a Tanzanian, I suppose….
However I quickly came to realize that this new commitment happened in the right place, at the right time. I hadn’t planned on trying to stay in Tanzania after Peace Corps. After meeting Omari, however, I came to realize that it was the obvious choice (especially as I watched in horror as the US political climate erupted in 2016).
But how does a girl who loves to travel so much settle down?
Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment. You are placed in a village that requested a volunteer, and you help the community with projects related to your assignment (for me, it was agriculture). You are typically given your own house to live in and to make your home for two years.
Two years is a long time to “sample” a new place. As your language skills develop and you start forming bonds with your community, it’s not travel anymore. You become a resident, and you start to think long-term about changes you want to see in your environment. In some ways, you start to put down roots, only to pull them up once your assignment ends.
I will always love travel, but once I tasted having my own home, my own garden, and my own chickens during Peace Corps, that definitely sparked something in me. Getting started with land, building a house, and homesteading are all more affordable to do in Tanzania than in the US. With Omari on board, it was the perfect opportunity to explore something which was always in the back of my mind and which I now realized was possible.
The word journey originates from the old French word jornee, which can mean “a day’s travel” or “a day’s work”.
Let’s see where the day’s work takes us. It’s just a different type of journey, after all.