Friday, 30 April 2010

Nomads Are The Norm

Nomad (noun, originating from 1555 from the Middle French word “nomade”, the Latin “nomas” describing "wandering groups in Arabia" and the Greek “nomas” referring to "those roaming, roving and wandering to find pastures for flocks or herds):

  1. A member of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search of food, water, and grazing land.

  1. A person with no fixed residence who roams about; a wanderer.

I have been a nomad now for 21 months in counting. In the traditional definitions of the word I'm not a seasonal nomad but move around according to social events and where The Boy is and the money can be earned. My fixed residence is very tenuously my parents' house but in actuality that is merely where my post goes to and I can pass weeks without returning there.

I actively chose this nomadic lifestyle when I left the UK for a year of travelling. I then returned to a less exciting version of this nomadic life when I signed up as a student again and in doing so, embarked on a long-distance relationship once more. Now three months have passed since completing the course and I unwillingly continue with this nomadic existence while I persistently try and break into the seemingly impenetrable Editorial world.

I didn't think I'd be back to teaching but at last supply is at least keeping me afloat and delaying the onset of insanity. In the last two weeks I have found myself living a dual existence – teaching by day and searching/applying for jobs and writing by night. Plunged back into a school environment on a daily basis has been strange but something I have taken in my stride and embraced, enjoying the concept of actually finally making my own money again. I've also found my attitude towards the classroom to be pretty laid back, viewing each lesson as merely an hour to be endured and survived. This makes it sound like my experience of supply has been horrific and torturous, akin to those school scenes shown in film and television where the class take advantage of the substitute teacher who is a cowering wreck in a corner as general mayhem ensues, but I have actually struck it pretty lucky. In the last week I have unintentionally possibly scarred a girl for life referring to her as “the gentleman in the corner” and have encountered possibly the cruelest name a parent could ever give a child: “God's Promise” – need I say more?

As the day's pass, I wonder if I will ever live in a place I can call home again and be able to finally unpack my belongings. At the moment most of my personal effects are still in storage and the few unpacked items are spread between two places and thrown into a bag every weekend to be dragged from place to place. An article in the Evening Standard a few days ago revealed this lifestyle (if you can call it that) is not uncommon among honorary Londoners like me, comparing our existence to 70s sitcom Rising Damp. With the recession still in full swing, more and more people are taking on weekday lodgers who are sick of the commute and want to live nearer to work without having to pay expensive city prices. Landlords are taking advantage of “rent-a-room” tax-free legislation while commuters are enjoying the benefits of reduced rent, lower or non existent bills and shorter journeys to work. reports a 14% increase in homeowners advertising rooms and has noticed the number of landlords registering on the site has tripled.

Being compared to a Rising Damp lodger, isn't far off the mark, although my crash pad is merely a bedroom, my “landlady” is thankfully nothing like Rigsby and it's a lonelier existence than that presented in the sitcom; There is no communal sitting area and my path rarely crosses with the two other lodgers that I share with (a clown and a teacher working in a school the two princes apparently once attended). With very little cash to my name and essentially being a “kept woman” for the last few months, I have certainly enjoyed the reasonable rent, lack of bills and the advantages of paying by the day but I still have to wonder whether I will ever escape this strange unsettled nomadic existence.

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