If you could do anything you want to do — putting all things, obligations, considerations, financial abundance or woes, assumed or real expectations, fears, worries, relationships aside — what would you do? What would your life look like?

Would you live in something big or small, or nowhere at all, or right where you are? Would you start a business, quit a job, adopt a bunch of children or pets, travel the world, write a book, take up ceramics, live on a hill or in an Ashram, make a garden, leave, go, or stay? Would you climb mountains, swim in seas, seek solitude in the wilderness or mingle among the urban? What would your life look like if you weren’t connected to school system, family system, cultural expectation or a job?

If you could do anything you want to do, be who and how you want to be, dream really big or easily, what would you do? (PS – I really want to know!)

I know what we — my husband Scot, daughter Luna, and I — would do: we would travel. In our wildest dreams, we are living abroad, somewhere in Spain or France or maybe Italy, shopping at local food markets, watching fútbol in different cities, learning new languages, plotting maps, taking trains, living in city flats or in country villas, checking out how other folks live their lives.

Included in our dreaming and before we travel abroad, we have to fulfill a need for traveling the US in a really small travel trailer, living tiny and lightly, hauling just what we need so that we are out in the world as much as possible, perhaps going from San Diego to Alaska, or from one end of Canada to the other, or to and through all of the national parks. In our wildest dreams, we are untethered: free to be, doing what we love, and doing it together.

My Beloved Spain, in Cáceres’ Parte Antigua

Many of the requirements of living a life untethered — at least for us — have been satisfied. My husband is self-employed as a web developer. I am raising my daughter and am keeping home, practicing, when I can, my other life as writer, artist and foodie. And, Luna is unschooling, which really means that we are all unschooling together. In other words, we are mobile, or can be, because we are living in a way that embraces flexibility and embodies our values, some of which include freedom, independence, creativity, love, joy and peace.

We also have the want, the hankerin’, the Travel Jones. We like being out in the world. We fancy other cultures, be they English-speaking or otherwise. Personally, I adore foreign languages and feel the need to be immersed in them (My heart belongs to Spain. France is a close second. But then there’s London, Florence, Mexico, Sweden, Tokyo…). I also respect and want to be around those that live sustainably, which means visiting local farms and markets throughout the US, especially the coasts: avocados in SoCal, fishing in Maine, local cheese in the Midwest. And let’s not forget the beautiful, majestic, outrageous terrain of the United States. Must see.

Goat Cheese Tucked Away in the Woods
Goat Cheese Tucked Away in the Woods

True immersion requires travel, really, so we want to do that. We want to be there. Yes, indeed, let’s go that way.

And then there is the tech community. Folks just like my husband are doing things virtually all over the world, in urban co-working spaces and rural, remote Alaskan hideaways; from Prague to Petoskey and Rome to Reno; in Brazil and Bali; from Mallorca to Minnesota. Working for oneself can be difficult, stressful and time-consuming, but it can also be freeing, highly creative, rewarding, and mobile. We hope to meet folks just like my husband, doing what he likes to do, WordCamping, writing, coding, all over the world. Code Poets unite.

Finally, there is the unschooling/natural learning community. We are not pioneers here, either. There are lots of unschoolers out there, some are traveling, some are not, but they are building their own communities of folks doing what they do, too. There also are lots of travelers out there that are not unschoolers, but who have decided to take their families on the road for awhile, away from the regular routine, to be free and to travel and see the world; they homeschool on the road. We look forward to meeting those people, too, to share, dream, inspire.

So we are mobile, live lightly and freely and dreamily, and we are untethered. Check, check, check. So what’s the holdup, you might ask? Why not just go? We are working on just going, especially if that is what is supposed to happen. But travel, for the most part, requires money, including a budget and a plan, especially, in my opinion, with a youngster in tow (There are those that disagree with all of the aforementioned, but that’s cool.). We used to have a lot of it — money that is. Then we lost most of it (must be around here somewhere…). Now we have some more of it, and we are working on acquiring even more. We have purged belongings, we have saved our money, we have financial goals, and there even is a financial plan. We could, in fact, just go, structure be damned! It is possible, and many, many people do just go. It is often on our minds. One thing we know for sure: we will be leaving soon.

Airbnb Stay in Detroit
Airbnb Stay in Detroit

The funny thing about the ebbing and flowing of income though, especially as self-employed people, is that access changes, and, as a result, so do our plans. Or sometimes the opposite happens: we think that we will just go, and can, and make plans, and then consider, We’ve come this far [with our savings and plans], so why not just stay a little longer and see what happensAt times that can be frustrating, because just when we begin to believe that we know exactly what we want to do or where we are going, we pull out the chisel (or it miraculously falls in our hands) and continue to chip away at the stone that makes up the sculpture of our lives. Sculpt, sculpt, sculpt, chisel, chisel, chisel. In other words, we have learned that even if we have lots of money with access to much, it is the freedom to choose and the ability to play with those choices that are both at work. It is more than money. In fact, being untethered creates endless possibilities; we can do anything we want to do, sooner or later. So that begs the question:

What do we really want to do, no-holds-barred?

As we continue to ponder and sort this question, we lay it all out here for you to consider, too. It will keep us honest, hopeful, on task, accountable. We also hope that you will follow along, offer some insight and inspiration, perhaps people to meet and places to visit, and dream along with us. It’s a big world with lots of people in it. We hope to meet many of them.

Here is to living life untethered.

Liza Beth Rumery

Liza likes to do a lot of things. Currently, she like to make food, ride bikes, study languages and hang out with her family.

4 comments on “Free to Be, You and Me: Life Untethered

  1. Reading, once again, my daughters intriguing words! So thought-provoking and articulate. I can actually “hear” your voice as I read. Welcome back my literary love!

  2. Following an oral reading by Shirley, as Dick drives through Georgia, your essay stimulates a fun discussion….imagining what it would be like at our age to be untethered. We’re sharing the road with countless motor homes, many pulling a small car behind, with bikes hicked up on racks. Kind of a modern version of a Conestoga Wagon. What fun!!! All contained, minimal unpacking, no ties to bind our souls. Very appealing thoughts.

    We’re thinking that there are those who require a sense of rootedness – a home in which to return, those who prefer no ties to hold them down, and lifestyles in between each pole. There is no right or wrong about any of these.

    Our thought is that we’ll find you wherever you are and you’ll come home to visit whenever the mood strikes you. It’s a win/win!!

    • It is a win/win. And if you stay rooted most of the time, we’ll come back and do laundry at your house.

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