soul of a nomad

to inspire others to prioritize exploration

Our ancestors were nomadic; never in one place for too long. Due to lack of resources, tracking herds of animals, and the innate human urge to explore, our genetics ultimately track the choices our elders made; where they came from and where they ended up.

So much of what we believe in is based on faith or sight. We can see a photograph of the Parthenon, but until we witness it for ourselves, the well-rounded sensation is lost. We can read a holy text, but until we feel that spiritual connection within ourselves, provoked by first-hand experience, we aren’t going to fully commit to God, doubt Him, or create a whole new way of life that might completely exclude divinity.

For me, God is in art, science, culture, and nature. Experience is the vehicle by which I pursue enlightenment, self-actualization, happiness and positivity. You can have an adventure in your backyard, in your home town, in the woods or mountains an hour drive away, or across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe. Wherever you go, there will be stimuli for you to either pass over or relish in: the choice is yours.

I hope to inspire others to prioritize exploration. So much of our lives are concentrated in a particular place with a certain group of people, like an adult trap intended to keep us structured, stable; living without risk. And for some, that is a very attractive way to live out their lives. In this, I say, follow your heart. If you love where you are, what you do on a daily basis, keep at it. But if the reason you don’t pick up and go is because you are afraid of the cost, consequences, or what will change in your absence, let those fears go! I promise, you’ll be better for the knowledge you’ll gain while living in the present moment.


Author: belleathena

Novelist, artist, and speculated witch. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of OTHER. Magazine. Proudly born and raised in Massachusetts. Currently located in Orlando, Florida.

2 thoughts on “soul of a nomad”

  1. I would argue that some sense of the divine is more innate to us than the urge to explore. While it’s true that some of our ancestors were entirely nomadic, probably most of them were part-time farmers. Nobody really knows how long farming has been around; it might date back over 100,000 years. Farming is not that hard, considering people as smart as you or I have been around for 250,000 years. It’s simply favoring the growth of foods you like, which does not necessarily leave a lot of archaeological evidence.

    One other thing I want to mention relates to to your connection between lack of resources and the urge to explore. Being a full-time hunter-gatherer depletes resources in a given area more quickly than would a hunting-gather/agriculture combination. This is why most of our ancestors were probably part-time farmers. It’s just easier that way. But you’re right: our genetics track the story of our ancestors. How they lived literally shaped how we are today.

    And how did they live? Some combination of hunting and gathering and agriculture. Seems simple enough. But it’s not. It requires being able to read past, present, and future in the world: being able to create a story (where did the animal go? what did the plant like?): something which no other animal on earth can do yet. A sense of the divine must be as old as hunting and gathering. Religion is nothing more than awareness of the sacred, awareness that you’re part of something. Hunter-gatherers and part-time agriculturalists were clearly aware of being part of the community of life in which the lived. They depended on that community for their very lives. Their gods were where they lived, the force of life in their community.

    To conclude where I began, people like the people I’ve been describing (our ancestors) didn’t feel quite the same urge to explore that we do. Sure, they experimented with new ways of making a living. But I can guarantee you that they didn’t think of themselves as traveling in order to obtain enlightenment, self-actualization, happiness, positivity, and greater knowledge; nor did they hope to achieve a spiritual connection within themselves provoked by first-hand experience. I know this because someone who recognizes their part in the sacred community of life doesn’t NEED all those things. It might seem strange to you, like a life passed in total obscurity: but many people live completely satisfying lives without ever leaving their town or their state. And they’re literally shaped by what they do the same way our ancestors were. Also, many people live satisfying lives that involve traveling all over the world, but they don’t think of themselves as achieving enlightenment as a result. It’s just what they do; it’s their role in the community and they’re shaped by it and satisfied.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your insight, Brian.

      This post is speaking to the human condition, which from a philosophical standpoint, exists beyond time and circumstance. Saying our ancestors were nomadic is speaking to the expansion of our species’ territories over thousands of years. Curiosity is innate, which can either get us killed or introduce us to new places, concepts and ways of life.

      And the post was also intended to be inclusive. I mention how those satisfied with life in one place should continue on in that way because it works for them. However, my point was to speak to an overarching theme in contemporary culture, which is wanderlust and wanting to see if the grass is greener somewhere else. It’s a common thread in my posts, how our personal issues transcend location and manifest themselves in different ways in new environments, allowing us to find enlightenment and understanding of ourselves.

      So, in conclusion, the technicality of human history was not my aim, and I’ve studied it too with great interest, but my mention of God in connection with travel speaks to my personal spiritual awareness rather than an actual dissection of life, as you put it, 100,000 to 250,000 years ago? Because, honestly, our ancestors DID have the urge to see new places, but fear is a powerful thing, and for some it seems more rational to stay put. The world has become small and accessible, yes, but the human imagination prevails.



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