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The neighbor lady one house over from me, described our neighborhood as an oasis. Her depiction of our street, monikered as Place and dead-ending at my domicile, conflicts with the rants I’ve penned to describe my perspective of holing up in the middle of suburbia, amongst the general population. I’ve used my observations to paint a disparaging portrait of this suburb of Portland as justification to sell house and contents and bug out, heading off in a rig to hitch up with a caravan of nomads on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. I romanticized a scenario in which I moved my rig every fourteen days to another BLM site, set up camp, and communed with nature, mingling with nomads performing the ritual to abide by the fourteen-day restriction of camping on BLM land. My investigation into this lifestyle culminated in watching 100-plus videos on YouTube that chronicled these souls who brave the wilds of BLM land full-time. For nomads in the majority, it’s a lifestyle of choice and freedom; for the minority, it’s a means of survival because the circumstances of their realities dictated the path of a nomad. Their stories humbled me.

Today I am conflicted between the realities of my outpost in suburbia and those of the path nomads portray. Community is the core of their lifestyle, except for the nomads who prefer solitude. My introversion has kept me at the fringes of society, where isolationism comforts me, where I walk the perimeter of my outpost sitting on 7033 square feet of land. I awakened this morning, in contrast, with a realization that as I make my journey through age—the act before the curtain is drawn—I desire a relationship with a community that enriches my life.

I believe my neighbor’s perspective of our oasis of a tiny place amid suburbia is where I want to stay. The mathematics and machinations of finances will determine if I can get what I want, or will I have to compromise for what I need in retirement. I will ponder this conflict with care.