POV: Nomad.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.  

It rained the night before I moved out of my apartment. Friends came over to help, congregating in my empty living room.

We’d spent Thanksgiving here months earlier, fourteen of us seated on folding chairs and bar stools and ottomans and sofa cushions. My roommates and I had hosted, because ours was the only space that could fit such a large group. Now, five of us lay on the floor, gazing at white walls, sweating in the heat of a summer storm. 

I opened a window. Two weeks before, I’d ducked out that same window, and climbed up the fire escape. It was morning, and I’d eaten a mango on the roof with my hands, listening to trains crossing the bridge blocks away. It was a warm day. I was without shoes, and the tar on the roof molded to the shape of my toes. 

The morning after the rain, I became a nomad. I moved out with a duffel bag and a backpack and my laptop, and shuffled between temporary homes (my new apartment, still being renovated, wouldn't be ready until July).

I spent three nights at my brother’s, where I reveled in the pleasures of an in-home washing machine, and slept in a room that glowed pink at sunset. I spent another two with my friend Jamie, who served me corn cakes with honey and maple syrup and let me use her Turkish towels; yet another two on Long Island, lazing in the grass. “I don’t have a home!” I’d exclaim to acquaintances at coffee shops, to friends of friends, to those who looked at my bags and wondered what sort of journey I was on. “I’m wandering,” I told them. 


On the eighth night, it rained again, hard. I returned home to a friend’s house to sleep, and threw away my shoes, which had begun to bleed brown streetwater with every footstep. I’d been on my feet since early that morning; I was exhausted. I missed home, even though there wasn’t a home to miss. Wandering was lovely. It was lonely, too.

In the morning, I found a pair of shoes in the closet and walked to a coffee shop. "I'm a terrible nomad," I told the barista. I missed having a bed that was mine, and shelves that were mine, and keys, and un-self-conscious sleep. 

Mid-lament, my phone lit up. There was a concert in Philadelphia in a few hours, said a friend - a man with long hair and a funny name in an old spaghetti factory that had once been a train station. It hadn't sold out. Time for an adventure? came the text.   

I gave it a few minutes' thought. I got on the train.

You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, hereThank you so much for your support! 


Emily Outcalt said...

Love this. very well written. all the details really take you there

Elle said...

Shoko, we must be living some kind of parallel life! I just returned to New York from a month in Philly, and will be moving into a new place in July as well. Come August we'll share a birthday week too! :) Happy and safe travels, girl!

max said...


Cassie @ Witty Title Here said...

This was lovely. I will soon be sharing a lot of these same feelings. :)

Rachel @ Existation said...

I miss being a nomad. Sometimes being settled can be the most unsettling feeling of all. Lovely words, Shoko. I look forward to these posts every week!

auste said...

this is so beautiful, shoko. you'll be home soon. enjoy your adventure.

Raquel R. said...

Security vs adventure. Beautifully written.

angela said...

So well written! Hope you are thoroughly enjoying the adventure part!

Anonymous said...

I would have gotten on the train, too. I miss my nomadic lifestyle of 2008-2010. Yet, my current life is more unsettled than when I was shuttling between the now ex and the best friend.

Anonymous said...


Paw said...

I love this. Re. trains: if you're interested in views, the bar car generally beats the observation car, hands down.

Trish said...

Beautifully written piece - love the imagery. You can almost smell the rain!

Kathy said...

I love the moments you've chosen to illuminate. Happy wandering these next couple weeks, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on those adventures!

Jessica said...

This is a beautiful piece of writing - I missed your blog while I was away.

max said...

so good.

Jocy said...


Pink Ronnie said...

This is lighting up my rainy afternoon!
I must start documenting snippets of my own life in this way... it would be so lovely to go back and read something like this in a year's time when the tiny details have all been blurred in one's mind.
Ronnie xo

Shoko said...

Thank you all, as always!

Elle, and to you, too!

Jessica, welcome back :)

Ronnie, you are such a wonderful documentarian. I love the way you capture small moments, too!



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