I never have a least favorite room. I am always thankful for shelter, whatever it may be. I know many, many, people around the world who would give anything for just one room.
In our third culture life, these global practices have become our traditions, which I hope River carries on into her future family.
Single Parent Travel
Introduce us to the people you travel with?
I travel the world with my 10-year-old daughter River. She has been raised globally for half of her life now, since age 5. She is a beautiful, compassionate, global-minded, adaptable, fun, adventurous little girl, ready to eat the next coconut, jump the next ocean cliff, freedive the next sea, climb the next tree, immerse in the next culture, and map out the next major city metro system. I am Crystal Blue, 39-year-old mommy to the coconut picker. I like to be in the ocean, immerse in cultures, make music, write, and sit and think and dream.
Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
Right now we are living in East Africa. On a tiny island off the coast of Tanzania, called Zanzibar. We are living in a house here, with friends.
Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
I have always wanted to make it to Africa ever since I was little. As a cultural anthropologist and explorer, it has been my ultimate dream. After years of experience traveling alone with River and adventuring the planet, finally my financial situation, schedule, and travel confidence all matched up, and I decided we were ready to make it happen. I have a really good friend living here so it helps to facilitate our living situation, having someone show us special spots and teach us a few things here and there about the culture and local ways. The combination of all of these factors finally enabled us to come to Africa to live for two months.
What do you do to personalize your temporary residence upon arrival?
Well every place that we live is entirely different. So this depends on the specific space. We travel with a few sequined Indian picture frames with special photos of us inside. And River has her photo of our old dog. We always put these photos up, no matter if it’s in a tent in the Alps, or a bungalow in the Pacific Islands, or a bedroom in Africa. We also have a very special khatak prayer scarf from the Himalayas to keep us safe, so we always hang this. River always sets up her nightstand area with her journal and some recently collected sea glass and shells from various countries. We feel that if we have these items up marking our territory, making us smile when we see them, and each other, then we are home, wherever we are.
Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
My favorite room is our bedroom, because it’s our private space. I am big on private spaces these days. Sometimes I need to hide from the public eye. Our bedroom is about the only place left where we get to hide together: plan, pray, sleep, laugh, and just be. It’s our special private space that we hold very dear. My least favorite room I don’t think applies. I never have a least favorite room. I am always thankful for shelter, whatever it may be. I know many, many, many people around the world who would give anything for just one room. Plus, all rooms in all homes offer different energy for different occasions. I think it would be a very Western answer to give you if I said I didn’t like a certain room because it is a certain color or something. I just don’t think like that. I am always thankful. And if I ever don’t really like something for whatever reason, I change it. Kind of like life. If something doesn’t serve us, it is up to us to take the initiative to change it.
What is the biggest misconception you had about your current location before you started living in it?
I was a bit intimidated by the thought of Africa. I was so curious and wanted it so bad, but I will admit I was intimidated. But now I am here, and it is fine. Everyone we have met has been so nice, and it has been very safe. Of course it depends on where you are here, but for us, it has been a smooth ride so far.
What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move?
Easy answer: a corkscrew. lol
What do you miss most about having a permanent stationary location?
We do have a home in Mexico, with all of our stuff there. But we are never there. I like knowing that place does exist somewhere in this world and that we actually have our ‘home’, even if we are only there for two months a year, it is always good to get back and see our things. Sometimes I miss having all my stuff, and, organized, so I always have what I need and I always know where it is. Sometimes I also think of having a garden, and having the downtime to cultivate that, and sometimes I would like a bedroom for River, with a loft bed and photos on the wall and a fluffy rug. But these thoughts are usually pretty fleeting when I look around at where we are, wherever it may be. We are free, and these moments together out here in the world are priceless. The thing is that stuff will always be there, waiting. There will come a day when I have a wine collection again, and a tomato garden, and our bicycles. And then I will say, I don’t want a choice of wine. I don’t want this table to eat at. I want to be in the Himalayas, on the ground, eating with my hands, feeling the ground beneath me. I want to stay as long as I want to, and leave when I am ready, to go out further into the world. Four permanent walls are somewhat suffocating to me. And also, River will be grown before I know it, and our best memories will not be, ‘remember when we had a bathtub and a TV and a house with a garden.’ It will be ‘remember that time in Cuba in the yucca fields, and under the stars in the Pacific, and cracking coconuts and swimming in cenotes and rafting in Thailand and eating cheese in France and cliff jumping into the Mediterranean. These things you can’t do everyday anymore, when you stay in a permanent location. You have to choose.
What is the one item your child carries with her to make her temporary bedrooms more comfortable?
This changes as she grows and as we travel through more places. Right now it is a fuzzy white bunny pillow from Paris, a stuffed animal moose from Sweden, and a brown airplane blanket with light blue satin trim from our flight to Africa. As of now, she can’t go to sleep without any of them.
What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
As we are never in any one place too long, we don’t invest too much money into household goods. If we need something we just buy it quick at the local store, whatever that may be. I am big on convenience now, so whatever store is close, sold. One thing I can’t go without is a coffee maker. This is the one thing I will buy in every country and leave, if there is not one already in the house. Gotta have my morning coffee.
If you could only have one of the following in your temporary home which one would it be and why?
space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
If I had to choose, I would say good water pressure. Nothing beats a solid shower when you have been out adventuring all day, and in so many places in the world that we live in, water itself, and water pressure, are non-existent. But this is something that I love. I need to be able to make coffee somehow, and unfortunately, I do need wifi on a pretty regular basis now for my company. These three things, and I am set.
How do you keep traditions alive for your family if you move often?
Well we are pretty non-traditional and we live through the flow of life. I would say we don’t really bring any traditions to the table from the USA, but we are constantly adopting new cultural traditions around the world as we encounter practices that resonate with us. So I would say that our family traditions are global, and are a work in progress as we grow and learn together about this incredible planet. The practices that we adopt, we practice wherever in the world that we may be; for example, lighting candles for India’s Diwali festival, making an altar for Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos, etc. These are celebrated on dates for us, not in specific countries. In our third culture life, these global practices have become our traditions, which I hope River carries on into her future family. Other than these types of traditions, we really don’t incorporate anything else into our lives. We leave the space for new.
How do you decorate for the holidays in your temporary home or do you skip it all together?
The only holiday we really celebrate is Christmas, and I try my best to get us back to my family in North Carolina, USA every year in time for Christmas. Of all the places we have lived, there has only been one year that we could not, and that was when we were so far away living in the Marshall Islands. That year, we lived in an oceanfront bungalow. As the Marshall Islands is on the equator, and we were living on a remote Pacific Island, it did not feel much like Christmas as we know. So I decorated it so River would feel at home while we couldn’t be with family. I got a mini tree and gold and blue sparkle balls and snowflake ornaments and we hung them all around the house. We put an ocean shell wreath on our door and made cookies for friends. All other holidays occur when we are out here in the world, but we never have the time to acknowledge them as we do Christmas. We are just too busy.
What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
My favorite part about this lifestyle choice is everything. The freedom. The excitement, the challenge, the discomfort, and then comfort, the learning, the newfound understandings, the adventure, and growth, and discovery, meeting new people, the exploration, the inspiration, constantly seeing new amazing places, feeling at home in so many places nations of the world, knowing that we are all one, loving all humans, and all places, being filled to the brim with contentment and happiness. And the dreams, coming true. one new country and house and person and place and memory, at a time.
Many temporary home families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
Yes, I absolutely agree with this. We constantly live in so many homes and different styled homes, in so many countries. Depending on the week, or month, our home may consist of a tent in the Alps or a sailboat cabin in the Greek Islands or an apartment in Paris or a condo in Sweden or a tribal village in Nepal or a bungalow in Mexico, or a hotel in Thailand, or a beach house in Tanzania, Africa, like now, from medieval villages, to oceanfront sand, hidden in the jungle, high-rises in the city, and everything in between. No matter what, or where, or why, we make each of these houses our home for the time that we are in them. We bring the love, the laughter, and the energy, and we make memories in each of them. Each provides us with a sacred space, comfort, and gratitude. So all of our houses are our homes, not because we live there, but because we love there. And we believe that wherever in the world you love, is your home.
What makes you love the place you live?
Things that make us love where we live are: geographic location, the local people, access to adventure activities, and weather. Through gratitude, we are able to love and embrace everywhere we live, and we realize that all places are different and accept them all in their own contexts. But to really love a place, it has to offer a combination of these factors. We are big on outdoor adventures, so our space needs to have lots of green, parks, open spaces, and adventure activities, like diving or biking or mountain hiking. The people have to be accepting and kind, helpful, and interesting, and it has to have some kind of terrain that we love, either ocean or mountains, or a beautiful city vibe. Like Paris, just because.
Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of temporary living?
To us, this is the best way to live. It allows you the opportunity to see this beautiful world, to digest it. We weren’t meant to be born and stay in one place until we die. This is a really big world, and there is so much to discover. Get out of your walls and into your world.
Quote to ponder
Get out of your walls and into your world.