A house supposedly needs solid foundations, perhaps a household does too. Ours has no physical or geographical base. We have our own roots in Newcastle and Glasgow respectively; our relationship took hold in Bristol and blossomed in Oxford. But there is no concrete under our feet. It is a maison péripatétique.
What does it mean to live a peripatetic lifestyle?
We originally described our nomadic approach to life as being location independent. This phrase, along with digital nomad, is common parlance amongst the increasing number of people who are favouring mobility as a way of living. However, after a year of being full time international house sitters, we now say we lead a peripatetic lifestyle.
Peripatetic (adj): travelling from place to place, in particular working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
This shift in terminology represents the greater understanding of how we have built our life over the past year. It is more than having no fixed address (location independent). It is more than working online wherever we might find ourselves (digital nomad). Since September 2018, we have built and are maintaining a life on the foundations of mobility (peripatetic lifestyle).
What does La maison péripatétique mean?
Stacie: What was that word you used in your thesis to describe Henry II’s moving court?
Stacie: We could translate it into French.
Having named our blog and social media accounts La maison péripatétique, it seems only natural that we have settled on ‘peripatetic lifestyle’ over ‘location independent’. La maison péripatétique is French for ‘the peripatetic house’. We wanted a name to reflect the fact that we were giving up a static home for a house on the road, one that would require us to draw our own blueprint, pick up the tools, and carry out the construction work ourselves.
It might seem pretentious for native anglophones to adopt a French moniker; a shameless attempt to tap into a cache of connotations associated with refinement and intellectuality like the countless t-shirts with machine-translated slogans on display in Asian fashion shops. Yet, it is nonetheless apt as work on the (mobile) foundations began with seven months of house sitting in France. In France too, the expandable walls and the retractable roof of our maison péripatétique were added. We’re still missing some fixtures and fittings. We haven’t even started on the decor. It is an on-going process. Perhaps it always will be. The house, and thus the parameters of our lives, is ever shape-shifting, remoulding, relocating.
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