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Until a few days ago, I never really spent a lot of time thinking about the dictionary’s definition of the word “gypsy.”  It was just a word that I’ve heard used over the years to mean different things – people who live in colorful wagons and travel around the country-side; people who live in other countries and beg or pickpocket; people who wear brightly colored clothing and sit around a campfire at night singing songs while others play stringed instruments and drums; people who move around a lot; the topic of a popular song sung by Cher when I was a teenager.  But recently, a number of people who’ve heard about my “life-style” have asked me if I’m a gypsy.  Since I never really thought about what that word really means, I would kind of shrug my shoulders a little and say yeah, I suppose.

Home Sweet Home - Li'l Homey
Home Sweet Home – Li’l Homey

My definition of “gypsy” when the word is used to describe the life I’m living right now is this: one who has no fixed place to call home, who lives in a tiny trailer, who moves from place to place, whose pets have more than one vet located in more than one state, who sometimes has the privilege of staying in someone’s driveway for a month or two or maybe even longer, who could hook up and leave in less than an hour’s time to go somewhere else.

So here’s the definitions from Dictionary.com:


  1. a member of a nomadic, Caucasoid people of generally swarthy complexion, who migrated originally from India, settling in various parts of Asia, Europe, and, most recently, North America.
  2. Romany; the language of the Gypsies.
  3. ( lowercase ) a person held to resemble a gypsy, especially in physical characteristics or in a traditionally ascribed freedom or inclination to move from place to place.
  4. ( lowercase ) Informal. gypsy cab.
  5. ( lowercase ) Informal. an independent, usually nonunion trucker, hauler, operator, etc.

For the past six years, I’ve used the words “gypsy” and “nomad” to describe the kind of wandering I’ve done around the West Coast of the United States, ever since my home was foreclosed and I’ve been “technically” homeless.  Even as a younger person with a little baby, I never wanted to “settle down” and have a house some place (we moved around a lot until the baby was 10 years old, and then I stopped in one place until he graduated from high school).  I have never wanted to own a home, own property, or own lots of things that I then needed to take care of.  I wanted to be free to travel around, be a nomad, move from place to place.  “Coming home” always sounded like a horrible curse to me; it’s something I never wanted to do.  Fine for other people, but not for me.  And just because I chose to travel around the West Coast while I had my dog and cats with me instead of traveling the world without them, it doesn’t make me any less of a gypsy.  It’s the wandering, nomadic, gypsy life-style that I’m describing as mine.

So, yes, I’d say I’m a gypsy.  My description of the life I’m currently living fits nicely with the last part of #3 in the Dictionary.com definition above.  I certainly have always had the “inclination to move from place to place” for as long as I can remember, even as a little kid (oh, do I have stories to tell!), and I doubt that it’s going away any time soon.  So, whether you’re a gypsy at heart, a gypsy in “real” life, or a home-body who calls themselves a traveler but can’t get away from having a real-life house or apartment to come home to, let’s travel this road together, have some fun, eat some food, go on some adventures, and drink some coffee.  Who’s with me?

What’s your definition?  Do you think of gypsys as an ethnic group?  As pickpockets to be aware of in Rome, Italy’s Termini Station?  As a close-knit group of people who take care of their own?  As people who don’t have a permanent home base somewhere, who travel around the state/country/world? Or something else entirely?

See you out there on the road, in the airport, on the bus, riding the train!  Happy gypsying!

Click here to check out my Gypsy Style/Bohemian Influence pins

What’s a Gypsy?
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10 thoughts on “What’s a Gypsy?

  • November 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Interesting my friend! Yes, I think of the Gypsy lifestyle as nomadic, but a group of people who take care of their own.
    May not so much as traveling as they used to, but willing to move if needed.
    I’m sure glad you like to share where you are going, its so fun to tag along!!

    • November 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks, Debbie – I have fun writing about stuff, even when it seems kind of random, like this topic 🙂

  • November 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Being a “Gypsy” is a feeling in your soul, the need to go wherever you want when you want and the freedom to do that. I have been a Gypsy for a long time, first driving truck coast to coast and now with the choice to live full time in the RV. I am so looking forward to that freedom again, with a little trepidation, as it will be a major change in lifestyle and I will be doing it alone. I never thought my life would lead to this, but am looking forward to the experience. You go girl!! 🙂

    • November 5, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Yay, Lynn! I know you’ll love the RV lifestyle, especially with all your driving experience – you’ll do great! It’s interesting where our lives go, isn’t it?! Looking forward to seeing you out on the road somewhere 😀

  • November 5, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Yes, you are a gypsy and also an inspiration. Happy trails Lois.

    • November 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Happy trails to you, too, Nancy! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • November 6, 2013 at 8:30 am

    wow, a gyspy…Well, I guess, if being a free spirit is being a gyspy, then so be it.

    I grew up learning only bad things about gyspys. My experience with them also was not a good one. They were known to be thieves, cheaters, and somebody you just stayed away from.

    maybe it’s time for me to revisit this concept

    • November 6, 2013 at 11:53 am

      The dictionary definitions I found all referred to upper-case and lower-case terms and I think that’s where the difference is – at least, for me. I never heard anything nice about Gypsies when I was growing up and my experiences with the Gypsies in Italy and the Czech Republic weren’t necessarily nice ones. I suppose that’s why I was shrugging my shoulders and only “kind of responding” when I was asked if I was a gypsy – I wasn’t sure it was a good thing! Now there are so many of us out there roaming around, being nomads, not staying in one place very long, that maybe this is a way to change the perception of the word. That’s a good thing!

  • November 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    From someone who understands the heart of a gypsy…

    “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

    ~ Mark Twain

    • November 6, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Ah, yes, Nick, I can relate to Mr. Twain… “Sail away from the safe harbor. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Perfect words for all of us, not just the gypsies among us. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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