T-2 weeks from now, I will leave my country of birth, traveling for several months with no final destination. This might sound like a nightmare or a dream come true, but for me it is the only option. After exiting the Ivory Tower to take on the Real World, I decided that the best way to find my ideal job would be to go to it. There were many other reasons, including an instilled desire to perpetually move and meet people meaningfully different from me. But what clinched the decision to go was a watershed moment commuting home.
I was thinking about this round-the-world ticket I had purchased. It was cheap but had no return flight. I had always known that soon after graduating I would look for a job “in the field”, but I had absolutely no conception of how that would work. As my heart started to beat rapidly, eyes watering, and breath shuddering, I smiled. I knew that I had to go.
Lately, though, I’ve been having cold feet. It’s not that I don’t want to go. It’s that I want to go so badly, it hurts to know that I’m putting myself before everything else I love and want in my life. And while people tell me, “Now is the time to do it. You’re only young once!”, I have a hard time imagining them leaving everything they’ve ever known because they started tearing up on a train.
My point is more prosaic: change is hard. Really hard. And actually changing- your location, your job, your state of mind, yourself- is harder still. I find it difficult to fathom that I may have changed, that my desire to explore and live unfettered has lessened. Am I still the same wanderlusting traveler excited by every plane ticket purchase, or have I matured into a rooted young adult excited by symphony tickets and trips to the vineyard?
I think I’m probably all of these things, and I think that’s probably OK. Right now, I know I’m leaving, and that’s what makes the leaving so hard. The present is far more challenging to live in than the past or future, and my life to come is just that. So when I’m sitting on my home-bound train, tearing up because I feel selfish for leaving, I think about the person I am becoming. No matter how much or little I value being a nomad, I will always strive to live passionately. I owe that to myself and those I love. Because in our short lives, what is it worth to sit when you could stride, or complete when you could create?
(Answer to come)