A Lusty Wanderer?

People change, or so they say. But, the more things change, the more they stay the same, right?…

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)

A Good Bye

NYC_Central Park

“I don’t belong anywhere. I belong where I want to go .”

This weekend, I was in NYC to see a fellow traveler and friend whom I hadn’t seen in two years. When he said the quotation above, we were talking about being able to move our lives with ease, and how it felt to leave one place for another. We both expressed our deeply-bound need to explore the new. We agreed it was not something we could ignore, but rather a core foundation of our character. When it comes to relationships, then (both platonic and romantic), things get a bit tricky. How do you explain to those you care about that traveling is more important to you than they are? It’s just not that easy.

My patient friends have often heard me say that I don’t miss people after moving, which is pretty much a lie. I do miss them, but I would never want to give up a chance to see new places and meet new people, just to stay in the same place as loved ones. And of course everyone experiences something like this during a lifetime. But it’s struck me as particularly odd that once I arrive at Destination X, it’s all about me at Destination X. My friends are “back there” and I am here. So,

How do you live your life as a traveler, feeling compelled to keep moving when you also find it incredibly difficult to leave behind your friends and family?

There is no one answer, I suppose. My answer is a common one. I keep in touch with those that I love, and try to see them when possible. The hardest moment is the actual leaving. What I mourn is the fact that things will never be the same. In that moment, I know I’m leaving and I know that when I see them in the future, it will be in a different place, with different people, with different feelings towards each other. So, to those whom I’m leaving soon, I will miss you. And if when I cry, I’m mourning the loss of the way things are.

But who’s to say the future doesn’t hold better things for us? ❤