when traveling becomes another constraining identity. It’s a fine line, when you can’t imagine yourself not traveling because you love it so much the way you can’t imagine yourself without your wife or husband because you share your life with them, and when travel becomes another prison, another set of fears keeping you in a cage.
It’s a lot like fear of commitment. You want to be in love, but you don’t want to deal with the slightest imperfection or even just the mundaneity of your beloved or your monotonously blissful relationship (what relationship is that??). Maybe you told yourself in the beginning you were looking for a home, but now the open road is the only home you’ve known and living like a peasant farmer instead of a nomad lacks its charms.
Maybe you are a gypsy or pirate or pilgrim or bard spirit, and the nature of who you are can’t be contained by a particular place and time, if too prolonged. Maybe you can rest, but you can’t stay. Maybe you stay but can’t seem to rest when you do.
Where is my spirit calling me? Where do I miss? Is it a place, a place and time, it is a certain confluence of factors that will never happen again? Do I miss a place I’ve never known, or do I really just want to stay where I am? And at what price?
For the first time, I really feel like I am super duper happy with where I am. I’ve considered staying, but ultimately I am going to go back home to finish my degree instead of switching to the partner school, where even if I could get an equal amount of scholarship funding might not provide the same return on investment, depending on how you look at it. If I stay, the whole situation would change anyway. I would have to find a different appartment more than likely, nothing would be guaranteed in terms of my boytoy, and some of the best friends I’ve ever had will be going back to the US. Not to mention the damage of Hurricane Sandy and the fact that the cost of living is about half in Philly what it is in Paris. Yeah, I might go back and forth on this for a while. I do change my mind a lot, but at least I’m getting happier…
Sometimes I wonder about some people, including myself, traveling as just a form of escape from responsibilities, bonding, and not feeling like life is just an extended vacation. For me, there is nothing I hate so much as mundaneity and routine. I can’t deal with it, even though sometimes I try to make shift it. I’ve been ridiculously buying flowers for my apartment like I’m going to stay here, but I guess I can give them away when I leave anyway. One seems to have died.
The truth is, I don’t feel a particular attachment to staying anywhere. If my family needed me, I would want to be there. And I love speaking French, so I love being here. If I were in a steady relationship or married and not on the prowl, I could go anywhere.
It’s not stability I miss, it’s intimacy. It’s not being a pillar of the community and knowing what I’ll be doing a few months from now, or having a routine, that I want. I just want to be surrounded by good people, and find a special love and partner in life. Some things seem to take time to develop, and maybe if I met the right person, I’d stay for him or he’d go for me. If it was possible and convenient, and maybe even if it wasn’t. I do dream of that kind of love. But I dream of a full life too. Good friends, good food, beautiful things to see and do, learning something new everyday, feeling like I make a difference, feeling free.
Feeling like you have to travel to be free is not freedom at all. You can be a slave to the road the way you can be a slave to comfort or stability.
All you can do is pray to find the right place at the right time with the right people. And hopefully the right job too lol.
The nice thing about having traveled long term, kind of like having being single so long, is that I know I can do it. I know I can always pick up and move, can always leave even when it’s somebody I could (but don’t want to and know I shouldn’t) marry. Because I have done it. I know I can live and work abroad in a little country town without having many friends, because I have. So let’s hope I don’t have to.
Well, i’m not going to go back to singing my old sad songs and wishing things were different. Even if my dude didn’t respond to my last text about how lucky I am to have nice people around me. Maybe I misFrenched and he didn’t understand, or he is understandably asleep. Who knows. I’m crazy, and I’m ok with that. If things don’t work out with this guy, they will with some other guy, some other time and maybe same, maybe different place. I do hate the disappointment though- it bruises. Maybe the super philosophical people would say I shouldn’t have any expectations, but I don’t think that’s normal or human. And I think that reasonable hopes and expectations that are borne out repeatedly over the course of time are what all longstanding human interactions are about. In other words, you should be able to trust the person, because they are trustworthy, responsible, and loyal. Some things take time, some things just don’t take. On verra.
You know, I never meant to be a voyager. I never even wanted to study abroad,I thought it was just doing the same thing in a different place and taking touristy pictures. I also thought studying a language was all about communicating rather than analyzing or creating it was less worthy of a study than a “real” subject. LOLZ. Maybe the path chose me.
Le sigh. Just gotta keep moving on, making progress. Journeys can happen in all kinds of ways, internal or external, they are never over. I think for all of us, it’s usually the journey that makes us happy, the fleeting moment. Even the fleeting moment we have every reason to believe will be repeated in a month or two, or a year or two, or a lifetime of happiness.
Good night and God bless! Godspeed too!