I have been blessed to have had some incredible travel experiences for someone so young. Traveling alone has taught me more than any of my classes combined, not just about the world, but about myself. There is nothing quite like setting off on your own, with no idea where you are going or what you are gong to do there. I have had incredible adventures, met amazing people from all over the world, and experienced life in a way many people never even know is possible. Now, I have added a new lesson to my collection of things learned on the road: How to go home.
After spending several weeks travelling in the middle east, I returned to school and, in an tiny, isolated town, dealt with the depression that comes with being stuck in one place. Somehow after my previous trips, there was always something new to look forward to. A new school, a new city. The road called to me like a long lost friend, but there was enough constant change in my life to momentarily satiate my hunger for adventure. This time, for the first time, I returned to something “normal”. Static. I sat in my room day after day, looking at photographs and journal entries from past trips, and dreaming of new place to simultaneously loose and find myself once again. I felt like a ghost–I was only partially there, existing more than experiencing. Day after day, I wished I could will myself back to one of the many places that have captured my heart and shaped my identity and to the people who opened my eyes to the beauty of the world. There is so much to experience—to me there is nothing more exhilarating than landing in a new place and having no idea where the hell I am going or what I am doing. Each time I am forced to call a place “home” and embraces the sorry thing that is the development of a daily routine, the depression that comes with the transition is more difficult each time. Travel is an addiction. Once you taste it, you have to have more. It sucks you in and sweeps you away…there is no escape. Yet, in a way, this is why travel is so beautiful. Although it is little consolation, the way it allows us to become travellers in routines and daily lives is beautiful in itself. It is easy to become depressed once one is forced to stay in one place and make a life there, but without this, travel loses something.
There is no adventure without rest, and no true sense of what home is without struggling to find it elsewhere. Once home becomes a place within ones identity rather than a point on a map, but in a way that point is the beauty of travel. With the hope that someday the idea of home may become internal, maybe it is possible, someday, to see a routine and sedentary life as travel also. Maybe someday settling down will not seem like a sacrifice, but like the next adventure.