Traveling: taking on a journey, usually one involving different geographical locations.
The act of traveling involves movement, and with all the movement and forced fluidity of my recent life, I’ve found it extremely difficult to manifest anything. Aside from posting pictures and blurbs on Instagram for the reassuring pleasure of seeing 20 likes in the morning, I haven’t edited photos or written in my blog since I’ve been on the road.
There has been plenty of time spent chatting with other travelers though. Exchanging stories with these new friends has been one of the best experiences over the past few months.
After I realized I had been repeating almost the same story of myself week after week, I almost started to get tired of it.
However with each host, hostel mate, or new friend, I found that each iteration of my story was slightly different. Each time was a chance to choose new words to tell my story in the way I felt about it in the moment. As I told my story I’d sometimes feel that a word or phrase I had used in the past would no longer fit with my new days' outlook.
Through conversation with fellow travelers, a variety of questions are asked. Often I knew the answers to the questions.. “Where are you from? What did you study in school? How long are you staying at this hostel?” But sometimes, I didn't know the answers right away. To keep the conversation going, I had to spit out some words, and sometimes those words felt right. Sometimes they didn’t. Then at night in my bunk, or on a wandering walk, in my mind I’d draw out an imaginary tree diagram and trace the different possibilities of an answer that was no longer for the conversation, but for myself.
This sounds like a really complicated process, but in the moment I didn’t think of it so systematically. It’s just what happened.
The question I often ask a long term traveler...
“Why did you decide to start traveling?"
I ask partly because I'm curious of their answers, but primarily I'm hoping to find parts of my answer in their words.
I realize this whole process sounds pretty darn selfish… But maybe its selfish for the other person too, just like it is for me. They get to share their story too while I listen. It’s like a two way therapy session, but for free. In a dialog I think its natural for each participant to seek a little bit of their own truth in others’ words. The more stories I hear, the more words I have to choose from when trying to piece together a speck of truth for myself. I can only hope the other person feels similarly. Maybe I’m just delusional.
So, here’s how I see it at the moment:
I want to learn more about myself.
Without the label of a city or a job title, without my comfy apartment, without my circle of friends, and without the subtle expectations of who I am or how I should behave…. who am I?
Without the things I “should” be doing, or people I “should” be seeing, what will I decide to do? Who will I decide to spend time with?
How will my journey look like when I am truly forced to pave my own road?
I understand that all these questions might not ever be completely answered, and that’s not necessary. I just want to feel more confident with who I am, what I believe, and what I genuinely desire. And after three and a half months, I do feel more confident with my truth.
This could be is my quarter life crisis in full swing, and if so, well, life is pretty awesome.