So about this travel lifestyle…
There are times I think I’d like to do this forever. Like when I’m sitting on a plane, munching on my Corkers crisps and pretending to like that tomato juice I ordered on a whim. I guess it’s only
classy bearable when you make it a Bloody Mary??
There’s something alluring about being a jet setter. Deciding on a Tuesday that you want to fly out Saturday. Booking a ticket to another country for a four day trip.
Who wouldn’t want this life??
Well, other times, I don’t want this life. Not forever anyway. I walk through cute neighborhoods with modest old houses and creaky front gates. Overgrown rose gardens and kids’ bikes in the corner. I take note of the close proximity to grocery stores and the butcher and the florist. We pop out into a giant green park at the end of the street and I look over and say to Tyler “this is where I want to raise our kids!”
We miss community. We miss having our own space that is actually our own, not borrowed rooms filled with other people’s memories. We miss meeting people and then digging deep and creating lasting relationships built on day after day after day of honest, transparent life. We miss inviting those people over for dinner, breaking bread that our own hands kneaded and shaped and baked. Ok… Tyler’s hands, I guess. But I miss picking out curtains and hanging art on the walls. Curating a space that is our own safe haven.
But traveling… it’s amazing. Our eyes are opened and our horizons expanded each time we step foot in a new city. We have opportunities to see and experience life in a new way all the time. We climb mountains in Alaska, we bike down little streets in Switzerland, we visit German street markets, and we learn the London tube system in and out. And now, totally unexpected and unplanned, we are navigating the foreign wonder of Malaysia. We go out at night to get dinner and it’s as if we feel this instinctive need to lean forward against the wall of heat and humidity that meets us outside the front door. We wander down chaotic streets, maneuvering around language barriers as we pick out which Asian cuisine we want, and then which unknown menu item we want to gamble on that evening. We gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a foreigner, look like a foreigner, be slighted like a foreigner. How could we not treasure this wild series of experiences that stretches us and allows us to connect with humanity in a new way?
Every place we go though, those connections tie us down a little bit. We crave permanence because we are human. In a feeble effort to deny that, to protect ourselves, we try to hold ourselves up, not wanting to truly land. Don’t let you feet touch, we think. Don’t let your heart settle here. Because the next month, it’s off again. Pulling up the roots of this-is-our-grocery-store and that’s-our-park-for-evening-walks. Pulling up even more sensitive roots of we-could-afford-this-neighborhood and what-if-our-kids-learned-to-bike-on-these-streets. We crave permanence and we dream of it in every place we visit. We learn about new cultures, and then we fall in love with aspects of those cultures. We slip into them, and at first they’re uncomfortable, like any new thing that you are determined to make work. And then, after awhile, it does work.
Travel still gives me a rush. I still love the feeling of fitting all my possessions in one bag. Booking a ticket still feels like embarking on an adventure that could hold only good things. I am still entertained every time I look through my passport, watching the pages fill up and betting with Tyler on whether we’ll run out of space by next year. Navigating new places still feels like a challenge that I would take any day, and I’m still proud to be able to say I’m living my dream of traveling the world.
Are there days I think the travel lifestyle is the best thing ever, and I wonder why everyone doesn’t do what we do? Sure. But there are also plenty of days when I yearn for the comfort of home. It wouldn’t even matter where, but to be in one place, have a spot that was truly our own, paint the exact shade of dark blue that I put up on every bedroom wall in every place we’ve lived… That is my deepest longing.
After this crazy ride of globetrotting and sight seeing, we’ll find a little old house of our own– with a garden and all– and we’ll nestle in to regular life, with all the zeal we put into traveling the world.
What is/would be the best thing for you about the travel lifestyle? What would hold you back from traveling full-time?