It is interesting to note that when we—people in general—bridge a time span of communication, we tend to begin with a reference to the length of that gap. Maybe it is because we can fathom something we can quantify. It gives us perspective that we can easily comprehend. What I really think we are remarking about, at least subconsciously, is change. What I want to reflect and remark upon is change. The qualitative changes that occur over time, the changes within and around us, can be difficult to grasp, but it is the only constant of life, as the adage goes. Life is change, change is life. All cliches are truisms, and all truisms are true. (Indeed, Jack, indeed.)
When I began my travels, I had the intentions of keeping a journal and blogging regularly about my experiences on the road. I soon found this to be an overly ambitious task that got in the way of actually traveling. Clearly, I was and am not an experienced writer with great habits. But here it is, two years since I left behind the old way of life and hit the road, and I have not told my family and friends much about my trips, other than the general updates while on the road, and superlative laced summaries upon my returns. More than that, there is much left untold about the inner personal journey I have been on, which has always been what this is about. The places I have been, the people I have met, have all been the settings and characters intertwined with the big story that is unfolding, still being written.
I am continuing to sift through the memories, reflecting on the experiences, revisiting photographs. One thing has become clear. Today, my previous travels, and my future adventures are not isolated wanderings, but a manifestation of who I am, and who I am perpetually becoming. Maybe this is the coming of age portion of the story…I don’t know. But I do know this is not something I am “getting out of my system” like some disease (or if it is, I will be glad to be ridden with Wanderlust for the rest of my life. In fact I hope to die from it.). This is not an escape from the real world. I take that back. It is. But I have finally learned to stop associating escape with the pejorative connotation others have put on it and instead see it as an escape from a trap, a liberation from a cage in which I was confining myself. That trap I set for myself which was trying to be happy living a way that was not for me. I only had to see that the cage wasn’t locked and all I had to do was open the door to get out. I began to realize these things on my trip across the U.S. in the summer of 2011. The road led me back to Southwest Florida, Ohio, and then on to Southeast Asia. It continues to zigzag across the unparalleled landscape of the United States and will no doubt take me across oceans to foreign lands again, soon.
A friend asked me today if I was getting sick of living this way or was going to keep on going. I thought about it for half a second before responding. “Not one day goes by that I am sick of this or wish to go back.” The answer was roughly the same sentiment when I first quit my job. The difference today was that it was founded in a sense of rightness, not defiance. This all feels right. It is no longer rooted in rebellion. Maybe that’s how it was all along, and it has taken me this time, these experiences, to realize all of this. I have realized there aren’t compromises to be made with your own heart, your own passions, your own voice, your own destiny. By following this I have come to find my place in the world. I don’t know what I am doing here and I don’t know where I am going. I still don’t know the meaning of this life, and could potentially not be any closer than I was before all of this. I am living one day at a time, simply trying to become better at living it. Maybe that’s all there is to it.