Freedom-obsessed: Why Traveling Is My Drug of Choice

My biggest (and probably single) fear in life remains of confinement.

The feeling of restrain begun with the very walls I was taught to call home. As a child, my parents quickly noticed my rebellious, outspokenly opinionated, reckless and nomadic nature. In hopes of keeping me safe and in attempt to mold me into someone more familiar, their reaction was to create and fortify more boundaries, which merely resulted in me crossing each border and strengthened my desire to go.

I’ve always been the type that goes for something just because she was warned not to, particularly if there’s danger involved.

I also have a tendency and need to cut everyone and thing off, even knowing that the greatest times in life are magnified when shared with others. In the instants where I attempted to be “normal”, put my heart to use (in the companionship sense), and allowed a rare one or two to help convert me to a settlement of some sort, eventually my body would literally repel them. Unfortunately, I don’t encounter my best self in relationships; nearly all people continue to disrupt my energy and equilibrium. I have yet to meet a person that does not colonize my space, let alone, accept how much of it I need without taking it personally at some point. Thus far, I have found that I am truly the healthiest and happiest on my own. Goodbye has become of my most favored moments in a union, and it’s one I’ve perfected with peace and love even in the face of disrespect and rage because I’ve been the first to utter it so often.

I often wonder if some of us are more genetically predisposed to wander in this life, regardless of our folks?

I used to tell my family “just this one trip alone and I’ll be back and calmer…I’ll even try your path of conformity then” but the truth is, I lied every time. They knew it. They often lectured me on how I’ve “developed a character of escapism that desires no responsibilities outside of myself”. That I “don’t want to grow up”. That I’ve “become a travel addict” (termed “dromomania”/”vagabond neurosis”).

But isn’t it a responsible action to decide what you do and do not want in life, and consciously in accord to your own belief system and conduct? Isn’t it responsible to do things at a pace that suits you instead of what others outside of you have dictated? 

It’s easy to commit yourself to others, especially if you’ve convinced yourself they fulfill you. People rush to fill their voids with externals; what society proclaims as “musts” and “shoulds” to survive and continue the chains of procreation, if only purely for that very reason.

Moreover, doing so does not necessarily denote you’re a responsible mature adult. How many mother’s and/or father’s you know that are anything but responsible for their health and very selves first? How many that never got to truly and intimately know, respect, and love themselves inside out to be able to evolve and behave as “grown-ups”? How many emotionally, mentally and spiritually damaged adults you’ve met that are so because they were raised in unhealthy environments by one or two that failed to set the example, and primarily because they were too young, inexperienced, or failed to work on themselves before buckling down with another?

We’re all addicts in this life, we simply get to select our drugs of choice. You can be addicted to a person and/or relationship. You can be addicted to familiarity, even if it is unhealthy. You can live in abuse and call it love and find it comforting. So, why not be addicted to the mysterious?

What about those of us that find comfort in what is NOT guaranteed or stable? Those of us that find life in the intangible and what cannot be seen with one’s eyes….

What about those of us that don’t travel to escape, but to face ourselves? What if traveling helps us return to our highest selves? And why are so many threatened by that and find the need to question the purpose of another person (even when they don’t exactly know their own) and/or call it selfishness?

Human’s have all sorts of escape mechanisms and using each other as abodes of escape is a common reality for many as well.

I never became calmer with age as I was told would happen, to the contrary, my heart and soul got firmer and louder as I got to know and work on myself more intimately with the passing years. I learned to pinpoint my actual needs; reinforcing my truths and personal conduct. At the same time, I got skilled at being chameleon-like and taming my spirit around certain people and settings; opting to be quiet and observe as my insides roar. I don’t offer people the parts of me I know they cannot comprehend or welcome. Even my stories, I only tell them to those I feel have earned their sharing.

Other than the fact I never once dreamed of or desired the traditional (marriage, kids, home, societal status, professional fame, etc.), the reality is, there’s a point in a wanderer’s journey in which there is no return. You can never fit in (not to mention, I was quite the reserved socially inept introvert to begin with). You come back and everyone’s life has changed with the passing years, meanwhile, your only comfort has become the thrill of changes and the unknown.

There’s no place for permanent careers or having a family of your own on the open terrains and unwavering oceans, and I am fully aware of that. The trade-off is that you grow to be one with this Earth and every person on it. Fulfillment becomes a world you have created within you, which you carry everywhere.

You also get a chance to break bonds you were born with and instead, you’re liberated to choose the ones you desire. You’ll stumble upon many homes in others and foreign places and you’ll realize our differences are minor, if not, non-existent.

You get good at parting whom and what you’ve connected to, no matter the strength of your bond. You develop this intricate and sometimes paradoxical balance between being fully present and so, navigating from your powerful unconditionally loving self (because power only lies in your today’s), yet, you’re also a detached observer. You love and give but do not cling; you liberation lies in liberating others.

For the majority, not knowing and instability is as scary as life gets. They like to anticipate, plan, and calculate what’s yet to come convincing themselves that they can warrant safety and make others and things last forever. It’s all false hope. Life was not created to be figured out. Nothing was meant to last forever either.

Personally, the feelings of wholeness and stability come from roaming aimlessly in the unknown. The sole moments where I feel free enough to become fully and apologetically myself is when I’m anonymous.

In my mind, I have always been a drifter without a home. I learned early on that home is a feeling, and never a place or even people as I used to say. People can incite the feeling of groundedness within you, but essentially, it’s as fleeting as they are. The only lasting feelings are those stemming from seeds you have planted within you; ones you choose to water daily.

The marvel of having no home is that every place becomes yours to uncover. You are always welcomed with open arms; all you need to do is stay unguardedly present. Anywhere will be home, for a little while at least.

I’m repeatedly excited to arrive to novel places; the thrill of wandering empty paths without a destination, stumbling upon strangers, and exploring new cultures and languages. Yet, no matter how at home I’ve felt, my impulse to leave invariably triumphs all else.

I guess that inexplicable yearning to rejoice in one’s own company and in the unknown isn’t one of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but the rare few who feel it too, know it’s significance. We may skip a stage or two, but at the end of every day, we master the pyramid’s top! Traveling is our mean to self-actualization. For us, this is as real as we wish our life gets. For the ones whom have never experienced this solo revelry…I am okay with being labelled. You know, the “crazy”, “weird”, “abnormal”, “commitment-phoebe”.


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