Is it Human Nature to Travel or Settle?
Let me paint a picture that may just trigger a memory. I am sitting at my best friends barbeque on vacation back home. After being bombarded with travel questions:
“Can you tell the people apart in Asia?”
“Do people touch your hair a lot?”
“Do they even speak English or understand you?”
Then came… so exactly… Followed by the AKWARD SILENCE.
“How long to do you plan to run around the world aimlessly?”
I GULPED and before I could take a deep breathe…
“I mean aren’t you lonely and EXACTLY when do you EVER plan to settle down?” “I mean it sounds like a lot of fun but does it mean you never want to get married????”
It’s that awkward question that can make anyone uncomfortable. I remember placing a post on this very topic as a Facebook post years ago and how this one post evoked such a heated discussion with so much emotion entangled in the every response. The issue was simple. There was a lack of respect for the wanderer spirit and an equal judgement over choosing to settle.
Wanderlust” is defined as a strong desire or impulse to travel and explore the world. It is a desire for adventure and no matter if your soul finds fulfilment in the constant exhilaration that one experiences through the adventure. It is a rare glimpse into other cultures and unforgettable feeling of being in that space at that moment. There is nothing other than fear holding anyone back from getting on a plane and seeing the gems that the world has to offer. Whether your heart is of an adventurer or your choice is simply to have a brief glimpse, either way it is worthwhile experience.
Looking back in history “settling” was seen as nesting by society. It was about being rooted in a home, finding stable employment, getting married and starting a family. The irony is that by 2017 in the era of technology where there are no longer borders, where rules and perceptions have changed this statement holds no ground. Home is where the heart is can be seen as a cliché however, I have found throughout my travels that it is possible to create a home wherever you choose to live. It is the space that brings you joy and peace especially for travellers who choose to settle in one city for a little while each time. It is possible to fill a space anywhere in the world with the things that are valuable to you and it can be warm memories and great stories. I have spoken to countless travellers about what defines home for them and I realised that not everyone is attached to a place or finds value in objects. There are people who find more peace and joy in the ability to move and live in different spaces around the world. Home should have a personal definition and should not be rigid as even ones who are considered rooted can be uprooted because of a job or circumstances.
Careers have evolved and there is no longer a need for one to be rooted to have a career or be successful. As we are part of a generation of entrepreneurs creating businesses that require no borders or traditional office spaces. One can earn income as they travel or find a career in sharing their travels, experiences and advice with the world. There are no longer any limitations to how much control one has with what they do with their time and how they choose to spend it.
The one topic that can be the most difficult to navigate around is relationships. Love can be complicated but it is possible to find it anywhere in the world or to find a partner or friend with the same wanderlust willing to enrich and share the journey with you. Relationships can be challenging and I can only share my experience on this point. Over the years I have found that the oldest and strongest relationships have managed to evolve overtime with me and it has been far easier now to for those friendships to continue to grow and thrive despite the distance. Let’s be real for a second, there are people that can’t do long distance and struggle with connection. What they fail to consider is even if I settled there is a chance that being wrapped up in a demanding career, long work hours and the struggles of raising a family. I may still not get the opportunity to spend as much time with them. I have learnt to make peace that the relationships that are meant for your path will weave themselves through seamlessly and enrich your journey while the others just simply need time or to let go.
I am going to end off with a quote by Hugh Ryan from the Guardian. “It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize something very simple: staying in one place is as unique and specific an experience as traveling to somewhere I’d never been, and there were things to be discovered in the stillness as well as in motion.”
And... That's It!