Why travel? For me, that’s where my ideas are, where my inspiration comes from, and how I find where I fit in this huge, diverse, and somehow entirely connected world. My ideas don’t show up on my desk where they were supposed to, and they never show up when I have the time to sit and work on them.
When I was 5, they were tucked behind my house under the big fallen tree, past the hostas, amongst roots and shrubs.
When I was 8, they were tucked by the streamed that my brother and I made on the side of the house, he would build with LEGO’s, I would use flowers and sticks.
When I was 13, they were on the beaches of Costa Rica, that lit up with the biggest thunderstorms that shook my knobby knees.
When I was 15, they were at Cobbs Hill Reservoir, where the water always seemed to mirror my emotions.
When I was 17, they showed up by the beach of Lake Ontario that felt like worlds away, where I could wiggle my toes it the sand in a landlocked state and pretend like I was on the other side of the world.
When I was 19, they were on the other side of the world as I traveled to Australia and New Zealand and, somehow, in 4 months my entire world of things that I thought mattered shifted from how well I could match my outfit with my newest clothes, to what the world needs in environmental sustainability, education, and community engagement.
When I was 21, they popped up on my roof, in my safe haven, amongst the organized absolute chaos of Jodhpur India, where learning Hindi was the only way to get myself out of the house. I started to worry less about me, and more about the family on the street below me who created a house out of a refrigerator box and somehow still filled their days with smiles.
My ideas stretched and faded after that as I moved to a beautiful mountain town in Colorado. I have flourished by supporting myself on fun, easy, jobs and reserve my days off for playing outside, finding the windiest trails to keep my brain stimulated. I have taken short trips to Morocco, Thailand, Mexico, Peru, Greece, and Alaska that make the long days of work worth it. However, recently, I have found myself discontent in this perfect life again. In a place where I could live in a bubble forever I feel out of place, a feeling that is very recognizable to me. I miss those days where my mind ran free, where I started to collect memories from nature and contemplate the bigger stories way beyond my reach.
For the last 2 years, I’ve stayed in my town because I wanted to prove to myself that I could. I fought against my nature to run. I fought against the urge to run away, to escape, to leave it all behind, thinking if I literally ran hundreds of miles on trails around my state, somehow, it would invigorate me the same way, but somewhere I knew it was just a balm for bigger adventures that would never escape my mind. Staying put was a new challenge for me. I had to face the things and people I was uncomfortable with. I had to face my own challenges. Someday, as I do with every tough place I travel to, I will have the clarity of what I learned in this period of time. For now, I’m not sure, but I hear the calling again, louder than ever. I have to go now, it’s time. It’s time to be uncomfortable again, to miss running water, and to wish for a trash can or for someone who speaks my language. It’s time to miss a room to myself, a clean street, and texting my friends. It’s time to contemplate the bigger questions again and remember my place in this world. I think my why is summed up best in Scott Jurek’s book North. “Why? Because this is who I am. This is what I do”. 👣