Where Is a Traveler to Plant His Roots?
When I first left my old life to travel full-time, it seemed like something of an extended vacation. I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going, what I would be doing there, or when I would come home—even what I would come home to. It was a trip that had bearing and relevance on my friends back home, since as a member of a wide social community many people understood that I had wanted to do this for some time. They were happy for me; perhaps a bit jealous. Yet what I was doing meant something to their lives, because I was a part of it.
Two years later, it’s a bit sad to ruminate that for the most part, I have dropped off the radar of many people that were once sincerely interested in what I was doing. Part of this is natural—as we all grow up, we focus more intensely on our personal pursuits, and old habits and relationships fall to the wayside. It’s natural, it happens everywhere, and it will likely only become more intense in the coming years. Yet I find my situation acute because at this point, travelling has become my life.
The nature of traveling is that you are constantly visiting new places, and decline to put down roots in any one spot. If you were to put down roots, you wouldn’t be traveling; you’d be living. As someone who travels full-time, I have not put down roots anywhere for over two years, and that means the cooling of relationships. This is not to say that I haven’t made some of my closest friends while on the road—in a sense, the social community that I’m a member of now is a more tight-knit one than any of which I’ve ever been a part, because most of the people I meet traveling have the indescribable pull to live their lives like me, which many people from my “old life” don’t understand.
It is an unsurprising but no less disappointing realization to find that what I am doing is no longer fun and exciting to my community of people back home. Understandable, because they are living their lives, and I am living mine. I’m not out to flaunt what I’m doing, or post pictures for the benefits of others. I want to share my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned along the way with people that I’ve spent large portions of my life with, but when traveling becomes your life, this becomes more difficult, since it is no longer a novel escape from an old life. It is a new life, with new roots—even if they are not planted in any one place.