Travel is an entirely optional ingredient in living a meaningful life--and there are other, much more critical ingredients we as a culture give little weight to.
I turn 25 today, which feels like a milestone. In the last quarter century, I’ve raised goats, read through a library and a half, graduated college (and gone back for round two), solo traveled on three continents, dirtbagged, lived with a family that’s not my own, volunteered full-time, learned a second language, and threw in my lot working for a Fortune 500 company.
So if you're feeling lonely and disconnected a few months into college, study abroad, your new job in that city, or an idyllic llama ranch in Peru, there's nothing wrong with you. You didn't miss anything crucial. Roots just take time to grow.
I've taken countless trains and planes, buses and taxis, and tread many paths and foreign city streets a pata, with my own two feet. But as it turns out, there will always be new challenges for a girl with absolutely no innate sense of direction.
I have to trek all the way around the building to check my mail, but I live at the place I put down as my permanent address.
Facebook has reminded me that two years ago, I stayed up until 3am at a riad hostel in Morocco, and then woke up the next afternoon to surf with strangers from Europe and Australia. Today, I woke up in the bed I own at 6am because I'm working on building a habit of discipline, and am currently staving off laziness by working my way through a to-do list.
You see, when the future is open to any possibility, when you can go anywhere, do anything, when you have no responsibilities or commitments, you think you're free.
I have visited World War II memorials in Europe and walked in the footsteps of the ghosts of Auschwitz. I've seen the unbearable sadness and equally unbearable acknowledgement of responsibility for past actions. This, however, was different. This was me, my people, and my nation.
Last time I made a video, it took me a good seven months to finish and publish it. This one took a year and some change (pun kinda intended) to make it out of my jump drive.
I don’t know if I consciously expected to find pilgrims with backpacks on trains or in late-night discussions in the hostels, but whatever I expected, I was disappointed. I’ve written about my loneliness while traveling, and it took regaining some spiritual community to realize that the loneliness was in some ways spiritual isolation.