some quick statistics, since may 2010 i've:
- packed and/or unpacked my life 24 times.
- lived in 2 countries, 2 states, 8 cities, and 8 houses.
- been on 12 flights and 4 roadtrips.
it's safe to say that i've been in a constant state of travel for almost 24 months and i've started to wonder, what has come from all of this? have i grown at all as a person? was a nomad lifestyle the right choice for my life? and what does that mean now? where do i go next? how do i even begin to write this post?
while i have no regrets, i think i'll start with the lows of this journey. i've encountered more challenges than i ever would have anticipated while traveling. when you move to another country, especially on your own, you're forced to face more things about yourself than you ever would have dreamed of and you're not always going to like them. i've struggled and wrestled with facets of myself, trying to decide where changes needed to be made and where i just needed to accept who i was. the first step towards growth is accepting your shortcomings so that you're able to make positive changes. it can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially in an unfamiliar culture. and heartbreak and loss? well those hurt just as bad in any country but when they follow back and forth, well it can just knock you off your feet. and don't even get me started on saying goodbye, it's just plain awful. but sometimes just trying to stand on your own two feet in your own hometown can feel the most foreign after living abroad. you feel like you've made all these changes and become this new person and then you go home and realize you're just as lost as ever. and as good as going back sounds, it's not always the answer. sometimes you gotta fall a little bit further in order to mend. and well, i've fallen.
on a more positive note the last two years have brought bigger blessings that I could have ever dreamed of. i've met kindred spirits from all over the globe that i now carry in my heart. i met people who gave me hope and taught me what it's like to believe in yourself. i've had strangers allow me to live in their homes and become a new family for me. i got to spend 9 months with my best friend and he's taught me more about myself than i could have ever dreamed and i couldn't be more grateful for his presence in my life. i've even met someone who not only changed my life via dawes, but slowly day by day is teaching me what love really is. i can't imagine my life without all the people that have been added in the last two years. i've also bit by bit found myself across these countries. i'm not there yet, but i'm starting to become the person i've always wanted to be. i've had ridiculous adventures and crossed things off my bucket list that i never knew i wanted to do. and i think most importantly i've found hope in the world and i've learned that no matter where you go, there will be good people and they'll change your life.
but what does that mean now? how do you go forward from all that?
i guess to be completely honest, i have no idea. i don't know where this life is taking me and i don't know that i'm completely cured of my wanderlust. but there are a few things that i do know:
- i'm happy.
- i have a huge support system that will love me no matter what i do next.
- i need to find work that is meaningful.
- i have hope for my future.
and as much as it scares me i think that i need to unpack my suitcase, put away my maps and travel guides and find some roots for a while. i can't promise that i wont have an emergency bag packed and hidden in the back of my closet just in case, but i think that this nomad has finally found out that it's okay to be in one place for a while. and that good things can come from that as well.
i guess in closing i would say that i have mixed feelings about the last two years of my life, but i wouldn't change them for a second. and as hard as traveling can be and the toll that it takes on your life, finding that universal truth that there is goodness in all people and that love transcends any language, is worth it. and it's something that you will hold with you for the rest of your life.