On being nomadic

I have friends who have severed all roots and taken the ultimate sacrifice. They’ve driven off, left home, left behind friends, family, familiarity. Safety. They’ve bucked safety – looked it in the face and said goodbye, thanks, but no thanks. They’ve gone town to town without a home, moving along, finding jobs as they need them, dropping jobs without a care. They’ve traveled. They’ve done it recklessly – excitingly, living the life Jack Kerouac would have; that Rabbit Angstrom dreamed of.

As someone who loves to travel, I glance warily at these rouges – these intrepid risk-takers, men and women whose only structure is their feet and their mind. I follow behind, jealously, knowing I’d never sever those roots – have no longing to, actually – but would love to follow in their boot steps, scrounging around the nation without any sort of strings.

That’s the difference. I have been brought up carefully, needing structure, becoming filled with anxiety the second that structure is broken, the moment I can’t see the end of the tunnel. I’d love to go from city to city in search for my soul, but I also love growing up and growing old in the town I always have – lured by the romanticism of familiar streets, of the memories they hold. I’m too nostalgic to ever want to leave. And I’m too much of a subdued wanderlust-filled dreamer to ever stop dreaming of leaving.

I have great respect for those who decide, regardless of connections, to build a raft and float down the Mississippi, conjuring up images of Huck and Tom. I greatly envy my friends who have traveled overseas with only their mind to lead them down the right path. I have dreams that can’t be followed, not without hurting those I love. I have too many ties. I love too many people. I need them near me. It’s not a weakness. It’s a personality. Leaving, abandoning one way of life for another, is so foreign to me that I still can’t understand it.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m a traveler stuck in a non-traveler’s body. Without the ties I’ve strengthened myself with, I’d be nowhere. And, realistically, I could be anywhere. The line is thin. When the ropes strain taut, when the relationships are brilliantly strong, there’s no need to run.

And for those who don’t have those ties, what ever would keep them at bay?

This was lovingly handwritten on May 7th, 2007