When I logged onto Facebook this morning I was greeted with the suggestion of sharing a memory from four years ago. I instantly filled with joy as I looked at the photo and fondly reminisced about first arriving in New Zealand and travelling alone in my bought car, Lil Red. As I was about to share the photo for all my friends to see I began to rethink it. This simple photo that brought back such an array of emotions and memories for me would be nothing more than a pretty picture to anyone else.
I decided not to share the memory but to instead look back through the other photos I had uploaded to the same album. As I swiped through images of turquoise waters and impossibly green hills I began to feel desperately homesick. Homesick for a place that I had spent such a short amount of my life in. Homesick for a place on the opposite side of the world from which my passport is issued. Homesick for roads I’d only driven once, and beaches I hadn’t even swum at. Homesick for the roadblocks of sheep I’d randomly come across and homesick for the friendly people whose names I never knew.
You see, the thing about having a soul that longs to travel is that everywhere you go becomes your home, no matter how temporary. If you open your mind and your heart to the adventures you’re bound to have you will leave a little piece of you in every place you visit. You will fall in love again and again and a bit of your heart will always stay in that place. But you will take so much more with you. Slowly, bit by bit, place by place, journey by journey, you’ll change. Every place you have been will become home because as the saying goes, “Home is where the heart is”, and your heart will be scattered across the globe.
The thing about having a soul that longs to travel is that there is nowhere in the world you don’t want to visit, yet everywhere you visit you hope to return to someday. Seeing the world once over is a big goal as is, but seeing it all twice is an even bigger challenge. Not impossible though. There is always more to see and do in every place you have been yet you never have the time, money, or knowledge to do it all, so you’ll do it next time. You deny that a trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity because you never want to admit that you may never go back.
The thing about having a soul that longs to travel is that so many of your tales are made up more of a series of emotions of how a place made you feel than words you can use to describe it. It’s impossible to explain to friends at home the things you saw and experienced because as much as they listen, they’ll never fully understand. The only people who will truly understand are the ones who stood there at that moment with you, watched in silence from atop a hill or along a shore, or the ones who have been in similar situations and have done it on their own, just as you have. The ones who have that same curiosity and passion for unfamiliar places.
The thing about having a soul that longs to travel is that the best friends you make along the way are often ones who also have souls that long to travel. The ones who feel the same drop in their gut as their plane takes off and feel jittery with anticipation as it touches down in a place new to them. The thing about these friends though is that because they have that same fire lit inside them they are also constantly on the road. The people you shared such intimate moments and incredible journeys with, the ones who bring your memories to life, are people you learn to accept you may not see again. They, just like your adventure, become a memory you treasure. They, just like the places you have been, leave you hoping you’ll someday meet again, and sometimes you will.
The thing about having a soul that has that unbearable desire to go, to take off, to run, and explore, and wander, and get lost and to be found, is that you’ll always yearn for another adventure, another experience, a deeper understanding of the world around you. Despite the loneliness you may feel at times, and the never quite feeling settled, you wouldn’t trade your journey for the world. A traveller’s soul is one that dreams big and loves the small things in life. It doesn’t let the darkness of the world hold them back, and that’s a beautiful thing.
It’s not an easy life to live but it’s the life you love and a life worth living.