It was a sunny day in London as I walked to the tube station. I was lost in my own head, as per usual, when something, someone stopped me. The area I live in London can be described as artistic, colorful and maybe a little out there. I didn’t live in a shiny, beautiful area. I lived in a grungy, but I love it. I love the random graffiti. I love the fresh market places. I love the unconventional, eccentric people I see every day.
But today was different. I was off in my fantasy world which I live in most of the time when someone grabbed my hand. I looked at the person holding my hand. He was older, a little dirty and definitely mumbling something but not looking at me. I took out my headphones and said ‘sorry?’ He then looked me dead in the eye and said ‘if you don’t forget where you’re from and it won’t forget about you.’
I mumbled a reply and he let go of my hand. I put my headphones back in, reeling from the hell he had just said. Maybe he was just some random homeless man, spouting off shit or maybe he saw something that he needed to say to me. I looked all over me to see if I was wearing something that identified me as something other than British but I didn’t have anything. No flags from my home country. No stamp on my forehead. No clues that I wasn’t actually from London.
Since the minute I left North America, my biggest worry was being forgotten. For the people I have invested so much time with to just put their hands in the air and be done with me. I have a gypsy soul, so the chances of me staying anywhere that long is very slim. I was born to be a wander. I was born to see the world. I was born to roam.
But this time, leaving wasn’t the easy choice. I had built foundation with people I loved more than anything. Everyone with wanderlust can relate to the sentiment that just because we leave to see what’s out there doesn’t mean we don’t want to keep the important people close to us. And I mean with 21st century technology, you’re really not that far even if you really are that far.
No one wants to be forgotten. No one wants to think that the time they’ve spent with someone meant nothing. No one wants to feel like they aren’t important. But the problem with leaving is that you can’t control how people react. For some people, it’s out of sight out of mind. Sometimes when you leave it’s hard for people to not think you’re leaving them.
So I sat up late one night wondering what exactly I had done. Wondering if I had made a mistake by leaving this time. A big giant leap of faith is incredibly easy when everyone you ask about it is so sure that you’re making the right decision. But knowing something is the right decision won’t show itself until you know deep down in your soul you made the right choice.
When you wander, you learn. You grow. You see the world in a completely different way than what you saw before. You start to appreciate what you and where you’re going. Any time you take a leap of faith to see something different, to push you out of your comfort zone, is the right decision. If you never push yourself, you’re going to be half stalled.
When that man grabbed my hand, I was unsure of the message. Not really sure the intent. Not really sure if I should take it as a sign or as bullshit. It took me a few hours to realize that even if it was bullshit, it was what I needed to hear in that moment.
So to all my fellow wanderers out there, don’t forget where you’re from and it won’t forget about you. So take follow your path and surrender to the process.