When You Finally Want To Stop Running

Phùng Hải

I don’t know if I would call myself a wanderer, not really. I like to travel and move around and have different experiences. I often get restless and feel as if I thrive when I am constantly on the move or on the road. I like to think of myself as a highly independent and curious individual on the search for unfamiliarity and purpose. Isn’t that what we’re all essentially trying to do, anyway? Find ourselves?

However, there are times when wandering feels a lot like escape. Often, I find myself in coffee shops alone drinking too many beers in a row even while surrounded by new and extraordinary things. This has become somewhat of a ritual for me. Every time I have a bad experience of some sort, I like to run. Far, far away. I like to feel as if I am somehow putting certain lives behind me and making it so that they never existed, and start over again as a blank canvas each time. As if nothing ever hurt. As if I can just create a new persona.

For a long time, it was working out well for me. I used travel as an escape from certain things I didn’t want to feel. I camouflaged my pain with new surroundings in an attempt to dismiss memories that I no longer wanted. It was easy, because each time I moved away I could erase parts of myself and parts of my life I so desperately wanted to leave behind.

Life seemed glamorous from the outside, sure. I was the girl that was living in all the beautiful cities.

I have found myself, in increments, running wild in all the different corners of the world.

Always leaving some sort of footprint. Always leaving something behind. Always having something to write about, even if it was just short lived.

That is what I wanted my life to be — a series of spontaneous events, leading me in the direction of my eventual fate. Thinking that getting lost would somehow put me on the path I was meant to be in, so that I could be found. Thinking that, somehow, someone along the way would reach out and save me from this constant need to escape and show me what it feels like to be secure.

To be home.

But I am realizing it doesn’t happen that way.

I may be a wanderer. I like to explore different parts of the world and see how many types of people I can relate to. And for some reason, there is always one person that sticks out the most. In all my travels, and all my moving around — bouncing from city to city — I have met many different soulmates. All disguised as different things, but soulmates nonetheless.

This city was built for me and I had forgotten about that. I want to plant roots but I will do it gradually, I will do it for myself, and I will do it on my own terms. This isn’t to say I am still running. No, I am just letting opportunity and fate decide where it is I belong. I am still living all the lives I always wanted to live, and finding myself in each place, and my story is only beginning.

And if we were to somehow cross paths again, I hope we’ll have found the courage to stay. TC mark

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