The evidence lives in your eyes every morning when you arise from your own bed. You feel it rush down your veins when you stand up. That memory, so distant, but so recent, burns like a sore inside your mind. You are back home from your travels. What was once your reality now feels like a distant dream. This dream excites you so much that your core lusts for it, but your mind can’t quite comprehend that it once was a reality.
But today is today. You’re beginning to wake up. It happens slowly, gradually, beginning to accept your new reality. You’ve come back, and for fuck’s sake, you’ve convinced yourself you were ready. You’ve spent days rationalizing your decision, but in the end, was it really your choice? Or has your subconscious become so persuasive that you’re trying to convince yourself that this new reality is okay?
As you walk down the streets, the same friendliness and openness that you once felt surrounded by, is hard to find. Men in suits, women in heels, and humans with their heads buried in their smartphones surround you.
The lack of human connection feels almost toxic to you.
You want to scream at the top of your lungs when the person within 6 inches of your face, passes you as they walk by and doesn’t even glance up to make eye contact. All you can think of is curling up in a ball to cry because you feel alone.
You’ve left the place, or even better, the state of mind, that had once made you feel the most at home.
We start to feel less, to smile less, to laugh less, and to love less.
There’s something to be said about the nomadic life that makes the blood in our veins rush. Something about it that not only makes us feel alive but more realistically, keeps us alive.
As time passes, every so often, your restless heart reminds you, “I’m here? Let’s go!” It’s 2 am, you lay awake in your bed, wondering why you chose this life. Or rather, why it chose you.
Your heart slowly takes you on a trip, reminding you of the people you met along the way, the places you once saw, the smells that you encountered.
As you lay, your mind becomes immersed in a completely different place, and without notice, your heart begins to flutter with the same excitement and happiness you thought you would never feel again. Almost like a parent would tell their child, you now tell your heart, “No. Go back to sleep. Those things aren’t realistic anymore”.
You wake up the next morning, quickly trying to forget your heart’s attempt at reminding you to love yourself from the night before. You feel that you have no other choice but to keep doing the things that you feel less than alive doing, in order to be an active participant in the life this society has so methodically molded for you.
You tell your heart to stop and to let you have happiness here. Because everyone else seems to be happy, your dreams are unrealistic. It’s time to be an adult now.
More time passes and as you try to forget, but sometimes you catch glimpses of dreams within yourself. On your way to work you say hello to strangers on the streets, you gaze at the sky with wonder, you dream of the days you were a foreigner in your daily life, but only to be yanked back into your reality the moment the elevator reaches the office.
Instead of getting out of the elevator, you stop. You go back down to the lobby, you leave the prison that this place feels like, and you never return. Hey, you’ve thought about it. We all have. Wouldn’t that be nice?
But, what if you’re actually right? What if what you’ve been dreaming about all this time is REAL? What if your restlessness for this life you’ve been told to live is completely warranted? What if we’ve been asleep this entire time?
I believe that once we’ve offered the world our naked hearts and our open souls, there is no going back. Once you have tasted what it feels like to be fully awake and alive, there is no satisfaction in living any other way.
Still, we struggle. We fight the battles in our minds almost daily. The corporate world that you have tried so hard to fit into has chewed up your soul for breakfast, numbed your heart cold for lunch, and spit you out countless times, yet for some reason, we feel we must go back and visit for dinner.
For me, I’ve thought that once I was mature enough, I would fit into this world better. There is potential that I am extremely immature, but on the other hand, being happy in the corporate world has gotten exponentially harder the older I’ve gotten. I can only lie to myself for so long.
But what if there’s another option? What if instead of thinking in black and white, we think in purple and blue and green and even gray? What if we think in curries, fresh espresso, empty bottles of wine, barefoot soles, and dirt-crusted fingernails? Maybe home means something different that what we have been taught all these years.
What if the first time we had ever been home, was when we were living nomadically? What if home isn’t actually where we grew up at all?
What if the first time we had been home in our entire lives was when we were wandering through the dusty and aroma-filled streets of a metropolis’ slum? Or when we shared coffee with the ladyboys as they told stories of last night’s rendezvous?
Or when we crossed paths with a local family in a rural village that not only invited us for dinner but also gave us more warmth and hospitality than we thought was possible?
What if the first time we were home was when life commanded to feel every emotion in full throttle? What if home is a feeling of being present and awake in the world around us?
What if home is the feeling of being constantly connected?
My dearest travelers, you’ve given this world your open heart and your naked soul. You’ve traveled to the ends of the furthest continents by some of the riskiest and craziest means possible. You have been vulnerable and received love when you least expected it. You have been brave.
You have felt what it feels like to be awake and alive. This privilege of a life full of connection and love, on so many levels, has chosen you. It is time.