To The People Who I Leave Behind

Steven Lewis
Steven Lewis

When you decided to put travel first, three different types of people appear in your life. When you move or travel across the world, whether you mean to or not, you will inevitably leave these people behind. You will leave the ones who support you, the ones who question you, and the ones who will dream of you. So, this post, this next adventure, this is all for you: The Supporters. The Questioners. The Dreamers.

The countdown has begun and in 2 weeks I will pack up my life into 2-checked bags and a carry-on, travel to a different continent and make a new life for myself. In these next 2-years I will abandon everything I’ve come to know as ‘normal’ and live and work as a Health Educator Peace Corps Volunteer.

I suspect this move will change me, make me stronger and more fiercely independent. I will soon walk with my head held high because I won’t believe in needing people to save me; for I will be strong enough to save myself. This will drive the questioners, the supporters, and even the dreamers crazy. Insanity will soon ensue because I won’t let you do anything for me, not because I don’t want your help but because I will be so used to being my own saviour. I suspect this will all occur because over the years I have come to find out that: Travel allows for me to follow my own rules, make my own decisions, and thus, I have left you behind.

To the Supporters:

Supporters make up such a wide range of people, from the ones that have known and believed in you since the day you were born, to a random stranger on the street who wishes you all the best and safe travels. They come in all shapes and sizes. Their words of encouragement range from a ‘good luck, kid’ to a daily prayer. Some will give you words of wisdom, since they too were once in your shoes. While others will claim that you are stronger than they ever could dream of being. Supporters are your biggest cheerleaders. They are the ones that keep you going, especially when you’re on the brink of giving up. Supporters are a gypsy soul’s life source, without them many of our adventures would not be possible. Life is hard, adventure in an unknown land–even harder and therefore supporters are so essential to a traveller.

To the Questioners:

‘So, what are you running from this time?’
‘Who’s going to pay for that?’
‘What’s so wrong with the US?’
‘Don’t you think it’s time just to stay put?’
‘What about your family?’
‘Don’t you think it’s time to grow up Taylor?’

Every time you ask me one of these questions, it makes a mark on my soul. Every time a shred of doubt passes through your lips, I internalize it. You may think that your words don’t affect me, and trust me I wish they didn’t, but just like you I am merely human. I understand that you may not support my lifestyle, but just know that this is my choice and your questions and doubt still course through my veins. My desire to travel, to change the world, to help those in need does not mean that I am running from something. Maybe I am running towards something, something that I believe can better the world. But for the most part I try not to let your words discourage me, I will try and use them to propel me forward, use them as a weapon, so that one day I will be able to prove you wrong. So, that one day I can silence these questions once and for all.

To the Dreamers:

The dreamers are the ones you wish you didn’t have to leave behind. The ones who will dream of you when you’re away, remembering the times you had together and wondering what you’re up to now. Maybe they are your love interest, your best friend, your family members, or even your childhood pet. They’re the ones that you know believe in you the most but are the hardest to leave behind. The ones you wish you could pack up in your carry-on and bring them with you on each new adventure. Moving away, leaving them behind, will not make them happy, if anything it will tear them apart, but they will never let this be known. For they will always dream of a better future for you. They are so proud of you, for what you have become, for what you are doing for yourself and others. Everything you do is for the dreamer because you want to show them that with their belief in you, you can change the world. So, to all the dreamers out there who support all of us wanderlust junkies, know this: traveling is part of our soul, but so are you.

My next great adventure will take me across the world, to Ghana, Africa and this will ultimately put me back in the same situation: fulfilling my dreams while leaving you behind. And while I do not know what the future will hold, one thing I am certain of is that traveling has made me into: ‘She who dreams of places unseen, of moments not yet occurring, of feelings long since felt. She who feels homesickness for distant adventures. A far-sickness that gnaws on the core of who she is. She has a need to find the place, the time, the where that she is meant to be. Fernweh is stamped upon her soul.’ –M.M.

And for these reasons, I travel far and wide, but will always hold you close to my soul. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Related

More From Thought Catalog