The more you travel, the more you fall in love with the feeling of being on the road and coming home doesn’t get easier.
The great contradiction is that there is nothing wrong with home: it is actually quite fantastic, however the feeling of being on the road is something that is very hard to find once you are back surrendering to all the responsibilities that come with it.
Every time you come home you try to adjust your life in ways which get you as close to this feeling as possible, but nothing compares to that feeling of freedom you ache for. This is the paradox of travel: the paradox of feeling empty and fulfilled simultaneously. When you return home you are fulfilled from the travel, but also can’t shake the empty feeling knowing that home is just not the same.
You step out the door, carrying the bare essentials and each step you take feels lighter and lighter as you walk away from the stresses of ‘normal’ life and dramas that have been forced upon you. There is something so liberating about carrying only the bare essentials on your back wherever you go; minimal living has never felt so satisfying.
Longing for connection
It’s easy to meet people who you get along with, but finding people who you really connect with is quite rare. The type of connections where you totally get the other and don’t feel a constant need to justify the way you are because you have a sense that they get it. It seems like when you are not on the road, these connections are harder to come by, sometimes even non-existent and because you have felt what it feels like to be in the company of people who truly understand you, you feel discontent when you no longer have it and cling onto something that is probably unrealistic all just to feel that connection again.
Attitude of gratitude
It is hard not to feel like an ungrateful spoilt brat when you come back from an amazing travel and all you want is more. This is why you have to be selective with who you discuss this with, as you will easily be perceived as ungrateful or living in the past. In actual fact it’s your attitude of gratitude that makes the longing for new experiences stronger; you are constantly grateful for what the world has to offer and this motivates your deep curiosity with what surrounds you.
Everyone always wants to do everything
On the road, there is none of the usual convincing involved with getting others to join in on one of the activities that sets your soul on fire. Your day is revolved around interesting conversations, learning about new ideas, different ways of thinking and finding the next adventure. It’s the only time when you feel like you are truly living in the present and in the moment. You always try to implement this into your daily life and might even try do all the ‘rituals’ of yoga and meditation to help your mind focus on the present, not loiter around in the past or get stuck in a future time, but it’s not an easy battle to win.
The battle with the beast
Perhaps it is your alter ego, your shadow side or your true self that craves extremity, passion and adventure and sometimes this ‘inner beast’ is hard to shut up. As you sit in traffic or go through your weekly routine, the ‘inner beast’ sometimes presents itself and makes you do things like hiking a dangerous mountain at night or talking to a homeless person about the struggles of their life and how they experience this world. When you are on the road, the ‘inner beast’ becomes your friend, your partner even and is cool, calm and collected; all it wants is a weird and passionate life. Even eating is no longer a priority because your appetite is filled with other things. As Deepak Chopra says in his book What Are You Hungry For, ‘the mind is the key to losing weight. When the mind is satisfied, the body quits craving too much food’.
What are you searching for?
There seems to often be something negative associated with being some kind of searcher. You get asked the repeated question of “what are you searching for?” or even better, “when are you going to settle down?” because settling down in the way that society has defined it is what we all have to do right, otherwise we are considered a failure or less ambitious and driven. On the road, there are fewer judgements because you are constantly surrounded by like-minded individuals with such distinctly different backgrounds.
Joy of living
Merriam Webster defines joy as a ‘feeling of great happiness, a source or cause of great happiness, something or someone that gives joy to someone, success in doing, finding, or getting something’. If I were to suggest a universal feeling state that we are all chasing after, joy would be it. On the road it’s less about things, money and status and more about appreciating the “small things” in life like waking up early to watch the sunrise or the pleasure of eating a crisp green apple while walking down a new road for the first time.
It’s a complicated concept when something like travel can bring you so much joy and rip you away from it directly afterwards. The irony of it all is that it would probably be so much easier to just stay at home and get on with it, but far too predictable and mundane because ultimately home to you is not a place, it’s a feeling and it’s being surrounded by the others who get it.