In the past decade, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and London. I had the opportunity to live in and/or spend long periods of time in Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and Seattle. I always thought my desire to travel was grand and my willingness to go to new places was a strength.
In the past two years, it has been pointed out to me that others viewed my semi-nomadic nature as negative, a character flaw – a weakness. I don’t know how someone has expressed to you something about you that they view as a flaw or a weakness, but recently someone told a good friend of mine said, “that girl has a serious case of Wanderlust!”
When this person said this to me, she didn’t mean it in the positive way. The way it was conveyed that she actually looked at my wanderlust as transience (and that it was a negative quality). The continual off-hand comments and statements made by "friends” finally upset me to the point I called Kecia, my transformational life and compassion coach, to work through the feelings. After the exploration, she said to me:
You’re not transitory and this isn’t a negative quality, it’s a personality trait that people may not understand because it’s not something they possess. When you <Macala> wander, both figuratively and literally, you do it for information and to learn something first-hand.
You talk to people you’ve never met and put yourself in a place to understand, first-hand, what you’re looking to learn. Once you’ve learned what you need to know, you take it and apply it to life; bringing new perspectives and ideas into the way you live and work. It’s actually a positive thing.
After that conversation, I realized that their statements hurt because they weren’t accurate. Their perceptions were related to their realities of how they saw someone like me. For them, having a stable foundation and home base is what they valued, and fluidity and travel scared them. But for me, being open to new experiences and being able to journey is grand.
In my experience, traveling, long road trips, and moving have always been a way to get outside myself. Being a semi-nomadic, experience-driven writer allows me to find new places and discover new points of view from the people that dwell in those places on a regular basis.
For me, traveling helps me understand the world as it really is, not as the society or my mind paints it to be. No matter where I go, I always discover something is in a “different state of existence" than what I believed it would be (nothing is ever what the media paints it to be or says it is). Because of that, I now go places with no preconceived notions, I just let what I observe wash over me with no bias.
So now, when I hear the comment on my wanderlust or nomadic transience, I have a few responses that I interchange based on the situation:
- “Not all who wander are lost” (love you J.R.R. Tolkien).
- “Isn’t it grand to be fluid and open to new experiences?”
- Or I’m just direct and say, “I know, it’s one of my best qualities. It’s why I’ve shown up here for you today.”
As the end of the year draws near, I no longer dwell on the opinions on my love of road or wanderlust; I know it’s one of the defining things that make me who I am and part of the foundation in which the strengths I bring to work and personal relationships are built.
Travel to Get Out of Your Head
When was the last time you traveled to get outside of your head? Or to break the autopilot cycle you may be living on? In our daily lives, sticking to where you live and going through the same routine each week doesn’t give you a break from the automatic, almost unconscious, patterns that make up your day-to-day.
- When’s the last time you took a day trip?
- When’s the last time you left the state or country?
- When’s the last time you did it by yourself?
Breaking our day-to-day routine through travel is important. New places come with new experiences, and those experiences help shift you out of your everyday headspace. It allows your perceptions to shift if you’re open to it and you can see news ways of seeing things.
- During your last escape, what did you see (physically)?
- How did what you see shift your perspective? Was it for the good or bad?
- How did what you saw make you feel?
- Did the shift in perception cause you to SEE something in your life differently?
- After the trip, did you feel more in touch with yourself?
- Now ask yourself, “Is there a way I can apply these shifts in perspective and changes into a challenge I’m currently having?”
This year, I’d challenge you to wander off for a day, explore your transient nature by taking a weekend road trip to the next state over and if you are really brave, take a nomadic journey for a week anywhere a train, plane or car can take you. And a journal with you, ask yourself questions about what you see, hear and experience.