When this is posted, I will be leaving on a quick traveling-while-traveling trip to London and Oxford as I live in Lyon, France. I never saw myself as the “kind of person” who would be doing this much running around (rather, flying) because for years I resisted even traveling the 200 miles to my grandparents’ house–or for that matter, the few miles to my schools. Any commute was–and is–too much of a commute (I’ve been known to bitterly stifle complaints about a 3-minute commute).
I reluctantly assume the “homebody” label, sometimes. I like being home.
That said, I felt so adrift when I graduated college that I needed to do something–anything–to shake up my perspective and try to figure out what going home means, to figure out what I’m actually looking for.
A month into my most recent “experiment” and I think, by Jove, I’ve got it! Meanwhile, I’m living abroad with a contract that keeps me here through July. I realize that in many ways I’m quite fortunate to have this opportunity, but I’m also aware–every day–that this isn’t mine, I ain’t settled. And as much as I am getting into the routine of this family and this place, there is an ever-looming expiration date on this experience.
At some point, I will have to uproot myself, no matter how firm (or how fragile) those roots may be, when the time comes. Even if I found a way to continue living abroad, I would still be switching apartments or even countries.
For me, living sustainably involves cultivation not only of ideas and personal ethos, but also of physical, tangible things: housing, food production, etc. I love making yogurt here because it means a little bit less packaging getting thrown away (or recycled). I’m also a fan of being able to walk basically everywhere I need to go. However, I am yearning for the day when I can plant a garden that I will not only tend and harvest, but plant again the next year.
As much as my generation rhapsodizes about travel, it’s more and more vital for people to stay in place and cultivate those places. Exploring places unlike your own can be an important exercise in understanding, first-hand, cultural relativity, but traveling continuously, or living a deliberately nomadic life, can sometimes mean shirking human responsibilities, as well.
I’m not saying that everyone needs to own a herd of dairy cattle and be directly tied to daily agricultural duties; I’m also not saying that travel is inherently evil. I’m just saying: home is nice, too. If you (like me, pre-September 2013) felt a tremendous pressure to travel, travel, travel and you don’t want to? Don’t feel bad about it, just make use of your staying put. Relish it.