In my imagination, to be a world traveler is amazing. It must be! The implication carried by such a label is, to me, that of someone who's had scores of adventures, seen remarkable sights heretofore filtered through television and movie screens, eaten exotic foods, and exchanged stories with scads of interesting people from different backgrounds than my own.
A few years ago, I put my things in storage and started renting a room from a friend. This down-sizing of my daily responsibilities would surely help me to be able to leave on short notice to visit new places.
Instead, what this did, in fact, was simply free me up to hang out with more of my east coast friends, as many of them - having caught wind of my new way of living - would invite me to crash at their places and/or house- and pet-sit for them when they themselves traveled.
In the last five years, I've seen and experienced some amazing things. Enough, in fact, that I'm now writing a book about my particular style of nomadery. Or, more specifically, about the stories I've gathered while living in other people's spaces. Still, I haven't seen the world. At the beginning I went to Toronto for a couple of weeks, then sublet an apartment, rented a different room, flew to a handful of US cities to visit beloved friends and family members, or drove my car for the same purpose. I even borrowed an empty, out-of-the-way family house a couple of states away, to get some extreme time away from it all and be with myself.
I want to travel. More specifically, I want to see the world. And now that I'm considering the implications of that assertion, and these desires, I know I'm not ready. One doesn't go from living in a small city/big town and overnight feel ready to jet off to countries unseen without preparation. At least, I don't.
- This blog is about that preparation.
- This blog is also about my lifestyle choices related to downsizing my expectations of what "home" means.
- It's about the inner changes that occur when you live this way.
- It's a place for me to explore my reactions to those who declare, "You'll get that out of your system," and remark, "She needs to grow up," or, "This just isn't a practical way to live." I've heard 'em all, and none of the dissenting voices was louder than my own. I've waffled a lot, along the way, with my personal expectations concerning what "true grown-ups do" and how a responsible adult lives.
Even as most of my current travel remains within the borders of my own country, I'm learning about pushing my own limits. It's time to stretch myself in new ways, to challenge my own comfort levels. It's easy to say I'm ready to see the world. But to the degree I imagine such a future for myself, I know that I am not ready. Not yet. When standing "alone" on a busy, rainy domestic street corner at sundown with other people I've never met, while waiting for a cross-town bus makes my tummy do a flip, it occurs to me I have more prep work ahead of me before I'm likely to be ready for the adventures I imagine. The thrilling part, however, is that now I'm seeking out these "firsts" and finding opportunities, a little at a time, to expand my comfort level. It's like I've woken up and decided to embrace the belief that our most extreme dreams and fantasies are available to us as realities, if we decide to make them so.
And since I can't be the only one to ever find myself at such a crossroads, this blog had to be born, so my writing would not happen in a vacuum. My personal blog, melodywatson.com, has included some of this journey; clicking here will take you to past travel related posts over there. But Wayfarin' Vagabond dot com came later. It's all about this specific set of lifestyle choices, and the lessons and challenges I'm encountering along the way toward becing a "real" traveler. This project needs its own home, away from the other minutia of my original personal blog.
Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll return, and add your comments to the posts you find here. Conversations are nearly always more interesting than speeches.