As the saying that I have bumper stickered to the back of my Honda goes, “Not all who wander are lost.” On the contrary, I am, in a sense, lost. For almost a year now, I’ve had the opportunity to use this column to share the stories of the weird and wonderful places around the world that I’ve had the privilege of traveling to. But the most daunting journey I have ahead of me right now is a domestic one.
At the age of four I moved from England to an affluent New Jersey suburb whose property taxes increased dramatically every year. From middle school onwards, I was always aware of the threat of having to move since my family, comprised of a photographer and reflexologist, was living beyond our means. We stuck it out until I moved away to college, at which time my parents got divorced and moved out of the childhood home that I was always so scared of losing.
Maybe it’s the memories associated with the house. Maybe it’s knowing that you’re never going to smell its distinct aroma or hear that one step creak every time someone walks up or down the staircase. But leaving your childhood home is rough. Due to a series of other unfortunate events, I am now almost forced into not considering New Jersey my home anymore. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve never considered myself a “Jersey Girl,” nor do I have a burning desire to move back there once I graduate in May. I suppose it is just the awareness of being displaced that stings the most.
As of right now I am faced with having an eight month deadline of landing a job and finding a home. For the past couple of months, I have been approaching this with an uncharacteristically negative attitude. I’ve been wanting to fast forward my life so as to escape this current limbo that I feel I’m in now, and stop in a place where I am finally stable.
After many hours of self-reflection, I’ve come to this conclusion: As I’ve mentioned in my previous columns, my favorite thing about travel is that it forces you to live in the moment. All you think of that day is what you’re going to see, who you are going to meet, and what you are going to eat. And most of all, you are required to adapt to any situation or surrounding you find yourself in. I find that mindset to be so beautiful, and one that I often forget when I’m home.
Adapting is a skill that is not easily acquired. It is incredibly difficult to not stick your heels in the ground when an unfavorable situation gets thrust towards you. But, if you spend your time in this stubborn state, you’re going to miss the most wonderful experiences of your life – the ones where you are a wanderer. The times where you have absolutely no idea where you’re going or what you’re doing. Because while it may feel like the worst thing when it’s happening, these situations and how you handle them are what shape you into becoming the stable person you dream of being. For right now, I have to be okay with feeling like a perpetual backpacker, a tourist that’s hopping from place to place, experience to experience, without the slightest knowledge of what’s coming up next. Because isn’t that the best way to live?
I’m going to conclude this week’s column with a passage from the Handbook to a Higher Consciousness by Ken Keys Jr.: “I accept myself completely here and now and consciously experience everything I feel, think, say, and do (including my emotion-backed addictions) as a necessary part of my growth to a higher consciousness.”
Originally published in the JWU Campus Herald at https://www.jwucampusherald.com/home/2014/09/18/julias-journeys-home/