As cliché as it sounds, it’s true that travel can be your greatest teacher. It will open you up to experiences and people that you can’t come to know any other way.
It is also one of the most unbelievably taxing and exhausting conduits of learning known to humankind.
Today is Day 50 of our epic journey abroad this year.
The longer I’ve been on this journey, the more my life has been enriched– that much is true.
But it is equally true that the longer I travel, the more untethered I feel, and that is a very strange, unfamiliar feeling for someone who has always had a reliable place to call “home.”
What’s more, as many fascinating people as we’ve met on our travels, I’ve now reached a point on our trip in which I feel isolated. As bizarre as it may seem, besides our usual breakfast and tapas outings, our social interactions with other people besides each other has been very minimal– practically nonexistent.
It’s a far cry from how I felt in London and Paris, where we had a few good friends to catch up with.
Yes, as enviable as a two-month sojourn might seem to almost anyone else, there is indeed a price to pay for this nomadic experience; a penance for living out of a suitcase. During each stop, I am afraid to get too comfortable, to feel “too much at home,” because I know in just a few days, my heart will be ripped out of my chest when we take off once again.
Why does my heart break each time? Because I am a sentimental sap, a romantic at heart. I subscribe to the “Cheers” mentality, desperate each time to find a place “where everybody knows my name.” I yearn for that, I live for that.
And yet, for years I haven’t had that in my hometown of Orlando, either. With a few exceptions of places I like to hang out with some regularity, I often find myself wallowing in anonymity– secretly crying out for a true sense of belonging and acceptance. I tell myself each time, each place will be different. I will meet people. I will befriend people. I will become known to people and allow myself the opportunity to know others.
Then, I hear the fateful zipping of the suitcases, the click of the light switches, the shutting of the door as we take off one more time, in search of another place in which I will continue my search for belonging.