Vermont Made Me Do It!
Im writing from the top bunk in a room called "Compassion" at a working farm in very rural Vermont. I hear nothing but silence, its eerie. Anyway, when I first started thinking about a blog or my own space to share my travels and thoughts I figured who'd really be interested, why would anyone be? Isnt there like a million blogs already about everything and anything you can think of. I've churned the idea repeatedly in my head but never really had the inspiration to actually sit down and write anything.
But it works out that I'm in solitary Waitsfield, VT staring at a tiny TV playing Beauty and The Beast on VHS while my dog Moe is cuddled up next to me killing me softly with his terrible GI-malfunctions and my best friend is telling someone to be quiet in her sleep and suddenly, I'm inspired!
I start to think about the genesis of my wanderlust. I can't really pinpoint a time in my life when I just "started". For the longest it came natural to me to go away whenever, find adventure and eventually come back to share it, or internalize it. I didn’t start off a savvy traveler but my humble beginnings didn’t really give me much of a choice so by default I learned how to budget my trips and sometimes travel with $50 in the bank! Ahh!!
When I look back I ask myself why do I travel? Why is this something I resort to when I am stressed or happy or frustrated or bored. Am I running away from something? Or maybe Im running towards something? Why am I even running at all? There have been people I've come across throughout my life that have asked me these same questions, Nahir why do you have to go away all the time? Stay home and be present, live your life with those that matter. I've struggled internally with the desire to always want to leave yet knowing there are times that require me to stay. My mind has always been that of a nomad, a free spirit. I grew up in Chelsea, Ma a tiny immigrant town full of culture. It was a low income hard working spot on the map with ongoing challenges. My family was somewhat a "traditional puerto rican" family and had always wanted me to go to college get a good job get married have kids blah blah blah (not that that’s a bad thing). I complied with a couple of those things. I followed the rules and completed my Masters and have a good job..great! Not married and no kids yet..buuut still great! Haha However, there are certain things I am convinced that are socially constructed to get us to think only a certain way about them. Bare with me on this..
When I think of travel I don’t think expensive, inconvenient, don’t have time, need to rack up two weeks of vacation time then go. To me anything is travel. There is of course the dictionary definition of travel which is what I'll use to try and convey my point on the subject. It is defined as; "to make a journey, typically of some length or abroad". When I read this my mind doesn’t automatically shoot towards an airplane heading overseas. It initially narrows down on the word journey, which makes me think, a personal journey, then it reads.."of some length"..which makes me think, lifetime…then it continues to read.. "abroad" which makes me think, outside your comfort zone. A lot of us get hung up on the fact that travel means going away, taking a vacation, but fail to actually realize the personal meaning of the word, the concept that travel is something you have been doing already, just in a more internal "local" way. Our personal journeys are full unique experiences, various start times with no set end dates. We create our journeys in our mind & heart..we set personal goals and look to achieve them; to refresh our being, to nourish our soul and give our life purpose. We do this throughout our life time, where at times we find ourselves in situations that we may not be comfortable in or unsure of what to do, we are taken out of our comfort zone and are able to learn and identify different strengths and qualities we didn’t know we had. This can come in the form of new job, a loss of a family member or friend, an illness or disability, pregnancy, anything that is new and requires change/alterations; THAT is traveling abroad, away from what you know. It is a journey taken at length and sometimes abroad.
When thinking of traveling to other countries and culture, think about the traveling you've already done soulfully. Think about what has prepared you to partake in someone else's cultural differences and appreciate their traditions and customs. Traveling is more than just checking countries of a list, or racing to get to a number by a certain time. I've learned and internalized travel to be a unique journey of self-discovery, of appreciation towards the little things in life, of acceptance that we have privilege and are able to see the world yet have a place to come back to. It is relinquishing knowledge you gained from a book and gaining real life lessons through experiencing unspeakable poverty yet happiness, oppression yet optimism. Without riding the waves of your own journey you can not navigate the ocean that it is to actually travel.
It is important to note, some may argue that because traveling can be anything that checking countries off a list can indeed be traveling as well. I agree with that. But I am merely touching upon a deeper meaning, providing an alternative perspective on the word.
Incredible what happens at 2am in a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere! I hope the post resonated with some of you and that you all were able to understand travel to mean both a physical and emotional action.