Life as a journey

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Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that not everything can be figured out in one day.

I “suffer” from wanderlust, the insatiable craving for new experiences, places and people. I relish in the unfamiliar, the awkward, unknown, the ugly. I yearn for experiences that scare me so I can prove that I can overcome one of life’s most debilitating emotions: fear. My heart is open, my mind is open, and I’m ready.

I sometimes ignore my travel blog because I don’t know what to say. My “About Me” section changes every few months because at the bat of an eyelash, I’ve found home somewhere new and exotic. A few months, or even weeks later, it changes.

How can I explain myself? Where is home? What does home mean?

What home looked like two months ago
What home looked like two months ago in Maui, Hawaii

Home is inside my heart. I’ve realized that no matter where I go and where I end up, that my life is my home. My journey is my destination. How could I be afraid to write about that? It’s the most honest and real thing, the most driving and ever-present force in my life.

It’s tough to explain the ethereal experiences you have while traveling. I think similar experiences can be achieved through doing similar activities that you love, like cooking, writing a book, opening a small business or following your dreams in any sense. Suddenly life opens doors to you that before never existed. You see and witness the beauty of following your heart’s path. These experiences are beautiful, but often overwhelming and tough: they challenge you to question everything you’ve ever been raised to think or do.

View of home now...Chicago
View of home now…Chicago

I grew up going on family vacations but was never told or raised to live a life on the road, doing the strange and wonderful things I’ve done. In jumping into the abyss, my eyes bugged out of my head in disbelief at the beauty of the unknown. The first time I feasted my eyes on the rainforest in Hawaii, it was if I died and went to Heaven. I floated around for months on a cloud of happiness and uncertainty.

How could this place be real? I wondered. All I ever knew was the cold, Midwestern winter. Suddenly I’m picking fruit barefoot and surfing in March.

Travel makes you question everything.

It made me prioritize my life. That sounds simple and like a “duh” moment, but it’s surprising how many people don’t really live their own lives, but rather, one prescribed to them. I discovered what’s most important to me: It’s being true to my tastes. I enjoy good food, good drink and travel. These are my life’s expenses and the things that bring me the most joy overall. Even though travel sometimes puts me in difficult situations, the difficulty never outweighs the fact that travel helps me to discover things that I like. Moreover, difficult experiences are often the truest test of your vulnerability and your strength and give you a firm sense of what you do NOT like and won’t put up with.

Not all days are Mai Tais and rainbows
Not all days are Mai Tais and rainbows

Part of opening your heart and exploring the world, discovering new ways of life is accepting and finding comfort in the unknown. By far, the unknown is the root of anxiety and fear.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

This quote from Lao Tzu has never rang truer. In trying to “figure out my life,” I’ve noticed a more hands-off approach is best. Things tend to play out as they do anyway. Life’s journey continues forward whether I worry about it or not.

It’s time to stop being my own worst enemy, do myself a favor and enjoy the peace of the present. It hasn’t let me down in the past and I’m confident it won’t in the future.

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