Temporarily Grounded: An Open Letter From a Former Traveler
I had forgotten what it felt like to have my own bed.
After five years of traveling throughout 30+ countries, the longest I had ever spent living in one place was four months.
I remember getting antsy about staying in one place for too long. I was always thinking about my next destination.
I wandered along with no long term plans. Travel had quite literally saved my life years ago, and it provided me with opportunities to learn, grow, and connect with strangers. I felt freedom – it was addictive, it was empowering.
Being nomadic became part of my identity. And although life was exciting and filled with adventure, I never truly felt content with where I was – which was why I kept moving. I thought happiness would come with the location, and I was searching for it.
But it’s impossible to grow roots when you’re always moving. I knew there was an opportunity to slow down, that there were benefits to settling into a place.
It’s now been 8 months living in this town along the coast of Southwestern Australia, and I feel very lucky to have ended up here. I had dreamed of being able to surf a “home” break, go for a morning run & swim on my local beach. I finally had walls of my own to hang up the photographs that had been hiding in my hard drives.
I bought my first car, I no longer live out of my suitcase. I sleep on the same pillow every single night. Life is different now.
I wouldn’t have imagined that the whole world would then close its doors and that travel would no longer be an option. This pandemic invites us all to practice focusing on the benefits of our current situations. We must push for gratitude, mental resilience, positive attitudes. We have to learn to embrace what is, and search for the silver linings in our daily lives.
Every single person in the entire world is connected through the same, anxious gut feeling of the unknown. This is what it now means to be human.
Yet I’m grateful to finally know how it feels to be content with where I am in the present.
They say home is where the heart is, and I would have to agree. It may not be here forever, but I know now that happiness isn’t necessarily in a place, but in a perspective.