She is the one with the sun-kissed skin and tan lines on her back.
I dare you to seek her.
She’s the girl in a cafe who wears a quirky outfit among the sea of nameless faces. The shoes she wears were bought in Vietnam where she haggled for them for a solid 30 minutes. Her scarf came from a random traveler she met on a bus ride to Jiri to start her Everest Base Camp hike. Her wrist is full of friendship bonds from people she met meandering from city to city.
The tattoo on her left arm reminds her of how everything in life is fleeting, that we should all flap our wings and listen to our beat—our rhythm.
She’s the one who doesn’t have a make-up on but radiates from her inner glow. Her only accessory is her unpretentious smile that will make you wonder about the million different reasons behind it. This wanderer knows how to work the crowd without even trying—maybe it’s the way her face lights up as she hugs a friend she hasn’t seen in a long time, or maybe it’s the way her laughter fills the room as she welcomes you with admiration, tenderness and without judgement.
She knows how to live in the moment and takes YOLO to the next level. She’s the one who will order the weirdest cocktail name in the bar and invite you to share it with her. And when you talk about your adventures, your fears or the last sumptuous meal you had, she listens intently—without even checking her phone.
She is present enough not to let Instagram followers and Facebook likes dictate her life.
You can tell by the way she moves that she savours everything, taking it all in as she works her way through the crowd. She is the girl at the corner of the bar who delights in watching people interact with each other while enjoying a glass of caipirinha. She hates small talks and doesn’t respond to questions like “What’s up?” or “How ya doin‘?” She would rather talk about the music that makes her fly and dream, or about the last book she read and the lines that make her ponder about life.
She spends the weekend looking for a wild beach where she can pitch a tent. She will tell you about the night she spent in a floating raft while playing with glowing plankton and counting falling stars. There are some weekends when she finds herself in the company of strangers as she volunteers her time with the kids or building houses for typhoon victims. She doesn’t eat in trendy places and prefers to save her money to dine in an exotic restaurant someplace where she can marvel at the swell of the Pacific.
You won’t see her carrying a purse; instead you will find her sporting a handmade bag that she purchased directly from an indigenous tribe. Some may see her with a backpack full of travel-sized toiletries, crackers, an avocado, and a hammock, just in case she finds herself stranded on a nearby island.
She is a wanderer who prides herself in scaling a volcano, hitching a ride in Borneo, or swimming with whale sharks in unchartered territories. She is one of the few brave souls who will plunge into the unknown, with closed eyes and an open heart.
Beneath her infectious smile and sunny disposition lies a sense of wellness that radiates around her. She is endlessly curious and inquisitive, easily making friends in all corners of the globe.
She could watch the sunset every day with awe and wonderment as if were her very first time seeing it.
A girl who travels knows how to appreciate and see the beauty of simple things, like having a bed to sleep in after spending the night in a train station, or being offered a seat after standing in a cramped bus to Varanasi for five hours. She learned through her wandering life that sometimes we have to rely on the kindness of a stranger and the generosity of those who have nothing at all.
She learned that her chosen life could also mean saying goodbye to someone she loves.
She doesn’t march to society’s beat or anyone’s at all—she has her own rhythm.
She lives by her own rules.
It’s no wonder that she lived by this line; “I am the master of the fate, I am the captain of soul.” She barely makes plans because she knows that life can surprise her any minute.
Since her word is her honor, she never makes promises she can’t keep.
She is the woman who is not afraid to speak her mind and stand out among the crowd. She is capable of standing on her own, but not afraid or too proud to ask for help when she needed it.
Reading tarot cards, weaving dreamcatchers, and creating art from scraps are her ways to uncover her truest self. Like other kindred spirits, she longs to find her place in this parallel universe. She keeps a cupboard of spices to remind her of the times she shared a meal with a camel herder in Jaisalmer, with a couchsurfer in Valparaiso and with a lover she met in Casablanca.
Look for the girl who can talk about the outdoors with utter fascination, a girl who knows that wondering and wandering goes hand in hand.
Look for a girl with wild eyes and imagination, for she can make you feel alive and feed your longing as she ushers you to her softer world. She doesn’t fancy shiny possessions because she finds joy in little things—dipping her feet in the dunes of Muine, a slow bike around the ruins in Phnom Penh, a view of the sunset while hiking the Himalayas, and an aimless walk around the busy Love Lane in George Town.
All those random people, circumstances, unforgettable destinations, getting lost, and countless hours of solitude molded her into someone who has that constant hunger for life. Being a nomad, she knows that the world is an ocean full of possibilities which that no room for bitterness in her heart.
She is a beautiful soul who can make your heart sing and your soul dance—when you find her, honour and celebrate her, for she is a gem of the rarest kind.
Author: Riza Ornos
Image via Toby Israel (used with permission)
Editors: Renée Picard; Emily Bartran