Wanderlusters: Running Away Doesn’t Work. (But Run Anyway!)

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Courtesy of author, Toby Israel

Hello, my name is Toby Israel, and I am an adventure addict and wanderlust junkie.

And no, I’m not penitent—no, I’m not sorry.

I won’t lie to you. What everyone tells you is true: you can’t run away from your issues. Nope, doesn’t work.

Every sadness, heartache, loss, fear and insecurity has trailed me down the road of my nomadic life, following my sandy footprints like unwanted travel companions. If my heart were a backpack, you could not lift it onto your shoulders, so full it is of loves and lives. These things do not simply vanish into an Instagram-ready snapshot captioned, “Let that sh*t go.” Oh, no. Did you really think it would?

Vagabonding, as I like to call it, has never solved a single problem. Not a crumbling relationship. Not a fear of heights. Not a longing for security.

Indeed, “running away” is an empty promise. Walking off into the sunset, guitar slung across your back, Sufjan Stevens illogically emanating from the empty fields—I mean, come on, I can hardly write it, it’s so cliché.

Here’s the thing: running “away” may be impossible—but beautiful, wise and wanderlusting souls, you should run anyway.

Run as far and as hard as you can.

Run with purpose. Run with laughter. Run with mad, passionate glee.

You’ll know when it’s time to stop—or you won’t, in which case you’ll keep running.

Wandering isn’t a cure, but it is (I believe) a path.

If that path calls to you, sowing iridescent oceans and unfamiliar cobble-stoned streets in your dreams, then honor the call. (If it really calls to you though, you don’t need me or anyone to tell you that.) Wandering won’t fix you, but it could uncover your self to your self.

Would I have ever jumped off a 152-meter bridge had I not chased the magical yeti of adventure, facing a fear of heights in the process? Would I have hitchhiked 6,000 kilometers across Europe had I not answered my call and started to run? Would I have healed my heart had I ignored the balm of open skies and fresh wings—instead staying earthbound and numb in the familiar places I once called home?

Maybe. Probably not. And I’d have far fewer stories to show for it.

Sorry, but I am not sorry. I am every damn cliché you could write about the wandering millennial seeker roaming the world for years on end—and I am exquisitely filled with joy about it.

Sometimes, we have to come back, go home, stay still to “find ourselves”—but maybe, just maybe, sometimes we’re waiting to be found at the end of a bungee cord, the top of a mountain, the last hour of an 800-kilometer trail. Wouldn’t it be a shame not to go and see?

Remind me then, what is this thing I’m supposedly running away from? I cannot see it, for I am too busy testing my wings.

~

Relephant Read:

To the Wanderers Who are Told they are Running Away—Maybe Not.

~

Author: Toby Israel

Images: Author’s Own

~

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Toby Israel

Toby Israel Toby Israel is a vagabond and storyteller with a metaphorical closet full of hats. She currently works as a creative facilitator, editor, and writer, and as Content Manager at NuMundo. She is also a full-time lover of movement, food, and words. For the moment, she lives in Costa Rica. (She came for a masters degree in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies from the UN-mandated University for Peace—and stayed for the papaya, sunshine, and conscious community.) Share her journey on her website, and on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

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Toby in the World Sep 11, 2016 12:43pm

Thank you, Donna! <3

Donna Gordon Sep 11, 2016 9:01am

Oh Toby that's so beautiful. You keep running girl ❤️

Toby Israel Sep 8, 2016 1:05pm

Thank you, Thayne! :) <3

Toby Israel Sep 8, 2016 1:05pm

Thank you for reading!! <3

Thayne Ulschmid Sep 8, 2016 2:10am

Great piece Toby! Always an inspiration! <3

Sarah Norrad Sep 7, 2016 5:18pm

Beautiful! Thank you, you!