September 21, 2017

For all the Traveling Souls: Why we Must Learn to Stand Still.

Since first leaving my hometown at the age of 18, I have wandered through many different places and circles of people—constantly wondering where I would fit in.

I have rotated towns like some rotate crops in their garden, and I’ve never felt the desire to plant roots anywhere.

I drive a camper van—a house with wheels—because, eventually, I thought that contentment was just not a trait of mine. Maybe it’s not something a poet can feel, as discomfort and uncertainty fuel so many words.

Today, I am easing into my fifth month in the same town. I have felt those familiar butterflies urging me to my pack my bags and hit the road.

This time, though, I’ve decided to stay.

Some people feel fearful or worried when faced with the task of moving or travelling to a new place. Others feel the same unease when asked to remain stagnant.

By finally pausing where I am, I have realized that perhaps some of us feel unable to sit still because that is when one’s truest self emerges in all capacities. As we continually shift, we get caught up in adapting. Resettling in a fresh setting is always cause for distraction.

When we are left to be still, spend some time, and ultimately dig deeper into our psyche, we can be faced with unhealthy thought patterns and limiting beliefs.

I spent many years becoming gradually more distant from my authentic self, until I was habitually depressed. At the time, I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until I returned to my hometown and was urged to stay, that I was suddenly faced with important questions I had no answer for—such as, “Who am I?”

Just as our relationships with other people develop and grow deeper as we invest more time into them, the same occurs in our relationship with ourselves.

Rather than skipping between new faces and learning only of first impressions, by finding a friend whom we willingly and continuously give time to, we also invest that time in ourselves. When another is learning about us through questions or activities, we are also learning who we are through what answers and actions we compose in response.

Throughout my years of travelling, I did not have the opportunity to develop and nurture deep friendships with too many people. Just as I grew close to a person, some other destination would call out to me, and I would pack my bags once more.

By submissively leaving with every wave of longing that lured my eyes to the horizon, I remained on the outskirts of myself. For years, I labeled my constant moving “my desire to travel and explore.” That desire is real, but it took the act of staying still for the rose-coloured glasses to come off.

It is easy to forget and overlook any negativities when we are a tumbleweed backpacker or wandering vagabond. Not feeling fully content? Check the maps and roll on. But when we are stricken with the desire to plant roots, we can no longer remain aloof or detached from discomforting scenarios or correspondence.

Now, the term “home” has not brought with it waves of suffocation. I hear those around me using it lovingly and warmly and, for the first time, I am wanting to stay put and develop a place to call “home” for myself.

Simultaneously, I’m learning why I have never sat still before.

It wasn’t just the longing to travel that pulled me on, but the inability to sit in the discomfort of self-assessment.

There’s a reason we are meant to remain completely still during meditation. Stillness allows us to penetrate layers otherwise overlooked when on the move or passing through. To stop and look around within one’s own mind is to see and acknowledge things that hide beneath the hustle and bustle, beneath the distractions of the day-to-day.

To develop a better understanding of ourselves and our fellow humans, it is a healthy practice to notice and acknowledge feelings of unease and discomfort. Rather than allowing ourselves to become scooped up and carried away with them, try and seek the root cause.

Every feeling, every emotion talks. Especially the ones that seem harsh or hard to cope with. It is common and accepted in modern society to become submissive to our cravings, but from another viewpoint, those cravings are an opportunity for tremendous personal growth. Those cravings often stem from deep-seated issues or wounds that are ready to be healed.

If you too were built to roam, never forget the importance and evolution in periodically pausing.

Travelling indeed initiates growth, but it takes stillness to allow that growth to settle within.


relephant read:

Why Traveling won’t Help you find Yourself & What to do Instead.


Author: Alexis Koome
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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