I love to roam—to wander at will.
The open road is my friend, and the call to hit the road is one that I cannot easily ignore. I have a bad case of wanderlust.
A gentle ache for all the places I have yet to explore. A desire for the intense connections I’ll make on the road. The scent of adventure on the wind.
You see, I was born wild. I will die free. In between, I wander.
In the words of Angelia Jolie, “If you don’t get out of the box you were raised in, you’ve no idea how big the world is.” Only by answering the call to wander can we expand our worlds, our beliefs, and our understanding of different cultures through the people we meet along the way.
I left behind my legal career and homeland of England in 2011 to begin again in Andalucia, Spain, to embrace a different way of living and a life of wandering.
Wherever I lay my hat is my home, and last year, I put down my hat in Porto, Portugal for one reason: Porto is so close to the Camino de Santiago.
The Camino de Santiago is a network of hiking trails that run throughout Europe, yet they are so much more than that. To walk a Camino de Santiago is to undertake a spiritual adventure and a journey of a lifetime. It is an opportunity to meet so many people from around the world.
The Camino de Santiago was the perfect place to satisfy my thirst to wander and adventure.
I’ve learned that to wander and adventure is not just about having fun. Travel can also be our greatest teacher. My wanderings have become an accelerated form of personal growth because I meet all the different aspects of myself thousands of times on the road, especially on the Camino de Santiago.
Whether it’s the young backpacker setting out into the world, or the family going on a different adventure, or the female solo walker who hasn’t traveled alone before, I continue to see myself in the eyes of others. The sheer variety of people I meet on the road from different cultures, cities, ages, and backgrounds is mind-boggling.
I see myself in them all.
I see myself mirrored in the people I meet with whom I have an instant connection. The ones where my soul says, “Aha, old friend, I know you.”
I see myself in the people with whom I don’t gel, and even the ones whom I dislike.
I see myself reflected in them all—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
From this reflection, I learn more about myself—my positive and my negative qualities. I see when I have to be kinder and more loving to those around me and, just as important, kinder to myself. I see how and when I need to drop my judgments and when I need to open my mind. I see where I need to work on my boundaries, but most of all, I see when I’m going to make a lifelong friend.
I meet myself a thousand times on the road, and I’m grateful to every person who has shown me myself as I stared into their glossy eyes. I’m grateful for them showing me who I am and who I want to be, what I need to improve or what I need to let go of. Only through meeting these people in a short period of time was I able to work on “me” so intensely.
So, if you hear the call to wander, or catch the scent of adventure on the breeze, is it time for you to pack your bag and wander? To expand your mind and see how big your world really is?
Go and meet yourself a thousand times on the road, and see for yourself just how blessed you are, to be able to experience being so wild and free.