The Choice a Traveler Makes

October 10, 2016 Tessa Bradford 23 comments

The Choice a Traveler Makes

I am a nomad. My life is lived far from home, and every little while I uproot and move on. I get restless easily, I fall in love too quick, and I'm always wondering what the next thing will be. But every once and awhile I come close to going home or settling down, and when I don't it makes me pause and wonder, why not?

Blarney Gardens, Ireland

My life isn't normal, although it's certainly more common to travel the way I do today than it was even a decade or two ago. I meet far more experienced travelers than myself all the time, and it's always a humbling reminder of how great big the world is, and how little of it I've really seen.

We're alive at a funny time. We have endless opportunities-- so many possibilities for education and travel and culture-- and at the same time I feel like so many of us are lost and just sort of swept along by the currents (I'm including myself here).

Pingtung County, Taiwan
Pingtung County, Taiwan

I have spent much more time having no idea what I was doing than going in any particular direction. I tried different courses of study, different parts of the world, different fields of work, and different love stories.

I have jumped from path to path about as frequently as I've jumped country to country. I'm near the end of my 20s, and have only just found a career that feels like it's probably the right fit. I feel the pull to go home, but at the same time I can't seem to quiet that constant restlessness to always seek out a new bit of countryside. The idea of making a family seems beautiful-- but you can't really do that when you can't stay still.

Khatgal, Mongolia
Khatgal, Mongolia

I dream of a house in the prairie fields of Kansas. There's a wrap-around porch and a library painted purple, and the house is filled with knick-knacks that I've picked up along the way. I'll sit on the porch in the dewy mornings and drink too much coffee and put little pieces of myself into the stories I write. And I really think that someday, this is where I'll grow old. Hopefully there's someone sitting on that porch with me, even if it is just a loyal mutt or two.

But for now, I still envision Namibian road-trips, Colombian salsa lessons, Indian meditations-- there are so many places in this world that call me on, in voices too enticing to ignore. My sirens are all far away horizons.

Mui Ne, Vietnam
Mui Ne, Vietnam

There are too many places out there to be wandered, and people out there to be loved. How do you go home before that's done? I'd be haunted by those unexplored corners and those missed moments. I'd always wonder, what else, who else, where else was out there.

And so I'm still a nomad, and I stand by that choice. The roads I've gone down may have been a bit longer and a little less easy to follow some days-- but they've taken me to beautiful places that are too often missed, and they've brought me to people that I'm glad I've known and loved. And although I'm not done exploring wherever my wandering roads will take me next, at the end of them they can always bring me home.

23 Comments on “The Choice a Traveler Makes

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