I started independent travel pretty late in my life, but I took to it like a duck to water. How long this restless soul has been in me, I don’t really know. Or perhaps I do.
While cleaning out my old bedroom, I saw, amongst other childhood memorabilia, a tiny blue notebook with my eight-year-old handwriting. It had a list of things and places I wanted to see.
At age eight, I knew I wanted to see the world. I had started with the letter A and got as far as the letter D. Already, the list was over 10 pages long. I was Dora the Explorer long before she was conceived in some cartoonist’s head.
I haven’t exactly lived that dream. I’ve seen a lot, travelled a bit, lived in different cities. But I have not set foot on as many as places I would have wanted. I allowed things to hold me back. And because I did, I feel that I had missed out. So I desperately tried to make up for lost time.
Seven years ago, I left my constrained box of a life back home. I left for a place eight time zones away, to tear myself from the life I’ve known. I went to find myself, to finally build a life on my own terms. That was when I started travelling. It was the best thing about living on my own. My passport filled up sooner than it expired. I was happy.
After my years of solitary wandering, I’ve come back to where I started. I thought it was the right thing to do. But now the ugly demons of naught have come to haunt me.
I am slowly settling back into a life of mundane realities, of cooking dinners and washing dishes and doing laundry. Compound that with working an aimless job which was not part of the comeback plan. I have returned to days of solitude, of empty weekends and equally quiet weeknights. I have become a married person without having a husband to nag or children to fuss over.
On days when I do get out, when I am surrounded by friends, I feel like my true self – deliriously happy and in awe of everything in the world. The moment I set foot in my home, I feel like a caged beast – frustrated and temperamental. My soul knows this is not my place, and yet here I am. I have chosen this life, and yet is it not the life I want.
I gave up my comfortable – and independent – life so I can pursue my purpose and my passion. But now the dream is fading and I haven’t even had a chance to start. Travel is my lifeblood, and it is slowly being taken away from me under the guise of responsibility.
I know that I will be forever restless. I cannot find it in myself to settle down. Life is too short and the world is too big to just stay in one place, whether you have someone to share it with or not.
I want to sleep in the middle of the desert under the stars. I want to watch the sun rise over the sea. I want to see the night sky lit up with rainbow coloured ribbons. I want to breathe the crisp mountain air, drink sweet spring water, fall in the snow giggling over silly things.
And though I sit in my half-furnished room dreading another pointless day working for money I don’t want, my soul continues to wander. It roams the savannah, chasing after antelopes and zebras. It drifts in the ocean, watching seahorses swim. It climbs grassy knolls, singing as it picks daffodils. And it sits by the sea, waiting for the sun to rise again.