Travel is enchanting and magical, but the consumed traveler is one who fears all that is constant. The motivator to travel in the first place feels foreign and close to forgotten. The once-hungry appetite for newness is replaced rather by an impulsive fear that static is the only thing lurking over the grassy hill and across oceans.
For a traveler, the sustenance of life relies fully in the unknown. As one reflects on times of divine happiness, the travelers associates it not with years or numbers or candles on the cake, but geographically. Our happiness is defined by destination. Culture. Country. City. Strangers. Getting Lost in Foreign Landscape. Exoticism. Language Barriers. The Temporariness of Intimacy. We remember the times when we were happiest as 'those years on the road,' flickering memories that keep shape, but lose detail the older and wiser our minds grow.
When the first explorers set out on adventure they were young, but also blind and brave and bold. Instinct as a roadmap and vulnerability to create trust. They were the real voyagers. The Greats. Travelers who run straight at the wind without looking back. I imagine the way they would wince at my traveler's life now, for the strangeness of the world that once attracted those early adventurers has been swallowed by the immediacy of technology. Would they chide us for the way we act in our own modern musings?
As they grew older, did they also grow more nomadic or is that insatiable desire to be lost inherently traded when we find reason to stay grounded? An older generation of explorers seems to be more and more arcane - a notion of travel while you're young before the seduction of stability grabs tight and never lets go.
Maybe these older souls know the other riches that life has to offer -- of the wealth caused not by nature's beauty but by the comfort of human touch: of a love waiting for us on the other side of the front door and the children's smiles.
At what age must one trade the traveling self for the realist self? Running far fast suddenly seems the most sensible when both pressing dynamics exist in a versus. The deliberate challenge is to examine how the former and the latter can coexist in harmony when each lie on opposing sides of life's mirror. The reflection of the vagrant self is clear - joyful, comely, and more mysterious while reality stares back, eyes green with envy.
Our realist self knows as we grow with the changing world, being forced to reckon with all of the flaws of overstimulation and loss of bookstores and illiterate countrysides, that the minds of our younger, traveling selves require an entirely new type of attention.
As I grow older, I hope to savor these stories and nurture my children through life with maps and words, with a hidden doorway to their mother's imagination. Along with the stories of their Grandmother, one of the Greats who left home at 17 to fall in love with the world over and over again. At some point in our aging process the two paradoxes of self - traveler against realist - will meet at a crossroad of nomad, stability, our past and future self. Which direction do we run?