“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
I have a strong sense of wanderlust, yet for years I've fought against it so that I could fit into an acceptable box of conformity. Part of me assumed this was what being adult meant--conforming, putting off dreams of travel until I was more financially secure, saving for responsible things like a house or...a bigger house. Now I realize that isn't true, that it's a lie I've been fed by a society that likes to define things or people so that they can judge them more easily. By judge, I mean "is this right or wrong? is she worth befriending, worth knowing?" Once you step out of that box, you scare people.
Right now I live in multiple places. I have a hard time when someone says "where do you live" because it's in flux. My lifestyle might seem chaotic to some, yet I have never been this calm. When I admit this, I get the look of "ooo...you're not normal are you?"
What is normal anyway? Normal to one person may be abnormal to another. For me, because I am highly selective in my tribe of friends, I am normal. I know digital nomads who move every few months to a new city around the world. I know people who have homes in multiple cities. I know people who live in vans. They are happy, self-reliant, and free. To me, they are normal. I am normal.
But I used to be afraid of this fringe-like lifestyle--and, if I'm honest, I still experience moments of uncertainty. I grew up in a small town in South Dakota where people like me were considered lazy or weird or crazy or "dreamers." Where I grew up, people were expected to settle--get a 9 to 5, go to happy hour for a beer with people you grew up with, make a family, buy a big house, have a nice car, travel when the kids went to college--be safe in every decision. Going against that was--and still is--a point of contention with my family of origin.
The idea of "being safe", though, implies there is something to fear by exploring the world. I travel safely. I am savvy. I don't trust every random person that enters my sphere. I don't believe everything I hear. I take risks--but only because I trust myself to bounce if I should crash to the ground.
When I look at someone who is living the 9 to 5 cookie-cutter lifestyle, I have little understanding of their existence. It rattles me. I don't judge it as wrong--because, hey, if they're happy so be it. I simply know that's not for me. I would constantly be looking out the office window toward the horizon, daydreaming about adventures I only read about in books, and becoming resentful of the invisible chains holding me back.
What's normal for me isn't normal for others, I get that. I only wish that same respect would be reciprocated because it does get tiring being judged all of the time for simply living life on my terms.
The way I see it is this--if you're happy, if you're self-reliant, if you're not hurting anyone, then do what's right for you. Live life YOUR way. We only get one shot at this. Accidents happen all the time--I could be living the "safe and expected" life and have a tornado kill me in my cubicle! Or I could be ravaged by a pack of hyenas while on safari in South Africa? Guess which one I would prefer? Well, prefer is a strong word--both options sound horrible--but my point is that I would rather die LIVING than die waiting to live.