I have spent most of my life running from the type of person that is waiting for something to happen to them. Filling myself up with beliefs and projects and emotions and commitments so that I was always heavy, always within reach of my favorite things. The things that made me who I am, that make me who I am. But, this year, this traveling, has felt like a grand stretch. I feel empty and untethered and I do not know how I got here because this year I have been putting things out and bringing things into myself and mostly I have been settling. Settling into this vague discomfort of not knowing what exactly what I am tied to or what exactly I can be called or labeled, and, recently, for the first time this year I met someone who got it. They got it this thing that is too big for me to have a conversation about or write an essay to work through. They got this thing that I struggle to explain to myself and that I struggle to understand how it has affected me. How it has altered my place in the world, especially my place in relation to other people.
I recently read an article, after writing most of this essay, that explained the psychology behind some of my feelings. Basically, belonging and purpose are two of the most essential sensations to living a life of happiness, of fulfillment. Both of these things are, in some ways, in fundamental discord with solo travel.
But I deviate from the article here, because what is the lack of these conventional feelings other than an urge to dive into yourself, to find purpose and belonging within yourself? It is not easy, it is not a replacement, it is not the *same*, but it means accessing a whole new plane of living, of relating, of spending time. It does not have to be forever. But, for me, taking this year back from expected norms and traditional paths has been absolutely essential.
And I want to say that this whole thing is good, that even though this floating sensation is one of the scariest things I have ever felt, I feel as though I have begun to understand myself in a way that is uncommon. In a way that is perhaps unique to people have traveled for a while, perhaps unique to people who, like myself, have always found comfort in the labels and the lists and the accomplishments, including the emotional and the personal. It is, quite simply, profound and I wish I could explain it. I wish I could tell everyone to find it. But, now, I continue on. I am living for myself more than I have ever before. Each day is slow and each understanding is lethargic, takes its time. But. I am floating. Sometimes spinning, sometimes embracing, and I think that this deserves to be put into words. Deserves to be put into physical words.