Travel Manifesto

Before I began traveling and exploring on a regular basis, I stumbled upon a quote that resonated so strongly with me it later inspired my first tattoo. Harun Yahya wrote, “I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.” Why do we stay in the same place? Why do families inhabit the same house for generations? But then why do we choose to move, to travel? Why do we choose to abandon our roots for the uncertainty of a new place?

In every encounter I have with a native of the place I’m visiting, I ask why he or she chooses to live there. Answers have varied from lamenting such as, “Don’t ever live here, I hate it here,” (said by a woman living and working in Louisiana) to, “This is the best place on earth, I will never live anywhere else.” (said by several people in Paris). A friend of mine, who is the most traveled person I have ever met, once told me he will never live anywhere other than Seattle because he is not interested in being a permanent transplant in a foreign city.

I understand the wisdom in residing where one has history. My grandfather lived in Oklahoma City for nearly fifty years. There he made lasting friendships with his doctor, his mailman, his dog’s vet, his attorney, his customers at his barber shop, his favorite cook at the restaurant he visited every morning for forty years, whom all later attended his funeral. He always told me that his life was small, but he loved it. He enjoyed driving the same route to and from work every day. He knew and befriended everyone in his small environment. He loved seeing the same familiar, smiling faces each day. And that was enough for him.

But that isn’t enough for me. For some reason I still can’t pinpoint, I have a wandering spirit. I physically and mentally cannot stay in the same place for long, much to my family’s dismay. I have the travel bug, and I know no cure other than exploration and adventure. I recently became a transplant in Colorado Springs. Since arriving three weeks ago, I’ve had adventures not only in Colorado Springs but in Pueblo as well. I anxiously await exploration of the places within my reach now that I live ten hours west of where I lived previously.

Sometimes I fear that because I chose this lifestyle, my doctor, my dog’s vet, my neighbors, etc. will not be in attendance to my funeral. I fear that with the choice of this lifestyle, I have also chosen to make a smaller impact in various places rather than a large impact in one place. However, my closest relatives assure me that I will settle down one day.

I don’t want to settle. I don’t want to settle for a monotonous, expected existence. There is a certain beauty only found in the moments of exploration when everything that could go wrong is, and I just can’t see how I am going to ameliorate the situation– but somehow, I always do. Inevitably following these brushes with disaster, I feel peace like I have never known. And that’s because I have just discovered absolute trust in myself.

I choose the unpredictable. I choose unconventional. I choose adventure.