What you love or who you love

I was just starting to date someone after I was returning from a big trip, and had the travel bug still alive in me. I felt so passionate after my trip that traveling again was like a strong force, a great feeling I wanted to relive again.

I was conflicted between settling in to this city, my life here with someone and my family close by, and that enthusiasm and curiosity I had for going and experiencing the world again. Somewhere new was really nothing new to me, but I was really imagining the idea of being a traveler again.

I felt really conflicted. It took time to decide which path to choose, what choice to make, and waiting made a lot of FOMO, extending and keeping the question inside me unanswered, what choice am I going to make.

On the outside I was settling more roots, but in my heart, I was half in and half out. I didn’t know how to own that. I felt brave imagining another year trip over settling in, yet I was not acknowledging how much I was delaying the “stability” stage of my life, the responsibility part.

It felt like all or nothing in subtle ways. Travel and see so much, or settle in and see so little. Those couple week trips were foreign to me at the time, and I over valued longer duration experiences.

There was a bit of denying that feeling inside, the restlessness. Every now and then I’d need a few days to reconsider it all. Am I procrastinating the trip, my dreams? Or procrastinating independence. Who knows, but it felt hard to settle when I felt unsettled.

I’d try to make space a lot for walks and alone time. It felt so symptomatic of someone not knowing what they want. Caught inside, what to do, searching for the perfect answer.

My debates on traveling, and those half ins half outs really put stress on my relationship at the time. The what if’s, and is the grass greener on the other side, can be a spiral of questions, of reasons to second guess things.

I wasn’t my best self in that relationship. Things faded, I wasn’t giving enough priority or value to the life right in front of me. It still took me a year after to finally go. Clearly it wasn’t only the question of travel or partnership. I had a bit of denial, that going was truly the right thing to do.

Eventually, I committed and booked a ticket to Europe. It was a 5 weeks return trip, but I was very open that there’s a chance I may not return until much later. The 5 weeks was a buffer, maybe that’s all I needed. It allowed that option if I wished to take it. Yet inside it felt superficial. I really was leaning more to a longer trip regardless.

After the wobble of those years, it felt like choices were being made. I went to travel again. Another travel adventure (before this I did a year in Australia), here I come. I called this trip the deal breaker. The one that stopped me from really giving in and committing to someone, settling, doing anything longer term. That thought always in the back of my mind. Yet I was confronted in many ways. I was going to Europe, but subtly running from things. Should history, buildings, new places, be so important in my life? Worthy for the half ins and half outs I felt before?

It was enchanting, authentic to go, but I was surprised in ways. How sustainable are these trips if it stops me from settling in back home, from keeping relationships strong, from other areas of growth I also wish to experience like career or homelife. Why were these travel experiences so valuable? I had a bit of inner-conflict on this trip since these questions and feelings felt really important.

I had a bit of shame. To feel so motivated to go, yet when Im there missing my old life as well. The same way I wasn’t appreciating the life I was having at home, I even became numb to the life I was doing while traveling. All the places and history, at times I’d lose touch with how lucky and special it all was. Devaluing what you have, over imagining what you don’t. This blindsided me abit, and just showed how much I did have at home.

I learned a lot from that journey and those times years ago. How I was so hesitant to fully, really, say yes, to be 100% in. I walked the fringes in ways, keeping my mind always on what other opportunities were out there.

I felt abit illusioned by my passions. They didn’t live up to the high expectations I set for them. I had glorious moments on my trip, without a doubt. I just also felt abit less certain, confident, and focused then I’d like. Unclear of what the big picture was, why I was here.

The common story of those times was I going to write about those cities I went to. I’d never really acknowledge that was my goal. I’d get caught in the travel highs, the new places every few days, and forget my mission a lot. It’s now years later that I’m trying to take these writings and actually make something of them, simply by sharing them. And own how I didn’t feel capable, worthy enough for that mission. That I thought my writing wasn’t good enough or I was always waiting for the perfect inspiration that never came, so I just kept traveling, wandering.

In some ways I went on this trip for answers. Why did I feel so passionate to go, why was I let down at times by my high expectations. Why was what I had back at home not good enough. It was a tough stage of my life, just the lessons I needed to learn at the time about enjoying the life right infront of me.

Always chasing the new thing, the different thing. I bet a lot on those ideas. A lot of time, resources, energy. I look back on all my travels now. It feels like one long experience. That 18 year old Adam in university took this 10 year experience of working, writing, traveling, openness to new things and just woke up in the life I’m in today. With a lot of energy and life, and a sort of what just happened feeling.

I question the value of that. I try to remember the value was in the experience, was in the doing of the thing and not anything else. Those beaches in Australia, random trips in Thailand, mint tea in Morocco, hummus in Israel, coffees in Europe and Chai’s in India, all of those were for that past Adam, those desires in those moments. I can’t pull any of those moments to this day. I can’t sell them for happiness now, mortgage them. I can accept that; we don’t settle on our past highs, and aren’t held back by our old choices.

Was travel just beautifully procrastinating, epically delaying? The “who am I” feels less known then ever. Don’t people travel to discover, I feel like all I did was travel to question, to second guess, reconsider who I am. Time to walk forward, now blinder the more we’ve seen. Forgotten who we are the more memories we have made.

I lived by ‘do what you love and the rest will follow’. And I’m waiting, looking behind me, and waiting for the rest to follow. I look forward, and the path ends. It goes up until now. Have I only gone this far for free, the rest of the way I have to make. The path till now was where autopilot took me. The rest of the way I carve out rather then follow a pre made path.

Life used to be just A to B. Lately I feel I have a lot of choice, I’m at A and the entire alphabet of choices before me. We all slip into identity questioning at times. Who am I. What’s this all going to become. Deeper questions.

This story began as the challenges between travel and settling. Into a partnership, a city, a career. The indecision of not knowing which one is most important, and how to make healthy compromises, and win-win situations.

Travel was fun, and maybe I tended to over-do it abit. It maybe burdened connections I had rather than genuinely enriching them. There is some clarity spawning from all this.

If the question is between what you love or who you love, can I turn this around on me? Less about others, and more just solid trusting what I am, who I am.

I’ve learned that going backwards along a path doesn’t bring you back to an old feeling. Going back to an old place won’t necessarily allow you to relive the same memory. It’s an illusion of sorts, because that place brings you right back to now.

The birds fly north, the bison migrate the plains, all without maps, or guarantees of arrival, just instincts. A feeling of moving forward, empowerment, independence. Maybe I’m not different. Maybe the end goal is less of a place, and more of a feeling of confidence, focus, authenticity, and direction. Those values hopefully lead you to a worthy end goal, atleast an honest one. Don’t stay locked in those ideas of perfect destinations, especially at the cost of those emotions of strength and stability. Lessons for all of us, but really I see how it was the lesson for me.

 

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