Perpetual travel? Or the formation of deeper roots, affiliations and a better sense of belonging by throwing yourself into life at home?
This is a question that I am often asked, directly or indirectly. To even my closest friends, my desire to travel constantly is often perceived as a lack of commitment to my “home” (in this situation assumed to be North Carolina). So am I truly plagued with wanderlust and discontent?
To answer this, I must first take issue with this perception of home as a static place. Such a definition easily devolves into “here” and “there”, “us” and “them”. What if I told you that I continually pack my bags and hop on a plane departing from RDU so that I can be at home?
My experiences this year have proven to me that relationships create a home, not proximity or a single place to store your material possessions.
Thanks to the forced intimacy of collaborating on a project together, I have developed close relationships with people around the globe. What holds us together is a common commitment to creating a better world and a devotion to fostering creative spirits within ourselves and others. We are not held together by blood or by a neighborhood or by a common cultural foundation. What holds us together is stronger, more reliable, more fulfilling than that. What holds us together is the glimpse of a mutual passion and devotion in someone else.
My home is not an apartment in Raleigh nor the small town where my parents live. My home is any corner with a table, crusty paint, and a broken fan.
My family is much larger than my mother’s boisterous Catholic clan. My family is even larger than the creative community in Durham that has generously supported my endeavors for several years. My family is any curious creative person seeking to better themselves by bettering their community.
My roots are now woven into Finland, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the Dominican Republic as deeply as they are woven into North Carolina. Now, these roots require the same devotion and dedication required by any home or family. I must keep in close contact with everyone when I am traveling to other locations and must return consistently to each place to nourish those roots in person.
I can tell that I have found a new home and family when those roots claw at my heart when I get on the bus or plane to leave. Those roots continue to needle at me to plan ways to return to those places and to that family as quickly as possible. Those roots hold fast no matter where I go. Those roots inspire me to continue traveling because I know that there are still more tendrils of future roots waiting to be nurtured.
And so, Will, I must say, “Create deeper roots by throwing yourself into a life of meaningful travel.”
What do you say?