Writing now from Koh Samui, Thailand and reflecting on the life of a traveler. When traveling, I always meet kindred spirits…people that feel more connected to life (somehow) while on the move. From the outside looking in, it probably seems to others that we are running from something…running from life. But as I think about it, we are running to life. It’s almost like for us the freedom is in the chase. Life makes more sense from the macro-level of our global travel.
When I speak to others I meet, it seems like we’ve all tried the normal working life. We may have set up a home base somewhere and maybe some of us even have families. But after a few weeks, the road seems to be calling us. After a month, it’s hard to sit still. The regular 9-5 feels like a trap.
In the context of meditation, I feel that this sounds so strange — why can’t we find peace where we are? I don’t think that’s it. I think we can. But the adventure is in the exploration. Life is in the movement.
I think back to earlier times in world history when it was more common for nomads to wander from place to place — though, even now, there are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. These groups of people primarily follow seasonally available plants and game. These nomads may also be merchants who travel and offer their goods or services as a way of making a living. There is a familiarity in the movement of these tribes to those of us who love to travel.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to be traveling constantly. When I travel, I often reach a point where I look forward to going home and recharging. I like having a familiar place to return to. However, I meet others who have been on the road for years, living only with a backpack! Some years ago, I made a friend named Connor who had been hitch-hiking across America for over a year. He worked when he needed to and often slept in nature or in cities. He loved the freedom it provided, but talked with me about maybe buying a camper (or bus) one day to make the movement easier and shelter more accessible.
Those of us who live life this way are a bit outside of the box. Without thinking much about it, we are redefining what it means to live well. While the urge to settle down may sometimes hit us, I think it’s important for us modern-day nomads to continually challenge ourselves to build a life that supports who we really are. For I think we can only be happy when we truly feel free.
Image source: Thailand