The last few days, I have been brooding. Something has changed and I was finally able to put my finger on what it is. Even though this has never seemed important before, I suddenly seem to need the answer to the question: Why do we travel?
A lot has happened the past few weeks. I started kind of working as an intern at two start-ups, which is taking up a lot of my free time. I have a thesis to write besides all my other schoolwork and I’m supposed to start working two shifts a week at Starbucks soon. My trip to Morocco was canceled, because of some stupid miscommunication and, top it all off, my grandpa died. He has kind of been the center of my universe ever since it was confirmed he had lung cancer. And by that I mean even more than he already was before.
Suddenly, I haven’t been able to find peace. I’m constantly thinking without realizing that I’m doing it, trying to keep myself busy with work and school up to the point that I can hardly keep my eyes open by 8pm. I feel more and more depressed and the fact that I can’t keep up my two blogs and the social media that are linked to it, make me feel like ‘I can’t even pull that off’.
Writing has always helped me to put my thoughts into words, to give them structure, but I couldn’t find the time or energy to do that. But finally, at some point, I was able to put at least this into words: I hate feeling like I am lived by my life. Because that’s what’s happening right now and I know it.
So, as a traveler, I decided that what I needed was to get out there again. There’s a promotion at Ryanair right now with flights to Warsaw for €9,99. It would also allow me to scratch another European capital off of my list. Besides, I’ve never been to Eastern Europe before. Last year, I would have jumped on this opportunity.
I found a week where I could get away for three days and then… I hesitated. Why can’t I book the fucking ticket? What’s stopping me? What the hell is wrong with me? Those questions were floating around in my head and just now I found out what my real question is: why the hell would I go to Warsaw?
That stopped me in my tracks. Why? Why do I travel? That’s a question I’d never asked myself before. Of course, other people have asked me a dozen times. My answer was simple: I wanna test myself and I wanna see the world. Boom. Simple as that. So is that still the case? Absolutely. But why is it then that can’t I bring myself to buy the damned ticket?!
I have always wanted to prove myself; to my friends, my family, my teachers and, yes, myself. I want to get recognition for what I do, I want at least one person to look up to me and I want the people close to me to tell me they are proud of my achievements.
But the truth of the matter is: I don’t think I’m good enough, no matter what they say. I can’t even get outside of Europe by myself, I can’t travel with other people besides my family or people I meet on the road, and I can’t get the (paid) internship I want that would give me a reason to travel around Australia and New-Zealand next year.
Maybe this little crisis of mine is also caused by the fact that – yes, I’ll admit it – I’m scared. I had my whole life planned for myself, from kindergarten until the day I would graduate from university. But that milestone is only a few months away and… I’m scared of not knowing what will come next. Everyone in my school seems to be more or less certain of what they want to do after graduating and I feel like I can’t do anything.
Why do I travel?
To escape from having to think about and live up to the moment I’ll have to step into the unknown? To feel like I’m in control of something while not being in control at all? To try and find out what it actually is I wanna do and who I really am before I was being lived by my life (again)? To feel some kind of freedom? There are a lot of answers on the internet when you put this question in Google – 1.4 billion to be exact. They just don’t make sense right now.
If all of this isn’t giving you a headache, it certainly is giving me one. I feel like it is urgent for me to answer the question why it is we travel. But the side-question is: does there have to be answer and, even, is there an answer? Right now, I can’t find peace in accepting the not-knowing. Nevertheless, sharing this with you is kind of lifting some of it off of me.
If you’re still reading, I’ll tell you this: you can be proud of yourself for listening to me complain. Maybe you kept on reading because you’re in the same place (on the verge of the not-knowing), or maybe you are also wondering about the question why it is we travel. Maybe you are looking for reasons to counter the question why it is you don’t travel. I can tell you why that is another time!
For now, I certainly have a few things to figure out and I’ll do my best to keep giving you your weekly reading material and bucketlist inspiration.
Have a wanderful day,