The Longest Way Home
“It’s okay. Even when it’s not okay. You took the long road. You took a few wrong turns.
But it’s okay, you’re on your way home.”
Whenever I would tell people that I was going off on some trip or another, I was met with remarks like, “oh, tough life!” Even good friends reacted with outright hostile envy – “must be nice!” they often said.
I used to try to explain and justify my travels.
It was pointless.
Travel – especially by people who rarely do it – is often dismissed as a luxury, an indulgence, not a practical or useful way to spend one’s time.
People complain, “I wish I could afford to go away.”
Even when I did the math and showed that I often spent less money while on the road than staying home, they looked at me with skepticism.
Reasons for not travelling are as varied and complex as the justification for any behavior.
Perhaps people feel this way about travel because of how it’s so often perceived and presented. They anticipate and expect escape, from jobs and worries, from routines and families, but mostly, I think, from themselves – the sunny beach with life’s burdens left behind.
For me, travel has rarely been about escape; it’s often not even about a particular destination.
The motivation is to go – to meet life, and myself, head-on along the road.
There’s something in the act of setting out that renews me, that fills me with a feeling of possibility.
On the road, I’m forced to rely on instinct and intuition, on the kindness of strangers, in ways that illuminate who I am, ways they shed light on my motivations, my fears.
Because I spend so much time alone when I travel, those fears, my first companions in life, are confronted, resulting in a liberation that I’m convinced never would have happened had I not ventured out.
Often the farther afield I go, the more at home I feel.
The longest way home…