I think I’m missing the wanderlust gene. And I don’t know if that means maybe something is wrong with my (still forming) 23-year-old brain.
Everyone I cross paths with seems utterly obsessed with jet-setting, with simply picking random destinations and figuring the rest out along the way. And I applaud that mentality — the sheer boldness and spontaneity. Young Kerouacs just bouncing along, not remotely worried about setting roots.
So I have to wonder; is it me? Am I somehow incomplete or broken or just yet to discover that ~*~20-something desire~*~ to explore the world? Was I born with the soul of an elderly Jewish woman and that’s just something I’ve got to accept? Mahjong with the girls in the senior center and I’m content.
It’s not that I don’t have places I’d like to see. Because I do. But it doesn’t consume me. I don’t fantasize about starting over in new places. I like my comforts: knowing the same mail-man for years, grocery store clerks knowing me by name, having my “spots.” I genuinely love that. Stability is something I’ve come to cherish. In fact, I really need it to flourish.
But it’s not very exciting to tell people you like routine. There’s nothing glamorous about imagining yourself in the same place for decades. And it ends up feeling like I’ve skipped some phase I’m supposed to hit. The one all my peers are at. It feels weirdly isolating.
When a friend mentions backpacking through Europe, what do you say? “I love going to sleep in my bed every night.” Nobody cheers for that. Everyone begins to plan for music festivals, vacation spots, couch surfing and I just feel tired. It makes me feel tired. I don’t have the energy required for constant movement. I want my slow comforts. I want my introversion and time to recharge. My batteries seem to run out much more quickly than those around me. But that’s okay. That’s just who I am.
I don’t need to see the world to know things about myself or be a better person. I learn a little bit more every moment I wake up. Being in a different time zone won’t suddenly solve my problems. And forcing myself to do something just because people around me seem to like it isn’t that different from the “would you jump off a bridge if others did” argument.
So no, you don’t HAVE to travel in your 20s. If you want to, go for it. I’m excited for you and send me a postcard, will ya? But staying home isn’t something to be ashamed of either. Creating a home and a place to call yours is just as beautiful.
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