Embodying the Wild Wanderer and the Safety of Home
I am a wandering soul who will always have wanderlust.
I know this to be true.
I’ve never stopped to worry about the unknown. I moved to New York City when I was 18 for college. My friends were off to big campuses in small towns to spend their mornings sprinting across sprawling green lawns to class and their weekends drinking beer out of a keg in a frat house.
I was moving to lower Manhattan to spend my days sprinting to catch the Subway across town and bribing doormen to let me into the latest club.
People thought I was brave but I didn’t think so. My heart was calling me to Manhattan.
In my mind, I had no other choice but to follow it.
Years later when I was 22, I moved halfway across the country to Texas. I knew one person in the entire state but I had a job offer so off I went. My friends were moving back to our hometown, living in their childhood bedrooms and having impromptu high school reunions every weekend at the bar. I was getting lost on my way to work and anxiously trying to make friends with anyone I met.
Again, people commented on how brave I was but I didn’t see it that way.
I never thought about feeling lonely or being in an unfamiliar place.
My heart saw opportunity. It saw a chance to reinvent myself and I followed it.
A few years later, I would grab my passport, strap a backpack to my back and fly to Bali for two months on my own. I had never been to Indonesia. I had never backpacked. My friends were buying houses, getting married and having babies. I was spending the night in airports, haggling with cab drivers and befriending fellow backpackers.
Again, people told me I was brave and again, I couldn’t see it. I was going to a known tourist destination. I had a successful business I could run from anywhere and was planning on working for most of the trip. I was still living in my life as I always had been, just from a different country.
I am a wild and wandering soul who will always have wanderlust. I never worry about being alone or getting lost or having my life look different than those around me. When the road calls to me, promising adventure, I answer the call. I am proud of this fact.
I need to have deep roots of a place I call home. This I know to be true.
I always come back home. Every summer in college, instead of staying in New York, I rushed home, craving my mother’s hug and my childhood bedroom. After four years in Texas, I fled back home with a wounded ego and a broken heart. After two months in Bali, my soul was calling for family dinners and Netflix nights.
I keep my circle small and my connections deep. I have kept the same people in my life for decades. They are my village. They are my home and the idea of not returning to them feels terrifying.
I love the familiarity of knowing the back ways, of being able to say “I’ve been coming here for years” and running into people I’ve known all my life.
I want and desperately dream of putting down roots with a man, creating a family and happily pointing out the places of my childhood to my children someday.
I need the safety of a home and I need that to have roots in that home. This is true.
These facts contradict one another and I cannot have both. This is a lie.
For years, I felt like I would always be missing out on something.
While I lived in the midst of routines and regularity in my every day life, I wondered if I was missing out on adventure, of places I’ve never seen.
When I adventured to new places, meeting new people and feeling the constant thrill of doing something for the first time every day, I ached for home and the familiarity of it.
I worried I was one of those people who always wanted what she didn’t have and that I would constantly be chasing something other than what I had in front of me.
But the truth is — I need both the wild wanderer and the homebody to be alive and to feed one another. The safety of roots allows me to wander the world without fear of being alone or getting lost.
Because I know I will always find my way home and I will always be loved.
The wild wandering soul has taught me to value and prioritize the people, places and things that mean something to me. If I wasn’t always on the brink of floating away in the breeze, I wouldn’t work so hard to strengthen my roots.
I can have both: a life of wanderlust-filled adventure and a home with deep roots. While it’s still unclear how both sides of those will play out in my life, I know that I’m not missing out on anything. And that’s the truth.