March 18, 2016

Day 882 – Small world

I’ve had a range of interesting and thought provoking conversations whilst I’ve been on the road. One comment that was made was, I am ticking boxes and not living life. I have a bucket list and the last years have involved me ticking off as many boxes as possible. So, in essence, I wasn’t living my life. I had been under the impression, prior to this comment being made, that I was in fact living my life. Living my life more so then I ever had done. For the most part, I didn’t have a nine to five job, consequently, I was able to venture to different cities and became familiar with a range of different cultures. I thought I was living and appreciating all life had to offer, the highs and the lows.  I spent some time pondering what was said and eventually decided that I am loving and living life.  I am adamant that these past two years reflect much more than a tick box activity. In fact, they show some great adventures, some amazing friendships, many laughs, crazy last minute decisions and some spontaneous acts.  Each to their own and of course I have been questioned on my venture along the way but I refuse to accept that I’m not living my life.

Living life or more how one should live life is questionable. There are numerous people with a stable job, a mortgage, a car in the drive, a dog and a partner. They live their life factoring all these things in. Some may argue that this ties them down. Others would say that this is what life is about. I don’t have any of the things listed and I know if I did, my decision making would be affected. But, at the moment I don’t have these things tying me down so I’m free, free to go and come as I please, as I want. I don’t have this ‘normal’ life yet, I may never have it. I may never pay a mortgage, I may build my own house, I may never own a car, I may just buy a scooter.  There are endless possibilities, some of which haven’t even been considered by some people.

I don’t endeavour to live a ‘normal’ life. In fact, I do everything I can not to now. I’ve been aware of what ‘normal’ looks like and even how to achieve it. But I just never fitted that mould. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, when I was younger or that I didn’t try because I sure as hell did. When surrounded my ‘normal’ people with ‘normal’ families and friends, of course that’s what you want. There wasn’t a great deal of attention or celebration of anything a little different.  A nuclear family is ‘normal’ and according to conservative’s and others, single-parent families (single mums especially) are responsible for their children being anti-social behaviour. Same sex relationships were not talked of or acknowledged. Quitting school to travel or setting up an ethical clothes brand was not discussed. So of course our families, schools, peers, the media and politicians shape the social norms we live by and anyone who questions them or fails to follow them is a threat and essentially an outsider.  We have had a shift and what is deemed ‘normal’ has changed thankfully but we have a long way to go.

It isn’t easy living a life where social norms are questioned or ignored. There is an element of confusion for me and a constant voice in my head questioning what I’m doing and why. It’s not negative or critical but more a check point to try and determine what I want to do. I’ve been torn numerous times between wanting to stay longer in any given city, wanting to travel elsewhere and wanting to go home to see my family and friends.  Being a million miles from home is hard and not sharing significant moments is even harder. Some days are harder than others; birthdays, mother’s day, Diwali, Christmas and New Year’s. Surrounding myself with caring and supportive friends helps.

Essentially though I’ve come to realise that I have a void, a hole that I’m desperately trying to fill. I think perhaps I’ve had it for a while and when I left home, I was under the impression that it would be filled. I mean, surely with everything that I’ve done, it is inevitably but no, unfortunately that isn’t the case. You see, no matter where I go or what I do, this hole continues to follow me and if anything, it grows.  Some days I don’t think about it, I forget it exists but then I remember and I want to fill it but I’m not sure how. I have found many things along my trip but perhaps I still haven’t found what I’m searching for. What am I searching for? I don’t know, some days I think I do but then other days I’m as lost as ever. Until I know what I’m looking for, I won’t know that I’ve found it, so it’s a catch 22 scenario really.

It’s not that I’m not content with what I’ve achieved or that I’m not grateful, because I am, so much so. My inner peace appears to have disappeared and I know that comes from within me. I know it is a process and I know I need to be patient. But travelling, venturing into the unknown, is not always easy, sure it’s fun and an eye opener but it requires an open mind and courage. It is an individual journey entwined with many other people and their journey all joint together at the roots. I have pushed myself these last two years to try experiences I never had and to explore cities I had never heard of. I have come a long way, learnt a great deal but I still have work to do. I truly believe it is a small world and we can go where we want. Ultimately, I can anywhere, make new friends, get a job or volunteer but what I need to do is focus on me and look inwardly. My inner peace is within me like my happiness and love. I don’t have to travel to find it rather I need to be still, stay focused in and amongst all the chaos and remain calm. I love being on the road and these last two years have been great and whilst it goes against convention, it has become my new social norm.