This text was written at the end of my solo trip, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. I was sitting in the park back then with a lot of inspirations circulating in my head. I was in Porto Alegre exactly 24 hours. It was my transit between Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro. There were plenty of thoughts that have accumulated in my mind with regard to the last, quite intense, days.
In the end it enlightened me. I realized that for four years, I didn’t feel belonging. All in all, I’m not sure if I had ever felt that. Maybe I was born with the soul of a wanderer and explorer. Maybe I have never realy found my place. But the feelings of otherness and standing out have intensified during the last years which were crucial years when it comes to traveling. So I sat down on the grass, in the shade of a giant tree, exactly like the million other trees in the park where I was just hanging out. I looked around and stared at all the strange faces. Laughs, conversations, fun – kind of at your fingertips, yet light years away from me. Looks – empty, meaningless. My presence – completely accidental. I was just making sure. No, I don’t belong here either. I started writing.
When you start traveling, you’ll find out that you stopped fitting anywhere.
Everywhere you go you find yourself a bit stranger, even if you call the place your current home. This is because your heart finds many houses and many belongings while traveling. You feel somewhat homey and somewhat lost everywhere. Wherever you go, you get the feeling that you don’t fit, that you stand out. At first I thought it was a matter of clothes. Of my skin color. Or maybe of my accent. But as it happens in most of the cases – this is not a superficial phenomenon. There is more to it. It’s about you as a person. It’s about who have you become. And you’ve been becoming someone else with every visited place, with every person you met, with every problem you encountered. That’s the way it goes.
Your heart now is divided into a mass of small particles. And you scattered these particles all over the world. And it’s not about the sweatshirt you left on the bus. Neither a sock that you missed in a hurry while moving. Neither I’m talking about a gift you gave someone important to say goodbye or a stolen kiss who. The parts you left are those small parts of your personality that, without your awareness, chose their own places to live. Imagine how boring we would be if we were created to live in one place, to live with one person, or to live only one passion.
» Our personalities are too complex to be described in just one category or as through the prism of just one factor. «
Often, as long as we don’t decide to leave into the unknown, we are simply unconscious of unique and unexpected parts of ourselves that lurk inside of us. Sounds wonderful, although it’s not always the case. We don’t always discover something we wanted to discover. But this is still part of us and we must begin to deal with it as we dealt with everything else that got in our way previously.
Travels change. Everyone knows it. With twenty-one springs on my neck, I feel at least as if I was entering my fifties. Interactions with people help us define ourselves in the category of who we are versus who we want to be. They allow you to discover your strengths and make the most out of them. They help you know your true value.
There are also trials – moments of challenges. Trials during which you are tested for your endurance. Trials helping you to explore your boundaries that are becoming more firm and solid with each challenge. They make you stronger. They make you leave your comfort zone and build your character with confidence and awareness.
I write this so that you are aware of all the changes that are taking place in you. And there are plenty of them, trust me. Sometimes they are simply difficult to recognize or accept. We never feel familiar with any changes. And that’s their beauty. But as long as you try to deny or reject them, for so long they will not be able to settle in, for so long you will delay your self- development and for so long you will not be able to generate free space for next experience.
What is the most difficult and at the same time the most rewarding in traveling are returns. Returns to places you call home, no matter whether you spend all your time there or just visit once a year. Returns are times when you realize that you have returned as a different person. That the blue walls in your room are no longer the same blue. That mac and cheese doesn’t taste the same anymore. And that you’ll never fit the way you fit before your first trip. You’ll always be different.