I Don’t Want Forever: Lessons From Two Years Away From Home

Cotopaxi Ecuador

Volcan Cotopaxi, Ecuador

When you spend any meaningful length of time away from everything you have ever known, you can not help but learn something. The past two years have been the wildest, emotionally volatile, serendipitous adventure, of my life.

Now, back home, it kind of feels as if my piece of the puzzle does not fit any more. My perspective, how I think about the world, how I decide what is important, It is not, how it was. I find myself living in complete contrast to the life I was living this time last year. Dealing with the anxiety and discomfort I have come to expect from moments like these, is as exciting as it is isolating.

Wadi Musa Desert Petra

Wadi Musa Desert, Jordan

Travel is the story of a thousand lives lived in hours and weeks. You change and mould and are constantly becoming. Uncertainty while it may be frightening, is the most exhilarating and real form of existence there is.

When I am home it feels like I have to pick just one, just one life. Just one, when I have already seen so much and I know that I cannot even comprehend what is left. I do not think I am the only one, with a fear of being complete.

Utila, Honduras

Utila, Honduras

We are so eager for the freedom to exist in those spaces between the certainty of home, and the uncertainty of what is out there, on the brink of completeness. We crave that escape, and given the chance, along with some courage, we will run; even to the point where it hurts, and it does hurt. We do it because, when we are searching, when we are lost, we are finally, exactly where we are supposed to be.

Whenever I leave, I am travelling to find home, to find that place, that girl, that life that just fits. However, I have started to realise that finding those things is not what is important. What matters is that I am looking, that I am changing, that I am trying.

Canaima National Park, Venezuela

Canaima National Park, Venezuela

I do not want to travel forever, because forever is boring, and that is the point.

Travel, to me, serves as a constant and real life reminder to not settle,  but it also reminds me, that anything worthwhile is, and should be, finite. The best moments in life are the ones that are far too beautiful to last forever. When we are happy-sad; when the melancholy of a moments inevitable end, combines with the ecstasy of living it; that entire range of emotions that we feel, that is being alive.

Sahara, Morocco camel

Sahara, Morocco

Travel can be uncomfortable, it can be lonely, it can be frightening, it can be overwhelming, it can be sad, because it is real life. Despite how it might feel at the time, when you travel, you do not exist in a different reality, what your are living is real life, and real life is not comfortable. There is no reason why it should be.

You see I finally understand that it is not all about peace and love. The hippies were wrong. There are other ways to grow, and they are just as necessary as the good times. We forget that there is a whole spectrum of emotions, because we are conditioned to focus on the good feelings, at the expense of ever actually feeling. Feelings of anger breed motivation, despair poetry, anguish strength. The good leads to the bad and so in turn the bad leads to the good. It has taken me a while to appreciate that. Life is cyclical.

Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador

Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador

I have experienced so many lows in my life and I have never really been one to share them, at least not explicitly, because those moments are mine. They inspire me and give me strength, those depths of depression, or feelings of powerlessness, were some of the most creative and profound times of my life. Feelings of discomfort, they are just growing pains.

I truly believe that we need the lows in life. If you spend all of your energy avoiding them, distracting yourself from their existence, instead of understanding them, then you cannot have the highs as well. Absolutely every incredible experience I have had in the last two years, including my first one way ticket out of here, started with a risk. And absolutely every meaningful lesson I have learnt in the last two years, was a consequence of a risk that seemingly had not paid off.

Favela Vidigal, Brazil

Favela Vidigal, Brazil

I am proud of what I have been able to see and do in this world and in such a short amount of time. At the same time, I am constantly struck by fear and existential anxiety about what is next, in my life. The last two years away from home, have taught me that I do not want forever. I do not want to travel forever, I do not want to be happy forever and I sure as hell do not want to live forever. What I want is to experience, and the sad times are part of that, they may be difficult, but I know I have to embrace it, understand it, so when the next opportunity comes, I’ll be ready.

The fact that I don’t know what’s next, well, that’s the most exciting possibility I can think off.

“Kill off all my demons and my angels might die too” – Tennessee Williams

Lake District, UK

Lake District, UK

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14 thoughts on “I Don’t Want Forever: Lessons From Two Years Away From Home

  1. Incredible mate. I often feel like travelling is somewhat this unreal, uforic reality, with seemingly unlimited time, money and freedom. However, when the lows hit when travelling they often hit very hard, much harder than they do in my normal life… When I lived overseas at times I felt pretty homesick and got a fair bit of social angst as I struggled to get a grasp on my own identity. And true, I have a pretty big low when living overseas too, I had a written blog at the time, and I wrote a very dark entry, but I never posted it, because that would have jeopardised what I though was my identity. And true, I agree with you, emotions should be finite. At times I really feel like I hit true happiness, it’s a rush of something incredible and I don’t it all that often. When I travel, I tend to find moments where I feel that sensation of true happiness more than I would in ‘real life’. I love travelling because I love chasing that feeling. When I find that moment it’s incredible, and it makes me feel accomplished and alive. This moment/feeling quick fleeting, but that’s okay, because it charges me for weeks.

    I really do like what you said in here peter. I also like the pictures. Keep it up mate.

  2. Good reflection… It is amazing how travelling and knowing new cultures make with us start to see the world from a different perspective. Is there any specific place or moment that made you realize all of these thoughts, like somewhere or somewhat that changed everything?

  3. Such an interesting read.

    I too will begin a two year journey around the world beginning this July and I can barely imagine how different I will have become.

    Keep up the great writing!

    -Reader from Michigan-

  4. Such an interesting read!

    I too will begin a two year journey around the world this coming July and I can’t even begin to imagine how much my life will change by the end of it.

    Keep up the great writing!

    -A new fan from Michigan-

  5. It was incredible! To me growing is challenging myself, taking risks, putting myself out of my comfort zone and getting to experience new and different things. These experiences don’t have to be something extraordinary though. It can be as easy and simple as doing the things that we normally do in a certain way, differently. and its sometimes as easy as meeting people from different cultures with different languages, experiences and ideas about life which I believe can opens up new horizons. There’s no doubt that environment and people surrounding us are really important in shaping those experiences but the way that you see those circumstances and what you get out of them and how you react them is way more important.

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