I’m reading a book about travel writing, Scrapes of Wool by Bill Colegrave, where the author describes two types of travellers: those who were born travellers, and those who become so once they have embarked on their journey. I agree wholeheartedly, and I’d describe myself as the former type.
Ever since I was little, I dreamt of faraway lands, and the smells, and music, and new faces I’d find. I fantasised with a life in which I constantly moved between homes in Mallorca (my home time, if you didn’t know!), London, New York, Venice and Paris. By the time I was 14 and could understand the concept of ageing, I happily chimed “I want to visit every single country in the world by the time in 35”.
When I was 15 years old, I moved to London. In my head, that was the beginning of my nomadic life, never staying in a place for more than 3 years. But here I am, 11 years later, still in London. I don’t own a house. I don’t have more stamps than I can count in my passport. Yet I still consider myself a traveller.
To me, being a traveller has always had more weight than simply going on a holiday. I scoffed at those who’d holiday happily, and rejected the very concept of time off. Travelling had a completely different meaning where I became part of the location I was visiting, invisible to the local eye. Always moving.
Travelling meant to never have a home.
Once my university days were over reality had no patience with such arrogance. My desire to leave everything behind was crushed by the pleasure of companionship, the safety in routine, and the reassurance that I had people I loved around me. Slowly I felt that I had to sacrifice what I’d always wanted more than anything – to be a nomad – for the comforts of day to day life and those who relied on me.
But that’s not the meaning of travelling, is it?
I’ve discovered that you can be a traveller, a visitor, in your own hometown or wherever it is you live.
Travelling, to me, means getting out of your literal comfort zone and rediscovering something new. It could be a neighbourhood in your city, or interacting with people you wouldn’t usually.
To be a traveller, you can love being home as much as you love being away. You just need to be ready to learn and to see the unexpected.