“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ~ Miriam Beard
“So, you have travelled too have you? Where have you been?” people say, from time-to-time in conversation.
Suddenly I feel embarrassed and wish I had not described myself as someone who has travelled. I don’t know how many countries I have been to; my family travels are not far flung; I have not sat on an elephant or trekked through the jungle… I feel unable to match up to the exciting stories that others share and I am left feeling in awe; not equal. So I start to retreat within, wondering why I ever said, “yes, I am a traveller” with such enthusiasm.
‘But what does travel mean to you?’ I read one morning. And that sentence dances around my mind for several days; teasing me, challenging me, pointing its finger at me.
And then I realise.
I realise that travel for me is simply the desire to move, to allow the undulating waves of a wandering road to tickle the soles of my feet. It is about my need to not be tied to anywhere. It is a complete and unwavering devotion to freedom.
For freedom is our right in life, is it not?
I long to see the shores of a million different places. Ask me to go somewhere, and I will if I can. In my younger years, perhaps that was more so. But nowadays, the journey is further even if closer, for it is about my own journey with this heart of mine that beats with true joy only when in motion.
So I live on a boat, and suddenly it all makes sense and when I sell that boat and rent a cottage and letters begin to drop on the mat for this, for that… I say quietly, but out loud, “I don’t like ‘them’ knowing where I live.” And the absurdity of that statement makes my husband smile, but inside I know that this is truly how I feel.
Tarmac, water, sailing, walking, driving… I long to move: a mile, a thousand; the sky is different from one day to the next, regardless. And so I come to realise that it was always so that I would love to live on water, for it is the constant movement – however gentle – that keeps my heart beating restfully.
And so I am back, for how long I can never know, but I do know that I am glad. Glad for the freedom from this and from that, glad for the neatly stocked baskets and cupboards that store only what I need.
Glad for the ropes that creak as the wind blows at night, for these are the ropes that free me when I feel restricted by the static.
You see, I am a traveller, for I long to find, to see, to traverse a wonky, unsettled, crazy life and however near and however slowly from where I began, my eyes will always see what is new and fresh.
I am a traveller, for if I listen, my heart says it is so and when my feet itch I allow the tingle to run right through my core.
I am a traveller because I long to move, to run free and barefoot on this winding road of life.
“I love sleeping on the boat Mummy; when it rocks at night it’s like it is singing me a lullaby.”
Sure, I know what she means…